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I am a writer and commentator, with a background in Indigenous sector project management and tabloid newspaper publishing.As a retired older-age Australian I use my time, and my voice, to highlight the level of social injustice that exists in this country. I seek a better, more humane, more progressive Australia.I do not limit myself to any one topic, and my writing style gives whimsy and left-field thought at least as much power as logic, fact, and reason.

Hot Blasts From The Desert

The mythical ‘they’ say that we all have a book in us. Well, after many years of procrastination, I have finally started mine.

Months ago when I published The Desert of Redemption on AIM I vaguely remember that I promised someone that I would follow up with some snippets from the Desert Road Trip. So here they are … I’ve simply pulled an excerpt out from one of the chapters in the book.

“Salvation for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse in Religious Institutions, and elsewhere? Well, that is such a bullshit question, and later in the book, I will address that issue. But for now, I’m happy to do a tiny copy of a Bill Bryson and talk about my recent epic (for me) journey alone out into the Australian Deserts.

The god I don’t believe in is perhaps the only entity who truly knows why I did it. All I can say is that on a given day an impelling force appeared under my arse and launched me on a 7,000 kilometre Road Trip to the land of spinifex and red sand. My butt and I simply jumped in the car and vroomed westwards, and, the impracticality of it all and the total lack of forethought and planning was quite touching in a way.

Seriously though, I embarked on that trip because I knew that I had to break, or at least to attempt to minutely fracture, a mould that had been made for me by others.

Agoraphobia, depression, PTSD, and fear are all millstone necklaces in their own right, and combined they had kept me sitting on verandahs, hiding on lounges, and fearfully skulking through open spaces and supermarkets. None of that was a decent way to live. It was all a legacy of my childhood sexual abuse. However momentary it might prove to be, I wanted the taste of freedom.

Vroom.

As a person who was well used to a searing bright coastal light, I was amazed by the flatness and open blue sky once I started to hit the inland plains of Queensland. I thought I knew how flat a landscape could be but as I reached each new horizon it was flatter and more featureless than the preceding one. It was like driving towards the embodiment of nothingness, which was fairly apt considering that I was trying to leave so many things behind.

This whole book could simply be about that trip, but I have other things to talk about. So here’s a one chapter precis, where each place of note only gets a paragraph, bookended by an article containing my existential musings on the whole deal.

Goondiwindi surfaces because I met and had a beer in a hotel there with a man whose camper van had broken down. He was stuck in the town for a few days while repairs were underway. He was travelling alone but he had a female companion, and house, in Townsville, and a female companion, and house, in Melbourne. He sojourned between the two and he had the biggest shit-eating grin I have ever seen on a human face. A happy, travelling, man. According to him either end could only stand him in short stints, and he could only stand either of those ends in short stints as well, so all needs met I guess. His life consisted of joyous, brief, unending, reunions. There are many ways of living and one doesn’t have to be a Mormon to live them.

Wilcannia. You have to go there to understand what sadness and dispossession truly means. Went into the only pub not realising that it was mainly an Aboriginal pub. Whites are supposed to go to the bowls club. I was not refused service, but the can of light beer was thumped down with anger and hate, and since I’m a reader of the truth of our history, I simply nodded acknowledgement. An old bloke there must not have thought that all whites were arseholes because he happily engaged me in conversation while I disappeared the beer, and then myself, as quickly as I could.

When you enter Broken Hill from the east you drive along a section of highway that is paved with the exploded carcasses of kangaroos. We are all used to seeing the occasional example of roadkill, but that road into the town was something else, ten kilometres of smashed animals. A local told me that such things are not talked about because it might frighten off the tourists. The Miners’ Memorial in Broken Hill lists out all of the causes of death of far too many of the early workers, and it is a salient reminder of why the pursuit of greed/profit in any era is not a good thing, and of why Unions always did, and still do, have relevance.

At Coober Pedy, I met an Aboriginal man. We accidentally ended up sitting opposite each other in the underground bar. Cold beer and smiles and all of that. He was a tiny wizened coal-black man who did not speak English, and I was a tall wizened white man who did not speak his language. It was all in the eye contact, and we clinked our beers together at the ludicrous sight of us both sitting there pretending that we were rich inhabitants of opal heaven and I learnt that eyes, indeed, can chortle in unison. Also met a female travel writer in Coober Pedy who had chortling eyes as well.

The road to Lake Eyre, beyond the edge of the outer reach of nowhere. Totally alone. Flat tyre. Tested the finer points of agoraphobia. Walked about a kilometre out into the desert (yes, I could still see the car), and just stood there. Aloneness had been a negative neck scarf for all of my life, and I wanted to confront it. Confronting it was.

On the road to Uluru, I was flagged down by a group of Aboriginal men whose car had run out of fuel. Endless empty horizons in all directions. We tried to siphon some out of my vehicle but that didn’t work. I drove their leader into a local Settlement to pick up a can of gas. On the way back he told me that the others wanted to beat me up, do me in, and rob me of my dollars and all of my camping gear. He told me that he said to them ‘Really? This white bastard is the only one who bothered to stop, so pull your heads in.’ He also told me that ‘We hate you white fellas because of what you did to us, but you stopped, so you must be one of the ok ones.’ We got on like a house on fire after that.

Uluru. It has presence, it has energy. I did not, and would never, climb it. I peered over the sign asking people to please respect the sacred nature of the place and not tramp all over it, and watched all the tourists, and dumb bucket-list pillocks, and brainless nationalists, selfie their way to the top. Dumb, insensitive, shits. But Uluru will outlast them. The Uluru Statement from the Heart will outlast them all.

Drove out to Kata Tjuta. Forty-degree heat. Trekked into the gorge and absorbed as much of the energy as I could. Go there. Absorb. Ran into a bush fire on my way back to Uluru and I was stuck behind a petrol tanker of all things. Fast run through hot spots, and thankfully no explosion. The resort at Uluru prides itself on the number of employees of Aboriginal descent that work there. Most of the Aboriginal workers I spoke to said that most of them were from NSW, or coastal Queensland, and that the local Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people did not feature heavily on the books. If that is true, you would have to wonder why.

Countless other places visited of course, and countless other people met, but space is at a premium so here’s the short version of things …

The Red Centre. It still exists. You cannot fly over the deserts and expect to pick up any real sense of what they are, and how they ‘feel’. You have to traverse them at ground level. You have to experience the rolling out of the miles. You have to immerse in the endless unfolding of the blue sky and the red earth. You have to understand that, out there, distance and time lose meaning.

And as for the long-cherished mythical belief that Outback European Australia is peopled with hardy folk who have no interest in, or sophisticated understanding of, issues that take up the minds of us oh-so-important urban coastal dwellers, well that bullshit myth is soon placed to rest when you go out there.

Outback people might be mightily more attuned to the vagaries of nature than the rest of us combined, but that is where the difference ends. Their sophistication level is dead even with ours. Which leaves open the question of how sophisticated are we as a people, all together as a blob, and as a Nation, which is a question that cannot even begin to be answered in a book as short as this.

I must admit that it was fascinating to see during the trip, except in the smallest of smallest two-house towns, that just about anywhere out there are Indian, or Vietnamese, or Thai, or Filipino or Anglo-Celtic cafe families who are prepared to dosh up a reasonable meal for you at a reasonable cost. And your expresso is likely to be produced by a top-knotted hipster dude who just as easily could be plying his trade in Lygon Street, which he probably recently was. Australia in some ways is changing for the better. Salt of the Earth Australians come in many happy forms these days.”

Right. Vague promise vaguely kept. Back to the book!

 

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We older ‘burdens’ on society

Here we go. Here we go. Yet again. Doesn’t pay to be over 60, does it?

Here’s an excerpt from an article in The Sydney Morning Herald:

“Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will on Tuesday signal a drive to get people in their mid and late 60s to work longer and undertake training to keep in touch with the jobs market as the government confronts long term pressures to the budget bottom line. Mr Frydenberg will use an address to the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia to argue a “new dynamic” in the way the country’s population is ageing will require new policies to ensure the nation’s economic heavy lifting is not left to a diminishing number of younger people.”

I get it that the balance between older and younger in our society is changing, and that in the future the number of older people in our society will increase, and that the Government needs to take all of that into account when planning future health, education, housing, and ‘where’s the revenue going to come from’ type policies.

What I don’t get, and don’t like, is the frequency with which words like burden, and economic heavy lifting, are used by politicians to condescendingly swipe us oldies over the head.

Are we burdens on society? Have we not heavy-lifted and contributed to the economic well being of the country over the course of our working lifetimes? Now that we have been pushed aside into the invisibility of older age are we, now, to be targeted and punished by this Government because employers steadfastly refuse to hire us?

The major problem with this Government is that they hold vulnerable cohorts within our society solely responsible for the condition that they find themselves in.

The unemployed for example, of any age, are tagged as bludgers and burdens and are subject to such a punishing regime of compliance including: the bad joke that is JobActive, the deliberate suffering that is imposed by the starvation level of Newstart, the restriction of even the tiniest amount of freedom of choice left available to the unemployed by the imposition of the Indue Card.

When you are an oldie caught up in all of the mess that is the Government’s Welfare Policy, whether you are currently stuck on Newstart, or whether you have managed to transition to the marginally more welcoming climes of the Old Age Pension, which at least allows you to breathe with some dignity at least once a week, it is enough to make you tear out whatever hair you are lucky enough to still have left.

Frydenberg and Co need a reality check.

We oldies who want to work are not the problem, the employers who will not hire us are the problem.

