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The Power of Partnership

In Australia, we have all the ingredients for a society that allows all its citizens to flourish in a healthy, safe environment but the powerful refuse to follow the recipe.

Our politicians refuse to co-operate because they want their party to be in power. Achieving bipartisan support has become almost impossible, regardless of how good an idea is.

Our companies refuse to pay the taxation that facilitates the provision of the human capital and infrastructure they need to operate because they want to maximise profit.

Domestic abuse and violence is at epidemic levels. There are many contributing factors to this but underlying it is dominance and power.

Religions, despite all espousing some version of do unto others, fight for supremacy, wishing to push their particular beliefs and chosen way of life on everyone.

The media, rather than informing the public, exercises great power in choosing how and what they report. Scandal, gotcha moments and reality tv are preferred to factual information.

Despite the shamefully high level of poverty, the wealthy demand tax cuts, the CEOs defend their obscene salaries, the politicians assure us their entitlements are within the rules, while all baying for welfare to be cut. The power of the wealthy is built on the backs of the poor.

Imagine if, instead of this never-ending power struggle, we realised and used the strength of partnership.

Imagine if, instead of the secrecy, our government allowed us to know what was going on with the NBN, the free trade agreements, the offshore processing centres, emissions reductions, defence contracts, infrastructure projects, and so many other things which, in a democracy, we are entitled to know.

We have world-renowned experts who could help politicians make the best decisions but getting them to listen, let alone agree, is impossible under our current system of government (or perhaps with our current crop of MPs).

Imagine if our big companies accepted the long term benefits to them of having a well-educated, skilled, healthy workforce and customers who had more disposable income. Rather than sending profits offshore, they should be reinvesting in the society that earned them those profits.

Imagine the power of men and women fighting together against domestic abuse, fighting together for more refuges, better mental health services, accessible legal aid, affordable housing, available counselling and community support programs. Some would seek to capitalise on the trauma of family breakdown instead of helping to heal or to prevent the harm.

Religion’s continued denial of human sexuality has and is causing untold harm. Look at the sexual abuse of children carried out by clergy. Look at the murder and suicide of so many LGBTIQ people. Look at the murders at abortion clinics. Look at the frenzied attacks from religious people on the idea that children should be taught to be tolerant and empathetic and that love does not have to be gender based. Look at the opposition to contraception in an overpopulated world.

Imagine if our media felt the responsibility to lead informed debate and to encourage best practice, to fight against discrimination and to give voice to minorities, to be an agent of cohesion rather than division, and to expose greed and corruption.

Every individual, every business, organisation and group in our society, should feel an obligation to fulfil to the best of their ability their part of the social contract that makes up a democracy, none moreso than government.

They should be transparent and accountable because the consequences of their decisions can be far reaching and, when wrong, catastrophic.

They should be the role model for, and protector of, equality and freedom and our associated human rights. They should set an ethical standard for the people to emulate.

The government must defend us from the negative consequences of free markets, protecting us from unscrupulous merchants and employers, and the extreme class structure that results from their exploitation.

The government should be involved in the construction of society’s infrastructure, including transport, posts and telecommunications, and water, sewage and energy utilities. Giving government charge over these utilities guarantees that they remain in public hands, and solely dedicated to the common good. If such services are privatized, the owners are motivated by profit, which could negatively affect the quality of the services.

Such common assets should be owned by and shared between the members of the current population, and preserved for future generations.

Health, education and the preservation of a clean environment should be regarded as investments, not costs.

Governments argue that people need to be assisted with the economic competition that now dominates the world. But the real intent of this position is to justify helping corporate interests, siding against local workers, consumers and the environment.

Our greatest need for protection is from other institutions and from the abuses of government itself, particularly its collusion with these other institutions.

To create social change we need honesty and respect. The power of partnership is far greater than power that seeks to control.

19 comments

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  1. Freethinker

    Kaye, all that you have mentioned above can be said by imagine if there was not greed and selfishness.
    Greed for power, wealth or recognition is the biggest”cancer”that have humanity. Without it 95% of the problems will be resolved.
    Yes, the power of greed.

  2. billshaw2013

    The antics of one Tony Abbott destroyed the possibility of bipartisan politics at any level. I blame him entirely for the degradation of our Houses of Parliament to its current level. Turnbull, whilst showing early promise of reversing this parliamentary muck, has failed to do so. Shorten is showing signs of returning some dignity to the political profession.

  3. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear Kaye. I agree 100%.

    We need to rewrite the Constitution embracing these principles of cooperation and inclusivity that works for the 99% and turns its back on filthy neoliberalism.

  4. corvus boreus

    Imagine if our individual egos weren’t so addicted to weaving fictions about our own importance and the infallibility of our opinions.
    Imagine if we all truly realised that we are organisms reliant on surrounding and internal biology in order to continue existing.
    Imagine if human society was not dominated by doctrines of gendered anthropomorphic deity and the inevitability of apocalypse.
    Imagine if our collective decisions and actions prioritized the value of conservation for necessity over instant gratification.
    Imagine if we have a future.

  5. lawrencesroberts

    Needs not greeds. It’s not called the Commonwealth for nothing.

  6. Jack Russell

    In 2016 our society has finally reached the point of no return. No election in our history has ever been more important than THIS one.

    We either go forward as a decent society and forge a future worth living for everyone, or we lose it all to the greedy and the selfish.

    Think of your children and what’s best for them, then vote for a society where they will matter.

