Neoliberalism, COVID 19 and Priorities: Hypocrisy Exposed

In this piece, I want to look at two policies from the…

We need a Brave New World that cares!

There are many who are better qualified than am I to try…

Dangerous Gifts: Coronavirus and Trump’s Sanctions Regime

The global effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic has been one of…

Incident on the Bulldog Run

I can see by some of the recent comments that there are…

Doing a Wuhan

By Graham Nowland  Only when COVID-19 testers get to test more widely do…

Signing in and Dropping Out: Coronavirus and the…

It was made with little thought but a good deal of high-minded…

The time for partisan bullshit is over, Josh…

Less than four weeks ago, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was still singing his…

Krystal Ball Demolishes Joe Biden

Krystal Ball of Rising on The Hill TV recently made a comment…

«
»
Facebook

We need a makeover

Forget recession.  This country is suffering from depression, and I don’t mean the economic definition as much as the psychological one.  There is a malaise afflicting the nation.

We keep hearing that the economy has had 25 uninterrupted years of growth but then we are told we have a debt and deficit disaster and a budget emergency.  Are we supposed to be confident or alarmed?  Shouldn’t that debt be looked on as an investment that facilitated the growth?  Why is our standard of living going backwards?

We are told that climate change is real and that we must take action at the same time as being told we must open new coal mines and resist a price on carbon for the sake of the economy.

We have an aim to plant 20 million trees at the same time as we petition to have old growth forests deregistered from World Heritage protection so we can log them.  We loosen regulations on land clearing and then pay people not to take advantage of them and then claim that as emissions reduction?

We spend millions entertaining delegates and producing glossy pamphlets to convince the world we are looking after the Reef whilst fast tracking the dredging and expansion of ports to ship more fossil fuels around the world.  They mightn’t count towards our emissions but they sure as hell count in the ocean warming and acidification that is destroying one of nature’s great wonders and putting in jeopardy the reef tourism industry that employs tens of thousands of people and makes the country billions in revenue.

We despair about youth unemployment whilst increasing the pension age to 70.  Young people can’t get work whilst older people cannot retire.

We worry about technological change reducing the number of jobs whilst sending so many jobs offshore.  Government departments have been told, if someone says they can do it cheaper, then use them – unless we are talking vote-winning submarines.

We sack thousands of public servants and then pay consultants for the advice that government departments used to give.  Nowadays, doing anything other than rubber stamping government policy is basically a career ender.  Political appointments are gifted to those whose opinion is in line with ideology and consultants and reviewers are constrained by terms of reference designed to gain an outcome rather than an independent investigation or fearless advice.

We are to be the smart, innovative nation as we slash funding from early childhood education, schools, vocational and tertiary education, and research bodies.

We pretend concern about closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage as we terminate many successful programs, slash over half a billion in funding and remove any input on self-determination. Our idea of helping is to confiscate their money and employ more truancy officers.

Domestic violence is given lip service by advertising campaigns on how we should speak to our sons as we close refuges, reduce welfare payments, strip funding from community intervention programs and from legal aid.

The proceeds of crime used to go towards funding crime prevention programs like those carried out by PCYC.  Now they go towards budget repair and the ubiquitous campaign announcements of more CCTV cameras.

As people outdo themselves to claim convict heritage to prove their “Australianness”, Pauline Hanson calls for the families of dual nationals who have infringed on new anti-terror laws (that have been condemned by human rights watch and the legal fraternity and will likely face high court challenge) to be deported, regardless of their citizenship and having committed no crime.

We are told we must all help to repair the budget, that “the age of entitlement is over”, as we hear case after case of politicians claiming to go to weddings, cultural and sporting events, family holidays – you name it – all “within entitlements”.  Sometimes they meet with an unknown someone, sometimes the event itself is considered “networking”, sometimes they are just asking a third party to foot their bills.  The irony of Julie Bishop spending over $30,000 of our money to charter a private jet to attend a charity dinner, or Tony Abbott’s really expensive volunteering, or chartering helicopters to attend fundraisers, seems to escape them.

