We had resisted the extreme application of neoliberal principles until 2013, now the future is uncertain.
Hawke and Keating introduced a more conservative application of the principles that opened up Australian markets, but also introduced and preserved Medicare. Floated the dollar, but maintained the dole. Gave power to the reserve bank over money, but the government kept control and transparency. Most telling was the reduction of trade tariffs to record lows that began the decline and fall of the manufacturing industry in Australia
John Hewson then presented neoliberal religious dogma to the Australian people clearly and concisely in his Fightback campaign and the people outright rejected it. Hewson lost the unloseable election and sadly handed the reins to Keating who completed the initial slide into neoliberal government.
By the time Keating left in 1996 the reserve bank was completely independent, the pilot’s strike introduced a new era of Labor not supporting unions, mandatory detention for asylum seekers was introduced and the foundation of neoliberal government was firmly in place.
Howard then came on the scene and moved further down the path, introducing GST (it taxes poor and middle income earners far more than the rich as a percentage of income. Rich people dont consume more goods and services in proportion to their income.), industrial reforms to bust up unions and an endless campaign from Murdoch to beat neoliberalism into the average Australian consciousness. Focussing on asylum seekers, aborigines and muslims to make them the ‘other’s the ‘foreigners’ who were responsible for the nation’s problems. Those problems being University education costing more and more each year, wages frozen and sliding, while the mining boom kicked in and Howard wasted around $400 billion on middle and upper class pork barrelling instead of investing in national infrastructure and claiming profits from the mining boom to do so. The IMF famously called the Howard government ‘the wasted years’ and responsible for both of the most profligate spending times in the history of Australian governments.
Then Howard pushed Australians too far with his Workchoices program introduced in 2006. This was introduced to remove the working conditions unions had fought for a century to achieve – and wreck union organisations directly. 
In 2007 Labor then discovered a new leader who seemed to appeal in the form of Kevin Rudd. The 2007 campaign was won on the principles of:
1. Repeal ‘Workchoices’
2. Say Sorry to the stolen generation and Australian Aboriginals in general
3. Ratify Kyoto treaty and take action on climate change.
At this time the right wing of the Labor party had become almost completely subject to neoliberalism and were believing the lies despite the overwhelming evidence from other countries that all it led to was extreme wealth inequality and misery for the majority of citizens. In addition to this shift of Labor to the right, the Liberal party began turning into a slogan producing marketing firm, ‘the economy’ must now be appeased by adopting harsher neoliberal principles. If you dont do this the economy will suffer! And you dont want the economy to suffer! That’s the end of the world! Foreigners are bad for the economy! They’re taking my job! We dont want them here!
Which was just fine, because those foreigners no longer had to leave their homes to take Australian jobs. The neoliberal free market foundations laid by Keating led to a rush to send as many jobs overseas as possible – and it worked very well. Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, China, India, Vietnam have all benefited. Not so much Australians living in their own country. Once again, neoliberal principles actively hurt the many people who voted for them thinking they would create a better future.
But Rudd looked like he might actually get Labor working against neoliberal principles and published articles to show his keen awareness of the damage neoliberalism had done globally and would do in Australia. He spoke often about going back to grass roots Labor party member voting and taxing mining companies after their decade of immense profit margins. That was apparently too much, greed kicked back in and Rudd was spilled to gratify ‘the economy’. Mining companies were appeased as ‘the economy’ desires – we must sacrifice everything for corporations, for they are all that is good in the world. Rudd’s dictatorial approach to leadership was also a major contributing factor commented on at length by his staff and ministry colleagues. Australian Prime Ministers are not Presidents, something that many people seem to have forgotten.
Then we have the Gillard hung parliament causing no end of confusion. Right wing Labor want more neoliberalism, but the Greens and the independents have different demands. If Labor want to be in power, they are going to have to return to listen to their left wing. More stress and blood, but somehow all through that a very progressive agenda actively implements policy left right and centre. The vast majority of which was extremely good and actually moved the country towards handling climate change, facing the future and working on investing in Australia and its citizens instead of corporate greed. …however, it’s not all good news as a Labor government in the Northern Territory agrees with their federal counterparts and Inpex to allow them to fly workers in from the Philippines to build a LNG processing plant. Now we’re giving Australian jobs directly to foreign workers on our own soil rather than simply exporting them. Why isn’t this in the media daily?
Corporate money arrives and implementing totalitarian neoliberalism is at the very top of the Liberal party’s list with a new extreme right wing campaigner; Tony Abbott.
So there you have the current situation. Bill Shorten a weak leader who can’t say too much, because he largely agrees with Abbott, he’d just introduce it slower. Albanese and Doug Cameron holding up the fort for what the Labor party used to stand for, but routinely being forced to support the right wing neoliberal views to keep up an appearance of party unity. The Greens representing a progressive voice and now Clive Palmer has bought his way into parliaments across the country with solid marketing and voters looking for any alternative to the three largest political parties in the country. Increasingly it has become clear that Clive Palmer primarily represents Clive Palmer. His votes have been about self interest first and political grandstanding second to pretend he cares about average Australians. He is neoliberal as well, just the slow deploy version of the Labor right.
Until Australians have a broad understanding of what neoliberal ideology is and how it has been applied to our detriment for the last few decades, we can’t throw off the shackles and make more steady progress to a sustainable, collaborative future.