Over 20 years ago, Paul Kelly published ‘The End of Certainty’, about power, politics and business.
The title would be totally appropriate, in a broader context, today!
There no longer is a ‘normal – of that we can be certain!
Those currently in power are wasting their time looking back into history for a pattern to follow, because there is no record of past history which even begins to provide a path forward. And Josh – please refrain from suggesting we return to Thatcher and Reaganomics. You are exposing your ignorance of real life!
We have been pitched into uncertainty, comparable with having suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a war.
In fact we are fighting a war for our lives and livelihoods against one of the most insidious enemies ever.
In order to save as many lives as we can in this country, we have cut ourselves off from the rest of the world, in terms of face to face contact, but, thanks to modern technology, we can still communicate freely.
We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a fresh start and rethink what life is about.
The three things which stick in my mind as being of concern to Australians prior to being hit by COVID-19 are:
- Corruption in government, as evidenced by the Sports Rorts – and other extreme, politically biased imbalance in sharing of government grants;
- The need to support those whose lives and livelihoods were destroyed by the bush fires, and to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence, and
- Connected with the bush fires, growing evidence of the need to act in relation to global warming.
Australia is an island with limited influence (apart from abundant resources) on a global scale.
New Zealand, which has two islands, and is much smaller, has something which we do not enjoy – a leader who has a vision of helping the people for whom she governs to enjoy a future as a united nation.
Since the current Prime Minister of Australia abandoned COAG for a National Cabinet, there has been more, but not enough, input into policy making from other political perspectives.
But the reliance on advice from a group of business leaders, biased towards fossil fuels, particularly gas, is positively alarming!
Despite having barely 50% of seats in the Parliament, Morrison insists on trying to be the prime mover in policy making, yet he just does not understand that the world has been turned on its head.
He is, in many ways, as blind to the impact of the coronavirus as is the current POTUS.
We are never going to ‘return to normal’ because ‘normal’ was part of a world which has gone forever.
On our own we are not going to save the world from the increasing sequence of disasters which are predicted as a result of global warming.
But we are not alone in the world, and we have a chance to lead others to realise that the economy is only of value if people are properly cared for – which is far from the case at present.
Just think how many of our elders who have died in Aged Care Homes might still be alive if those running the homes had not put profit before compassion.
And why did they?
Because governments passed laws saying a Corporate body is a legal entity which is required to prioritise making a profit for its share holders.
And many family members could tell you that caring for an elderly relative is an arduous, sometimes distasteful and often expensive process which they do through love.
Paid carers are expected to perform the most intimate tasks, often with insufficient training and always with insufficient recompense.
If salary scales worked on the basis of paying most to those performing the least sought after jobs – guess who would be best paid?
The way in which many, who are far from wealthy, particularly those who depend on Centrelink payments to scrape an existence, are treated, is not conducive to making them feel part of a caring community. So it should come as no surprise that they do not automatically recognise a need to care about the problems of strangers.
Much unnecessary criticism has emerged in recent months. COVID-19 is a Novel coronavirus – an unknown quantity, about which knowledge has been gleaned the hard way – by trial and error.
We did not know for sure how the infection was transmitted.
We did not appreciate that someone could be infectious without displaying symptoms.
We did not realise how randomly different the effects could be, with some dying without being regarded as particularly at risk, while others have been left with permanent damage to various organs.
We were slow in gaining certainty about how the virus is spread.
So the importance of wearing masks was not initially recognised, and the fact that doing so might save the lives of other people, other than just the wearer, was not always seen as essential!
We are not all selfish, but we are often persuaded to put our own needs first, because those whose role is to help and support us, do not display compassion for others.
How many politicians have taken a salary cut, while millions are forced out of work or suffered a significant loss of income?
The government acted to save lives, while in the process reducing the ability for many people to cover their needs.
It is therefore essential for the government to ensure that people are properly recompensed!
Over 7 years of Coalition policy making, the gap between the haves and the have-nots has widened astronomically. Wage stagnation has ensured an inability to save against a rainy day, and casual employment might pay lip service to the idea that holiday pay and sick leave are ‘covered’, but cost of living pressures means the money for those contingencies is swallowed up in everyday necessities.
Zero hour contracts should be banned, as they ensure living in a continuous state of stress – just as many of us are now doing – with no certainty of having enough to cover necessary expenses!
The government has gone so far in ensuring that employers have the whip hand,that the idea that the unions are of concern is ludicrous.
Sadly, as always, power corrupts, and the few union leaders whose militancy has verged on the criminal, has blinded the average wage earner to the universal benefits which were won for workers by the unions – and which, by reducing union membership, have now been largely lost again!
Anyone who has been a parent know that it is usually for life.
You might heave a sigh of relief once the offspring have launched into flight from the nest, but, if they get hit by adversity not of their making, you will always be there for them.
Well, Mr Morrison, you should be counting your blessings.
You have taken away from us and you need now to support us.
If it were not for the need for social distancing, we would be out on the streets demanding that you listen to the climate change scientists.
You need to be creating jobs through re-establishing the steel industry, developing renewable energy – heaven knows there are a myriad ways in which clean energy can be generated – mining the rare minerals which are needed for modern technology, building electric and solar powered trains, and generally heeding scientific advice as carefully as you have been doing during the pandemic!
Forget politics and ideology.
This is a life and death situation and we rely on the government to keep us safe!
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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