Exit Strategy: Politics After the Pandemic. George Megalogenis, Quarterly Essay, Issue 82

Somewhere in the first third of this account of, and argument concerning, Australian politics and the COVID-19 pandemic, George Megalogenis -- George Big Think, sorta -- has a passage about Kevin Rudd's ill-fated pink batts insulation scheme, part of the 2008 stimulus package. He might have been persuaded to leave that out because not only does it bring to mind the question of padding, but also because it is arguably an example of the padding it alerts us to.

In this essay on politics after the pandemic, there is an awful lot of politics from before the pandemic -- rather more than is needed. Much of it is not politics at all, but rather policy and economics: related, but different things. About 85% of this essay is about the lead-up to the pandemic, lengthy discussions that go all the way back to the Whitlam era in detail, and touching on the Menzies era. Some of it is a reprise from Megalogenis's earlier books, and he justifies it as a necessary prelude to his account of changed attitudes to government spending, and to federation. But these conclusions, when they come, are platitudinous and disjointed, even hesitant, written with none of the sureness with which he deals with something like the 1961 credit squeeze.