The Political and Cultural Crises confronting Australia

I hold it as self-evident that the Commonwealth of Australia is currently confronting an unparalleled number of crises across the broad gamut of its existential being. Each and every one of these seven crises has been brought about by an extreme poverty of political leadership extending over the past several decades. It is of great concern that there continues today a disconcerting dearth of leadership and depth of quality in our political class to even begin to grapple with the mess that they, and their predecessors, have created.

I intend, over the coming months, to address each of these crises in my website. Pro tem the crises are detailed below with introductory comment and sources. These crises include but are not limited to:


1.  The Federation

The Covid pandemic amply illustrated that the federation of states that constitutes the Commonwealth is badly, perhaps irretrievably, broken. On display during that ignominious period of Australian politics, were disgraceful scenes of stubborn and deeply entrenched parochialism; arrant selfishness of the I’m all right Jack’ nature antithetical to Australia’s supposed founding values; gross ignorance of the spirit of the constitution; shambolic coordination of resources and policies, and a deeply worrying Australian predilection for, and cowardice in the face of, authoritarian government.

The Commonwealth of Australia is a federation of states. The Federal Constitution is essentially ‘the birth certificate of a nation’ and is the fundamental law of Australia binding everybody, including the Commonwealth Parliament and the Parliament of each State.

The foregoing used to be standard fare for Australian schoolchildren. It is no longer. This is an indictment on Australia’s national curriculum. It is also a telling indictment that, not-for-profit organisations and registered charities such as The Australian Nationhood Foundation have been established to build awareness and to provide educational resources on the Australian Constitution and our system of governance. The following have been extracted from their website:

The Australian Founding Fathers

Prior to 1901 the continent of Australia comprised six separately governed colonies all reporting to the mother country of the United Kingdom. Not much is taught nowadays about Australia’s ‘Founding Fathers’ (some call them ‘Federating Fathers’) or about the many meetings and constitutional conventions held over a 10-year period to debate and decide upon a new constitution for a new Australia.

The story of those wise men who met over many years to unite the six Australian colonies into one nation has been included in our website together with potted biographies of a number of them and in particular those who helped to draft the Australian Constitution.

[Source] The Founding Fathers of Australia - Australian Nationhood Foundation

The Foundation

The Australian Nationhood Foundation (ANF) has been set up to provide information on the Australian Constitution and our system of governance. The sorts of things that we will be providing information on used to form a part of the school’s curriculum but for decades have no longer done so.

For instance, how did our Constitution come into being? How is it that the six states continue to have a measure of independence with their own governments? And so on.

We are also providing information on the basis of our system of governance which is based on what we call ‘The Westminster system’ and how laws came about.

Because we are not associated with the government or funded by a big corporation, most of our information will be circulated via this website and accompanying social media, which is yet to be established.

On this website, which is in the process of being developed, you will find some articles, videos and frequently asked questions. Over the next few months we will be adding new sections including comic-like strips to make what can be unclear easier to understand.

As our funding becomes more established we will also be producing literature for distribution amongst schools, to new Australians and to anyone who may be interested. We are also in the process of preparing courses on the Australian Constitution and on our system of governance. These courses will be online but interspersed with visits to State and Federal parliaments which will include lectures and tours. [Source] The Foundation - Australian Nationhood Foundation


The Australian Constitution Bill was firstly drafted by Sir Samuel Griffith together with others and was revised by Sir Samuel, Mr Charles Kingston, Sir Edmund Barton and Mr Andrew Inglis Clark when aboard the Queensland Government yacht Lucinda, during the Easter break of the 1891 Convention which was held in Sydney. This draft was later revived and debated at the 1897–98 Convention, and final changes were made at a 'Premiers' Conference' which was held behind closed doors early in 1899. 

The  Constitution is essentially ‘the birth certificate of a nation’ and is the fundamental law of Australia binding everybody including the Commonwealth Parliament and the Parliament of each State.

The Constitution came about at a series of conventions held during the 1890s and attended by representatives from each of the then the colonies. These colonies became our current States following implementation of the Constitution which resulted in the States federating into one nation.

At referendums held at the end of the 19th century, the terms were agreed upon by the people of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and later Western Australia. The Constitution was then passed as part of a British Act of Parliament in 1900 and took effect on 1 January 1901.

