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Rosemary Jacob Born and initially educated in England, arrived in Australia, 1/1/71. She has always loved maths and graduated from Imperial College London with a BSc (Special) Mathematics in 1957. Early influences have made her a strong supporter of social justice, a feminist and a believer that education is a lifelong pursuit. In 2008 she was admitted as a solicitor and barrister, practising law until 2012, while she also became an accredited mediator, practising until late 2017.She is concerned for the future of her 3 great grandchildren under the climate emergency.

Why are ‘religious’ organisations given tax free status?

There would have been few people who were not deeply shocked by the revelations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Now we have similar concerns revealed about the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I spent a considerable part of my school years studying the Bible, followed by examination of Comparative Religion, at a C of E secondary school in the UK.

The picture that this presented to me was that the Jews, followed later by the Muslims, and unlike the Greeks and Romans, chose to believe that there was one god, and that he effectively existed for the Jewish people.

Muhammad, of course, did not acknowledge that Jesus was, as claimed, the son of god – he saw him as another prophet, and, originally, maintained a more favourable view of the Jews than might be the case for modern Muslims.

Jesus’ message, that the god of the Jews loved everyone, was not accepted by the Jews, who did not oppose his crucifixion by the Romans.

The process followed by his disciples has resulted, over the centuries, in increasing numbers of groups developing what have, in many cases, become cults, which have enabled mainly men to exert a level of unholy power over their flocks!

The essential message, that Christ wants you to love your fellow beings, has been warped and distorted by many of those cults, and the longest enduring of them, the Roman Catholic Church, has concentrated on developing a level of power which has proved highly destructive.

Pope Francis would, it seems, if left to his own devices, try to bring the church into the 21st century, but, even for former Catholics, the attitudes of the church seem to implant guilt rather than love.

The conflict between much of Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament, and the practices of most of the so-called Christian sects, leave me totally puzzled that anyone could genuinely believe that could say they were spreading his words.

And all of that assumes that a god actually exists.

I became an agnostic decades ago!

The recent examination of the Jehovah’s Witnesses throws grave doubts on the extent to which its existence is actually desirable.

The Pentecostal branches, like that to which our Prime Minister adheres, seem to love money more than the people outside their organisation, and my personal feeling is that religion should be a private matter and receive no support from governments.

For many that might seem too radical, if not actually blasphemous, but, given the appalling behaviour which has been revealed in so many of these sects – including just a few like the Catholic Church, The Plymouth Brethren, Scientology and the Pentacostalists – I seriously think we have to ask whether they deserve the favours they are granted.

Same sex marriage has been a major bone of contention for many of the ‘religious’, who cling on to ancient biblical messages, ignoring modern science.

And recent events in Afghanistan have highlighted the fact that many religions refuse to recognise that the knowledge of the founders of the religions were ignorant of much that has since been revealed by scientific research.

We have to stop living in the past, teach science properly in all schools, let people follow any beliefs they choose – as long as they do not harm others in so doing – and teach ethics in all schools, while the money saved from ceasing to give tax benefits to existing bodies – except for genuinely philanthropic activities – should be used to help all the people who are currently struggling to survive.

Far more important than religion, is ensuring that all can survive, and that demands attention to climate change!

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COVID-19 and mobile phones

What research, if any, has been conducted to determine any possible link between transmission of the virus and the use of a mobile phone?

I am passing on an idea from a family member which appears to me to have significant merit.

Helping the World to survive

In The New Daily, on 19/08/21, the following was recorded:

On Sunday, the Taliban swept into Afghanistan’s capital as the government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.

“The former Afghan president has left the nation,” the head of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council and a longtime rival of Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah, said in a video announcement on Facebook.

“He has left the nation in this state; [for that], God will hold him to account.”

Days earlier we had reports of a severe earthquake in Haiti, causing severe injuries and loss of life and now the people are enduring torrential storms.

Severe fires have caused damage in Greece, most recently in the Greek island of Evia, as reported by ABC News; Tom Joyne on 15/08/21:

All over the island, there is a white-hot anger over the government’s disorganised response to the fires, for which the country’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has apologised.

Thousands have been forced to flee their homes across Greece as devastating wildfires spread throughout the country.

He has described the catastrophic wildfires as “the greatest ecological catastrophe of the last few decades”.

“The climate crisis – I’d like to use this term, and not climate change – the climate crisis is here, and it shows us everything needs to change” he said on Thursday, in his first news conference since the fires broke out.
“This is a common crisis for all of us.”

And this is just one of many fires occurring around the world.

Just what will it take for the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, to realise that the whole world is enduring disasters which we are all making worse than they might be, because of failure over the past 40 or 50 years to begin to rein in our wanton use of fossil fuels.

OK! So maybe the Afghanistan debacle is not a climate change disaster.

But the behaviour of our PM, in refusing to take urgent action to rescue those who helped our Australian forces over the past 20 years, knowing that the USA was pulling its forces out of Afghanistan, has now left hundreds at real risk.

His re-election in 2019 was off the back of lies about Labor’s policies and their consequences, aided by enormous financial support from Clive Palmer which helped the Coalition.

Sadly – because I believe that, in general, the Labor Party supports the workers, while the Coalition supports the wealthy – I have little faith in the ALP’s current policies. Many are being adopted in order, they hope, to have greater appeal, rather than because they are convinced that they represent good policy. We do NOT need to reduce taxes for the wealthy – in fact we need to increase them.

But the thought of Morrison winning the next election, and continuing to refuse to take action on global warming, to reduce emissions and generally clawing back money from the desperate while allowing big businesses to keep funds to which they are not entitled – I am glad I do not suffer from high blood pressure!

No country is doing enough to make a sufficient dent in undoing the damage which has followed, inevitably, from the Industrial Revolution.

