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The ATM governments and the death of the common good

Have Australians ever, so blindly, elected governments so negatively characterless? So corrupt that scandals increase by the day? Governments so ignorant of truth and transparency? So insensitive to those who cannot help themselves? So willing to endorse and foster inequality? So willing to govern for those who have while leaving the have-nots behind?

So illiterate of technology and science that they would subject us to fire and floods while doing nothing to alleviate climate change?

So oblivious to the needs of women? So inept at policy formation and its implementation that they are unable to draft a policy for a strong independent federal anti-corruption commission?

Governments who speak the language of ridiculous absurdity? So pugnacious, so confrontationist, so self-righteous, in its attitude toward people? And so out of touch with a modern pluralist society? A government so unsophisticated in deep worldly acumen and discernment, yet so religiously inclined?

Power in in the hands of a government with chastisement in their hearts, authority on their minds and control in their doing, do little for democracy and society in general.

Governments who are control freaks usually cannot see beyond their own self-importance and are hostile to those who might threaten it.

I have never had a capacity for hatred (it’s simply not in my DNA) but the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments have really tested my mettle. What has any of them done to improve the quality of our living, our culture, our play, and our learning?

So, while the stench of their combined tenure lingers let’s allow me to seize the moment and remind ourselves just what it is we on the left are fighting for.

The conservatives speak exclusively the words of the economist. On the other hand, Labor’s language speaks of marrying the words of the enlightened economist and those of the thinker to form a sentence that describes a marriage with the word ‘society’.

Successful societies should be built around a ‘common-good society’ where the words ‘economics’ and ‘society’ are spoken with an acknowledgement that one is essential to the other.

And then we need to examine which political ideology is best placed to build such a society.

The advent of a terrible virus, despite its world-wide destruction has provided us with the opportunity to rethink what a future society should look like and which ideology is best placed to bring it about.

Firstly, let’s ask ourselves what is an ideal society based on. I have written similar words to the following that describe my best, ‘common-good, society.’

For me it’s an achievement we may never accomplish. It may never be perfect but nonetheless is a worthwhile ambition.

In the modern Western democracy, an enlightened society is a population of men, women, and children who as a collective desire to express their humanity, work, aspirations, spirituality, art, poetry and play with the richest possible diversity.

It must first give prominence to the existence of those who have toiled the land long before our coming and then cater for the many cultures that we invited to follow.

It must cultivate a common good with equality of opportunity for all. A society where one’s sexual preference or gender is not an adjudication on your character and the colour of your skin and says nothing about you other than perhaps your geographical place of birth.

A society that believes in individual pursuit, intellectual accomplishment and financial reward only regulated by what is beneficial for the collective good. In other words, everyone is entitled to an equitable share of society’s wealth.

A society where freedom of expression is guaranteed but limited only by the innate moral personal decency of the individual.

Where free speech is fair speech. An enlightened society in which the suggestion that we need to legislate ones’ right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.

A society where the health and welfare of all is sacrosanct and access to treatment is assured.

Where the principle that we should treat others in the same manner as we expect them to treat us is indelible in the mind of every citizen.

A society that respects science before myth and mysticism, but at the same time recognises the individual’s right to the expression of their own form of spirituality so long as it doesn’t hinder the common good.

A society that should be judged by its welcoming, and how well it treats its most vulnerable citizens. By how well protected our civil rights are and how accessible the law is regardless of stature or wealth.

In democratic societies (the best – or least bad form of government) our herding instincts are realised by the election of leaders who form government.

Even in the imperfection of any democracy, we comprehend that a group mentality advances society better than dictatorial individuality.

So, we need a government that is subservient to the will (the common-good ethics) of the people and is responsive to the inclusiveness of public opinion.

It is government that decides and regulates the progress and ambitions of society. Or at least provides the environment in which to do so.

There is very little that is done in the name of progress that cannot be attributed in some way to government. Individual or collective ambition can only be achieved within a social structure built and controlled by a people’s democracy.

If today we can sweep aside this period of conservative, capitalistic madness in which we have allowed the voices of the far right insane to gratuitously silence truth, logic and the sciences, then we will perhaps have turned the nation away from a horrendous future.

My thought for the day

The danger in looking back to often is that we lose the will to go forward.

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11 comments

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  1. Jaki Rogers

    Thank you John. I have become so depressed looking backward at the wonderful country that I brought my sons to live in, and you are correct, lost hope. I find it so hard to accept that such greed, corruption and stupidity cannot be corrected within our judicial system simply because a virus has given leaders Emergency powers. The cruelty and pain deliberately being placed with the Indue card, Refugees, NDIS, etc. etc. whilst billions are being corruptly funnelled away by Ministers and Mates planning for plunging the country back into foreign conflict, seems totally unbelievable from someone who remembers how neighbours and Italian prisoners actually built homes and gardens in UK after the war. Find it unbelievable that top lawyers cant see an out for us before 2022.

  2. Jack Cade

    What we – on this site at least – don’t like to admit is that our politicians are put in their positions In order to represent the views of their electorates in the various parliaments. That bring so, and this is reinforced by the opinion polls, just over 51% of Australians are perfectly happy with the way the current federal government is performing. And Queensland, which gave the federal Coalition and their malignant polyps 23 seats and thus ensured their election, is facing a state poll in a few days. When offered a choice between a marginally successful ALP government headed by a courageous premier, and a rabble headed by a leader who makes Pauline Hanson sound like St Therese of the roses, Queenslanders are said to be having difficulty making up their minds.
    Who are at AIMN we to complain? The people get what they want and probably deserve.
    That’s what we call democracy.
    Suck it and see.

