The Vision Thang

In a piece published in New Matilda today, I look at the current election through the lens of Imagining Australia, and argue that there is a hole in the heart of campaign ’04. Debates over Medicare reform, tax breaks for the middle class, payments for mature aged workers and reallocation of private school funding are important, but all are hip pocket nerve issues. Instead, I make the case that our leaders ought to also be talking about the big picture: national identity, reconciliation, inequality, and international citizenship. These four issues have one thing in common – they require a leader who will ask the Australian people to focus on a goal larger than self-interest. This requires no more and no less than the rebirth of the great Australian project: born of altruism and reared on optimism. Can we do it?

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4 Responses to The Vision Thang

  1. JW says:

    Surprised global warming isn’t on your top-four list. Australia and NZ are among the highest per-capita emitters of CO2 after the USA, and last I checked, a lot of Aussies live at sea level …

    Peace, JW

  2. Andrew Leigh says:

    Agreed. In the piece I discuss global warming within international citizenship.

  3. Carl Sparre says:

    AL. What you said was ” …And we ought to also use our middle-power status to replace the Kyoto Treaty on global warming with a better alternative; one that might win agreement across the developed world.” Not quite the same thing as support for the fight against global warming. It’s been 7 years since Kyoto was formulated. If we spend another 7 years watering it down so that the USA and Australia will sign, isn’t that double-plus-ungood?
    I don’t know much about economics, but I know quite a bit about energy (B.Eng Mech). We waste it. Why? Because coal is cheap.
    Energy efficiency is bit like computer speed. Once we make it a priority, we can double, then double again, and again…

  4. Andrew Leigh says:

    Carl, we agree strongly that global warming is a problem. But Kyoto’s “targets and timetables” approach just isn’t the best way to tackle it. The McKibbin-Wilcoxen tradeable permits approach is a far better way to get bang for the buck. This isn’t just about getting people to sign on — it’s also about having the right treaty in place for the next 50 years or so.

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