Author(s): Greg Barns
To most of us, liberal values mean respect for openness, progress, tolerance and the rule of law. But in Australia, these values are increasingly under threat. It is not just on the fringes of our community or body politic that we find liberal values challenged. The decline of liberal values in this nation is also reflected by members of the conservative political force that ironically calls itself the Liberal Party. Additionally, our print and electronic media are dominated by partisan advocates for an Australia that is decidedly illiberal.
To those who think of Australia as a highly successful democracy that has built a diverse society with respect for liberal values, a proposition that this is all at risk might seem alarmist. But the history of the past two decades in this country's political and social narrative, and now the global trend towards isolation, protectionism and authoritarianism, as well as the 'them and us' fear-mongering happening around the world, ought to raise the question as to whether the foundations of Australian liberal democracy are so secure that we are immune to the threats without and within.
Rise of the Right is a fascinating account from one of Australia's leading political journalists and is essential reading for anyone interested in Australian politics.