“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”
When politicians use the power, given to them by the electors, to benefit themselves rather than than the people as a whole – not even exclusively those who voted for them – we begin to lose hope in any likelihood of integrity, transparency and compassion being displayed by our governments.
There is, in my mind, no doubt that there is serious corruption across our whole system, starting with politicians, progressing through business and industry (look at the latest news about Westpac) and replicated by many with more limited power, particularly in local governments.
The consistency with which the Coalition government has refused to institute a Corruption Commission, while, pre-COVID, giving priority to trying to protect those whose religion enables them to reject scientific fact about sexual diversity, is cause for major concern.
Maggie Thatcher has much to answer for!
While we have never had a truly cohesive society, few people can exist in isolation, and many individuals, for a variety of reasons, need help far beyond anything they can achieve alone.
There will always be people who rort the financial system – by whatever means they can muster – but they are not exclusively people who are unjustifiably on social security benefits!
Look at Clive Palmer! How many have been damaged and defrauded by his actions while he seeks to further enrich himself by carrying on unfounded litigation?
Look at the millionaires who avoid paying their fair share of tax.
Look at politicians who raise their own incomes while reducing welfare payments for people with no hope of finding employment.
We can be ‘wealthy’ in many ways – in terms of financial assets, in terms of depth of knowledge and in terms of friends and acquaintances.
Each has its merits, but for any who enjoys any of these benefits, there is – or, I think, should be – an obligation to allow other to share in them.
Those with power, likewise, have a moral duty to use it in ways which minimises harm and maximises help to others.
We currently exist, precariously, in a system where it seems that those with most power use it to benefit those with least need of support, while the majority, whose needs are greatest, are closely scrutininsed and heavily penalised if they even only appear to have stepped out of line.
Prime example is Robodebt – where a system, using an algorithm which could be seen, from the very beginning, to be fatally flawed, wrongly forced powerless people to ‘give back’ money they did not owe. The government finally admitted it was illegal and undertook to return the money that had been wrongly demanded (is that process yet fully completed???) but some lives, lost in the process, are gone for ever.
The most recent protection racket is for Alan Tudge who will, hopefully, be sued for his treatment of an Afghan refugee.
My blood boils when I think of the use by Dutton and others of ‘character tests’ in relation to those seeking visas,when the ‘character’ of Morrison, Dutton, Tudge, and several others in government, is so dubious that even the ‘pot calling the kettle black’ does not begin to cut it!
As a child, I always wanted to be a teacher. In fact I think that various professions – usually among the so-called caring profession, like nursing, medicine and teaching – are a vocation. Because maths was always my best subject at school, I became a maths teacher, but,when in later life I studied law, it was because I wanted to help those whose lives were being damaged by being unable to afford good legal advice. Given the chance of using alternative dispute resolution methods, I chose to concentrate on mediation, because it assists people to sort out their own disputes and develop appropriate negotiation skills in the process.
I have been incredibly fortunate in having been able to have a very thorough and broad-ranging education and, at risk of sounding conceited, being called a leftie and a busybody, I see it as important to help those who have not shared in the advantages I have been able to access.
I grieve over the number of people who do not realise how corrupt the Coalition is – and, sadly, it seems, Labor has lost its way, some of the Union bosses are as corrupt as the corporate bosses! – so there are few with the public’s ear, other than, for example, a few like John Hewson, who have any real care about the issues and the necessary solutions and who are are working on trying to get the integrity, transparency and compassion necessary for good governance.
If we care, we all have a part to play. We cannot afford to let the Coalition go down the policy path they are currently espousing.
Time is not on our side!
Eventually we will emerge from the COVID-19 crisis and once more mingle with the rest of the world. But, without energetic action by politicians throughout the world, keeping down global temperatures remains massively important and our chances of doing so are diminishing with every day which passes.
I am beginning to understand the loss of hope which drives too many to suicide.
It feels like someone insists they do not need water in the radiator of an internal combustion engine. They refuse to recognise that the absence of water will guarantee the engine might be permanently damaged with all the consequent problems they will then experience.
Please join in helping others to realise the Coalition government must change its policies or get out of government!
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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