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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.

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Free education has been replaced by systems which benefit private school students to an unreasonable extent.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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When will humanity, compassion, honesty and basic decency regain their places in our lives?

Dear Scott Morrison

You took no policies to the 2019 election, and none have been revealed since.

Yet the present situation in Australia is looking pretty grim – particularly for the current residents of NSW.

For a land of drought and floods, we are surely catching up at present on the floods.

And they, in turn, are showing how easy it is to quite literally move house!

You are keen on knowing the costs of any action before committing to embark on a venture.

So how much will the current floods cost – both directly, in terms of putting things to rights and in terms of increased insurance premiums?

Incidentally, how much will the repairs and renovations after the 2019/2020 bush fires cost the Coalition government – assuming, that is that the promises made are still to be followed through?

We have been told, over and over again, that it is an increasingly urgent matter that we cease to use fossil fuels – along with all the connected changes required, including electric transport.

Yet it seems that the Coalition is still clinging on to the hope of moving from coal to gas.

Last time I did any research, they were both classified as fossil fuels.

To give credit where credit is due, you are an ace when it comes to obfuscation and distraction.

You seldom answer any questions which require real knowledge, you keep in place, or briefly sequester, Ministers who have committed exceptionally awful sins, you protect people who do not need – more correctly, do not deserve – protection, and you are doing little to help any citizens other than those who actually are only too good at looking after their own interests.

You are very good at scathing backhand comments which are designed to put people at a disadvantage, but when it comes to a vision for the future, it is all a smokescreen.

You clearly scorn women to an extent that raises questions about who wears the trousers in your own household. Your attitude to the Women’s March showed you up as a total coward.

You are actually a scam and a fraud and buy power from those who have benefitted from every rort they have been able to get away with.

And you are a scammer par excellence – which is not a compliment.

Australia used to have a good reputation, particularly when it comes to corruption.

No more is that true.

Since the Coalition won government in 2013, everything remaining that was good and worthwhile in this country has been trashed by the idiots who are theoretically in charge of running the country.

All they are actually achieving is running us and our standards down to the level of the convicts and their keepers who first invaded this land.

I am no Labor supporter, either, but I do want a government which shows a capacity to understand and cater for people’s needs. And, most importantly, recognises that equality of opportunity is a universal right!

Instead we have a national government which has dragged a country, which once had enormous potential, into a ramshackle mess.

To have as leader of our country someone who cannot develop policy, who fails to punish genuine crime, tries to silence the press, denies transparency, treats refugees more poorly than it does criminals, carries out Court actions in secret, and generally behaves as though the country is a criminal colony, is the last thing wanted by a majority of its citizens.

Clearly, putting profit before people totally ignores the fact most people are not fools. There is a limit to the extent to which working people can be held in thrall by stagnant wage levels, while those who worship money are building their bank balances, to ridiculous levels.

I just revisited an article which I published a few days ago. A comment by Canguro struck chords in my psyche and really brought home a deep awareness of how we invaders have totally failed our job as caretakers of the country.

Unless we immediately change track, we will not have a world to support us. And until we start showing an ability to care for others, we will not deserve to be supported!

In my worst moments, I can only hope that climate change will accelerate and wipe us all off the face of the Earth.

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Please can we take major issues out of the political wars!

I am not sure whether enough people will register, soon enough, that this government is not supporting a democracy!

At present, we are having fights in the political arena over an increasing number of issues which ought, rightly, to be divorced from politics.

Sexism is a national issue.

It pervades society at all levels, irrespective of the political views of those who are either keeping it alive and kicking, or those trying to drag the others into the 21st century.

I was an adult when I migrated here from the UK, and, because I was well educated and had an honours maths degree, I had never been aware of sexism in my years in the UK.

Coming straight to Darwin, in the NT, at the start of 1971, and remaining in the education arena, I did not experience any discrimination here, either – but I was horrified to hear stories from females who had, for example, studied engineering down south and who had been – in my opinion – incredibly badly treated.

Previously, because I was teaching mathematics up to university entrance level, all the schools I had taught at in the UK had been all-girls schools, and all – or almost all – of the teaching staff were female. And, I hasten to add – all, bar physical education teachers, were properly qualified, with appropriate tertiary qualification plus a Graduate Diploma in Education.

My teaching positions here in Oz have been in comprehensive schools, yet – over all my time of teaching maths at secondary level – the best maths student was always a girl and I never experienced any discrimination!

But looking back over Australia’s history, it seems to me that sexism has been generally entrenched here – along with a great deal of corruption – and getting rid of it is very much a work in progress.

I have now clocked up 50 years in Australia, and I am extremely grateful that it has all been in Darwin, as we probably have the most peacefully cosmopolitan population in Australia.

We still, however, have more than enough people who express their views with scant regard for politeness – many of my letters, which are all published in the local (Murdoch) paper (almost all of which would relate to the need for action on global warming) – seem to elicit a regular whinge, but I guess, for many people, they see that learning ends when they leave school.

I had an appointment today with a neurologist as a follow up from my (mild) stroke in mid-January. I was advised that I might have another stroke, and I should arrange, as I live alone, to have a daily phone call to check that I had made it through the night!

Not really reassuring!

Since 5/02/20, I have only missed one Wednesday, when I spend 2 hours in the afternoon, sitting in front of Parliament House, protesting government failure – whether the government be the NT or the National one – to take urgently needed action on global warming.

That one day was the day after I was discharged from hospital following my stroke!

The following week I celebrated a year of activism.

Today I could not stay for the full 2 hours because of the hospital appointment.

I am not a hero and I may not be having a very noticeable effect, but I believe in persevering!

(Just as an aside – my brother won a State Scholarship to Cambridge and went on to design aero-engines for Rolls Royce, while my sister studied medicine and became a surgeon, yet neither of my parents had tertiary education, and the UK government grants covered all our education expenses!)

Current news in Australia actually makes me wonder whether Australia deserves to survive!

We have a national Attorney General who is not fit for the position.

If he really did not commit rape, he should have welcomed an inquiry, to show a real understanding of the limitations of the law and of people’s understanding of how it works.

We have a Prime Minister who blindly follows a plan to gain and retain power, while not having any real understanding of how bad his policies – such as they are! – really are!

We have an Opposition Leader who cannot control those in his party who want to be in power, but have no real idea of how to use it.

We treat refugees abominably, ignoring our obligations under the treaties which former leaders have accepted should apply.

The total lack of empathy – in fact the actual opposition to empathy – demonstrated by senior government ministers is breathtakingly awful!

As noted earlier – sexism is rampant – particularly among people who ought to be setting an example.

Yes – there are both obvious and more subtle differences between males and females – but that does not mean that either sex is better than the other.

I was an adult before many architects worked out that the bench height in the kitchen needed to be a little lower, because women are generally shorter than men!

We still have much medical research conducted exclusively on the male of the species, despite the fact that the males represent slightly less that 50% of the population.

We have far less rigorous investigation of many strictly female afflictions like endometriosis, which I understand can be excruciatingly painful.

Strokes can exhibit quite differently in females than in males, yet this is not well known

A random search on Google tells us that:

Stroke tended to be more severe in women, with a 1-month case fatality of 24.7% compared with 19.7% for men. Conclusions—Worldwide, stroke is more common among men, but women are more severely ill. The mismatch between the sexes is larger than previously described.

Which makes me feel – simultaneously – both better and worse!

