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Category Archives: Your Say

The misinformation campaign succeeds

By RosemaryJ36  

I despair!

A few days ago, I wrote the following, sending it to senior politicians at national and local level, and to my local (Murdoch) paper – in which it was published today:

“I am 83. I have had a good education and I have done my research on the climate emergency.

I am convinced that with every day that passes without initiating action we reduce the probability of capping and reducing emissions enough to avert disastrous global warming.

I’ve three great grandchildren who now face a grim future.

I think our current leaders are responsible for criminal negligence in preferring to support use of fossil fuels, thereby reaping party donations, rather than accepting the well documented scientific evidence of the certain disasters that will trigger. I think responsibility for the pending climate emergency must be shared by the media, particularly the Murdoch controlled media.

If any politician or media manager feels I have in any way defamed them, I have limited means but am happy to generate free publicity!

The Canberra Bubble is real but not quite in the way usually Implied. Our politicians seem blindly unaware of life in the real world. Not only do they lack the integrity to accept that the scientists know what they are talking about, they wrap the corporate world (ie generous donors) in cotton wool, while sadistically torturing offshore refugees (how long has that continued?) and illegally billing Robodebt victims and also making money with the cashless debit card.

IMHO we have gone about as low as we can. The one and only good action has been recognising the rainbow nature of human sexuality, and even that has opened a Pandora’s box of venom.

Efforts to ‘protect’ the right to practice religion (despite all that was revealed in the child sex abuse RC) requires no new laws. Indeed, those of us who, despite being agnostic or atheists, but still living with a moral compass, are ourselves at risk from those whose claim to follow a religion is not supported by their hypocritical and often cruel words and actions.

I for one have had enough of greed, lies, deceit and downright cruelty. How about you?”

One of my children, whose BA was obtained with majors in Social Science and Philosophy, and who turned down an invitation to study a further year for Honours in Philosophy, read the letter and emailed me the following:

“The study of History is a good way to understand how humans behave, the consequences of their behaviour and how well we predict the future. Most people behave with compassion but ideological behaviour treats an ideal as more important than individuals. Ideologies tend to end badly, eg communism, because they build on ideal principles rather than evidence. Our predictions can also be either realistic or wildly out, depending on the premises from which we start. There are many predictions in history about the end of humanity, including beliefs that we will run out of food from overpopulation, be wiped out by nuclear bombs or other man made catastrophes. What those predictions failed to take into account is humanity’s ability to find solutions to problems. History shows that Open societies that value the scientific method for creating knowledge are the best type of societies for finding solutions, as well as ensuring the welfare of citizens.

So while our society is not perfect (and such a society will never exist), I do not feel there are grounds for catastrophising about matters such as climate change, self-interested politicians, human rights and social justice. Now if I lived in Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, or many other countries, I would be much more concerned about local issues. I don’t know enough about China to feel confident it is currently acting in the interests of humanity. As well as being a repressive state, corruption is pretty high. I hope communism collapses there soon, to the benefit of its citizens and the world. India also suffers from corruption, as well as poverty which is itself a major cause of carbon emissions (I don’t think cooking fires are counted in the stats on emissions by countries?)

I think the climate emergency people are over simplifying the problem and solution, while at the same time catastrophising with insufficient evidence. I think they work from an unjust view of politicians and capitalist societies and an insufficient awareness of human ingenuity. I think they are pretty mixed up in their thinking, which makes them unlikely to be taken seriously. I don’t say this about all protest movements, as many have clear and just aims. I would prefer to see much more targeted pressure groups on matters such as research, transparency, climate adaptation. It would help of course if climate change was depoliticised. Unfortunately protest movements are the surest way to politicise an issue there is.”

Several issues spring to mind!

‘The Australian’ is subscribed to in this child’s household.

I appreciate that local issues are most certainly of greater importance than the menace of global warming in many war-torn countries, but that does not discount its significance as a universal menace.

As for catastrophising the issue – how else do we break the flow of misinformation?

It is not we who learned from the tobacco corporations’ campaign to prove that tobacco is harmless!

The fossil fuel industries and their shareholders have beaten them and Goebbels hands down when it comes to propaganda and misinformation!

Above all – we are running out of time!

My reply to the email was brief:

“I truly wish I could agree with you.”

I would be delighted beyond description if I were to be proved wrong!

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The breathtaking, arrogant fools in the LNP

By Kathryn 

The committed fascists and breathtaking, arrogant fools in the LNP absolutely refuse to listen to the experienced credible scientists, steadfastly refuse to listen to renowned economists (like the Nobel prize winning Joseph Stiglitz who has loudly criticised the LNP’s appalling mismanagement of Australia’s economy) and refuse to listen to the people of Australia whom the LNP treat with sneering, condescending contempt! No other government in our history (with the exception of the alleged war criminal, John Howard) have managed to defund, annihilate and destroy so much in so short a time.

It has only taken six short (devastating) years for the Wrecking Ball Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison circus to go on a campaign of such wilful, methodical destruction, it has changed the face of Australia and altered who we are in the eyes of the world. Outlined below is just a small list of the devastation the LNP have caused and links to further published chaos under their catastrophic mismanagement:

Quadrupled our national deficit to more than one trillion dollars

Completely destroyed the longest river system in our country, ie the Murray/Darling river by handing over unlimited water to the greedy predators in the cotton growing industry in the middle of one of the worst droughts in our history. This unspeakable act of criminal vandalism by the notorious, reckless Barnyard Joyce, went on to seriously impact desperate farmers down river and had disastrous consequences on Adelaide which city relies on the (once) great Murray River for its water supply!

The LNP continue to turn Australia into an international laughing stock and have now just about destroyed our once fine international reputation. We are now known, internationally, as a shallow, climate-change-denying nation of xenophobic racists who, despite every international law on the fair and just treatment of asylum seekers, have chosen to indefinitely lock up desperate asylum seekers (including defenceless little children) escaping from an illegal war that we helped to create in Iraq and Syria.

Morrison has received world wide derision and scorn for treating our island neighbours with such open, blatant contempt that our country has now become the Pariah of the Pacific.

Waste countless billions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars on ridiculous weapons of war, eg ludicrous submarines (providing jobs for the French and not Australians) which will become obsolete before they are completed.

