Last Saturday evening we sat as a family to view the election results. There were four grandchildren present, aged 18 to 24 who had voted that day and taken their decisions seriously. They were waiting to see how the evening would unfold. They are rightly concerned about their future, particularly climate change, and as the votes came rolling in they watched in disbelief. One leader had offered them a detailed plan for their future, the other had run around the country, behaving like a clown, spouting slogans: ‘Cut taxes’, ‘I stopped the boats’, ‘Kill Bill’, ‘How good is that?’ Yet the clown was getting the votes.
My grandchildren are aware of the shambles of the government we have been subjected to over the past years, of the absence of any vision for the future from the self-anointed Sco-Mo. They are aware of the Prime Minister’s willingness to deal with cheats, liars, homophobes and lightweights (the billionaire Clive Palmer who won’t pay his workers their entitlements included), in order to retain power seemingly at any cost. ‘How can this happen?’ asked our 18-year-old who had voted for the first time in his life. ‘We’re f**ked’, and we could not find words of reassurance.
We were reminded of our feelings when we were students at Stanford University in California in the late 1960’s and the black peace-maker, Martin Luther King was shot, then a few months later Bobby Kennedy was shot as he campaigned for President. There was fear that those murders would be the end of the civil rights movement in America. And it was. Our feelings then were those of emptiness, shock and despair. We experienced those feelings Saturday night.
We are again facing government by opportunists who could care less about equity, and social harmony. They have presented no ideas about how they will govern this country at this time of global environmental and social crisis. The outcome of this election is the result of this government’s decimation of our education system, our public media and its generation of fear.
Australians have no sense anymore that there can be a common good. One is pitched against the other. Margaret Thatcher said it for this Coalition, ‘There is no such thing as society.’ Individualism is the way and the devil take the hindmost. This philosophy is permeating our social fabric.
SO SCO-MO WHAT THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU GOING TO DO NOW?
Patricia Edgar and Don Edgar are sociologists. Patricia was foundation Director of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. Don was foundation Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies