That was the controversial verdict of Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner way back in 1999, and it’s one he stands by today than many agree with.
As the Boomers famously say…truth hurts doesn’t it.
As younger Australians struggle with rising house prices and HECS debts, Chris Sidoti, who headed the commission under John Howard between 1995-2000, once famously labeled the generation born between 1946-1964 “the most selfish generation in history”.
They’d “refused to pay their share of tax”, been given a “free ride” through tertiary education and were guilty of imposing enormous debt burdens on those who came after them, most notably through the HECS debt devised by boomer politicians.
Years on, Mr. Sidoti says “the chickens are coming home to roost”.
“I don’t think there’s been a generation like this that has been so unwilling to pay a fair share of taxation to ensure everyone in the community the support that’s required and the services that are needed,” he told The Daily Telegraph, acknowledging that he himself was a baby boomer.
“We are now the people who are in positions of influence with the media, government, business and most walks of life, and if we are to say there are people in Australia who aren’t doing well, I think we have to look at ourselves as the people who are responsible for that.
“Young people are entering the workforce debt-ridden.”
When asked if he stood by his comments, he was quick to answer.
“Yes,” he said, remembering them as “the most controversial” remarks he’s ever delivered.
“Things have changed in 15 years but I stand by my views about the stinginess of my generation,” he told news.com.au.
He’s absolutely right that things have changed. Whatever the “free ride” baby boomers were afforded in their earlier years, they are more than making up for it now. And boy do we hear about it. But it’s not their fault according to Baby Boomers.
The retirement age is climbing and superannuation desperately needs “a makeover”. The parents of baby boomers live longer and the children of baby boomers are expected to deliver on grandchildren as well as pick up the pieces left by their parents. All that leads to a “squeeze”, the irony of which is not lost on Mr. Sidoti.
“When I look around at my friends, it seems that the chickens are coming home to roost,” he said.
“Baby boomers are caring for their parents who are living longer. At the same time, childcare needs are greater so we’re being called upon to look after the grandkids, too. Meanwhile, we’re also having to work longer.
“This generation that didn’t pay its way is now being squeezed by longer (working) responsibilities, increased responsibilities for frail parents and increased responsibilities for grandchildren.”
Not to mention the constant whining and no action from a lot in this generation in OZ. Over the years a lot of Aussie boomers have bombarded their children with mythical wives tales and over-exaggerated stories of the past while doing nothing to secure or aid Australia’s future. Most of them love the government handouts though and conform to whatever the government tells them to do.
Did they think would not be fact-checked? This truly shows their level of honesty. This is the generation in Australia that said practically nothing for years until the next generation wanted to have their say and fix the screw-ups of the past. The mirror was forced in front of the boomers and they did not like it one bit. So instead of standing side by side with the next generation, most boomers go against them.
The free ride is well and truly over for Aussie boomers and they hate it.
Given his stinging attack on baby boomers, many wonder if Mr Sidoti has any thought’s on GenY, routinely described as “selfish narcissists”.
“They’re hard done by,” he said.
“As I said 15 years ago, the generations after us are graduating with enormous debt burdens and prospects are bleak. Couple that with increasing housing prices and you’ve got a real problem.
“The pressures on (generation X), and even more on the one after that, are even greater than they were 15 years ago.”
Chief among them, the median Sydney house price is tipped to hit $1 million by Christmas. First home buyers in Melbourne are having to take out an average loan of $335,000, a figure that shot up by nearly $16,000 in a single month, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
All that while paying off mounting HECS debts.
Mr Sidoti said the pressure is enormous, and often they pile it on themselves.
“I see among the GenY and the Millenials enormous levels of idealism and community engagement but they’re under high pressure and it’s difficult if not almost impossible for them to come near to the expectations placed upon them.”
Well, at least we know who to blame now.