Shut down Australia’s enviable motor vehicle manufacturing industry by refusing to provide government subsidies (despite the fact that every government in the countries that manufacture cars subsidises their car manufacturing) – this insane move by the short-sighted idiot, Abbott, cost Australia thousands of jobs within the car manufacturing industry and within related industries! This action from a government who brags to keep industries and jobs in Australia – what outrageous hypocrisy!

The countless millions of dollars defunded from public school education, Medicare and health!

The relentless patriarchal misogyny that sweeps through the LNP at every level.

The LNP’s ongoing totally corrupt, politically-biased association with their propaganda ministers in the Murdoch dynasty which goes on and on remorselessly attacking the ALP and the Greens whilst printing NOTHING about the appalling failure and escalating fascism of the LNP.

The LNP’s ongoing perverted association with the cold blooded neoliberal billionaires in the IPA which nefarious, undemocratic and unelected organisation have so much power and undue influence over the agenda and policies of the LNP!

The callous inhumanity by the LNP in its breathtaking mistreatment of asylum seekers, the poor, the homeless, the unemployed – non-stop virulent attacks that have allowed the worst, most heartless and cruel people in our society to crawl out from under their rocks and give them “permission” to vent their hatred and scorn on the most vulnerable people in Australia!

The absolute refusal to address climate change issues despite the fact that hard evidence has been presented by credible scientists all around the world and we are – right at this minute – experiencing the WORST most devastating fires in our history. Climate change is no longer on the horizon – it is here and now yet we have a deaf, dumb and hopelessly blind government too stubborn, too stupid and too arrogant to admit that they are dead wrong! Their inability to address these issues is killing our environment and causing the death of Australians and the rapid extinction of countless Australian native animals!

The list goes on and on as outlined by The Guardian and even news.com on their expose of Abbott.

This article was originally published as a comment in ‘Stick to the photos, boys – it’s yer best thing.’

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Paris is not enough

By RosemaryJ36  

How many more lives must be lost?

How many homes must be destroyed?

How many more farmers will need to be helped to leave an unproductive farm?

What more will it take for the Coalition government and Labor to realise that ‘Paris’ is not enough?

Reaching the Paris target was never aspirational – it was a bare minimum.

To be actually meeting that target has not been achieved because of government actions. It has been because the States and Territories are taking action, independently of the federal government, to develop renewable energy sources.

But even that is not enough.

Australia is inherently a dry country and has always been subject to droughts.

European farming methods are turning it into a desert.

If farmers want to abandon their farms, help them to do so and return the land to trees on a massive scale.

Ban growing water-hungry crops like cotton.

Stop seeing farming as a source of profit and accept that growing food for survival is more important.

We need policies which are proactive and aimed at survival, not reactive where greed is the main driver.

Stop thinking about the economy and start thinking about the well-being of living creatures – all species, not just mankind.

If we ever live long enough for the history if this period to be written, Coalition governments will be recorded as being responsible for doing too little, too late!

Other countries are making great strides. More are coming aboard as reality sinks in.

Those with dollar signs for eyes will destroy the lives of those that follow us if we do not act – now!

Governments must stop being blind and deaf to reality and recognise that we are facing the worst threat to existence that has ever been!

But don’t panic!

Act!

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The clock is ticking ever closer to Doomsday

By RosemaryJ36  

In developing a policy, as a broad generalisation, it is wise to explore the possible adverse effects as well as the advantages of adopting that policy.

But if you have an enemy on your borders and delay may mean that your efforts to repel an invasion will be unlikely to succeed, what should you do?

“India and China as well as the USA are responsible for the greatest increases in emissions. Our efforts will be wasted if they do nothing.”

“Solar panels will not last for ever and we may have significant problems recycling them.”

“We have survived an earlier Ice Age, and Warm and Cold periods have happened before, so what is the problem now?”

“Why are people so certain that mankind has been responsible for the present increase in temperatures?”

These are some of the arguments being put by people who do not agree that there is an urgent need to drastically reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

There are, in fact, plenty of countries which are not only doing something positive but are creating impressive milestones.

Please note – whenever something is stated as a ‘fact’, ideally it should be followed by the statement “based on current knowledge”. And that knowledge is based on scientific research which has determined the level of probability of a particular hypothesis – and on accurate reporting. The more likely it is to be true, the more confidence we can place in that ‘fact’.

Death, taxes and change are, after all, pretty much the only certainties in life! You don’t know when you will die, how much tax you will pay in the future nor how much change will occur!

At this point in time, we do know there is no Planet B!

People get confused by the concept of ‘climate’, which is inherently local. When scientists are talking about July 2019 being the hottest month on record, and you are freezing in Antarctica, you need to realise that they are referring to the highest average world temperature, which takes account of the whole world, not just a region.

The whole climate change, global warning issue is a whole world issue requiring cooperation which is only slowly forthcoming.

In the last election campaign, Bill Shorten was vilified because he would not answer the question as to now much his plans to counter global warming would cost.

What he should have answered, is “How much will it cost over the next decade to repair damage and recompense people if the severe weather patterns, droughts, fires and storms we have been experiencing actually continue or even worsen?”

How long is a piece of string?

The adults who criticise Greta Thunberg should be charged with child abuse!

She has a brain which is capable of analysis and research at a level way beyond most of them. She has researched the data, she is quoting the experts and she is fighting for a future for her own and following generations.

As are many adults who fear for the future of their own grandchildren. They are, in many cases, activists who are fighting for survival of humanity, against government inaction and flawed policies.

Greed and monetary interests have taken priority in most governments, including our own. We talk endlessly about the economy but we brush aside criticism of government policies which are actually hurting vulnerable people.

We have truly lost our moral compass, following get-rich-quick cults and ignoring the needs of those who do not have a chance to ‘have a go’!

We waste food while the poor in other countries – and some in our own – are starving.

We have developed a throw-away economy where manufacturers build in obsolescence.

We pollute to the point that some fresh water sources are no longer suitable for consumption.

The rate of loss of species diversity is enormous. No surprise, when we recognise that humankind is the Earth’s most dangerous predator!

The clock is ticking ever closer to Doomsday, and all the wealth, in financial terms, which a few have accumulated, will not save them forever when the air and water are polluted and the temperatures soar out of control! They might end up living lonely lives in luxurious caves!

Government funding cuts and concentration on research that brings in money has not yet quite destroyed the CSIRO. We have plenty of sources of viable plans for action.

