Tag Archives: Generation X

Body Without Organs Part 2

Thunderous Objections Continue

You know a document has hit some kind of mark if the people against it are lining up to make their views heard. One gets the feeling the journalists covering this document were all pretty aghast at what was being presented, straight-faced and brazen, to a greatly sceptical audience.

Peter Martin slammed it saying the underlying assumption is that the only way Australia can get back to surplus was through cuts while leaving the current tax system untouched, while it even answered questions it was not asked like drastically cutting the minimum wage.

Michael Pascoe was just as pointed describing its approach as “casual brutality”. He also pointed out the notion that if the states ought to compete with one another, it would result in putting the states falling behind now in a worse position, not better; and that those states would end up having to pay more. Australia is – last we checked – still a ‘commonwealth’ and not a ‘competition of states’.

Steve Keen was more in a demolition derby mood as he pointed out the fundamental stupidity of Australia worrying about getting back to a surplus now, given the context of the world economy. The fundamental assumptions underlying the very exercise seems to be dodgy, while the preconceptions going in were just as misguided.

I know from Pleiades that the AFR s not happy either calling it ‘illogical hostility’ and decidedly critical of the notion of abolishing key industry support programs. The AFR is also reporting that customers are taking action, protesting the four major banks for their support of fossil fuel investments. Some of these are major funds looking to allocate funds to companies and projects that are genuinely eco friendly. The Federal Government is flying into a storm with its contrarian position on Climate Change, and its stated desire to shut down all these green initiatives.

Basically there has been a loud chorus of boos from the press gallery, which probably doesn’t mean much to the man in the high office.  But it’s interesting to note some of this is spreading out to the world and will have consequences for Australia’s economy. If you look at the document it appears it is not that different to the sort of position statement that might come from the US Tea Party, and it would certainly be interesting to see how this document looks when lined up with the Tea Party’s position statement. After all, as Michael Pascoe points out, it appears Tony Abbott really wants to turn Australia in to a facsimile of America.

Gen-X Will Retire At 70

In amidst all the brouhaha about the Commission of Audit and its audaciously hostile report, was the gem that Joe Hockey announced that the pension eligibility will be raised to 70.

The line he drew in the sand?People born after 1965. That’s pretty much saying Gen-X onwards. I was going to lambast him for being born in 1964, but it turns out he was born 1965. So if you’re an old school mate of Joe’s you can thank him for that gift. He’ll be drawing on his generous Parliamentarian superannuation as soon as he leaves Parliament while some of his mates might never reach the age of drawing a pension. If there is such a thing as poetic injustice, it might just be in there somewhere.

If you thought demographics was crap, and that distinctions like Baby Boomers and Generation X and Generation Y and Millennials were just marketing brackets then the line in the sand drawn by the Treasurer might just give you pause. I’ve pointed out before that Generation-X were the first to get hit with HECS after the Baby Boomer generation went by on free Tertiary Education. It’s really no mistake that the boom is falling on the queue just in front of Generation X, because the Baby Boomers are fitting up the social cost of their lives and their education and their retirement on to Generation X.

I don’t know if this is going to work. 2035 is 21 years away, and there’s a lot of politics to be played out between then and now. It’s long enough for another generation to grow into maturity and look at all the social costs being passed on to the latter generations and tip the balance the other way. I’ve pointed this out before but the ALP is already coming into the next Federal election with a front bench dominated by Generation X, headed up by Bill Shorten. The script might be written, but this movie is far from shot, cut and mixed. 🙂

Oh, Let’s Cut All of It!

One of things that got put on the table for cuts was Screen Australia. Naturally there was an outcry from the usual voices.

“Culturally it would put us back in the stone age,” said John L Simpson, producer and founder of the film distribution company Titan View of the Commission of Audit’s recommendation. “I thought that Australians had got over the cultural cringe, the idea that the only culture engaging with is the culture imported into this country, but that’s what’s going to happen. We’ll be a cultural backwater if we don’t invest.”

