Peter Rosengren: Time to make the family our priority

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It’s time for a comprehensive financial, economic and taxation program aimed at recognising the primacy and value of mothers, fathers and the stable family unit for a healthy society. PHOTO: Luca Baini/Unsplash

Who will bat for Australian families at the political level?

It is entirely legitimate to question whether politics in Australia today is little more than a perpetual contest between two main parties who profess a radical difference between themselves but in reality are only marginally different from each other.

It also seems reasonable to observe that despite technological advances in communications and media – or perhaps precisely because of them – politics across the nation has progressively degraded over decades. Vital issues are lost in the tectonic pressures placed on politicians and decision makers by reactionary and culturally ignorant media.

Those charged with governing are cowed by the success of the long march of the left and their aberrant ideologies through academic institutions, their influence and their agendas. Then there are the hysterical lynch mobs on social media. Everywhere, only a sameness, in lack of vision, in an absence of courage, in mediocrity, is evident.

A re-ordering of the nation’s financial and taxation systems would have revolutionary effects alone. Our problem is clearly a lack of vision.

The greatest single development that could occur in Australian politics today would be a complete reorientation of priorities and adoption by at least one party of two principles: 1. the primacy of the family unit as the foundation of society in every regard and 2. politics as the vocation to civil leadership for the common good.

Australian political and economic life over more than half a century has been an ongoing abandonment of the first principle. Sixty years ago, one could leave school somewhere around Years 10 to 12, find employment, marry, form a family and eventually own a home.

Today, fewer and fewer Australians can afford to have children while for increasing numbers, home ownership is now an impossibility in their lifetimes. Whatever we might call this, ‘progress’ is not a word that is applicable.

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Insofar as the family unit is concerned, the recognition of the family’s primacy in relation to the welfare of the nation has the potential to revolutionise Australian political life and culture. As such, it is remarkable that no major political party appears to understand how much ground it could make up politically were it to unashamedly unveil a comprehensive financial, economic and taxation program aimed at recognising the primacy of mothers, fathers and stable family units and the contributions these make to national life and the welfare of all Australians.

A re-ordering of the nation’s financial and taxation systems would have revolutionary effects alone. Our problem is clearly a lack of vision. While we watch economic indices and share price displays by the minute, we should be watching different kinds of indicators – those which indicate the relative health or otherwise of marriage and the family – and formulating social policy accordingly.

Politics is meant to be a noble vocation. The word comes from the Greek (politika: the affairs of the cities; polites: the citizen; polis: the city). Greek democracy was no ideal by today’s standards. But the core idea of responsibility for the common good was clearly evident, developed and eventually became a model for the modern world. The good news is that it is yet possible for us to resurrect the nobility of politics, if only we can find men and women of vision.

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