We should not even try to return to the old 'normal' but make sure that the new 'normal' is better suited to the needs of those who are now destitute, including those invited to our shores who are not our citizens.

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Government is in business and must follow the rules

Yesterday, Greg Hunt was embarrassed by ‘Twiggy’ Forrest turning up to a press conference, accompanied by a representative of the Chinese government.

Forrest is one of Australia’s top 10 richest Australians, he is former CEO and current non-executive chairman of Fortescue Mining, which is heavily involved in trading with China, and, under the Corporations Act 2001, his first duty is to his shareholders.

The Australian government wishes, understandably, to have a clearer picture of how the novel coronavirus pandemic started, as it is not the first, and will not be the last, and it has caused massive damage to people’s lives and livelihoods.

For a variety of reasons, they have handled the issue with a significant lack of diplomacy, and business people like Forest do not want to be caught in the subsequent crossfire.

China is upset by the Australian government’s approach to the issue and the last thing Forrest wants is a backlash to his business enterprises which adversely affects shareholders.

Now when you think about it – our nation is, in a sense, a massive corporation, and the PM and Ministers of the currently elected government are the active directors of that corporation – and their first duty is to their shareholders, the electors.

They were elected by individual members of the population who are eligible to vote, and, while corporations are legal entities, with all the rights that implies, that does not include giving them the right to vote for the members of Parliament!

Neither does it – at least to date – preclude them from making donations to political parties in the hope of thereby gaining more favourable treatment! Pity! This matter needs urgent attention!

Now, Forrest and his wife have committed themselves to donate a majority of their fortune to charities in their lifetime – a very commendable decision – which gives them a significant amount of clout with governments.

But that does not necessarily mean that the government should accept all the initiatives Forrest proposes, without doing their own due diligence. While the thinking behind the Cashless Welfare Card might appear noble, no one-size-fits-all solution to a problem is ever perfect and the many flaws in the current system are cause for considerable concern.

But – and much more importantly – the COVID-19 infection is not the only issue which has caused massive damage to people’s lives and livelihoods.

Preceding the pandemic, Australia experienced an extended bush fire season of unmatched and unprecedented ferocity. Fewer deaths might have resulted than from the pandemic – but even one unnecessary death is one too many.

People who lost everything – home, possessions, livelihood – were promised help.

The only help most of them have received so far has been from family, friends, neighbours and charities.

Yet we have an elected Parliament which should have been dealing with their needs while the National Cabinet dealt with issues related to the pandemic.

The southern part of Australia has just had a very chilly foretaste of the coming winter – and displaced people are living in tents and makeshift accommodation.

And then, apart from the forgotten victims of the bush fires, there are those on visas who came to Australia – at our request – but who, not being citizens – are ineligible for any of the government’s assistance packages related to the pandemic.

To be told “Go home!”, when they have been paying taxes while working here, is way beyond shabby!

I am no admirer of our current Prime Minister – nor of most of our politicians of all persuasions. I constantly sense that their self-interest outweighs their desire to do the right thing by the electors!

In the case of Scott Morrison – in the 2019 election, he was conspicuously here, there and everywhere as the daggy dad who knew how we felt. Conspicuously absent was virtually every other politician of note – particularly Peter Dutton, the one-time pretender and the current incompetent head of the largest, most poorly run government department of Home Affairs. Malcolm Turnbull’s promotion of this unpleasant man has been one of the greatest disservices ever done to this country, IMHO!

Now – Lo and Behold! We have a National Cabinet with representatives of both major parties – although not the Opposition Leader himself! – but, occasionally accompanied by an expert or a relevant government Minister, announcements are reserved to Morrison.

To the casual observer, HE is solely responsible for the decisions which are guiding the country through the pandemic crisis – even though some of those decisions have obviously been ones which he would never have willingly supported, because they were so like those Rudd made during the GFC!

A true leader acknowledges his sources, gives honour where honour is due and does not seek the limelight.

But the average voter does not necessarily analyse a particular situation.

Government is there to make policy decisions which benefit the people – ALL OF THEM, OR AT LEAST AS MANY AS POSSIBLE!

Support given to businesses should be limited to help which benefits the nation.

The economy is supposed to serve the people.

Those devastated by the bush fires need help – NOW!

Climate change has not gone away, and future policies must be developed which take it into account.

Biodiversity took a big hit in the bush fires, and if we ignore the need to protect the environment, we will be losers as well!

We should not even try to return to the old ‘normal’ but make sure that the new ‘normal’ is better suited to the needs of those who are now destitute, including those invited to our shores who are not our citizens.

Compassion and caring for others should not be confined to the many underpaid members of the ‘caring’ professions.

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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19 comments

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  1. Josephus

    I could name about half a dozen politicians from all the non Coalition parties who are not self serving, and who argue for and come up with suggestions for redistributing wealth.
    Slightly amused that Twiggy insisted in interviews on being called Mr Forrester.