We oldies who are not rich are not the problem, a society that measures the worth of a human being by the level of their ability to consume, and spend, and accumulate wealth, and a society that denies the most basic social dignities to the disadvantaged and the old, is the problem.

And what is the Government’s answer to the issue of older Australians whose job applications are continually rejected? Well, we have a startlingly new brilliant idea, we’ll re-train you. Gosh … we’ll all be re-trained up as coders and data analysts and rocket scientists in order to secure our share of the ‘jobs of the future’. It would be funny if it wasn’t what it actually is – sad and demeaning.

And where will we be re-trained up? Not in the TAFES, they’ve been gutted. We’ll be re-trained up in the profit-making private training industry, that plethora of Registered Training Organisations with happy and profitable links with the JobActive network.

Josh and Co need to sit in on some of the job interviews where employers tell us oldies that we are too over-qualified for the job. Already too over-qualified for the job. And the Government’s answer to that pernicious form of ageism is to offer to add to the level of our qualifications thereby ensuring that the employment door that has shut closed on our feet, will shut even harder.

The fact is that the proportion of older people who cannot find a job is going to increase, and increase, and increase. It is not going to increase because we are burdens, or bludgers, or light-weight lifters, or any of the other crap mantras that this Government throws towards our aged bones. The number of older people out of work will increase because employers have made it brutally obvious to us that we are not wanted.

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Yaroomba Beach. Dark deeds on the edge of paradise?

Do you live in a small beach-side community anywhere along the beautiful coastline of Australia?

If so, it might advantage you, and your community, to pay very careful attention to a court case that begins this week in the Planning and Environment Court on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

This week The People of Yaroomba Beach and surrounding areas will attempt to protect their residential beach-side communities by appealing against a decision by the Sunshine Coast Council to approve a high-rise development proposal. The proposal was put forward by Sekisui House, a major Japanese owned development company.

In the normal cut and thrust of life some might think that the case of Yaroomba Beach is nothing special, nothing newsworthy, and not deserving of a very acute and forensic analysis of the pathway to approval that this development so easily slipped along. If some think that, they would be wrong.

This case, yet again, highlights the ability of developmental power and money to impose inappropriate development on a decidedly unwilling populace.

The Yaroomba Beach community is protected from inappropriate high-rise development under the regional Town Plan/Planning Scheme which was negotiated, and agreed upon, by both the community and the Sunshine Coast Council. I reiterate, the Yaroomba Beach community is protected under that Town Plan.

However, flying in the face of concerted community opposition to the proposal (a record number of over 9,000 objections were lodged), and flying in the face of the protections afforded Yaroomba Beach under the Town Plan, the Sunshine Coast Council duly pressed the approve button. Hence the appeal court case that is now underway.

The Yaroomba Beach community is faced with the parlous financial situation of having to defend their community, their way of life, and their own Town Plan, from the actions of a Council that is supposed to protect and serve the residents of that local government area.

The Sunshine Coast Council is using ratepayer funds, including the ratepayer funds supplied by the residents of Yaroomba Beach, to oppose the appeal against the development in the Planning and Environment Court.

If even the softest of fingernails is used to scratch the surface of this case then the rankness of a very questionable stink starts to waft up. The Sekisui Yaroomba Beach case is preceded by the earlier Sekisui West End and Sekisui Ipswich cases.

Sekisui House has a long history in Australia, and a long history of gaining successful development approvals here in Queensland despite determined community opposition, and here are but a few media published snippets of that history. Your friend Google will unveil much more.

From: 4ZZZ.ORG.AU 2 Feb 2017
Australian Electoral Commission returns show QLD Labor declared $51,700 in donations from
Wingate Properties. … … , Director of Wingate Properties, has also been the Australian Executive Director for Sekisui House, the major developer on the West Village project.

In November, the development was conditionally approved after review by Trad as Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning. As State MP for South Brisbane, the development also sits within her electorate.

Coolum & North Shore News 12 September 2014
IF Mayor Mark Jamieson, Premier Campbell Newman and Japanese developer Sekisui House thought a deal to allow high rise development at Yaroomba could be stitched up behind closed doors, they are badly mistaken.

Sunshine Coast Daily 28 April 2015
Mayor Mark Jamieson, in explaining the council’s process over the past two years, said the then-LNP State Government would have approved of the council slipping a planning scheme amendment into the town plan back when Sekisui House first delivered its proposal.

Make of that what you will. Of course, those few snippets are but a small example of the published public domain material out there that highlights events around prior, and current, Sekisui House developments, and those snippets also highlight the input of local government representatives and state-level politicians here in Queensland into such developmental matters.

One hopes that history does not repeat itself. The Sekisui West End project was subject to appeal from the community, however the relevant State Minister ‘called-in’ and approved the project, and community objections along with their appeal were thrown out the window.

The reality is that the Yaroomba Beach community has to self-fund an appeal against an inappropriate high-rise development that was approved by a Council which ignored the high-rise restrictions in the regional Town Plan/Planning Scheme. The community stuck to the letter of the law, the agreed and negotiated letter of the law, and it is a pity that others did not do the same.

To keep up with news on this matter I highly recommend that you view the following two websites below. They represent the Voice of The People. Yaroomba Beach is well worth preserving.

Other beachside communities around Australia may one day face the unfair developmental predations that the Yaroomba Beach community has had to endure over the last five years or so. Those communities should keep a very careful eye on the outcome of this case.

It is important that the community wins.

www.developmentwatch.org.au

www.saveyaroomba.com

 

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No money? No justice for Survivors!

Pell’s right to appeal has been upheld by the High Court of Australia. I have no problem with that. Any Australian citizen has the right to appeal to a higher secular power … in this case our legal system and its variety of ascending higher-level courts.

That’s called a reasonable statement.

My statement, however, is only momentarily polite on such matters as the rights of citizens to appeal, to seek redress, and to seek justice, and to seek fairness.

George Pell has the right to appeal. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Religious Institutions also have the right to appeal.

And here’s where the absolute bloody bullshit of equitable appeal for justice for all here in Australia starts to kick in.

Whatever the source of those dollars, the fact is George Pell’s appeal has been buttressed and supported by a well-heeled appeal fund. Engaging high-flying barristers and solicitors are not cheap.

I, and many other Survivors of the heinous crimes that have been committed against us, would love to have our cases, and our stories, and our quests for justice, heard in the highest court in this land. Of course, we have a snowball’s chance in hell of that ever happening.

The majority of the Survivors of childhood sexual abuse are mired in poverty. They are beaten down not only by their punishing experiences, they are also gutted by years, decades, and in many cases, lifetimes swamped by the negative legacies of depression, and PTSD.

Of course, the defenders of the clergy, legal and otherwise, would point out that Survivors have equal right of access to the legal system. There are probably people out there in our society who believe such nonsense.

Here are some legal realities for Survivors of childhood sexual abuse when they embark on a path for justice.

Many Survivors, when they initiate a claim against an Institution for historical instances of childhood sexual abuse, are mired in poverty and cannot afford psychologically or financially to hang on long enough for their cases to receive a fair hearing in Court. It often takes years for the cases to be heard.

Institutions such as the Catholic Church etc are well aware of this fact and they put the pressure on Survivors to accept unsatisfactory Settlements via the mediation process.

I know what I am talking about because that was my direct experience in dealing with the Church. They knew I was mired in poverty as a result of enduring a lifetime of effects from my abuse, and they utilised that fact to pressure me into accepting a compensation figure that was woefully lower than what would have reasonably been awarded by a Court.

I can understand that most people simply do not understand the process that Survivors have to go through to seek justice. The system, via Gag Orders etc, is designed to keep us quiet, and the techniques and methods used by the Churches to minimise or defeat claims are rarely aired in the public arena. They need to be aired.

I was, and am, very unhappy with the Settlement terms I was offered. The compensation figure was low and it did not compensate me for a lifetime lost, there was no apology offered, no remorse shown, and no offer of remedial therapy was included. I felt brow-beaten into accepting their ‘offer’, and I felt pushed aside and treated as an annoyance who needed to be quickly silenced.

Well, I am not an annoyance. I am a human being. I have a voice. And, where possible in a legal sense, I intend to use my voice to highlight the methods used by Churches etc to suppress legitimate claims.

Some will say that ‘nobody forced you to sign the thing’. My response to such nonsense is that my impoverished state, and the unending pressure from the Church, did indeed force me to sign the bloody thing.

There is a partial legal Gag Order placed on me, as it is on many other Survivors, but that gag order does not stop me from speaking my mind.

The majority of Survivors are not rich people, they are poor people, they cannot afford to hire a Legal Team to stand against the bevy of Lawyers and Barristers used by the Churches and other Institutions to fritter down and negate justified claims.

Survivors are caught in a bind because of poverty, they have to rely on the ‘umbrella’ afforded by No Win No Fee law firms, and unless those firms are very sure that the case will be won they have to utilise common sense and decline to take the case on. Which leaves some Survivors with a justified claim that they cannot afford to pursue on their own.

Survivors in that position are forced to rely on the National Redress Scheme. I’m not surprised that a lot of Churches and Institutions have signed up to that Scheme, because if any sort of compensation is paid out to an individual under that Scheme it is going to be an awful lot less than what a Court would reasonably award. In my opinion only, the Scheme unintentionally favours the Churches etc and disadvantages the Survivors. The Scheme has unintended consequences attached. Religious politicians, religious institutions, not the best of combinations where redress is concerned.

