Great Expectations: Government, Entitlement and an Angry Nation (Quarterly Essay #46)3.76 · Rating details · 102 Ratings · 12 Reviews
Rather than relaxed and comfortable, Australians are disenchanted with politics and politicians. In Quarterly Essay 46 Laura Tingle shows that the answer goes to something deep in Australian culture: our great expectations of government.
Since the deregulation era of the 1980s, Tingle shows, governments can do less, but we wish they could do more. From Hawke to Gillard, eacRather than relaxed and comfortable, Australians are disenchanted with politics and politicians. In Quarterly Essay 46 Laura Tingle shows that the answer goes to something deep in Australian culture: our great expectations of government.
Since the deregulation era of the 1980s, Tingle shows, governments can do less, but we wish they could do more. From Hawke to Gillard, each prime minister has grappled with this dilemma. Keating sought to change expectations, Howard to feed a culture of entitlement, Rudd to reconceive the federation. Through all of this, and back to our origins, runs an almost childlike sense of the government as saviour and provider that has remained constant even as the world has changed.
Now we are an angry nation, and the Age of Entitlement is coming to an end. What will a different politics look like? And, Tingle asks, even if a leader surfs the wave of anger all the way to power, what answer can be given to our great expectations?
“It is wrong to see the anger of the last few years as a ‘one-off,’ which might go away at the next election. The things we are angry about betray the changes that have been taking place over recent decades. Politicians no longer control interest rates, the exchange rate, or wages, prices or industries that were once protected or even owned by government. Voters are confused about what politicians can do for them in such a world.” Laura Tingle, Great Expectations...more
With the politics of rage and resentment dominating many Western nations, including Australia, Laura Tingle’s calm, perceptive analysis is more relevant than ever. What has happened to good government? Can Malcolm Turnbull apply the lessons of the past to put things right? When leaders surf the wave of discontentment all the way to power, how do they deal with our great expectations?
In her crisp, profound and witty essays, Laura Tingle seeks answers to these questions. In Political Amnesia, she ranges from ancient Rome to the demoralised state of the once-great Australian public service, from the jingoism of the past to the tabloid scandals of the internet age. In Great Expectations, Tingle argues that governments can do less since deregulating the economy, but they still talk like they can do more, and we still expect them to do more – leading to anger, frustration and disengagement.
In Search of Good Government also contains a major new essay that analyses Turnbull’s leadership and brings the story up to date.
Awards for In Search of Good Government
- Finalist, 2016 Walkley Award for Long Feature Writing