It is one thing to criticise, when those in charge are failing to act in ways which seem likely to reduce existing problems.
It is another to be constructive and suggest possible solutions.
And then again – on the part of those whose failure is being criticised – refusal to listen to suggestions has to be dealt with in some effective way. And that may prove to be the biggest problem we face!
Since the start of February 2020, I have sat outside the NT Parliament House on 32 Wednesday afternoons from 1 to 3 pm, to remind people that global warming is a major issue, requiring urgent action, and it cannot be ignored because of COVID-19 taking priority!
It is worth explaining that the Northern Territory is the safest part of Australia as far as COVID-19 is concerned. We have had no community transmissions, we quarantine visitors effectively, and we rarely, if ever, have double digit numbers of active cases arising from those visitors.
We also have warm weather in the Top End, which includes Darwin, and I cannot remember when it last rained – possibly a sprinkle in May – so I use an umbrella as a parasol to be sun-safe!
We will get rain later in the year – so the umbrella will perform its proper function when that happens. At least it is warm rain!
Not unexpectedly, I am deliberately ignored by a few people, but many stop to chat. They generally agree on the need for action, and criticise the refusal of the national government to make appropriate plans.
I have permission from the Speaker of the House to repeat this exercise until Christmas and have every confidence that I shall continue to do so for as long after Christmas as I feel necessary.
Each week I wear my Extinction Rebellion T-shirt, and my expectation is that, once larger crowds are no longer a threat to public health, the XR organisers will be getting members out on to the streets to increase pressure on governments to take the action which is increasingly urgent.
This is being reported as already happening in other counties!
I am willing to be involved in civil disobedience, as long as it does not involve violence on my part, and also avoids damaging property.
The problems which we are facing are many-faceted, affect nearly everyone, and will not be solved by following any of the policies the current Coalition government is recommending.
The first thing that strikes me is that the government does not seem to realise it has a part in the process of recovering from the pandemic shut-down and the chaos it has created, apart from throwing financial support, mainly to business.
Talk of a ‘return to normal’ shows a total misapprehension of the current state of affairs.
We are in this mess because of the way governments were behaving before the pandemic!
I read this article today (09/09/20), in the New Daily and it sums up the government’s attitude to perfection.
The ECONOMY is the permanent centre of attention, followed by ensuring that business is enabled to ensure that it returns to a state of constant growth.
Increasingly, Scott Morrison has shown his true colours as a would-be petty dictator.
This was never more clearly shown than when he used his slim majority in the most recent session to try to ram legislation through the Lower House, cutting short ‘debate’ and denying the Opposition a chance to speak.
How much longer can we tolerate this refusal to act democratically?
To solve problems, we first have to identify them, then we have to consider possible solutions.
There are plenty who are far more expert than am I who can carry out this process but – if we really are a democracy – it must be done in a non-partisan way, so we are not ruled by an ideology which, for many of us, is an anathema! Again I refer to the article mentioned above.
We are all equal before the law and are entitled to equality of treatment.
If the government needs money, then perhaps it should consider ways in which those with the greatest wealth should make the greatest contribution! Staying good mates with millionaires while children sleep on the streets is not on!
Economics is not a science, but those who have studied it could still make a useful contribution to discussions.
All discussions have to both lead to solutions which will relieve people of poverty, brought about by necessary government actions, and also take account of the lifestyle changes needed to combat global warming.
As a member of the general public, I have a fair idea of the overall sources of anxiety – particularly for women – that need urgent attention.
We all need the security of a home.
The present rather shaky moratorium as regards mortgage payments, rental arrears, and accumulated debt that flows on from that, must be stabilised and clarified ASAP.
An initial step could be to stop putting financial assistance for individuals into a ‘welfare case’ situation, and introduce a Universal Basic Income.
It can be set up in ways that enable taxation to balance it out for those who really don’t need it, but ensure that everyone can afford to pay their housing costs and other essential basic expenses.
(Oh! And by the way – have all those defrauded by Robo-Debt been fully recompensed yet? And did they get paid interest on the money, just as they were expected to pay interest if they failed to pay a claimed debt on time?)
A top priority should be government funding for social affordable housing!
Many jobs have not only been lost, but disappeared for ever.
Many businesses are being propped up by government grants when it would have been better had the business owners gone into receivership.
That situation can be closely examined and decisions made on realistic grounds – not using across the board rules that businesses should not be allowed to fail.
Early Childhood Education is an essential that government has again ignored. By reducing or removing assistance for childcare centres, the government has damaged the most important stage in the lives of our children.
Free childcare must be reinstated, salaries of all employed in the caring sectors – childcare, aged care, nursing, etc, must all be significantly increased, and numbers employed could be among the first ways to enable the ‘economy’ to start to recover.
I can only assume that neither Scott Morrison nor Josh Frydenberg regularly helps with the weekly household shopping.
If they did, they might appreciate that shopping needs money, and many of the goods purchased carry GST. And where does GST go? And does the government need money? So is refusal to provide the needy with succour a sensible policy?
We are not mendicants at the knees of a ruler.
We are citizens who demand to be treated fairly and we should not sit back and allow inferior policies from a government which is clearly out of its depth.
For example, here is another source of investment which is being spurned because superannuation is, for some strange reason, not in favour with the Coalition!
Let’s see the necessary, multi-partisan bodies being established to ensure that everyone has a roof over their heads, sufficient food and clothing, a proper education – particularly for the very young – and equality of opportunity.
I haven’t heard any tales of politicians complaining of not having enough of the necessities of life so why would they not accept that we are also entitled to respect and opportunity for a viable life?
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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