    It seems likely, as others have noted, that eating wild animals , many near extinct, is stupid, dangerous – we are all animals – and more and more likely to hurt us humans in many ways.

  2. Vikingduk

    That’d be Forest, not Forester. Meanwhile, the glutton, good ol’ Clive Palmer, buys 32,900,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine, for Australians. What a man. Actually, given his obesity, probably 3 men. An unproven, potentially dangerous drug, but donny drumpf reckons it’s worth a go and Palmer takes another 3 page ad to tell us what a wonderfully benevolent arsehole he is. Only in news corpse papers, of course.

    In the land of the free and the brave, armed mostly sort of men, threaten politicians in Michigan by storming their state house demanding freedom from lockdown. Give us liberty or give us death. No worries, dude, just share this room with some infected people, should do the job. And poor donny dumpster, down in the polls, them Chinese done it, all their fault, down in the ratings, sue the campaign manager, he did it, his fault, my good mate, the liar from the shire, he still loves me, told him to go the Chinese, no worries, donny, on it.

    The days of rampant insanity continue, ever onward, sliding to our doom as these psychotic, lying narcissists continue in their quest of how low can we go.

  3. Jon Chesterson

    There is nothing noble about the cashless welfare card. It is one of this government’s biggest scandals in terms of basic civil rights and huge government corruption and economic mismanagement. One could not even paint a picture of appearance of noble and there was no noble intention. It is a massive government unconstitutional rort and overreach. The thinking behind it was a rort, the execution of it was a rort and it continues to be a rort on the public purse, the nation and the people who have been targeted and imprisoned by this policy, not even conducted or overviewed by legislation, which by the way is one of the primary functions of government. That makes it a rort. We must never let this fact slip under the carpet, not ever.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Last month, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were exempted from a requirement to be listed on the Australian register of therapeutic goods, which is generally the only way medicine can be lawfully supplied in Australia.

    Caroline Edwards, the health department’s acting secretary, made the exemption on the condition the drugs can only be imported, manufactured or supplied by a person with a contract or arrangement with the health department.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/04/hydroxychloroquine-australian-government-waives-regulatory-requirements-for-drug

    Does that mean Clive has a contract or did he import this drug illegally?

  5. andy56

    Twiggy is having a bet bothways. The hijacking of the press conference was an attempt to get the loney fringe off china’s back. To save his empire of coarse. He of all people knows the importance of not shitting in your food bowl.
    Personally, i think its idiotic to bang on china with a stick. Best to forget about what ever trump says, scott. Its obvious trump is scraping for a fight to save his arse. I hope smarter people in government prevail before scott opens his mouth and causes irreparable damage to our relations with china. These things can be settled behind closed doors BUT
    You want china to behave , better set a good example because so far they are imitating us in ways we dont like. learned behaviour isnt just an adolescent thing. Some of us dont like what we see in the mirror either scott.

  6. John Hermann

    An independent Inquiry into the origin of this contagious virus is fine, and should be free from political directions as far as possible. And any statements concerning its origins should be based upon hard evidence, not political prejudice. Unfortunately PM Morrison has put his undiplomatic foot in it yet again, by stating that it started in a particular province of China. What does not seem to have been reported in the local media is that the early stages of the epidemic occurred in several Asian countries (including China) at around the same time, and that its progression was marked by a roughly commensurate growth in all those countries. It just so happens that China has by far the largest population and so the numbers infected there in the early stages dwarfed the numbers affected by the virus in other Asian countries.

  7. andy56

    personally, i dont have much skin in this game, the economy has well and truly passed me by. If china does retaliate, the liberals wont have anywhere to hide. We may finally begin the task of rebuilding some industry. The only issue i have is that it would take a while and lots of people will suddenly find themselves unemployed. The question is how will we on the bottom be treated.

  8. Matters Not

    Jon Chesterson May 1, 2020 at 4:11 pm – Interested in a few of your assertions – in particular the massive government constitutional rort assertion. How or why is it ‘unconstitutional’? Is that just your claim? Or do you have a link to a particular authority? If so – then please provide. Would be appreciated.

    Seems strange that this unconstitutional accusation hasn’t been aired by any political party.

  9. Jack Cade

    Josephus

    ‘I could name half a dozen …’
    That beats me. After what was reported about went on in the UK Labour Party, and the appalling candidate the US Democrats are about to offer in November, plus the SA Labor Party trying to jemmy a Right faction candidate into a well-served safe Labor seat, which they then managed to lose to the previous incumbent who stood as an independent (being a tried and true Labor member who worked – and works -tirelessly for her constituents), I have decided both major parties comprise mainly baddies. Sod them all.
    I will waste my vote next time, unless I am offered a decent independent.

