And we’ve had it for so long we’re forgetting how bad it was.
It takes just a few lousy generations:
My mother, in her eighties, has told me about the depression and the pre war years. Her mother struggling to feed her family while the men in the family struggled to find work in in depression hit Newcastle – the one in New South Wales that is.
It didn’t matter how bad things were, there was always food in the house. However, even today, in the down point of the next Kondratiev cycle, my mother still hates to waste food, all those decades later.
Then came the war. The Japanese took the British territories in South East Asia, and occupied Australian ones in the South Pacific and Papua New Guinea. From struggling to find work we went to struggling to keep our civilisation.
Today though? We have been a wealthy society for 60 years now, we have forgotten, socially and institutionally, what it was like to struggle. I mean really struggle, not just having to forego cable television and making do with free to air instead.
We forget what we fought for, or, at least, what they fought for, and we treat it with distain because we have never known any different.
Just 39 per cent of Australians aged 18 to 29 say democracy is better than other forms of government. Almost a quarter, 23 per cent, believe that "for someone like me, it doesn’t matter what kind of government we have", while 37 per cent say non-democratic rule can be best.
They have never had to fight for their freedom, they have only ever enjoyed it.
Fellow student Pierre Trioli took a harder line, saying non-democratic government might work for some cultures.
"China is a society and a state that functions without democracy, so is it bad?" Mr Trioli said. "You can’t just judge it (because it’s not democratic). It’s whatever works for that culture."
Yeah, we know just how little interest Chinese have in democracy and a free society.
Just give them a choice, and see what happens.
Overall, Australians are less supportive of democracy than Indonesians, with only 60 per cent viewing it as preferable, compared with 62 per cent of Indonesians.
More Australians - 23 per cent - than Indonesians also say that "in some circumstances, a non-democratic government can be preferable". Only 16 per cent of Indonesians surveyed last year agreed.
The President of Melbourne University’s first Indonesian student association, Briano Kawenang, 21, said some Australians undervalued democracy because they didn’t understand how good they had it.