That whooshing sound is the collapse of hopes that the Rudd Government would be different. Not just different from the Howard Government but from the Labor-run State Governments that stood for policy indolence and political cowardice. Australians thought they were getting more when they elected Rudd last November, that they were getting some vision and a long-term agenda for a country that was starting to realise, however uneasily, that the easy ride of the last few years was over.

But Kevin Rudd’s obsession with micro-management and media control appears to have firmly anchored his perspective down at Brendan Nelson’s level. We need better from our elected leader, not just because we deserve it, but because the problems that now face our country (and the world) demand it.

Australia needs a new political model. It needs its politicians and its media to start working differently. Otherwise we don’t have a chance of dealing with climate change, demand from India and China, the death of the Murray-Darling, infrastructure bottlenecks, underperforming education, clogged arteries in health …

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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