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

Expediency and integrity may for once push Labor in the same direction
Serendipity strikes
A poll today had some interesting results that will feed into the long campaign ahead of the next election. Today’s Essential Report found that 56% of voters think the...
When is a beer just a beer?
On Sunday morning I was in the Channel Ten studios in Melbourne, about to record a panel segment for The Bolt Report. Bolt threw to an ad, saying we’d be back to talk about Tony...
The government has said a lot of things on tax, most of them in the past month. Not all of them match up.
Everyone said some things that shouldn’t have been said
Things that don’t go together #1 Election Eve, 6 September 2013: Tony Abbott says, “No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no...
In Canberra, sometimes things are just what they seem. And sometimes they’re not.
Facts that speak for themselves, and facts that don’t
Sometimes the facts of a situation don’t really need interpretation because the picture they paint is clear enough. Asylum seeker news just from today: 1. A former Victorian...
Exploiting the Anzac legend for commercial gain isn’t new
If there’s a buck to be made, somebody will make it
Woolworths is experiencing a significant backlash today, after launching an Anzac commemoration website that invited people to share tributes to war heroes under the slogan “Fresh...
It took Peter Costello 12 years to build a reputation. It was destroyed in one day.
Peter Costello’s claim to “legendary treasurer” status rests on three pillars. The first is that he inherited a huge budget “black hole” from Labor in 1996 and fixed it. The...
Getting out the magnifying glass
How politicians read newspapers
Today, I want to zero in on a short article of apparently little consequence. Darren Davidson at the Australian reports that Malcolm Turnbull has been snubbed by the prime...
The prime minister comes clean on cruelty
Finally, some honesty
Yesterday, a lone voice of honesty sounded in a debate blighted for too long by sloganeering and bland dissembling. That voice came from our prime minister. In Queensland, he...
Save yourself from this slow news day by watching a speech given yesterday
Non-politicians give the best speeches
It’s a slow political news day in Australia, and I’m not going to waste your time by pretending otherwise. There’s a bumper overseas (and overseas-related) links edition below...
If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it might be a duck. But then again, it might not.
I can’t believe it’s not government
Usually, whenever a conservative prime minister makes an announcement on the national security/law and order/defence side of things, the press smells a rat. There follows a...
We’re being watched, but does anybody care?
Invisible surveillance and indifference
The real news is mostly made by comedians these days. Yesterday on his satirical news TV program, Last Week Tonight, John Oliver interviewed Edward Snowden, the man who in 2013...
Tony Abbott has a chat with Alan Jones
Yes, Headmaster
Well, I’m not going to lie to you. It’s a slow news day. That’s not a surprise. It’s the last day before the Easter long weekend. Even our largely tin-eared politicians know...
It seemed like Joe Hockey was having a good day . . . until he got out of bed
It must take a great effort of will for Joe Hockey to raise himself from the bed each morning, his broad back hunched, his face creased like a peach stone in anticipation of the...
Inner-city suburbs voting for the Greens will have consequences for the whole country
Debates that shouldn’t matter sometimes matter anyway
I said yesterday that trying to explain why elections turned out the way they did is a mug’s game. And it is. But the debates that people insist on having on this topic are often...
Don’t believe everything you hear about the NSW election
Why is it so?
Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman was once asked to explain why magnets repel each other. He answered by saying that as soon as you start asking “why”, you have a...
Why a good media strategy is no way to run a country
Tony Abbott’s war on information
Canberra is a city fuelled by secrets. In a place where people are paid well but rarely as much as they are worth, information is the real currency. It can buy you access,...