Depression can be caused by many things.  One is the confusion caused by lies from those you should be able to trust.  Being made to feel unworthy, a leaner, is a common ploy.  Another is a feeling of hopelessness to change the situation you are in.  Many people are feeling that disengagement from the political process, feeling themselves unrepresented by parties whose main aim seems their own survival rather than the nation’s.

People are also focused on survival.  They don’t direct their attention towards the real causes of their depression, or the solutions we could employ.  They do not, or cannot, question the powerful.  They believe what those with power, be it political or media reach, tell them.  That is why people like Peter Dutton employ hundreds of media advisers and marketing gurus whilst his department is lambasted for its lack of expertise, experience, and achievement in actually doing their job.

We need a makeover.

We could start with symbolic changes like beating New Zealand to a flag that is truly ours.  We could move Australia Day to February and make it a day of celebrating diversity and the contribution that all people who call Australia home make to this country, regardless of their heritage or length of stay.  We could legislate a Bill of Rights that recognises the traditional owners of the land and all who have since come to share in making this country a free, safe, tolerant nation where all can live in peace and dignity.

Whilst nostalgia for the Queen is something many people feel, her death, though sadly felt, will be an opportunity for us to change the way this country is governed.  The Westminster system has had its day.  We must change our parliament into a governing system that can protect us and invest in our current and future best interests.

We do not have to follow any other model but can take the best from others and make our own.   Churches should be protected to be able to practice their beliefs within the law rather than making the law.  A few fear Sharia while many more suffer from Christianity enforcing their rules on all of us.  Business should be told what the rules are, rather than being asked.  Minority rights should be protected by law, not majority opinion.  We should reward ethical businesses with tax concessions, not those who make a certain turnover.

Whatever shape it takes, this country needs change and our politicians had better catch up with the times.  Accountability and productivity apply to all of us.

The people are the abused who need to sever the current relationship.  They need to recognise their own worth and the value of their effort.  They need to challenge those who hold the purse strings of the wealth we have created and demand a say on determining societal priorities and how our money will be invested.  They need to regain their independence to demand better.

Stop the lies.  Stop the spin.  Stop the fear.  Use your best resource – the people who live here.  They are smart.  Listen to them, learn from them, help them, and nurture them – stop fighting, blaming, and dividing them.

50 comments

Login here Register here
  1. economicreform

    The story peddled by the government that we have a “deficit disaster and a budget emergency” is disingenuous – at the very least. A less charitable description would be to call it a bare-faced lie — and I am feeling less than charitable towards them. It was always a lie. And the only debt problem we have is the problem of private sector debt.

  2. keerti

    This depression is something I have noticed whenever we have had alieberal government. They all have a common denominator of making the ordinary people suffer while they are being told that it is for the good of the country.

  3. Phil

    So true Kaye Lee, so true. What you describe is (as you know) common, in varying degrees of advancement, to all western capitalist systems. The Germans, like few others, are fighting back and holding ground for now against the tide. The crisis is here in Australia now. The Turnbull neoliberals and blinded conservative supporters will fight to the end to retain control (and personal benefits) so I see only troubled times ahead. We are in the midst of an existential crisis of global capitalism – Australia is a weedy little player on the global stage but it cannot avoid the coming economic collapse.

    I understand that Masters, the Australian hardware giant currently in full collapse, has had a massive run on discounted pitchforks – perhaps the folk are planning on making hay while the sun shines. Their local conservative MPs and backbenchers better hope so.

  4. Christian Marx

    The state, the capitalists and the media are the nexus of evil. I believe all 3 will eventually have to be smashed
    if humanity is to have a chance of survival. Both sides of politics are nothing but the custodians of corporate power.
    ALP have privatized and signed almost as many free trade agreements as the LNP. We now have 11% unemployment
    and a staggering 3 million living below the poverty line. Mainstream media continues to beat the poor, while giving the tax dodging,
    parasitic elites a free pass. Australia is sinking. I despair, I really do. 🙁

  5. MichaelW

    I am depressed, I am ashamed, I have just watched 4 Corners, I am in tears. I hold dual citizenship and I am seriously considering giving my Australian citizenship and passport away. This once great Country is an embarrassment and a disgrace. Our government is an embarrassment and disgrace. I could ramble on but I’m to depressed. Besides that I have to go to the dentist tomorrow.

