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Generational politics of the future

By Syd Hickman - posted Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Growing youth unemployment and Joe Hockey's sensible comments on the need for serious action to protect the Australian lifestyle help bring to the fore a key political issue.

Generational pressure is building and could become the driver of future political action. Realist young citizens see specific problems and possible solutions, while most political leaders avoid big issues or babble about theoretical solutions based on market fundamentalism.

Meanwhile, young people are being exploited in every conceivable way by older people. They have to pay full price for many things while subsidising 'seniors', including very wealthy people. They are saddled with big debts for their education while their elders have none. They get crappy underpaid jobs, if they are lucky, while people at the top get ridiculously high salaries for very little achievement.


Many are encouraged to waste years at university to get qualifications that will not result in a job or enlightenment, all for the benefit of the education establishment. For even simple tasks expensive courses must be undertaken as credentialism runs wild.

Buying a decent house is out of the question for many because governments enact policies aimed at pushing home prices ever higher to keep existing owners happy. Negative gearing advantages investors, forcing more young people to keep renting.

Shareholders are advantaged over employees in access to corporate revenues, and so again the young lose out.

Kids with well-off parents are led to hope they will inherit so it will all be OK. But their parents live into the nineties and spend most of it before finally departing.

All young people subsidize the pensions, health care and the untaxed ownership of the family home and other high-value assets of old people. But by the time they are eligible to take up such benefits themselves, the subsidies will have been abolished as unaffordable.

Both major political parties hold the moral line of the few powerful old religious types who dominate their power structures. The values of young people don't count because they do not decide pre-selections for winnable seats.


And that is the simple stuff. Governments refuse to take action on issues ranging from resource depletion, the environment, rapid population growth and low infrastructure spending. Paying now to prepare for a better future will only benefit the young and is too hard for simple minds to sell. It's so much easier to give vote-buying handouts to people for their support now.

Unless real action happens soon the cost of adapting to the new realities will be much higher, and guess who will be left with the bills?

When people under thirty finally wake up that their present and future are being sacrificed for the benefit of people who have had a relatively easy ride all their lives perhaps they will take action. But why have they done nothing so far?

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About the Author

Syd Hickman has worked as a school teacher, soldier, Commonwealth and State public servant, on the staff of a Premier, as chief of Staff to a Federal Minister and leader of the Opposition, and has survived for more than a decade in the small business world.

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All articles by Syd Hickman

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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