Too many countries are claiming China is the villain and that taking action is wasted effort as long as China is pumping out emissions.

So we all continue behaving like idiots while China’s leader regards us as fools!

Our Prime Minister is incapable of planning.

This has been evidenced in many ways, not least of which has been his failure to procure a sufficient supply of COVID-19 vaccine in a timely manner.

Add to that his support for the NSW Premier in her attempts to keep people happy, when her job is to keep them safe, so that the virus was able to happily multiply and create a disaster, and those who voted the Coalition back in deserve every criticism that we can hurl at them!

We need a consensus government, which forgets about bad-mouthing the politicians on the other side, and concentrates on ensuring that future generations will have a world they can live in.

The current world situation, with so many countries suffering from the pandemic, some suffering from drought affected crop losses, so many determined to make as much money as possible, with no thought for the consequences, and the desperate need to counter global warming – it is enough to drive us to desperation, which is the last thing we can afford to allow!

We have some excellent independents in the current Parliament – as well as some abysmal idiots.

Clearly those whom we have elected reflect the nature of our population – so we must make sure that we end up voting in the ones who support the vitally important policies.

Now that the pandemic has taken hold in some NSW First Nations communities, it is absolutely vital that we are led by someone who can make good and timely decisions instead of hiring consultants who fail to perform!

We have got to be out there, converting everyone to understand that party politics are what has created our present mess, and competent policy and law makers are desperately needed to get us out of it!

Now go and get them!

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Everyone – bar the PM and his clique – knows what we must do

We have run out of time for obfuscation (lovely word!) because we have wasted too many decades ignoring the truth.

It is not a question of how much will it cost to change tack and really start reducing emissions.

It is a question of what cost will our descendants have to bear because of our stubborn refusal to accept that – like those experts whom we believe when it comes to directing how to deal with a pandemic – the climate scientists have been right all along.

Our negligence in choosing which politicians should be given the freedom to lead this country has led us up a blind alley.

We need to backtrack ASAP and REALLY reduce emissions, forgo convenience when it means our descendants will have to pay the cost, and accept that the whole world is suffering because of the selfishness of the richest nations.

Many of those of us who are over 80 – particularly those of us who have migrated to Australia – are well aware that people WILL accept a loss of privileges and comforts if the aim is to ensure our descendants can survive.

Conservatives cling to the notion that change is dangerous, but climate change is more than dangerous; it is life shattering and must be opposed as a high priority.

We have, and can use, alternative sources of energy.

Unfortunately, we also have a stupid government which has failed to realise the need for us to be manufacturing and importing electric vehicles, so that their availability and cost would now make them readily accessible.

We banished vehicle manufacturers from our country, and, in doing so, cut out own throats.

We are currently held hostage by a government which denies responsibility for our safety and – much more importantly – for the safety of coming generations.

Why?

Far be it from me to try to get inside the serpentine minds of our current leaders, but I suspect status and immediate wealth and advantage have heavily outweighed their understanding of their duty to keep all Australians safe.

Until and unless we get a change of government – preferably to a consensus-oriented one – I fear for the future for our descendants.

The damage done to date by climate change, as a direct consequence of ignoring all the warnings we have been receiving for decades, cannot necessarily be undone.

To wait longer before commencing effective action would be suicidal!

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Do we have a future?

I am both a realist and an optimist, so I am not looking for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response, rather trying to start a conversation about how we can ensure that future world conditions will be viable for our descendants.

Between the pandemic and global warming, the situation is not looking so rosy!

I was born in the UK, 3 years before WWII, so my awareness of the possibility of living under government dictates and restrictions is something I can take for granted. The rationing and restrictions experienced by the British – which were no doubt shared throughout Europe, but with the UK avoiding being occupied by enemy forces! – were way past those experienced in Australia. We could not even buy petrol for our own cars!

I was brought up in a non-Conformist Christian household, but am now an agnostic.

Despite BBC programs like the Father Brown series, the only part of the British Isles which is firmly Catholic is Eire, and Guy Fawkes ‘bonfire night’ is still enthusiastically celebrated!

The ethics taught by Jesus, as recorded in the Bible, were the basis of religion as I knew it, growing up, and the actual official church in the UK is the Church of England – which generally allows its Ministers to marry.

Because the UK was originally Catholic, and Henry VIII wanted a son, the resulting mish-mash of religions in the UK, as in the world, are many and varied.

At least the UK was enlightened enough, when it decided to use Australia as a convict colony, to ensure that the Australian government could not dictate a religious framework in its Constitution! And that was before Islam had become a major world religion.

So we have conflicts over religion, affecting internal and external relationships within and between countries.

We also have countries seeking to take over control of other countries, and – as currently in Myanmar – military juntas deposing elected leaders.

Looking at the mess that human beings are making of their own immediate environment, plus China and Russia seeking status by means of force and deception, I am left wondering whether the world really deserves to survive at all – let alone in peace!

And now we have a worldwide pandemic, with established nations looking after themselves first, and throwing the scraps to the undeveloped countries, all while we are recognising the effects of climate change, but keeping our heads in the sand when it comes to taking really serious steps to at least slow down global warming.

Do we deserve to survive?

We obviously would like to – but we equally obviously have not a clue how to persuade our nations that the wealthy nations need drastic changes in their lifestyles.

Everyone now seems to centre entertainment and convenience as the essentials of life.

Unselfishness is sneered at and acceptance of difference is also more obvious by its absence than its acceptance.

Discipline is essential for survival, and that, too, is despised.

As for our national leaders, the POTUS is trying to restore the USA from the damage done by his predecessor, whose legacy is a cohort determined to resist. The UK and Australia are among a group of nations where the electors have failed to understand what a leader should be. India’s resistance to religious tolerance, plus its size, is destroying itself, while China is travelling a dangerously authoritarian path.