All is not lost – yet!

Please can we persuade governments, starting with our own, that time is truly running out for action to be effective.

Stop thinking “What’s in it for me?” and start thinking “How can we ensure that humankind survives in a world which is not totally hostile?”

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Why are so many so unaware of the needs of others?

By RosemaryJ36  

Few people will be surprised at the news coming out of the RC in to Aged Care.

When I was growing up, provision of public transport, water and electricity and many other ‘services’ was in the hands of some level of government.

It was not perfect, there were many grumbles, but it worked.

Plus, if the government provided the service, it also had the capacity to more readily subsidise it for those of more limited means.

More recently, governments have taken on provision of heavily subsidised hospital and medical services, while additional private health cover is an optional extra – as long as you can afford it!

Some Aged Care services are run by not-for-profit (NFP) organisations but a majority would be run by corporations – all of which have a duty to make a profit for their shareholders.

Provision of services has at times been seen as the responsibility of governments to ensure that every member of the community can be provided with basic needs.

Privatising has the immediate effect of increasing cost to the user of the service in order to accommodate shareholders’ dividends. Many would claim that a private organisation runs things more efficiently. This needs to be examined.

Both government and corporation have to employ people to run the service organisation. Cutting wage and salary expenses may reduce costs, (and increase dividends) but also may reduce the standards of the organisation.

Fewer reviews and less frequent maintenance have the same effect.

We all need a water supply, electricity or other source of power, medical services and education, so having a central, regulated provision by government surely makes more sense than expecting the least able to pay more in order to provide better incomes for shareholders?

And the latest disaster is when the most essential commodity – water – is being drawn by corporations to ‘purify’, bottle and sell while aquifers in more remote communities are running dry.

The only way privatisation can possibly work is if there is strict and realistic regulation.

That there is not has been and is being amply demonstrated in the Financial Institutions/Banking and Aged Care RCs, as well as in the privatisation of Centrelink services, which are destroying the lives of job seekers and Centrelink benefit recipients alike.

Those who make a career in politics seem to lack empathy, experience of life in the raw and a vision for the future.

Many people grumble about paying taxes, but if you look around the world, most of the citizens of the most heavily taxed countries are also the most contented. They willingly trade some of their earnings to ensure that everyone has a safety-net, there are no beggars, the sick get necessary treatment, education is available to all and necessary assistance in finding work is available.

This is not socialism in its derogatory context. It is essential humanity – which is MIA in Australia!

I am usually an optimist.

In a conversation today with a friend, she mentioned how things might be in 200 years’ time.

I expressed doubt whether our descendants will still be around in 200 years’ time!

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Leunig, mothers, babies and the phone

Here I am again, defending yet another cartoonist, yet again against charges of some -ism or other. Last time, back in February, it was Ken Knight who was vilified for being a racist, having drawn a cartoon depicting Serena Williams in such a way that it raised the ire of a good number of readers, reading the sketch as a comment on her race rather than on her appalling behaviour on the tennis court, which was how I saw it..

This time it is Leunig with his sketch of a woman so absorbed in the flickering lights of her mobile phone that she lost not only the plot but also her baby.

What a horrible attack on women, on mothers, Leunig’s attackers screamed! It is undeniably an attack on mothers and women and it’s undeniably a misogynist cartoon.

Why, even Jane Caro said it! Jane Caro, for Zeus’ sake! What an appalling thing Leunig had done. Just another white male who longs for his lost gender dominance! Roll out the guillotines

And again, they hurl the same charges and denunciations at Leunig that they had hurled at Knight: He has form. He does this all the time. He is a real misogynist!

Yes, roll out the guillotines!

Imagine what hellish castigations the gentle cartoonist would be copping had he drawn a black Muslim woman wheeling the pram, or an Aboriginal woman or a woman with a huge cross dangling from her neck!

Fukuyama’s latest book is on “Identity Politics.” No matter how you look at Fukuyama, he comes out looking like a USA-peddling Nazi so I don’t take his views too seriously but the essence of his latest extrication is nearing relevance to the commentary on Leunig’s cartoon.

Fukuyama asserts that (after his “End of History”) a new social phenomenon has emerged. We have become, he says, too ready to identify with certain, few things and our political views have shrunk so much that we vote for men or women who promise only to attend to the concerns we identify with and we do not concern ourselves with what that person will do on any other issue.

If we, for example are gay, then we will vote for someone who will support the gays, without caring what other things that person supports. If we are pro abortion, then we look only for a person who will support this cause, without checking out what else is in his bag of policies or in the contents of his character (to use Martin Luther King’s description) and so on.

In short, we care only for what we identify with or feel strongly about, relinquishing our care for other issues.

Feminism, Misogyny, Patriotism, Religion, that sort of thing.

And, I do declare, the attacks on Leunig are of this “identity politics” nature.

Leunig is making a perfectly glowingly simple, concise and certainly accurate statement: Electronic devices are devious, insidious and anti-humane things. Devices such as phones can shift even the mother’s attention from her newborn and this statement is all the more profound because he has a mother wheeling that pram.

He could have had a male doing it.

Or a black woman or a black man, an Asian, an Inuit. But he didn’t.

He just used the single, most profound, best known symbol of parenthood, the most crucial symbol of nature, of nurture, the most accurate symbol of the human bond: the mother in whose womb that baby became.

This – the bond between mother and baby – is the closest possible human attachment there is; it is the most important one, the most necessary one for both, the mother and the newborn.

Leunig’s exhortation is not against the mother but against the device.

The device destroys that most essential bond, that between the mother and her baby. Yes, even that bond!

The device replaces the mental and psychological, the intellectual and the moral umbilical cord between us and our maker. The device does.

Had he had anyone else wheeling that pram, the essence of this message would have been lost. We would be saying to ourselves, “yeah, we gotta be careful when wheeling our babies around not to get distracted by the phone.”

Nowhere near the emphasis on the horrors of the phone itself. In that circumstance, you do not hear Leunig’s voice saying, “Fucking mobiles are so nasty, so narcissistic, that they can separate even the mother from her child. They make us motherless. They make us absorbed in trivialities, in mundane things to the detriment of vital things.”

Had Leunig had an old man wheeling the pram, we’d be thinking Leunig is warning us against dementia.

No, it had to be a mother.

