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I am not a great believer in coincidences. In fact, I had a medical saga last year which started with my losing my voice, coincidentally with being diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.

I pursued every available avenue until I finally received radioactive iodine treatment, which, after nearly 12 months, has alleviated the thyroid condition – and – I have recovered my voice.

But at a global level, situations are less simple.

For those who accept the science on climate change, the possibility of taking action to slow the process down has been thwarted by those who, in some ways rightly, have claimed that we are wasting our time taking action when the really big contributors to emissions, like China, are not making a sufficient attempt to do so.

Well! Guess what!

China presently appears to have been the initial source for the Covid-19 virus outbreak.and, in taking draconian, but effective, action, they seem to not only be close to success in stopping the spread of the virus, but to have also dramatically reduced their emissions!

Also, not really coincidentally, the world’s economy is slowing down – and to anyone who still believes that anything, particularly an economy, can continue to grow for ever, maybe that idea is due for re-examination.

While people are self-isolating, and the medical services are going flat out trying to detect cases of infection before those infected can spread the virus around too extensively, maybe it is time to take a deep breath and really look to future responses.

Our governments have been acting like automatons in relation to the economy, frantically seeking growth with total disregard to the effects of their actions.

But virtually the only people who have benefitted from that growth have been those who are already very well provided for. Because, unless there is a financial crisis, you can painlessly use money to make money, and high-income earners have been in the forefront of those with growing wealth, most of which is reinvested, or spent on luxury goods.

So, the business profits have not been flowing on to those on low wages and the businesses which rely on sales have not been doing so well, because those whose income is scarcely enough are struggling to afford bare essentials.

I am clearly stating the bleeding obvious, but what governments have not been doing is take appropriate action.

I recently suggested that our financial advisers re-visit the idea of a Universal Basic Income, coupled with suitable plans to increase taxes on those who can afford to pay them.

This is, of course, the complete reverse of the policies which the Coalition government has been following.

If the economy is to be suitably stimulated, the present thinking of governments should be about job creation outside the fossil fuel area. This will involve retraining those whose jobs will disappear as we move to developing the plethora of means of generating renewable energy – many of which which have already been researched, but are being largely ignored.

It will involve much activity about recycling while we simultaneously make drastic changes to our lifestyles. Use of plastics has gone crazy and they are causing damage to our oceans and in landfill which cannot be allowed to continue.

The concept of built-in obsolescence must be set aside, in favour of manufacturing goods with a long life and prospects of being usefully recycled.

The CSIRO must be restored to its previous levels of funding and personnel which made it such a powerhouse of invention.

Getting rich is not a desirable aim when it is achieved by making others poor!

Governments which impose policies such as Robo-Debt and the cashless welfare card, are not caring about the people affected by those policies, any more than they are when using private agencies to administer the NDIS to the most vulnerable people in our society.

Australia needs to once more give everyone a Fair Go and genuinely seek to be the Lucky Country – not for the few but for all.

Before our hospitals fill to capacity and we are totally distracted by fighting for survival, please can we set up some expert committees to plan for a recovery program which sees a massive lessening of inequality – and a hope for a future for our grandchildren.

We have the means to be a better country. We must insist that our leaders have the will.

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

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

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26 comments

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  1. Win Jeavons

    Absolutely agree ! This is exactly my own position.

  2. New England Cocky

    No R&D no Economic Future. It has always been thus. CSIRO was destroyed by unthinking political number jugglers who knew the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

    The Universal Basic Income (UBI) was trialled in Canada and saved more from the Canadian Health Budget than the cost of the UBI programme. Naturally the election of a conservative government chopped the UBI programme, but the 200 boxes of data were subsequently analysed to demonstrate the effectiveness of a UBI.

  3. pat daly

    what you say is very logical and if the suggestions were to be implemented would result in great benifit for most .Unfortunately you are a voice in the wilderness deaf to the political elete .This government or the opposition don’t have the will or the courage to change -it will take a revolution .

