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A ‘Fair Go’ is now a Myth

Perhaps I have not lived in Australia for long enough to know how the rot set in!

While we are far from being the only part of the world where the adverse effects of increasing levels of inequality are destroying society, that is no cause for complacency.

So many issues in recent times, many of them pre-COVID-19, have highlighted how the Australia, which we tried to project to the world in 2000 as a Dinky Di paradise is dead, buried and cremated. (Thank you, Tony Abbott, for the quote! You certainly helped the rot set in!)

A large part of the problem has stemmed from the politicians – but we elected them!

So, quite clearly, some, at least, of the blame lies with us!

Look at the greed of shareholders which led to the revelations of the Royal Commission into Banking. Remember – the directors, who are responsible for choosing the CEOs, are voted in – and out – by the shareholders.

True, the most influential shareholders and the directors whom they elect are, in many case, all part of a tight knit circle with fingers in many pies, so that the shareholders with smaller holdings cannot make their voices heard.

Look at the increase in numbers of our prisons, which signifies not – as many would have it – an massive increase in crime, but rather a failure on the part of society to intervene in ways which divert individuals into more socially acceptable paths.

Too many children are growing up in dysfunctional homes, and effective interventions seem to be beyond the imagination of the relevant government departments.

Take one example: Drugs!

The minute a drug is illegal, it is immediately attractive to many, and if the drug is one of addiction, future prospects are not good.

Many turn to drugs because they feel life holds nothing for them, sometimes because of mental illness and sometimes because of failure to get necessary help and support.

And because there is always an element in society which is happy to make money out of other’s misery, when an addict cannot afford a fix, theft is the obvious route to satisfying the craving. Decriminalise drugs, and the prices tumble!

Many involved in law and law enforcement have tried – and, sadly, failed – to explain to politicians that other countries have gone down the path of decriminalising drugs and – lo and behold, the sky did not fall down! In fact the prisons were no longer overflowing!

Most recently, the pandemic has revealed the long term failure of governments to ensure proper services, staffing and care levels for elderly citizens spending their last days in Aged Care Homes run by for profit organisations, which have been subject to totally inadequate supervision and regulatory processes.

And another issue, which has been a running sore during the pandemic, has been the failure to recognise the very limited ability of many security firms to offer a higher standard of security service than can be expected from a nightclub bouncer.

I was asked the other day whether I had been as involved in politics when John Howard was PM.

I was not.

And as I answered the question, I realised it was because, at that time, I had been working full time, and while I was aware of the unpleasant policies which were being increasingly adopted, I had other things foremost on my mind.

Now I am in the enviable position of having retired, with a comfortable superannuation scheme – of a type which is no longer available to young people starting a career – with a home which cannot be taken away from me – short of an earthquake or another Cyclone Tracy – and with time to watch what is happening here in Australia as well as elsewhere in the world.

So I am wrong to be critical of younger people, who often have far too much on their plates to even notice what is going on around them.

That might change, however, with so many people unable to find work and so few jobs available for those seeking them.

I do wish to highlight two particular areas where I think the cruelty of the government must be addressed.

The first is one of which many out of work are only too well aware.

Fortunately many people have been able to survive, up to date, because the Coalition copied the ALP’s actions in the GFC, in providing financial assistance to at least some of those whose jobs were lost because of government decisions to shut down anything which prevented suitable social distancing, and so reduce the cross infection rate.

Not everyone was looked after. Many were totally ignored, while some benefitted from unintended generosity because the program had been developed in haste.

Without any ability to prove that things are, or soon will be, improving, the government has just embarked on reducing the support currently available to some – but not all – of those out of work, or on JobKeeper and any who now seek unemployment benefits will again be expected to be looking for work in order to continue receiving support, and probably have an unrealistically low level of assistance, replacing JobSeeker.

But reducing support will harm those who have benefitted from a partial moratorium on bank foreclosures and rental evictions, now that they will be expected to resume payments – plus interest accrued – with no hope of doing so. It is insane and downright cruel.