Many Survivors are riddled with depression and PTSD, and I am one of them. And our condition often precludes us from taking on behemoth institutions like the Catholic Church.

It is important to note that I believe that most religious people are decent folk, and that any action I have taken, or will take, is against the Institution that made no effort whatsoever to protect my younger self from incessant abuse.

To initiate another round of legal action is not an easy thing for me to do, or for any other Survivor to do or countenance. It would be far easier to stay hidden away in the background.

Many people might not realise that when you initiate a claim, in order for a medico-legal report to be produced, your whole life and being is subject to a rigorous forensic examination by Psychiatrists appearing for either side of the case. Sometimes that examination is empathetic, and sometimes it is acidly adversarial.

Either way, you are forced over a number of years to continually live and recall the instances of your abuse in full never-ending detail simply to prove that your claim is justified. No wonder the process so completely demolishes so many people.

Churches etc drag out claims for as long as possible and subject the Survivor, who is in a very vulnerable position, to begin with, to a long period of sustained pressure. My initial experience with my claim against the Church drove me to the edge, and I learnt a lot from that. They will not do that to me again.

I will not be silent.

People out there, those of a well-meaning mindset or otherwise, need to understand that when Survivors approach the legal system to attain justice, they are hamstrung from the get-go because they simply do not have the dollars to hire a high-flying legal team. The Churches do.

It has taken me over 60 years to get to the point where I can say the following. Today’s High Court decision in favour of George Pell is the trigger.

I cannot speak for other Survivors but I can at least guess about what many of us might be feeling. The anger at how we have been treated is starting to appear. The anger is real. It comes from a deep well-spring of imposed traumatic experiences, and from the way we have been demeaned, sidelined, denied fair justice, and pushed aside by Religious Institutions over the course of our lifetimes.

It is a well-justified anger.

 

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How many NSW fires were deliberately lit?

Well, there was no ‘dry lightning’ was there?

A few days ago there were seventy or so fires burning across NSW. The results were catastrophic. Lives lost. Properties lost. Many of those fires are still burning.

There are a myriad number of natural reasons why a fire would start. Since I’m not a fire-cause scientist I can only lump all of those reasons under the general heading of Spontaneous Combustion. It is a natural phenomenon. It happens. Always has. Always will. Nature’s bush clean out so to speak.

Other things happen too. Human things. Accidental things. Cigarette butts get dropped in the wrong spot, broken shards of glass out in the bush act as magnifying lenses, the blades of mowers strike rocks and produce sparks, the wind blows embers out of campfires, electrical shorts happen in power lines. Unintended consequences. Totally accidental.

However, on television, when I look at the grime-weary faces of firefighters, when I look in the eyes of those who have lost all, when I listen to the words of the fire and emergency management authorities, and when I hear about the efforts of the police to ensure the personal safety of the members of their communities … I cannot help but ask that question that is not yet being asked.

How many of those fires were deliberately lit?

Naturally, it is my hope, that only a very small number were deliberately lit.

A short while ago, here in Queensland, at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast, a fire roared up to the boundaries of the Peregian Springs residential estate. The residents who had to flee, the firefighters who had to fight the blaze, and the police who had to risk their own safety to ensure the rescue of others, were all subject to a terrifying experience. Who can forget the nationally shown footage of the ember attack as it was propelled across suburban streets by a strong and relentless wind.

That fire at Peregian Springs was deliberately lit.

The climate science is in. Long in. Our climate is changing. Our fire season, our natural-cause fire season is extending in length. The ferocity of fires is increasing. All of the authorities tasked with bush fire and emergency management deal with those facts. Deniers are short on the ground on that particular front line. The climatic conditions that contribute to the frequency of natural-cause fires are getting worse.

Naturally and accidentally occurring fires are hard enough to deal with, and yet we have people out there who seek to amplify the affect of all that, who seek to gain some sort of vicarious thrill by striking a match and standing back to observe the consequences.

So what can we as a society do about all of that?

I’m not talking about what do we as a society do with the perpetrators if identified and caught. I’m talking about how do we minimise the potential for it happening in the first place.

Education in our schools? Yes. It is probably already done. Also, there are obviously laws already in place that criminalise the deliberate starting of bush fires. Yet deliberate lighting still happens.

As a person who lives slightly on the centre-left of politics I am naturally wary of willingly lining up to give the Australian Government any more terrorism related powers, largely because I question who they target those powers at … refugees being a case in point.

However, when you look in the eyes of the firies, the traumatised residents, the police, the emergency service personnel, how could it not be said that in the case of a deliberately lit fire they were all exposed to to a rank act of terrorism.

I believe that as a nation we should identify gross acts of arson as acts of terrorism. Arsonists are not simple little breakers of the legal code. Their acts have the capacity to kill innocent people, their acts have the potential to burn out communities.

If bush fire arson is deemed to be an act of terrorism, and if it is subject to that kind of national law, then perhaps it might give the would-be perpetrators serious pause for second thought before the match is struck.

What do you think? What other approach, the thoughts above aside, might help to address the vexing problem of deliberately lit fires?

Note: The following information was supplied by another AIMN writer. You can read her full summation in the comments section below. As well, you can read her articles if you do an AIMN search.

“Proportion of deliberate bushfires in Australia

The Australian Institute of Criminology found that,”on average across the country, approximately 13 percent of vegetation fires are recorded as being deliberate and another 37 percent as suspicious. That is, for all vegetation fires for which there is a cause recorded, 50 percent may be lit deliberately.”

https://aic.gov.au/publications/bfab/bfab051

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Do not blame the ALP … blame The People!

In the next day or so the ALP will release their post-mortem on why they lost the election. I am sure it will be a very erudite document. It will probably blame Shorten, it will probably blame the breadth of policy that the ALP took to the election, it will probably blame the ALP for over-reach. It will probably blame the Palmer affect.

Well, as a person who splits his allegiance between the Greens and the ALP I have my own view on the whole deal.

There was nothing wrong with the policies that the ALP took to the last election. Their policies were well overdue. Their policies did not represent a case of over-reach, if anything, their policies (given their fear of losing votes) represented a case of under-reach.

The problem with the last election was not the ALP. The problem at the last election was with The People.

Here we are in the 21st Century, with a populace that has been exposed to world-class education over the last 30 years or so, who voting-wise expressed their incredible ability to sideline critical thinking and analysis, and who subsumed the good of the nation for the good of their own venal pockets and wallets, and who voted for a group of political representatives who are repressive, subversive, and who are overtly promulgating the mores of Fascism.

This country that we love, and hold dear, is not under threat from easily swayed swinging voters. Our country is under threat from Intelligent People who made a very considered decision to support our current Coalition Government. Those people willingly voted for the draconian policies that are now being run out.

The problem in contemporary Australia is not with the ALP, the last election was lost because venal people put themselves, and their wants, before the good of the nation. And they don’t give a toss about the cost of their decision

 

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The Lack of Progressive Guts

How prepared are you to be arrested? How prepared are you to move beyond Keyboard Warriordom, and take your views and thoughts to The Streets?

It is so easy to sit back in the safety of one’s lounge, one’s study, one’s safe place on the verandah, one’s place of security and comfort, and from there sprout forth about Morrison, about the failings of the LNP and the ALP, about the negative influences that are demolishing this great nation that we hold dear.

Words are cheap. Even the best written words, without the attendant action attached to them, are just hot-no-go-anywhere circular air.

The problem with us Progressives is that we are reasonable people, we think that the people who are damaging our country will respond to logic, and reason, and fact. Bad mistake on our part.

If we wish for a better country, a better Australia, we need to move beyond words and put our guts on the line.

I question the fact that the ALP, the Greens, the Unions, GetUp! etc have not banded together (and got over themselves and their individual agendas) and called all of us out on the Streets to arrest the terrible direction that right-wing ideology is dragging our nation in.

Many years ago, in another time and another place, Sir Thomas More pointed out that Silence Condones Assent. It cost him his head. In the current era in Australia to have the courage to oppose, to say that what is happening is not right, might well have a personal cost attached. We have to look within ourselves to ascertain whether or not we are prepared to pay a cost for the convictions that we sprout.

It is my personal belief that we need to take to the Streets. It is my personal belief that we need to back up our words with action. We need to take risks, we need to put ourselves at risk. If we are not prepared to do so, then as Progressives, we are nothing more than sprouters of hot air.

Silence Condones Assent.

Note: this brief little article is not a lecture to you. It is actually a lecture to me. As a retired older Australian I have to remind myself that words are cheap. Change requires Action. Change requires the ‘doing of something’.

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Farm Automation and Lab-Grown Meat: death-knell for country towns?

(I’d finished writing this article before a friend pointed out to me the issue of large Corporates buying up Australian water aquifer land overlays. Too late to weave that into the following discourse. But that issue, combined with what I talk about below, plus combined with the watering-down of environment-protecting legislation, all contributes to the perfect storm that is about to blow across our agricultural and primary production landscapes. You may have a clearer view of all that than me … you may see other issues that contribute to the coming change … if so, feel free to let rip.)

Politicians of all stripes love to spruik from the high heavens that they have a plan, but here in Australia do you see much evidence from our political parties of any sort of future-proofing plan in the agricultural sector? Do you see any evidence that they are looking beyond their own re-election requirements? I don’t. And there is an item coming up that will require a bit of foresight and planning in my opinion.

