Back then, that part of Australia was run by a bumbling, blatantly-corrupt bozo named Joh Bjelke-Petersen. It wasn't so much like a government as like a system to funnel state money to Joh's cronies while… Well, he was a lot like USA's Trump. (You think I'm just saying that because I'm an American who thinks everything is about America. (USA! USA!) But no really—even the book said it partway through, causing me to think Aha, it's not just me!) Most of the Trump-comparisons one reads about draw parallels to Hitler: "everybody" in Weimar Germany knew he was wrong, but he seized absolute power anyhow. Is America doomed? Well… maybe not. You can draw parallels to to this Joh buffoon, too. And… that part of Australia eased out of Fascism, didn't slide further into it. Other folks in the government had historically ignored Joh's crimes, but then they got fed up and stopped ignoring the crimes. They kicked the rascals out. Things got better.
Oh and Brisbane had an expo which, though constructed under horrible corrupt etc etc, transformed local society and brought people together so that was OK too.
(Anyhow, I'll probably keep on telling Aussies that I learned everything I know about their nation from Mad Max movies. It's good to set low expectations.)