Leunig is not attacking the mother. He is attacking the device. The device is so insidious it can destroy even the tightest bond, which is that between mother and the newborn. Mother and the newborn are the victims of that device. And since this bond is the most important bond of all, all other social bonds are up for destruction by a very simple, totally banal device.

Nearly 3,000 years ago, Homer wrote a poem in which he said (using a mother again) that devastating divisions, the most devastating wars are caused because of banal, unimportant, petty things such as pride and lust and beauty – insignificant things.

Helen of Troy had a daughter, Hermione, which she had left behind with her sister to look after when she left with her lover Paris.

Homer had Eris, the goddess of Strife, chuck a golden apple in the middle of a wedding party, with the words “to the most beautiful” inscribed upon it; and that started the war between two continents, devastating one.

This time, Eris has chucked a mobile phone amongst us and Leunig says, beware, like the golden apple, it can devastate half the planet.

Golden apples, wooden horses. Beware!

This cartoon goes to the kernel of Homer’s Iliad and it uses the instrument of his day to make the same point. A golden apple for Homer, an iPhone for Leunig.

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Morality

By RosemaryJ36  

I think we will all go to hell in a hand-basket, nor necessarily metaphorically speaking, if we cannot rapidly learn to distinguish between the relative merits of religion, ethics and morality.

First – Religion: After all, despite the conviction of our current Prime Minister – miracles do not happen. I qualify that by saying that there are many occasions where unexpected events may appear to be a miracle. I know of no recorded instances where performing a rain dance or praying have actually resulted in a shower of rain. Coincidence is frequently misconstrued as magical!

Religion is a sort of comfort blanket for those who worry that they cannot find answers to why we are here and what happens when we die. In clutching the blanket about them, they blindly accept directions from the religion’s leaders, because they are the chosen ones, able to deliver the messages from some unseen spirit. If the religion’s followers lead miserable, unfulfilled lives, and their belief in a wonderful life after death helps them survive the vicissitudes of this life, then far be it from me to deny them the comfort they derive.

The world has many religions, some largely local, others like Christianity – and in particular that version preached by the Roman Catholic church – as well as Islam, which are virtually global.

My greatest familiarity, at a personal level is Christianity, so I feel on safe ground in highlighting this particular religion, while aware that much of what I say is also true of other religions.

Second – ethics: I looked for a definition of ethics and found:

‘the characteristics and values that most people associate with ethical behaviour:

  1. HONESTY. …
  2. INTEGRITY. …
  3. PROMISE-KEEPING & TRUSTWORTHINESS. …
  4. LOYALTY. …
  5. FAIRNESS. …
  6. CONCERN FOR OTHERS. …
  7. RESPECT FOR OTHERS. …
  8. LAW ABIDING.’

This sort of took my breath away, because it drove home how lacking in ethical behaviour, as defined above, are many (all?) of our political, religious and business leaders.

Third – Morals: My own concept of morality is related to understanding the difference between right and wrong – while understanding that these are value issues which vary with culture.

So again I sought a more definitive approach and found this: What are your family’s top moral values?

I quote this excerpt:

‘Renée Trudeau, author of Nurturing the Soul of Your Family, shared that when her son was entering middle school they created a “Family Purpose Statement”. She described they “highlighted the top five qualities that were most important to us. At the top of our list: compassion – for self and for others.”

What virtues make your family’s top five list? Some to consider include:

  • Acceptance: welcoming others whose ideas and practices differ from your own
  • Compassion: understanding the suffering of others or self and wanting to do something about it
  • Cooperation: helping your family and friends, returning favors
  • Courage: willingness to do difficult things
  • Equality: believing everyone deserves equal rights and to be treated with respect
  • Fairness: acting in a just way, sharing appropriately
  • Generosity: willingness to give resources, help or time to others
  • Gratitude: showing appreciation to others
  • Honesty: being truthful and sincere
  • Integrity: sticking to your moral and ethical principles and values
  • Kindness: being considerate and treating others well
  • Perseverance: persisting in a course of action, belief or purpose
  • Politeness: using good manners, acting in socially acceptable ways
  • Respect: showing consideration for the worth of someone or something
  • Responsibility: being reliable in your obligations
  • Self-control: staying in control of your words and behaviour
  • Tolerance: having a fair and objective attitude towards different opinions, beliefs or practices
  • Trustworthy: reliably doing what is right even when it is difficult, being true to your word

One way to help your children internalize these characteristics is to notice them. When you see your child being responsible, honest or showing compassion, comment on it. For example, if your child attempts to comfort a child who is hurt, you can say “That’s kind of you to help him.

This is clearly a western society concept but that is not meant to criticise it. Many of the values listed here repeat those associated with ethics, and the last statement highlights the need to develop empathy – walk in someone else’s shoes.

Two things about it are really noticeable – there is no mention of religion, although there are strong echoes of Jesus Christ’s teachings, and, secondly, when I look at the behaviour of our religious leaders, I wonder who, beyond Pope Francis (despite strong opposition from the establishment in the Vatican) and the Dalai Lama, even make a head-start on sharing these values. For the leaders of most religious sects, being in power is the dominant attraction of their beliefs, it seems.

When you study the scriptures, the development of ethics from the Old Testament and Hammurabi’s “an eye for an eye” through Moses’ 10 commandments, on to Jesus in the New Testament summarising the 10 into 2 – and explaining that your ‘neighbour’ might be a total stranger, yet worthy of your care and compassion – it brings home how established religions have failed over the past 2000 years to maintain the momentum of developing moral concepts as knowledge has grown and globalisation has created greater contact between differing cultures.

It is worth noting that at the time Jesus was alive, Sharia Law was practised by Jews as well as Arabs – and this was before the prophet Muhammed was born. As far as the Arabs are concerned, their progress has been minimal!

Looked at dispassionately, most of the established religions encourage conservatism because they are forever looking back to the Bible, the Torah, the Qur’an, etc for directions instead of realising that changing levels of knowledge require changing approaches to moral values.

To take a fairly trite example, both Islam and Judaism place a great deal of stress on various rituals regarding food. It is highly probable that these, very sensibly, were developed in the Middle East where, pre-refrigeration, hygiene and food storage were not adequate to prevent food deteriorating and affecting health. These rituals are now tied into religious practice, yet they are not now meaningful, merely historical reminders.

