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

The government tripped itself up. What happens next is anyone’s guess.
Yesterday, I wrote that the issue of who tipped off the media ahead of the federal police raids on the Australian Workers Union’s offices was a “fair question, but unlikely to go...
Parliament got nasty today
You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’
Speaking to a class of schoolkids in June, Malcolm Turnbull was asked if he was friends with Bill Shorten. “Yes. We’re rivals … When we’re not fighting away in the parliament, we...
The treasurer is slowly learning
A serious man
There are some interesting ideas contained in a new report released today by Treasurer Scott Morrison. Morrison was keen to make sure people read about those ideas, which is why...
The biggest stories aren’t always the most important
Out of the spotlight
In preparation for a radio spot this morning, I wanted to remind myself of the tidbits of knowledge that had surfaced at Senate estimates earlier this year. So: did you know that...
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop
Politicians must take more responsibility for the standard of public debate
Fake fake news
Who could have imagined, eight years ago, that George W Bush would emerge as a rallying point for the American left? And yet, in the past 24 hours, that is precisely what...
Labor needs to choose between striking a deal and derailing it
Decision time
Labor needs to decide what it wants, and it needs to decide fast. Now that Malcolm Turnbull has announced his climate policy – the skeleton of it, anyway – what is Labor’s main...
How much do Turnbull and Shorten really want to talk about climate?
Craving silence
“I can’t say how disappointed I am that rather than talking about the substance of the policy, I'm sitting here with you on AM and you are attacking the credibility of the people...
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...