“It would have a devastating effect on the Australian film industry,” said film producer and director Sophie Hyde. “It’s already a very underfunded industry. We do so much with the small amount that we get, but I think that would effectively decapitate it.”

Robert Connolly, a filmmaker and former board member of Screen Australia described the recommendation as “catastrophic”. He said that Screen Australia receives around $100m a year and has funded some of the most successful homegrown television of recent times. On 9 February, he said, “there was the INXS biopic and the Schappelle Corby one and there were almost five million Australians watching drama that Screen Australia had invested in.

You mean it would upset your gravy train perhaps?.

The people most vocal about it are the people who have received the most support from the funding bodies over their careers. Honestly I’d like to see all of it abolished just to see what would happen. I’ve got no love for film making in Australia any more, so I really don’t care if it goes to the dogs. Heck, if I can’t have it, let them not have it, is how I feel. Screw the bastards with their mouths firmly attached to the government teat and above all, screw the film bureaucrats. They can go find a job in another industry and work until they’re 70.

Yeah, don’t cut it in half, cut the whole damn lot.

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Generation Change

The ALP’s Gen-X Crew

The Herald was making the point today that the ALP have gone Gen-X with their choice of frontbench. When you think about it, Bill Shorten is 46 going on 47 so that puts him at the older range of Gen-X, and Tanya Plibersek at 44, it’s true that the ALP have indeed gone Gen-X. I have a late Boomer friend who tells me that all this demographic stuff is just a construct not worthy of analysis, except I’ve been writing here under the banner of ‘Gen-X View Of The Universe’ for a good 5 years now. It obviously means something.

What could it mean?

The Generation X politician in Australia would have arrived at Tertiary education after the AUS was disintegrated by the likes of Peter Costello and Tony Abbott in 1983, Interestingly enough, Julia Gillard was the last President of the AUS when it collapsed in 1983. If you anted a model to the fractious politics of the Julia Gillard Prime Mininster-ship, you would have found it in the demise of the Australian Union of Students, with the same cast of late Baby Boomers thrashing and trashing institutions to make their political mark. What’s scary is that they’re still around aplenty in the Liberal and National party ranks, and they probably still don’t think much of indulging in that sort of ratbag behaviour. This explains the histrionic opposition style Tony Abbott chose to work with – because it is the method he used in his youth to destroy the AUS , headed up by Julia Gillard. Worse still, it worked again, so that may be why he’s so convinced he has some kind of mandate.

The demise of the AUS and the years where there was no student lobby until the NUS got up in the late 1980s allowed HECS to be brought in. Unlike the Baby Boomers, most of the Gen-X politician would have had to pay HECS. When they say education and the opportunities it affords are important, they know what they are saying. All these things are intimately entwined.

If there is one thing that I do think is encouraging about the Gen X ALP politicos is that they are of the generation that had to put back together the NUS and have the experience of rebuilding institutions. If the ALP under Rudd-Gillard looked positively fractured, then I think the current group might be able to start from scratch and build a proper agenda that suits the time. As I wrote the other day, I’m feeling fairly optimistic about the Shorten-Plibersek team, much more so than I felt about the Rudd-Gillard team when they first rose to the level of Opposition leader and deputy back in 2006. They’re not perfect human beings and they will make their mistakes. I just don’t think they’re as fractious and crazy as the generation of politicians who were forged in the dying days of the AUS.

Right now, the Coalition are the party of the Baby Boomers much more than Gen-X or Gen-Y by dint of the ageing population and makeup of the Liberal and National Party demographic. The fissure hasn’t been more stark than any other time since Mark Latham as late Baby Boomer was taking on John Howard who was born before the Boomers. That fissure sort of leaves the current ALP firmly in the Gen-X camp with the hope of picking up a big portion of support from Gen-Y.  The question then is whether Gen-X+Gen-Y interest is a big enough voting constituency to overcome the Baby Boomers’ interests in their twilight years.