At a much more modern level, until the 1960s, any female between menarche and menopause was likely to become pregnant if she was engaged in sexual intercourse. If she was in a continuing relationship, frequent pregnancies meant she was not able to take on work outside family caring and household chores – which, in rural areas would extend outdoors.

Now, with women in developed countries enabled to complete the same education as their brothers, while contraceptive advances have given them better control over their reproductive functions, the patriarchal approach that kept women in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, is being thrown out of the window.

Over the centuries, the religious and mainly male-dominated governments have fought to control knowledge. But that is no longer possible.

The oft quoted “the only certainties in life are death and taxes” must now be amended to include “change”! And conservative males are fighting change, tooth and nail!

I often see it said that you grow more conservative as you get older.

WRONG!

Perhaps I was fortunate that, growing up in the UK, my mother supported the Tory Party while my father was a Labour adherent!

I benefitted by sitting on the fence, seeing both sides of the argument. But I also grew up absorbing an ethical, moral approach to life while eventually becoming an agnostic.

You do not need a god in order to distinguish between right and wrong. You need humility to admit when you are, in fact wrong, and, as with penance in the Catholic tradition – once you have acknowledged your error, you need to work your butt off to try to rectify matters!

I have an 18 years-old granddaughter who took part in Rebellion Extinction in Edinburgh and now has been on the platform in Trafalgar Square during ER London.

I am proud of her willingness to be active in highlighting the failure of governments to accept the fact of the climate emergency and take action – for a start in Australia by setting a carbon price! – to ensure that our grandchildren have a viable world to enjoy.

Conservatism puts a brake on progress and, at this point in history, the only brake we need is on global warming.

Image from insideclimatenews.org (Photo credit: Susan Melkisethian via Flickr)

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

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

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

So here we go …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sounds a bit draconian doesn’t it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

There will no longer be a reason for their existence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Induced amnesia

By RosewmaryJ36 

Nowadays it seems strange watching TV, film productions and documentaries from more than 30 years ago. Nearly everybody in them seems to be smoking cigarettes!

OK, Joe Hockey and Matthias Cormann were caught smoking cigars only a few years back, although that was a drop in the ocean of his stupid behaviour when you think of the appalling budget he had just announced!

Do you remember how strenuously the major tobacco companies worked to deny that smoking tobacco was harmful? Nearly as strenuously as Hardie Industries fought to avoid paying compensation to those whose lives were drastically and painfully shortened because their lungs succumbed to mesothelioma.

It is now old news that in the late 1970s to early 1980s, as coal, oil and gas production was ramping up, some of the major companies involved in that production, commissioned research into the atmospheric consequences of increased emissions of CO2 and their predictions have proved remarkably – and alarmingly – accurate.

They subsequently paid considerable amounts for pseudo-scientists to refute the information. The success of that campaign is such that today, in Letters to the Editor of my local paper, yet one more brainwashed individual decries man-made global warming as a myth.

Feel free to fact-check the above!

What is the connection between this and tobacco?

Greed.

And where does amnesia come into the picture?

Mega global corporations like the oil and gas and, even now, tobacco, companies need to raise large profits to keep their shareholders happy. They have little compunction in lying and cheating in order to ensure those profits keep rolling in.

I was one of many who were conned into feeling more sophisticated if I nonchalantly waved a cigarette around on social occasions and I would have been far from alone in being guilty of causing others to suffer from passive smoking.

I gave up smoking at Easter, 1987, and am aware that I have probably not done my lungs any good. This morning I was talking to a neighbour who has just had surgery on her lungs and is waiting to hear whether further surgery will be required. Needless to say – she is an ex-smoker.

Australians are fortunate that we have had governments who have stood up to the tobacco companies, introduced plain packaging and reduced the numbers of locations where people can continue to smoke.

Unlike Indonesia, our country’s next-door neighbour, the number of smokers here has massively decreased and more and more people are being discouraged from taking up or continuing smoking.

Yet when it comes to our attitude to climate change, we seem to suffer from induced amnesia.

Once more we have major corporations, telling lies to ensure that they can keep the profits rolling in.

I would be curious to know how many of our decision makers have shares in the coal, gas, CSG and oil industries, because they seem desperately reluctant to accept the science and take effective measures to reduce emissions. Maybe the donations are big enough to induce amnesia!

Currently our government, maybe experiencing pangs of conscience over the effects of drought on our farmers, are throwing money around like confetti – some of which is being spent in ways totally unrelated to the drought.

The Murray Darling Basin Authority, having allowed capitalist approaches towards water to encourage non-water users to buy water rights, are responsible for exacerbating the adverse effects of the drought.

We now have rural communities with no potable water, yet, at the same time, big corporations are hoarding water to ensure successfully selling crops which are highly water-dependent. I do not know why we pay our politicians to run the country because by all accounts they are only doing a good job or running it into the ground, saddled with debt and disaster.

Don’t be fooled by the truly mythical importance of having a surplus! We have an overall debt which is massive compared with when the Coalition came to power. And the much-touted surplus is courtesy of taxes, paid by all, including the poor.

I suspect many people do not really understand a country’s finance system, so please bear with me for a necessarily simplified explanation.

Each year, the budget drawn up details what the governments intends spending, on what the money will be spent and how much money the government anticipates receiving from various sources – mainly a range of taxes and sometimes sale of assets.

If, in fact, the balance between income and expenditure is not achieved, then the government ends up with either a deficit or a surplus.

If a deficit, then it simply goes into debt by ‘borrowing’ through issuing government bonds. It will pay interest on these, they can be traded, and when they expire the government has to buy them back. If, however, a surplus is achieved, then the government has more money to either pay for existing or new services, or pay off existing debt by buying back bonds.

The latest tax cutting exercise has not achieved the claimed outcome of boosting spending to enliven the economy, and the people most in need of government assistance are being given short shrift and accused of being on drugs.

Not only that, but the government, has failed to devise any tax measures that ensure that global corporations trading in this country pay their fair share of taxes. Instead it devises possibly illegal schemes to claw back possibly notional debts from welfare recipients.

Talk about robbing the poor to further enrich the wealthy!

Back to the main theme.

The underlying problems which affect us are a result of greed.

Corporations have a duty to act in the best interests of their shareholders – who did very nicely from all the schemes which were exposed during the recent Royal Commission into the finance sector.