  6. Steve Laing

    What day in February do you suggest Kaye? I reckon the third Sunday sounds as good as any. Let’s just do it, because let’s face it, if we have to wait for the pollies, it will never happen.

    Let’s work out what we can do, and the start doing it. Doesn’t matter how small, it will all eventually add up.

  7. helvityni

    MichaelW, same here, how can we treat those beautiful clever children on Nauru so inhumanly, we are practically killing them slowly…

    I don’t feel like we have anything to celebrate.

  8. bobrafto

    Listen to them, learn from them, help them, and nurture them – stop fighting, blaming, and dividing them.

    Eh?

    That’s how they get elected, divide and rule, aka Hanson et al.

  9. helvityni

    I’m getting messages from friends and relatives expressing their horror at Australia’s callous treatment of those few asylum seekers on Nauru; we could so easily take them all in tomorrow if we had any humanity left.

    This morning I found out that the support for Hanson’s racist party, ON, has risen…

  10. Maureen Walton⛲ (@maureen_walton)

    In other words Good times are really over, we are Stuffed. Disgusting Government and LNP Supporters just watch tonights QandA. All about LNP putting Unions and workers down. Will continue again for the next 3 years as it is now Howard years all over again.

    I am so ashamed of our treatment of Asylum Seekers especially the young. It is not their fault they came to Australia with their parents who just wanted them to have a Great, Healthy, Peaceful and Happy life..Pauline Hanson has convinced may older people especially, that Asylum seekers are living off the fat of the land here for free. So the ones who are getting ready to retire will not have much to live on as there is not the Dollars to go around for them to survive after having worked since most were 15 yrs old..

  11. Terry2

    Yesterday in the House of Representatives the coalition were frantic to get their backpacker Tax – the income tax they introduced in the 2015 to tax backpackers 32.5% now reduced to 19% – backflip through the parliament as a matter of urgency and, of course, most of the coalition’s rhetoric was not, as you may expect, an apology for a badly judged ‘great big new tax’ but rather an attack on Labor who want to have a closer look at the revised policy .

    The coalition on trying to sell their 19% revised tax are also trying to justify a $5 increase in airport departure taxes – applicable to all passengers leaving Australia not just backpackers – and the very strange 95% tax on compulsory superannuation savings when departing backpackers want to draw down on their super.

    On this latter point I listened carefully as a coalition snake oil salesman tried to explain and justify the 95% tax on these compulsory savings : his rationale was that backpackers would not be retiring in Australia and thus didn’t need the superannuation and with a 95% tax on their contributions, they would probably not bother to draw down on their compulsory savings and thus they would be forfeited to the commonwealth.

    What Labor are suggesting is that backpackers be exempt from compulsory superannuation deductions altogether, that backpackers be taxed at a flat 15% as is the case with temporary agricultural workers (principally from the Pacific Islands) and if, the $5 impost on passenger departures is no more that a ‘cup of coffee’ as described by the coalition, then it be scrapped altogether.

    Looks as though Labor are trying to help the government out of a hole that they dug themselves rather than delay passage of poorly thought out legislation : what do you think ?

  12. Adrianne Haddow

    A great summary of our present state of affairs, Kaye Lee.

    You have hit the nail square on the head. A country cannot prosper when the focus is entirely on the economy, and bowing to the greed of the wealthy.
    People need the arts, access to education, affordable health, an appreciation of what our ethnic diversity has brought to this country, and a sense of community.

    We need a government focused on the well being of all Australians, not just those with the biggest net profit or the most strident voices.

    The hypocrisy of a call for a return Australian ‘traditional values and culture’ is laughable and false when all the things that made those values are sacrificed on the altar of neo-liberal economics and nepotism.

    Thank you for your unwavering commitment to equality and justice in all your articles.

  13. Kaye Lee

    The trouble with this government is that they don’t consult before they do things. It was a big criticism from ACOSS. When you employ people like Maurice Newman to advise you, or make promises to the Nationals to keep your job, you are never going to be able to do what is right. Stakeholders should be consulted in the drawing up of the legislation – not presented with it and told to vote right now. If they brought unions and ACOSS to the negotiating table first, or even heaven forbid, Labor, they would have a far better chance of drawing up something that was both fair and supportable.

