NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Fever in the morning. Fever all through the night.

I've been in sweating and shivering since Wednesday. Next year when my employer offers me immunisation against the coming round of flu, I'll accept it.

For anyone who wonders where I've been, it's here - in bed with an awful head and awful thoughts going though it, progressively getting more pleasant.

Some of the awful fevered thoughts concerned politics:

Did the Coalition really go into an election less than a year ago with a campaign slogan that read "Go for Growth"?

Surely they didn't. Vacuous at best, dangerously irresponsible at worst, and as a slogan meaningless to the lives of of ordinary Australians - I had to remind myself they did in fact do it and were apparently proud of it.

And that their back-up slogan was the genuinely meaningless "Aspirational Nationalism".

Had they completely lost the plot by the end?

The nearest parallel I can find is the in slogan that led the Coalition to its previous defeat in 1983 - "We're not waiting for the world".

Asked on the morning after their defeat why the Coalition had lost, the conservative commentator Frank Knopfelmacher replied with bitterness: “They had nothing to say, and they kept saying it”.