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Has Australia lost its moral compass?

As an agnostic, with no small children close to home needing to believe in Santa Claus, I still feel the world owes recognition to Jesus Christ for the ethical approach to life which he preached.

As a notionally secular country, Australian policy is currently developed around financial considerations, and far too many Australians will not be able to celebrate Christmas because they are struggling just to survive. This is also an ethical issue.

Our Prime Minister is demonstrating, by his absence while Australia is experiencing bush fires beyond any in living memory, that his personal interests outweigh the urgencies of his duties as a leader. This is a serious ethical issue.

His background in marketing has not prepared him for the gravitas of the top job, in which he is failing to even begin to understand the implications.

The issue of global warming cannot be ignored. It truly is a time for action because, if not now, action will become increasingly ineffective! This is also an ethical issue.

The spin on the economy is fooling no one.

It would appear that the government believes everything on Sky News and overlooks the fact that we all have access to other, more accurate, sources of information, which tell us we are rapidly falling behind the developed world.

And, in particular, we are becoming the world’s pariah over our dog-in-the-manger attitudes on emissions.

Blind Freddy can see that ‘Labor’s debt’ has ballooned under the Coalition and the inequality gap between rich and poor, as well as between our First Nations and the rest of us, is continuously widening. Telling lies is unethical!

The wage stagnation cannot be ignored. Having for so long hung our hats on policies which predicate that increased productivity is the foundation for increased wages, we now have growing profits – clearly due to increased productivity – yet never a move to reward the workers responsible.

Shareholders, however, are benefiting very nicely, and depositing their increases in tax havens so that taxes on interest are not flowing back into Australian coffers.

It is within the government’s power to ensure that no one goes without. That it chooses not to use that power gives the lie to its frequent incantations of following Judaeo/Christian ethics.

Religion has, under the Coalition, become a problem, yet our Constitution fell over backwards to ensure that it should be a private issue, out of which the Federal government should keep its nose!

Of course, the Constitution is at the root of many of our problems, because it was written to ensure a manageable division of responsibilities between the existing States and the newly formed Federation.

Back in the late 19th century, issues such as Human Rights, championed by writers like Charles Dickens, had yet to fully rear their heads. Despite the already established Industrial Revolution, no one could yet foresee the accelerating rate of change which would sweep round the world in a very uneven fashion.

In an equally uneven fashion, we are forever playing catch-up!

Australia is the only populated continent which is also an island, and, sadly, we are cursed with a government which is insular in its policies. I see this as both short-sighted and unethical.

Maintaining national wealth by mining and exporting fossil fuels is seen as of over-riding importance, even though, wherever those fuels are burned, they pollute the atmosphere shared by all life on Earth.

Former governments have signed up to accept many UN Conventions and many of those governments have not honoured these Convention – but I suspect that recent Coalition government would have the longest record of breaches!

We are prosecuting and persecuting whistle-blowers – the most egregious prosecutions in recent times being those of Witness K and Bernard Collaery – both courageous and honourable men who highlighted monstrous behaviour by both Coalition and Labour governments against the poorest new nation on the planet!

Refugees are being tortured, as is Julian Assange, on the Coalition government’s watch, and the lack of diligence in following up compensation for victims and addressing crimes of perpetrators revealed in the recent child abuse and banking Royal Commissions is unforgivable.

I sometimes feel that the extent to which priority is given to spending on entertainment, whether it be sport or reality TV, has reduced us to a bread and circuses dimension. Certainly, voting for the most popular has led to disastrous results when it comes to general elections!

Good governments lead the people and enable them to adjust to change. Poor governments rely on popularity polls and avoid important but not necessarily popular decisions.

Our whole political system needs a total re-think. The concepts of left and right are divisive at a time when it is most urgent to have inclusive policies.

The conservative ‘right’ and the progressive ‘left’ are figments of imagination in many ways. And for a cohesive society we need to move from the adversarial nature of our current political and legal systems to the foundation of the alternative dispute resolution systems – compromise.

Too often, everyone shares much the same view of the problem but differs strongly on how to resolve it.

In mediation, the aim is to arrive at a compromise solution which everyone can agree to accept.

We need an eminent cross-party advisory body which can produce a prioritised plan to deal with under-employment, job creation, emission controls, massively reducing pollution, closing the gap and reducing incarceration – just for starters!

Is anyone yet even thinking seriously about these problems? Or have we all lost our moral compass?

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  1. Harry Lime

    The neo liberal experiment is dead,but the undertaker is locked out by vested interests through their puppet governments.All of your complaints are right, as many of us accept,but in our case through the agency of a crumple faced sadist in New York, and now by a seriously light weight cultist impostor who has run head first into reality.And his response? Fck off and hope it all goes away.It will be extremely interesting to see what riposte the Liar will hit us with on his return from self imposed exile.

  2. Andrew Smith

    Did Australia ever have a moral compass?

    The British Empire, Christianity and monarchy provided structure, community and meaning for a predominantly Anglo Irish community, with latter being Catholic hence, tolerated and/or coopted.

    With the end of the white Australia (WASPIC) policy with a preference for white (or British immigrants) a kick back or antipathy towards change, including demographics, made some insecure about existential threat of change e.g. indigenous rights, brown immigrants etc.