    Adrianne,

    If only the government remembered how good it feels to help people. If only we could be proud again instead of feeling so ashamed, not only about our torture of asylum seekers, but about the 3 million Australians living in poverty.

  14. Barry Thompson.

    Excellent, comprehensive summary Kaye.

  15. Arthur Tarry

    I totally agree with Adrianne’s comments. There needs to be a total change in government policies, and a radical change to prevailing attitudes within our community. I’m beginning to think Australia is stuffed and that things will only change following some calamitous economic event.

  16. Ricardo29

    Congrats Kaye Lee, nailed it again. Also watched 4 Corners with sadness and disgust. Such potential valua ble talent wasting away. Impressed with the bravery of all concerned. We should all be disgusted, but should also support all campaigns to get these detainees to Australia, no exceptions, no excuses, no more bullshit of the kind offered last week by ‘ the architect of sovereign boders’, Jim Molan.

  17. John Lord

    ?

  18. Kaye Lee

    Jim Molan showed an unhealthy enthusiasm for his “deterrence” role.

    ”I am as happy as a pig in shit – you can quote me on that – doing what I’m doing at the moment.” – Special Envoy Jim Molan.

    “I have a good understanding of the region . . . and I have many friends up there. I will be the troubleshooter, I will be the fixer. Technically I have been directed to facilitate regional co-operation. That is the political speak . . . what it means is I will be concentrating on a number of countries to make sure we have a regional deterrence framework. The vast majority of the solving can be done internally in Indonesia and they want to solve it. People smuggling is against their domestic law. And there is a kit bag of tools that we can use to make this work.”

    “I’ve been retired for five years, I have lived in fear of being offered a job I would want to take . . . and now it has come. This is a job we in the military can do well. And it is critical we get it right.”

    http://theaimn.com/has-anybody-seen-tonys-envoy/

  19. Terry2

    ‘Just heard the Prime Minster doing some mansplaining to Fran Kelly on the Nauru situation.

    It seems that the coalition have been brainwashed on this subject : never talk about the plan for the future : immediately, no matter the questions, blame Labor, mention constantly the loss of lives at sea and hold up the prospect of the people smugglers getting back into business : if resettlement in New Zealand is raised try and imply that people resettled in New Zealand may eventually gain NZ citizenship and – this is scary – decide to take a holiday in OZ !!!

    Sadly, this situation, both on Nauru and Manus, has become intractable and the only way ahead seems to me to be taking the matter out of the hands of politicians. The policy is a comprehensive failure and we are allowing our government to hide behind legal fictions and constant denials and weasel words.

  20. Klaus

    Hi Kaye,

    You suggestions of a make over are all worthwhile and need to be pursued. However, there is a much bigger elephant in the room.

    The politicians need a radical reality check. They always talk about the politicians remuneration needs to match senior positions in the real economy.

    I lately decided that I agree.

    Without exceptions such as earners over 250,000 to 500,000 in the real economy, our politicians get much, much more.

    1) As you described, whatever they do privately, becomes inherent part of their entitlements. There is no cost to their private extravagances.
    2) Their super far outstrips that of people earning below 250k in the private industry
    3) Their ongoing entitlements after ‘service’ (The word in itself has become a joke), far outstips anything in the private industry
    4) Their overnight allowances far outstrip that in the private industry
    5) Their early retirement (because they didn’t get voted for) is no longer a barrier to ongoing high life
    6) Regardless of the length of the service, their entitlements are protected as far as pension and super is concerned. Different to private ind.
    7) When found to behave in a criminal way (Arthur Sinodinos, Mel Brough, Dutton with torture or at least torment of humans,) never mind, life goes on. The private people, unless protected by a polly, may face jail.

    I don’t know but it doesn’t need a make over, it needs almost nothing short of a revolution.

  21. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well done Kaye Lee.

    I vote for your system makeover.

    I want a renewed Australia that foremost values us a society of diverse people and values.

    Whilst I also totally agree with Adrianne’s response, I also advocate that Modern Monetary Theory must be explicitly displayed and understood as the basis of the economic system, which will be designed to provide for everybody within sustainable and environment-friendly perimetres.