It was necessary for the British parliament to pass the Act because before 1901 Australia was a collection of six self-governing British colonies and ultimate power over those colonies rested with the British Parliament. However, it should be made clear that the Constitution was drafted by Australians and voted upon by Australians. [Source] The Australian Constitution - Australian Nationhood Foundation



2.   The Economy

Australia has over the decades regulalry spent more than it has earned. Both the federal and state governments are responsible for this. Government economic policy over these decades has focussed on privatising [selling off] lucrative government assets and irresponsibly spending the proceeds. Moreover, they have pulled subsidies from Australian manufacturing; signed innumerable trade deals which were touted as being the salvation for Australian exports, and generally lavished money on grotesque projects the country could ill-afford: think NBN broadband; think defence cock-ups; think Olympics; think ‘signature’ projects such as football stadiums and expanded leisure facilities; think multi-million dollar tourism campaigns; think huge expansions in public sector employees; think multi-million dollar perks and staffing for our too numerous political representatives; think Covid 'sit-down' money; think ineffectual welfare expenditure; think wasteful infrastructure spending; think inappropriate government advertising and so forth and so on.  

What does Australia produce and sell abroad? As from its colonial beginnings, it is dependent upon its primary industries including  mineral resources. These are currently under pressure from ill-conceived and political agenda driven government policies. After considering primary industry one has to think. Banking services, education services, tourism [the servant industry], medical services – note the trend here, services. Our manufacturing industry is now, thanks to government policy, non-existent. We couldn’t even produce our own face masks during the Covid scare.

Without dilating any further on this serious question, let us look at the state of our finances:

Federal, state and territory government net debt to hit $1.4 trillion

Net debt for Commonwealth, state and territory governments is forecast to hit $1.4 trillion by 2023-24. Almost every government is using the larger debt levels to finance deficit spending, including infrastructure investment. Western Australia is the only state government forecasting budget surpluses for the next four years. [Source]

No matter, we can always send more Bushmasters to the Ukraine or, given a notable precedent, organise one of our state governments to fully sponsor the Australian Transvestite Tiddly-Wink Team. 


3.   Political Malaise

The past several elections have seen swathes of disenchanted voters support all manner of independent candidates or newly formed, single issue and oddball parties. They have done so in an endeavour to send a message to Canberra that they are sick of the ‘politics as usual’ agendas of the political elites. The political classes have let Australia down badly. The total lack of qualitative depth in our parliamentary representatives, cutting across the federal and state divide, is truly abysmal.

Party games and lack of substantive choice in party policies; personalities over policies; three year electoral cycles; a pathetically incompetent fourth estate and total lack of natural, sound, and effective leadership have led to this state of affairs. Thus is the electorate effectvely disenfranchised:

Votes for Labor and the Coalition plummet to all-time low as Australia swings away from major parties

With many Australians looking elsewhere for new leadership, here’s how the nation voted in the 2022 federal election

At the time of writing it seems likely that Labor will soon be able to form a majority government, with wins in at least 75 seats and at least one more a possibility.

But, despite the national swing away from the Coalition, there are vast differences across the country in how people voted. Using data from various sources including our seat explorer and pork-o-meter, Guardian Australia has crunched the numbers to help explain the election result.

In 1951, almost 98% of votes went to the two major parties. In the election just held, this number is currently down to an all-time low of 68.5%. This might change slightly as further results are counted, but it’s unlikely to shift too much. [Source] Votes for Labor and the Coalition plummet to all-time low as Australia swings away from major parties | Australian election 2022 | The Guardian


Labor has crossed the bridge into government but with no great mandate, no sweeping reform, no grand vision. This is less a resounding vote for Labor — a dismal primary vote below 32 per cent — than a reflection of disillusioned voters, fed up with politics as usual and departing in droves from the major parties. [Source]  Anthony Albanese's election win is a vote for change, but it's another dying gasp of an old order - ABC News


4.   Geopolitical Security

I use this term to remind the reader that Australian defence is an international joke. It has been so since 1945. This country has relied upon the ‘gun for hire’ defence policy, sucking-up to big and powerful friends. Aside from being an ineffectual policy, it is a national embarrassment.  

I have chosen as my ‘text’ for this section a piece written by the author of the 1986 Dibb Report (Review of Australia's Defence Capabilities). That lamentably inadequate document shaped the Defence White paper and Australia's defence thinking for a generation. I savaged it then and can only observe that, in part, we are reaping the benefits of the author's 'wisdom' and foresight now.

The geopolitical challenge the crisis in the West poses for Australia

Paul Dibb.  The Strategist. 17 May 2019

At a time when the two revisionist powers, China and Russia, are of rising geopolitical concern, the West seems to be in some sort of a crisis. In the United States and Europe there’s a growing view that democracy isn’t delivering and is being challenged by populism and assertive nationalism. This has serious geopolitical implications for Australia.