  7. Hotspringer

    Actually achieving bipartisan support seems to be relatively easy – whether on indefinite incarceration of refugees, reporting on harassment, rapes and torture in our concentration camps, amassing data on all residents etc…

  8. Kaye Lee

    I too am disappointed by the unquestioning support for all things “national security”. It is obviously political. No-one in their right mind could possibly claim that spending $400 billion over the next two decades on war toys is a productive use of limited resources.

    I am also opposed to offshore detention but at least Labor is offering independent oversight, faster processing, reintroduction of judicial appeal, mandatory reporting of abuse, a special children’s advocate, an increased humanitarian intake and a greater financial contribution to the UNHCR.

  9. keerti

    You’re a bunch of commies! Yes all that is required is that governments govrn for the welfare of all

  10. diannaart

    Lawrencesroberts 1:32 pm

    Needs not greeds. It’s not called the Commonwealth for nothing.

    Lawrence, I think it is called that for the irony value.

  11. paul walter

    I can’t fault it, but then my outlook and politics are similar to Kaye Lee’s I think, cooperativism and reason as prior to extreme self indulgence and individualism (self will run riot), given that the welfare of the individual is created within the social. The bugga you jack mindset is redundant, like any 5 yo behaviour just doesn’t work in a civilised society, except maybe for five year olds.

  12. Florence nee Fedup

    Neoliberalism has to demonise most of society to be put in place. Has to portray all that haven’t become wealthy as dregs and drag on their society.

    Has to devalues the hard work that workers contribute to the wealth they consider theirs.

    Believers in neoliberalism feel they are entitled to all wealth created. That they alone produce it.

    They even have creates churches, change bible in their image. No longer will the weak inherit the earth. No longer is it harder for a rich man to get to heaven, that the camel through eye of a needle.

    No, in their churches, God rewards them for the wealth they have created.

    They are no longer responsible for the poor, no longer their brothers keeper. At least when Protestantism arose, there was the rich man in his castle, the poor in their place in the gate house. Everyone in their place.

  13. jim

    “Today the world is the victim of propaganda because people are not intellectually competent. More than anything the Australia needs effective citizens competent to do their own thinking.”

    “Enlighten, educate the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like the evil spirits at the dawn of day.” – Thomas Jefferson, letter to Pierre S. du Pont de Nemour.

    Vote LNP Last.Just some ALP policies;
    Renewable energy: Offering certainty for jobs and investors in our renewable energy industry, where Australia should be seizing our natural and competitive advantages.

    Domestic violence: A new focus on tackling family violence: a national crisis summit within our first 100 days, ending the ‘postcode lottery’ of unequal services and put the focus on perpetrator accountability, because every woman has the right to be safe in her home and in our community.

    University reform: The next step in university reform, building the bridge between enrolment and completion, a system converting uni places into degrees, into good jobs.

    Indigenous progress: Greater urgency on constitutional recognition for the first Australians and closing the justice gap – bringing together Indigenous leaders to build a consensus for progress.

    Fairer tax system: Making multinationals pay their fair share of tax in Australia. Sustainable retirement incomes: Boosting the fairness and sustainability of retirement incomes.

    Improve the family budget: Delivering long-term structural improvements to the budget trajectory, without Liberal ram-raids on the family budget……..the Liberals cuts well some cuts by LNP

    Ripped another $650m out
    for diagnostic imaging and pathology services – services on which another $650m cut from Medicare by slashing bulk billing cancer patients rely;
    axing radiation and oncology programs;
    slashing $420m in aged care support for seniors with complex needs; and
    cuts to child care before the government’s reforms have even started……….Under the Abbott-Turnbull government, there has been a consistent fall in living standards; it has fallen by 3 per cent, whereas it increased 6 per cent under Labor.

    Vote LNP out.

  14. paul walter

    Thanks, Flo.

  15. paul walter

    Just an afterthought, If Aussies had grasped the real messages behind the doco series Send Them Back Where They Belong, say, they’d understand what could be in store, but lack of life experience on our part renders us incapable of grasping the implications of what’s planmed for us.

  16. Jaquix

    Two people I know, both just scraping by on the aged pension, both smokers, both renting, both like a “flutter” on the horses, have just gone out and voted for THE LIBERALS ! Nothing would dissuade them. They trotted out all the lies old platitudes the Libs spread around, and cling to the fact that John Howard was “the best”.

  17. Wayne Johnson

    we need the whole political system in this country shaken to the core the first thing we demand is a federal icac be set up to get rid og the rot that has infected politics there needs to be a federal icac be set up to deal with these forced council mergers this has to the biggest blight on our democracy ever baird will staff it with lnp staff put a gun to the head of democratically elected councillors this is not democracy at all next thing is take control of their finances and their tenders he will sell nsw of to the multinationals bruce baird is trying to destroy our local communities its not going to happen we all have to come together and fight this take a look at what he did in newcastle
    he stopped the trains at hamilton then he ordered the rip up of parts of the track so that they wont ever be fixed now a commission into this state and federal for a start from the amanda vanstone till the present day dont let a golden opportunity to get rid of some corrupt politicians and possibly their backers

  18. Andreas Bimba

    Thanks for the article Kaye Lee. I don’t quite understand this paragraph?

    “Governments argue that people need to be assisted with the economic competition that now dominates the world. But the real intent of this position is to justify helping corporate interests, siding against local workers, consumers and the environment”.

    Is this about FTAs, tariffs and subsidies?

  19. paul walter

    Andreas, financialised globalising capitalism wants these things, but I don’t think they give a tinker’s cuss when it involves harm to other people, be they victims of military campaigns in resource rich countries or people in client societies like ours, previously functional but reduced to near failure by what is Capitalism’s virtual taxation by stealth to pay for its control of those it taxes.

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