Based on an article by Michael Pascoe
2018 have we lost what Australian-ness is all about?
We’ve lost some of our friendly fearlessness. We’ve allowed ourselves to be preyed on by scaremongers, by people who seek to personally gain by dividing us. Worse, we’ve lowered our standards, our ‘Australian values’ about what is acceptable in the face of unprincipled populists and shameless media.
After trying to steadily evolve away from previous centuries’ prejudices and acknowledge the reality of our blood-soaked and brutal inheritance, we’ve let ourselves be enslaved by fake news that's brought fear into our lives.
Major media figures trumpet racism. A significant minority party’s single core policy is sectarianism. Federal government ministers and a recent prime minister promote race-based immigration and are not only tolerated but applauded by cheer squads.
Appalling people, people who are the antipathy of ‘Australian values’, are afforded megaphones to promote outrage.
Which brings us back to the 25 millionth Australian. Many in this more divided and scared Australia aren’t as optimistic about becoming bigger and better as we have been for a couple of hundred years, about being willing to share our common wealth.
The arrival of the 23 millionth Australian was largely unnoticed. The 24 millionth attracted more official attention with the ABS making a bigger show of the event. The 25 millionth though has been heralded with fear and concern over weeks and months leading up to the milestone.
Beyond the prejudiced and small-minded, the ‘Smaller Australia’ push over the past couple of years has largely come from the policy shortcomings of politicians responsible for our two biggest cities.
Those two cities are large by our standards, but they still represent a minority of the country’s population. As anyone who travels this land knows, Sydney and Melbourne have congestion challenges, but Australia is not crowded.
This more timid and divided Australia is disinclined to deal with the challenges, preferring to shrink from them. They want two cities’ difficulties to restrict the whole nation’s potential.