Sean Kelly

Sean Kelly was an adviser to prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. He is the Monthly’s politics editor.


Articles by this author

Josh Frydenberg
A good day for the PM – though not quite as good as he claimed
Declaring victory
Today the nation got a new energy policy, and the word on everyone’s lips was “certainty”. You heard it from Malcolm Turnbull. You heard it from his energy minister, Josh...
What happens next is up to MPs, not the PM
When is a crisis not a crisis?
On any count, Malcolm Turnbull should be panicking today. Let’s run through the litany. A new Newspoll came out today [$] showing Labor at 54, the Coalition at 46, as they were...
The PM needs to get his climate policy right
Malcolm’s sweet spot
Anti-terrorism legislation, gas for the domestic market, health insurance, that unicorn known as climate policy … the government seems busy, doesn’t it? And in fact it is....
A tricky combination for Turnbull might be approaching
A day of tidbits
In her 2016 Harry Evans lecture, constitutional expert Anne Twomey outlined the travails of sometime Labor premier of New South Wales, sometime acting Labor premier, sometime...
Malcolm Turnbull is trying to wrap up all his problems in a neat bundle
Blue skies ahead, maybe
Rip the bandaid off, they say. It is advice that Malcolm Turnbull seems – finally [$] – about to take.   I’m talking about the clean energy target (CET), or,...
Abbott and Turnbull are slowly destroying each other
Bleeding out
As far as any former prime minister can claim to be having a successful time of driving the agenda after forfeiting the right to actually, as prime minister, drive the agenda, one...
The government today seemed to back further away from a clean energy target
Climate hopes fade
Back in June, just after Alan Finkel had delivered his famous recommendation of a clean energy target (CET), Victorian MP Russell Broadbent asked – at a party room meeting – the...
The rest of this year is likely to be a policy write-off
Dry spell
As the US gun debate rocketed off this week into its usual pointlessness, Australian politicians had their say. On Tuesday, the prime minister seemed to hint at changes to our...
There were a few worrying developments today
From little things
There’s not really one big thing around today. Just lots of little things, all of which are making me grumpy. Here we go: The first thing is big, actually, but it’s mostly...
The government can’t be bothered trying to justify its anti-terrorism laws
Give us the arguments
The prime minister this morning was asked about his desire to introduce a new law making it illegal to possess instructional terrorist material. This was the exchange: SABRA...
Australia has its blind spots too
National pathologies
Yesterday, a man opened fire on people at a music festival in Las Vegas. The last time I looked at the news before bed, the death toll stood at two. When I woke this morning...
National leadership is coming from surprising places
A bright moment in a bleak week
“There are two other extremely mentally distressed people who urgently need assistance,” said Ian Rintoul, of the Refugee Action Coalition. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0....
Marriage is well and truly dominating national politics
Grabbing the spotlight
I am a little stunned by just how absolutely the marriage debate is dominating the political landscape right now. Remember Tony Abbott getting headbutted? That was … just over...
Nobody should make the mistake of thinking Peter Dutton will change
Unfit for high office
The question of who precisely to blame for the fact that Donald Trump is president is a vexed one, so let’s not, at least for today, get into it too much. There is, however, one...
Political weakness tends to multiply
Authority issues
“I support the company … The government is stuffed. Too many people have got Turnbull by the short and curlies.” That’s an AGL shareholder, speaking to the Financial Review’s...
Inconsistent attacks on Bill Shorten reflect the government’s own inconsistencies
Goldfish memory
I don’t know if you can remember a month back anymore – a week is a long time in politics, and a bloody lifetime prison sentence in #auspol, so fair enough if not. But if you try...
Things may yet get worse for the PM
A long way to go
The obvious take-out from today’s Newspoll [$] is that Malcolm Turnbull’s government still lags Bill Shorten’s Opposition by a significant margin – a margin that has, in fact,...
The way the marriage campaign is being analysed leaves a lot to be desired
This is not a horse race
As most of Australia knows by now, a man wearing a “Yes” badge yesterday called out to Tony Abbott, asking to shake his hand. When Abbott approached, the man allegedly...