Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note June 2016

Three weeks into the eight-week election campaign, some things are clear. Bill Shorten’s confidence is up, and he seems to be having fun. His party, while vulnerable to the common Coalition attacks, and notwithstanding minor hiccups, has sharper messages and a more robust policy platform. Malcolm Turnbull’s team, falling back on scare tactics and slogans, has struggled to land its blows, its own program lacks coherence, and what the public understands of the purported “plan for jobs and growth” it doesn’t much like. In the education, arts, health, social services and environmental portfolios, the Coalition offers little.

Turnbull and the Coalition are nevertheless favoured by most media and betting outlets to win narrowly, mostly due to their margin of 19 seats and to Turnbull’s own popularity (despite his underwhelming performance so far). Do they deserve to win? Does the ALP?

In the June election issue, George Megalogenis writes that our next government, regardless of which party wins, will be compromised by the collective failures of the past three terms. Judith Brett examines Turnbull’s pitch for our future, asking whether the prime minister’s avowed optimism captures or enhances something in the public mood, or if he’s off on a frolic of his own. Chloe Hooper, on the road with Bill Shorten, finds a leader with a clear-eyed understanding of his own task and a frank assessment of his opponent. And John van Tiggelen meets the candidates in the battle for Indi, the electorate where nothing is quite as it seems.

Elsewhere, Robert Manne dives deep into the ideology of the Islamic State, exploring a trove of material that has received scant attention, but that reveals the beliefs underpinning this militant group’s savagery.

Closer to home, a different kind of destruction is upon us: as Jo Chandler explains, the Great Barrier Reef is on the brink. This is not just Australia’s biggest ever environmental disaster but also perhaps the most powerful signal yet of climate change’s impact on the natural world.

Nick Feik

Nick Feik is the editor of The Monthly.


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