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So – the RBA has once more reduced interest rates – and this should be of interest to several groups.

The banks will undoubtedly follow normal practice, and fail to pass on the cut in full to borrowers, but will be equally likely to reduce interest rates for depositors.

Consequently, pensioners who have funds in deposit accounts will have their spending power further reduced, yet Centrelink is unlikely to adjust deeming rates to compensate for the loss of spending power.

Small business will have cause to complain even more loudly that business is bad – particularly when you add to the interest rate effect, the concern over COVID-19, and its impact on hospitality and tourism.

Meanwhile, the government will ignore the opportunities offered by the cut to develop some policies which would boost the economy, like helping the unemployed and under-employed by borrowing at ridiculously cheap rates to fund urgently needed projects, as well as to increase Newstart allowances.

Will anyone benefit? Of course! The banks and their shareholders!

They must have some Faustian compact with government, which was not even disturbed by the Royal Commission.

This is all very repetitive and depressing, so let’s look at interest from a different perspective.

I feel truly sorry for anyone who has to learn English as a second language, because every time you think you have grasped the meaning of a word, it crops up in a totally unrelated context!

I want to talk for a change about people we can truly admire and they are people who have an interest in the welfare of others.

You will find few of them in the ranks of the politicians, who fail to develop policies to support us while insisting that we pay taxes which support them.

(I do understand the principles underpinning Modern Monetary Theory, and I do recognise that its aficionados will quarrel with this concept of using taxes to pay politicians unearned salaries, so let’s leave that discussion for another day!)

I know that everyone will have their heroes, and there were many of them in clear view while the bush fires were blazing. Volunteer fire fighters, helped by many members of the public, put their lives on the line for others – and some paid the ultimate price for their sacrifices – but they demanded no payment, while, themselves, ending up out of pocket.

They stand in stark contrast to the politicians who made photo-op visits to devastated communities, promised the earth, moved on, and now – weeks later – are revealed as having failed to keep their promises. Behaviour which, sadly, is unsurprising, because they are so clearly in the game for their own benefit, not because they really care about us!

Sorry! I strayed from my intention to think about good things and worthwhile people!

At the age of 72, I started a brief career as a lawyer (and a slightly less brief but more satisfying career as a mediator). I am well acquainted with the lawyer jokes and I have met lawyers who epitomise the butt of those jokes. But the vast majority of lawyers deserve a better reputation and some are vastly more concerned with getting the desired outcome for the client than in making a fortune!

One of these is known nationally for his tireless efforts on behalf of refugees, through providing legal help, shelter and other assistance via the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) in Melbourne.

I met Kon Karapanagiotidis – the lawyer whose advocacy on behalf of refugees is legendary – when he visited Darwin a few years back. There would be few people who could be a more eloquent and passionate supporter of justice and human rights.

Fortunately, he attracts people who share his passions, because he would have burned out long ago had he lacked volunteer support, fighting battles against a well-resourced and uncaring government system!

For a relatively short period while practising law, I also served on the Management Committee, and later as Chair, of the Environmental Defenders Office NT (EDO NT). In 1985, long before I ever became involved, NSW established an EDO, and, subsequently, the then Commonwealth government provided funding to each state and territory, to be supplemented by those governments and from public donations, to ensure Australia-wide not-for-profit legal organisations to protect the environment.

In 2014, PM Tony Abbott announced the withdrawal of federal government funding from all EDOs.

That pretty much coincided with EDONT appointing a new Principal solicitor. After advertising widely, we had selected a young solicitor from Victoria who had significant court experience and was passionate about environmental issues. Following his appointment, David Morris made headlines in the NT, taking on environmental issues against the NT Government – and winning in the Supreme Court.

While here, he married and they started a family, and when he moved on, it was to be Principal Solicitor for EDO NSW. He continued to win ground-breaking environmental cases there, and under his leadership, all Australian EDOs have amalgamated and are fighting unethical environmental decisions all round Australia.

It is so refreshing to realise that Australia still has young people for whom the appeal of justice – including environmental justice – outweighs the appeal of money and the easy life!

So – amid all the doom and gloom of a looming pandemic, a corrupt government and too many self-seeking politicians – there is still honour and justice shining through to give hope of light at the end of the tunnel!

What we cannot change we have to endure, but I will work my guts out to make sure that, eventually, change for the better is achieved.

Once more – 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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4 comments

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  1. Pingback: Interest and Interest Rates #newsoz.org #auspol - News Oz

  2. Lambchop Simnel

    I resent being denied interest on my account to schmooze life for real estate punters.

  3. Terence Mills

    There is a real quandary for retirees and pensioners in what to do, to not only earn a return on our meager savings, but just keep them safe from marauding online scammers.

    We were told that we would become a nation of shareholders by John Howard as though this was a good thing : what we have seen is the stock market turn into a casino where computers drive the buying and selling and only those in the know actually make money. The rest of us lose our investments and are told to wait for the bounce.

    We are told to but real estate and take advantage of generous tax concessions available to investors but at the expense of a younger generation of first home buyers who cannot access the market even at a time of historically low interest rates because they are outbid by greedy investors : I see that as immoral.

    We are seeing our dollar scraping the barrel at .65 cents to the $US meaning that all of our imports – and we are becoming a nation of importers – increase in price.

    We’ll all be rooned said Hanrahan, before the year is out.

  4. Christina Heath

    Rosemary. Thank your for your article. My sister is a refugee advocate based in South Australia. She also teaches refugees English, amongst other activities. Kon Karapanagiotidis from the ASRC is a wonderful person and works so tirelessly, of course with the help of many dedicated people. Perhaps the series “Stateless” on the ABC,will wake more people up to the inhumanity of our detention system.

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