Monday, March 27, 2006

Vanstone drops the anti-materialism crusade

Question: Who said the following...

Our problem is perhaps our limitless material aspirations. Everyone wants more as individuals. This has placed in turn, greater demands on society’s resources. This materialism is a key generator of many of society’s current problems.

... and ...

The only people that can change that is ourselves, looking at ourselves and saying “do we really want to have a new car every five or ten years, do we need that, is that more important to us than other things in life”.

Answer: Amanda Vanstone.

In these quotes, Vanstone was speaking as Minister for Family & Community Services on the problems of homelessness and declining fertility rates. Her negative reflections on the materialism of Australians were, of course, made in the context of defending her Government’s parsimonious approach to these problems.

To my knowledge, Vanstone among her colleagues in Government has been alone in this anti-materialism crusade. You’d have to say it’s an odd position for a Government member to take, since if it weren’t for the materialism of Australians, then Treasurer Costello wouldn’t have all those “beautiful sets of numbers” he likes to read out at those quarterly press conferences.

Then again, I don’t think she’s been heard to hold forth on the topic since she went over to the Immigration portfolio in October 2003. Perhaps she’s been persuaded to get with the program.

Note that Vanstone seems to take exception to people buying a new car “every five to ten years”. One wonders how she’d feel towards those who buy a new car every year or so. The Vanstone Doctrine apparently would have us all riding around in 5-10 year old cars.

Or maybe it would be a matter of “personal choice” as to who gets the 5-10 year old cars – specifically, those who “choose” to be in the constituency for whom the Government’s non-core promises are intended.


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