I shall be long gone by the time the final outcome is resolved, but it will not be a good one unless and until people realise that acting for the common good is the only way to survive, sharing is good for everyone, helping other people is incredibly satisfying, and having all you need is much better than having all you want.

Now we need to take a good look at who we are electing to lead us!

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Our future is being destroyed

And – more importantly – so is the future of our descendants.

The Coalition government is deaf to the pleas of those who understand the science, and who are asking for realistic action to reduce the risks associated with acknowledged global warming.

IMHO, anyone who votes the coalition government back into power is accepting responsibility for deaths and disasters affecting current and future life on earth.

Have the giants of the fossil fuel industries offered him a reward he feels he cannot refuse, or is he just both stubborn and stupid?

A quick examination of his past – and current – career is not inspiring.

He clearly lacks even a modest level of competence at planning and his highest priority is to avoid taking any actions which might cause his political allies to consider ousting him.

Every day there are new reports of global, climate-change linked, disasters.

He might be the Prime Minister of Australia, but Australia is only a small part of a world where all other developed nations are frantically trying to reduce their carbon emissions by moving away from fossil fuels.

Is our PM’s ego so overpowering that – like the Emperor who believed he was wearing magnificent robes when he was really naked – he does not realise how stupid he seems to those with far greater scientific knowledge than he possesses?

How can we accept his policies when every other developed nation is frantically trying to act to reduce the damage of climate change – and consequent global warming?

The only question that can be validly put is – have we already left it too late?

We do, fortunately, have State and Territory leaders who mainly understand the need for action – hence our progress in developing sources of renewable energy.

But more needs to be done, and faster, and the State/Territory actions need to be also those of the federation.

We need an EV industry.

We need to be building batteries.

We need to be prepared for more climate-change linked disasters – as well as for more pandemics!

We need a government which is not stupid and self-satisfied, but which expands CSIRO and stops being so smug and self-confident, by realising that we should be relying on expert knowledge to a far greater extent.

Clearly, our population is far from being well enough educated to recognise that our government is not using expert advice to our advantage.

Smart politics is not the answer to a world-threatening disaster!

WAKE UP!!!

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Politicians, pandemics and pork barrelling

Australia is unique in being a country, a continent and a former convict settlement.

At present, the latter part of our background seems to be the dominant feature.

Apart from officer’s wives, the earliest females to arrive here from England were largely from lower-class backgrounds – often prostitutes already – and were seldom treated well.

Existing First Nations women were also ill treated, and largely regarded as available to the first man to lay his hands on her, so that existing patriarchal attitudes were reinforced by settlers from convict and non-convict backgrounds alike.

I arrived in Australia from the UK on New Year’s Day 1971, when Joh Bjelke-Petersen was already entrenched as Premier of Queensland, and, whilst much of his biography in Wikipedia might not be 100% accurate, it is still politically enlightening!! Joh retained power through issues such as malapportionment which gave country areas influence to a greater extent than was justified by their proportion of the population.

In late 1986, two journalists, the ABC’s Chris Masters and The Courier-Mail‘s Phil Dickie, independently began investigating the extent of police and political corruption in Queensland and its links to the National Party state government.

This resulted in the Fitzgerald Inquiry and the last link will provide those, less well-informed about Joh’s period of corrupt government, with some clues as to why I raise this period of corruption in Queensland in an article about today’s pork barrelling!

The current situation with regard to the pandemic, and the immediate chaos in NSW, added to the PM’s distinctly different – and highly political – treatment of the health care processes in Victoria (highly critical) and NSW (golden standard – prior to now!) – are highly reminiscent of the political attitudes towards Joh’s antics in Queensland.

Just by way of explaining why I am so critical of the current sexist attitudes of Australia’s male politicians – in September 1954, having passed the necessary entrance exam, I started studying for a BSc (Special) Mathematics at what was then the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London.

The main College building was adjacent to the Royal Albert Hall (as can be seen in this photograph – taken during its construction) where the graduation ceremonies were held.

 

Image from imperial.ac.uk

 

As the last link demonstrates, just before I enrolled, the student numbers there were about 1500, divided between the 3 foundation colleges (Royal School of Science, covering natural sciences – including mathematics), City and Guilds College (C&G) (covering all areas of engineering) and Royal School of Mines (covering mining, geology, earth sciences, etc).

During my time there, the student population was clearly, given the subject choices, predominantly male. I believe there was one female student in Mines, 3 in C&G and, in my year’s maths group, there were 6 among a total of 30 students. Total number of female students was about 150, and we were all treated with courtesy and respect!!

Now simply Imperial College, London, and issuing its own degrees, it ranks in the top 10 world universities, it has expanded significantly and now includes medicine among its specialist areas, and has been involved in the vaccine development for COVID-19.

So, as a young woman, I came from an ordinary, middle class family, I passed the 11+ exam, went to a government Secondary Grammar school, and, having passed IC’s own entrance exam, as well as gaining the necessary A Level results, I received a grant from my County Council to cover my university fees and travel expenses – I lived on the outskirts of West London and commuted to College via the London Underground.

Just to clarify – neither of my parents had qualified for university, both were/had been Civil Servants, my mother in particular saw education as really important for girls as well as boys, and insisted on supporting us to the full.

Enough of the personal, but remember, England’s history goes back much further in time than that of white men in Australia!

Few States in Australia have avoided scandals over pork barrelling, but now, as witnessed by a statement by Gladys Berejiklian, they have become the norm!

I am one of a no doubt diminishing number of voters who thought we elected our politicians to run the Territory, State or Country for the benefit of at least a majority of voters.

Naïve, aren’t we?

Disgusted, as well, at the openness with which our politicians rort the system for their own personal gain!

If I were 20 years younger, and prepared to renounce my British citizenship, I would stand for the Australian Parliament as an independent.

