Inside Story has some highlights for the beginning of Winter: from social inequality to electoral imponderability

We at Honest History like to keep up with recent numbers of periodicals and journals – particularly those not too badly afflicted by paywalls. We will post shortly a review by Michael Piggott of the first edition of the Australian Journal of Biography and History and the first edition of the revived ANU Historical Journal (here it is). Not long ago we had a look at Meanjin and Australian Foreign Affairs, and, before that, Griffith Review more than once. The Conversation is frequently useful. Whoever said journalism is the first draft of history was pretty much right and some of this writing has its foot firmly in both camps.

Inside Story, edited by Peter Browne, adjunct at Swinburne University of Technology, has had some good stuff recently. There was, first, a thoughtful review by David Fettling of Julie Suares’ recently published JB Chifley: An Ardent Internationalist. Chifley’s international interests and actions have tended to be overshadowed by the boisterous HV Evatt, but, as Fettling summarises, ‘Chifley assembled an astute, forward-looking set of foreign policies amid the global transformations following the second world war’.

Then, there was Peter Whiteford on inequality, of which he has been an indefatigable chronicler (featuring often in our collection of links on this subject – which ran up till the end of 2017). Using relevant trend charts and other statistics, Whiteford argues against complacency about inequality in Australia. ‘It is not surprising’, he concludes, ‘that politicians and some commentators might want to put the most favourable framing on trends in income distribution’. But ‘we will need policies to generate economic growth and policies to ensure it is well spread’. The article is nearly 4000 words long but should be required reading for politicians on both sides of the 18 May shock. Evidence of inequality in Australia is, by definition, a shot across the bows of our egalitarian ethos.

Speaking of 18 May, though, Inside Story also has Paul Rodan on electoral prospects for Labor, Peter Brent on the polling shemozzle, and Tim Colebatch on Andrews Labor in Victoria, whose vote bonanza of late last year did not flow through to the federal colleagues. There is also material on Boris Johnson (or at least on his minder, Lynton Crosby), Mark Latham, and Narendra Modi. (Now, there’s a trio.) And Janna Thompson writes about Stan Grant and identity.

David Stephens

1 June 2019 updated