Tonight’s ‘Hack Live’ Special Basically Defined Our Generation’s Dread

Hoooo boy.

Coming in hot after previous specials on sex and body image, Hack Live’s latest jaunt – entitled The War On Young People – was almost exactly as heated as that (perhaps not entirely) hyperbolic title.
Veteran chill guy Tom Tilley was, once again, surrounded by a diverse cast of Aussies who were only too eager to unload their hot takes. 
Among that number were Liberal and Labor pollies Alan Tudge and Sam Dastyari respectively, Nathan Birch, a property investor with over 200 houses in portfolio, and a cast of, yes, Gen Ys and Millennials who think the way things are RN is a wee bit shit. 
While their backgrounds varied, their qualms centred around a few symbiotic topics: housing, jobs, and education.

It’s not a massive surprise that negative gearing would be zeroed in upon. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that a Four Corners investigation into property investment and the benefits of gearing had young Australians go ballistic at the entire system. 

Panellist Simon said he’d totally given up on the dream of owning a place in Sydney. Another, who had been outbid on a property by an investor only days before, told Tilley it was only yesterday she could speak about the process without crying. She said owning a home wasn’t just part of that great Australian dream, it was a human right, that was being eroded by unchecked investment. 

Birch disagreed, seeing the tax benefits on offer to investors as crucial footholds on the ladder to financial independence – and to him, the benefit of those opportunities outweighs the inconvenient fact that housing prices are… well, ridiculous. Objectively stupid, at this point, really. 

Tudge and Dastyari both unloaded their parties’ perspectives on negative gearing. The former said it’s vital to increase the supply of housing to meet demand, thereby equalising prices. He also said it’s very, very possible to lock up decent housing on the outskirts of major cities – and that Labor’s plan to cut those tax benefits is just ass-backwards. 

In response, Dastyari said “there is something wrong in a system where a bloke with 200 houses is gonna get more help, more support than Clem will get when she gets her first.” After offering a personal anecdote on how he couldn’t afford to buy his house today on his very generous salary, he once again said curtailing those tax benefits was vital to Labor’s policy.

Of all the topics discussed on the show, it’s quite possible housing availability and affordability are the most salient to a generation that’s just now entering so-called financial independence. It’s also the issue least likely to be solved on a Thursday night panel show, but good Lord, the panellists can take some comfort in knowing it’s become an issue of bloody urgency.


Of course, you’re not getting anywhere near a house unless your parents are absolutely loaded you can land yourself a decent job. The issue of employment is also where the show dipped less into empirical evidence, and more into perception – specifically, how people under the age of 30 are endemically lazy and entitled lil’ so-and-sos.

Chef Colin Fassnidgewho grilled Tilley in his commercial kitchen, was of the belief that… yeah, we’re all a bit soft. After rallying against former employees who supposedly ripped cones and smashed pingas before having the audacity to call in sick, Fassnidge said young people should be cheering at the labour environment presented by the hospo industry. 

After all, he claims, kitchenhands earn more on penalty rates than the head chef and sous chef do regularly. Those are some beaucoup bucks to be had. 

Georgia, who is currently holding down four part-time positions, presented a solid counter-point just through her own existence. She described her working life to a “portfolio”, where slamming those piece-meal gigs might possibly be viable financially – but it’s an absolute killer in terms of existence outside the workplace. 

That’s not even mentioning the luxuries of sick leave, vacation time and stability full-time work brings, let alone the fulfilment of doing something that feels remotely relevant to your passions.
Of course, that leads us to one of the premiere ways of gearing up for a career in a specific field…


Amid bickering over uni fee deregulations and the benefits of HECS, Jan Owen, of the Foundation For Young Australians, described a systemic problem which stems from obtaining education in the current circumstances. After completing a tertiary degree, we become saddled with debt, which precludes us from saving (due to vulnerable working circumstances) for a deposit on a house (which has been inflated by investment).

She said it’s all of these factors compounded that are contributing to the grinding rigmarole many of y’all are going through. 

Simon, mentioned before, was a primo example of these factors working together. He described the difficulties of finding employment that would both provide a decent income to sustain himself now, while also providing time off to study, so he could invest in a future that values skilled workers. 
Owen also hinted at a much larger issue looking on the horizon: automation, and the possible mass reduction of jobs that need to be handled by actual humans. Even in positions that currently require tertiary education. That’s a problem that will, objectively, be a war against young people. 

It was real, and as Tilley said, it was a discussion that warranted far more time than ABC2 could give. Still, fair crack of the whip, Hack, for pitting so many diametrically opposed people in front of the cameras and not having it devolve into a wild cage match. 

Even if Dastyari was literally braying for it. 

Source: ABC.