We now have three crises to deal with!
- Almost the longest running crisis is Global Warming, which clearly is a global issue, requiring the cooperation of all nations.
- The more recent, but also intractable crisis, which is being tackled individually by practically every nation on earth, is COVID-19.
- The third also affects many countries by differing degrees, but has to be handled by each affected country in different but appropriate ways. It is corruption and it appears to be deep-seated and endemic.
Much has already been written about Global Warming and it is dispiriting that Australia has a government which – at least up to a point – has been willing to seek scientific advice on health, but refuses to even consider seriously scientific advice on the causes of climate change.
With the exception of a decreasing number of journalists, most articles available online and in print, are increasingly accepting the existence of climate change as an issue requiring increasingly urgent attention, and some countries are very positively engaged in trying to reduce emissions and move towards becoming carbon neutral.
Australia is not among them.
Consensus on COVID-19 appears to be that we are dependent on a vaccine to help bring it under control, and measures taken to date to reduce transmission have had seriously adverse effects on our economy.
The current Australian Government sees acquiring a reputation as a good manager of the economy as being the most important issue that faces them, and, to that end, has closed national borders reluctantly, while criticising Premiers for closing State/Territory borders, is pressing for a rapid return to ‘normal’, and seems to be prepared to destroy lives in the process – if not through infection, then by the damage done through inadequate financial support for hundreds of people their policies have necessarily thrown into unemployment.
Just as it has relentlessly pursued a hostile course of action against genuine refugees, whose only ‘crime’ has been arriving by an unacceptable method after some arbitrary date – and Kevin Rudd must share the blame for the damage that has resulted – the government now dreams of a rapid return to higher employment and higher productivity in a climate where waves of infection make any rapid changes non-viable.
When our Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, and Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, talk about Australian values, I hear a hollow laugh echoing in my brain, when I regard the total lack of compassion or interest in general well-being which is exhibited in the Coalition government’s actions.
While I think that, in general and in the past, the ALP have generally shown more signs of putting people before profits when it comes to the crunch, I feel absolutely uncertain that the ALP would, if in power, be able to fight the self-interest power-seeking habits of the Coalition, if the latter were in Opposition and led with anyone with the gutter instincts of a Tony Abbott.
The achievements of Labor through the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd governments were remarkable, given the destructive attitude of the Opposition.
In times of crisis such as this, attempts to achieve a reasonable degree of cooperation and consensus is vital, but almost impossible in a constantly adversarial framework!
Seeking valid amendments to legislation when significant points have been overlooked is the job of the party which does not win a majority.
No party is ever always right and constantly seeking to overthrow a properly elected government which is not behaving corruptly is unacceptable.
So there we come to the elephant in the room.
Too many of our governments are and/or have been corrupt.
The Sports Rorts affair should have gone to an ICAC and heads would have rolled.
Many other programs which have been run by government have been similarly and severely biassed in blatant attempts to buy votes in the next election.
Both major parties have been guilty and neither of them is falling over backwards to install a truly effective Independent Commission Against Corruption – which is alarming, because that reluctance to be answerable for their actions indicates that they fear being found out!
Many decades ago, before I became completely disenchanted with religion, I used to attend a very low church C of E, where services were conducted by a very fatherly Vicar.
I recall reference being made to seeking forgiveness for both sins of commission and sins of omission – and this came clearly to my mind in the revelations this week into Gladys Berejiklian’s life.
When she advised her partner not to give her the details about his business interests, I wonder which of these reasons applied?:
- She was in a personal relationship with him and wanted to leave both his and her work outside the door, or
- She was aware that he might not be acting entirely appropriately and did not want to know.
It the latter applies, then she has been guilty of the sin of omission, because, knowing both of them shared the same behavioural constraints as do all MPs – but with her having the greater Parliamentary authority – she should not choose to ignore illegal behaviour on his part.
Many of Australia’s governments have been under the corruption looking-glass – in fact I am struggling to think of one which has not at some time or other – but, when a nation is struggling – as we are – under the pandemic and the economic fall-out, the last thing we need is a corrupt government.
