TIME WAS when the word ‘Treasurer’ evoked the image of a serious, sombre man (sic) with either professional qualifications in economics (Cairns, Hewson) or a lifelong autodidact’s commitment to studying the subject (Keating, Swan). They talked the talk & for some reason, whether you agreed with the changes they announced each year or fumed & swore at the telly, you had the notion they knew what they were talking about & were acting prudently.
For the past five years ‘Treasurer’ has come to mean ‘salesman’. This small change tells us all we need to know about where we’re headed. Hockey & Morrison are nothing more than corporate bully boys with no real understanding of economic theory & no real function other than to present the package in a form understandable to Sunrise viewers. Their true spiritual home would be flogging plastic tat on The Shopping Channel. These plump poltroons have no real idea what their task & its terminology mean, and they don’t need to, any more than Joe the Gadget Man needed to understand the molecular structure of the products he flogged. The sales pitch is what matters.
Two significant developments have allowed this to happen while most of us were looking the other way. The first is the fact that governments no longer have control over their economies, but merely manage things on behalf of multinationals & ratings agency. The second is that, with Rupert owning most of the newspapers & now in effect running the ABC, public debate has been not so much stifled as allowed to wither away.
It won’t be long until our benefits & pensions are being administered by private corporations, our farms have been turned into gas wells to keep overseas industry booming, our kids are working (if they’re working at all) at Macca’s, everything we own has been manufactured in offshore sweatshops, our superannuation’s disappeared, and anyone who raises a hand in protest will serve his or her time in a privately-owned prison.