Tuesday, October 12, 2004

All-aboard the handbasket?

So the Australian election's been run and won. What a mob of mug punters we are.

Clive Hamilton's article in the Sydney Morning Herald ("Self-absorption wins the day") discusses the result:

Booming house prices coupled with unprecedented levels of consumer debt have left most Australians absorbed by their own material circumstances, with little room left for thoughts of building a better society.
And Hugh MacKay, in conversation with Geraldine Doogue (Compass, ABC TV, Sunday 10 Oct 2004; transcript) touched on similar themes, though not specifically referring to the election:

[...] for the last few years it’s been a story of people really disengaging from the national agenda. Being less concerned about social and political issues. Being less charitable, being more prejudiced, less compassionate. And that doesn’t seem to me to be the kind of Australia that we have been and that’s a disturbing thing to have to report at this stage of my career.
Things are looking a bit grim, but perhaps we're not beyond redemption. Perhaps for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. Perhaps for every parliamentary big-head there's a Bob: Messrs Brown & McMullan. The Bobs embody qualities we used to admire as being quintessentially Australian: quiet dignity, courtesy, respect. All this country needs is a few more Bobs. A few million more.

No problem.