There are so many areas of knowledge which need exploring, yet we are stuck in a merry-go-round of assertions and misinformation, while our politicians make hay while they can, and to hell with the rest of us!

Earlier on, as I was writing this, there was a quite violent thunderstorm carrying on – showing a fact about the force of nature which we ignore at our peril.

Please can we work together more effectively.

Forget about being ‘better’ than others.

Concentrate on being better than we have been!

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Are we really making progress?

Here in the NT, Andrew Liveris is, without a doubt, the driving force behind current plans to speed up progress in developing industry and creating jobs.

Is he a competent person to be in this position?

Wrong question.

Try again.

At this point in time, is he the right person to be in this position.

NO!

Why not?

Because, while development of the production and use of gas has been one of his major concerns, we are now at a point in our history when it is critical that we move away, ASAP, from using fossil fuels.

Yes – Mr Liveris is an astute businessman, and he has accumulated a considerable fortune in the course of his lifetime.

But – no – continuing to develop fossil fuel resources is the totally wrong thing to be doing now!

Changes in the world’s climate are becoming increasingly evident, and lives, livelihoods AND the environment are paying the price.

The sooner we divest from fossil fuels, the better.

We need to concentrate on renewable energy, develop the production of electric vehicles, establish charge up stations in all remote areas, by establishing solar and wind ‘farms’, with associated apparatus to store the energy which is generated, and ensure that these developments are made the top priority.

If we have an election this year, we need to ensure that whoever gains a majority, is prepared to develop the programs needed for the Australian people to be more likely to move into an era where their needs are given top priority.

At the moment, Australia is a pariah state, due entirely to the failure of the Coalition government to take effective action to recognise that the world is changing and life on Mars is far from imminent!

Scott Morrison might have been a moderately successful salesman – he has certainly bamboozled his political peers into buying into his pseudo policies – but his realistic concern for people’s needs is absolutely non-existent and every policy he announces is doing more and more damage to our future.

He and his cronies MUST GO!

As must our dependence on fossil fuels.

COME ON AUSTRALIA!

PULL YOUR FINGER OUT AND VOTE IN A COMPETENT POLITICAL TEAM!

AND START BY PUTTING PRESSURE ON MORRISON TO CALL AN ELECTION!

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We are destroying the future for our descendants

This is the third time in the last 8 weeks that I have started to write an article to be published on the AIM Network.

The first two I junked, because I did not think they were worth publishing.

Hopefully this time I will be able to say what I think needs to be said.

Some relevant background.

I was born and initially educated in England, arriving in Australia on 1/1/71, with an honours degree in Mathematics from Imperial College, London and 5 years full time, and 3+ years part time, experience of teaching maths – plus three children.

Just 2 weeks after my arrival here, I celebrated my 35th birthday.

All told, I had 19 years out of mainly full-time work while my children were growing up, because of the fact that, despite my work record, I was not ‘qualified’ to teach in Australia without a Dip Ed!

I was able to teach part-time, which I continued to do somewhat spasmodically.

Thanks to Gough Whitlam, I was able to study in the late 1970s, for my Dip Ed in secondary mathematics through external studies, and, by the time I had achieved that, I was faced with the prospect of working with teenagers and living with teenagers!

So in the intervals, I completed the first year in a Diploma in Accounting, which introduced me to Business Law, and spent 3 years working for AMP – then a respected body in Australia as a Mutual Provident Society.

I re-entered the teaching profession, full-time, in 1984, in the secondary system, moved to the ITAFE portion of NTU halfway through its first year of existence, and remained with that body (now, of course, Charles Darwin University) for a total of 151/2 years.

During the1990s, I also completed a Master of Science (Science Education), having submitted a thesis on Mathematics Education.

In my last few years of teaching, I was also teaching mathematics to first year engineering students.

By this time I knew I wanted to study Law, because I had encountered so many people whose lives were damaged by their inability to get timely and affordable legal advice.

So in February, 2008, having completed the LLB (Graduate Course), I was admitted, aged 72, as a Barrister and Solicitor, and spent nearly 5 years practising as a lawyer in a small law firm.

I had also gained accreditation as a mediator, and I continued working as a mediator for 2 more years after quitting the law practice.

Then life changed.

I became an activist – albeit on a modest scale.

I had been involved in a quite wide variety of community organisations, these included Lifeline Top End, The Darwin Community Legal Service, Life Education NT and the Environmental Defenders Office NT.

My younger granddaughter, who lives in the UK, joined Extinction Rebellion, and took part in their activities in Edinburgh and London and I started, for the first time, really noticing what was going on in the world.

When you need to concentrate on finding and maintaining a job, it is not necessarily easy to keep watch on what is happening elsewhere.

But – when you do start keeping tab on the events unfolding everywhere – you have to choose what to believe.

Truth or lie.

I have a comfortable income, but an acute awareness of mortality, particularly enhanced by having had a really mild stroke on the eve of my 85th birthday.

I had 3 nights out all lined up – all, as it turned out, spent in RDH!

I lost my driving licence for a month, but am, happily, back behind the wheel again as the doctor checked my eyesight and reckoned that if I could still play bridge and do Sudoku, my brain must be good enough for me to drive – and MVR accepted his recommendation!

Since 5 February, 2020, I have spent 2 hours on every Wednesday afternoon (bar one), sitting outside Parliament House, talking to anyone who stops, about Global Warming and the need for action.

While I am aware that we can all take some effective action, clearly the attitude of government and the policies it adopts are going to be critical.

AND WE HAVE ELECTED A NATIONAL GOVERNMENT WHICH HAS NO INTEREST IN WHAT REALLY MATTERS AS LONG AS THEY GAIN AS MUCH POWER AS THEY CAN!

I winced at the Attorney General’s mock turtle tears when he revealed himself as the Cabinet Minister who has been accused of raping a young woman when she was 16.

She committed suicide last year so no legal action can be taken – BUT and it really is a very big BUT – there is no good reason why an inquiry cannot be held.

In fact, if the AG is innocent, it would be to his advantage to be able to establish that.

But that is yet another instance where we have been sadly let down by the calibre of our politicians, and totally in line with their inadequacies when it comes to climate change.

The world is facing an existential threat, and it will only be by a combined efforts – strongly led by the developed countries – that we have any hope of living in viable circumstances in 20 or 30 years time.

I am in the Top End of the NT, and everyone here is currently complaining of the heat.

A glance at world news reveals a continuum of first-time-ever events, glaciers melting, permafrost melting and releasing methane – one of the greenhouse gases which are causing global warming – the list goes on, and the COVID-19 pandemic has distracted us from watching these events as carefully as we should.

Having lived in wartime Britain, I know that, if governments provided a truthful explanation for the need for massive change, we would accept the loss of convenience that would result from meaningful policies to help control the world’s climbing temperatures.

And make no mistake.

The fact that some states in the USA have recently suffered an extreme cold spell, is the result of equally unusual increases in temperatures elsewhere.

Overall, we have increasing amounts of greenhouse gases causing what will become permanent climate changes which, in turn, will ensure that the adverse effects of global warming will become more severe.

We need to step back and look at what we are passing on to those who will follow us.

We all need to be taking responsibility for ensuring that we choose a government which will lead us back into safer waters, not simply bow down to the fossil fuel masters and deny our grandchildren a viable life.

We need to stop using fossil fuels to the greatest possible extent.

We need to stop seeking convenience when it carries an ever increasing cost.

