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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