I am just an ordinary citizen but I care about the lives and rights of others – and the need to ensure that those who take on responsibility do their job properly!

Swiftie Nonsense Down Under

Gaza. Palestinians. Israel. Genocide. Taylor Swift? This odd cobbling of words is…

New research highlights the growing prevalence and economic…

New research by the e61 Institute presents five facts on the use…

Ok, So This Is A Boring Post... Or…

Gloria Sty, bud Iyam riting this coz I wanna mayk sum poynts…

Border Paranoia in Fortress Australia

The imaginative faculties of standard Australian politicians retreat to some strange, deathly…

Where the Palestine laboratory takes us all

By Antony Loewenstein Israel's war on Gaza since 7 October has caused the…

No, no, no, no. Not more ‘illegals’!

By Bert Hetebry A group of South Asian men arrived on our doorstep…

Rafah, Gaza: Urgent Statement from CEOs of Humanitarian…

Oxfam Media Release We are appalled by the harrowing developments in Rafah, Gaza’s…

Joe Biden: The Damnation of Age

He was sweet and well meaning, but he was old. He was…


Competence in short supply

Any person, when writing about historical events, necessarily introduces a personal perspective, influenced by their own history.

My first 34+ years were spent in the UK, where I had a very good (free from 5 to 21) education, married, started my career as a maths teacher and had three children.

At the end of 1970, the family left the UK to come to Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia. I expect to spend the rest of my life (since I do not plan on moving again) in this city, which, IMHO, is uniquely special.

Two of my children are still here, the third being currently overseas, having been unable to find work in Australia, in his specialist area, when he was made redundant in his mid-50s. Many will resonate with that! He was lucky that he is a dual national! Their father has moved on and moved away and we are both happier in consequence!

It is never cold here, the people are incredibly varied, being both cosmopolitan and cohesive, and we live cheek by jowl – but not always 100% harmoniously – with the world’s oldest continuous culture.

That said – we currently live in a time of severe stress.

The NT has just closed its borders, because the COVID-19 crisis puts at risk the indigenous people in remote communities, who share a high level of compromised immune systems, making them uniquely susceptible to serious harm were they to become infected.

Less than 24 hours ago we were hearing the Prime Minister listing all the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to which we are to be subjected and, only minutes ago, as I write this, the NT Chief Minister has announced some of the appropriate modifications to the national constraints, necessary to ensure that our NT culture is taken into account.

And this brings me to the crux of my concerns with government – particularly at the national level in Australia.

The PM has excluded the Opposition leader from his National Cabinet, while, admittedly, some of the State leaders in that decision-making body represent the ALP perspective. Since the PM and his Ministers will predominate in implementation of policy, the political balance is missing.

Just as there is a shortage of female representatives in Coalition ranks, so issues such as hairdressing are being decided in the absence of informed discussion. I am fortunate in letting nature decide my hair colour and in having been able to cut my own hair for many years. But for many women, hair colouring and styling are an essential part of their well-being – and half an hour is far from enough!

Our life style in the NT is largely outdoors, with markets and outdoor dining, which introduces a serious problem when looking at the national prohibitions. Again, we will be making modifications.

It seems to me that the whole national government approach is big stick, and fails to accommodate people’s needs. Whole industries, like entertainment, are being closed down, but, whereas in the UK, Boris Johnson is guaranteeing 80% of the wages lost by employees in industries which are being closed down, no such succour is being offered to employees here. It is the business owner who will receive a handout and all that is required in return is an unwritten, and unenforceable, agreement to re-employ its former employees when business restarts.

We have already experienced too long under a Coalition philosophy which supports business – and the economy, which is, surely intended to serve the people’s needs rather than vice versa – while ignoring the needs of employees and the self-employed.

Today, for the first time, we heard Hank Jongen, CEO of Centrelink, provide clear directions for those needing to contact that organisation, because they had become unexpectedly unemployed. That was after 2 days of news headlines over queues outside Centrelink offices and uninformed claims by the responsible Minister, Stuart Robert, that the MyGov website access to Centrelink had been subjected to a cyber-attack!

No – Stuart – the internet just could not cope because of insufficient foresight by government! We once enjoyed a brilliant service from the CSIRO, which has been stunted by massive funding cuts by governments which ignore the value of science, except when it suits them.

I recently joined Extinction Rebellion Darwin. I have 3 great grandchildren whose chances for a good life are being stunted by the climate emergency.

