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Edition 324 – Where’s The Vision

This coming Saturday is Federal Election day in Australia. It’s our chance that, constitutionally must occur every three years, to pass judgement on our Federal Government and determine whether they’re worth another shot at it, or whether we’re looking for change. I believe we’re in for an interesting result.

From my perspective, I’ve found this one of the dullest, least inspiring election campaigns in my lifetime. Bob Hawke’s vision and optimism of 1983 or John Howard’s commitment to his vision of “relaxed and comfortable” in 1996 are but a distant memory. This election has been a yawn-fest.

More than anything, I lament the lack of vision from either side of politics. I’d put part of that down to the ridiculousness of a three year election cycle, which is simply too short to get in, knuckle down and institute change of a substantive nature. A three year cycle is virtually a permanent election campaign.

Neither side of politics, nor any of the fringe parties, are articulating:

  1. How the eye watering Federal Government debt racked up during the COVID crisis will be paid down?
  2. What Australia’s place in the world will be over the next 20, 30 or even 50 years?
  3. How we can achieve a balance between our obligations around climate change whilst at the same time not obliterating entire communities that are resources based?
  4. How we’re going to not only fund an ageing population, but roll out services to ensure quality of life to the elderly?
  5. What future industries we should not just be a part of, but leading the race on.
  6. How future budgets are going to be funded when there are caps on the proportion of GDP that relates to the tax take?
  7. How to decentralise the population of Australia away from Sydney and Melbourne, which combined, are home to 45% of all Australians?

I’m also putting some of the lack of inspiration in this campaign down to the media. Their focus on personalities, not policies, has plumbed the discussion of public affairs to a new low. The Sydney Morning Herald, in particular, has chosen to focus on two electorates, Wentworth in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, and Warringah on the Northern Beaches. The electoral goings on that impact less than 250 000 electors in a city of 5.3 million people has proven how insular mainstream media is at getting out into the wider community and finding out what the real issues are in Penrith, Parramatta or Campbelltown, let alone in the regions or interstate.

Social media is even worse. By virtue of that vehicle, your viewpoint is skewed towards exactly what you want to read. So, the story you’re hearing is not the whole story. Sadly, that means we’re not having an exchange of ideas from all sides of politics, or amongst the general population, where conversations can take place respectfully and with a sense of “I might not like that idea, but it’s an interesting thought none-the-less”. In my opinion, one of the greatest contributions to the polarisation in society right now is social media, so by its very nature, it is combative rather than interactive.

It really is up to the political leadership in this country, at all levels, to create a vision for the future, then share it with us. It’s then the role of the media to facilitate the discussion of the ideas that will help create that vision, not take political commentary and discourse down the road of a reality television show. Screaming headlines and angry commentators might be great for ratings, but it’s not what any of us need to ensure Australia steps into a brighter, more prosperous future, which actually belongs to our children and to their children.

This Week’s Tip

“Does it concern you that more sporting teams have a plan for their long term future
than what Australia does as a nation? It does me!”