Public ideas

Moral injury

Many Australians will have been experiencing a sense of shame, guilt, outrage or perhaps even despair as a reaction to the transgressions, committed on our behalf, by our governments – particularly the government that took over in the Dutton-Morrison coup in 2018.

Anglican priest and social justice advocate Rod Bower, writing in The Saturday Paper, describes Australia as an injured nation, the injury occurring “when there has been a betrayal of ‘what’s right’ either by a person in legitimate authority or by one’s self ‘in a high stakes situation’”.

Moral injury is manifest as a feeling of enraged powerlessness when we observe that those we had entrusted to high office let us down.

Inevitably this manifestation of moral injury becomes endemic when a democratically elected leader begins to act out of the delusion that he has been called by his God rather than elected by the people. For that leader, accountability to the people and the expectation of truthfulness becomes nothing more than a minor irritation.

The men and women who have inflicted the worst injuries are out of office. Bower sees in the men and women we have elected to Parliament a glimmer of hope that we can now be on a path towards healing.

The young as a political movement

The election saw some small attention to young people in relation to housing affordability, but mostly the debates and arguments were by older people about older people’s interests.

Writing in Open Forum, Queensland University of Technology PhD student Ingrid Valladares reminds us that young people’s interests go well beyond what political parties traditionally see as young people’s interests:

While climate justice is one of the most visible sites of contention among youth, pressing issues including gender-based struggles, social inequality, racism, and conflict, are also mobilising today’s youth.