    PS Klaus, I’m of the opinion that if a revolution started to boil, it wouldn’t take much for many to participate. I hope the leaders are genuine, reformist and progressive.

  22. Klaus

    Thanks JMS,

    If you were to know me, you would realize that I am a very non-violent person. But I am afraid, Australians seemingly need stronger words to be brought to facing reality. Too many vote for the LNP. I absolutely can’t understand this.

    Makeover sounds nice and docile.

    Listen to the words the LNP use regularly; Death Cult, Beheading, Terrorism in our midst, Bludgers, Welfare cheats, China. All designed to allow the spending of hundreds of billions on warfare and terrorism. Yet, as Kaye points out, our schools, our hospitals are underfunded, homeless kids approach numbers only known in third world countries etc…

    Makeover is nice, but it won’t do. It won’t stop a single polly from treating us as mugs, because its a nice, friendly term.

  23. Sir Scotchmistery

    I just want to slash my wrists. Most Australians (those voting for fluck wits like Hanson et al), shouldn’t even have the vote. In fact given the opportunity I’d take to them with a javelin.

    Dead shits.

  24. Möbius Ecko

    I notice the attacks on unions have begun in earnest. Master Builders Association on ABC News24 claiming they have evidence that the CFMEU causes the most industrial disputes in Australia. Of course they don’t say that industrial disputes are at an all time low and when they occur it’s usually over legitimate claims.

    The MBA would like nothing better than an unregulated and unsupervised work site with underpaid, under trained disposable workers, along with no penalties whatsoever to the construction companies for deaths and injuries caused on work sites caused by the company’s negligence. Despite overwhelming evidence of company negligence under Howard’s ABCC they never raised one charge against any company, yet had no problems in finding a myriad of petty breaches against the CFMEA, including swearing at an official. The union rep was protesting about the safety on a site that had just had a worker die, but according the ABCC swearing was the far greater offence.

    Barely a day goes by that this government for the few doesn’t get my goat up in some way. Yesterday was the news that four Liberals who lost their seats in the last election have been hired by this government on significant salaries and entitlements. One who has already taken full advantage of it, and like Tim Wilson did, has racked up hundreds of thousands in expenses in a short time.

    This government really sickens me.

  25. helvityni

    Makeovers are for women who want to modernize their looks, for interiors that need a pot of trendy paint, smarter furniture, new stainless steel appliances.

    Australia needs more, much more, it needs drastic plastic surgery, gallons of Botox, ‘innovation’ in actions not in words…same goes for ‘agility’, luggage lifts are for nursing homes….

  26. Kaye Lee

    We have the capacity, resources, and know how to fix many of these problems but we lack the political courage and in our current system, where one party ‘wins’, it will never change.

    Government should not be seen as a prize and positions should not be gifted to the government of the day’s friends. We see the ridiculous position of four Liberal candidates who were kicked out by their electorates being gifted government jobs. What the hell did Karen McNamara do to deserve a position “consulting” Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, on “seasonal worker policy”? McNamara was shown by ICAC to have lied about fundraising. This is very much a factional move. Stephen Parry hired his former Tasmanian colleague, Eric Hutchinson, for a newly-created role in his office which could pay up to $160,000. Malcolm Turnbull hired the guy who engineered the coup to topple Abbott as an economics adviser like we don’t already have whole departments devoted to that. Matt Williams, who held the seat of Hindmarsh, is working as a policy adviser to fellow South Australian Simon Birmingham, the Minister for Education. As far as I can see, Williams has no experience or expertise in education so why choose him? How about using the Department of Education as an adviser instead. Or ask the educators…now there’s a thought.

  27. Anomander

    Many of us here said this government would be a disaster long before Abbott was elected.

    I knew it would be bad, but the results have proven far worse than I had expected.

  28. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    The absolute worst of it is that there seems a great pretence that everything is just fine and dandy.

    The climate is damaged, probably irrevocably.

    The economy appears to be entirely outside of our government’s control.

    There appears to be no vision for the future, at least not one that the government could publish without potentially fomenting a revolution.

    The media have become entirely complicit in the greatest cover-up ever undertaken.

    And finally as a nation we appear to have lost our humanity and any common values.