Those women, who have done so, successfully, in recent years are streets ahead of most of those supported by the Party machines.

They genuinely care about the needs of the average citizens.

PLEASE will someone tell Scott Morrison that ‘normal’ no longer applies to the life of the future.

Global warming IS the top priority.

Failure to take action to keep emissions down – to actually reduce them – guarantees destruction of our last toehold on normality.

Between politics, pandemics and pork barrelling, a ‘normal’ life is doomed!

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FOR OUR SOCIETY TO SURVIVE, THE COALITION MUST GO!

As an agnostic, raised in a (UK) Christian household, in a nominally Christian country, I believe that life is more satisfying all round when we make a reasonable effort to help those who most need help.

After living in Australia for 50 years, I wonder how its government has managed to become what it now is – a cruel, racist, sexist, selfish rabble.

Not every individual conforms to that description, but Julia Banks’ recent book makes it clear that the desire for the elected individuals to retain power and place is greater than their desire to change their leaders.

The thought that Peter Dutton might still become our Prime Minister sends cold shudders down my spine.

The failure of the government to seriously punish the blatant corruption associated with the sports and car park rorts (which are just the tip of the iceberg of malfeasance!) is disgusting.

The fact that 3 Parliamentarians who do not meet the pub test – at least one of whom, Christian Porter, is still a Minister – have not been asked to resign (or better still been thrown out) is more than alarming.

To prosecute Witness K and Bernard Collaery for trying to protect us from government mischief is appalling.

And our refusal to help Julian Assange is unforgivable.

The whole developed world – except Australia – is convinced that climate change is real and action must be taken.

What are we doing?

Promoting gas – a seriously harmful fossil fuel! Plus throwing money at Carbon Capture and Storage – which has been proved, over and over, to be both expensive and ineffective.

Labor instigated the NDIS and Medicare – both of which are under serious attack from Coalition policy changes.

We still call genuine refugees ‘illegal arrivals’ – despite being signatories to the refugee UN Convention.

We have no Human Rights legislation yet are still discussing protection for the religious – ignoring the fact that all necessary protection is provided quite adequately in the Constitution. And we ignore the fact that many of the so-called religious organisations – like Hillsong – are actually really sects which worship at the altar of wealth and power!

Having had a mild stroke in January, I have written little since for the AIMN as my drive seems to have been muted.

But we are due for an election in the next 12 months or so and I am desperate to do what I can to ensure that the Coalition is not re-elected.

Sadly, Labor does not present a good alternative and their inability to develop a reasonable liaison with the Greens is both selfish and childish.

Well – the Coalition has the Nationals under its wing, despite the willingness of Barnaby Joyce to undermine their policies!

We need all the people who care about the needs of the poor, sick, helpless and hopeless to unite to force policy change.

If you, like me, have enough for yourself and your family, please stop and think about those who have little or nothing.

We can donate to charity, but we need a government who is in there, working to help them – not telling them that they are useless!

Remember Robodebt?

Who gets more pressure from government to contribute to the country’s finances – the out of work poor or the tax-avoiding wealthy?

Please take a real interest in the effects of the politicians on those who cannot help themselves.

We need another, more disciplined, Whitlam because it really is time to stand up to fight corruption, self-interest and cruelty!

COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and our plans for dealing with it have, so far, been puerile!

Do you care about all this?

Please help change it!

Morrison must go – ASAP – and so must Albanese

I am ashamed to be Australian, and to have to admit that we have a government that refuses to see how the future of this planet depends on ALL wealthy nations – including Australia – planning effectively for global warming.

I am not a fool.

I have an honours science degree from Imperial College, London, plus an Australian law degree.

I believe the scientists.

I understand that we have an increasingly limited time in which we can make the changes necessary to ensure that our descendants will have a world which they can live in, and still have a reasonable level of comfort.

I lived in the UK through WWII, so I know that we can support rationing and restrictions and change generally – at least it will be easier when we are not suffering air raids and sea battles!

We have grown soft and complacent – and selfish.

Most of our population has sufficient resources and it would be easily possible to ensure that no one was below the poverty line.

We are destroying the habitats of multiple species and allowing the few to accumulate wealth – which buys them power – while watching the lives of millions in poorer countries being damaged beyond repair.

We must act to ensure that we elect politicians who will work, with leaders like the USA’s Joe Biden, to ensure that not only our own citizens, but the global population, can hope for a future.

We are at a decision point.

It is up to us all to make sure that we have governments prepared to make the right decisions.

We are running out of time, and electing governments like our present one will simply lead to irreversible damage.

I am no fan of the current Labor leadership, so they, too, need to think really hard about what they can do to ensure the global population really has a future.

What should have been our agenda since the 1980s, has now to be completed, properly, in less than a decade.

Get stuck in, folks.

It really is a matter of life and death!

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The damage done by inequality

The great advantage of having retired, is the time and opportunity it provides to see how things could be improved.

The first observation relates to the ability to compare progress – or otherwise – over time.

One unfortunate example is the very obvious increase in inequality.

I can remember, back in the UK in the 1950s and ’60s, that the top tax rate was 90%.

Should any modern government seek to raise tax rates to such a level nowadays, all hell would break loose!

Income tax has been justified – and fought – on a number of grounds, and many other taxes – including the GST in Australia – have been introduced to provide further revenue for government purposes.

Many taxes over time have been levied on particular groups – many of which have been bitterly fought as being ‘unfair’ to the groups most closely affected.

Conventional economics refers to capital and labour as the two forms of generating income, and the corporatised nature of many industries has, wrongly, provided an aura of humanity to corporate bodies.

Using money to make money is a perfectly valid activity, but there are associated risks of which the investor must be aware.

And those risks include the possibility of losing all the capital while – for those who, for example, indulge in trading in the futures market – may end up with considerable debts.

