‘How lucky am I?’ It was Bill Leak’s catchcry, loudly and proudly proclaimed to anyone who happened to pop into his studio, day or night. The sources of his positive and cheery outlook were never far from his side – his wife Goong; her delicious cuisine; their beautiful view from the deck; an adoring dog Gus; wonderful children; and of course his great personal pride in his cartooning work. Yet the irony of his words was inescapable – how ‘lucky’ could a man with an Islamist death threat hanging over his head ever be? How ‘lucky’ was it to be labelled a racist for the rest of your life thanks to the grotesque 18C and the vindictive Australian Human Rights Commission?
‘How lucky are we?’ is, of course, the equally ironic question that we, the so-called Lucky Country, should also ask ourselves. Much like the late Mr Leak, we share an abundance of blessings, too numerous to count. The beauty of our landscape, the sublime quality of our recreational lives, the freedom to laugh, live and love, the abundance of natural gifts, the wealth of our land, the richness of our history, the generosity of our spirit. How lucky indeed!
Yet, as was the case with Mr Leak, Australians, no matter how cheery, positive, or optimistic, can no longer escape the reality of two diabolical forces threatening to destroy so much of what we hold dear. Two forces that are hounding us at every turn.
Debt. And political correctness.
Both forces, unsurprisingly, are coming at us from the hard left. For decades now, Australians of goodwill have sat idly by whilst the poisonous, quasi-socialist agenda of suffocating bureaucratic and government control has seeped under the doorway of our lives like an invisible gas in the dead of night. The famed, promised Marxist ‘march through the institutions’ can daily be seen as not a plot but a grim reality.
Debt is our biggest and deadliest threat. Much like Mr Leak’s deadly fatwa, the levels of debt we are now reaching will hang over us for many years to come, restricting our economic freedoms and crippling so many aspects of the happy-go-lucky way of life we all took for granted. Our debt – which was non-existent only a decade ago when John Howard and Peter Costello ran the economy – lurches irrevocably towards half a trillion dollars.
Needless to say, it is the poor and the young who will ultimately suffer the most from our political class’s pathetic inability to rein in our socialist spending sprees. As living standards decline, as our competitiveness is eroded, and as governments borrow more and more simply to fund our billowing interest payments, it is inevitable that future generations’ quality of life and economic opportunities will be a pale shadow of yesteryear’s.
Worse, as bloated government bureaucracies grow ever more intrusive, and more and more of our citizens leech off the public purse, we are at a ‘tipping point’ where half the nation is supported by the sweat of the other half. Hardly a recipe for sustainable economic growth.
Meanwhile, political correctness gnaws away at our souls, culturally and economically. Same-sex marriage, rather than being an opportunity for the nation to partake in a loving movement of mutual respect, has degenerated into a nasty and spiteful neo-totalitarianism. This has been achieved thanks to the naked hypocrisy and opportunism of the Left, led by Labor and the Greens, who, when given the opportunity of a plebiscite, instead chose to demonise and intimidate all who dared question anything other than the most extreme gender ideology. Thanks to the sinister programmes imposed upon many public schools from the creepy corridors of Victoria’s gender-fixated universities, where children are being treated as unisex lab rats in a grand social experiment, many mainstream families have simply given up on the whole LGBTIQ push.
Similarly, the absurd and fanatical claims about climate change, such as when a Greens leader fatuously sought to link Cyclone Debbie to coal mining, are having the exact opposite to the desired effect upon sensible Australians; increasing their scepticism about the extremist climate agenda. Thanks to rampant climate change ideology, which has seen electricity prices soar whilst blackouts proliferate, the poor and the young are again caught in a pincer trap. Higher electricity bills mean everything goes up in price, as one of our supermarket chains has just confirmed, and at the same time jobs become scarcer as investment heads overseas. The irony is heightened further by the realisation that no amount of reduction in Australian emissions will ever reduce global temperatures by any discernible amount.
The whole issue of race, free speech and Islam has also been hijacked by the Left, where free speech is now derided as hate speech, and where Islamic activists rely on our democratic freedoms to subvert those very same democratic freedoms.
How lucky are we? Australians have always been lucky. But our good fortune was built on hard work, thrift, cheap energy, larrikinism and freedom of the individual to soar. Best not take our luck entirely for granted.