LETTERS FORUM, The Age 27 March 2018
Unfair to children
What can we say to our grandchildren, now on the cusp of adult citizenship, about Australia as the land of fairness, decency and moral integrity?
Yesterday's headlines in The Age of "Smith's shame", "Banks compelled to sign code of conduct", "ACCC vows to toughen up on rip-offs, rorts", "Concessions for wealthy reach $68bn, analysis finds", "Doctors name, shame insurers", "Deal-making on corporate tax measure", "Poor obesity report for food firms", "Sympathy's owing to the truly poor ? not the self-funded retirees" all point to the moral failure built into the consumerist, competition-based society in which we now live.
We exhort our grandchildren to see through "fake news", to stand up for equal rights and equal opportunity, to embody in their actions honesty, justice, respect for others, a fair go for all, yet here we have the ultimate symbolic failure of all: "It's just not cricket!" Smith's shame is the nation's shame, shining a laser light into the myths that surround us ? the land of the fair go (with private schools funded better than our public schools), equality for all (where tax breaks help the wealthy, yet unemployment claims are delayed and benefits slashed), of a mateship distorted into cheating and lying to protect your mates, of Australia as the world's most successful multicultural nation (with legitimate refugees confined to remote island prisons), and banks, food giants, media corporations dodging not just tax but exploiting those most vulnerable in our community.
Small wonder young people are cynical about politics. It may always have been thus, but we need more moral outrage like that of the young Americans leading the way on gun reform. If you can't trust the adults, speak up yourselves. It's your future at stake, not just ours.
Don Edgar, Fitzroy