We need to savagely reduce waste and pollution.

Our oceans are being irreparably damaged yet we need to support and feed an ever increasing population.

And we are still concentrating on increasing the size of our arsenals, while we avoid the vital steps to empowering women to contribute to controlling population.

Actually – when you stand back and look at how our governments – particularly here in Australia – are making such a mess, maybe we do not deserve to survive!

These are personal views which I know are largely shared by many others.

But, if we are going to achieve change, it will be a fight and the longer we leave it, the harder it will be.

My mini-stroke has definitely affected my brain, and I know I no longer have such a strong drive to force change, but I think I have not said anything here which I would not have said, over and over again, before the stroke occurred.

We need to unite, force change in government, accelerate action to ban fossil fuels – and keep the pressure on!

Let’s stop complaining and get stuck into effective action.

NOW!!!

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Is Scott Morrison a Donald Trump lite?

Donald Trump and Scott Morrison have much in common.

Their policies and decisions show them both to be opinionated, self-centred, dangerously narcissistic and lacking in empathy.

Trump, as President of the USA, till now, a major world power, has more power in his own country than an Australian Prime Minister, for whom Cabinet’s backing is required – although Congress can still veto some of Trump’s Presidential decrees.

COVID-19 has been a godsend for Morrison, because it gave him the opportunity to cancel sittings of Parliament, and, now that sittings have resumed, his small but sufficient majority in the House enables all motions stating “I move that the speaker can no longer be heard” to be waved through, to stifle discussion points being raised by the Opposition.

This is destroying whatever vestige of democracy might have survived after 7+ years of Coalition rule, and is turning Morrison into a petty dictator.

Worse; because his majority is wafer thin, he cannot afford to call out the idiots in his ranks, truly moulded in Trump’s image, and including the Deputy Prime Minister, no less, who spout insane and dangerous lies and conspiracy theories.

Morrison’s National Cabinet served the purpose of his being able to claim credit for any worthwhile policies agreed to, while passing national responsibility for issues like quarantine – for which the Federal government is responsible – onto the states and territories, brushing aside the appalling level of deaths in Aged Care accommodation – again a Federal responsibility – and generally doing little but appearing to be in charge.

Because of Trump, the USA has experienced a massive loss of respect from the rest of the world.

Recent events have brought out very clearly the extent to which Trump’s Presidency has been a total disaster.

Because of Morrison and his stubborn refusal to properly review his policies on emissions reductions, Australia is also losing respect in the developed world.

The economy should be the servant of the citizens – instead of which, the Coalition government, under Morrison, puts the economy front and centre in its world, subsidises major fossil fuel companies, financially assists businesses more generously than human beings and is responsible for turning the gap between rich and poor into a chasm.

 

Image from cnn.com

 

Interestingly, many businesses – apart from the fossil fuel related ones, of course! – are doing much better than the government at moving to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

But how much more effective might that be if it was properly backed by government.

Morrison claims to keep his religion apart from his role in government, but many are wondering – and I do not want to embrace another conspiracy theory! – whether his belief that the faithful will enjoy some glorious extension of life in the embrace of the almighty – the ‘rapture’ – results in his disregard of the need to intervene to help undo the damage mankind is doing to our climate.

Today was the 50th consecutive Wednesday of my self-imposed, 2-hour weekly vigil à la Greta Thunberg (only I cannot sit on the steps!) outside the NT Parliament House, talking to all who stop by about the need for action on global warming. Many do not stop but give me the thumb’s up sign or wave. A minority go to great pains to not see me!

The Speaker has given me permission to be there, has approved a party – for which she will provide a cake – on 27 January 2021, the end of my first full year of activism, and, today, her PA came to see me and discuss arrangements.

We have a Labor government but, sadly, following the moratorium on fracking before the last election, it is being allowed. Stringent conditions are supposed to be met, but if it is discovered that they have been breached, will the damage be reparable?

Please don’t just bewail the failings of governments.

All that I have said here has been said by others before me.

We know what should be happening.

It is up to us to keep the pressure on until it does. I shall be 85 on Saturday and I aim to continue my vigil until policies change. I do not want to die on the job!

Please do your part to make others realise that policy change is vital and delay dooms the future of all life on earth.

Don’t you, also, care about your – or other people’s – grandchildren and their children?

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The Economy, COVID-19 and Global Warming

And – when it comes to importance – the issue of greatest importance is – Global Warming.

Clearly the economy has a very significant importance, but we have already established, in the GFC, and in the early stages of the pandemic, that we can break the normal ‘rules’ when we need to.

The pandemic itself is not the first we have experienced, although it is ramping up to being trickier than we anticipated, but our scientists are doing a sterling job at creating vaccines. The anti-vaxxers will cause some problems, no doubt, but, if we use enough commonsense – I will come back to that later – we should get things under control.

But, when it comes to global warming, Australia hasn’t begun to handle the necessary action at federal level, and the delay in establishing a clear strategy is causing damage all round – including to the economy.

Now let’s run through those again.

Is our economy being handled as well as it might be, if people are to be able to put food on the table, clothes on their backs, a roof over their heads, get to and from work – if they are fortunate enough to have a job – and have a reasonable quality of life?

Sadly – the answer is NO!

We have government policies designed to encourage those who have shown a capacity to make lots of money, to continue to do so – and a blind eye is turned to how little tax they pay – while at the same time generating a perception that all the rest – if they are struggling and in need of any form of income support – are bludgers, who cannot be trusted to look after their own money and spend it appropriately.

The fact that there are many more people looking for jobs, than there are advertised job vacancies, is brushed aside. Just go to our agents and let them send you off to apply for jobs you cannot qualify for, to ensure the agents have a good enough income to continue stuffing up your life.

And if you are uncooperative, we will take all your money away from you until you are ready crawl to back and beg for help again.

Exaggeration? Not really!

If you are receiving money from the government, you are on welfare, the lowest of the low. Even if you are getting some or all of your income from the Age Pension – which used to be seen as an entitlement for those who had worked hard all their life, paid all their taxes, and finally retired – you are still watched like a hawk to ensure you do not get one cent more than your entitlement.

Has any serious consideration been given to the Universal Basic Income concept?

I am glad you asked that question.

A lot of people have given it a great deal of consideration, but none of them it seems, are in government.

Just think about it a moment.

You decide what the average individual needs to receive to be able to cover all basic costs, without being extravagant, adjust the amount required for a child, who clearly has fewer responsibilities and consequent needs for finance (although a child needs more frequent wardrobe expenses as it grows!), and then the government pays that basic amount to each and every adult, plus, the lesser amount for each child for whom the adult is responsible.

Too easy!

But in some cases you will be giving money to people who already have more than enough!

Then adjust the tax system so it is returned to the government coffers. That is not so hard surely?

Now everyone is being treated by the same system and organising that would be incredibly much less complicated than the current system.

Why?

Well may you ask!

You have obviously never been in the clutches of Centrelink!

You lose your job.

You try desperately to find another.

You have nearly run through all your savings.

In desperation you go to Centrelink.

There you are put through the ringer.

Do you own or rent your house? How much do you pay each fortnight for your rent or mortgage? How many bank accounts do you have and how much do you have in each account? What debts do you have? How about your partner?

It seems to go on forever, until the Centrelink Officer knows every little detail about your assets and income.

And heaven help you if you leave something out!

If you have had to go through this process, you know what I am on about and if you have been so fortunate as to never having had to do so, just get hold of the form and check it out!