So here we go …

Corporate entities are taking over a lot of our farmland. Gosh, even Mining Magnates are getting into beef and dairy. As much as a single operator in an air-conditioned office 1,500 kilometres away from a mine site can control automated diggers, and trucks, and trains, which ensures that while one person will get a job the vast majority of mining work-hopefuls who believed the promise of politicians will not (mmm … shades of the coming Adani experience), then what makes us think that agriculture and pastoralism will not go down the same path.

Automation and AI are already making substantial inroads into how our agriculture is practised, and large suppliers like Woolworths and Coles will continue to squeeze family owned farms out of existence, thus greasing the way (now that smells like a plan in progress) for large Corporates to jump in and establish massive economies of scale.

The day is coming when the bulk of our agricultural product will be sowed, nurtured, and reaped, by machinery that is controlled from a distance. Human bums on that automated machinery will not be required. Machinery needs maintenance of course, so initially diesel-mechanics etc will have a bit of a future, but solar panel and battery experts will have an even brighter one.

So the question is … what happens to our regional and outback towns?

If we don’t need as many agricultural farm workers as we once did, and if all the tractors and harvesters are automated and controlled from a comfortable office somewhere on our urban coast land, and if machinery maintenance workers are fly-droned in on an as-needs basis (FIFOs in other words), and if Corporate supply chains visit a guaranteed redundancy on outback small town hardware and agricultural supply shops … then who’ll be around to utilise outback hairdressers, cafes, grocery stores, car retailers, sports ovals, community centres etc?

The prime lifeblood of small regional communities, human beings, will no longer be there in a work-sense. They won’t be required to work on the large corporate farms, they won’t be called on to supply goods and services to those large automated farms, and there’ll be nobody around to sell a coffee or a car to.

Sounds a bit draconian doesn’t it?

Well, a couple of weeks ago I visited my old library workplace at the University of Qld. I left there in the early 1990s, that’s not so long ago. There were floors of librarians and library assistants back then, there were human workers all over the place, a veritable throng of happy workers … but all of that is now gone. How many human workers did I see where I had once worked as a library-assistant? None.

Computerisation, automation, nobody around to take a coffee break, or more to the point, nobody around anymore to buy that coffee to take that break. That sort of thing is coming to the world of agriculture, and coming to our small outback regional towns.

Farmers are practical people, they have to be, they deal with the vagaries of nature on a daily basis. Many farmers who produce the steaks that end up on our plates are also being very practical when they raise the looming issue of lab-grown meat production. They know it is coming. They know that it is a threat to their very future existence as cattle producers.

As much as some farmers are moving into aqua-culture of barramundi etc, I can see a time when cattle producers start to solidly jump in on the ground floor of the coming lab-grown meat revolution. If they don’t, others will. Others already are.

And let’s face it, farmers know how to produce a good tasting steak, so they, as opposed to the entrepreneurial petri-dish crowd, are at least currently knowledge-wise better placed to supply a better tasting product.

But if lab-grown meat production spells the death-knell for traditional ways of producing meat, which I believe it eventually will, and if untold squillions of hectares of grazing land are no longer required to produce that meat, and if the bulk of the workers in the current cattle industry who fly and drove over those hectares are no longer required, and if all the workers in the ancillary services that hang off the cattle industry are no longer required, if the sales yards are no longer required, and if the small settlements they live and buy their coffees and beers in are no longer required … then we are presented with yet another reason why our iconic rural outback towns will be under one heck of a future negative pump.

There will no longer be a reason for their existence.

So what do our politicians think about all of this? What plans are they working on to ensure that there is a future viability for the Bush as a place for people to live and work in? Since I can’t see that they even have the capability to think more than three years into the future, beyond the immediacy of their own re-electability, I think it is a fair bet to say that there is no plan, and there is no future-planning on the issue of retaining a viable future outback lifestyle.

The hard fact is that the vast majority of Australians do not choose to live in the outback, or on the vast inland broad plains, and those who do choose to, and who love to live out there are reliant on a job in, or on the ability to supply services to, a system of agriculture/farming/pastoralism that is eventually going to go the way of the Dodo.

If people want to continue living outback, what are they going to do in the future? Can ramped-up tourism partially fill the void? What else could happen out there that would attract, and retain, people?

Automation, robotics, remote-controlled machinery, control of water resources, a FIFO small-scale maintenance workforce, and factory-grown meat … when all combined together they illustrate a growing perfect storm of convergence that will re-write agricultural and pastoral practices in this country. It won’t all happen today, but it will all happen within a foreseeable tomorrow. Some of the elements that will contribute to that perfect storm of disruptive change are happening under our feet already.

I’m wracking my brains and I can’t come up with a clear answer as to how to ensure the viability of our outback towns and settlements that are reliant on our current methods of growing and breeding things that we eat and need.

But what do you think? What are your thoughts on what sorts of policies and plans could be embarked on, now, to ensure the future viability of the great Australian Bush?

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Patriots in a Red Dirt Land

It has been written elsewhere that Patriotism is but a short goose-step away from Fascism, and that Nationalism is but a short spurt of frenzied flag-waving away from Totalitarianism. There is more than just a shade of truth in all of that.

Beneath the veneer of our myths of egalitarianism, and beneath the myths of our inclusiveness and fairness, and beneath the myths of the classless nature of our society, runs a broad river of hatred, bigotry, and ignorance.

The Australia that we hope for, the Australia that we know we could be, has been pulled away from our grasp, and is now steered and controlled and increasingly damaged, by our nationalists, and by our patriots.

There is beauty in our wide brown land. Goodness happens above our red dirt and sinuous escarpments. But hate, suppression, and bigotry, are washing like a tide over the remaining vestiges of that beauty and goodness.

We now live in a land where the promulgators of hate and bigotry are repeatedly elected to our national parliament. We now live in a land where the mini-Goebbles of rightist propaganda, the megaphone voices of our media and airwaves, sprout bile, and hatred, and bigotry, with well sponsored impunity.

How did we allow the Australia that we so love and cherish flip so badly to that negative insidious side?

As willing war-partners with others we are now a country that has dropped bombs on people, and we are now a country that incarcerates and punishes the very people who are fleeing from the bombs that our country helped pulled the release lever on.

As beneficiaries of a flat out invasion, as beneficiaries of a flat out land grab, our nationalists and our patriots oppose the truth of our history, and oppose the rights and aspirations of the First Nations’ People of Australia. Our nationalists and our patriots wave their flags of hate, and bigotry, and racism, with pride.

We now live in a land where the badgering and demonisation of our poor, our unemployed, and the disadvantaged, has become a blood sport for our nationalists, and our patriots.

We now live in a land where the nationalistic and patriotic voices of ignorance, where the vanguard voices of anti-science, where the deniers of truth and the self-celebratory representatives of artifice, dwell solidly in the highest offices of power and influence in this country.

We now live in a land where our patriots and our nationalists celebrate our destructive environmental tendencies, grease the path to further levels of atmospheric pollution, and seek to profit from their unending upward spiral of development of our globally-damaging fossil fuel holdings. They fly in the face of, and deny with well-funded ignorance, the evidence that will greatly affect the world of their children and grandchildren, and the world of our children and grandchildren.

Those of us who feel this way are not in a minority. Those of us who feel this way are not ignorant flag-waving nationalists, we are not truth-averse or goose-stepping patriots, and there is no way known that we will join their ignorant, and destructive, ranks.

But there is something that we are, there is something about us that needs to change if we wish to save our country from the surge of nationalistic patriotism that is pulling our country away from beneath our feet. We have to have a good hard look at our own collective silence.

We are getting to the point in our country where appeals to logic, and reason, and evidence, and bi-partisanship, and compromise, and positive cooperation in the pursuit of any sort of good for this country … are increasingly ignored, and increasingly fall on deaf and ignorant patriotic and nationalistic ears.

It is not as if we are seeking something radical, something that resides beyond the boundary of impossibility or normal human aspiration. We are simply seeking the creation and the nurturing of a more progressive and humane Australia.

We are running around in circles of our own making if we continue on with our silence, but nobody likes to be lectured. I don’t. You don’t.

So it poses the question. What can we do about it?

Well, as part of the silent majority … (and I believe it is time that we as a progressive grouping of people claimed that tag back as our own, and it is time that we claimed that tag back from the nationalists and the patriots of this land) … as part of the silent majority who wish better for this country, I struggle to come up with a clear answer to the question.

We are part of a majority, a slim majority, and we struggle to gain fair representation at the national political level, and apart from our brave spokespeople who have the courage to publicly represent our aspirations on platforms such as AIMN and elsewhere, we, and I, are part of a slim and largely silent majority. We want change. We want real change. We want to hose out the fires of hate and bigotry and negative public policy-making that sears this beautiful land.

Yes, we occasionally get out there and attend some ‘safe’ protests. I certainly have. Yet, when I stroll down the protest street, legally or otherwise, with my banner held high, the thought keeps arising that all of this is just simply not working, all of this is just simply not changing anything. There are not enough of us out there. There is no unstoppable critical mass forming.

My thought is that we all need to get out there. That is my thought on the matter, it is not a lecture to anybody on the matter. But is it possible for us to step outside the comfort zone of our daily comfortable existence?

Mass unstoppable protest, to my mind, is the only answer. Reasonableness, and hope in the power of our electoral system, has not worked, and the rightist nationalists and patriots currently control our national political and societal agendas. They present a face of Australia to the world that is not representative of who we are.

But getting out there and protesting, and standing solidly in the road against the nationalists and patriots, is not always an easy thing to do in contemporary Australia. Because it identifies you to them clearly as a non-patriot, and a non-nationalist, and a non-fascist, and a non-bigot, and a non-racist, and a non-hater, and a non-ignoramus, and a non-denier. It publicly identifies you as NOT being like them.

