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Lest We Forget – We’ve Forgotten Too Much Already

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Anzac Day is one of the most commemorated days in Australia and this year marks the centennial.  It is supposed to be a day to remember all those who fought and died not just for our freedom but to safeguard the freedom of others.  It is a day where we show respect for the sacrifice that so many made and to appreciate the legacy they fought to give us.

Sadly too many of us have forgotten just what it is that these men and women fought and died for.  Australia is no longer a country that welcomes those who flee persecution and violence; in fact we have become one of the worst human rights violators in the world. It doesn’t stop there either, with cuts to veterans pensions and a tokenistic wage increase of 1% for our armed services personnel this government is showing a disdain for those who have fought and those who still fight so that we don’t have to and yet Abbott is more than happy use our armed services and the media spotlight that comes with the day of remembrance.

So while our PM uses Anzac day as a means to improve his public image and be seen as supporting our diggers let us have a look at the legacy that he and his government are creating for future generations.  At this very moment there is a 5 years old girl who was brought to Darwin from the detention camps in Nauru for medical attention.  Her doctors, both physical and psychiatric have advised the Department of Immigration that to return her to the camps would be possibly fatal.  This young child, this five year old girl is suicidal and yet despite medical advice our immigration department has ordered her return to the very place she tried to kill herself to escape.

Nor is she an isolated case and nor is she likely to be the last child to suffer in this manner.  According to both the Moss Report and the Human Rights Association’s The Forgotten Childrens’ report the asylum seekers currently in the detention camps face physical, sexual and psychological abuse daily with little or no recourse.  Our government’s response to these reports was firstly to hold back the release of the Morris Report, attack the president of the Human Rights Association by accusing her of being partisan in her findings [despite the fact that the report held the Labor party equally responsible] and then send in the federal police to the camps.

The federal police were NOT there to investigate the allegations of abuse, they were sent in to investigate ‘whistle blowers’ amongst the staff and to determine if charges could be laid against them. In addition there is currently legislation making its way through parliament that would allow the use of force, even beatings should the guards deem it necessary.  Prominent legal minds have spoken out about this and the implications such legislation would bring.  Even Nigel Farge, leader of the most racist and conservative party in the UK, says that Australia’s methods in deterring migrants are too much to stomach and that is without those laws yet being passed.  From my perspective that kind of feedback is NOT a good thing.

Our government’s lack of care for others does not just apply to those seeking asylum, they also show the same disdain and lack of compassion to those of us who are already Australian and even more so to those who were the first Australians.  The blinkered vision this government uses to determine policy and spending has created wide-spread pain and anger, not to mention fear, and it is getting worse not better.  Domestic violence is at an all time high, with 32 women killed since January 2015, while funding for shelters and support services are cut to an all time low.

In addition to this our government is implementing the forced closure of 150 Indigenous communities leaving this countries first peoples cut off from their land and the part it plays in their culture. Thousand of people around Australia have rallied to protest the forced closure of Aboriginal communities, with more protest planned for May 1st, clearly demonstrating that this is not something that we as a country wish to see.

Yet that hasn’t stopped our government sending in forces on horseback and with dogs to drive the traditional land owners from protesting these closures.  Worldwide condemnation for this act, along with the UN’s support to prevent these closures, does not seem to register with those in power, They are ignoring it in the same way that have ignored censure from the UN, The Human Rights Association and other world leaders in regards to our policies on asylum seekers.

Sadly this government does not confine themselves to ravaging the support network of the Australian people they also seem determined to destroy the land on which we all live.  I’ve spoken in the past of this governments blindness when it comes to environmental issues but the recent captains call from the PM’s office to supply $4 million in funding to climate skeptic and proven fraud Bjorn Lomborg takes the cake, especially when weighed against the massive cuts to the CSIRO as well as the Renewable Energy market.  Australia’s ongoing commitment to fossil fuels is causing us to lag behind the rest of the world in developing future energy markets and it’s costing us both in environmental damage as well as economic loss.

