Thursday 26 November
1 I have reached the conclusion that we have a Government of talkers, not doers. One might easily call them wafflers. They must be setting an Australian record for papers, enquiries, reports, and meetings both domestically and internationally. However I don’t foresee much doing prior to the next election. Which of course will mean that the Coalition has wasted three years of government.
2 One of the best wafflers of course is Environment \minister Greg Hunt who at yesterday’s National Press Club gave himself a glowing report prior to the Paris talks.
He said we have already reached our 5% target reduction for 2020 levels. He is correct but we have only done so because of drought, the slowdown in the economy, the decline in manufacturing and to a small extent the impact of the renewable energy target and other climate policies such as the emissions reduction fund. And of course some very dodgy, smoke and mirrors accountancy measures. Fact is the 5% was always too low and we were given an 8% increase in emissions at the first Kyoto meeting.
3 I got into a discussion with a conservative friend who insisted that Julia Gillard told the biggest political lie ever. I countered with this and I thought my friend was going to have a stroke.
One of most important moments in the life of Menzies must have been when, on 28 April 1965, he lied to the Australian Parliament and people over an alleged call for assistance from the Saigon Regime of General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu as official head of state and Air Marshall Nguyễn Cao Kỳ as prime minister. The first battalion arrived in Vietnam the following month. After March 1966 National Servicemen were sent to Vietnam to fight in units of the Australian Regular Army. Some 19,000 conscripts were sent in the following four years. 521 lost their life. The number of Australian invalid and otherwise victims of the war is still uncertain.
The document carrying the alleged call was never found.
4 International tensions are very high with the shooting down of a Russian fighter. I know it’s difficult to overcome thousands of years of fighting based on nationalism but wouldn’t it be nice if the leaders of the world opened their minds to internationalism.
To quote a friend:
‘We have entered a very dangerous moment in human history.
These developments put us on the precipice of a conflagration that could have grave consequences for the world.
We must all hope that the fullest exercise of international diplomacy and a show of good faith is made before this worsens’ (Stuart J Whitman).
5 Did you know that 58,000 people die each day from hunger and preventable diseases?
6 The Australian, the official newsletter of the Liberal Party, reports that resentment among ousted conservatives and retribution against Abbott supporters is creating a dangerous political atmosphere.
7 So have the isms of left and right gone past their used by dates? What do you think? Do they suffer from the tiredness of longevity? Is there any possibility that a new politic could emerge from a society deeply entrenched in political negativity and malaise, yet still retain the essential ingredients of a vigorous democracy? One where a wide-ranging common good test would be applied to all policy.
Have left and right so fused into each other that they no longer form a demarcation of ideas? Could the ideologies of the two somehow come together to form this commongoodism? Who would decide the common good? How could one define it? Could capitalism embrace the common good or would it need further regulation? Could conservatism which empathises individual responsibility and opportunity embrace it? What would common good values be?
That’s all a bit like political scrambled eggs I know, but they are the sort of philosophical questions I ask myself on my daily walks. You see that although I still value my leftish views I do really believe that modern political thought and practice needs a makeover. And not just nationally but internationally. But particularly in Australia where politics no longer meets the needs or aspirations of the people and is held in such low esteem that politicians are barely relevant. I have long felt that the political establishment has taken ownership of a system that should serve the people but instead serves itself. It is self-indulgent, shows no respect for the people it serves and lacks transparency.
MY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
‘Leadership is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life and grow over time. They govern moral choices and demonstrate empathy toward others. It is far better for those with these qualities to lead rather than follow. In fact it is incumbent on them’.