By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
The Sweet Spot: How Australia Made Its Own Luck and Could Now Throw It All Away
By Peter Hartcher (Black Inc., $29.95, softcover, 289 pages)
Your perspective of the lucky country is set to change when you learn that Australia has managed to become one of the richest countries in its financial wealth, perhaps the richest of all in its living conditions and also rich in its spirit of fairness and cohesion.
The Sweet Spot will surprise most Australians and shock some, with many resisting its central observation. Why? Australians have long been accustomed to assuming that they are second rate at anything, but selected sporting events.
Peter Hartcher solidly drives home the fact that the “voices of disgruntlement are louder and more emphatic than the quiet contentment of the satisfied”.
Australians have not noticed their country’s success, but the rest of the world has. Why don’t we care?
What makes Australia enjoy unprecedented prosperity, freedom and security has more to do with courageous and prudent governance rather than ‘dumb luck’.
According to Hartcher, it was the economic reforms started under the Hawke and Keating governments, and continued by Howard and Costello, that set up Australia as a social and economic model for the whole world. This was what helped the Rudd government to guide Australia through the financial crisis.
This is a robust overview of Australia’s economic history, with particular emphasis on the last two decades.
While painting a glowing picture, the author also points out that the citizens need to be vigilant if the high living standards are to be maintained. The Sweet Spot also has some tangy notes, principally the Labor Government’s performance on economic policies from 2007 under Kevin Rudd and 2010 with Julia Gillard. Even Tony Abbott gets a serve.
Hartcher puts forward a convincing case of why Australians need to be alert and overcome their complacency.
Edition 406, 22 April 2014
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.