BLOG: MTV Movement’s Olly Tripodi shares thoughts on the budget, hypocrisy and youth
Guess who wrote this, and hint; it’s neither of your parents:
'The children now love luxury; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are tyrants, not servants of the households. They no longer rise when their elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize over their teachers.'
It was Socrates, the famous Greek philosopher who died more that 2,500 years ago. You could be mistaken for thinking this was an older Australian who thinks that in the (relatively) brief period between their youth and the present day, young people have been responsible for bringing society as we know it to its knees. Damn layabouts!
It’s a type of hypocrisy we see reflected again and again – older people forgetting what it’s like to be young. I’m 21, so I don’t know what future Olly will be caring about, but I bloody hope he’s not too different from what current Olly thinks. I quite like current Olly.
And whether it’s biological, or circumstantial or generational; pencilling down your thoughts and feelings as a young person to naivety – is nothing short of the ultimate hypocrisy.
This has never been clearer in my mind, than when last night I saw leaked images of a 22-year-old Joe Hockey, a year older than me right now, passionately defending universal access to education as press scrum at Griffith University. I think it was filmed in 1987 – five years before I was born.
For those who don’t know, Joe Hockey, Treasurer of Australia, recently announced that as part of the 2014/2015 federal budget he would be de-regulating university fees. The nuts and bolts of the economics aside, this policy essentially allows universities to set their own tuition fees meaning that if they’re particularly expensive, it’ll discourage young people from enrolling at uni. And they’re likely to get more expensive.
I’m just one of many people who believe that this move will mark the end of equal opportunity to education in Australia, as some courses get so pricey that enrolling will become an impossibility.
With a few notable exceptions, one of this things I bloody love about Australia is the equality that allows for any child, in any suburb, to work as hard as they can, and end up at their final destination as a result of their merit. By de-regulating university fees, our final destination will be determined by our wallet.
It’s a pretty frightening prospect, but there is a lot of good work being done by students right now to protest the de-regulation. The National Union of Students have been key to organizing some really big rallies that I have attended, as well as ‘snap action’ protests at my local campus.
I think in many ways, we don’t really have a realistic grasp on how lucky we are to be in Australia, where up until a week ago, both the major political parties believed in universal education, universal healthcare and in supporting our vulnerable peoples. The end of those principles won’t happen over night – they’ll slowly erode until we forget what we once had.
And for me, all of these sentiments crystalized so clearly when I saw those grainy images of Joe Hockey standing there, passionately defending my beliefs back then, and crushing my views now.
I consider the beliefs I hold to be core to my being. Absolutely core. And the notion that something as fundamental as a belief in equal access to education can change so drastically is a pretty terrifying critique on the nature of aging.
I haven’t yet heard any follow up comment from Joe Hockey, but I’m sure he’ll say something about having had a ‘considerable shift in mindset’, maybe with some words about the ‘folly of youth’.
But what lingers with me, other than the wholehearted rejection of a policy that will hurt students and prospective students alike, is that I really hope I’m never like that.