Now Centrelink has so much work on its hands that it has to outsource some of it – just think what that costs in terms of personnel salaries and superannuation – not to mention recreation leave and sick pay, maternity leave and so on as well as office accommodation.

And there is a wide variety of bases on which you may have entitlement to some sort of pension or relief, each with its own criteria.

Has anyone troubled to take all that into account when considering the UBI?

And one visit to the Centrelink office does not see the matter settled.

While you are on ‘income support’ of any kind, you have to advise Centrelink of any variation in the amount you receive each fortnight lest the government pay you more than you are entitled to.

No wonder people who had obeyed all the rules, but were informed – under the Robo-debt scheme – that they had received hundreds more than they were entitled to – might have committed suicide.

Now hang on a moment. We are still talking about financial issues – ie the economy – and yet you said it was not the most important issue.

You are right – but it crops up in all sorts of contexts and it could so easily be made less important through, for example, policies like the UBI – which is why commonsense was flagged earlier!

The COVID-19 issue has clearly impacted the economy.

In a genuine attempt to reduce transmission of infection and avoid unnecessary loss of life, the government closed down a whole heap of businesses, and put a lot of people out of work.

I am not sure whether you have noticed this, but it seems to me that the government, when it finally woke up to the fact that people with no jobs had no money to keep buying things that helped the economy keep rolling along, the schemes which it devised were more beneficial for businesses than for employees. Not just businesses, either, as shareholders did very nicely, thank you in many instances.

And there were very specific categories of employees and other workers who were eligible for any benefits.

Foreign students and refugees were ignored , as were hundreds in the wide range of gig economies.

Just think a moment. In the 2020/21 bush fires many people in the entertainment industry raised funds for bush fire victims.

The government also promised assistance to those victims, too, but there are many still waiting.

And those in the entertainment industry would mostly have been outside the categories which the government did assist.

Equality has well and truly gone out of the window.

A vast number of people had a seriously reduced or even no income for quite some time, and it is an on-going situation for too many.

Yet Parliament was cancelled for months and all the politicians happily received their regular payments for income and superannuation and leave entitlements and… and…

It really makes me sick!

So – calm down!

We have now established that the pandemic is also closely linked to impacts on the economy, and there will be many people who are waiting for the axe to fall – or even struggling to recover from its fall – as their payments from the government are being periodically reduced, while the moratorium on evicting tenants for late payment of rent or foreclosing on mortgages is not going on forever.

So why do I still maintain that the issue of greatest importance is Global Warming.

Like the pandemic, it affects the whole world.

The scientific evidence is there that we are experiencing, in different parts of the world, increasingly severe droughts, storms, floods, coastal erosion, all of which are linked to our failure to move away from using fossil fuels.

The greenhouse gases which we are emitting not only cause global warming, which, in turn, causes the increasing severity, but the pollution itself is causing damage to health as the quality of the atmosphere is deteriorating.

Now we might be able to achieve an appreciable reduction in infections from the pandemic if the vaccines can be widely distributed. And remember – the developed world can afford to look after its people, but poorer countries might not be able to achieve a sufficient level of vaccination, so that there will be a continuing risk of fresh waves of infections, since people from these countries are often employed outside their country of origin, in areas like transport and other low skilled jobs.

Although in terms of population, Australia is smaller than countries like China, India and the USA, our per capita emissions are higher than in those countries. We also rely on selling coal and gas overseas, and, as other countries increase their rejection of fossil fuels, we need to find other sources of income quick smart, as we are already in financial strife after depending too heavily on trade with China.

Every time anyone suggests that the government must take action to reduce our emissions to a greater extent, the question comes back – “How much will it cost?” – and the answer is to be given in dollar terms.

But please can we stress that the 2020/21 bush fires caused massive damage and cost lives – and the victims are still waiting for help.

And all the costs associated with that event – and with the previous prolonged drought, and the increasingly severe storms affecting the East coast and eroding the foundation of mansion with ocean views, and a whole load of recent climate related events – those costs are the costs of not taking action over the past 40 years!

Just yesterday, the USA paid the price of electing a man as President who was incapable of doing the job properly. And, seemingly for personal or party advantage, the Republicans, who could have supported the impeachment motion some months back, chose to defeat it, and not attempt to rein in his increasingly dangerous behaviour.

There is a strong parallel there!

And unfortunately, the history of the current Prime Minister gives me no confidence that he is the right person to lead this country through the process we need to follow.

It will require us to change many of our patterns of living, in order to reach the level of reduction in emissions which will leave a world for our grandchildren to enjoy as good a life as most of us have had!

It will most certainly not be easy but it will be worth the effort!

But we will not be ‘getting back to normal’ – or even achieving a ‘snap back’ – but creating a new world order!

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Where have all the flowers gone?

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing.
. . . . .
Oh, When will you ever learn?
Oh, When will you ever learn?

The mind works in mysterious ways!

For some reason, this Pete Seeger song slipped into my thoughts earlier today – immediately followed by the question

Where on earth has the Australian Opposition Party disappeared to?

Now I am fully aware of the dilemma faced by the Labor Party.

Unless circumstances take an unexpected turn, the Murdoch media will support the Coalition and denigrate the Opposition – just as Morrison praises Liberal NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, lauding her to the skies and supporting her allowing the SCG to be used for the next Test Match, while demonising Labor Victoria Premier Dan Andrews, and ignoring the fact that Victoria’s most recent cases of infection have come from NSW!

And the Murdoch Media in most parts of Australia controls a majority of the media outlets!

Perhaps some hidden memory of the words of the song was triggered by the ‘what goes around, comes around’ nature of the Pete Seeger verses, matches the circular nature of the COVID-19 infections.

We are so not out of the woods!

Just as the current hiatus could have been put to good use in developing urgently needed policies to avert the worst consequences of global warming, but was not, so too our current situation is the result of ineffective leadership for the country from a Prime Minister who chose to pass the buck to the Premiers and Chief Minister, while demanding to be congratulated whenever things turned out well.

We need a national policy on quarantine because that is an issue firmly in the national domain.

We also need a much more serious discussion on the universal basic income concept, as it could have been the perfect solution to our current economic mess with its many seriously damaged damaged lives.

We need an Opposition which is actively criticising – and praising when praise is due – the government policies.

Is it so scared of putting forward alternative policies in case they will be stolen?

If it has publicly proposed them and – in the unlikely event that the Coalition does make use of them – they are put into effect, and are successful – then what is going to stop the Opposition from drawing attention to the fact that they are pleased to see their policies being put in place and reap some benefit?

There has been some publicity recently over a connection between Industry Super and a non-paywalled online publication, The New Daily, (TND) which has been going now for some 7 years.

As print newspapers die out, and people must, increasingly, turn to the internet for the latest news, Albanese would be smart to direct press releases exclusively to TND and the ABC.

As a political fence sitter (as noted elsewhere – mother Tory, father Labour) I am amused to see how those who follow the Murdoch media see the ABC as ‘lefties’, while those who see themselves as lefties bewail the way the ABC has moved to the right – which tells me the ABC has probably done its balancing act moderately well!

One of the jobs of a national news outlet is to hold the government – of whatever flavour – to account. That is not showing bias. That is doing its job, because, goodness knows, few governments, if any, are above criticism and the Murdoch media only ever offer at most muted criticism!

Morrison’s only skills are in marketing and he uses them most often in marketing himself.