Demographically speaking, Gen-X is small and shorter than either the Boomers before or the Gen-Y that follows. That being the case the duo may never make it. And if they did, they may be seen off by a Gen-Y politician. Consider the American experience. Bill Clinton was the first Boomer President, who was followed by George W. Bush who was followed by Barack Obama, all of whom are Boomers. All three Presidents won two terms, so the Baby Boomer reign will last 24years. If a Gen-X candidate won 2 terms after Obama, the next election after that will likely see a pair of Gen-Y candidates. It’s entirely possible there will never be a Gen X President of the United States.

Similarly, I don’t see any Gen-Xers knocking on the door in the Coalition ranks. If Abbott is replaced for some reason, it’s possible the leadership reverts to Malcolm Turnbull or goes to Joe Hockey – both of whom are Boomers. The longer the Coalition stay in power, the less chance there will be of a government of Gen-Xers in Australia.

So when you look at it through the demographic filter, that’s what we have with Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek: The one and only shot at Gen-X forming Government in Australia.

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News That’s Fit To Punt – 25/Apr/2012

Trying To Slip His Peter

This Peter Slipper business for the last few days has been a bit of a joke. It’s a scandal for sure, but should he resign?

It’s all a bit messy, what with Andrew Wilkie out there trying to get even for the betrayal, and let’s not forget the spectre of Tony Abbott as PM on the horizon. If he resigns, then surely it puts an early election on the agenda for the government and of course the chances of the ALP wining that are miniscule.

John Birmingham had this snarky paragraph today:

Allow me to exaggerate. The Gillard government is doing itself more damage than Abbott could ever hope to hand them. I’m not talking specifically about the Peter Slipper fiasco here. I’m talking about everything. Pretty much every decision they have made, every action they have taken since they scraped back into power last time, or arguably since they cut down Kevin Rudd, has been calculated to lower not just the standing of the government of the day, but the standing of the party for a generation. Hmm, I know that was exaggeration, and yet it didn’t feel like it.

That pretty much sums up how we’re feeling out here in voter land.

If the point of forming government with Andrew Wilkie led to the pokies legislation which they then side-stepped with placing Peter Slipper in the Speaker’s chair, then surely all this nonsense is merely a function of a hung Parliament. Somehow I think the electorate is going to demand an election if Peter Slipper is made to resign. It’s all so precarious for Julia Gillard.

Gen Y Anger In The SMH?

I’ve seen all this before in Japan where demographics screwed over Ge-X and they’re in a right mess over there. Jessica Irvine has written this thing today – I imagine because the infeasibility of the numbers is hitting home for her, as it hits most others – and it has this tidbit in it worth quoting:

The phenomenon of children resisting the sale of the family home to unlock funds for a parent’s retirement, so that the children can inherit the wealth tax-free – otherwise known as the ”nailing granny to the floor” phenomenon – must also be addressed, possibly through an inheritance tax on housing.
It is true that many young people stand to inherit great wealth in the form of housing. But they’ll do so not because of their labours, or their ability to reinvest it productively, but pure dumb luck as to who their parents are.

It is one of those demographic questions that nobody is addressing. If all this wealth is locked up in housing and a good deal of it belongs to the old, then surely there will be more and more of this ‘nailing granny to the floor’ phenomenon that takes place.

The question is how the aging Baby Boomers will accept the changes to legislation that eases them out of their big empty nests. I imagine with a big ‘no fucking way’ at the ballot box; which means we can probably chalk up the future to more of this kind of ‘nailing granny to the floor’ thing. It’s the new way of sharing the wealth around across generations.

The post-Bubble is going to be drawn out and traumatic. The slow de-leverage model being carried out by the RBA may end up being just another way to die, only, it will be by a thousand cuts rather than one big stab to the heart.

Bad Press Is Better Than No Press

Kazakhstan has finally admitted the Borat sensation was good for their tourism.