To put it bluntly, such forms of trading do, in reality, constitute a form of gambling, which can be dangerously addictive!

So – where is all this leading?

Why do we pay tax?

Primarily, to provide governments with funds to provide services for the public benefit.

On the face of it, that sounds like a good idea.

But that then depends on who benefits most from those services.

In general, Labor governments concentrate on helping those with the greatest needs, while the conservative forces prefer to ensure that their supporters are their greatest beneficiaries.

Few Australians would happily get rid of our government-funded health system – which was essentially introduced and supported by the Labor government.

All governments see provision of education as being an essential public service, but allowing private schools to exist – for the primary benefit of the wealthier portion of the population AND still providing assistance to those which are already well endowed – could (and I believe should) be regarded as a misdirection of public funds!

We have just experienced another, relatively lengthy, period with a conservative government.

We have also experienced a severely damaging pandemic.

The net result has been an alarming increase in inequality.

There are now many people whose ability to work is temporary or non-existent, whose hope for a better future is dwindling, and who are being actually damaged by government policies – which, wrongly, blame those individuals for failing to make the necessary efforts to improve their lives!

We are also living in very uncertain times.

All – except those determined to deny they could be wrong – are becoming aware that man-made climate change, global warming – call it what you will – is actually a factor with which we absolutely must take into account in our planning.

This means moving away as fast as possible from using fossil fuels – which in turn means completely re-thinking our whole system.

Many people need to be re-trained to take up employment in new areas, our whole power distribution system must be re-engineered to ensure that renewable energy provides power that can flow smoothly and Australia has got to become a manufacturer of goods rather than solely a provider of services.

Where are our electric vehicles?

Where are the re-charge facilities which they will need?

This requires a level of planning which, to judge from their performance during the pandemic, is beyond the capacity of the current Coalition government.

Within the next 12 months, we will have another General Election.

PLEASE do not be fooled into believing that the Prime Minister – whose face accompanies every announcement made by this government – is someone who is competent to lead us into a changed future.

He is as narcissistic as is Donald Trump – and equally devoid as Trump in understanding science and the need for method, planning, and evidence.

Think back to 2019. What policies did he take to the last election?

NONE!

He concentrated on telling untruths about the mess which Labor would make, while offering only tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the land!

Climate science is in the Coalition’s too-hard basket.

But without action in the immediate future, we will be spending our time relocating people inland to avoid rising oceans, coping with severe storms, droughts, and fires, and, generally, struggling to cope with continuing disasters.

I am actually an optimist!

I believe that Australia has the capacity to become a viable country.

But we need leaders who can actually visualise the road to a worthwhile future – not a selfish collection whose first interest is in courting support from the wealthy for their personal benefit!

Why do you think they are promoting gas?

Who were their consultants during the last year or more?

WAKE UP, AUSTRALIA!

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Now for some constructive criticism

There is no point in complaining at poor performance if you fail to offer some constructive advice.

I am aware that we are believed to live in a democratic society, and that the government we get is one which a majority has elected.

I am also aware that there is a wide range of opinion as to the extent to which the government should control/manage our lives via their decisions on the economy and laws in general.

No government will ever be universally embraced, but it should at least aim to provide as high a level as possible of both freedom and relevant control.

It is never going to satisfy all of us, all of the time, but it needs, in conjunction with the powers devolved to the states and territories, to have certain continuing guidelines.

Every human being has certain basic needs, and it should be the task of the government to do as much as possible to ensure those needs are met.

  • We all require a home, with some degree of certainty that we will not be arbitrarily evicted.
  • We all require assistance to maintain a reasonable state of health.
  • We are all entitled to as extensive an education as our abilities and desires seek.
  • We are all entitled to freedom of choice in a wide variety of areas, with the proviso that our freedom must not adversely impact on others.
  • We all require help with transport at some stage in our lives and using renewable energy is the only way to go!

So – how are we fairing with the current government?

In too many regards – not so well!

Let’s just examine the points mentioned above and see if we can help:

Accommodation

Why are States/Territories selling off housing and not replacing it?

The population is growing and housing shortages push up prices, excluding too many from owning their own home.

Another factor is negative gearing, which allows people to use property as an investment tool, while keeping house prices out of the range of many. For one or two properties, fair enough, but housing becoming a major investment is not a good idea.

We need a (low) limit on the number of properties on which negative gearing claims can be allowed.

Health

We are the envy of giants like the USA for our Medicare.

Yes – it is true that there are long waits for elective surgery, but there are ways of gaming the system. I took out private health cover the year I turned 70, which reduced the additional cost for a new subscriber, and subsequently have had two hip replacements and a total reverse shoulder replacement (> $20,000 + each from the Health fund) plus a few other minor surgery items – and I then cancelled the private cover.

However, other factors controlling our health are many and include food, medications, work and our family structure.

Not all of these are necessarily as well considered as they could/should be.

Education

If people want to pay private school fees for their children’s education, that is their choice, but, since most of us pay taxes, which go in part to cover State/Territory costs of providing educational facilities, taxpayers should not be required to subsidise school fees for those who have made that choice.

Ideally, tertiary and TAFE education should be available to all, with a much less expensive HECS system than we currently have.

Research must be encouraged and universities should be assisted to form hubs which can develop the research outcomes.

Current treatment of universities is absolutely appalling. What are we, if we are not stimulating all who can add to our corporate knowledge and R & D?

Freedom of choice

This is where legislation comes in, and IMHO it should be limited to controlling anti-social behaviour.

Issues like abortion, contraception, LGBTIQ+ rights, etc, are ones where the individual should have the choice, preferably with minimal interventions and from the earliest age which seems reasonable.

Energy

The damage which developed nations have done to Earth and its resources has become very clear and will be from hard to impossible to reverse.

Long before this we should have been working on making much more efficient use of the massive availability in so much of the world of natural sources of energy.

