Monday, January 26, 2004


Matthew Reilly – stay out of politics

Airport blockbuster author Matthew Reilly has an Op Ed in today’s Australian. Its genre is the notoriously perilous “Motivational Advice to Today’s Youth”. While at 29, Reilly can at least speak with more street cred on the topic than the average C-grade celeb fogey typically allowed to star at Big Motivational Yoof Occasions, his age is the only favourable tick he gets on this occasion.

“Study hard” says Reilly. Bullshit, unless you want to be over-educated and on the dole, like me. If you go to university at all, do it as Reilly did – use the copious free time you’ve got, and the government’s living allowance* (which comes with far less stringent conditions than the dole) to do something completely unrelated to your studies, such as writing an airport blockbuster. You don’t have to do exactly the same thing; moonlighting comes in an infinite array of occupations (just ask almost any full-fee paying o/s uni student).

“Go to Canberra – stand for parliament!” says Reilly. Having something to stand for, on the other hand, isn’t necessary according to Reilly – that is, unless opposition to wearing suits and to eras of full employment (the 1950s) count as policy. Otherwise, Reilly seems equally comfortable with both major parties, citing with approval an uncle of his who ran (closely) against the incumbent in the safe Lib seat, and the inspirational figure of Malcolm Turnbull (!!!), who Reilly calls a “smart, super-successful businessmen”. How this quality, and Turnbull himself, differ from a born-to-rule, Liberal Party Ur-clone, I’ve really got no idea.

Oh, and Reilly does spout off for a few paras about the plight of asylum seekers – just to prove that he’s a Real Australian Writer too. Be careful about trying this one at home or school though, kids – it’s like, so gay.**

* I’m assuming that Reilly got living allowance while at uni. In his homepage bio, he makes his parents out to be carnie-types.

** My own opinion is that our government’s treatment of asylum seekers is a disgrace. It’s also (almost certainly) an effective (99% of the time) deterrent against people smuggling and its associated evils. As to whether the latter outweighs (and so justifies) the former, I really don’t know. Maybe Reilly can write about such a world as ours, where good and evil come in many shades of grey – some day.

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