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

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...
The government’s frustration with a messy political landscape is obvious
“Peter Dutton blaming ABC for not giving enough attention to 54 refugees going to US. Should blame Tony Abbott for taking over news cycle.” That was a tweet from the Australian...
Abbott wants climate to be Turnbull’s downfall, again
Tony Abbott tweeted a bunch of times over the past day or so. He tweeted praise for Roger Corbett, who had defended voting “no” on same-sex marriage by saying, “A black man and a...
The Australian government’s response to the crisis in Myanmar seems contradictory
More than 400,000 are on the run. They are running from rape, and from murder. They are fleeing a military that has burned their villages to the ground. This is the verdict of...
The Victorian premier shows Malcolm Turnbull what can be done on donations
Setting a good example
A quick step sideways to state politics today to recognise something that should have been done years ago at a federal level. The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, is going...
The PM is trying to reach voters – but what if voters can’t be reached?
Apathy killed the radio star
One of the recent shifts in Malcolm Turnbull’s approach to politics has been a greater focus on FM radio. Jodie and Soda, Fitzy and Wippa, Jonesy and Amanda, and Hughesy and Kate...
Two years in, Turnbull still has time to make his mark – but not much
A little over two and a half weeks ago, Leigh Sales asked Malcolm Turnbull a very pointed question: “You have been prime minister now for nearly two years. How is it possible that...
Can Turnbull finally turn climate policy to his advantage?
Shifting sands
“How can the government expect industry to decide on new generators if the government can’t even decide on a Clean Energy Target?” It was a good question from Bill Shorten...
The PM may have sabotaged himself with his big energy fight
Turnbull’s massive gamble
A government in a fix can count on its ability to do at least one thing: pick a fight that everyone notices. That is what the government has done with its quest to keep AGL’s...
It was a surprisingly quiet day in parliament
Business as usual, for once
Today was … I’m having difficulty locating the right phrase, so long has it been since I’ve had cause to use it … an ordinary parliamentary day. There were no constitutional...
Politicians might finally be realising that voters don’t mind nuance
Simple is as simple does
One of the most remarked-upon developments in politics recently has been the shift away from neoliberalism. (Don’t worry. I know you’ve read that article before, this bit won...
What followed the High Court’s plebiscite decision was instructive
A telling moment
The High Court today dismissed the challenges to the government’s decision to hold a postal vote on the issue of same-sex marriage. I hate that the postal plebiscite is going...