  4. Jack Cade

    I am a ‘glass half-full’ bloke. Whenever I have been cold, or wet, or sad, I always think ‘I’ll be dry/warm/safe/ happy soon. I’m a ‘The sun comes up every day’, ‘you don’t know you’re happy unless you’ve been sad’ sort of man.
    But for the life of me, I cannot be optimistic about this country any more, or the countries we admire or want to emulate. Our last federal election did it for me. We knowingly re-elected a serial liar, a deeply unpleasant man who put his arm around Shallow Mal while negotiating his assassination.
    The USA elected a phoney,foul-mouthed, amoral fraud and will re-elect him again because the other branch of his party – risibly calling itself Democrats, is manipulating its own primaries (discrepancy between post ballot polls and published results is between 10 – and 20% where a discrepancy of more than 2% is considered to be strong evidence of fraud) to ensure that Biden, an unworthy candidate for a ‘party of the people’ anyway and clearly well on the way to full-blown dementia, gets to be the opponent for Trump. But wait!! Hillary is bursting into print almost as often as Trump tweets, and the conspiracy theory is that Biden gets declared unfit to stand and Clinton picks up the baton.
    No Briton has any time for Blowjob Johnson, but have given him a thumping majority.
    My glass is now, in the late afternoon of my life, depressingly more than half empty..,

  5. James O'Neill

    To allege that China is the source of the Corona virus betrays a level of ignorance that undermines any good points the author may have been trying to make. Shame on AIM for allowing such manifest falsehoods to be published.

  6. whatever

    I don’t know why you continually claim the C-virus to be a secret Chinese communist plot, its all very 1950’s.
    Also, most of the plastic in the oceans was dumped there by shipping. Cargo and passenger shipping, they don’t want to pay for dumpsters when they reach port so the Captains are instructed to dump the rubbish at sea.

  7. nonsibicunctis

    I thoroughly agree with what you have to say and share your sentiments in respect of your hopes for Australia.

    Sadly, I also have to admit that I share Jack Cade’s feelings – (though empty and full are absolutes and so the ‘half-empty’ and ‘half-full’ designations actually make no sense) – because I, too, am at probably the lowest ebb of my life in respect of democracy, human rights, civil liberties and the poor quality of most of our politicians. The growth of a misguided populism, insularity and individualistic greed is sickening and, to me, is symptomatic of a decadent society that grows dumber by the year.

    I am sure that there are many reasons for the puerile preoccupations of the mass of the population and their seemingly keen willingness to support and elect those who, without any doubt, will actually work against their interests, not for them. On the surface, at least, it is bewildering. However, in my view, it is a symptom of an incessant socialisation that promotes ‘success’ in life as an orientation around fame, wealth and status, coupled with a message that we must fear difference, including people that are different. This fear is so instilled that, peculiarly, even many, if not most, immigrants to this nation since WWII are willing to support the demonisation of refugees and asylum seekers, often from the same origins as themselves.

    The predominantly right wing controlled mainstream media and right wing governments have been particularly instrumental in sowing the nasty seeds of discrimination, prejudice and ‘blame the victim’, though I admit that some others from the middle and left of the political spectrum have chosen to support such views, probably in their own self-interest, so that hey are not seen to go against what appears to be the prevailing sentiment. In many ways, those none right-wing supporters of compassionless government policy are even worse than the right wing instigators of it for they sabotage that for which they supposedly stand.

    Thank you for your post.

    p.s. (Apologies for attaching this but I’m unsure as to what else I can do.)

    In closing my own, may I ask if someone out there can contact Michael for me? I have been a subscriber to AIMN since its inception or very close to it but currently I am being told that I am blocked and that my email and name are not registered. I don’t recall ever having a password but the system won’t let me register, either. At the same time, I am able to comment on posts and am still receiving notifications. It is all very strange. I’m sure that some of you will recognise my nom de plume and will be able to confirm that I have made no indecent or abusive comments that might merit my banishment.

    Unfortunately, when I visit the home page of AIMN, or any other page for that matter, I can’t find any option for contacting administration or Michael. I used to have his email because we have swapped messages on a few occasions but after several computer disasters I lost all my contacts and so cannot contact him directly of my own accord. So, if one of you could help me sort this out, I would appreciate it.

    I know that my views can be seen as discordant with those of some of the more salubrious contributors to AIMN but I have never thought that I would be banned as a result. I therefore assume that this is some sort of technical glitch that has come about in the course of format changes to the site or something of the sort.