This is not the country I grew up in, this is not the legacy I would leave future generations and it frightens me just how swiftly these changes have come about and even worse how swiftly we’ve become inured to the rapidly devolving government and their determination to pursue an agenda they were not elected on.  I hold no great hope that things would change dramatically if they were to lose the next election as the Labor opposition has done little to halt much of this agenda and has been complicit in some of the worst parts of it.  So this Anzac day take a moment to remember those who fought and died to ensure our continued safety and right to self determination and consider just what legacy you wish to leave to future generations.  And while you are pondering this take a moment to remember the words in this song, it’s something our government needs to remember also as those words no longer seem to be true.

The above has been re-blogged from the author’s own site; Unload and Unwind.

 


16 comments

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  1. donwreford

    Only to true, Abbott is all about being a repressive and military government, having just given for advise to Bjorn Lomborg 4 million dollars, having to resort to pay for this advise shows how lost our government is, conversely the opposition is no alternative, we are in the possible the darkest days of Australian politics, attention of the public diverted by a 14 year old boy in Britain as a threat to Australia? what? we are lost, it is our hope that some new light can take us to a better vision, alas as yet no sign is yet forthcoming?

  2. Clean livin

    And The Abbott government is attempting to limit the increase in injury compensation to ex servicemen to the CPI.

    These people get war wounds and are compensated on a fortnightly basis for their injuries, however Abbott shows his true colours by attempting to limit that compensation.

    Perhaps if he ever defended the country, rather than destroy it, he may have been more sympathetic, rather than pathetic!

  3. Francis Muldoon

    Could you please elaborate on the statement, “I hold no great hope that things would change dramatically if they were to lose the next election as the Labor opposition has done little to halt much of this agenda and has been complicit in some of the worst parts of it.”

  4. mars08

    It appears that Francis Muldoon hadn’t been paying attention to the beige ghost… the soft shadow, the limp lettuce leaf, the nowhere man, Mr tepid, the flaccid prince… Bill whats-his-name…

  5. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Who can be proud of being an Australian with a Prime Minister like Abbott?

  6. Annie B

    @ Rosemary –

    WE CAN … if we turn our backs completely on the likes of Abbott and his ilk, and remember the inspiring words of that song ” We are Australian ” part of which speaks ” we are one, but we are many – and from all the lands on earth we come”. …. Yes, emotional stuff admittedly, but it is true because the very fabric of Australia is made up of multi-culturism which has been embraced for many years, from a variety of races too many to enumerate, here. ,,,, and it has largely been done so, happily.

    Sure – there have been glitches, ( what part of life doesn’t have those ) but for the most, we get along very well. And that’s a huge plus – – – – a plus the current government wishes to destroy in every way possible.

    I don’t hold much truck with the current opposition, Shorten is short on rebuttals and opposition in the true sense … he seems to be akin to a little right wing angel, perched on the shoulders of a devil at this time – and I never thought I would say such a thing ?? Pinned me hopes on Shorten – but he’s fallen short, now.

    There are always independents to turn to … and I think we should all control a big shift sideways in political lean, to teach BOTH parties a thing or three – in the coming months. ….. wouldn’t hurt to try.

  7. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Annie B – I hear what you say but nobody seems to be making a loud enough noise to force a change before irreparable damage is done – not only to our most vulnerable, children in detention, etc, but also to our reputation in the world.
    At the time Gillard lost her place as PM we were the envy of the world and on the right track as regards climate change.
    But because the Opposition does not oppose very much at all, (and it is possible to do so without using Abbott’s bully boy approach) we may yet be landed with the IPA parrots for another term.
    People like Tony Windsor are essential to good government but there do not seem to be enough like him to give hope for the necessary change.
    I am normally an optimist but it is hard to remain positive at present!
    My normal voting practice is to put my preferences from bottom (BOTH major parties!) up, but I will be hard pushed to decide which major party to put in the penultimate place!

  8. Stephen

    My father was an RSM who trained men for the Vietnam war and never expressed an opinion about what he was doing. Until he was in retirement, and at the dinner table one night he said Australia’s participation there was “the most disgraceful military engagement since our participation in Gallipoli.” As a child, I was caught up in the Anzac Day sentiments and took part in the observations. These days, in my adulthood, I find myself asking what relevance it has to our national identity because it had no relevance to Australia’s own interests and gained nothing for us except defeat at the hands of a country with whom we had no need to be at war. In a way, the glorification of Gallipoli seems to justify our participation in any armed offensive regardless of whether the motivation is in our own interests or not.