As part of my visible protest, I sit outside our Parliament House in Darwin for 2 hours every Wednesday afternoon, usually with at least one friend. Last week we got drenched (Top End rain is not cold!) and this week we packed up 5 minutes early as we had to collect up our posters before they got drenched by an ill-timed shower.

We are distancing ourselves, as required, and we are not attracting crowds, but we are ensuring that the campaign for action on Climate Change is not drowned out by the COVID-19 restrictions.

Satellite pictures show that the epidemic has resulted in a reduction in emissions – which is good but temporary. As soon as the crisis has passed, vested interest will ensure that industry ramps up again to former proportions, but we need to make sure that does not happen in a harmful way.

We do not want to return to increasing emissions, but increasing use of technology which will decrease emissions!

The current health crisis has demonstrated the extent to which our governments have become reactive, not proactive,

Now we need to use this interregnum to ensure that recovery is proactive in supporting the urgent need to ensure our grandchildren have a viable future.

We need to watch this government like a hawk! They have already indicated their view that activism should be illegal – but how can it be illegal, in a democracy, to protest publicly when an ignorant and incompetent government makes people’s lives harder than they need to be?

If you agree with me, then please, if you can, get out there, get vocal (legally!), email your MP, email the PM, do everything in your power to ensure that the government itself acts legally (Parliament is closed down until August – WHY????) and generally insist that we need an economy which supplies OUR needs – not those of the major corporations – and we need an honest and competent government!

I am just an ordinary citizen but I care about the lives and rights of others – and the need to ensure that those who take on responsibility do their job properly!

And – hey! While we are about it – how about the politicians having their salaries and allowances cut while they are not following their normal routines????

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.”

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Donate Button


Login here Register here
  1. Michael Taylor

    The Washington Post reports that Prince Charles has tested positive for Covid19.

  2. HumeAndTwain

    All extremely valid points … many which have occurred to me over the past few days. I think the country should rue the campaign that Abbott and Turnbull waged to hamstring the original, fully fiber-optic NBN vision. That would be extremely handy now, yes? And the idea that Parliament shuts down for three-quarters of the year (much like this government had it do in 2019) is atrocious. At the very least, they should be able to use their local MP offices (which are expensive to maintain and are positioned in each electoral district in the county) as video-conference bases to use for “virtual Parliamentary sittings” if it is truly impossible for them to congregate in Canberra. A fully fiber-optic NBN would have more easily enabled this to be easily done as well.

    What a wasted over two decades we have had … 1996 to 2007 … and now 2013 to the present. Time wasted, millions if not billions of dollars wasted, and the vast majority of it by the LNP.

  3. whatever

    Prince Charles was recently at a meeting with Albert of Monaco, who tested positive some days ago.

  4. John Lord

    A Prince with an interest in things that matter.

  5. New England Cocky

    @HumeAnd Twain: The deliberate ideological destruction of the original Labor FTTP high speed Internet (and the subsequent costly dispute with Telstra about access to Telstra tunnels) was one of the most damaging actions by the RAbbott Turdball Morriscum COALition Liarbral Nazional$ misgovernment. So why are we surprised that the only likely beneficiary is a foreign based multinational corporation?

    Having MPs work from their offices is a fine idea that likely will not occur to Smirkie Sacked from Marketing because that would require MPs to attend to local matters rather than protect the interests of foreign owned multinational corporations that pay little or no taxation in Australia wile benefiting from out otherwise stable political environment and natural wealth in resources.

    @JL: Another sad reflection on the parlous state of Australia under politicians proving to be the worst financial managers since Federation in 1901.

    Where are Kevin Rudd and Ken Henry when you want proper, effective leadership of the nation in a major crisis requiring policies that go early, go hard and go families?

  6. Bronwyn Lewis

    Rosemary Jacob, thank you for your very relevant comments and your continual support to the climate change stance.

  7. RomeoCharlie29

    The pollies will no doubt argue they are still doing their jobs as our representatives but shutting down Parly for five months is one step away from totalitarianism and prevents the Opposition from doing its job of calling the government to account. The enforced closure of tens of thousands of businesses and the consequent unemployment of hundreds of thousands of people is unprecedented. The political class, well paid as it is, needs to share the pain it has inflicted on the citizenry and should immediately forego 50% of their incomes. It is unconscionable that when so many are without their normal livelihoods politicians should continue to receive their scandalously generous remuneration, not to mention their allowances. While the messages from our film-flam man PM, motormouth Morrison have been confusing and overwhelmed by persiflage, in contrast our own Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, has been clear with his messages which, as you point out RJ reflect that we live in a “ different” part of Australia.