  8. Roland Flickett

    Whatever.
    There is a burgeoning theory that the Coronavirus emanated from a US research centre in Maryland where they were trying to find a’ cure’ for Ebola etc. Two nursing homes near the facility had similar symptoms to the new scourge but the news was put out that the deceased people died from ‘pneumonia’ caused by a ‘flu-like’ virus caused by ‘vaping’. The research facility was closed down.
    A connection is being made to 300 US military people who attended the World Military Games in Yuhan in November 2019. The first Coronavirus patient was diagnosed in Wuhan two weeks after the games finished.
    The Magazine ‘Nature’ ran an article in November 2015 describing the experiments with attempts at fusing the SARS and Coronavirus ‘to try and find an antidote.’
    Might be bullshit: but no more bullshit than we are usually fed.

  9. Michael Taylor

    James, what are you talking about?

    Rosemary said “appears to have been …” Please tell me what falsehoods you can apply to that.

  10. Michael Taylor

    nonsibicunctis, you’re never blocked for long … we unblock you immediately.

    You don’t need to try and login anymore (that’s just for admin and authors). You can comment without the need to login.

  11. New England Cocky

    @Roland Flickett: I seem to remember that former US Vice President Dick Cheney had a financial interest in a corporation that manufactured vaccines for assorted diseases.

    I also know that in 1969 the US held sufficient Rice Blast fungus innoculum to wipe out the entire Asian rice crop seven (7) times. Then there were the similar stocks of other fungal pathogens for application in other parts of the world.

    Indeed, the Chief Plant Pathologist of NZ confessed to inoculating an apple tree in Melbourne Botanic Gardens with Apple Blight to force Australia to give NZ apples unimpeded access to the Australian market. The Victorian DPI successfully controlled the disease and NZ apples now require disinfecting before being exported to Australia.

    Biological warfare of agricultural crops only requires a school laboratory to be effective.

  12. LambsFry Simplex.

    Ferocious, the mods at AIM, nonsibi…

  13. Roland Flickett

    New England Cocky

    Cheney was also heavily involved with Halliburton, who got the lions share of the rebuilding being done in the countries destroyed by US bombing. I read a book called Poppy by an Australian investigative journalist (Gregor Salmon I think) who reported that Afghanis said the Yanks only built stuff there that was useful to the US forces.
    Plus, I read a note from a big Pharma spokesman the other day which said ‘We don’t want cures! Cures interrupt our revenue stream!’
    So there you have it – capitalism in two brief sentences.

  14. Michael Taylor

    Lambsfry, is not us (the mods) that do it. It’s a WordPress thingy we have no control over.

  15. nonsibicunctis

    Thank you, Michael. I didn’t realise that I couldn’t post without being an author. I feel sure that I have posted in past years but perhaps I’m wrong. That is what I was trying to do. At least now I understand what appeared to me to be a contradiction. I also understand the issues with WordPress as I have had not dissimilar problems, at times, on the several sites I have built and manage with the platform.

  16. LambsFry Simplex.

    Michael, I wonder if an algorithm wasn’t what got me at twitter?

    And on the reply also.

  17. RosemaryJ36

    Michael – in fairness to James, I saw his comment in WordPress and modified my original statement but at no time have I intended to imply that the coronavirus was deliberately created by China. My original wording was clumsy but I stand by my comment that the virus originated in China, accepting that it was most probably totally accidental.

    nonsibicuntis – long before I became a author I was submitting comments. I migrated to Australia from the UK nearly 50 years ago and I am appalled at the sadistic treatment meted out to refugees. I think this country has been infected by the American emphasis of the individual rather than the community. It is not all about me and living in a dysfunctional community is unhealthy.

  18. PAUL GALE

    Rupert will never allow any of this to eventuate.

  19. nonsibicunctis

    RosemaryJ36 – you are certainly right about the inculcation of focus on ‘self’ in this nation. I’d also agree that North American influence is not an insignificant contributor to the cause. However, there is much more to it than North American influence, crass as that can be.

    Capitalism, in one form or another and often in the guise of the very opposite, is in my view the main cause of today’s selfishness, not only in Australia but across so much of the World.