  9. mars08

    Anzac day is… without doubt… an exclusive day of commemoration. It is for anglo Australians only… a way to confirm which citizens are REAL Australians… and which will NEVER make the team.

  10. Annie B

    Agree with every specific item stated in the body of this article . ….

    The proposed deportation of the 5 yr old girl who is suffering suicidal tendencies, only underscores the horrid and indeed viciously cruel intent which is a tick away from being exactly like the ‘foe’ this government allegedly wishes to decimate – that being the brutal ISIS radical extremist and war-mongering sect.

    But … it takes one to know one … and there is nothing more war-mongering in our land, than the current leader elected in 2013.

    Nor is there anyone more ignorant. One minutes’ silence has become traditional over many decades … it is a moment of solemnity and respect, of reflection ? maybe / maybe not ….. and while there is no manual distributed as to how to conduct oneself during a 1 minute silence it is generally regarded to be a moment whereupon 99.999% of people stand still, and bow their heads – a lot or a little. … As the cameras panned that moment most had their eyes downwards – but not our esteemed leader. …. He was busy with head held high, looking left and right – turning his head to do so – no more observing the 1 minute silence than I am right now. Maybe it was beneath him, or against his bloody religion … to observe it in a traditional way ?

    Or perhaps – – – he was, once again, looking for the nearest camera ?

    …………..

    One blessed day, he WILL be held accountable, hopefully through the ballot box to begin with, and preferably in some court of law [ international or Australian ] for his and his partys’ lack of duty of care to so SO many people, as listed – across the board – in this article.

  11. Annie B

    @ Stephen ( 12:30 am comment ).

    My father also trained young men when a Sergeant with the Australian Army, after he enlisted at the beginning of WW ll …. He was unable to serve on active duty, because of a podiatric deformity. …. So they put him to work after basic training and progression through three ranks, teaching young blokes how to try and avoid getting themselves killed or injured in the line of duty.

    He had a totally different aspect of the war – but he rarely discussed it, and I believe it more than partly, led to his ultimate long ill health and death. …. I know, from the little he did confide, that he carried that burden very heavily ….

    I cannot imagine how anyone in his situation could handle knowing that a good number of the men under his command, would never again set foot on their own countrys’ soil. … that’s just another side to the story of the evils of war.

    …..

    As for Anzac Day itself – now that the media is all over it, shops promote it, tabloids feature it, and TV screens shout it from the rooftops, much of what it was meant to be is being, or has already been eroded.

    I have never believed that Anzac Day is a glorification of war – rather it is a story of mass carnage, in which our blokes found themselves – at the behest of the sovereign nations’ chief military might …. and against a nation, who also suffered horrendous casualties and death. …. It is surely supposed to speak about the utter futility of war ( and how futile was that campaign on those shores ) …. it does not point up the glory of men acting to protect their country ( which was thousands of miles to the south ) …. it shows only the disgrace it all was, and the needless loss of life and limb … that is what should be commemorated.

    And I wouldn’t mind betting that the only people who truly reflect upon the meaning of Anzac Day, are the returned vets – dying a little more inside each year, at the remembrance of their lost mates. … They smile, they wave, but what is truly in their hearts, we will never know.

  12. Phi

    Is there a writer/researcher in the AIMN who can run a detailed analysis of the swinging voter phenomena – who they are, where they live, their aspirations, what narratives influence them and what is their political mindset?

    Seems that the Abbott puppet masters, that tax free ‘charity’ the IPA that shady conduit for funds to the Liberal Party, has it’s government (they paid for it so they own it) firmly targeting the small but influential swinging voter cohort.

    If we knew a whole lot more about this ‘chort’ then progressives could counter the LNP/IPA narrative in the lead up to the 2016 election

  13. corvus boreus

    Phi,
    The swinging voter is a pendulum pinata(a hollow shell made of paper-maché) that political parties swing at with clubs made from irrational fears and material aspirations bound together with implausable pledges. When the truncheon hits home, the votes spill out.
    .

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