How does the government expect these people to survive?

They also appear to plan to bring forward tax cuts – completely ignoring the fact that the people who most need financial help – which, by being spent on necessities, would go straight into improving the economy – will get very little, while the greater share will go to those who will tuck it immediately into savings – so not helping the economy by one iota!!

How on earth did we elect such idiots?

Finally I want to raise the issue of a neglected group of people, who are being deprived and cruelly tortured, and who seem to have been pushed to the back of most people’s minds.

You might have an inkling of who I refer to when I say that if Peter Dutton were to appear in public wearing jackboots and waving a swagger stick I would see that as a truthful representation of him and his policies.

And, remembering that Scott Morrison headed up Immigration before Dutton, his facade of religious conviction could be seen as a consequence of indoctrination, similar to that which produced the Nazis and the SS!

Yes – I know it was Kevin Rudd who stated that no refugees who came to Australia by boat after a certain date would be allowed to settle here.

I wonder if he regrets that decision and the damage and death that has been the consequence?

He did it to save himself from a barrage of criticism over a flood of boat arrivals.

Why should so many people suffer so much in a futile attempt to save one individual from embarrassment?

We have seen many die, from suicide and from neglect. We have seen billions spent to maintain this cruel policy.

We have seen hours of court time – and more millions of our money – wasted by government attempts to prevent sick offshore detainees from getting urgently needed medical attention in Australia.

The pandemic has prevented – hopefully only temporarily – the relocation to other countries of some of the refugees, so they languish in offshore or onshore detention, under the control of security contractors who seem to regard themselves as sharing the role of corrections officers – even though the detainees have committed no crimes.

It is so sad that Australia has no Human Rights laws to protect those suffering these human rights abuses.

Refugees from some countries – Iran springs to mind (remember – an Australian is being detained there for no apparent crime!) – cannot return home because they would be put to death for fleeing their homeland. The conditions under which they are detained here are inhumane. They are denied time out of doors, they cannot exercise properly, they are, in fact treated more cruelly than murderers – yet we let it happen.

Is ability to feel compassion totally dead in us as well as in our leaders?

In a recent article I wrote “We need a government which does not ask “What will it cost the economy?” but, instead asks “What more do we need to do to make sure people are not struggling to survive?”

I end as always – this is my 2020 New Year Resolution:

“I will do everything in my power to enable Australia to be restored to responsible government.”

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  1. B Sullivan

    RosemaryJ36, you ask, “How on earth did we elect such idiots?”

    The Australian electoral process does not reflect the democratic will of the people. I’m sure this would be more obvious if in order to make our votes valid we weren’t forced to preference candidates which we would really prefer not to represent us at all. Only the primary vote reveals the true will of the people.

    It always reveals that support for the Liberal Party is always in the minority because the Liberal Party support base is limited by the very nature of the privilege it stands for which can only be extended to a fraction of the population and no more. To form government they rely on coalition with the Nationals who represent narrow industry restricted regional voters who are an even smaller minority yet are massively over-represented in parliament and who consequently decide who will govern.

    The top five parties with the most electoral support at the last federal election in order of most support to least were, Labor, the Liberal Party, the Greens, The Liberal National Party, and the Nationals. The most popular party won 68 seats, the second most popular party won 44 seats, the third just 1 seat, the fourth won 23, and the fifth won 10. How can anyone with a sense of farness call that democracy?

    That is how we elected these idiots. By a flawed electoral system that allows regional minorities to prevail over the will of a national majority. It’s not as if we have a fair choice in determining who will govern us. And do you hear anyone calling out for electoral reform?

    In a democracy even idiots are entitled to be fairly represented, but that entitlement has to be a right for all, not a just a privilege for some.