    Trading began as an equal exchange between people who had different skills that were necessary to produce the fundamentals of a ‘civilised’ and more comfortable way of surviving. This type of exchange, it would seem because of natural flaws in human nature, gradually morphed into unequal exchange, quite probably imposed because one person’s need was greater than the others or because one person was more able to deceive or intimidate. As ‘trade’ progressed from equal to ever more unequal transactions, it was accompanied by ‘might is right’ theft, not only of people with skills or desirable attributes but also of what those people had already created or accumulated. Such theft included the theft of the land that people occupied.

    This process facilitated domination by particular individuals and groups and the inevitable evolution of ‘leaders’ – chiefs, lords, kings, queens, imams, and so forth.

    At the same time, human beings were attempting to understand their own existence and that of the World in which they lived and the various manifestations of existence in their observable universe, as well as in themselves. This search for understanding led to the various creations of mythical gods and the evolution of a variety of religions or sets of rules for behaviour that inevitably gave authority to those who had the wiles to claim privileged knowledge and even meetings with the various ‘out of this world’, ‘superior’, ‘unknowable’ (ironically) beings. This privilege of “I know god’ or ‘I have carriage of god’s word’ became similar to that of ‘might is right’, imparting special status on those who held it and the ability to manipulate and ‘lead’ masses of people.

    It is not surprising that, in short order, these two manifestations of privilege and control saw utility in alliance and thus the marriage of church and state was formed, sometimes in some instances as co-existence and in others with one or the other dominating the partnership. These relationships, with precious little change, have continued to the present day.

    Why is that significant? It is significant because of what I stated early in this post about human nature and its exploitation of exchange and aspiration for control, dominance, possession and such, together with an awesome willingness to achieve those elements regardless of what it might mean for other human beings, animals, or indeed, the natural world in any of its aspects.

    Sadly, for all the philosophical genius exhibited by human-kind – much of which precipitated or developed religious myth – and in spite of the exponential increases in our understanding and ability to create and control so many aspects of our environment and living conditions, it seems that no such similar development has come about in human attitudes, values, rationality or behaviour. On the contrary, for all our ‘knowing’ and technological progress, we have failed to progress very far, if at all, in terms of our ‘humanity’ and care for one another.

    Fame or celebrity, status and wealth are now seen as the factors that define ‘success’. Even worse, they have come to define, for the majority, what is a ‘successful life’.

    Capitalism is both symptomatic and reinforcing of this situation. It’s lure is why 1% or less of the World’s population now own as much, if not more, than half of the World’s population combined. The figures vary depending on source but are generally quoted as between 12 and 25 individuals owning as much as 3.7 billion others. That may be the worst of it but it is not the whole picture of the abhorrent inequity in our world, for just 10% own as much as the other 90% combined. What this represents is not achievement or progress but GREED. Indeed, if one takes the trouble to think about the state of affairs of the human race, it is not unreasonable to see greed and capitalism as synonymous.

    I write too much and I’m conscious that most people dislike what I have to say – which is no doubt why I can only comment rather than post. So, I’ll stop here other than to say that as long as human beings put their trust in myth and those who control its manifestations; as long as we focus on ‘the economy’ as our first and foremost priority, instead of human well-being; as long as we build walls and borders and seek to ‘own’, (what, in fact, we can never possess), our race will continue to be dysfunctional and will cause its own destruction.

    If you doubt that, consider carefully the paucity of will, on the part of those who have power, influence and control, to take appropriate steps to mitigate and even attempt to reverse global warming.

  20. Mark

    The notion that Capitalism … is the main cause of today’s selfishness might just be an example of putting the cart before the horse? As you entertain later on.

    As for the reference to supposed flaws in human nature also says much. Original sin? But probably not.

  21. Phil

    Canonsibicunctis Capitalism, in one form or another and often in the guise of the very opposite, is in my view the main cause of today’s selfishness, not only in Australia but across so much of the World.

    Agree. It will also be the cause of the end of the world.

  22. Carl Marks

    Capitalism is greed given form and structure including the ability to reproduce itself and its values with the community, these days.

    That is why we have global poverty and an ecology shot to pieces.

