In the last three decades the Australian Left has shaped national life. The collapse of the socialist project in the eighties enabled the rebirth of the Australian Left as a force of government. The Left of the Labor Party has moved from the fringes to a central position in the party while the Greens have built an electoral basis outside Labor. Questions of legal liberalism, indigenous rights and sexual identity have become central to Left politics, but mostly not economics. This new Left has grappled with the remnant past radicalisms, such as Marxism and radical feminism, but also new challenges: religious fundamentalism, right-wing populism, the crisis in many Indigenous communities, the global economic crisis and the rise of the Greens as a challenge to Labor. This new Left has been underpinned by the rise of intellectual celebrities and practices such as human rights law and a left-wing way of everyday life.
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