Professor Steven Keen
Senate Candidate for the State of New South Wales
I used to describe my career as “avoiding Canberra”. Now I’m running for the Senate. So why the change of heart?
It’s largely for the same reasons that Victor Kline established The New Liberals in the first place. I have become progressively more disgusted with both major political parties in Australia, as they have drifted to the rightwing end of the political spectrum.
Economically, they are both neoliberal: the market knows best, so let’s limit the role of government to addressing “market failures”. Let’s run a balanced budget—or better yet, a surplus. Let’s sell public assets—the Commonwealth Bank, Qantas, Sydney Airport, even CSL, once known as Commonwealth Serum Laboratories—because the private sector will manage them better. That’s why Australia was ready with its own vaccine as soon as Covid-19 hit—not!
Politically, they have both become reactionary. The country that, under Liberal Prime Minister Malcom Fraser, welcomed tens of thousands of refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia, became one that, under Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating, established mandatory detention of asylum seekers. And it’s gotten far worse since under Tampa Howard, Sir Phillip Abbott, and I Stopped The Boats Morrison.
I used to be proud of being an Australian. Now, I’m embarrassed.
The New Liberals was born of a grassroots ethical rebellion against this drift to the Right, and initially I was happy to be its economic advisor. But when Victor felt that there was a chance of him winning North Sydney, he asked me to take his spot at the top of the Senate ticket for New South Wales, and I agreed. This is a chance to challenge the self-serving, simplistic souls who now dominate both Liberal and Labor on the floor of Parliament, and I’m up for it.