What is the point of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese?

If you’re an Australian adult forty years and younger you have already lived through a pandemic, multiple financial crises, fuck knows how many recessions, countless “once in a lifetime” fires and floods, war on mainland Europe and eternally in the Middle-East, a toppling of the global superpower order, ecological collapse, growing wealth inequality, a worsening of the mosquito situation (feels like it anyway), booming house prices, booming rents, booming everything else you need to buy but can’t afford, and 12 million articles about how this is the fault of Australians under the age of 40. 

This is our inheritance. Can we please just be left alone to pay an older person rent in peace?

The Western world’s vibe, having convinced itself for five fucking decades we should let the free market* decide our fate, kinda sucks. Not just on Twitter but in valuable places as well. The lingering suspicion of worse to come is never far off, constantly validated by a cascading series of disasters and fuckery. Perhaps it’ll never go away now? The vibe fucking sucks and it’s largely because money, and its innate tendency to slither T1000-like towards the largest puddle of itself, became humanity’s divine arbiter. And now a dwindling portion of humans have it in any meaningful quantity. 


And now consider the least fortunate amongst this cohort of bummed out Millennial-GenZ Australians. All of the above is still true – let’s be real: existential angst can do a number on your mental health – but on top of that, everything beyond merely surviving is unaffordable, off-limits, intangible, not real. Money doesn’t buy happiness but it can keep the misery at bay. 

I ordered a delicious but bog-standard pizza last night and it cost me thirty fucking dollars. JobSeekers are expected to live on forty fucking dollars a day. I do not keep meticulous financial records but I am fucking certain my shelter and nourishment, bills and bullshit, for the rest of the day cost more than the ten fucking dollars difference. 

Imagine what that does to someone: not being able to afford escape, nutrition, joy, leisure, or a safe cave to hide away the night in from the monsters in the dark. Who wakes up in that world inspired and driven, alive and capable of finding a job with dignity? Fucking no one.  

Now imagine choosing to entrench that into a person’s soul by prioritising second football stadiums and submarines and tax cuts for the richest Australians. What does that say about your values? And is it more understandable, or worse, when you have firsthand experience of the sort of pain this life causes and yet you still choose to inflict it?

Across this landscape, young Australians hear myths from a fuzzy past, elders speaking in oddly reverential tones about a political party that looks out for people like this. “Things will be better once Labor’s in charge,” seems to be the sentiment, even after Labor is in charge.

I have little first-hand experience of the truth of this view, and look at ageing parents with increasing concern as they repeat this mantra. There are vague recollections of Kevin Rudd handing out $800 to stimulate the beer and comic book sectors of the economy during a financial crisis; empathy, economic commonsense, and a fucking sick weekend winning that particular day. But that is an aberration. It’s now decades of conviction in opposition, cowardice in government for the Australian Labor Party. 

And the most galling part of it all?! We were manipulated into thinking things would be different. These myths were cynically re-perpetuated and re-stoked relentlessly during the last federal election campaign: Albo From The Block when he wanted our vote, struggling single mothers in social houses conjured into democracy’s hivemind as pens marked ballot papers but not in Parliament while they draft policy or budgets.

Sounds great, I hope you become Prime Minister one day!!!!! 

Because the current guy has a different approach.

“Working with business to drive productivity” Albo can, frankly, buy fewer avocado toasts and fucking submarines if he can’t afford to lift Australians on JobSeeker out of poverty. 

I’m sure the budget situation does truly suck. Neoliberal shysters have been gutting the place, selling assets, stopping mining taxes, and generally rorting their way through the public trough for decades. The pandemic required unprecedented piles of social support, too, which was, to the previous government’s credit, fairly forthcoming. The fundamental truth, though, is that no matter the state of the balance sheet, budgets are always about priorities. And 2023 Labor’s are cruel and stupid; drowning in money for underwater boats and second football stadiums; skint when it comes to keeping people alive.  

They are in government. They have no effective opposition now Peter Dutton has removed himself from any serious discussion. The Murdoch press is a cowed beast lacking money, influence and credibility. The Albanese Government is free to set its own budgetary agenda, so we have to believe this is what it truly wants. ALP apologists have even begun running the “best form of welfare is a job” line. 

Will both parties start wheeling John Howard out for by-elections now?

Just like Morrison before him, Albanese will, before too long, find large numbers of disillusioned voters pissed off about the hypocrisy. How is pretending to care about welfare recipients in social housing, because you were one, any better than Scott Morrison pretending he likes The Sharkies and Bunnings? The path to eternal minority government is being trod.  

What is the point of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese if this is the result? Because the other guy, the creepy religious fundamentalist with six or seven secret ministries and a penchant for fucking off whenever he was needed, wanted to do all this stuff as well?? He wanted new coal mines, new submarines, new gas wells, and to grind the poor into the fucking dirt until the rest of us can’t bear to think about them anymore. 

Whenever a conservative government gets into power it rips through its agenda unapologetically, actions Labor governments rarely if ever undo. Given the evidence, the wisdom of the elders needs discarding. I have no choice but to believe this is what Albanese really wants. People change: it matters who you are today, not who you were in the distant past, and if Albanese does not meaningfully raise the JobSeeker rate, he’s selling out the child he once was. 


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