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The damage done by 30 years of neoliberal rhetoric

Dennis Altman writes in The Conversation (13.2.15) that ‘Thirty years of neoliberal rhetoric has poisoned political discussion, by reducing major issues to immediate impact on individual incomes. … 

‘The current Coalition government has sought to spell out the costs, but its solutions are so clearly short term and biased in favour of the well-off that they have backfired. …

‘A Labor narrative would involve a coherent defence of the continuing role of the state. This would be, in effect, a return to the ALP’s social democratic roots (as Andrew Scott has argued in his book Northern Lights). Not only has the ALP ceded important moral ground to the Greens – especially in the case of asylum seekers – but the party has failed to construct a meaningful story about creating a better society which voters might trust.

‘For both sides a better narrative means more than a set of specific policies and promises of government savings and reform. It means restoring trust in the ability of government to deliver what we cannot deliver for ourselves. And that requires a defence of the public sphere, which neither side seems able to articulate.’

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