The economic ‘reforms’ of the 1980s are supposed to have set Australia up for an unprecedented run of prosperity: 27 years, and counting, without a recession. The economy’s robustness is supposed to have saved us from the Global Financial Crisis. In fact our economy has been unstable, and its performance has been mediocre verging on anaemic. Any appearance of robust prosperity is due to a huge run-up of debt, some direct intervention, high immigration, overwork, selective blindness and over-active imaginations.
Back in the 1960s authorities were very exercised that cells of violent hippie peacenik leftists were plotting to overthrow the Government and establish an anarchist hippie socialist dictatorship (there were no greenies yet). This would inevitably morph into communism, the dreaded embodiment of all evil.
The conspirators were a very small fringe of a very large but not very coherent movement that wanted more love, less war, less consumerism and healthier living. Oh, and some drugs and weird clothes, or no clothes. There was the odd kidnapping and a few small bombs let off, some of them doing more harm to the conspirators than to the Establishment, but the large anti-war movements did not automatically join the revolution and the whole thing fizzled. The hippies got mortgages, Ronald Reagan was elected, and Big Business resumed gobbling up the world.
Is there no-one with eyes that see how the best of Australia is being destroyed? Is there no-one with the will to name it, and the courage to call on our better angels?
The rule of law, the freedom to know and debate, privacy, freedom from arbitrary detention and punishment, education for everyone, hospitals for everyone, help for the disadvantaged, family time, community time, social cohesion, the economy, infrastructure and industries to sustain our children, our priceless natural heritage, sovereignty over our own affairs, all are being attacked, undermined or neglected while we writhe in a lather of fear and distraction, jumping at shadows while hiding our faces from the real challenges staring down on us.
In one of the most blessed lands on the planet, what happened to the laconic Aussie and the fair go? Until a few decades ago we were working smarter and less, becoming healthier, more creative, more independent, more tolerant, more worldly, and expecting to continue on that path. We have abundant resources and educated, talented people who speak most major languages of the world. Why are we now struggling?