Their power will continue to grow in Australia unless more and more of us are prepared to get out there, unless more and more of us are prepared to run the risk of identifiably standing in opposition and defiance to them.

Our political parties who oppose the Right need to do more than just try and represent us in our parliaments. They need to join us on the streets. We need to join them on the streets. We need to join each other on the streets.

I cannot see any other method that will, from now on, help us to achieve a better and more humane and more progressive Australia.

Having just read the article by RosemaryJ36 on The AIMN titled ‘Empathy. They have none.’ I can only echo, and agree with, that author’s words … “It is becoming more and more apparent that we need to go down the path of civil disobedience, following the example of the people of Hong Kong.”

 

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St. Vincent’s Catholic Orphanage: Criminal acts, sadism, and nightmares …

It is time to speak of terrible things.

The Sisters of Mercy. The Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane. To date I have not accused either entity of direct personal responsibility for failing to protect me from the perpetration of a series of criminal acts upon my person. I do so now. Publicly, and without reserve.

Gag Orders are terrible, and binding, legal things. I am partially subject to one. Powerful people and institutions use them to silence their victims. That’s as straight a statement as you are ever likely to read.

Sometimes silence needs to be broken. I’m breaking it.

The content of my legal Testimony against the Catholic Church, and the Sisters of Mercy, has been muted, and sidelined, and buried under tons of legalese and gagging. Well I’m sick of all that. I’m sick of the politeness and restraint that fear of ramification, fear of blow back, and fear of being targeted, forced upon me.

I’m sick of fear and silence. My abuse experiences are deemed to be historical. I deem them, and their affects on me, to be relevant, contemporary, and in my face every day.

Here are the objective facts … at times not easy reading. I will not filter out the truth.

Note: Following on from here I provide detail of my abuse experiences in St. Vincent’s Orphanage in Nudgee, Brisbane. The details may be upsetting for some people. In the past I have skirted around them, but I can no longer do that.

I’m not an orphan, yet I ended up at St. Vincent’s Orphanage when I was five years old. I lived there between 1957 and 1964. I had parents who could no longer hold their relationship together, and back in the 1950s that was a fast conduit to children ending up in State Care.

Children. There were four of us. We were separated and doled out by the State of Queensland. My two older sisters were sent to Nazareth House at Wynnum, a Catholic Orphanage, and my older brother and I were sent to St. Vincent’s at Nudgee near Brisbane, another Catholic Orphanage. My brother was in the older boys’ section, I was in the younger boys’ section. Separated, no mutual support.

I have no idea what my brother and sisters experienced in the Orphanages. We have never discussed, or shared, our experiences. We made belated attempts, later in our young adult lives, to forge some sort of, any sort of, familial bond. It didn’t work, and we drifted permanently apart.

St. Vincent’s Orphanage at Nudgee. Run by the Sisters of Mercy. Here’s what I experienced, which is but another awful variation of what so many others experienced. It was a bloody nightmare.

Beatings. I received a lot of them. Open-handed, closed fists, belts, razor strops. Some of the Sisters were very angry people and they took their frustrations out on me, and others. And what was I at the time when it all started? A defenceless five year old.

The food. It was awful. The best that can be said about it is that it kept you alive. It was contaminated and sub-standard. Because I was so thin and malnourished I was forced, once the regular meal was finished, to sit on a bench at a special table, the skinny kids’ table, and forced to consume a second meal of cerevite porridge under the staring gaze of all. The taunts were never ending … special skinny kids, special skinny kids, something wrong with them … you can imagine what that did to the psyche of a five year old.

The bloat of stomach pain lingers in my memory. The open-handed slaps to the side of my head from the Sisters when I could not finish the second meal lingers in my memory. The taunts stuck. Not only did the Sisters not stop them, they doubled-down and reinforced them with their stinging slaps. But all of that was just background stuff, always there, always endured.

Oral Rape. I was five/six years old. I was dragged into a closed room in the dormitory and assaulted by an adult male. The feeling of being smothered has never left me. He covered my nostrils with his hand and he gagged my mouth with his penis. I couldn’t breathe. I was terrified. When he finished he punched me, closed fist, and promised more of the same if I said anything. Where were my so-called protectors, where were the Sisters of Mercy? The assault happened in a Nun’s bedroom. To this day I cannot stand to be in a closed space with curtains.

Anal Rape. I was hauled before a Head Nun because my serge shorts, special shorts that we got to wear to mass on Sunday, were soiled on the rear. She physically beat me with a razor strop for soiling the shorts and would not listen to anything I tried to say. The beating was body-wide and it totally demolished me.

And why were the shorts soiled? They were soiled with leakage from my rectum. Semen, excreta, and blood. I was an Alter Boy, and I had been anally raped by the Priest who had visited to say Mass. There was no grooming involved, it was a sudden and brutal attack. Where were my protectors, the Sisters of Mercy, the Archdiocese, and the State?

Raped, and then viciously beaten. It altered who I was, and it has affected my whole life.

Mental cruelty. That was a way of life. Any expression of individuality was met with a beating, a thumping. I still cringe when somebody moves fast near me.

I used to, as a child, hang off the high fence of the Orphanage, staring up the incoming road, hoping desperately that my father would arrive and rescue me. He never came.

Many years later I met my father. We had one day together. That’s all. He died of cancer soon afterwards. On meeting him I had to quickly choose between loving him or hating him, I chose love. He told me that he desperately wanted to visit but the Nuns, the Sisters of Mercy, told him that it was not in the best interests of the children to be visited, and that he no longer had any parental rights. Their horrible stance on the matter hollowed him out, and hollowed me, as a child, out. There could have been rescue and release, but the Sisters of Mercy would not allow it.

After seven years in the Orphanage I was given a shirt, shorts, a pair of sandals, and a little port containing some other clothes, a godly pat on the head, and I was sent off to live with a foster family for my high school years. The Christian Brothers at Marist College Ashgrove were maybe not the best, but they did not come within cooee of the badness of the Sisters of Mercy.

From 1957 onward to today I have led a blighted affected life. I never realised any sort of personal potential. Finally in 2017 I sought redress from the Catholic Church and the Sisters of Mercy. I cited to them my childhood experiences under their care, I cited to them the kind of life I had led over the last sixty-two years.

They took into account my enduring poverty and they applied the screws of delay and obfuscation, and offered an insult of a Settlement to my claim against them. The debilitating affects of my poverty forced me to accept the Settlement.

There was no apology offered, no liability admitted, no offer of remedial therapy made. In my opinion that is yet another example of their ability to still abuse. It adds to the litany of criminality.

When I look back over my life now that I have reached the age of sixty-seven, I think about the unending childhood abuse, I think about the unrealised potential, I think about the jobs that I could not sustain, I think about all the failed attempts to gain professional qualifications, I think about the failed personal relationships, I think about the difficulty in maintaining effective communication with my children, I think about the fear of ending my own life that I wore like a smothering blanket for far too many of my years, and I think about how fear of just living continually undermined my reserves of intelligence, guts, and courage.

St. Vincents Catholic Orphanage at Nudgee was a nightmare. It was run by people, the Sisters of Mercy and the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, who not only did not provide care for me as their Ward, they took no steps to protect me when, as a child, I spoke up, or if at times I could not speak up, it was so bloody obvious that I had been raped and beaten and smothered whilst under their care.

I hold both the Order of the Sisters of Mercy, and the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, as entities, fully responsible for the criminal acts that were perpetrated upon me. They could have, but did not, prevent them. They are liable, and they are responsible.

People shy away from using the word Victim these days. I don’t shy away from using it at all. Perpetrators commit crime, and others by omission of responsibility allow crime to be committed. Those crimes create Victims. Those crimes do not create Survivors.

I no longer have time for euphemistic replacement words. Words such as Survivor are merely grab-bag words designed to give an impression that the victims of heinous crime have survived, and have miraculously shrugged off the negative life-long affects of the criminal acts perpetrated on them. Euphemistic words may make the speaker feel slightly better about things, but they do stuff all for the Victim. Behind the euphemistic words lies a very harsh reality for the victims of mental, physical, and sexual abuse.

Here are my harsh realities … they are, in part, drawn from a very lengthy medico/legal report compiled in 2018 as part of my legal process. The reading is bad enough, but I can assure you that the living of it all was far worse. I include this material to show you that criminal acts have a very definite affect on the victim. I would also, as you read the below, remind you that in my claim for redress that there was no apology offered, no liability admitted, or no offer of remedial therapy made to me by the Catholic Church.

Mental State Examination:

Mr Davis presented as a relatively intense and intrinsically sad person. His intelligence is above average, and could possibly be in the superior range. He is capable of thinking in a psychological manner.

He was significantly depressed, significantly anxious, but not overtly irritable at time of interview.

His affect was heightened and a little unpredictable. His affect did not become incongruent at any time.

He was not paranoid in attitude. He was not suffering delusions, hallucinations, or other symptoms to suggest a psychotic disorder of mind.

Commentary/Opinion:

Whilst it is late in the cycle of illness, Mr Davis has substantial unmet treatment needs.

Left as he is now, Mr Davis is highly unlikely to show improvement. There is risk that his various symptoms may become more problematic as he ages. His prognosis in this situation would be poor. If the plaintiff undertakes a reasonable and proper program of treatment, he should note some symptomatic improvement. However, he is unlikely to ever be symptom-free, given the pervasive acts of abuse/cruelty which he experienced whilst he was resident at the orphanage.

