Quarterly Essay 25
Bipolar Nation: How to Win the 2007 Election
- Release Date:
- March 2007
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In the first Quarterly Essay for 2007, Peter Hartcher discusses the fantasies and realities at the heart of our politics. When our political leaders look at us, what do they see? What are the hopes, fears and dreams of the Australian electorate, and how might they be turned to election winning advantage? What, most fundamentally, do we want in a prime minister?
In this scintillating and original essay, Peter Hartcher investigates today's "bipolar nation", where Australians are more economically secure, yet existentially as anxious as ever. He explains how the Lucky Country and the Frightened Country will be the two grand themes of the election year, and discusses how John Howard will set out to craft an election winning strategy on that basis. He revisits Donald Horne's Lucky Country, looks at the legacy of Paul Keating, and analyses Kevin Rudd's many layered effort to out-manoeuvre the Prime Minister.
"The Lucky Country finally started to make its own luck, and Howard has taken out a political monopoly on it. The Frightened Country still harbours dark anxieties, some old and some new. Howard, the necromancer of our national psyche, conjures our fears to frighten us, and then offers to banish them again to soothe us. He understands the Bipolar Nation." —Peter Hartcher, Bipolar Nation
This issue also contains correspondence relating to the previous issue QE24 No Fixed Address by Robyn Davidson. Correspondence relating to QE25 Bipolar Nation will appear in the next issue.