Where are our factories making electric cars? Where are our electric cars???? Why are not new suburbs being built with provision for solar, and other renewable energy sources, to be used in providing and storing energy?

Why do we have an unreliable electricity network?

Why is greed allowed to damage so many lives?

And why are we not being good neighbours to those poorer countries which lack our resources?

Government does not stop at our borders, and our right to leave and return to our country of citizenship must not be taken away from us.

On the other hand, we have an obligation, as individuals, to not harm those with whom we share this world.

This is not being a ‘leftie’, a Greenie or some other derogatory epithet.

We as a country have enormous benefits which we need to share with others who lack our resources or expertise.

I am 85, retired, with a taxable income of $40,000 plus small contributions from my superannuation and the Age Pension.

I am no longer interested in travel, I donate to many organisations which share my views on social responsibilities and caring for others and I am so sad that we are having to endure poor government by people who really seem to have no worthwhile value systems.

I so hope that we choose better at the next election!

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Who is the worst enemy of poorer Australians and Whistleblowers? Scott John Morrison

According to Wikipedia, Scott Morrison is descended from convict stock.

Now claiming to be a follower of the Hillsong cult, a close examination of his actions and beliefs makes it hard to see how he can even claim to be a Christian.

While, at this point, many might seek to explain the problems associated with Hillsong, which lead me to call it a cult, I want to stay with the reasons Australia will come to see Morrison as its worst ever Prime Minister.

A quick examination of the last budget, which his government has just delivered, makes it clear that the greatest beneficiaries are the already quite nicely settled, to the very well off, while those who are really struggling, are made to jump through the hoops, and go without.

OK – the Coalition is not Labor. But do they have to be downright cruel to people who have no hope of finding work through no fault of their own???

The history of Morrison’s accession to Parliament has already been well documented and includes reference to his strong tendency to get others to do the work.

One of the issues which Coalition parties seem to have problems with is regulation, and the current evidence of this is our present failure to have as many people vaccinated as would be necessary for us to begin considering overseas travel.

Morrison is inconsistent in ways that leave it easy to conclude that he does not properly test a policy before adapting it.

Corporations have been engaged to organise the vaccination plans, but who is over-sighting their progress – which, to date, has been very laggardly?

The inconsistencies associated with who can/cannot travel overseas are beyond puzzling!

For Australian citizens, stranded in India, and desperately trying not to succumb to the COVID-19 infection, being unable to come home, where the medical services are available and reliable, is a total slap in the face. Particularly when Australian cricketers are encountering few of the same problems.

And when it comes to decision making, the Coalition Cabinet has been kept behind closed doors, and decisions made, and the thinking which led to them, have been shrouded in secrecy, with no answers to legitimate questions having been allowed.

WHY???

And when it comes to secrecy – there must be few open-minded Australians who do not already know of the discredited actions by the Coalition government in Timor Leste – and the underhand way in which Bernard Collaery and his client, Witness K, have been treated.

In fact whistleblowers currently risk spending the rest of their time in prison, to judge from the treatment of Richard Boyle, whose trial has not yet been set aside.

Now – who is presiding over all this unsavoury mess?

A man who regularly changes his mind and his policies – or sticks blindly to them because he fears being criticised.

He is a very obstinate bully, who has his own personal photographer who regularly provides a source of pictures of Our Great Leader as a doctor, a dentist, a candlestick maker – in other words – a Hack of all trades – so sorry! – a Jack of all trades and fully skilled in none – except deception!

When Trump was still in power, Morrison saw himself in the other man – and is, indeed, alarmingly like Trump in many, mostly unpleasant, ways.

They are both blustering bullies, who act unreasonably, fail to provide answers to legitimate questions, favour their supporters while ignoring or vilifying those who question them, and generally refuse to listen to advice with which they disagree – not a wise move when it comes from experts!

Above all – I do not know what Morrison’s plans are for his retirement, but I am pretty sure that they are intended to provide him with continuing comfort in a land which will become degraded beyond recognition by the global warming which he refuses to accept as needing really urgent attention.

Perhaps – if his daughters have children he just might begin to question what he might have done better.

By then, it will almost certainly be too late.

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Time for self control

I was 3 years old, and living in England, when WWII started.

A few weeks earlier, the family had been on holiday in the Isle of Wight, and I have one very vivid memory set on a beach there.

My brother had dug out a car in the sandy beach but I, as the baby of the family, was not allowed to sit in it!

We had a family car, which my father, who was a mechanical engineer, serviced – not always with the desired results – but that is a whole other story!

Once the country had entered into wartime mode, I understand that everything changed – but I was less aware of that than were older people.

Food rationing was introduced, as were clothing coupons, and purchase of petrol for civilian use was very strictly controlled, so our car was effectively off the road until well after V E Day, in 1945.

Children were allowed extra clothing coupons, for obvious reasons, but we still had to be checked and measured to justify their being issued.

In 1945/46, my older sister had been very ill with pleurisy, and the doctor wanted her to get right out of the London smoke and pollution. We lived west of London, about 15 miles (24 km) from the centre of London, in a very built up area, and I still have very clear – or should that be foggy – memories of the London smog!

The parents of a school friend of my sister knew a Welsh farming family, who had a large farm house but no children, and who rented out accommodation in the summer. So we booked to go there for 3 weeks in the mid-year long break in (I think) 1947. My parents and my siblings are all dead, so I have no means of checking my facts!

We belonged to the AA, who provided us with very clear to follow directions for us to reach the village where the farm house was located. Had we but known to ask, they would have got us to the farm itself, which would have saved us a very delayed arrival.

The farm owner, Mr Williams, had left the gate – with the name of the farmhouse on it – open so that we could drive straight in, so our late arrival was even later than it might have been.

