“Most Australians believe ours is a country underpinned by liberal values: respect for openness, progress, tolerance and the rule of law. But these values are increasingly under threat. And it is not just on the fringes of our community or politics that we find liberal values challenged – their decline is reflected by federal and local politicians and print and electronic media. We are increasingly exposed to the voices of partisan advocates for an Australia that is decidedly illiberal.
To those who think of Australia as a successful democracy that has built a diverse society, the proposition that liberal values are at risk may seem alarmist. But the past two decades’ political and social narrative, and the current global trend towards isolation, protectionism and authoritarianism, along with ‘us and them’ fearmongering, ought to raise the question of whether the foundations of Australian liberal democracy are as stable as we like to assume.
Rise of the Right is a fascinating account from one of Australia’s leading political commentators, and it essential reading for anyone interested in the state of the nation.