Former Treasurer Wayne Swan writes in The Guardian (16.12.16):
‘If the electoral landscape over 2016 has revealed anything, it’s the incredible potential energy that exists in western democracies. The polarisation of politics and the intensity of contemporary debate attest not so much to widespread apathy as to fulmination for genuine change, at both poles of the political spectrum. Victory will belong to the party which can best convert this ferment into kinetic energy.
‘In the United States and the United Kingdom, the harsh realities of right-wing populism are setting in. In Australia a narrowly re-elected Liberal prime minister once known for small ‘L’ liberal beliefs is behaving like a representative of the Republican Tea Party.
‘Progressive parties cannot afford to indulge in head-scratching and soul-searching while a viable, vibrant alternative to far-right populism exists. As I have written elsewhere, before the sound and fury of populism dies down, leaving a hollowed-out middle class, social democratic parties must seize the initiative and present a legitimate plan for policy change that works in the interest of the many, not just the few. For as long as the trickledown juggernaut rolls on, capitulation is not an option.’