I lost count of how many times we had to stop on the way to mend a puncture – a consequence of the ageing of the tyres during a lengthy period of not being able to put the car on the road!

In fact, just after crossing the border from England into North Wales, a local yokel waved a pitchfork at us, which, after initial concern about the nature of the welcome we were receiving, we realised was alerting us to yet another soft tyre!

We took sandwiches and thermos flasks with us for the journey, because cafes had yet to re-open and the 250 mile journey was going to take a long time! English roads in those days were only direct if you wanted to go to London from a few other major cities!

We had, obviously, a pre-war car, a Singer 11, which had a boot which flapped down and had the spare wheel standing against the back of the rear seat, with a majority of our luggage in front of it. So accessing the spare wheel was pretty time consuming!

Because of the wartime restrictions, this was the first time I had been ‘in the country’ since the war began!

The farm was effectively a largish small-holding, with cattle, sheep – which were up in the hills for the summer – chickens, ducks, plus fields of grain, hay and root vegetables.

My father stayed for a few days, while we visited beaches, the two local towns – Pwllheli (with sandy beaches) and Criccieth (with very pebbly beaches but small canoes for hire) and one of them had a fairground – and then he returned to London by train, coming back to collect us to return home at the end of the 3 weeks.

In the following 4 years we went on a similar system, but for 4 weeks, and by the last time we had each of us had a chance to take a friend along, my brother had learned to drive – and took his driving test there – and he was also already at university.

Initially, toilet facilities were primitive, with a nightly lick and polish with a jug of water and a bowl in the bedroom, backed up with regular swims in local rivers or the sea.

There was an outside toilet for the first couple of years but then we arrived to find an added ‘bathroom’ – with no bath but with spring water to a wash basin and – memory is dim on this one – I think an indoors toilet.

Food restrictions did not apply!

We had butter made on the farm, fresh milk every day, eggs, a chicken at least once a week and, as we lived separately, we did our own cooking.

Shopping in the village was an eye opener, with jars of jam and other goodies on full display, instead of being pulled out from under the counter for a ‘regular’ customer, as happened at our dairy back home where we normally bought our groceries.

We always went to bed early in the first year or two as oil lamps did not make reading easy, and there was, of course, no television.

Later, a wind generator had been installed and we had a reasonable supply of electricity, but still fairly early nights.

I also went up there to North Wales by train for a couple of weeks during the Easter holiday in each of two later years, and essentially lived with the farmer and his wife.

Rationing in the normal run of things continued for several years after the war was over, so we were totally used to not having to choose what to wear.

School uniform on weekdays, changing into something old when we got home so the uniform would last longer, and something good for Sundays.

My mother made most of our clothes, and, later, my sister and I took on that chore.

When my sister turned 21, she organised her birthday party for which she made long dresses for herself, our mother and me.

My mother had a treadle sewing machine, and, later in life, after I had married and had children, I continued to make clothes for them as well as myself, but now with an electric sewing machine, until ready-made became cheaper than home-made!

Why am I rambling on like this?

Age is obviously a factor, but I am also concerned that we have become a consumer society.

We need to be entertained and taken care of and we are used to having every possible convenience.

During the war years we just buckled down, coped with shortages and substitutes, because there was no alternative.

We should be doing the same now, if we want today’s children to have half a chance of living in a world which is not completely and impossibly over heated!

Stop thinking about the possibility that it won’t happen.

It will – and the longer we wait before taking necessary action, the worse it will be!

Since 05/02/20 I have sat outside the NT Parliament House from 1.00 – 3.00 pm every Wednesday afternoon – bar 2.

On the evening of 15/01/21 I experienced a mild stroke. As I live alone and I was not affected in any way that stopped me moving normally, I did not realise what had happened until the next morning, which was actually my 85th birthday!

A friend rang, and I was struggling to talk coherently, so she ended the call and rang for an ambulance.

RDH put me onto blood thinners and admitted me for a bare 3 days, but I was not allowed to drive for a month.

So, coming home on the Tuesday, I had not organised transport for the next day, so failed to turn up.

In March I had a check up with the neurology department – to which I drove – on a Wednesday afternoon, so my vigil was cut short.

But I am now back to routine, there every Wednesday for 2 hours, keeping check on progress on the new greenery outside Parliament House – which is replacing a now demolished building and its surrounds – and talking to anyone who wishes to know why I am there.

I fear the increasing storms and extreme weather events will become the new norm, but real efforts to phase out fossil fuels and single use plastic – as well as a whole heap of other unnecessary sources of pollution – just might enable us to keep the severity of those events under a modicum of control.

But it will take all of us – including a clearly reluctant national government – plus the rest of the developed world if we hope to leave behind us a world in which our successors can survive!

Your help is really needed!

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So many issues that it is hard to prioritise

The following list of issues is in no way implying an order of priority when it comes to dealing with them, nor is the list necessarily complete, but each entry highlights the extent to which the Coalition government is failing to improve life for those in most need of help:

  • Climate change
  • Respect for women
  • Realistic support for those damaged by government policies
  • COVID-19
  • Superannuation increases
  • NDIS
  • The housing market
  • The increasingly wealthy

And there are assuredly many others that readers might want to add but let us just take a look at the ones above.

Climate change is being accepted as a reality by the majority of people but the urgent need for action is being supported by too few who are in a position to actual develop the necessary processes..

Every day that goes by, without realistic efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, is a day which increases the likelihood that future generations will find their world less comfortable than they realistically are entitled to expect.

Death rates will increase, medical resources will be in heavy demand, and many current occupations will become impossible to follow because of local climate changes and shortage of relevant resources.

Respect for women is abysmally low at present, and has been exacerbated by misplaced blame. Men and women are all people, whose bodies are designed to fulfill different purposes, who have different hormones affecting their behaviours, yet who need those differences – and their accompanying similarities – to ensure survival of the species.