  23. Zathras

    Free market Capitalism is a self-defeating system that ultimately destroys that which makes itself possible. Once all local resources or markets have been exhausted it can no longer work and so seeks to perpetuate itself by invading and expanding into other countries.
    Once upon a time weapons were made to fight wars. Now wars seem to be initiated in order to sell weapons and the US economy in particular is addicted to warfare.

    Despite all the claims of its economic and moral superiority it still relies on socalist bail-outs when it fails, whether it’s to prop up failing banks or subsidise farmers or more recently – airlines, and even to throw cash at consumers to buy products to keep itself alive.

    It’s a system that promotes personal self-interest and now – entitlement above everything else and leaves the strugglers to be supported by charities as it withdraws essential services from the majority in favour of further enriching the minority.

    Unfortunately we’re stuck with it but with some decent regulation, policy adjustments and a sense of morality under the right leadership it may be possible to improve. Otherwise we’re all screwed.

  24. Carl Marks

    So well put Zathras.

  25. Jon Chesterson

    GRAND LIBERAL TUNNEL OF CAGED CANARIES

    Poignant article Rosemary and I agree on so many points –

    There will be no light at the end of the same tunnel we entered, with the same mad men and women running our country on the same mad promises and premises, most of which they never keep or continue to line the pockets of large companies and wealthy few. The tunnel will eventually collapse.

    Has anyone out there received a single dollar of the billions being declared and thrown around by Morrison? Can you eat a dollar? Unemployed, newly laid off with no income, elderly, families with children, disabled (even with the pre-existing massive unspent NDIS), low income families, homeless, those who have been ordered to quarantine including returning from overseas to empty pantries, and those who are self isolating? Has a single politician, government representative Centrelink official, State or local government officer contacted, phoned or offered assistance to any of these people or even to check out if they are okay?

    How long has Australia been out of toilet paper, handwash sanitiser and basic masks and still not a single one of these products on our supermarket or chemist shelves? Where is this supply we are told is only demand driven? And now we have to put up with Morrison bleating on about how disappointed he is in Australians, when it is only the few who are fighting and claiming their spoils selfishly in the aisles. How believable is this the blame for the prolonged absence of supply! Does the government even care beyond their empty rhetoric, daily sermons and now hymns of retribution? How many toilet rolls does Morrison have in his house and office? Yes stop panic buying everyone you are pampering to Morrison’s reckless Liberal tunnel and empty pantry!

    But isn’t this the least of our problems? This is no coincidence, Morrison is milking this for every penny, all the promises and failures he can now hide under his convenient political infested magic carpet. Not even Covid19 will trump the lies, false announcements, grandiose promises and exploitation of our government. This great bag of wind called Morrison digs his evil spade further into our wounds, ‘we must all pull together, we will get through this, trust me’ and once again ‘now is not the tme’. You would be a fool to think of any light at the end of this grand Liberal tunnel, now or any time before the next general election and well beyond, unless we face up to reality – This grand Liberal tunnel is taking us blindly, recklessly deeper and deeper underground like caged canaries – Screw the economy, stock exchange, Wall Street and ASX. Can you eat a dollar? What about society, humanity and our planet?

  26. nonsibicunctis

    “But isn’t this the least of our problems?”

    Yes, when one stands aside and considers the response to the pandemic, the (relative absence of) response to the drought; the, (considering the ignoring of fire-chief warnings), unforgivably late & incompetent response to the bush fires; the continual erosion of our civil liberties and dismissal of human rights; the appalling response to criticism and exposure of government corruption, (disgusting attacks on press freedom), the unforgivable, (denial, obstruction & failure to act), response to global warming; and the incessant dissembling, half-truths, outright lies and continual blaming of the victim by LNP Coalition politicians, I’d say that there is no doubt but that we have even greater problems than the impact of COVID19.

    I’d add one more, perhaps not directly on topic, issue that I have with our current political system because it helps to elect such people who are now in government – Preferential Voting. I thoroughly object to a situation that compels me to vote but, at the same time, insists that I have to risk my vote helping to elect a candidate or political party for whom I have NO respect whatsoever, my only alternative being either a fine for not voting or the understandable but hardly effective submission of a ‘donkey’ vote.

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