    Perhaps, as has been said, we get the government we deserve. And it would appear that we either NEED to be punished, or there are a significant amount of masochists within the Australian population.

    I think we no longer deserve the name Homo sapiens. Mounting evidence suggests there is nothing wise or rational in the behaviour of the majority of this species. Taxonomists appear to have confused capability with understanding. I wonder to which body I can appeal for a name change to something more accurate?

  29. Kyran

    With the greatest of respect Ms Lee, we don’t need a makeover, so much as a rebuild.
    Just on the subject of refugee’s alone.
    MichaelW and helvityni expressed it well.
    When Save the Children were forced out of Nauru, “As Save the Children leaves Nauru today after the Australian government awarded its contract to for-profit business Transfield, the charity is urging Prime Minister Turnbull to adopt its three-point plan to safeguard child welfare in Australia’s immigration system.”

    https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiO44z7suPPAhUKHGMKHX18DbkQFggmMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.savethechildren.org.au%2Fabout-us%2Fmedia-and-publications%2Fmedia-releases%2Fmedia-release-archive%2Fyears%2F2015%2Fin-its-last-act-on-nauru%2C-save-the-children-calls-for-independent-oversight-across-all-australian-run-processing-centres&usg=AFQjCNGANrH_5Pm1vvXIOZZyBWaawP2D4Q

    After the horrific program on ABC, our government goes running off saying that none of these experts have a clue what they are talking about. Pezzullo (or whatever his name is) says he didn’t read the report, but it must be crap because he was on Nauru last week and saw nothing.
    There is a curious passage at the end of one of the ABC reports.
    “Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has pointed out that the Australian Government provides transport, lunches and uniforms to support refugee children to attend school.
    He also said there were 13 staff from Brisbane Catholic Education on the island to provide support services and curriculum advice to the Nauru Department of Education.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-17/nauru-detention-policy-a-'breach-of-human-rights'-amnesty/7940652

    The rest of the article is distressing to the extent it demonstrates our callous disregard for human rights. Curious though that Save the Children were thrown out; their contract was awarded to Transfield who appear to have enlisted the Catholic’s from Queensland to help them out. The Catholic’s, apparently, have no problem with the governments actions.

    https://welcometoaustralia.org.au/walk-together-2016/

    Thank you, Ms Lee, and commenters. Take care

  30. Kaye Lee

    Peter Dutton really is a piece of work

    “The fact is Labor renewed the visa of a bikie in this country who was known to be involved in organised crime. There are links between the Labor party, the CFMEU and outlawed motorcycle gangs. That is indisputable. These people are accepting money from the CFMEU in the millions of dollars. The CFMEU supports the bikies because the bikies provide the muscle on building sites. These facts can’t be disputed.”

    There are links between the Liberal Party and the Catholic Church, particularly George Pell, whose facilitation of child abuse caused untold suffering. There are also links between the Liberal Party and the Mafia.

    “Slain gangland lawyer and Mafia associate Joe Acquaro spent two decades cultivating, and donating to, senior Liberal politicians on behalf of alleged crime figures, even having a meeting with Malcolm Turnbull.

    Mr Acquaro’s lunch meeting with Mr Turnbull occurred after the now Prime Minister became opposition leader in 2008.

    It is understood Mr Acquaro’s close associate, alleged Mafia figure and Liberal donor Tony Madafferi, was also present, as were a small number of other donors. Mr Acquaro privately told associates the meeting was organised by Liberal MP Russell Broadbent and connected to Mr Acquaro’s political fundraising activities.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/mafia-advisers-meetings-with-malcolm-turnbull-mps-20160522-gp0slh.html

    Perhaps Peter needs to read this article…

    “Mafia figures donated tens of thousands of dollars to the discredited NSW Liberal Party fundraising vehicle, the Millennium Forum, as part of an ultimately successful campaign to allow a known criminal to stay in Australia.

    A senior Millennium Forum figure, who is already under investigation by ICAC for allegedly funnelling illegal developer donations to the NSW Liberal Party, also helped criminal Frank Madafferi’s lawyer meet then immigration minister Philip Ruddock on the visa issue.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/key-liberal-fundraising-body-took-mafia-money-for-access-20150628-gi07yb.html

  31. jimhaz

    [Forget recession]

    Nope. A long deep world recession could be the only cure from this neo-con fatigue. I know of no other potential catalyst for change.