Mr Davis’ several year period of residence at the orphanage became a major stressor for him. There seems little point in trying to separate the effects of physical and emotional abuse from the effects of frank sexual abuse. Suffice it to say that substantive abuse, of any form, during the critical early formative years, is likely to trigger psychological problems which can become chronic and pervasive in type. This applies in the plaintiff’s case.

There should be no doubt that Mr Davis has multiple longer-term symptoms which link in greater part with his inability as a child to accommodate to his physical/sexual/emotional abuse at the orphanage.

The plaintiff has broad-ranging and chronic symptoms of persistent depressive disorder, from which he cannot escape. The symptoms interfere with his ongoing sense of well-being, and impair his function in everyday life.

Special Tests:

Mr Davis completed a Beck Depression Inventory II. He had a total score of 38 on the instrument, this placing him within the range for severe depression. He had moderate/high scores in the domains of pessimism, past failure, loss of pleasure, guilty feelings, punishment feelings, self-dislike, self-critical thinking, tearfulness, loss of interest, indecisiveness, feelings of worthlessness, difficulties with concentration, tiredness/fatigue, loss of energy, altered appetite.

Mr Davis completed a PCL-5. He had a total score of 48 on the instrument, this placing him above the diagnostic threshold for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The plaintiff completed a Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). He had a total score of 39 on the instrument, this placing him within the range for concern. He had moderate/high scores in the domains of numbing/tingling, unsteadiness of his legs, inability to relax, fears of the worst happening, being dizzy/light-headed, alteration in heart rate/rhythm, general unsteadiness, being terrified/afraid, general nervousness, hand tremors, being shaky/unsteady, fears of losing control, being scared, being faint/light-headed.

Documents:

I note the findings of the Queensland Government Redress Scheme (18 June 2009). Mr Davis had been found to have “more serious harm”. He was identified in an appended paper to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, suicidal thoughts, severe depression, and he was thoroughly predisposed in adult life to develop a major depressive disorder, chronic agoraphobic symptoms and panic symptoms additionally.

Other Points:

He has recollection of “unending abuse” and he recalled living in a constant fear that the next round of abuse was about to begin.

He has a persisting sadness that he is unable to relate in a consistent manner with people important to him.

He has ongoing anhedonic feelings, with constant nihilistic rumination, and occasional suicidal ideas.

He has a sense of chronic humiliation about his station in life.

He lost what he said had been his “spirit” in life.

He was incapable of achieving any joy or pleasure in his life.

SO WHERE TO FROM HERE?

So that’s what happened, and I currently do my best to deal with it all. And I haven’t given up.

I have recently learned that in Queensland, where I reside, it is possible to appeal against an unsatisfactory Settlement of Claim accepted under duress. My Settlement was grossly unsatisfactory. The duress was real.

I, and many other Victims of sexual abuse, do not want sympathy. We are way past the need for it. We want justice.

I intend to appeal. I want justice, I want just compensation, and I want no other human being of either gender to experience what I, and so many others, have been through, and are still going through.

The crimes that have been committed against me, and against so many others, fall at the extreme end of the spectrum of criminality. The perpetrators, the protectors of the perpetrators, and the uncaring ‘nothing to see here’ care-givers, should be confronted and never, ever, be allowed to get away with it.

St. Vincent’s Catholic Orphanage was a place of criminal acts, sadism, and the stuff of nightmares. It was a terrible experience to live through. I’m but one of many who had to endure it.

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From Vietnam to Iran: Australian Cannon Fodder?

This morning, in Ohio USA, our Prime Minister Scott Morrison attended the opening of the Australian funded Pratt Paper Factory. He gave a scripted little speech. In that speech, dutifully following the script, he thanked American Veterans for their service to the Great Alliance between the USA and Australia. What on earth did that little scripted homily have to do with the opening of a paper factory?

ScoMo’s little speech followed on from the equally hollow little speech by Donald Trump in which he praised up ScoMo and Australia as the best sort of friends the USA could possibly ever have. The false praise sprouted forth tsunami-like and it is a wonder that those in attendance weren’t washed out of the room on that tide of gushing compliments and suck-ups.

Made me wonder what it was all about. Then, of course, it hit me … it’s about Iran stupid!

Iran. Yet another Coalition of the Willing.

And what a load of bollocks all of that Coalition of the Willing language is. Because who in their right mind willingly volunteers to be blown to smithereens or volunteers to blow others into smithereens all in pursuit of somebody else’s unworthy cause.

Within the memory of our generation we had the Vietnam War, then Iraq, then Afghanistan. American wars. Failed wars. Nothing good, though much harm, came out of them. Surely we learnt something from all of that?

Some wars need to be fought, whether we like it or not, and World War II is an example of such a war. We have a very professional, but very small, Australian Defense Force (ADF) that is there to protect us and our interests. It represents precious capital that we cannot afford to fritter away on wars that have nothing to do with us.

There may have been a time, such as during the mentioned WWII, when the commitment of our soldiers’ lives to a cause was fully justifiable, and such a time may one day come again. But that time has not, yet, come again.

As the USA ramps up the rhetoric against Iran it would pay us to remember that America well and truly sold us the dummy with Vietnam, let alone Iraq, let alone Afghanistan.

Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist, educated in France. As the Japanese occupation of Vietnam was coming to an end in the closing stages of WWII Ho approached the Americans for assistance to unify his country, and to forestall the re-imposition of French colonial rule. He repeatedly petitioned President Harry S. Truman for support for Vietnamese independence, citing the Atlantic Charter, but Truman never responded. Essentially, the Americans told him to get stuffed.

Not unnaturally, Ho thought … no, actually, you lot can get stuffed, and he then proceeded to do just that to first the returning French, then to the Americans and their small number of Coalition of the Willing allies. We were one of those allies. Good old Australia … always prepared to suck-up to the Americans and jump, under instruction of course, onto the martial bandwagon of the USA.

The proof of the Vietnam pudding is always in the eating, and despite the dire warnings that we were all fed of Communist Hordes domino-toppling everything in sight we are presented, now, with a modernising and unified Vietnam getting on quite ok with the West … Ho’d be tearing his hair out, because that’s all he wanted for his people in the first place.

One cannot be flippant about such a matter. Good Australian lives, the lives of good Australian military men and women, were lost in the Vietnam War. Many of our military people were maimed and psychologically shattered by their service in Vietnam. It was not the choice of our service personnel to go to Vietnam, they were ordered to go there, by our politicians.

We need to remember that our service personnel were abused when they returned, and some, as Veterans, are still trying to come to grips with the health legacies of their Vietnam service. They deserved to be treated better than that. It was not their fault that our politicians thought that toadying up to the Americans was a good thing to do.

We, Australia, now have a legion of Veterans from the growing list of America’s wars. Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. With the exception of the Vietnam War, which had the overlay of the National Service Draft Lottery attached to it, most of the military folk that we sent to that steady treadmill of USA war-making, were volunteers.

Volunteers. They volunteered and joined up to protect Australia and Australian interests, and you can only have but the greatest respect for them because of that.

While only our Veterans can speak for themselves, I very much doubt that they joined up to fight for America.

If we dutifully submit to American requests and solidly sign on to the Iran Coalition of the Willing we are yet again selling ourselves short, selling our Service Personnel short, and selling our national independence short.

We should not have been in Vietnam, or Iraq, or Afghanistan. We should decline the invitation (order) to involve ourselves with Iran.

The lives of our service personnel are precious, and those lives should not be wasted in yet another possible war that has nothing to do with us.

It is our children and grandchildren of military age who always pay the price. Politicians like ScoMo or Trump and their historical predecessors, never do.

 

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On reaching the ripe age of 67 …

Tomorrow, touch wood, I reach the ripe old/young age of 67. Except for my family and friends that doesn’t necessarily mean all that much to anyone else, but it sure means an awful lot to me. I never thought I’d make it.

If matters such as Suicide or Childhood Sexual Abuse raise concerns for you then it is only fair to inform you that I do not intend to skate past them lightly in this article. Too much light-skating has been done with such matters, by too many, for too long.

As any of us grow older it is quite normal to reflect back upon a life either lived well, or badly, or neutrally, or desperately, or happily, or quietly, or dronishly, or distractedly. In my case all of those things have applied at one stage or another. To be more exact, perhaps they have all applied all of the time. Whatever the truth of that, life is still good.

When I reflect back on my own life I do so with the understanding that there are many people out there who have lived a far harder life than I have, and that helps me keep truth and perspective up front and centre as I write this. And it also explains why somebody like me abhors the thought of sympathy received at my end, but who is quite happy to extend same to others.

But why write this? Well, why not? I can’t always write about Artificial Intelligence, or Space, and I can always write about the weather tomorrow.

As a scribe I have had many articles published in the ‘citizens’ voice’ sphere. Articles on welfare, social justice, politics, the nature of time, and sometimes just simple quirky fun stuff. But who is the person who does the writing? Why do I think the way I do, and why do I pursue the social justice causes that I am so passionate about?

To answer all that would take a book-length scribble, so I’ll go for the short version instead.

People now talk quite openly about matters such as Childhood Sexual Abuse and Suicide. Over the course of my life such matters were not openly discussed, they were under-carpeted, and most people in my experience, except for an exceptional few, ran a million miles rather than listen to whatever I may have had to say. So be it, that’s the way it was. But now is different.

When I think about reaching the age of 67 I think about the people who did not reach that age, and the reasons why they did not reach that age, and I think about how for me the truth of the possibility of not reaching a point of happy old crustiness was such a close run thing.

