Cast your mind back 25 years. Or 30 years. Or even 10 years.
Assuming you were out of primary school, what kind of views did you hold about the world? About politics? What kind of person did you date? What did you wear?
Maybe it’s just me, but I was a very different person in my late teens. I was equal parts naive and idealistic about the world. I was not terribly mature, even though I thought I was.
Joe Hockey is today being branded a hypocrite after footage emerged of him 30 years ago when he was a university student, protesting the same kind of reforms his government is now trying to introduce, namely the deregulation of university fees.
Joe Hockey wasn’t a politician when he was at uni and he is now. Surely it could be argued that as a former uni student, he has a good insight into both sides of the debate? He was certainly very outspoken at the time. In footage from Nine News, he can be seen talking to the media about how the Hawke government’s proposed $250 fee for students was a terrible thing:
Backing up the protests in his university newspaper Honi Soit, he wrote at the time:
“The Liberal party, which released its education policy two weeks ago, promised to cut back funds to universities and, at the same time, leave the universities to charge whatever fee they wished. Such a policy is suicidal for student welfare. We will have no effective voice in our own fortune.”
It’s a great gotcha moment for the media, the ALP and everyone opposed to the Abbott government’s new university reforms. It’s very newsworthy, I don’t dispute that. And – DISCLAIMER ALERT – I don’t even want to weigh in on whether I agree with his views back then or now. That’s not my point.
What gets my goat is the idea that a politician isn’t allowed to change their ideology. That that is somehow a massive character flaw or a sign of hypocrisy.