    Sanders getting elected might have helped – but was too old and the Clinton supporting Wall Street mob would not have allowed it.

  32. Marilyn R

    Kaye Lee, you have expressed the problems exactly. The fact is the people feel disenfranchised. They know what is needed but no one in power is actually listening. We need a makeover indeed. The party system needs a makeover as they are ignoring the constitution and ruling for themselves.The lies and political spin is horrendous. At 67 I want a revolution. I want change. I want the shame of our treatment of the poor and the refugees erased. I am so angry, so disenchanted, so worried for the future of my grandchildren that I do indeed feel depressed. But I am fighting! My fighting spirit against injustice has come to the fore and I am speaking out. More people have to do this.

  33. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well said, Marilyn.

  34. Kaye Lee

    Marilyn,

    My parents instilled in me the words “Have the courage to change what you can and the strength to endure what you can’t.”

    We have endured enough. We need the courage for change.

    The Liberal Party loves to bring up kids when it suits them, as in tearfully saying we cannot leave this debt for our children to repay, or I will not send children to Malaysia, whilst knowing full well that is bollocks. They don’t give a flying fluck about our kids’ future. Buy the one year olds an investment property is their advice. What that means is take advantage of the ridiculously generous benefits given to those who already own property and have a steady income. Those that have will have more, those who have not can get well and truly rooted.

    According to Liberal mentality, the best advice you can give children is to choose their parents wisely.

  35. Sir Scotchmistery

    @Kaye remember Peter Dutton also directly supports sexual abuse of kids using his agents from Wilson et al.

  36. Sean Crawley

    Makeover = politically correct lingo for REVOLUTION

  37. helvityni

    Australia needs a heart transplant.

    I just watched the Drum, Yabsley was jabbering about how the boat turn- backs were saving people from drowning,

    Mr Yabsley, Turnbull, Dutton, these people on Nauru did NOT drown, they are alive, they are genuine refugees: the rough seas did not kill them, we don’t have to let them die now of despair, let’s take them in.

  38. townsvilleblog

    Ghandi may be correct however the last three years have felt like 10 and we still have 3 years to go unless something unprecedented happens, which I hope does happen soon, we are already up to 3 million Australians living in poverty, and 731,000 of them are children. Nothing matters as much as a hole in the ground!

  39. Terry2

    Waleed Aly made a powerful presentation on The Project tonight, on the Nauru situation – as he said, we have got to stop hiding behind Nauru and pretending that the problem is theirs.

    As we all know, Australia set up these Camps – both Labor and Liberal – and it is our responsibility to resettle these people.

    As a first move I believe that we should accept the offer from New Zealand to take 150 people in 2016 and a further 150 in 2017. But, New Zealand will only deal with us – not Nauru as Dutton seems to be suggesting.

  40. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Fair enough Terry2,

    but I’ve lost count of how many people are suffering torment on Nauru (plus those with no future on Manus) and how many New Zealand is willing to take.

    If those numbers equate, then I think the Mal-administration should be impressed upon to accept New Zealand’s humanitarian offer and thus clear out the detention centre hellholes.

  41. paulwalter

    Usual thought-through, reliable commentary from Kaye Lee. It was a pleasure to read this after reading Ross Leigh’s posting, following the QA repeat.

    Most of all she recognised that the problems discussed here and elsewhere could be fixed, except that those at the top won’t allow it.

  42. Terry2

    Agreed, Jennifer, what the Four Corners program brought home to me was the absolute urgency of getting these children and their families out of that situation before they are permanently scarred.

    The situation is now getting desperate both on Nauru and Manus and we must do something about it as a nation. If Dutton is the problem for not having found a resettlement solution then he must go and somebody with some ability and compassion take over but it has to be NOW. I don’t think that any of us – including Labor – ever thought that these people would still be detained three years on.

    As I understand it, there are around 2000 people detained offshore including 755 people on Nauru, including 128 children. So, we are not talking about enormous numbers but we are talking about political intransigence of an unprecedented nature.

    By taking up the New Zealand offer I am sure that we can break the log-jam and I have no doubt that we can do a swap deal with Canada or the Scandinavian countries.

