Lindsay Tanner on Lowest Common Denominator Politics
Lindsay Tanner appeared at the Wheeler Centre last week, in conversation with George Megalogenis. The publication of Tanner’s book Sideshow: Dumbing Down Democracy has been extensively reported. Highlights of the media’s coverage have included an interview with Crikey, and several appearances on the ABC (Radio National, 7:30 and Q&A).
In some ways, coverage of the book penned by the former cabinet minister-turned-“private citizen” has served to illustrate Tanner’s point. Despite significant pressure brought to bear on him, Tanner has studiously avoided tipping the bucket on his former colleagues while painting a scathing portrait of the political-media landscape. Some have applauded Tanner’s position, while others have condemned or been puzzled by it. “The book’s account of our troubles is sound enough,” writes University of Canberra journalism academic Jason Wilson, “but there are significant weaknesses, especially in Tanner’s proposals for fixing it.”
Do you agree that democracy has been ‘dumbed down’? Is the media to blame? And what possible solutions are there on hand to improve policy debate in Australia?