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

What is about to happen in Indonesia should never happen anywhere
By the time you receive this email, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will have seen the faces of their families for the last time. At some point after midnight, Andrew Chan and...
Scott McIntyre’s sacking highlights our confusion about social media
Just over five years ago, Malcolm Turnbull lost his job as leader of the opposition to Tony Abbott (now better known as “Prime Minister”). One of the little-remarked aspects of...
It’s not just Australians who are concerned about Australia’s immigration policies
Hard to stomach
Yesterday, I wrote about a five-year-old girl suffering post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her stay in a Nauru detention centre, which our government is about to send...
Sometimes the right thing to do is obvious
Just fix it
A little girl has post-traumatic stress disorder. She’s five years old. The PTSD appears to be the result of her experiences inside the Nauru detention centre. A report from Save...
Are the stars aligning for serious policy?
A new Golden Age ... maybe
Yesterday, I said there was a real opportunity for Labor, if they could find serious budget reforms that built on voters’ beliefs that Labor cared about ordinary Australians much...
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...