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(Image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts)

Last week provided a glaring contrast between the shoddy, deeply dispiriting politics-as-usual of 2018 and the hope that things might somehow improve.

First, there was the Adani announcement about its Carmichael project, which it insists will now go ahead in scaled down form, although whether it does or not still remains to be seen. The Carmichael project has long reflected everything wrong with Australian politics and its political system: an incompetent minister, a corrupt multinational, known for its Labor-connected lobbyist, its large donations to political parties and its ability to exercise direct influence over political leaders, which is proceeding with a scaled-down version of its coal project because it isn't commercially viable.