Seems like they finally got the joke.

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Cinema In Retreat

Another One Bites The Dust

Caught this story in the SMH this morning.

THE closure of the Greater Union cinema in Mosman comes as further proof of troubles in the Australian film industry.

While local filmmakers find it difficult to get work, and film, as an investment proposition, has retreated from fashion, the closure has underscored the impact of falling audiences.

It is the seventh picture theatre to close in Sydney since 1999.

Greater Union’s owner, Amalgamated Holdings Limited, put up a sign outside the Mosman building last week announcing the closure.

”A business decision had to be made on the viability of the cinema,” the sign said, adding that the announcement was made with ”great regret”.

If exhibitors are doing it this tough, then we can infer distributors will be doing it tough too. It kind of puts paid to the old “get a pre-sale” method of raising investment from distributors. There’s no investment money coming back from the frontlines of cinema if people are staying away in droves. What’s worse is that not even Hollywood fare is keeping the doors of the cinemas open. Mosman cinema was your typical multi-screen suburban cinema that made its dough through screening American movies with guns fights, car chases, and simulated sex scenes. In other words, it wasn’t terribly a high-brow kind of cinema (which is not surprising given its location in the middle of consumerist philistine-ville, Mosman).

Without going into the issue of piracy; just as television took audiences out of the cinemas in the 1950s, big screen TVs for home entertainment, combined with DVD and blu-ray has killed the need to go out for the big screen experience. The unique selling proposition of cinema has taken a great hit, but it’s hard to see from where the next generation of kids who grow up loving the cinema are going to arise. It may be another generation before something brings them back.

It’s also not clear whether 3D is actually going to be the new USP for cinema – if anything it reminds us of the desperate attempt by the movie business in the 1950s to woo back audiences. What’s striking is that as Gen-X ages and stops going to the movies, the audience numbers have suddenly dried up. We’re talking about the original star wars kids plodding into middle age, as Hollywood keeps pitching product to younger and younger audiences to no avail.

If history is any precedent it means that the movie business as a whole is having to retreat back into a smaller, more nimble business. It’s hard to see how this will look in a few year’s time but the clock is ticking and time is running out. The massive blockbuster model of cinema may have to disappear if they cannot command the audiences as they did in years past. It’s happened before.

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Gen-X Losers

Not everybody wins in life. It kind of sucks when somebody who won rubs it in, but there you go. There but for the grace of god go all of us in all walks of life, and nobody knows what tomorrow brings. Perhaps this is why hope springs eternal in all of rather than us reaching for the sleeping pill overdose. I don’t know.

If that seems bleak to you that’s about the speed ‘Greenberg’ goes at. Spoilers aside, if you’re going to watch this film, be prepared for some seriously misanthropic moments.

What’s Good About It

It’s nice to see some serious angst on the American screen without it being played for laughs for once. Ben Stiller’s character Roger Greenberg is one angry sumbitch, and he doesn’t hold back on the bile and vitriol and the triple dose of existential crises. For once the dream factory makes no attempt to sugar coat the angst and resentment of a character who just slipped through. The truth is, this Roger Greenberg character needs to join fight club but alas instead he’s haranguing a young woman who has lost her way in life.

That’s the good bit. The best part is that we don’t really understand what motivates such despair. It’s just there to begin with and it just keeps getting worse through the film. It’s a kind of excruciating psycho-drama black comedy.

What’s Bad About It

The film is pretty meandering in its narrative as it plots out the general ambiance of ennui and frustration. The ‘events’ in the film are so mundane so as to be boring. The dedication to realism is at once painful in its prosaic-ness as well as oddly tilted towards moral reasoning.

The character of Roger Greenberg himself is also a problem. At some points you wish he’d just grow up, instead of continue with all the strange denunciations of all that he sees as unfit. In such moments you curl up with embarrassment as you watch a guy behave like a total dick, but I guess it’s a very brave performance for Stiller to be playing somebody so dislikeable.

