Story of Our Country: Labor’s vision for Australia

Story of Our Country by Professor Adrian Pabst, the Sir Peter Lawler Visiting Fellow at the institute in 2018, is the second book in the PM Glynn Monograph Series. The series comprises short studies examining sometimes overlooked strands of thought in the major political traditions in Australia, with a view to bringing them back into focus as resources for public policy thinking and the practice of politics.

Paul Keating once remarked, “We at least in the Labor Party know that we are part of a big story, which is also the story of our country”. Story of Our Country unpacks that big story and Labor’s place in Australia’s narrative. It explains why the ALP’s purpose and character make it unique among centre-left parties in America, Britain and Europe. Central to Labor’s purpose is its promise to offer people a “share in those things that make life worth living” – the common good.

Labor’s vision of the good life is anchored in the everyday experience of working people. This gives Labor its distinctive strength – a paradoxical character that is at once progressive and conservative.

Pabst argues that to gain and retain power, Labor needs to build coalitions between its traditional working-class base and middle-class voters. Labor can achieve this by deploying its distinctive strength to tackle the most critical issues facing Australia: inequality, precarious jobs, the care crisis, climate change, and emerging foreign powers.

Story of Our Country was published by the Kapunda Press in 2019.The book was launched in Melbourne by Senator the Hon. Kim Carr on 29 August 2019, in Sydney by the Hon. Wayne Swan on 6 September 2019, in Brisbane by the Hon. Shayne Neumann MP on 4 September 2019 and in Canberra by the Hon. Mark Butler MP on 9 September 2019.

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