Because education about sexuality has been distorted by pornography and the refusal of too many adults to approach the issue in an intelligent way, we now have arrived at a situation where immature adults are behaving irresponsibly.

Having treated the environment with a level of irresponsibility, which has resulted in a massive loss of species, it seems we are now working just as hard to destroy our own species.

In the middle of writing this, I watched the ABC discussion with Kate Ellis, which left me feeling pretty sick at the significant effect on this country of the people we elect to lead us!

Realistic support for those damaged by government’s actions in the pandemic has not been made available because the Coalition government policies refuse to acknowledge that the current, massive and global disruption of business and commerce has been caused by the government itself.

While the actual plans made to try to limit spread of the COVID-19 virus were good, the government has sought to get back to a ‘normal’ which is not, in fact, possible in a world which is anything but normal.

The initial policies were predicated on the assumption that, once the fight against the corona virus was won, then the special policies were no longer required.

But Australia is well ahead of most of the world, and international business cannot yet begin to return to ‘normal’ because the virus is far from under control in most of the world.

In consequence, many businesses have no hope of getting going again for some, unknown, time to come. And it is positively insane to punish business owners and their employees because they cannot find work to do!

Add to the loss of JobKeeper, the reintroduction of payment of delayed rent and mortgage payments, for people who – as of Monday 29/03/21 – no longer have any income from a job, and we shall rapidly descend into a massive soup kitchen with homelessness becoming more severe by the day.

And we really need that money which was paid to big businesses which went into extra dividends for shareholders!

COVID-19 is far from being beaten. It may never be, if the present model, of wealthy countries buying up supplies of vaccine, and failing to share them with poorer countries, is to continue.

As a country which is an island, and therefore has control over its borders, Australia has been able to take great strides in reducing the level of community transmission, but the vaccination program here still has a long was to go before we reach an appropriate level.

We rely on a level of vaccination which we have not yet reached – I am 85 and have yet to be offered vaccination, although for me it is not urgent as I am in the NT, which (to date) has been COVID free – and the government’s tendency to set hard timelines in a fluid situation does not bode well for the future.

Superannuation increases need to continue if today’s young people are to have any hope of a reasonable retirement.

That, of course, assumes that they do not have to wait too long before they can find a job, and can be vaccinated against COVID-19!

How can the national government take the attitude to superannuation that it does, when former MPs have a better superannuation scheme that the vast majority of workers???

NDIS is rapidly changing from the promised dream to going down the same path as those seeking work have experienced.

The government pays people to establish a business to help people, but does not listen to the needs of those needing the help

So the ones being paid by the government to do a job, in circumstances which severely limits their ability to do so in a meaningful way, will end up fine, while those needing the help, will be highly unlikely to get what they need.

Promises were made – and those promises MUST be honoured!

The housing market is firing up again – causing prices to rise in such a way, that those most in need of accommodation, will be highly unlikely to be able to find it.

Housing is the most urgent issue, after climate change, for the national government, but the current one fobs it off to the states and territories.

Public housing in in short supply and management of it is in dire straits, so what are we waiting for?

The increasingly wealthy continue to get richer, because once you have enough money to save, your can invest it to grow.

So why do we not have a wealth tax brought in – at the same time as donations to political parties are barred?

There is so much that could be done, or done better.

So much discussion and consultation with experts – not snake oil salesmen – which should be done.

BUT – we have a government whose leader IS a snake oil salesman, none of whose members have the guts to displace him – all while Australia slides further and further away from its status as the Lucky Country!

And all the above is ignoring external pressures like China’s global ambitions!

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How can we get rid of a useless Prime Minister?

I am not sure how many of the Australian population approve of Scott Morrison as PM, or on what basis that approval might rest.

Everything I have read about the way in which he has assumed his present position leaves me absolutely certain that he is totally misplaced.

I make a point of subscribing to a variety of independent news outlets, and one of these – Crikey – is, I believe, one of the best in terms of its extensive research and balance.

The outlet criticises government – not because of which is the current party in power, but in terms of their capacity to govern fairly.

While it is, sadly, true that most politicians lie, IMHO, Scott Morrison wins the prize for the most blatant performance.

As a woman, born and educated in the UK, but an Australian resident for over 50 years, and a citizen for 46 of those years, I have seen Australia going backwards during the times that the Coalition has maintained power.

I did not take much notice in my early years here of what was going on in Canberra, but Gough Whitlam’s vision for equality was as inspiring as his attempts to develop it were clumsy. His overthrow was not a total disaster, given that Fraser was a small ‘l’ liberal.

AND – we still have a national health service which sets a standard for all other developed nations!

Free education has been replaced by systems which benefit private school students to an unreasonable extent.

Equality is not part of the Coalition vision.

In fact the reverse is definitely seen as more desirable.

But when it comes to sexual equality, the difference between the major parties is stark!

To have ministerial officers behaving like dirty little boys, sniggering over their sexual prowess, is, I find, absolutely disgusting.

I am well aware that TV and social media have resulted in a general lowering of the threshold for what is acceptable, but, even so, what is now seen as acceptable is often absolutely disgusting.

As is the behaviour of the PM.

In my early years here, a Minister in Hawke’s government stepped down while he was being investigated for failing to declare that he had imported a Paddington Bear.

Now, the death of an alleged rape victim has shown the person whom she accused of being the rapist being supported to the hilt by the PM.

No chance of an inquiry – which, one might think, might actually be advantageous for this person. So why refuse to let it happen?

Morrison tells so many lies that I fear for the reputation of Australia in other nations with more robust standards.

As long as we have a Prime Minister whose own standards are so unacceptable, I shall feel no pride in being Australian.

And a great lack in our Constitution is our inability to force the resignation of a PM who commands little, if any, respect from a majority of voters.

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