As young parents, my wife and I were committed Catholics, we attended Mass every Sunday, we baptised our children and sent them to Catholic Schools. I am no longer a practicing Catholic but consider myself a man with Christian ideals. With these beliefs, I can’t accept how we can keep refugees locked up in undesirable hotel rooms year after year. So how is it that our Prime Minister, who is supposedly a committed Christian, can continue to incarcerate these poor people. I can only assume that it is because the bureaucrats in Canberra believe that the majority of us support that attitude. I know for a fact that the vast majority of my acquaintances don’t. I wonder what would happen if an opinion poll were held today that reported that the vast majority were against this incarceration? Panic stations maybe?
If I were the father of one of the children who died in the Devonport tragedy, I’m not sure how I would cope with all the media attention I would be getting. I personally would want to grieve privately and personally with my family and friends but I wouldn’t be allowed to. Reporters and cameras would follow me and they would ask inane questions such as how am I coping with my sadness. And if I remained private, chances are someone would offer me money for an in depth personal interview.
I wonder how many of the grieving parents in Devonport feel like I do and would prefer to grieve in private.
Australia’s reputation in the world has worsened these last few years and it all comes down to leadership. Where are today’s equivalents of John Curtin, Bob Hawke, Alfred Deakin, Ben Chifley and Robert Menzies? We have a Prime Minister with a professed belief in God who keeps refugees locked up, refuses to release reports and is a master of obfuscation. Then there is our deputy PM who makes our PM look good. Scott Morrison’s heir apparent Josh Frydenberg is no better. He sought political advantage by sledging Victoria’s handling of Covid-19. When Simon Holmes à Court joined Frydenberg’s Kooyong 200 Club fund raising group, all membership fees and donations were returned to Simon after he criticised Frydenberg in another newspaper for trying to keep NSW’s Liddell power station open. But how can we forget Matthias Cormann? The man who argued the Gillard government’s “push to put a price on carbon on the basis that it would help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions is a very expensive hoax”. Today in his new job he is suddenly pro carbon pricing. The alternative to today’s government is the ALP and they don’t have the leadership we need so desperately. Simon Holmes à Court is right when he says we need more highly qualified and forward thinking Independents in Government. I hope I get the chance to vote for one at the next election.
Politics is regarded as a career and a very lucrative one at that. But I do remember the time when potential politicians didn’t see that as a career change. They had a career that they expected to go back to one day and that attracted a different type of candidate than it does today. There would be very few people in Parliament today that only intend to serve for a few years. The pay is very good, the superannuation is ridiculously high and perks abound. But as in many careers, it doesn’t always attract the right people. And that is why today people with the wrong agendas are controlling the way we are governed to suit themselves. Pertinent questions go unanswered, often with a sly grin. Embarrassing reports get hidden away. Promises are made and then forgotten. Agreement is given that we need a Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission in Canberra but we all know it will never happen. Robert Menzies must be turning in his grave.
I am a swinging voter but vote Labor more often than I vote Liberal but I do believe that equitable government for all Australians can only be achieved if government is shared between the two major parties. I wouldn’t want to see either of the two major parties to be in government for a long time or permanently.
Non-Labor parties have been in power for 67 per cent of the time since Federation compared to the ALP’s 33 per cent. As well as that the Liberal/Country Party Coalition was in government for 22 years, 11 months and 16 days from 19 December 1949 to 5 December 19721.
If this trend continues, it doesn’t bode well for all Australians.
The quality of Australian government has deteriorated to a level where it can’t go much lower but it is difficult to determine how we can raise that level when Parliamentarians are so well paid and too many are megalomaniacs and are mendacious with little or no regard for fair play.
Maybe it is time for the Labor Party to swallow a little bit of its pride and sit down with the Greens and negotiate a Labor/Greens coalition. This is not a new suggestion. Sir Robert Menzies back in 1944 believed that the non-Labor parties should unite to present a strong alternative government to the Australian people1.
A Liberal/Nationals coalition in power for say a maximum of 10 years followed by a similar period in government by a Labor/Greens coalition would be a fairer outcome for all Australians.
(First, most and more: facts about the Federal Parliament – https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1819/FederalParliamentFacts)
The American Hawks in the Pentagon must be very happy. When Donald Trump was uncharacteristically feting Scott Morrison, my immediate concern was – what is he after from Australia? I can’t help but feel that Joe Biden has concluded what Trump started. The Pentagon Hawks want a presence in the South China Seas but want someone else to do it for them. What better than to persuade their lapdog friends in Australia to do the job for them. And Scott Morrison fell for it. He didn’t even discuss it in Parliament. And why should he? He does what he likes. The subs won’t have nuclear weapons, he says. Utter rubbish. When the time comes and the subs are operational, the Pentagon Hawks will find a way to twist the then Prime Minister’s arm. Whether we liked Paul Keating or not, one thing he got right was that we belong in and with Asia – not America.
I can’t help feeling that we are under-estimating and undermining the common sense and resilience of today’s children. If they keep hearing that they are struggling mentally, then they will but if we keep telling them that they are a resilient lot and will cope, then they will. Once again, we are feeding negative attitudes instead of positives. I have read countless stories of young refugees coming to Australia having missed several years of education and having no English and yet they end up with university degrees and successful careers. Credit where it is due.
I fully understand why certain people in the Federal Liberal Coalition believe that the ABC is anti-government and should be privatised. One of the duties that many people see as the responsibility of the ABC, and indeed of the quality newspapers such as The Age that are not controlled by self-centred media barons and shareholders, is to keep the government “of the day” honest. There is no reason why the Labor Party deserves a great deal of scrutiny at this time as they are in opposition and mostly ineffective anyway. Should Anthony Albanese somehow manage to win the next election, I have no doubt that it won’t be long before members of his government start complaining about the impartiality of the ABC.
Now its Lockdown in
Now its Lockdown out
Now its Lockdown in
And we shake it all about
You do the Lockdown pokey
And you turn yourself around
That’s what it’s all about
Oh, the Lockdown pokey
Oh, the Lockdown pokey
Oh, the Lockdown pokey
That’s what it’s all about
Everyone has the right to have a voice, or do they? I used to have a Twitter account and was having a harmless discussion with a stranger, but unknown to me she had forwarded what I considered a harmless tweet to another person who then tweeted me saying: “what’s your problem – get a life you stupid f…..g c..t”. I didn’t respond and closed my account immediately thereby losing an avenue to have a voice. He won and I lost.
I grew up in what I believed was a democracy and have always believed in democratic values but now I am starting to change my mind. Today’s social media platforms have not only given a voice to people that don’t deserve it, but also unprecedented power that is fraught with danger.
I returned to Singapore a few years ago to attend a reunion promoted by the then Singapore government to thank the Australian Communications people who had helped Singapore during the struggle with Indonesia in the early 1960s. Our last function was afternoon tea at Raffles with a talk by the then Australian Defence Attaché. He told us that his father was a proud Queenslander and saw no reason to leave Queensland let alone Australia! But he ended up in Singapore one day with his wife to enjoy their grandchildren. One day the attaché found his father sitting wistfully on the balcony deep in thought. “What’s up, Dad” he asked. His father looked at him and said, “Imagine what Lee Kuan Yew could have done for Australia”.
I was a huge fan of Lee Kuan Yew. He thought he was democratic but in my mind, he was a benevolent dictator. Singapore today is a better place because of him.