Peter Beattie designated himself as a media tart.

Scott Morrison is a media hog!

He will get as much personal publicity as he can get.

Labor has got to smarten up, throw out Joel Fitzgibbon, who is loudly opposing acceptance of action on climate change, develop an effective set of policies in this regard – enough European countries have done so to provide a viable model – concentrate on policies which will win votes – inequality is increasing apace and not many Labor votes will be lost if the ultra-rich are taxed more heavily – and, above all advertise the errors in the way the Coalition has handled the pandemic.

It is a fair bet that Morrison will choose an auspicious moment in 2021 to call an early election – he has virtually signalled this by saying he won’t – so Labor has got to have already outlined, and headlined succinctly, a viable policy platform.

If it is already in the public domain, they can start answering question immediately, not in the heat of an election campaign, and have more time to counter the lies that will be generated by those attacking it.

In recent days I have spent quite a bit of time with people who are trying to promote the concept of lived experience in terms of developing policy which meets needs. For example, NDIS is being delivered by people who have no lived experience and have not run their procedures through with people who have had lived experience. Hence the list of failures and disasters.

Labor must be aware of this need and make sure it consults appropriate people in developing its policies.

I do not belong to any political party, but, if I could find one which believes in social justice and has a truly effective concept for a national ICAC, I would be a foundation member!

Too many people have suffered severely under this government – and are continuing to suffer – and they include Australian citizens, many of whom are in the arts and entertainment industries, who have performed to raise funds for others, like after the 2020/21 bush fires, but who have been given no support by government; foreign nationals on work visas with no work.now available; refugees deprived of freedom to a greater extent than murderers, and those caught out overseas who have definitely not been returned to Australia by Christmas!

We need a ray of hope that the Coalition can be voted out – so we need an effective Opposition!

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Wake up, Australia!

It is true that 2020 is behind us and that various vaccines for COVID-19, claimed to be effective, are in the process of being distributed – BUT – we still have a Coalition government, which is ruled by the same power group which has, initially under Nick Minchin’s influence, and for at least two decades, denied us government support for realistic action on climate change.

I suspect that being in power is an incredible aphrodisiac – at the flick of a pen you can refuse to accept valid advice and expect that your popularity in the right quarters will then ensure a comfortable retirement from politics – and to hell with all those powerless fools whose lives will be forever damaged in consequence!

Inequality, in addition to lack of action on global warming, is a vicious menace.

We have a government which takes a jackboot attitude towards the poor and the disabled.

Don’t for a moment believe that the proof of illegality of Robodebt will stop this government from enforcing draconian laws on those who lack the skills and the finance to protect themselves from government mistreatment.

The current push – which, once more, is possibly illegal – is for a cashless welfare card to be imposed on many communities, and individuals, on the arrogant assumption that the people affected are incapable of managing a budget and need protection from themselves because they will fritter money away on drugs and alcohol.

And this is not being applied only to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people, yet no one notices that it goes way beyond arrogant paternalism, as it smacks of an assumption that these people are incapable of learning how to manage their own money!

Too many decision makers – be they government Ministers or bureaucrats – lack lived experience. If you have never lost a limb, been born with a disability, suffered extreme poverty, etc, you are not really in a good position to understand the effect of these situations on others.

Particularly when it comes to dealing with people with any sort of mental illness, when to lose patience with them because they are not behaving – in your personal opinion – in a rational manner, is the height of stupidity on your part.

No person with any sort of mental impairment should ever be interviewed by officials in the absence of an advocate known to the interviewee. Have you ever heard of the Anunga rules in the NT in regard to Indigenous people in police custody?

This is an approach which needs to be adopted in all cases where any issues raised might affect the ability of either party in an interview to understand the other – whether it be language or mental capacity which is the applicable issue.

Our ATSI people are, in many parts of Australia, among the most disadvantaged people in the world. They struggle to maintain – or, in many cases, recover – a culture which is extremely important to them. As with many migrants, English is not even not necessarily their first language at home, it is often their third or fourth language.

Have you ever seen this map of Australia before?

Many ATSI people can speak in multiple languages. If they do not understand English, it is not because they are any more stupid than you are if you cannot understand a Chinese speaker – because you have never learned to speak fluent Chinese!

If the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted one thing, it is that the government’s main interest is in the economy. This is, in some instances, understandable, but governments MUST multi-task!

People are in second place – or, for particular groups, even lower down the priority list – so that the only thing admired by too many of our politicians is the ability to acquire, and enhance the nature of, wealth! If you are in entertainment or politics, being wealthy makes you the darling of the media but if you are disadvantaged in any way, neither media nor politicians really give a damn about you!

I subscribe to Crikey and, over this past year or two, they have been following research into NDIS.

This has not been well received by official circles, yet when these findings have been obtained, is the research not warranted?

We live in an era where the advice on which government Ministers seem to rely does not come from experienced Public Servants, but from political advisers, whose duties are centred – not on “What is best for the country?”, but “What is most likely to help win the next election?”

When people’s lives are being damaged in consequence of a totally flawed policy approach, something has to change.

And we who are electors have got to be much more vocal in making it clear that what we are being offered doesn’t begin to meet the pub test!

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A vision of a new world

“Beware of what you wish for” constitutes a wise warning!

Updating our view of the future is an essential element of moving into a New Year.

We have yet to see how much damage the current POTUS will be able to inflict on his country – and the world – before he reluctantly exits the White House, while, no doubt, immediately launching a new campaign for re-election in 4 years time!

It is worth noting that there has only ever been one US President who has served two non-consecutive terms in office

We have the misfortune to have, as our current Prime Minister, a man who shares many of the traits of Donald Trump, which does not bode well for our future.

Both are narcissists, both of whom demand constant attention – one through an almost constant flow of tweets (the pauses seem to coincide with his going into a sulk because things are not going to plan) and the other through an insatiable demand for photo ops (he even took his personal media staff into ‘self-isolation’), justifying the process as only he could!

Both have an ability – admittedly shared by a high proportion of politicians – to tell lies when the truth would be inconvenient.

Both are climate change denialists which may prove to be their undoing.

In the case of Morrison, he will be seeking re-election long before Trump, and it is vital that Labor and the Greens (why in hell cannot these people realise how much they have in common, settle their differences and join forces to defeat the Coalition before it is too late?) work their butts off to convince themselves and the electorate that, without effective action on climate change, Planet Earth has no future.

Even Biden will have an uphill battle to undo the damage already done by Trump’s actions in reversing so many policies which were designed reduce emissions.

Australia seems to rely on being an island – which, in relation to COVID-19, has some advantages – to avoid sharing policies adopted by an increasing number of countries which share ideas as well as borders.

I still maintain we need to expand our views of the world in many regards.

There are now 3, not just 2, certainties in life, and the newcomer is the most important one.

These certainties are – CHANGE, DEATH & TAXES.

Adapting to change is sometimes so automatic that we co not realise we are doing it – and, unfortunately, there has been a massive amount of change which has happened quite subtly in the last year that we have not questioned what is going on.

Just look at Parliament.

How often has it met this year?

Why?

What is its function meant to be?

Has it been able to meet those requirements?

How often has the Prime Minister refused to allow debate to continue?

Is the Parliament being allowed to act as a democratic parliament is intended to act?

How much evidence of corruption has been detected?

How much action has been taken to deal with that corruption?

