Divided Opinions

The New Politics analysis of the 2019 year in Australian politics.

Eddy Jokovich and David Lewis, 338 pages. Released 2020

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Divided Opinions is the story of the 2019 year in Australian federal politics, told through a collection of extended notes from the New Politics Australia podcast series, and a selection of political essays published online.

The reforms implemented in 2017 by the Turnbull government created an even higher concentration of media ownership in Australia and, because of this, it has become difficult to provide alternative perspectives within an increasingly hostile and manipulative conservative media landscape: these essays and notes aim to fill in the many gaps left behind by the mainstream media.

This book offers insights into the performances of the Liberal–National Party and the Labor Party throughout the year. It commences with the resignation of a senior Liberal minister early in 2019, which kick-started a series of further ministerial resignations over a period of several weeks; offers perspectives on the events that shaped and influenced the May election; provides an in-depth analysis of how the election was won for the Coalition—and lost for the Labor Party; and explores the issues that will reverberate throughout federal politics over the next parliamentary term, especially the government mismanagement of bushfires and climate change issues in the final months of 2019.

Australia is at a crossroads on many fronts: on the edge of an economic recession and long-term financial difficulties; facing an environmental apocalypse that not only affects the environment, economy and community, but the psyche of the nation; stranded with a prime minister who is more concerned about personal niche issues, appearances and media management of problems as they arise, rather than action to resolve those problems; and a Labor Opposition unsure about what it needs to do to become more relatable to the electorate and make a return to office.

Contemporary politics is in a difficult space, governed by vested interests and divided by tribalism, not just in Australia, but in many advanced democracies throughout the world: 2019 proved to be an eventful year in Australian politics but how the political system removes itself from the quagmire of its own making and becomes more relevant to the community is unclear and will be one of the key factors to look for in future years.