“It was not the extraordinary public spending spree of the election campaign that sank Labor but the sustained private consumption binge that Australians have been on for the past decade.
Booming house prices coupled with unprecedented levels of consumer debt have left most Australians absorbed by their own material circumstances, with little room left for thoughts of building a better society.
Driven not by financial need but by the very aspirations that Mark Latham has lauded, Australian households are in debt up to their necks, and that has meant hundreds of thousands of people have looked at their partners across the kitchen table and said: “If interest rates go up by a couple of per cent then we’re stuffed.”
Having the bank foreclose on you must be one of life’s more unpleasant experiences, especially if you have measured your success and place in society by the pile of things you own.
Sure, the economists said that interest rates were no more likely to go up under Labor than the Coalition, but why take the risk if nothing else really matters to you?”
Self-absorption wins the day – Election 2004 – www.smh.com.au: “As long as Australians are preoccupied with house prices, credit card debts, interest rates, tax cuts and getting ahead – in other words, as long as they define their success in life by money – Labor will never win, except by mimicking the Liberal Party.”