We do not help ourselves by allowing ourselves to suffer amnesia.

We forget the history of tobacco so we do not recognise the truth when it comes to global warming/climate change/the climate emergency – call it what you will. It represents a pattern affecting the world, bringing increasingly severe weather events – hurricanes, cyclones, droughts, floods, landslides, rising sea levels, melting polar ice – over which we have little control.

WE DO HAVE SOME CONTROL OVER THE INCREASING SEVERITY IF WE REDUCE EMISSIONS AS MUCH AND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

That way we can limit the extent to which temperatures will rise but it is now unlikely that we can reverse the situation greed has created!

They say you get the government you deserve.

In that case we all deserve to get the hell out of our world, because the government’s inaction is ensuring that the world will become an increasingly unpleasant place to try to live!

And – sorry! There is no Planet B! Certainly not in the time frame left to us!

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Don’t blame Anangu!

By Tjimpuna Ruby Anangu Mayatja Council of Elders

Uluru climb incident yesterday with the 12yo girl her injuries were much worse than what was reported.

She lost her grip on the chain and slipped, fell backwards and rolled 5 to 6 times. The result was she broke or dislocated multiple fingers, lost a tooth, suffered head injuries, a cracked pelvis, a compound fracture in left ankle, and a ‘possible’ broken left collar bone.

Her dad carried her down. The girl was screaming.

Mum (paramedic) and Dad was in shock, to the extent of being unable to even state their names.

Mum and Dad argued over ambulance cover and how much its gonna cost them.

Ambulance radio stated; “Don’t move kid or give her anything. And that they are coming whether Mum and Dad want them or not.”

The parents refused the ambulance. Instead, they put her in their rental and drove like mad to Yulara Clinic.

There is no honour from PARKS AUSTRALIA to Anangu Traditional Owners at the moment. You can even date that back to 1996.

Anangu Nguraritja request two months ago was to have 100 people on climb per hour due to crowding, safety and stress on park ranger doing rock rescues. It was laughed at and ignored.

So if someone dies before next weekend don’t blame Anangu. Blame PARKS AUSTRALIA.

This post was originally published on Tjimpuna’s Facebook page.

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Religious protection – or protection FROM religious bigotry?

By RosemaryJ36  

I have just emailed this to my Federal member who is a practising Catholic:

“I was born in the UK and my maternal grandfather was a Minister in the Church of Christ – very like the Baptist Church.

For a variety of reasons, we ended up attending a low church C of E, and my secondary education was in a C of E Grammar School, where the school’s charter required us to study the scriptures, while in senior years we studied Comparative Religion.

I am now an agnostic but my moral values are based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.

I think that it is morally wrong for the Christian churches to insist that the Bible is ‘the truth’ when it is actually based on mankind’s flawed knowledge, and much more of ‘the truth’ has been – and is being – revealed by scientific research.

Just think about the sun going round the earth! Or the creation of the world in 7 days! And – yes – there are many who believe that is true!

In my view, differences between and within various religions are responsible for a great deal of unnecessary friction – Catholic vs Protestant, Shi’a vs Sunni on top of Muslim vs Christian etc.

I think religion should remain a private matter and, where modern science has proved the bible’s ‘truth’ to be false, this must be officially accepted.

Members of the LGBTIQ community continue to be vilified by so-called Christians – AND Muslims – while – through no fault of their own – their ‘difference’ from the dichotomous norm was established before they were born.

The ignorance and bigotry of many who claim to believe in a god, yet who totally fail to live according to the teachings enshrined in their holy works, does major damage to a cohesive society.

I think the idea of providing additional protection to those who wish to follow a religion is, IMHO, a grave error.

Australia is a secular country but the right to follow a religion is guaranteed by the Constitution.

The proposed Bill is, I believe, both unnecessary and more likely to cause harm than good.

Certainly the LGBTIQ – faced with the fact that the ‘beliefs’ of the religious ignore the truth of the determination of sexual orientation – are right to fear that more zealots like Israel Folau and those of his cult, will damage their lives.

Maybe there is one or more gods – we will never know in this life. Those who believe in an afterlife will duly find out whether their belief is well-founded.

But in this life, “Do as you would be done by” and following the advice given in the parable of the Good Samaritan (note particularly Jesus Christ’s condemnation of the priest and the Levi for their failure to help the stranger, with its less than subtle rebuke for NOT practising what they preach) provide excellent guidance for lives which do not hurt others.

I do not think the proposed legislation is necessary and it is more likely to cause harm than protect anyone.

I do not deny you the right to follow your beliefs but express concern that faith can enshrine error and ignorance.”

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The Tancredi Dilemma

Tancredi is a character in the Lampedusa novel (The Leopard) about the unification of Italy and the ending of aristocratic governance in Southern Italy … and it was this character who uttered that most famous of lines; “For things to remain the same, everything must change.” Of course, he was referring to the aristocratic rulers inserting covert agents like himself into democratic government so as to keep a hold on any revolutionary changes that would lessen the power (as much as possible) of the ruling class … of which he was one.

The end of the nineteenth century saw the diminishing of aristocratic power in favour of the rising middle-class political base … just like now, in the twenty-first century, we are seeing that now old/aged middle-class of high industry/banking losing ground to a rising aspirant/younger middle-class of brash technocrats and entrepreneurs, not necessarily savvy in the complex ‘rules’ of patriarchal network, military engagements and old-money finance, but more keen on flash finance, fast turnover and short, swift credit transfers based more on the theory of gambler’s luck than a book-keepers reliable ledger account.

Chance of a quick ‘killing’ being the modus operandi of the next generation of players!

And this is where The Tancredi Dilemma becomes interesting … for in the first instance above, the middle-classes that replaced the aristocrats were solid merchants, with investments in solid goods … products from the far east, trading ships and barges up and down the major rivers of the world … the spices and silks .. the ivory and slaves, manchester and machinery formed the base of their massive accumulated wealth … they were well-placed to challenge the decadent aristocratic class for the top job of sovereign governance … all it took was a wave of the royal sword of knighthood to ‘legitimise’ a swathe of the more wealthy or devious of the crew and they were cemented into the ‘network’.

