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

Another day lost to troublesome government MPs
Free advice
Peter Dutton said something late last week that struck me with its plain-spoken appeal to the common sense of his conservative colleagues. “I offer my frank advice, I argue...
The Queensland result confirms things we already knew
Status quo
So, yes, the Queensland election result is interesting, it really is, but it’s interesting in quite a boring way. Despite all the talk of votes spraying everywhere, psephologists...
Once the race for the leadership begins, it can be very hard to stop.
Unfriendly competition
The government’s been getting on with things this week. On Monday night, the prime minister flagged coming tax cuts. On Wednesday, former minister Philip Ruddock was appointed to...
The situation on Manus has gone too far. It is time to bring these people here.
An actual crisis
In 2012, the Australian anthropologist Professor Andrew Lattas spoke of a specialist police unit locking villagers in shipping containers and whipping them with sticks and fan...
To have any chance of recovery, government MPs need to remember what side they’re on
Form follows function
Explaining the point of the PM’s floated income tax cuts, Paul Kelly wrote [$] in the Australian: “The bigger play from Turnbull to both his party and the public is that a...
The PM isn’t political enough while Bill Shorten risks overegging it
The right balance
It’s certainly a difficult combination to pull off. Malcolm Turnbull, swamped by chaos, has to find a way to convince voters that the ordinary business of government is continuing...
The PM’s move today seemed desperate. It was.
Risky business
Desperate and transparently self-serving political manoeuvres are not always the wrong strategy. Yes, you’ll get called out on them by your opponents. You’ll endure a bad media...
Whether the NT Royal Commission into youth detention achieves anything will be measured over decades
Grim realisation
The report of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory is, first and foremost, a condemnation of this country’s continuing...
The PM may be gaining some much-needed momentum
Psychological thriller
Morale in the Coalition has been low recently. There’s been muttering about leadership, a sense that nothing ever goes right. As Fairfax had it earlier this week: “Coalition MPs...
An excellent result shouldn’t trick us into thinking the survey was a good idea
A very good day
This is a wonderful result. The numbers are overwhelming. However bad your maths, clearly 61 is a much larger number than 38. Australians don’t like change much. First-term...
Kristina Keneally takes Bennelong into the big time
Yesterday was a hot mess. So, naturally, it was a relief to everybody that today was relatively quiet. Senator Jacqui Lambie resigned, having had her British citizenship...
The PM is in real trouble, even if it’s not all his fault
Bitter ironies
Perhaps ironically, on a day when his continued hold on the prime ministership is in greater trouble than it has ever been, Malcolm Turnbull’s political judgement has been proved...
Every day is the same, and might be for months
Caught in the matrix
The word “believe” has taken a battering in recent weeks. As MPs lined up to say they “believed” they were a citizen of this or that country, or that their parent was, the word...
The way we talk about our country needs to change
Real Australians
Yesterday, while watching Malcolm Turnbull’s press conference, I wrote on Twitter that “It's not a big thing but I don’t love this repeated idea that there’s no one more...
Turnbull and Shorten met today. Predictably, they disagreed
Friendly chats
Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten met today in Melbourne to discuss the prime minister’s proposal for a disclosure process to end the citizenship circus. Once the meeting was...
What could Turnbull have done, really?
An unlikely crisis
Does anyone else out there feel just a tiny bit uneasy about the fact a government could fall because some MPs didn’t fill out some nomination forms correctly? Now, I know it’s...
An election now seems very likely
The beginning of the end
Earlier today, it seemed to me that the citizenship circus might be dying down. There were bits and pieces around, but really the day was oddly quiet. I was beginning to wonder if...
2018 is likely to be just as bad for the PM as this year has been
Groundhog year
There is a story that has been told in recent weeks, and it goes something like this: for all the pain the government has suffered this year, it will soon be over. Malcolm...