At the moment I’m working on an article about the contemporary ALP, my usual take on the ludicrous nature of Australian politics, but in the background I’m also assisting another Survivor to get the story of the life he has lived into a coherent written form. Providing that assistance, though I am very determined to do so, is proving to be more difficult than I had imagined. It’s called the mirror effect. You see yourself reflected back.

Why have I lived my entire life with Suicide Ideation bubbling away just below the surface?

If you have read my articles on Childhood Sexual Abuse on AIMN you’ll have done the dot-joining thing ages ago, so I don’t need to reprise the details. Suffice it to say that there have been so many times throughout my life where I thought it would simply be easier, and less painful, to no longer be here, to no longer endure the painful feelings. Quite frankly, I’m bloody amazed, and thankful, that I am still here.

The other day I remarked to the other Survivor that if I had to describe my life it would be like this … My life was snuffed out and shut down at 5 years old and I didn’t start to wake up until I reached the age of 60 years. That’s a literal truth. No wonder I thought that not being around was better than being around.

I’d love to say that there was some sort of miraculous experience that made me dump the thought of suicide out the window, but there wasn’t. Such thoughts, and the affects of my childhood experiences, are permanent. They’ll be with me always. The reality of all that used to gut me out, and I fought against it with all of my energy, which simply left me permanently exhausted and seriously considering self-termination.

Yet I am still here. And why is that?

A good Psychiatrist simply made me realise that I was involving myself in a battle that I could never win. He made me realise that I was fighting against something that would never, despite herculean efforts, ever go away. Your condition is permanent old bod, so get used to it, work out a way to live with it, run with your intelligence (ha …. such as it is) and your strengths, and live on. It was a truth I needed to hear, and it sure as shit made me think about things.

There was I hoping for a release that would never come. There was I thinking of killing myself because the weight of depression and PTSD, despite all my efforts, was not getting any lighter at all. So it took a change of perspective from me. I had to change my view of everything.

My afflictions are permanent. They cannot be undone. They cannot be fixed. It has taken my whole life to come to an acceptance of those facts. Thank the stars or whatever that acceptance has come.

I have given up the fight. There is no battle to be fought. I now see the permanent nature of the injuries to my psyche and my being as stubbed bent toes that are simply solidly and permanently attached to me. They are part of me, they are a permanent part of my body, and they have shaped how I think, and what I think about.

When I write about social injustice in our society I write from a very solid, solid, base. I know what unfairness feels like, I know what demonisation feels like, I know what to be the recipient of rape and abuse feels like, I know what to be the recipient of violence feels like, I know what cruelty feels like, I know what to be the target of others’ warped anger feels like, I know what to be impoverished feels like, I know what to be disadvantaged feels like. That’s why I’m an experiential, and not a bookish or an academic style of writer.

I don’t always write about the Australian Welfare System, but when I do I am consciously scathing of it, and of those who designed it and of those who administer it. Reform of our system of welfare is a cause that I am passionate about. Welfare Recipients are human beings and deserve to be treated that way.

Refugees, who are legal seekers of asylum, and who are fleeing the warfare, and the bombs, that we have inflicted upon them because of our involvement in all of the Coalitions of the Willing, do not deserve to be treated inhumanely, nor do they deserve to be incarcerated.

I mention those last two matters to simply example how my own experiences have formed my thinking. My experiences inform my thinking in all such matters and causes.

As I finish off now my thinking runs to you, the reader, and I wonder what sort of life you have had. I wonder what obstacles you have had to surmount. I wonder where your joys come from. And I wonder what experiences inform your thinking. I certainly hope that your life is a happily lived one.

So tomorrow. 67 years of age. I’ll be celebrating it with bells on I assure you. A glass of Shiraz, maybe even a pie.

No matter what, life is good. I’m glad to be here.

Would you like an interesting Weekend Challenge?

Do you have a favourite topic or issue that you would like to raise? Perhaps something that you feel the media, or even writers like me, have never turned their attention to?

So here’s the challenge. Think of an article that you would like to write about that issue, but don’t actually write the whole article. Simply come up with a Title for the article, and then write a one or two paragraph synopsis and post it as your comment. I’ve given a couple of pull-quote examples below from my AIMN articles to give you an idea of length, word-count, and format. Might be fun and interesting for all the rest of us to read what you have to say. Brevity is the key.

Your topic doesn’t have to be serious, it can be raw comedy, or satirical, or it can be about Cricket if you wish, or it can be very serious and designed to draw our attention to a worthwhile cause. The usual rules of writing decorum apply … no overt bagging or personal attacks or over the top profanities.

Of course there has to be a winner, and there has to be a prize. Since I’m the worst judge of anything I’ll have to leave picking the winner to the Court of Public Opinion (ha … if that seems like a grand cop-out to you that’s only because it is), and as for the prize, the biggest Bucket Of Kudos will wing your way. Wouldn’t mind winning that one myself.

So … do you feel like taking up the challenge to inform, amuse, or even surprise the rest of us? Go for it, you are the writer and we are the audience!

Cosmic Follies and the Race for Space

Humanity was a low-level civilisation, and just like the 3,112 other failed civilisations we have studied thus far in the galaxy known by the Aliens as the Milky Way .. they were hardly unique. They succumbed to the same self-destructive drive as the others. They never managed to become post-nuclear, or post-war, and they killed off their own habitat, and ultimately their own species.

The Australian Dark Age

To anybody who might think that I’m being slightly over the top here all I can say is the following … the water is in the pan, it is currently lukewarm, and we are the frog. Also, the mass of the population under the old Weimar Republic thought that the totalitarian ‘jobs and growth’ mantra was a wonderful thing, until they learnt at great cost to themselves and others that it wasn’t when economic crisis and political instability led to the collapse of the republic and the rise of the Third Reich.

Through the lens of time

Whimsy … is it possible for me to look back over my shoulder, and from my present now, directly observe the Roman invasion of Britain in 43AD? You’ll soon see that I have a prime, if hopeless, motivation for wanting to do such a thing.

Of course, it is possible for me to do it. It is eminently possible. But the trouble is I’m in the wrong place to observe such a thing. I’d need to be somewhere on the other side of our galaxy with an exceptionally good telescope. Reflected earth light from 43AD has been travelling outwards from here at the rate of 299,792,458 meters per second, which translates as 9,460,528,000,000 km each and every year for the last 1,976 years.

Endgame: Machine artificial intelligence and the implications for humanity

Machines are now learning how to modify their own instructional code based on their own experience of the external world. This type of coding is not based on humanity’s experience of the external world. Once a machine learns how to jump, jump it will. Once a machine learns how to think, think it will. Once a machine learns to act autonomously, act autonomously it will.

Humans are teaching machines how to recognise individual humans via facial recognition, and how to sense some human emotional states via bio-metric sensing. In the future, if a machine senses a threat it will act. Humans, and their emotional states, are a bit of a jumble. Sometimes fear responses can be mis-interpreted as aggressive responses. If a machine senses a threat it will act.

Some AI coders say that we should not fear any of these eventualities. They say that intelligent machines will augment and enrich the lives of human beings. There is truth and untruth in that. Weaponised machines will kill us humans just as dispassionately as one of them sans weapons will vacuum our carpets.

The Desert of Redemption?

In early April 2019 I jumped in my venerable X-Trail and headed west and alone into the Australian desert. After the finalisation of my case against the Catholic Church I needed clear air, I needed blue sky, I needed wider spaces, I badly needed a gallon of the finest shiraz, and I desperately craved a sense of redemption. It ended up being, to my surprise, a 7000k long journey.

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When Zealots control Welfare …

There is something wrong with the heart and soul of this nation. There is something troubling about the level of demonisation and targeted punishment that is directed at the most vulnerable members of our society.

There is something that is becoming clearly self-evident: when you allow amateur ideologically driven social engineers control over our welfare system they will promulgate, enforce, and saturate their social security policies with hate.

The evidence is in. The current Coalition Government of Australia more than overtly hates Welfare Recipients. The Cashless Welfare Card. Drug testing. Deliberate impoverishment on Newstart. The punitive JobActive system. RoboDebt.

And who are Welfare Recipients? Given the existence of a certain set of circumstances, or given the non-existence of a certain set of circumstances, Welfare Recipients are you and me, or could be you and me.

The unplanned loss of a job, which could happen to you at any time, and the difficulty in gaining a replacement for it. The trauma of divorce and the loss of assets, and the loss of the ability to cope, for mature aged men and women. The young struggling to gain a start. Homelessness. Sickness. Mental health issues which affect an increasing number of us. Economic recession. Any of those things could happen to you at any time and force you to become reliant on welfare.

Who else is on welfare? Far too many women who have lost everything, who have fled for their lives from the scourge of domestic violence. Far too many men and women whose lives have been ripped apart by the lasting damage of childhood sexual abuse. Far too many human beings whose lives have been turned upside down by unforeseen events.

And how are they treated? As scum, as dregs, as a drain on national resources, as bludgers, as drug addicts, as irresponsible, as incapable, as scammers, as low-lifes.

Well is that what you are? Is that what you will be if life sends you the curve-ball of unemployment for whatever reason?

We now have a situation in this country where hate appears to be the underpinning glue of social policy. Where from the Prime Minister down to the thoughtless braying crowd the expression of hate towards the vulnerable is seen to be good, and right, and just.

Well it is not.

The majority of Welfare Recipients, just like the majority of people in the workplace, just like the majority of people living in your suburb, just like the majority of people sitting next to you at a football match, just like the majority of people next to you on the bus, are decent normal folk just trying to lead a decent normal life.