Now, as this network gets old and decrepit in a generational sense, we see a new set of eyes peering through the glass darkly, hungry for a grab at that sovereign governance … but these new eyes are not as political savvy as the old hands … not as patient to wait for the royal dab with the Wilkinson Sword of knighthood … these new kids on the block are brash, aggressive bastards who are breaking the panelled doors down with mace and sledge-hammer … vulgar is not strong enough a word to describe them … barbarian is closer to the truth … the Visigoths at the gates of Rome …

How is this new breed of ‘Bankers on Credit’, ‘Merchants of internet selling’ going to manage the social structures needed to keep a society stable and conducive to good, predictable, long-term governance? In short … they cannot! … Their failing at even the most simple social programs that we see falling to pieces around us as we go about our work, child-care, health, transport and play demonstrates a cabal of wannaby ‘leaders’ who couldn’t lead a blind man down a wide, empty boulevard without tripping on every slight obstacle in their path … they themselves being blind and ignorant beyond comprehension.

Since the end of the generations that saw Keating pass the baton to Howard, who in his own mean-spirited way did a ‘Tiberius’ and prepared a ‘Satyr’ for the people of Australia with his paving the way for a far right infection into the LNP that even he couldn’t see the damage he was inflicting, there has been an endless stream of younger blunt, weaponised LNP members fumbling around The House and the authorities, corrupting without thought on the consequences, every authority, every bureaucracy and oversight office so that now we have no confidence ..  and rightly so! In any judgement brought down on any investigation of possible departmental fraud or high political office corruption … the individualistic operations of many members of the parliament to feather their own nests or those of their backers has totally corrupted the system … so that even our voting system, once the yardstick of safe, secure and fair elections copied around the world, is now tainted with an air of doubt … if not absolute distrust and scorn!

Even those of us on the Left of politics have had to watch unbelieving as we see our representatives go to water in the face of right-wing wedging and bluff … their fear of a MSM attack on their persons driving them to shelter and hide … Their now plump and shiny selves, from the largesse of many years in office losing that “lean and hungry look” so necessary in a political animal needed to shift the corpulent carcass of LNP dead-weights so welded to their seats.

The Tancredi Dilemma is needed again to have the middle-class burn some of its own … be that middle-class of the left or the right, they have to waste some of the dead-wood and decrepit stooges laying like rotting logs across the path … The new middle-class of IT techies and self-employed tradies have to wade into the fray and with metaphorical laser and hammer carve and smash away those who would never want change … and it has to be done soon and with extreme prejudice before we all burn in our beds from a destroyed environment!

For things to remain the same … ie; the ‘ruling bodies’ to hold position of power in the parliament with orthodox structures securing their authority … everything must now change … just as Rome had to fall so that Europe could rise, the dinosaurs in our politics must ‘die’.

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Corporate power – customer powerless

The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry revealed very clearly a major flaw in the Corporations Act.

The prime duty of the directors of a corporate body is to act in the best interests of shareholders, which, by implication means to maximise the profits for shareholders.

Nowhere is there any clear inference that, if the corporation provides a service to members of the public, its actions ought also to be directed to avoiding harm to the receiver of those services. Other legislation might well be invoked in those circumstances, but, in general, the corporations attention is firmly directed towards benefiting the shareholders. And if those who use corporate services are dissatisfied, they have to find other legal means to obtain satisfaction.

There is a convoluted relationship between Qantas and Jetstar, since the latter also involves an Asian connection, in which Qantas is a part-shareholder, but, nevertheless, the common view would be that Jetstar is a budget airline, which, when operating in Australia and New Zealand, is fully owned by Qantas.

So – if Qantas wants to retain its generally good reputation in the aviation area, it needs to be more circumspect in its oversight of Jetstar’s operations.

Perhaps an individual example might better highlight the areas where that oversight is lacking.

My son-in-law – let’s call him John – took advantage of the fact that my daughter had to spend 10 days inter-state for a residential school, a requirement relating to online studies, so he decided to visit family in a different state for a longer period than he was usually able to do.

I am not going to get side-tracked here into the environmental issues involved in air travel, but from a purely financial perspective, both parties decided to fly by Jetstar rather than Qantas.

The day before John was due to depart, he was advised that his flight was cancelled and he was re-booked for the following day. This immediately shortened the length of his visit, and, while not welcome, was fortunately not disastrous.

On the date he was due to return, he arrived in good time at the airport, checked in, and received his boarding pass, providing him with the gate number from which he would be departing.

Most of us have experienced major air terminals, with multiple airlines putting out calls for passengers about flight arrivals and departures, and most of us tune out. Those of us no longer in the first flush of youth also have difficulty in hearing them anyway!

So, if a call was put out to say that John’s flight was now departing from a different gate, among all the ambient noise, it did not register.

However, when he arrived at the originally nominated gate, he was not told he was at the wrong gate! He was told that the flight that was now boarding was not his flight, but that it would be called for shortly. Again, if he was not at the right check out gate, and if there was call for him, it went unheard for the same reason.

Let’s be realistic. If you have been given official details of where you are supposed to be and when – would you be listening out for contradictory information? The onus should have been on advising staff at the originally nominated gate to personally direct passengers to the correct gate.

And the interesting thing is that he was only one of several passengers for that flight in the same situation!

Of course, when they later returned to the gate, they were told their flight had already departed.

Seeking to lodge a complaint, John was directed to a supervisor at the check-in area, but when he got there, the desk was closed and all staff had left!

In his wanderings around the terminal, he, fortuitously spotted his suitcase circulating In lonely isolation on the carousel, guarded by a security officer!

Now it is important to know that, not only is John slightly hard of hearing, but, in 2016, following a flu injection (with no clarification as to coincidence) John was seriously affected by Guillain Barre Syndrome. He had an extensive period in the ICU plus months of rehabilitation, but the permanent nerve damage he incurred has left him dependent on leg braces, and he hobbles rather than walking with full freedom of movement.

Highlighted here is the difference between being a legal entity and being a human being with legal rights and personal issues. The corporation does not feel pain or experience empathy – both common features of most human beings!

It is necessary that the people responsible for running the corporation should have a duty to recognise that the actions taken by the employees of the corporation take into account their impact on the human beings serviced by the corporation.

Elderly people may be deaf. People with a disability require suitable consideration. People from a non-English speaking background – although not relevant in this case history – also need consideration. Staff need to be properly trained and guided to maximise the satisfaction of those using the corporation’s services.