  2. Paul Gale

    The moral degradation of Australian politics and society really kicked off with The Dismissal. Essentially a declaration of total war by conservative elites on Australian democracy . It was later manifest as valid political motivation and justification in Graham Richardson’s “whatever it takes” declaration. That war appears to be entering it’s penultimate phase with the conservative elites, being overtly supported by Rupert Murdoch as was Malcolm Frazer way back then, undermining what remains of the democratic process.

  3. DrakeN

    January 26th 1788 saw the end of the “fair go” in Australia.
    Any dispassionate study of the history of white occupation of Australia will demonstrate the lack of justice and honesty which these white ‘christian’ invaders brought with them from a god-forsaken country which was attempting to solve its deep seated social and communal problems by exporting them: Problems which were the product of long established inequality of the people.
    It has always been the case that if, as an individual, you try to do the “right thing” there will be mobs of opportunists “on the ready” to take advantage of your goodwill; those who are already endowed with wealth and priviledge are, by the very nature of their advantage, the most likely to “dud” you when an opportunity is created and which are, as often as not, opportunities which they have, themselves, created.
    Add to them the sychophants in the “lower orders” who too will happily rise above their peers by stepping over them in the process, as exemplified in the parodising of the Internationale with the words: “The working class can kiss my ass – I’ve got the foreman’s job at last.”
    Who? Me?
    Not so, just a realist.
    I’m in my late 70s and by way of medical invalidity have had much time to watch and listen to the world around me, to observe the good and the bad, bringing me to the ultimate conclusion that, as an animal species, we are several millenia in arrear of our technological advancements; still holding firmly to primitive survival behaviours which are no longer appropriate to our present circumstances.
    I cannot look to the future of humanity and its adverse effects on the planet without a sad feeling of: “Same old; same old”, stuff of ancient ways carried down in our genetics, our upbringings and accepted “norms”.

  4. Bryza A

    Thankyou RosemaryJ36, that was a good read and sheds light on necessary topics.
    Can i also urge you to shine that light on the Welfare card trial sites in Australia?

    The laws & rights are stripped from those forced to accept the card under duress.
    They have no social security rights, the pay is given to a 3rd party,
    they have no consumer rights, the card is often rejected for non drug or alcoholic items
    the government & public overlook the self-harm , suicides , sex trades , shop raises, Indu account thefts (one recently was over $900!).

    More needs to be told.

  5. The AIM Network

    Bryza A, nobody rejected your comment. It was cleared by the moderators as quickly as possible.

  6. Bryza

    The AIM Network , apologize , i was 1000% in the wrong.
    i can’t detail the strain and stresses of life and fighting to get a word in online and centrelink and indu, i jumped the gun and i look foolish.

    please accept my sorry & i beg for all the poor Australians to be noticed and getting the help they dire need.

    ( you dont need to put this reply live, it’s just for those my rashness wronged)

  7. The AIM Network

    It’s all good, Bryza. No need to apologise.

    People can get frustrated by our moderation policy at times. Our policy is that any new commenter must have their first comment approved by a moderator. That gives us the opportunity to check out whether the comment was submitted by a real person or a bot.

  8. DrakeN

    you will find many here who agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments, me being just one.
    Glad to have you with us.

  9. Michael Taylor

    Bryza, if nobody here agrees with your sentiments, then they’re in the wrong place.

  10. New England Cocky

    Geez Michael Taylor, next you will be saying that it is unreasonable for Australian voters to want manufacturing development in Australia so that Australian can process and refine our many natural resources then manufacture them into products available to the world market to produce profits that flow back into the pockets of Australian families rather than to foreign based shareholders of predatory mining corporations having a long established history of failing to rehabilitate mining sites across Australia because it is too costly for the profit line.

  11. Carina McNaughton

    Bryza. I wholeheartedly agree the card is a travesty which should never have been inflicted on the poor. Individuals who need help should not be pushed onto welfare cards or have the corona virus supplement stripped away. Everyone deserves the dignity of a living income no matter the source. People who need help should get the assistance they need. More public housing, realistic rate for unemployment benefits.

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