It is ‘Schoolies’ Week’, and Waterloo, on the Mornington Peninsula, hosts a crowd of teenagers who, for various reasons, shun more fashionable parties on the Gold Coast. The police try to ensure that the kids practise safe sex and don’t become victims of their own excesses with drugs and alcohol, nor of the ‘toolies’ who scavenge the festival fringes. Liaison officer Constable Pam Murphy, recently transferred to detective duties, has encountered few serious problems but warns her superiors that an impending lunar eclipse could produce ‘the ultimate high’.
When the Australian government urged older workers to delay retirement, some observers saw this as ‘wedge’ politics. One ageing media personality joked about younger women refusing to have babies sufficient to care for him in his dotage. For electors, the falling birth rate may be a controversial economic issue, but for some couples, and especially women, decisions about procreation are not theoretical exercises but painful personal dilemmas.