How many Ministers ought to have resigned and yet, in nearly all cases, have merely been moved or even promoted?

While accepting that China’s administrative changes have been an obvious reason for our current lack of rapprochement, who in the Australian government have been responsible for unnecessarily undermining that relationship?

And can we afford to have such a tenuous relationship with a country with the capacity to destroy our economy?

Since retiring, I have come to realise that, when I was working, I did not have the time or interest to follow what was going on in national and international affairs.

Climate change, in particular, was an issue I had not troubled to examine in sufficient depth.

So I can see why so many people, who are struggling to find and keep work in order to survive, cannot afford the time to look seriously at how our government is handling its job of running the country.

Now that I actually have time to do so, I am far from impressed with any political party policies and desperately concerned that we are becoming increasingly reactive, and running out of time to develop proactive and progressive policies.

We need our brightest minds from science, economics and business to insist on forcing the government to introduce more appropriate policies, ensure people are not forced into abject poverty, create jobs directed to avoid the disastrous outcomes which will be inevitable if we do not adjust to slow down global warming and – above all – stress policies that ensure we act to benefit all – not just a favoured few.

We are all in this together and we want to all benefit from plans which are inclusive not exclusive.

Is an early election in Australia likely?

Do politicians tell the truth?

At present the prospects for a peaceful New Year are not looking good!

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Our PM is incompetent, insensitive and incapable of good judgment

Millions of people in the world are struggling to survive, while a very small minority are working furiously to acquire millions, to salt away their wealth, and secure themselves recognition and a place in the super rich category.

In reality, many in this group are totally insensitive to the fact that their greed is causing genocide in many nations, destroying the environment all round the world, including an alarming assault on biodiversity, while ignoring the existential threat of global warming.

And we have a PM who is a happy member of that minority – gladly rubbing shoulders with and kowtowing to a wealthy elite, while trying to be seen as the leader who cares.

Actually he is – but not because he cares about others in need, but because he cares about his own needs for praise and recognition.

He is a mini-Trump – and that is no compliment!

Last year, about this time, he quietly sneaked away to Hawaii – note this is not only outside Australia, but actually a USA State – so far from home. This year he plans to remain within Australia but his plans might be flawed, given the current COVID-19 outbreak in the Northern Beaches of NSW, yet he seems to be totally resistant to any idea that we cannot yet stop worrying about the pandemic.

Repatriation of citizens, who have been trapped abroad, is regularly bringing in people who are infected. Human nature being what it is, it is like playing Russian roulette to believe that their infection might not be passed on. Despite precautions, the wearing of PPE, etc, mistakes are made.

And, in this climate of uncertainty, to cut allowances to people who are un- or under-employed is, itself, directly challenging his precious economy.

The people who spend back into the economy the highest proportion of their incomes are those whose incomes are lowest. Economics 101!

Tax reductions are most generous to those on highest incomes and therefore least beneficial to the economy – but most beneficial to encouraging support for the Coalition!

I can only deduce that any whose incomes are low and who see Morrison as doing a good job, are people who are also susceptible to conspiracy theories and alternative facts – or, maybe, they are ones whose sources of information are both limited and misleading!

Tell me one policy that was announced before the 2019 election, other than tax cuts?

And tell me one policy announced since the election other than transitioning through gas – which is an oxymoron in itself?

We had a banking RC, which made many recommendations. One – which related to responsible lending, to ensure that a loan was to someone with a confirmed ability to repay – is one government now seeks to overturn, while dragging its heels on acting on all others.

Of course – the banks have to be kept happy, so that the donations – which are unrestricted – can continue to roll in. Reports on Aged Care and the Elderly are not producing any realistic policy changes from government, nor are the current trends in NDIS policy.

How many Royal Commission recommendations are still awaiting action – and how much was spent on the RCs?

If you stand back and look dispassionately at Coalition policies, it is blatantly obvious that corruption is built in, to ensure that those inclined to support the government will enthusiastically continue to do so, while those with greatest needs – the poor, pensioners, veterans, the disabled, the elderly, visa holders, refugees, students and universities are – without exception – short changed!

The political party of the majority forming government will, inevitably, bias policy development, but that does not mean that the policy has to ignore the needs of those who did not help elect the government!

Even more so does this apply when the government has so slim a majority of seats, and sometimes even a minority of votes!

Because the Coalition has won government 3 times in a row, this does not give it the authority to ignore the needs of those whose only source of support is access to government resources!

The hubris and selfishness of our Prime Minister is absolutely staggering.

His policies lack substance to assist on a universal basis, he is oblivious to the loss of lives consequent on his incompetence – including lives lost and damaged through the illegal Robodebt policy.

He obstinately pursues Centrelink beneficiaries, seeking to recover money from them and reduce payments to them, while ignoring those who fail to pay tax and misuse government money.

How many corporations in receipt of JobKeeper payments also paid dividends to shareholders – or did not pass on payments to employees?

Without a change of government, we are doomed to live in a society where the rich become obscenely rich, and the poor live on the streets.

So we need to call on the ALP to lift its game. We are not out of the woods, but the breadcrumbs we are following will lead us nowhere worth going, unless the Labor Opposition develops a spine!

COVID-19 is still a real threat.

A vaccine has yet to prove a viable solution.

Global warming, and the severe weather consequences remain an increasing threat which every country in the world must challenge.

Everyone who has a moment to spare should acquaint themselves with what is happening all round the world as far as climate change is concerned – and then pressure politicians to take realistic action!

Survival of the fittest is not a moral plan, when suitable action can ensure a less drastic outcome!

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Christmas bombshell cements Australia’s pariah status

THE federal government is putting $50m on the table to speed up gas exploration and development in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo sub-basin 600km south of Darwin.

NT News 17/12/20

The link is probably pay-walled but the report is almost certainly available through other online searches.

I have just listened to a report on the ABC’s Country Hour (also 17/12/20) which clearly detailed the future wealth which will be generated by this initiative.

Why do not journalists ask the hard questions?

How can the Prime Minister not see the connection between his policies on fossil fuels and his failure to be invited to the climate change summit?

At a time when we are in deep debt, following necessary action on COVID-19, when we are, rashly, ignoring the need for increasing action to counter global warming, consequent on use of fossil fuels, where is Morrison’s logic in subsidising massive increases in the release of more fossil fuels?

Early in his Presidency, there were serious suggestions that Donald Trump lacked the mental capacity to perform in the office. His niece’s assessment certainly showed a picture of a truly unsuitable candidate for the role of POTUS.

There are alarming similarities between Trump and Morrison, and the latter’s faith in Pentecostalism, if genuine, presupposes that he does not see science as a more certain source of knowledge than is faith without evidence.

It is also apparent that Pentecostalism is a much more individual source of faith than is normally assumed when individuals call call themselves Christian.

Indeed, many of the standards of importance to members of the Pentecostal cult run completely counter to the teachings attributed to Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible.

Like Trump, appearances indicate that Morrison’s first priority is to have power, and our misfortune is that enough in the Coalition are happy to let him make all the decisions, while the COVID pandemic gave him the excuse to sideline parliament for months during which he cemented his position as the Grand Pooh-Bah.

Being the Supreme Leader allows him to claim credit for all favourable outcomes, which were actually engineered by the Premiers and Chief Minister, while all unfavourable outcomes could be sheeted home to those same state and territory leaders.