  8. Jon Chesterson

    Totally agree, if Morrison is suspending the sitting of Parliament till August he should be including both Opposition Labor and Australian Greens on his national executive cabinet in times of crisis like this – period. What an arse, this just wreaks of control, dictatorship, authoritarianism and getting to do whatever he wants without Parliamentary accountability. What he could not get through Parliament he will opportunistically and greedily take anyway behind closed doors, and don’t ever think he will hand that power back. Dutton next in line will seize it off him!

    However more importantly, what message does the postponement of Parliament send? It says no crisis here, no business, no mind or will to do business, nothing to see here. Leave it all to market forces, ruthless corporations and employers to do what they want without regulation, and well, here have some more money to put in your bank, top up, top down politics still. It says government of the people for the people is not important, and that too is reflected in the top down approach giving billions to business while Australian citizens up and down the country are shed onto the dole and Centrelink queues with not a single coordinated, considered, rational, sensible response in sight. The people don’t matter. All that matters is the economy and there is no evidence of management of that either!

    Christ, we are back in Hawaii again and up Trump’s trousers without a paddle… EWE!

    And at the end, before the next election, half a million Australians dead and a million more homeless, jobless, penniless on the streets spreading the virus, then he will roll out the electoral stimulus package – The one that says, I will give you $750 now and another $750 after you vote for me, and we will all get back to business. Business of economic genocide, no! There is no economic in it.

    Whooopeee can’t wait, heaven here I come!

  9. Andy56

    Us humans are not immune to the natural order of mathematics. and thats all it is, basic maths. It has no respect for colour, race, fitness, status or wealth. you let someone with the virus loose, and its just a matter of how many contacts, each one has contacts. its like the 6 phases of differentiation. we are all 6 contacts away from anyone. in a traditional family of 3-5 members, its not too hard to calculate the best and worst scenarios. AND the calculations will strangely enough follow reality, its that close. Add a school and you have 500-1500 pupils and 100 or so teachers. Thats all without public transport thrown. You can see where this is heading. F#cking ostrich politicians and their concern about the recession and jobs, this is life and death for quite a few people.

    Ask any year 12 maths teacher what our response should be. Why are these incompetants procrastinating about? Go early, go quickly, go hard makes perfect sense to me. if we are all going to suffer financially anyway, better to kill the virus for the pain than let it persist. Get something for the money I say.

    The only ones who should be up and about are essential services, and i dont mean hairdressers. Fire, ambulance, police, healthcare workers, food distributors, SES, these are what i call essential services. public transport? maybe so essential service people can get to work. Everyone else STAY home (well obviously you have to make a food run, but minimise your exposure time). This is the message politicians should be giving NOW.
    They are piss farting around trying to resolve the problem of their ideology not dealing with reality. Jobs are their number 1 priority, saving jobs. The health issue is secondary. Thats why we have the farce of incremental restrictions and money thrown at businesses with unknown resolutions. HOPING that things get back to normal soon. Tax rebates and investment allowances, f#ck me dead, which business in its right mind will invest in this environment?
    It should be health issues 1st and money later. Everyone on lockdown ASAP, provide a salary substitute to those who stay home. we can kill the virus stone dead quicker this way. And then the money issues can be dealt with. No point trying to plan for normal when you have no idea what normal will become. Its like they have realised that they have strangled the goose and are trying mouth to mouth. Brain death has already started . Its time to buy another goose.
    But what am I to know? I am just another dickhead armchair anger merchant.

  10. RosemaryJ36

    Andy 56 – Guess what?? Angus Taylor owns 100s of hair dressing salons. Coincidence??? Actually not true and I was careless in failing to double check.

  11. Harry Lime

    Of course it’s a coincidence,everything about this government is a coincidence.Morrison getting preselection after been towelled in the first vote was a coincidence,Morrison accidently falling into the Prime Ministership was a coincidence,Morrison stacking the government with lackeys, stooges and egregiously incompetent happy clappers is a coincidence,Grassgate Gussy having protected native grass species on one of his properties was an inconvenient coincidence ad infinitum.
    That it’s all turned to shit now IS NOT A COINCIDENCE.

  12. RosemaryJ36

    Apologies for my failure to check sources.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Return to home page