Anzac comparisons – hope over reality?

The COVID 19 virus is a real test for our nation.

For a substantial percentage of our population this is the first time they have had to handle a major national challenge!

The GFC was over 10 years ago and a lot of millennials were still at school when it happened.

I’ve heard lots of references to the Anzac Spirit by politicians, but it’s a big unknown if that spirit still exists in 21st Century Australia. Think about the demographics.

During WW1 and WW11, Australia was a country of largely white people whose parents or grandparents came from England, Scotland or Ireland. There was not a lot of ethnic diversity and especially during WW1, England was viewed as the “Mother Country” enjoying a great deal of loyalty. It was relatively easy to forge common goals and the “Anzac Spirit” was clearly understood.

Today’s Australia is a very different country, infinitely more diverse, better educated and more cynical that the people in the first half of the 20th Century. Unlike them, most of us aren’t used to hardships, poverty and struggle, except of course those refugees who have fled here from turmoil.  The next few months will show if we are still able to pull together as a nation against the challenges of the virus, the economic meltdown and the social dislocation we will face.

The selfish panic buying we have seen over the last few weeks is not an encouraging sign.

We can only hope that when the initial shock passes, Australians stop panicking, adjust to the new reality, and support each other while we all work our way through the virus.

It will be great if the Anzac Spirit shines through in 2020.

Irrespective of how we handle these challenges, it’s very likely that the chaos of 2020 will cause major changes in our societies. Here’s just a couple of the obvious ones –

  • It would be amazing if other countries continue to view China as the world’s factory. We can expect to see renewed interest in local manufacturing which has big ramifications for local businesses and employment.
  • With the stock market crash, everyone’s superannuation has suffered a big hit and it will take years for super funds to replace these losses. As was the case with the GFC, many people will have to postpone their retirement while they rebuild their funds.

Finally, it might help to remember that while we can’t control  much of what’s happening around us, we can control how we respond to it.

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