IMHO, Morrison is totally lacking in moral standards, enjoys being a dictator, while not giving a tinker’s cuss about who is hurt – the refugees being bullied by Serco are just collateral damage, while the treatment of the Biloela family should be investigated by the UNHCR – and he is supported by a front bench which seems to be full of hypocrites.

After all the publicity that has been given to the bugging of the Timor Leste cabinet offices, leading to the secret trials of Bernard Collaery – a senior lawyer of impeccable integrity – and Witness K, (both of whom have had their lives and careers maliciously destroyed) how anyone can claim the secrecy to be justified, because the issue is one of national security, leaves my head in a whirl!

Pure and simple – it is a failed attempt to avoid embarrassment to former Cabinet members whose actions were motivated by commercial concerns.

The government’s own criminality is breath-taking in issues like ignoring High Court orders, establishing an illegal scheme to raise funds from innocent and vulnerable people through the enforcement procedure of Robodebt, and now, the latest, attempting to foist the cashless welfare card on a similarly disadvantaged group of people, quite contrary to the government’s own laws on the issue of credit/debit cards.

Australia has become a pariah in the developed world – and it is low on the popularity lists of many Pacific Island nations for very good reason!

I have no medical qualifications but observation makes me suspect that Morrison is a pigheaded bully and a narcissist who also uses his limited marketing skills to manufacture spin and conceal the truth.

He craves power, avoids giving any answers – let alone straight ones – to questions which really ought to be answered.

Our media have got to stop letting him get away with obfuscation and really press for answers.

Stop letting him mirror Trump!

As a dual British/Australian, I am struggling to see anything admirable in either nation.

And in both cases this is because of the leaders elected by those two nations.

Like those leaders, too many in the electorate have a limited understanding of science and a willingness to believe lies, because the truth is uncomfortable.

Recent severe weather events are not accidental and passing.

They are a consequence of global warming, and examination of information about what is happening in the Arctic and Antarctic regions would show that there is worse to come.

We have known about this for 30 to 40 years and have ignored the issue because it means we have to change our lifestyles, and forgo some of the conveniences to which we have become accustomed.

Australia is going to be shunned by the developed world as we get left behind, led by idiots whose self-belief is overwhelmingly misplaced!

 

Cartoon by Alan Moir (moir.com.au)

 

China has plenty of ammunition to punish us, because our claims of being superior on human rights issues are totally hollow.

We have regularly, as a nation, prided ourselves on being so much better than so many other countries where corruption is endemic.

Please take note!

Corruption is, and has been since settlement, alive and well in Australia!

If we followed the government’s suggested anti-corruption legislation, it would become protected, and no government, however corrupt could be challenged!

Is that a good look???

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Fact, Fiction, Faith – and the Future

Growing up in the UK, in a Christian household (my mother’s father had been a Minister in the Church of Christ and my father’s family had belonged to the same faith group), I accepted as fact the existence of God, the history of the ministry of Christ and his disciples and, actually, still remain happy to follow the basic ethical principles I understood to have been espoused by those of that faith.

I attended a C of E Secondary school where we studied the scriptures and, more importantly, Comparative Religion.

In my teens I was actually a Sunday School teacher, but – with increasing maturity and awareness of conflict between what I was taught to ‘believe’ and a greater understanding of the place of evidence in science – I have ended up an agnostic.

Scott Morrison believes in miracles.

I have a different interpretation of some reported ‘miracles’, which is almost certainly not unique to me.

For example, the parable of the loaves and fishes implies that there was some magical appearance of enough food to feed the throng, whereas I see the probability that, once a few people started sharing with others the food they had brought for their own consumption, others overcame their selfishness and joined in sharing, so what might have a generous amount for individual family groups proved enough for the entire congregation.

And in some contexts you might regard overcoming innate selfishness is, indeed, a miracle!

Our understanding is so often limited to our own experience, and it is only when we start allowing ourselves to explore other possibilities that we start to see how much we do not know.

Maths was always my favourite subject, but it was not really until I started teaching it that I fully appreciated the importance of the logic which it embodies – particularly in Euclidean Geometry.

There are 5 basic postulates which form the foundation of this topic, which assumes that we are working on a flat surface – on which parallel lines can never meet – and the angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees.

But we live on a planet which is roughly spherical, so if we wish to navigate its surface, we need to appreciate that Euclidean geometry no longer applies.

Imagine drawing a triangle on the surface of an orange. You can immediately see that the triangle you could draw on a flat sheet of paper has to be stretched out in such a way that its angles must now necessarily add up to more than 180 degrees – so a whole new world of spherical trigonometry (I know – trigonometry was, for many of you a nightmare, but that was largely because it was often taught badly!) has to be developed to ensure a safe arrival at the required destination.

And we can go further – as was indicated in the reference above – we can change the basic postulates, as was done by Riemann – so enabling Einstein to develop his Theory of Relativity – and, simultaneously, hence leading to claims of plagiarism, by Bolyai and Lobachevsky.

It is worth making the point here that much research is not valued by governments because they cannot see an immediate, commercial, application for the theory.

A great deal of research in the mathematics and science context fits into this category, and – as with Einstein’ s theories – the outcomes can be world changing, even if the initial research appeared to be purely based on suppositions.

There would be few people in the developed world who would not accept that advancements in scientific knowledge have led to massive social change.

And the basis of scientific research is evidence.

A theory is defined, and the means of ‘proving’ it valid, requires research which shows that the likelihood that it is NOT valid is so small that it must, indeed, be true.

That implies a possibility that it actually is not true, which is why scientific research is carefully documented to ensure that others can repeat the procedures that have been followed and compare their outcomes.

Some research is less easily conducted, particularly if it involves a possibility of destroying the subjects! Testing medical procedures on living beings does not always allow a process of going back and trying a different procedure if the first one does not produce an acceptable outcome!

But what is important here, is that the people who offer themselves for election, and, subsequently, are involved in making decisions which affect people’s lives, are often ill-acquainted with scientific procedures and fail to appreciate the critical importance of evidence.

In one context, this has been horribly illustrated by the attempts of Donald Trump and too many of his supporters, whose firm belief – based on sentiment rather than fact – that he would, by right, win the recent election, and the fact that there was no evidence to support their claims of fraud in the election process was brushed on one side as irrelevant.

The ‘divine right of kings’ comes to mind, and how many of those lost their heads in consequence of their obstinate refusal to accept the facts?

And exactly that same approach is being applied by the Australian Coalition government when it comes to accepting that there is evidence that mankind’s actions in relying on fossil fuels as an energy source, has affected – and increasingly continues to affect – the process of global warming.

The evidence is there!

I would argue that if a particular course of action appears to be having deleterious effects, that is a strong argument for changing to a different course of action.

The alternatives here are, IMHO, to continue using fossil fuels, with a high likelihood of destroying lives as a result of severe climate outcomes and ill-health resulting from increasing air pollution – all of which has been clearly documented by appropriately qualified scientists – or, as speedily as possible, introduce policies to replace fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy, while also working as fast as possible to reduce pollution from all sources – particularly the manufacture and over-use of plastics.

The argument then becomes between which is the worse outcome – lives lost through climate change or damage to an economy currently based on inaction on global warming?

The government has already demonstrated that, by issuing government bonds, it can rapidly raise money to provide support to business and, selectively and on a very ad hoc basis, support individuals.

It has also demonstrated all too clearly that its ability to have plans ready to deal with a disaster is far from adequate, and its selectivity over who receives support is dangerously biased.

