The Big Teal by Simon Holmes à Court [8/10]

The Big Teal” is barely a book, more an extended essay, and because it deals with a subject possibly of interest only to fans of Australian politics, it might seem peripheral. Yet the author’s postmortem on Australia’s 2022 national elections is fascinating from many angles, and Holmes à Court’s perspectives will intrigue those seeking to understand how democracies will handle the climate crisis going forward. The author heads up a super-Pac-type charity that funds independent candidates, recently with gratifying impacts. Faced with a governing political party actively sabotaging any climate action, and an opposition party not much more ambitious, the Australian population voted in half a dozen “Teal” (a bonding color the media plumped for just before the polls) independents springing from community campaigns. The author is modest, but factual, about his influential impacts, and very lucid and pointed about what he calls a “generational change” in population voting practices. I particularly enjoyed his recounting of medium-term attempts to persuade Australia’s former Treasurer toward climate leadership courage, attempts that were arrogantly rebuffed; Josh Frydenberg (in my electorate) was subsequently turfed out altogether by a Teal. The author is a calm, fluid stylist and anyone seeking lessons from the May elections would find The Big Teal most useful.

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