Western countries seem to be gripped by a sense of malaise that the democratic system isn’t working anymore, and that representative democracy is unresponsive, remote and run by elites for their own benefit. Nativism is quickly turning into xenophobia in Europe and the US, with populist politicians exploiting the issue to their advantage. Advocating for a borderless world and the benefits of economic interdependence and globalisation is now a political liability. [Source]  The geopolitical challenge the crisis in the West poses for Australia | The Strategist (


5.   Cultural Fear, Loathing & Education

There can be no question that Australia, like much of the modern and developed world is undergoing a period of severe cultural dislocation and a high degree of political and cultural dysfunction. I will venture to suggest this dystopia is more evident in the Anglophone countries. To this end, Australians being the grand imitators they are, always follow the trends established in Britain, the United States and to a lesser extent Canada. Sadly, none of these countries are exemplars that any sane country would wish to follow. But follow we have and will continue to do so because we are unable to define our own unique culture.

The following extracts are taken from the Atlas Society, an organisation devoted to promoting the very antithesis to our postmodernist mess – namely the open society;  objectivism and the philosophy of reason; achievement, individualism, and freedom:     

Postmodernism became the leading intellectual movement in the late twentieth century. It has replaced modernism, the philosophy of the Enlightenment. For modernism’s principles of objective reality, reason, and individualism, it has substituted its own precepts of relative feeling, social construction, and groupism. This substitution has now spread to major cultural institutions such as education, journalism, and the law, where it manifests itself as race and gender politics, advocacy journalism, political correctness, multiculturalism, and the rejection of science and technology.

Any major philosophy has a view of reality and of man’s place in reality. That will include a view of our core capacities, particularly our cognitive capacities, and a view of our core needs and values. Postmodernism, as a philosophy and as an intellectual movement, is characterized by strong skepticism and subjectivism, and consequently by ethical relativism. In social philosophy, it combines collectivism with a zero-sum view of human relations.

Postmodernism holds that our identities are constructed by our race, gender, or class identities.

Those last two work together. For example, postmodernism holds that our identities are constructed by our race or gender or class identities—that is the collectivized part of it: You exist only as part of a collective group. The zero-sum part is that those groups are in a life-and-death conflict with each other. So, society is made up of blacks versus whites, men versus women, rich versus poor. Generally, the political philosophy of postmodernism is left collectivism. The aesthetic view is very fragmented and rather nihilistic. [Source] Postmodernism in the classroom, The Atlas Society | Ayn Rand, Objectivism, Atlas Shrugged



6.   The ‘Voice’

The ‘Voice’ is a current and contentious political issue pertaining to the changing of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia to enhance aboriginal recognition therein, and policy input into government.  

This is a totally emotive issue with little substance in law or in fact. Because of general ignorance of the constitution, or indeed, in the workings of a liberal representative democracy, this imbecilic notion is now being seriously touted a subject for a referendum to change the constitution to a constitution based on race. Given the number of indigenous parliamentary representatives in our current parliament, this nonsense needs little elaboration. Below follows a description of the background to this issue.  

The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a 2017 petition by Australian aboriginal leaders to change the constitution of Australia to improve the representation of indigenous Australians.

The statement was released on 26 May 2017 by delegates to the First Nations National Constitutional Convention, held over four days near Uluru [Ayers Rock] in Central Australia. The convention was held after the 16-member Referendum Council (appointed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten on 7 December 2015), had travelled around the country and met with over 1,200 people. The statement was issued after the convention and calls for a "First Nations Voice" in the Australian Constitution and a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of "agreement-making" and truth-telling between the Australian Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. [Source] Uluru Statement from the Heart - Wikipedia

A full copy of the Statement and critical comment thereof will be included in my further dilation on this subject. 


7.   The Grand Vision

It has been my long held view that Australia requires a strong, visionary and proactive political leader with the will to forge a new and ambitious direction for this country. He or she needs to clearly articulate a vision of where he or she, and the rest of us, would like to see our country in fifty to a hundred years’ time. Such a vision, transcending the petty nonsense and squabbles of immediate politics, should address the big questions facing the country: Questions such as the nature of our national identity; sustainable national and state population levels and settlement; regional development; national infrastructure programmes; water security and distribution; effective and cheap and reliable energy generation and delivery; sustainable agriculture; an appropriate technology/manufacturing base; communications and transportation; our place in the world and so on.


Such a vision, well-articulated, will inexorably lead to healthy debate which will in turn shape our appreciation as to the nature of our country and who we are as Australians.


Although it is a debate that is long overdue, it is a debate that no politician has had the courage to address.

[Source] Peter Dutton: Sexton or Resurrectionist