Last week Lowy Institute Executive Director Michael Fullilove bemoaned the state of Australian governance in a column for the Financial Times:
It was not always this way. Between 1983 and 2007 Australia enjoyed a quarter-century of stable, effective government. Labor administrations under Bob Hawke in the 1980s and his successor Paul Keating in the 1990s remade the economy, developed innovative social policy and managed to win five elections at a time when conservative political parties governed most of the developed world. A stream of social democrats — including a young Tony Blair and Gordon Brown — made the pilgrimage to Canberra to look and learn.
The coalition government of John Howard (1996-2007) ran up four election victories. Tory leaders William Hague and David Cameron were admirers of Mr Howard’s deft political management and his record of capable economic stewardship.
It's been said before that Australia can be most influential on the international stage by acting as an exemplar of good public policy. If Michael is right about the state of Australian politics, then clearly Australia's soft power in this area is in decline. But to the British investigative humourist John Oliver, at least, Australia is still setting an example in at least one policy area (warning, some NSFW language):