Jobs summit underlined Australia’s labour and economic woes – and a massive challenge for Albanese and his ‘reforming’ government

0
0
Our target is to take our local communities to the worldwide audience. Submit your story and we will help you to build your audience. Thank you Roots News Team

The cultural cringe used to form a central part of discussions about where the nation would head next.

In those now much vaunted days of the 1980s, for example, the need to change our economy was argued very much in terms of our equally vaunted national competitive spirit.

Comparisons were often made with other developed Western countries’ economic performance and why we needed to do better.

In the days of the Fraser government, we were told we were failing by not following the monetarist orthodoxies being so lovingly and gently applied in the UK and the US.

In the Hawke and Keating era, we were told we were becoming much more competitive, but doing it in our own clever and unique way.

And we did. Australia’s economic performance over subsequent decades — supercharged by resources booms — took off and we did rather well, if we said so ourselves (which a succession of governments was rather prone to doing).

Business, union and community leaders sit in rows of tables and chairs that fill Parliament House's Great Hall.
There was still a bit of reference to international comparisons hanging around in the background of this week’s Jobs and Skills Summit.(ABC News: Luke Stephenson)

That whole comparison thing has become a bit more of a fraught exercise these days: the economies with which we were so often compared are all looking a bit, well, ordinary. And their political systems are creaking on the verge of collapse.

Exhortations to do as well as the United States, or even Japan, don’t exactly inspire confidence. And we also seem to have become champions at finding reasons for exceptionalism in areas like climate change policy.

The collapse of our political discourse

There was still a bit of reference to international comparisons hanging around in the background of this week’s Jobs and Skills Summit.

But, sadly, it was more often than not on points of comparison like our slide down the charts of gender equity.

A lack of a clear overseas model — or at least comparison point — for what we want to achieve may be one of the many (less conspicuous) reasons why our political discourse has sort of collapsed in on itself in the last decade.

There are more obvious reasons: like some reasonable, ordinary political leadership. But we do seem to have got ourselves into a position where many of our policy discussions — and the media has a considerable culpability in this — have become almost idiotically binary.



Source by [author_name]

Our target is to take our local communities to the worldwide audience. Submit your story and we will help you to build your audience. Thank you Roots News Team

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

4 + 5 =