You sit there thinking, “you made your bed, now lie in it, damn it”. It can be hard going – and it’s not like there’s any serious bloodshed or tragedy.

What’s Interesting About It

There is something universal about the crisis Greenberg is facing in the film. The tragedy is in one sense the absence of a great cause or a great war to fight for (or in the case of the Baby Boomers, against), and there are enough characters like Greenberg around. Heck, maybe somebody might be describing me as angry as Roger Greenberg. The point the film struggles to is that one person’s moment of change and revelation was another person just offering their two cents worth of opinion.

What emerges from that interaction is a feeling that maybe existentialism might not be what it’s cracked up to be. For instance, Greenberg’s refusal to love the character Florence is his attempt at trying to lead an existentially authentic life except he does it at the expense of his emotional life. His feelings want to love her, and indeed he does. He just has a hard time getting around a bunch of existentialist ideas and that forms the crux of the drama.

Can Existentialism Work in California?

Pete Townshend had a song on ‘All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes’ called ‘Exquisitely Bored’ which covers the emotional terrain of being emotionally emptied out in LA. I didn’t get the song until I got there and had meetings and drove around and ate the food and wondered about the people who lived there.

It’s hard believing Greenberg grew up in California for a start, what with his neurotic need to be precise. The ill-fitting mood of the film for the characters come from an existential problem about the place itself. The sunny city with a thickset smoggy haze adds a certain opaque quality to the film itself. It increases the feeling that the characters really are blind in the haze, searching for their goals.

The question then is whether California with its sunshine and surf and all of its vibe really dovetail with the urgency of say, Sartre or Heidegger? Watching the film, I started to wonder if geography may influence the structure of thought itself. How do you remain a hard edged existentialist in LA, day after day confronted by the sun and surf and the myth?

Don’t Surrender Yet, Old Boy

The most annoying thing about the Roger Greenberg character might be that he has such bad instincts about himself. He lives mostly in his head and yet has settled upon carpentry as his craft for life. He writes letters of complaint everywhere and never stops to wonder about why things might be just the way they are. All through the miserable courtship of Florence you get the feeling that somewhere inside that guy is some kind of self-knowledge and wisdom that he can share with the poor girl.

But then maybe turning 40 isn’t what it used to be. If your adolescence kind of floods into your 30s, then what chance has that man-boy really got of pulling it together into adulthood by the time they turn 40?

It reminds me of the quote in ‘The Kids Are Alright’ where Pete Townshend concedes that he is no longer a desperate young man. He says that instead, he is a desperate old fart. “Not a boring one, mind you,” he says.

All the talk of embracing the life that has become is strange. Sometimes a person is only as good as the shots they’ve been given. If the Greenberg character really hasn’t been given a shot, no wonder he’s a wreck, and no wonder he’s still restless. Age probably isn’t the issue.

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Today’s Guff – 03/Aug/2010

Warring Demographics

Us Gen-X types, we’re really cynical because we got to see what the Babyboomers got an then had it deprived from us. For a moment, we won’t buy into what the government is going to propagandise. ‘Moving Forward’? What’s behind you smoldering in a heap, lady? “Dead, Buried Cremated, Tony?”  What, you got some of that green reagent from ‘Re-Animator‘ then?

So you gotta laugh when Gen-X grumbling at least makes the SMH in mostly unadulterated form.

Don’t think we haven’t noticed that neither Gillard nor Abbott has promised anything to make housing actually affordable. The average house in Sydney already costs a staggering 10 times average yearly earnings. It is one of the most important issues of my generation, apart from the imminent torching of the earth due to global warming, something else both of you have done everything to avoid addressing (that citizens’ assembly sounds like a great idea, he said with a gen-X style eyeroll).

Lose the stamp duty on housing already, open up more land for housing and get rid of all the negative gearing lurks and perks that make gen X the economic slaves of the boomers. Houses are for living in, not investment devices. Otherwise Australia will have only two industries, building giant crowded apartment blocks, and building trendy cafes to service the people living in those apartment blocks.