One of the functions of a national media service, like the ABC, is to ensure that – whoever is in government – criticism of inappropriate behaviour by government is publicised.

The Murdoch media ensures that the current government can tear the Opposition to shreds, yet the government, and the NSW Liberal government can happily pervert justice in favouring funding to their supporters, while screaming lack of balanced reporting at the ABC for criticising this behaviour.

So why the title of this rant?

Fact is found through scientific research, which continuously and ethically follows a path of updating knowledge.

Fiction is a consequence of mental processes which do not rely on fact or logical thinking.

Faith is dangerous because it too often ignores the need for evidence.

The Future is looking singularly bleak unless and until integrity overcomes the hubris of a Prime Minister whose belief in himself and his preferred policies is ill-founded and who has modelled his behaviour on one of the world’s least qualified leader, who is currently fighting to retain his status as POTUS.

May their god save America, because Trump sure as hell won’t!

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What is the purpose of the Opposition in the Australian Parliament?

Many of the policies presented by the ALP at the 2019 election were based on a genuine attempt to achieve social justice.

Their presentation failed as a consequence of being both flawed, and disrupted by lies from the Coalition, plus intervention by Clive Palmer, who spent literally millions ensuring that the ALP campaign would fail.

I recently realised that the reason I am able to keep up with politics, both nationally and internationally, is because I am now retired, and have enough time to read, watch and absorb what is happening in the world.

And even though the COVID-19 pandemic has left many people without jobs to occupy their time, being unemployed, and struggling to cope with the consequences, leaves them in no fit state to be able to really dwell on the world’s current circumstances.

Over the last 12 months, politics in Australia has been manipulated by a very devious Prime Minister, whose marketing skills have enabled him to start dismembering our democracy – which, even at its best, was heavily flawed.

Just as Donald Trump had his ‘base’, which largely consisted of people who were forgotten by the ‘establishment’, and were understandably drawn to someone who professed to understand their needs and promised to make their lives better, so in Australia we have people who do not want to accept the inconvenient truth – that our home, Planet Earth, is warming and, at the same time, growing inequality is destroying lives and livelihoods.

Because too many people believe what they are told, without taking steps to verify the real ‘facts’ – remember, we now have facts and alternative facts! – a leader like Scott Morrison, whose primary interest is being in control of power at whatever cost, can manipulate the population into ignoring the fact that we are standing on the edge of a crumbling cliff edge.

The other major problem we have to contest is a concentration of media influence in the hands of a former Australian who aspires to influence world events. His world view and lack of a moral compass – recognised and opposed by one of his own sons, James! – reduces the possibility that arguments against government policies and actions will be given enough publicity to encourage people to question their verity.

So while we currently need an Opposition which is as strong as it could ever be, enabling its press releases to gain attention is just that much harder than if the MSM were less unbalanced.

These days I am often reminded of the old Roman ‘Give them bread and circuses’ adage – distract people from the true state of affairs and they will be discouraged from complaining.

Perhaps that is the lure of reality TV. Being able to vote contestants in and out gives a sense of power over events which is totally mythical but really effective as a distraction!

Now is one of those times when we need a really strong Opposition, and, sadly, we do not have that need fulfilled.

We need a clear policy on climate change.

Global warming is happening!

It is becoming increasingly less likely that we can reduce the rate at which it is happening.

The consequent climate disasters will become more severe.

Bush fires in 2019/2020 were disastrous and a foretaste of worse to come.

The major cause is atmospheric pollution by fossil fuel emissions.

We must stop mining, drilling and fracking for fossil fuels and then exporting them, so we must prepare for retraining workers in those areas to perform other jobs in renewable energy.

We must immediately cut subsidies to fossil fuel industries.

The Coalition has led us down the garden path – as it has done over issues like Robodebt and the Cashless debit card.

I have studied both mathematics and law.

I wrote the following letter to my local paper on 01/07/18:

It is some time now since Centrelink’s Robodebt fiasco was in all the headlines. Sadly, despite all the criticism, it continues.

People are still receiving false debt statements and being put through all the agonies of trying to prove that they owe Centrelink nothing – but a whole lot of grief!

At the time a person, out of work and desperate, seeks help from Centrelink, all their current assets and sources of income are exhaustively assessed before they receive a cent in benefits. Providing they have delivered the necessary information accurately, that should be the end of the matter.

Instead, the system being applied by Centrelink to hunt down overpayments is totally flawed.

They take the individual’s ATO return, average their income over the calendar year and compare the fortnightly average with the amounts received from Centrelink.

Clearly, when a person is out of work for the period relevant to being eligible to claim benefits, their income in those weeks is way below the average calculated from the ATO payments. It only requires a relatively basic understanding of statistical averages to see that the method Centrelink is using is totally inappropriate. But to perform an accurate assessment requires skilled operators who understand the system.

So – management chooses to continue using a process, which they know to be unfair, to damage the very people they are supposed to be helping, wasting money in that process!

If businesses sent out false invoices, wrongly claiming debts owing there would be hell to pay!

We deserve a government which protects the most vulnerable members of our society.

It took weeks and months after I wrote that letter for public complaints to escalate to a stage where court action was undertaken – and rather than have their sins aired in court, the government agreed to a compromise which was less than generous to those who had gone through hell over the issue!

AND we deserve an Opposition which shouts from the hills when the government fails to offer that protection.

The Coalition is promising to enact all the recommendations in the Aged Care RC report – just as they promised the same for the Banking RC.

They are currently overturning the most important recommendation from the latter, by allowing banks to lend without reference to the capacity of the receiver of the loan to repay!

Where is the Opposition?

The Coalition is about to change the NDIS assessment process in ways which will be incredibly harmful to a high proportion of those desperately needing promised help.

Where is the Opposition?

And I don’t know about you, but I am getting sick to death of seeing the smirking face of the PM over some self-congratulatory article about how he is helping us.

I am not alone!

Today on Twitter, this was tweeted by @Michael Springer:

 

 

To which I responded:

 

 

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Morrison – the crooked enabler

While the Sports Rorts are still fresh in people’s minds, despite the COVID-19 hiatus, we are also very clear about the failure of police to investigate adequately Angus Taylor’s unfounded slur on the reputation of Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney.

Then prior to that was Michaelia Cash, who refused to respond to police requests for an interview, subsequently the incompetence of the Aged Care Minister, Richard Colbeck – ignorant of the numbers of deaths in Aged Care Homes under Coalition Government supervision.

You will all be aware of the litany of misfeasances by Coalition government ministers – and equally aware of the number who have lost their ministries.

Even Bridget McKenzie, the one and only who was demoted, (I cannot remember any others – were there any?) lost out on a technicality, and there has been no redress over politically misdirected grants.

Reigning over is all has been the King of Spin (accompanied always by his personal photographer) who has demonstrated to the world that being honest, respecting a need for integrity, presiding over transparency in government, and ensuring that ministerial appointments are dependent on behaving honourably, are all for the mugs.

Winning, by staying on top and making your own rules, is the name of the game – and has been for Morrison from long before he entered politics.

No wonder a rogue group in the Special Forces ran amok.

After all – the Prime Minister is the most important person in the country and his example must be one to follow.

Scott Morrison -you fully deserve the opprobrium implicit in the Chinese cartoon and your fake anger in response is patently dishonest.

You are an enabler of the worst kind.

And – disastrously – you are also enabling a reluctance to act on our greatest challenge – global warming.

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