The transcript records it this way:
Jones: “You’re not here asking a question, you’ve just jumped up interrupting the questioner, so please, if you wouldn’t mind, just sit down … there’s no microphone on you, so no-one can hear you. It’s pointless…”
Jones: “It’s pointless. It’s pointless … We can’t hear you. There’s no microphone. OK …”
Man as he is escorted out: “You’re hurting me! Let me go”
OK, boomer indeed!
Apparently this was the part of the evening known as Australia Doesn’t Talk.
Back to the show, and the panel carried on, traversing issues ranging from the wealth gap to mortgage stress to Newstart, and even an old chestnut billed as the most divisive issue in the Australia Talks survey – ditching Australia Day celebrations on January 26.
The results: 43 per cent per cent agree with the idea, 40 per cent do not.
It is an issue on which the generational divide leaps out, and the most distinctly non-boomer voice on the Q&A panel showed us why.
Dylan Storer rose to national prominence when he appeared on the program in 2018, and he was back on Monday night as the people’s panellist. Storer, from Fitzroy Crossing, has just finished high school, and while the phrase “Ok boomer” did not escape his lips, his presence and potent words were a rebuke to the notion that we can continue doing things the old way.
On changing Australia Day, he was matter of fact.
“I think it will change within my lifetime, probably within the next decade or two … the tide’s changing. And it’s a democracy and it will eventually happen.”
He went on: “We can walk and chew gum at the same time. And we can change the date of Australia Day, and we can also talk about the rates of poverty, we can also talk about the structural inequity.”
WA Liberal MP Zak Kirkup: “But we’re not.”
Storer retorted: “But we are.”
Kirkup was there as a reminder that “OK boomer” is indeed a state of mind rather than a state of age. He was there to say things like, “Government should help people get a hand up and not a hand out. That’s what I believe in” – and get groaned at by the audience.
Storer was there to be asked questions like: what would you do if you were prime minister?
Jones: “Now, Dylan, if you were prime minister! We’re leaping ahead a little bit but that’s OK. I’m sure you’ve got ideas on these subjects.”
Did he what. Beginning with: “Yeah, climate change is an existential threat to humanity. And civilisation.”
He went on: “It is not political opinion to say that climate change hasn’t contributed to these horrific bushfires … this isn’t a political idea that has come out of nowhere. This is the Bureau of Meteorology. This is our publicly funded institutions. Who else are we supposed to believe?
“So, climate change is an existential threat … it is a huge issue. And I think we need to actually have a government that first acknowledges it, that doesn’t have senators in the back thinking that the bureau is tampering with temperature data. It’s ridiculous. And we need a revolution, in my opinion – to completely overhaul our energy generation system.”
And so on: “We’ve got so many opportunities here but narrow minded people in Canberra and from particular sections of the media and some commentators, it really restricts what we can see. It’s become really ideological where it shouldn’t be, because it’s life on earth.”
Tony Jones tried to get in with a question, but even he knew he wasn’t fast enough: the studio erupted in applause at this outbreak of youthful common sense. If Storer is any example, the kids are all right.