You might have noticed that there’s no mention of Bob Brown or the Nationals in this call for gen X bribes. That’s because Brown is too scrupulous to offer bribes (which is why you will fail, young Skywalker) — and the Nationals would probably try to bribe us with cows.

To sum up, gen X is too cynical to believe that you’re going to do anything about the environment, housing, population, mining tax reform, income tax reform, education and whole other bunch of stuff too numerous to mention. Just bribe us with the damn iPhones and we’ll call it even for now.

I mean, that sums it up nicely for me. If neither Julia nor Tony are going to do the right thing, then fuck it, just bribe us with the best you’ve got and we’ll pretend the politics doesn’t matter.

My Fault?

Pleiades sent in this link to an article by Bernard Keane who castigates us all for our non-participation in actual politics.

The result is too much cynicism and not enough scepticism. The media not merely covers policy poorly, it covers it selectively. A remarkable feature of the last three years has been the ruthless assault on every claim advanced by the Government in relation to key policy issues such as emissions trading or the mining tax, while the claims of vested interests have been waved through and reported as fact with virtually no scrutiny.

Much of this, true, is the product of News Ltd’s war on Labor. But it isn’t confined to the pages of The Australian, by any stretch. The Financial Review was one of the worst offenders in relation to the RSPT, and the ABC is now the sort of broadcaster where it is typical, rather than a matter worthy of remark, that an irrational and discredited a figure like Chris Monckton is given extensive and high-profile airtime.

In this swirl of self-interest, credulity and inconsistency, the role of the business has unfortunately avoided scrutiny. Despite its frequent calls for economic reform, Australia’s corporate sector is one of the biggest impediments to it. It was amusing to read last Thursday in the Fin the demands of the “Business Coalition for Tax Reform” for “real reform” to be considered in the election. At the centre of those reform demands was a significant reduction in the corporate tax rate, to 25%.

Again, we’ll put aside that the Government tried to pursue a proposal to cut company tax to 28%, and received exactly zero support from corporate Australia while foreign multinationals successfully intimidated Labor into abandoning it.

Now that sums up nicely what went wrong with the superprofits tax. The reason Labor lost its lead is most likely because it lost its spine somewhere in the cauldron of polls and policy announcements. Is it bad governing? Or is it a case of bad publicists? The truth is the caliber of politicians seems to diminish with every change of leadership because they keep picking people who seem to simplify complex arguments into dumb little soundbites and then wonder why the polity doesn’t appreciate their deep thinking behind something like the superprofits tax.

If you can get into the second article, you’ll find that Bernard Keane thinks it is a problem that we don’t participate enough to make a difference, and this in turn allowed the emergence of a professional politician who has a vested interest in making things seem either too complicated or too simple. It might all be true. You get the feeling that somehow while the best minds of the generation went looking for a career with Macquarie Bank, the second best minds got jobs running news media and the third best minds ran for office – and we let them. The joke clearly is on us.

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Hawke-Keating Remembered

A Lively Week Of Political Nostalgia

If there’s one thing that’s wrong about nostalgia is that we’re always misremembering things, and passing on to succeeding generations something in a process that can only be described as Chinese whispers. History is a funny thing because if you read enough of it, you come to understand that politics *is* expedience in 99% of the decisions made, and rarely do people do the best and most correct thing by their people. Not until the last 30years at least, and any discussion of history within a generation must inevitably turn into a discussion about politics.

Which is all a way to say, one imagines it sucks when somebody rewrites your life when you’re still around.

The week kicked off with yet another book about Bob Hawke penned by Blanche D’Alpuget hitting the stands. This drew the immediate ire of Paul Keating.

Keating’s response this week to the tone of the Hawke story is awful to behold. It is particularly so to the assertion in the book that Keating’s lack of formal education led him to fidget from hobby to hobby.