    Our national imperative has to be closing down these camps and to never re-open them.

  43. Sir ScotchMistery

    I have said it before and will doubtless say it again;

    The rulers feel they are doing what the greatest portion of the population want them to do. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

    As long as we the people, with our views at the ballot box expressed through the likes of Hanson, NOTHING will change. It is our job, to change the minds of the people in the street. We need to have THOSE folks, not us in this rarefied box of thought proteins called AIMN. The folks walking into Coffee Club and expecting to get coffee (little do they know).

    Both conservative parties ALP and LNP will continue to do this as long as there is no one to change their minds, just by the simple act of being humane. It won’t happen until we can show the rulers that more of us support the refugees than don’t.

    I’m not holding my breath on that as long as 20% of the vote in the senate went to Hanson.

  44. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I’m about to send my proposal for Micro Finance Grants and Micro Credit Loans for unemployed and under-employed people to help them into their own meaningful and sustainable self-employment, as well as link/s to articles discussing Modern Monetary Theory to Senator Rachel Siewert.

    That is one example of how to address what SSM is saying.

    If the Greens are making noises about economic change, the flipflops will have to listen and respond.

  45. Michael Brooke

    Once upon a time, before the advent of an ogre with bushy eyebrows, Australians were good people. But now we run concentration camps just like they did in Fascist Europe, we negatively discriminate against Aboriginal people and refugees, we have thousands of homeless men and women and entrenched poverty, we have high levels of domestic violence, sexism is rife, drug addiction and alcoholism are a social problem, the abasement of the unemployed is widespread, our social security system is constantly under threat, we repeatedly engage in foreign wars, we have political masters who are serial liars … and … oh dear me, Australians have become nasty people.

  46. Kaye Lee

    When I was young, we were actively encouraged to care about others. I was in the brownies and we would go and visit aged care centres and sing for them or play bingo with them. We would do bob a job (which then became cents for service) to raise money for charity while helping our neighbours with their chores. Through my church, we would go to a home for disabled children and we would play with them. At school in the western suburbs of Sydney, the student council organised a weekly charity collection where kids would donate their 1c and 2c pieces, occasionally even a silver coin, and we would choose who to give the money to at the end of the year. As a school, we also sponsored a child through PLAN. Every year we would have a clothing drive where people brought in clothes they had outgrown and we gave them to Stewart House. When Cyclone Tracy hit, we brought in toys to send.

    This sense of sharing, caring, and solidarity, not only with your immediate community but also with the rest of the world, seems to have disappeared. The wealthier we get, the more selfish we get. When did it change and why?

  47. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    It still happens, Kaye

    to some extent, but the emphasis of community and society has shifted to economic balance sheets since filthy neoliberalism started taking a hold in the ’80s.

  48. kristapet

    I think your article echoes how a lot of us ordinary folks are feeling – indeed we do need a makeover, urgently.
    This lunacy and the way parliament is running and behaving – almost feels like the Wild West and those lawless days in the many TV fiction series aired in the late 50’s and during the 60’s.
    Klaus is right we need a revolution, I would like have it, with Joan Baez singing us in. What she sang is just as meaningful now
    I also can relate with what Sir Scotch Mistery says about how he wishes to use a javelin, I would join him, and I can relate to the rest of what he says in the same statement, as well, I feel very much the same.
    While mainstream press is not being honest with their reporting, or reflecting the real issues, and economic lies hampering Australia, many, will remain ignorant about what the LNP government is doing, hiding, distracting us about, putting a spin on, and areas where they are cutting funds, and privatising.
    The LNP’s real ‘self interest agendas’ need to be disclosed, revealed to the public very prominently, with the evidence supporting what is revealed, loudly, so people can see very clearly the iniquities, befalling them, here in this country and how unfairly we are all being treated. By “all” I mean: First Nation’s People, Asylum Seekers, the young, the unemployed, the Muslim community, the gay community and others of sexual difference in that grouping, the old, the sick, the disabled, the homeless, the farmers and others besieged by mining and fossil fuel enterprises and CSG mining, and unions.

  49. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear kristapet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Return to home page
Scroll Up
%d bloggers like this: