When I left the Federal Parliament in 2007 I was excited about returning to an ordinary private life. It had been a great honour and privilege to serve, but I felt it was time for others to carry the nation forward.

Coincidentally, as I left, the “Great Financial Crisis” began to rock the Western world. It exposed, in many ways, the economic and social vulnerability of many seemingly strong and prosperous nations.

Even Australia, free of commonwealth debt, and enjoying the benefits of its trade with China, rapidly lost its way.

Like so many Australians, I’ve watched events with increasing concern. The extraordinary loss of economic discipline, the revolving doors of political leadership, the increasingly strident silencing of out of favour views in a way that threatens our most important freedom, that of speech, the never-ending promotion of division over unity as a nation, and overshadowing it all the deteriorating global strategic environment, are all cause for deep and urgent reflection.

We need – now – to reunite as Australians in the face of a grim reality: we are in danger of eating ourselves out from within.

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