‘Aspiration’ narrative is a tried and true smokescreen

Why is the government's new buzzword so popular? Crikey readers offer theories.

Crikey — Popular online news service.

Crikey

Popular online news service.

Malcolm Turnbull

Crikey readers shared Benjamin Clark’s frustrations over the Coalition’s obsession with “aspiration” yesterday. Some wrote in with examples of its similar deployment in the past, while others analysed just why it’s so successful. Elsewhere, Queensland Police are investigating alleged attacks in Brisbane mosques, but should we be surprised?

On the perils of “aspiration”

Judy Hardy-Holden writes: I think that aged care worker in Burnie should embrace her aspiration to be the CEO of an Aged Care Facility and live luxuriously on the work of others. I too have aspirations. As a dewy 78-year-old, I have aspirations to be a Miss World winner for Australia. How glamorous would that be? Entirely attainable too.

Mary Wood writes: A thought-provoking article. The continual harping about aspiration by our parliamentary representatives exposes their shallowness. Why should the aged-care worker, child-care worker, mechanic, shop-fitter, etc. be made to feel worthless especially if they enjoy their work, do it well, and get satisfaction of a job well done?

This opens the question of how various workers are paid too. Should merchant bankers, financial traders, and the many others who receive the most remuneration be paid as much as they do? What exactly do they contribute to the wellbeing of society? Should we not just aspire to be decent people and to enjoy making a contribution to general wellbeing to the best of our abilities?

Richard Barratt writes: The conceit of aspirations being attainable by supporting policies that make them unattainable is as old as capitalism’s hijacking of democracy (old). And yet, despite aspirations being ever more unattainable, the conceit still works.

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As others have pointed out, the use of the term aspirational is well-worn by the Howard government. The Turnbull government is turning to the tried and true smokescreen, in the face of electoral dismissal of its policies.

Meredith Williams writes: The rhetoric of “aspiration” is just another condescending round of diversional poppycock from our poor excuse for a federal government. Indeed, this week Tony Abbott reminded us that our Paris Agreement climate targets were only ever “aspirational”. Says it all, really.

Vasco writes: Nicely put, Benjamin. Autoimmune disease buggered me up in my middle age until I realised what aspiring to be successful instead of seeking other ways of being was doing to me. Your respectful request to the PM and all who sail on him is to a massive collection of tin ears but there’s no harm in having a go. Take care of yourself.

 

On credit card “debt traps”

Xenon writes: We’ve used our joint credit card account in this household just as described above for many years. We run the household expenses and other related purchases through it, thus collecting frequent flyer points; but also depositing a regular budgeted amount onto it and paying off additional purchases at the end of the each month.

Thus we never get charged interest, though we do get slugged by the card’s annual fees. Once we got rid of our cheque accounts (as we did over 20 years ago) this seemed a logical way to run our everyday finances.

Helen Esmond writes: No interest? Unless you are one of the unfortunate city-dwelling renters and/or part of the casualised gig economy, bled dry for 30 years because you couldn’t see any other way to remain personally independent financially open to you. Obviously the writers are rich enough to pay off their cards every month and smug about it.

 

On the attacks on Brisbane mosques 

Food Munir writes: I’m not surprised that worshippers at a Brisbane mosque were abused. Unfortunately, I only see such incidents increasing in the future because the mainstream media disproportionately highlights terrorist attacks committed by the so-called Muslims but often completely ignores the attacks by terrorists from others/people of no faiths. Until this discrepancy is removed, Muslim youth and women would remain the victims of such vile abuse.

 

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