When paradigms change, the world itself changes with them. Thomas Khun

Last time we use the p-word, promise, but who can resist the temptation to pluck a quote from Philosophy 1?

The political world HAS changed, even if the new paradigm looks a lot like the old one. Yesterday’s election of Peter Slipper as Deputy Speaker gave us another example of how what was once the most basic given of Australian politics — that the Government had the numbers in the Reps — is no longer certain. Slipper was Labor’s choice, but we had to sit and await the outcome of the ballot to know whether the Government had triumphed. There’ll be a lot more sitting and waiting in the coming months.

The world has changed in other ways. It’s been overlooked by the mainstream media, but the 21 August election was a significant realignment of Australian politics, with the Greens eating up a substantial chunk of Labor’s base vote.

And they are now using the power they have obtained at the expense of Labor and courtesy of a hung Parliament to pursue their agenda. Plenty of critics have dismissed the Greens’ policy concerns, but they will have to get used to the political agenda being rather wider than the narrow economic focus we’re used to.