  3. Arthur Tarry

    Yes Jack Cade and John Lord it is always salutatory to remember that that something like 51% of Australian voters are perfectly happy with the Morrison Govt and, indeed, that a similar portion think that it’s doing a good to excellent job. This opens up a Pandora’s box of questions the prime one being why this is so when there are so many obvious and gross deficiencies, not the least of which is the overt and totally intolerable corruption. How can people just simply ignore such things, let alone the long manifest of other obnoxious and unfair policies and actions ? Or are we, on the other side of the political spectrum, completely out of touch with the aspirations and thoughts of most Australians. It certainly seems so when I talk with people in my neighborhood – they are either completely detached and apathetic, or just happy to accept unquestionably what is dished up to them by a coalition mob that actually acts against the best interests of most people as long as most people’s lot seems OK.

  4. DrakeN

    The ultimate question:

    What is the use of being smarter than my neighbours if I cannot use it to take advantage and steal from them?

    for that read: “more greedy, devious and less principled”.

    Being dumber allows many to contentedly ignore the reality that they are being routinely ‘done over’.

  5. wam

    What a great rant, lord full of the old soundless fury but still not true to the majority of australians and they are not all on the left of the bell curve
    “negatively characterless”????
    “illiterate of technology and science” Mar 19, 2007 — The media are partly to blame for Americans’ lack of scientific literacy. by … which claimed that 90 percent of Americans were scientifically illiterate – The most positive spin that the authors could put on their findings was that we were doing better than Americans.
    yes labor 21 women elected and libs 18 elected (plus kathy) out of 151 members
    Australia has been ranked as the second-best country in the world for its quality of life by a UN report that assessed economic, education and life-expectancy data and:
    https://www.borgenmagazine.com/top-10-facts-about-living-in-australia-jennifer-philipp-tbs/
    “do little for democracy and society in general”: only labor has down little over the last 7 years for your understanding but the lnp has done heaps for its concept of democracy and society.
    “So, we need a government that is subservient to the will (the common-good ethics) of the people and is responsive to the inclusiveness of public opinion.”
    Well I have read it lord and re-read but still miss the meaning?
    scummo went to the people saying here we are you know our policies there is no new ones take it or leave it. The people accepted and approved it and rejected our alternative leaving us to complain.
    Does that not make them mandated for another 3 years like the 6 before???
    Subservient is a great word my rabbottians fit the support no thought or understanding required for sheeping the opinions of the lnp pollies who, in turn, seem subservient to society or parts there of?

    ps
    The beliefs of our law makers need to be defined. It is no longer possible to consider the blanket ban on questioning politicians on their religious beliefs which influence the political decisions. It is ironic the pig-iron bob won elections on the catholic vote(one on the commo vote) yet had none in the party and now political appointments this century have invariably been catholics.

  6. Alc

    Great article again John. I think Labor has a great team with Tanya, Penny Chalmers Bowen being among many outstanding candidates. I am not sure of the latest poll numbers bu t I have a feeling that Albanese is not cutting through, and it may soon be necessary to have a look at the leadership. How about Andrews backed up by Penny Wong. Just a thought.

  7. Wayne Turner

    Long ago the MSM ruined our former democracy.More recently ie: Before the 2019 federal election they killed it.With Channel 9 taking over SMH.

    Now the COALition and their MSM are making sure our former democracy stays dead,by destroying the ABC.

    The reason this government can and does get away with being so corrupt: All of their MSM protects them eg: The fact their role in the Ruby Princess debacle has been covered up.The sham inquiry did not include them in terms of reference.

    Also,the government have stacked those in important positions,with their mates,so they are untouchable.

    Enough of the gullible and ignorant public fall for the MSM being the promotional wing of the COALition.

    Our MSM is owned by too few,and is the worst in the Western World.

    This government gets away with all this corruption, thanks to a gullible public,and the MSM being their promotional wing. We know Labor could never get away with this, just look at Gillard’s MSM treatment, because she wasn’t their chosen one.

    We are doomed 🙁

    The mediaocracy continues..

  8. Terence Mills

    According to the Guardian Kevin Rudd’s, has broken the record for the biggest e-petition in the history of the national parliament with well over 400,000 signatures. The petition calling for a Royal Commission into Murdoch’ domination of our media closes on Wednesday.

    Whilst there is no obligation on the government of the day to take action on a petition there is a process.

    The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Petitions receives and processes petitions on behalf of the House. It will then make recommendations to the government. It is then up to the opposition to ram it home.

    If you choose to sign you can do so here : https://www.aph.gov.au/petition_list?id=EN1938

    Despite the suggestion that the numbers on the petition have been boosted by BOTS, this is a secure encrypted site run by the federal government.

  9. Jack Cade

    You can guarantee an e-petition for the establishment of a federal ICAC would eclipse ANY other petition, but there is no chance of one ever being established unless some unbelievably serendipitous event sends 150 Andrew Wilkies to parliament. In this country, 150 Clive Palmers is more likely. We are at least halfway there already.

  10. paul walter

    What will become of QLD after tomorrow?

  11. Jack Cade

    People should read Bernard Keane’s article in today’s Crikey Weekender, which summarises the Morrison governments (and some of the Abbott and Turnbull governments) corruption. In the aim of ‘looking after your mates’, Keane shows, chapter and verse (but a Readers Digest Condensed version) of how our body politic is rotten, has rotted and is rotting from the head down.

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