  10. Xevram

    Matters Not May 1, 2020 at 5:28 pm – If “unconstitutional” is all you can take umbrage with in J Chestertons post, is it fair to assume you agree with the balance of his comment? Perhaps he could have chosen to use unethical, immoral or despicable, that would certainly fit.

  11. Matters Not

    John Hermann re:

    PM Morrison has put his undiplomatic foot in it yet again, by stating that it started in a particular province of China

    Don’t think any serious commentator disputes the location of an outbreak as reported on 31 Dec 2019 in Wuhan, China. First case reported outside of China was in Thailand 13 January – some two weeks later. This timeline from WHO seems to to be generally accepted.

    https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/27-04-2020-who-timeline—covid-19

    As for an expert view, Professor John Dwyer is usually close to the mark.

    JOHN DWYER. Trump, Xi and the WHO.

  12. Matters Not

    Xevram – Perhaps I choose to take ‘things’ one step at a time. To suggest a government is engaged in a ‘constitutional rort’ is a fairly specific claim to make so was just looking for evidence of same. Perhaps you have a view on its constitutional legitimacy or otherwise that you would like to share?

  13. RosemaryJ36

    Hopefully, Clive Palmer will be lumbered with a massive pile of pharmaceuticals, like the guy in SA has a house full of toilet rolls! As long as those who actually need the drugs are not denied access to a lifesaver.

  14. Kaye Lee

    The WHO news releases show some confusion

    On January 12, they said:

    “WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers. In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share travel history with their healthcare provider. Travel guidance has been updated.

    WHO advises against the application of any travel or trade restrictions on China based on the information currently available on this event.”

    On January 13, they said:

    “The possibility of cases being identified in other countries was not unexpected, and reinforces why WHO calls for on-going active monitoring and preparedness in other countries. WHO has issued guidance on how to detect and treat persons ill with the new virus.”

    As for Payne’s, Morrison’s and Dutton’s shirt-fronting about an investigation, WHO was calling for one almost four months ago…

    Jan 12: “More comprehensive information and ongoing investigations are also required to better understand the epidemiology, clinical picture, source, modes of transmission, and extent of infection; as well as the countermeasures implemented.”

    https://www.who.int/csr/don/12-january-2020-novel-coronavirus-china/en/

    Jan 13: “WHO reiterates that it is essential that investigations continue in China to identify the source of this outbreak and any animal reservoirs or intermediate hosts.”

    https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/13-01-2020-who-statement-on-novel-coronavirus-in-thailand

  15. Matters Not

    Dwyer’s criticism also extends to WHO, as well as the Chinese and the Australian government:

    However, I regret that my most recent engagement with WHO has not been positive. It provides credence to the idea that China has disproportionate influence there. President Xi is fixated on having the world accept the wisdom and practice of ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’. He is championing TCM to treat, and even cure, COVID–19 infections. … Australia’s bilateral trade agreement even includes support and expansion of the use of TCM here.

    Does Hunt know about TCM and our endorsement? Free Trade agreement clause that was not highlighted.

    Chinese pressure has resulted in this backward step in WHO’s mission to provide effective health care to the world. … Disappointing as this might be, it must not detract from our support for so much of WHO’s invaluable work.

    JOHN DWYER. Trump, Xi and the WHO.

  16. Xevram

    Matters Not May 1, 2020 at 8:29 pm
    Constitutional legitimacy in regards to this article is a moot point. “unethical, immoral or despicable, that would certainly fit.” That said the precedent has been set for constitutional intervention “In 2007 the Howard administration overrode the Northern Territory and set aside sections of the Racial Discrimination Act to intervene directly into the lives of Indigenous people.”. Look how well that turned out for Indigenous people.

  17. Matters Not

    Xevram, not sure where you want to go with this and how it’s relevant to a claim made above about constitutionality and the Cashless Welfare Card but perhaps the starting point for the new matter you raise might be the Australian Constitution – in particular Section 122 which gives the Commonwealth Parliament complete legislative power over the territories. (And the Northern Territory is a Territory!) The exact wording is as follows.

    The Parliament may make laws for the government of any territory surrendered by any State to and accepted by the Commonwealth, or of any territory placed by the Queen under the authority of and accepted by the Commonwealth, or otherwise acquired by the Commonwealth, and may allow the representation of such territory in either House of the Parliament to the extent and on the terms which it thinks fit.

    Hope that helps in the broad sense of understanding a particular section of the Constitution – but I don’t think it does re the Cashless Welfare Card. Not sure where you want to go from here.

  18. New England Cocky

    “Support given to businesses should be limited to help which benefits the nation.”

    No, support should only be given to corporations that pay a fair amount of taxation in Australia.

    NSW is allowing logging of areas burnt to a crisp in the 2019-2020 bushfire season.

  19. RosemaryJ36

    NRC: Does not paying taxation benefit the country?

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