“This book is even stooping so low to say that, because I had no university education, I was incapable of absorbing complex documents and that I did not even read them,” Keating frothed in a three-page letter hand-delivered to Hawke and subsequently released to a newspaper. “The preposterousness of it is faint-making.”

“Yours and Blanche’s rewriting of history is not only unreasonable and unfair; more than that, it is grasping. It is as if, Narcissus-like, you cannot find enough praise to heap upon yourself.”

It’s a bit sad, considering how heroic the Hawke-Keating years in Government were. It was enough for me to wish out loud that Paul Keating would simply shut the hell up and ride off into the grace of history.

The media commentary in the aftermath has been remarkable in that it tries to position the old feud in the context of history just so, as if hoping to consign the bitterness of the rivalry to history. They were a dynamic duo together.

This bit then has some relevance to today:

In one talk Hawke and Keating had about the leadership, Keating said he held back when Hawke was vulnerable between 1988 and 1990 to give him a shot at a fourth election victory.

”I mean, you think I’m a hard, tough bastard and all the rest, but underneath it all I’ve basically got a sympathetic view of the role of the leadership and the bloody hard lot of Labor leaders. I’ve always had that view,” Keating said.

This might just explain the reference in the Keating letter to the demise of another Labor leader. ”Kevin Rudd had two months of bad polls and you were the first to say he should be replaced. And you have since repeated it,” Keating wrote.

Was this an accusation that Hawke was a hypocrite? Or an indication that Keating was not at ease with Rudd’s execution – and the role that opinion polls played in it? Or both?

I’m surprised at how far the ALP has drifted from their 1980s predecessors. It’s good to see then that the journalists who cover politics see this more clearly.

The two leaders (Abbott & Gillard – ed.) have been conditioned by their parties to work within the new timidity that is so limiting Australian politics.

Indeed, it is a condition of their employment. Each seized their party’s leadership opportunistically by exploiting a reform panic.

Abbott seized the Liberal leadership by one vote in December by promising to withdraw the party’s support for an emissions trading scheme.

And Gillard cut down Kevin Rudd because of Labor fears that the government’s proposed mining tax was putting it in political jeopardy. She has since compromised on the tax and retreated even further than Rudd on any emissions trading scheme.

The former prime minister Paul Keating liked to fire the ambition of his colleagues by asking them: “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you in this business? You might lose your job. So why be a mouse?”

Yet for the colonies of mice overrunning the government and opposition benches, this is no reassurance. It is their greatest fear.

No wonder I’m seeing posters on the wall that say ‘Bring Back Bob’ with the face of Bob Hawke. The debate as it exists today might still be a debate between the ‘Left’ and the Right’ but it seems the centre in between those two points has inexorably drifted far to the right of where it used to sit in the Hawke-Keating years.

I guess as a Gen-X dude, I am a product of my times after all. I find it hard to reconcile my views with the Generation Y outlook forged under the Howard years. The middle ground looks too far to the right for my liking. They’re more fascists than Malcolm Fraser, who in last view didn’t look anywhere near a fascist as once claimed. I often wonder how the Babyboomer ALP types are looking at all of this.

I’m still sticking to my guns, I’m not going to vote for Julia Gillard, and I’m most certainly not going to vote for Tony Abbott.

UPDATE: Just watched the ‘Hawke’ tele-movie. It was more nostalgia than I had imagined and the production design was immaculate. All those funny conflicts are now lore, and it was almost reinvigorating to watch the dramatised moments that once made headlines. When telescoped into 2 hours, it’s actually amazing how much Australia changed in those years. Mind you, I can’t imagine Mr. Keating would be too impressed by the way he’s presented as the dark villain. Maybe it is a blessing for the ALP that the tele-movie hit the screens just as the election campaign has kicked off because it shows the ALP in the best light; or maybe it’s a terrible thing because it reminds people how mighty the Hawke-Keating government was and this highlights just awful the current crop of ALP pollies are.

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