    Howard then not only straddled both the UK and USA as representing Australia’s culture or ‘western civilisation’, he oversaw the nobbling of a Republic referendum, introduction of US style hard right libertarian economics (IPA etc.), political media strategy and white nationalism (NewsCorp etc.) to spook and/or cater to the ageing Anglo Irish voting cohorts, as we move to a more natural Eurasian culture.

    More troubling is not just the US style hollowing out of parties, policy making and media, is the aggressive insularisation and increasingly transparent white nationalist policies, acting as a proxy white Australia policy and/or sentiments. Then we witness Brexit and Trump (similar tactics used to achieve) resulting in chaos and rewarding the top end of town, maintaining the status quo and their place in society.

  3. Phil Pryor

    With age, one loses optimism. Observing the universe and our tiny part in it, one may see mainly the crushing negativity of history and culture as well as its material improvements and benefits. In Australia’s case, the murder, theft, xenophobia, acquisitiveness, greedy ambition, cynical hypocrisy and ingrained stupidities of adherence to imperialism, religion, consumerism, accrued wealth and silly goals suggests we are still primitives, savages, deficients, with a far journey to go. Our ancestors in Australia’s context believed they were (perhaps) christian, civilised, educated, so felt guided and aware. Where are we today? Most seem now to be victims of debt traps, rat races, negative nightmares, with little ability to change, protest, fight for alternatives, even to find a real path forwards. The hidden forces behind capitalism, greed, accumulation, denying, altering, coercing, controlling suggest we are doomed to inadequacy and frustration, to suffer from applied dishonesties and appearances, to be subject to the whims of big time idiots and self fixated egos. Fair? Not at all…

  4. Lyndal Breen

    I am reminded of when Bob Hawke first became Prime Minister, he called a meeting of leaders of business, unions, community etc, and thrashed out a consensus vision that guided and informed the Government. Julia Gillard also wanted to do something similar regarding climate change. The Lib/Nats however, mocked the idea. They themselves do not wish to take any notice of people outside their closed circles, preferring the appearance of certainty given by never having to ask for advice.

  5. Puking Chookneck

    Moral compass? John Howard gave the finger up half a million protesters over
    Iraq, and the country that claims not to ‘take shit from anybody’ just shrugged its shoulders and the lying rodent just went ahead.

  6. Yes Minister

    I don’t believe it is possible for genuinely (dictionary meaning) independent thinkers to subscribe to either contemporary left or right wing political philosophies, unfortunately they are both able to rely on support from the weldeds-on, the mainstream media, and the myriad watchdogs like Queensland’s Crime Cover-up Commission which exists purely to protect official criminals). Neither side of politics is willing to address the big issues of political accountability, the utterly ridiculous economic growth paradigm, unsustainable population growth which is obviously a significant factor in climate change, the totally farcical legal-judicial racket in which only the likes of Gina Reinhart and Clive Palmer have any semblance of access to justice, the complete lack of separation of powers, the numerous official scams (councils, NDIS, guardianship racket, child safety, health systems, education systems, the Indue racket etc) which are primarily revenue-raising junkets for our morally bankrupt governments.

  7. isw

    “Or have we all lost our moral compass?”

    Based simply on The Commonwealth of Australia’s military involvements in aggressive wars over the last two decades:-


  8. Patagonian

    The Lying Rodent was also the first PM who refused to engage with the unions. A lot of the rot started with him, unimaginative, petit bourgeois, plodding suburban lawyer that he is.

  9. RomeoCharlie29

    The answer to the question is clearly yes. RJ you touched on it referencing the decline in support for international agreements, or their outright repudiation. It was a former Labor Leader “doc” Evette who was instrumental in the setting up of the League of Natiins/ United Natiins with its generally agreed International Conventions on human rights. I believe that at that time, Australia did have a moral compass, admittedly a little bent, but benefits like the eight hour day, unions, universal suffrage and probably more could be listed, helped make our country both envied and a desirable place for resettlement for refugees. Of course there were transgressions such as the white Australia policy, and there were always opponents of the progressive policies but the moral compass lasted through Fraser ( the Vietnamese refugees) and Hawke ( the Chinese students in the wake of Tien an Men, and even Keating —The Redfern statement — but after him we had Howard with his Iraq war, Workchoices and Tampa which began the rot of the demonisation of legitimate refugees as “illegals”. Brave attempts by Gillard and Rudd could not outweigh the evils of Howard and his “love child”, Abbott and now the Dutto/Morrison disgraces. Pentecostalism doesn’t offer a moral compass now, nor do its adherents in the government.

  10. johno

    Don’t rekon Australia ever had a moral compass, as Andrew said.

  11. David

    Social morality does NOT emanate from the bible teachings.
    Everything in the bible was begged, borrowed or stolen from elsewhere.
    Being Atheist or Agnostic only says what you are NOT in relation to the bible.

    I prefer not to define myself by the holy book and much prefer the “rules for living” approach which generally makes me a nice person although I can be a bit of a dick at times, striving for perfection always!

    The “system” is stacked against us. A corporation (or government) has neither a conscience to prick or an arse to kick!

    The morality of our glorious Scomo and his acoytes just needs to be appreciated as “different” as they are working to a different plan with a different moral compass. Their God wants them to be rich (and to be able to Tithe), the poor are just not trying hard enough!

    The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire (Documentary) explains how this is all happening. We are just not beneficiaries to their Grand Plan!

    Social Conscience, what the hell is that?

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