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Politics in the Pub: Pursuing Progressive Politics in Dark Times

  • The Courthouse Hotel 33 Burringbar Street Mullumbimby, NSW, 2482 Australia (map)

Professor Frank Bongiorno AM is the Head of the School of History at ANU and is an Australian political, labour and cultural historian. 

A regular contributor to the media, especially Inside Story and The Conversation, Frank has also appeared on The Drum. He has written for Australian Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement, the Monthly, the Australian and Fairfax Media. Prior to joining the Australian National University, he lectured at King's College London. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

So where does the result of the 2019 federal election leave us?

What does it tell us about the state of Australian democracy in the age of Trump and Brexit, of rising inequality, authoritarianism and nationalist chauvinism? And where do progressives go from here, in these seemingly unsympathetic times?

In this talk, Frank Bongiorno will examine some of the major issues raised by the Coalition victory in the 2019 election. That contest may well be unique for Australian politics in returning to office a government so mired in division, scandal and confusion. Are there any clues in Australian political history – both recent and more distant – that might help us to explain these happenings? Or have we experienced a profound break with the patterns and rules that have seemingly guided national politics for generations? What do the respective leadership styles of the major leaders – and especially of Scott Morrison in the months leading up to the election – tell us about the state of our democracy?

Above all, what prospects are there for a fairer, more equal and more decent society in the wake of a victory by a Coalition government that is openly committed to promoting greater inequality?

Frank has a particular interest in the history of the Australian Labor Party, on which he has published widely. His books include The Eighties: The Decade That Transformed Australia; The People's Party: Victorian Labor and the Radical Tradition 1875-1914; and The Sex Lives of Australians: A History. He was co-editor of Elections Matter: Ten Federal Elections that Shaped Australia.