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The Australian Moment

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  312 ratings  ·  41 reviews
There's no better place to be during economic turbulence than Australia. Brilliant in a bust, we've learnt to use our brains in a boom. Despite a lingering inability to acknowledge our achievements at home, the rest of the world asks: how did we get it right?

George Megalogenis, one of our most respected political and economic writers, reviews the key events since the 1970s
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 2012 by Penguin Australia
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4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  312 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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James Tierney
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Annabel Crabb calls Megalogenis an 'explainer' and I think that's exactly right. Like an umpire on a sport field, he has no interest in changing the field of play. Rather he wants to blow the whistle or ensure that he's in the right position to observe the reckless dash toward goal. Sometime compelling (particularly in his consideration of the 1970s), sometimes schoolmasterish (the dismissal), often interesting - this is likely to be the basis of the received version of our recent political hist ...more
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was introduced to George Megalogenis by a lovely lady sitting next to me on a flight to Frankfurt and I've enjoyed every minute of him since. From his Quarterly Essay entitled Trivial Pursuit to interviews with Richard Fidler, George is always clear, articulate, entertaining and believe it or not for a journalist these days, credible. His assessment of Julia Gilliard and Kevin Rudd is extremely helpful to an old political voyeur such as I, confused about the apparent lack of policy and the los ...more
Sarah Leonard
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Fascinating read. Definitely recommended
William Scott
Jul 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
The Australian Moment is a summary of recent Australian history (last 40yrs) from a political and economic perspective. It focuses on the prime ministers of the era time (from Whitlam to Rudd) and attempts to draw out the themes of each government. For an Australian immigrant like me, it provided a great deal of context I missed out on for comprehending the current Australian political position (like the Australian people's disdain for Keating and the Labour government of the 1980s pioneering ze ...more
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Second half is better than the first. Stick with it.
Jun 01, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Richard Harrison
Forgot how much I hate politics. So many pages of numbers and really convoluted sentences that I had to re-read to even attempt to comprehend. Didn’t mind the historical insight and I liked the author’s even, unbiased tone.
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great overarching analysis of the major political and economic events/themes in Australia since the 1970s, which provides an explanation as to why Australia over the past quarter-century has been able to overcome many economic hurdles while much of the world has crashed.

Aug 26, 2012 rated it liked it
This book somewhat selectively and at no great depth covers Australia’s political history
from roughly 1970 to today. The author's main thesis is that through financial reform and some vaguely defined facets of the Australian character we are a shining example to the world of how to manage an economy. All a bit glib probably.

Having said that Australia did weather the GFC storm ( so far) better than most nations, and not just because of the China factor, and the Author’s explanation is as good as
Paul Baggaley
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
This book is a brief political history of Australia since the 1970s, from the Whitlam to the Rudd Governments, with an economic slant. Megalogenis strives to be non-partisan, which he mostly achieves. His basic aim is to answer the question of why Australia seems to have dodged a bullet and has remained successful over the past few years when other major economies like the US have tanked. Credit goes to a series of reforms from previous governments (Howard, Hawke-Keating, even some credit to Whi ...more
Covers the political and economic history of Australia over the past 40 years and articulates why as a country we have weathered the GFC and the current Eurozone crisis. No matter what your political preferences, the conclusion is that our elected leaders have collectively done a great job in positioning Australia to capitalise on our strengths into the future. It remains to be seen whether we will be able to leverage it or whether we hold ourselves back because we have self doubt as to us being ...more
Julianne Quaine
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great read covering Australian politics from Harold Holt's death and Gough through to Rudd, explaining structural changes that allowed Australia to slide easily through the global financial crisis and no, it wasn't China. Well written and easy to understand with clear explanation of all things economic. Allowed me to understand why I got 10% interest on my savings account at 15 in 1975 but never will again I suspect, why I paid 17% on my home mortgage in the 90s and why my super's looking pretty ...more
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was enjoyable but I thought the focus on the economic issues facing Australia and the Prime Minister of the time was a bit narrow. Megalogenis certainly went through the last 40 years of Australian political history and the associated economic conditions with a clear and non-biased documentary. It seems we are the lucky country as the politicians (at times) showed an amazing lack of economic knowledge, took policy decisions based on being re-elected (always) and seemed to have wasted the op ...more
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Bravo! Full marks for a well-thought out, ideological-free, and and entertaining overview of Australian political, economic and cultural life over the past 30 years.

Bob Ellis's contarian take:
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for anybody who wants a non-partisan assessment of how Australia survived the GFC. An intelligent and thoughtful assessment of the Australian reform agenda since Whitlam took office in 1972. Slightly depressing at the end because it is difficult to identify any true reformers in the current Parliament....the current batch seem to be more focussed on the short time and sound bites, rather than the hard work of presenting a considered policy position.
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Australian Moment is a clear, evidence-based analysis of Australian politics and economics over the last 30 or so years. More detail of the Rudd years would have been beneficial, but otherwise the book was comprehensive. A basic understanding of economics would help understand many of the terms used, and this arguably makes the book a little bit inaccessible. However, I'm not sure the subject matter could be adequately covered using less technical language.
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
brilliantly fascinating, and far removed from the whining, self serving and derogatory political commentary that the media seemingly so loves to run in the digital age.

Megalogenis gives credit where credit is due on both sides of politics, and acknowledges mistakes and the lessons we can learn by them without resorting to political spurn. The result is a well crafted text that examines the politics of the last 40 years of Australian economics.
Catherine Parkin
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a great read. Really enjoyed the balance between detail and broad sweep of history of Australia. You could wish that George Meg would engage with other policy or topic areas across the sweep - but, the selection of Australian moments that he makes illustrates the tensions and opportunities of the country. I enjoyed his retake on some prevailing ideas (eg. generation W). Recommended.
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Such a joy to read a political book based on considered facts and archives rather than ideology. Reinforced some of my existing views and challenged others which I thought was interesting. Exciting and readable. Which is surprising given it's largely about how big personalities interacted with global economics from 1972 to the present.
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A great depiction of Australia's political history since the early 1970s, from Gough Whitlam to the Rudd/Gillard years. An explanation of the major reforms paints the picture of our economic and cultural development in an enjoyably readable way.
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Terrific! VERY good summary of the ups & downs of the history of political Australia. I particularly appreciated the immigrant point of view (child of immigrants) to some of the policies we've lived through.
Jon Longworth
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A truly fantastic and engrossing read. A well judged balance between depth and breadth, the author displays a refreshing lack of cynicism and provides some ideas for taking back control of ideas and civility in political and public discourse. Everyone should read this book.

Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A compelling, well-written and intellectual analysis of the past 30 years of politics in Australia, how they have contributed to where we are, and how it will influence where we're going. When it comes to this kind of thorough approach to respectable journalism, no one does it better than George.
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Easy to read, riveting in parts. Best of all, George's analysis of the last 40 years in Australian politics and economics is fair and balanced. I'm looking forward to reading his latest publication.
Bill Kidd
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fantastic stuff.
Jun 17, 2012 is currently reading it
Just started
Jon Ellis
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting as it covers almost exactly the period I have lived in Australia. the later chapters around the GFC and our governments response are the most insightful.
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great run through of Australian fiscal policy and political landscape of the last 40 years.
Gerhard Gopel
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
a have to read !
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