Hopefully John will be appropriately reimbursed for his expenses for the unnecessary overnight stay and have the automatic change of flight fee refunded, as the change was not his choice!

And – more importantly – the staff of Jetstar will be reminded that the people to whom they provide a service deserve proper consideration as human beings.

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The never-ending battle between religion and science

By RosemaryJ36

Probably around 1956, my later-to-be-husband and I were on a boat at anchor in a creek off the River Thames, babysitting his sister’s two children while their parents enjoyed a well-earned drink in the onshore pub.

Diana, the older of the children, was perhaps 2 or 3 years old, and made a game of postponing bedtime by responding to every request or answer with one word.

‘Why?’

This is probably the most important word in the entire lexicon and it is what makes human beings pretty unique in the animal world.

We are seldom content with accepting everything around us. We want to know why it is there, what it is composed of, and how it works, if we are referring to material objects. If, however, we are referring to emotions or more ephemeral issues, we remain curious and seek explanations.

Which is why human beings invented gods, with their accompanying spiritual qualities.

There were so many answers people could not find, and the more cunning among them realised that they could become really powerful if they claimed the ability to interpret messages from the gods!

The Indians, the Greeks, the Romans and the Scandinavians, as well as the indigenous people of what is now the USA, along with most other nations around the world, each invented a pantheon of gods, usually including a supreme overlord. The Jews and the Islamists – whose religions share a great deal of history, are unique in being monotheistic.

All religions had their priests and their prophets. Islamists regard Jesus Christ as a prophet, though inferior to Muhammed, while the Jews reject his followers’ claim that he is the son of god.

For believers in those religions, the Shamans or priests were the repositories of knowledge (shades of Tony Abbott!) and they were the ones who determined what could or could not be accepted as truth.

In the western world, by the Middle Ages, the Roman Church – having jealously guarded the works we recognise as the Holy Bible as the sole source of true knowledge, excommunicated many whose scientific discoveries cast doubt on the veracity of the Bible.

To this day, there are many supposedly Christian sects who solemnly and sincerely believe in the Genesis version of the creation of the world. Because that is what the Bible says!

Science is slowly winning the battle of convincing more and more people that the Bible is not an accurate source of knowledge.

As with the Torah and the Qur’an, there is much in the Bible, most particularly in the New Testament’s record of Christ’s ministry, that is concerned with establishing rules for life. In many cases they are admirable, but they ignore the fact that, in an everchanging world, increasing knowledge demands that rules need to change to keep relevance.

If, two hundred years ago, people had been expected to accept our modern views on human rights, they would not have reacted well! Indeed, many in the twenty-first century still brush them aside – including the Australian government!

The underpinning pf science is asking – WHY? – closely followed by – HOW?

When I was about 8 or 9, I was given a Children’s Encyclopaedia, and the flyleaf carried this verse, which forms the first line of a poem by Rudyard Kipling:

I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

No scientist could wish for better guidance!

But religion is, by definition, conservative. It looks to the past and resists change, just as the Holy See did in the seventeenth Century!

As an agnostic, I do not deny the possibility that a god exists but am increasingly convinced that she – or he – does not! I stand with you, Stephen Fry!

What I learned about the life of Christ from studying the Scriptures was that he believed in change, and demonstrated it in his treatment of the woman, about to be stoned for committing adultery, and cemented it in his modernising of the 10 Commandments, whittling them down to what were, for him as a believer, the two important parts. And any unbelievers would do well to seriously consider following the second one if they seek a harmonious existence!

But – the fight is continuing. Those who insist on living in the past are denying the rest of us a future!

Continuing to refuse to accept the science is dooming the world to even more unpleasant circumstances for our children than they will already experience because we have waited so long to take really effective action.

I truly believe the real adults need to take over the streets until the government gets stuck into the job which it is morally obliged to take on!

Ensuring that the world remains habitable for all living things!

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Empathy. They have none.

By RosemaryJ36 

Anne Ruston and Peter Dutton stand out among their Coalition colleagues, since both stand out as seeming to be supremely incapable of empathy. Their blindness to the fact that the majority of people forced to be dependent on Newstart are not drug addicts or malingerers and that the children – AND adults – who took part in the School Strike4Climate marches, are genuinely concerned about their future, is ignored in favour of vilifying fellow citizens less wealthy – or blind – than they themselves appear to be!.

I am one of many grandparents and great grandparents who accept the science on climate change. After all, the oil companies did their own research over 30 years ago and were well aware of the climate damage which would result from the escalating use of fossil fuels. And time has proved their predictions were spot on!

Needless to say, in a capitalist world, profits are the name of the game, and why publicise the long-term damage your mining and drilling and fracking is doing to the environment when you can keep your shareholders happy with healthy dividends?

The evidence from all round the world of the effect the changing environment is having – not least by the costly damage done by the increasingly frequent and severe weather events – cannot be wilfully ignored for much longer.

It is hard to know who most deserves our concern. Is it the older people, made redundant in their 50s and 60s, with little hope of finding meaningful work – ever – and forced to eke out an existence on Newstart? Or is it the young people, with their lives ahead of them, also struggling to enter the workforce, watching those who are expected to take responsibility for making serious decisions, turning a blind eye to the damage that they are encouraging and happily subsidising those doing the damage while collecting party donations in return.

If there is one thing worse than watching people damage the future for our youth, it is feeling helpless to do anything to change the situation.

The Opposition offers little hope. It seems more interested in searching its own soul, to find out where they went wrong, than it is in announcing realistic plans that might slow down global warming and reduce the probability of temperatures rising to unbearable levels.

To add to the frustration, it seems that a significant number of our governing politicians claim to have religious beliefs linked to Christianity – yet Christ’s message to put other’s needs before your own has clearly been drowned out by self-interest.

Hypocrites, the lot of them!

It is becoming more and more apparent that we need to go down the path of civil disobedience, following the example of the people of Hong Kong.

Before the recent election, the Coalition was asking Labor to say how much their policies on combating climate change would cost.

A ridiculous question in relation to policies which will have to be regularly adjusted because we are starting behind the 8-ball.

What is quite certain is that the costs involved in reducing emissions and moving away from dependence on fossil fuels will pale into insignificance when compared with the costs in re-building lives and property damaged by severe climate-related catastrophes!

“When will they ever learn?” is indeed the question to keep asking.

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