A small number of people in your workplace, in your suburb, in that footy crowd, on that bus, or on welfare, will seek to take advantage. A small number of people always seek to do that. We’ve all met them, especially in the workplace.

Yet, from the Prime Minister down, we are fed a daily diet of hate towards Welfare Recipients, towards that one group of disadvantaged Australian citizens. We are told that people on welfare are different to anybody else, we are told that they are advantage seekers who need to be controlled, managed, corralled, and punished. Well they are not different to anybody else, they are you and me, or they could be you and me.

The conservative media takes delight in singling out isolated cases of welfare recipients who seek advantage, and then by imputation the media brands the majority of the rest of the decent folk on welfare as dole-bludgers, addicts, and societal thieves. Such media blood sport is sickening. That people watch, believe, and repeat such obvious untruths is worrying, because it speaks of the ease with which hate is being promulgated in our society.

We have now hit a ridiculous point in our national life. On the one hand we have a zealot, yes a zealot of a Prime Minister who publicly parades his religious love of fellow man for electoral advantage, but who promulgates policies of social injustice towards the disadvantaged.

And on the other hand we now have religious organisations and other community groups having to deplete their scant resources to repair the growing damage caused by our Prime Minister’s proudly proclaimed policies. The homelessness, the suicides, the despair, the poverty, the unfairness – all of those things are happening to decent disadvantaged folk in our society as a direct consequence of the policies of this current government.

There is something wrong with the heart and soul of this nation if we allow the current situation to continue. There is something wrong with our brutal national policies towards the disadvantaged. A very hateful and cruel streak runs through those who are in charge of our welfare system.

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Cosmic Follies and the Race to Space

Author: time will tell as to whether this is a work of fiction, or not.

When carried on the wind, and when afforded the passage of uncounted millennia of time, even the soft red dust of the planet had sufficient ablative power to erode down even the strongest of the Alien’s structures. Had we arrived a million years later, which is nothing in the cosmic scheme of things, in all likelihood, there would have been nothing left to study, or learn from.

Had we arrived two million years earlier we would have met them.

Bittersweet. That is the only way to describe our feelings when we first discovered the remnants of this space-faring civilisation. In our journeys throughout this galaxy, we had never, ever, seen any evidence that any other species had become post-atomic, or had clawed their way up the gravity well in a lasting sense. Yet here we were, on this small dusty red planet, looking at the evidence such as it was, and we had missed a face to face meeting with them by the smallest mere speck of time. Bittersweet.

But enough of such musings. As a Space Archaeologist, I have a job to do, and a report to write. If death and taxes were once perennial in our embodied era, the need to publish as First Author, and gain and retain resources, is still a must in the current one.

Report to the Senate Select Committee on Civilisation Number 3,113: Another example of Cosmic Folly in the Race to Space.
Principal Author: Identity 756
Co-Authors: Identity 832. Identity 184.

Source of information: Crystalline Data Cubes x 6. Located in a lined and once inhabited lava tube below Alien Base A. Called A simply because it was found first. AI Identity 184 managed the de-coding of the Alien’s digital records and a translation of same into our language.

Data from the Cubes is comprehensive. It details evolutionary history of the species, the rise of their civilisation from one-cell through to the level of multi-cell, the attainment and management of technological sophistication, and it also provides the timeline of their development of rocketry and their ultimate achievement of the prize of inter-planetary travel.

Their species was homogeneous, of one single type only, though they did adopt the artificial construct of ‘differing out’ on such matters as melanin content, and on a matter that they called Political Ideology. Prior to their demise, the Aliens had not achieved disembodiment, or transition through to absolute sentience as AI.

Prior to delivering the full body of the Report, I would like to present the following as an Executive Summary. It speaks for itself and is a direct translation from a digital video segment on sub-level 32 on Data Cube 4.

Mars Base Plymouth, Olympus Mons. 19th September 2045. Daily log. Security Classification Level: “Seriously? Who is left to care?”

“My name is Harald Jacobsen. I am a Human Being. I am the last surviving member of the Mars Joint Mission Number 15. I will run out of oxygen in two days time. I am well aware that no other human beings will hear my words. There are, no longer, any other human beings. My words are for those who may follow, who may one day come into and explore this Solar System.

I am not a technical expert, I am not a scientist, I am a plumber. And whoever you are who follows on from us, I am all you’ve got. All you’ll get is my view of things. But where to start?

Living and working in Space had always been my dream, and gaining a position on the multi-national Mars Base Plymouth maintenance team was that dream realised. The commercialisation of Space had largely been achieved in a cooperative manner. The Chinese, Americans, Europeans, Russians, and Indians largely stuck to a collegiate approach. The minor fracas over equitable access to the frozen water at the base of some of the Moon’s craters was settled satisfactorily by arbitration.

The scientific community, largely funded by governments, sought to explore and understand Space. The industrial community driven by private entrepreneurs sought to exploit it, especially the mineral resources in the asteroid belt. But tensions between the two were held to a manageable level. Bases were set up on the Moon and Mars, and exploratory missions were planned to explore the planets and moons further out in the solar system.

In many ways, we had it all. As a civilisation, we had managed to escape our planetary cradle, the birthplace of our species. We now had one egg in three baskets. If such a thing is possible we had ensured the survival of our species. Let’s face it, it was highly unlikely that one massive rogue asteroid could wipe out Earth, the Moon, or Mars, all in one go.

The Arms Race in Space was a bit of a worry though. So much happened in that area so quickly, and all of the space-faring nations dived in and played their part in ringing the planet with nuclear mega-tonnage. So it is a little hard to just point the finger at any one country, they all contributed to the craziness.

Somewhere in the Data Cubes no doubt you’ll find many Technical Papers that describe the reaching of the climatic tipping point on our home planet, Earth. We didn’t stop crapping in our own nest soon enough is this layman’s view of it all.

Despite the many warnings, we kept shooting foul gases up into our own atmosphere. We thought we had decades, a century even, to clean up the mess. We were wrong. The times of crisis, the point of critical mass, arrived in a rush. It felt as though Earth herself was saying that ‘I’ve simply had enough’. She bumped up the temperature by more than a notch.

But it was survivable for us as a species. We evacuated our coastal regions to avoid the rush-in of the mega-hurricanes, and the sea level rise caused by the total meltdown of the planet’s glaciers and ice sheets. We migrated to the sweet spot latitudes to escape the encroachment of the inland drought-induced deserts, and we emigrated to the continent of Antarctica.

But the common folk were not part of the ‘we’ who did those things. It was the powerful and the rich, and their attached national military forces, who grabbed and defended for themselves those safe havens.

Water refugees, sea level rise refugees, heat refugees, food refugees, were all turned back to their terminal fate.

Here on Mars, and on the Moon, we watched it all unfold. We had our own concerns, because we were still at least a decade away from achieving full self-sufficiency. We still relied heavily on re-supply missions from Earth.

And then the wave of Nuclear Suitcase Bombs happened in the safe havens. And then, in retaliation, big red buttons were pressed. And pressed again. And pressed again. And so it unfolded, and so it all ended.

The madness did not migrate to the Moon or Mars. Perhaps the button-pressers simply ran out of missiles. We managed to eke out our dwindling supplies for a bit but they were finite, and they have now run out. My last fellow human being died yesterday. There are three bottles of oxygen left.

When you folk from a future time study our species you’ll probably wonder about a few things.

Like: how can a species ignore such high-level evidence pointing to human-induced degradation of climate and atmosphere? How could a species so successfully stick their heads into the sands of deniability as the evidence mounted, and mounted, and mounted?

And: you’ll probably wonder at the level of self-species hatred that we carried. At first, we threw rocks at each other. Then we threw spears. Then we hacked with swords and shot with bullets. Then we used cannons and bombs. Then nuclear-tipped missiles. The voices of destruction defeated the voices of peace. We wiped ourselves off the face of planet Earth. No doubt you’ll wonder how any sentient species could have done that to itself.

Was it truly all like that? Well, I’m the last voice left, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Mine are the last set of human eyes that will ever observe the heavens, and I’m pretty pissed off because being the last Human was never supposed to be part of my job description.

Do I have any famous last words to share? No, I do not. Unlike the main character in Andy Weir’s 2011 book The Martian, there will be no happy ending for me. There are no potatoes.

I’m Human. I’m alone. I’m scared.”

Comment from Principal Author AI Identity 756

I will use Human Alien nomenclature in this summary. The full report follows on from this.

Humanity was a low-level civilisation, and just like the 3,112 other failed civilisations we have studied thus far in the galaxy known by the Aliens as the Milky Way .. they were hardly unique. They succumbed to the same self-destructive drive as the others. They never managed to become post-nuclear, or post-war, and they killed off their own habitat, and ultimately their own species.

Humanity called our home galaxy Andromeda, or NGC 224. The latter name has a nice ring to our ears. From there we have sent out many exploratory missions into neighbouring galaxies. The result has always been the same. Unfortunately, I cannot yet supply an answer to the Senate on the question that we have asked ourselves over and over again …

Does lasting intelligence exist anywhere, or are we, as we fear, truly alone in the Universe?

Author’s note: I certainly hope this remains a work of fiction. Also, we live in an era where theft of IP is rampant. The content above, and the Perfidon material in The Australian Dark Age is ©Keith Davis,2019©. They may end up as short stories or screenplays, who knows? Mmm … the © will not mean much if we blow ourselves up though will it?

 

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