And – folks – you and I both know that is exactly what we have got!
We have had a threat of legislation for religious protection thrust down our throats – which might not have been corrupt but was straying well beyond the proper parameters for government.
Disgusting actions by government are prosecuted in secret – primarily in a useless attempt to minimise embarrassment to the government.
When it come to parliamentarians misbehaviour, we have had people like Bronwyn Bishop chartering helicopters and expecting us to pay – and that is the tip of the iceberg in the parliamentary rorting of allowances.
Too many Ministers have had a tap on the wrist when they should have been consigned to the back bench or asked to resign.
Inconsistencies about who can repay a debt and who will face prosecution are strictly decided on the basis of party allegiance.
The pre-pandemic Sport Rorts must be re-examined, as must some of the other grant systems which have been being biased to Coalition supporters.
Clive Palmer should never have been allowed to act as he has and donations to political parties, and transparency about from whom, how much and to whom, are desperately needing attention to ensure a higher level of integrity.
Politicians deserve to be on the nose because too many of them see entitlement where it does not exist.
There are some – a few – grass roots members who do stick to the rules, do the best they can for their constituents and probably resent being treated with the opprobrium which the majority of politicians thoroughly deserve.
I am sure the Victorian government has made some mistakes in their handling of the second wave of infections.
I am equally sure that Daniel Andrews has lost a lot of sleep and seen little of his children. He certainly has not had time for photo ops building a cubby house or a chicken run – let alone enjoying a holiday in Hawaii.
But because Mr Andrews is a Labor Premier, he has been lambasted with criticism and hassled to open up his state by the PM and Treasurer Frydenberg.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, NSW reported more new infections than Victoria, and, had the NSW Premier been Labor not Liberal, as the revelations of her relationship with a corrupt former Victorian MP were revealed, as sure as eggs is eggs, Morrison and Frydenberg would have been demanding her resignation!
Ministerial responsibility, codes of behaviour, resigning after wrong-doing – all seem to be ancient history.
Getting away with all you can and never admitting you were wrong is the current look in politics, and it has been turning us right off the people who – far from acting for our benefit – seem to see us as a necessary evil to be noticed when they need votes.
Surely we cannot put up with all this much longer?
However long we keep putting it off, realistic action on Global Warming is essential – and other countries lagging behind know this all too well. But the outcome may never be as good as it might have been if we continue to delay.
The pandemic is going away no time soon, and we have got to concentrate on planning to slowly opening our borders, while controlling the levels of infection.
As far as corruption is concerned, we need an ICAC – NOW!
The people making decisions seem to have no understanding of the damage they are doing because their eyes are on the ultimate prize – a sinecure with generous benefits in a branch of a global corporation whose bidding you have been doing in return for generous donations.
And if those at whom I am pointing a finger want to deny any truth in what I say, then please establish an ICAC and clear your name in public!
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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We now have three crises to deal with!
Indeed, Rosemary, and you do write very well about all this!
Spot on, Rosemary. I don’t know what the answer is but Kevin Rudd’s petition is, perhaps, a very small step in the right direction. https://www.aph.gov.au/petition_list?id=EN1938 Everyone, left or right, knows they should sign, for our stolen democracy.
Well said as usual Rosemary. What makes our situation worse is that it is a self-inflicted wound that we are unable to remedy until 2022 or when the unelected political hacks say an early election will be held. However, I must comment on some points:
1) “The current Australian Government sees acquiring a reputation as a good manager of the economy as being the most important issue that faces them”.
Disagree. The COALition is dedicated to the most important task of buying sufficient political donations from corporate sponsors to be re-elected to the Treasury benches.
2) “Too many of our governments are and/or have been corrupt.”‘
Agreed. We need an adequately funded & staffed Federal ICAC yesterday while politicians guilty of actions that would be considered fraud or criminal in the commercial world should face prosecution at their own expense.
3) “The pre-pandemic Sport Rorts must be re-examined, as must some of the other grant systems which have been being biassed to Coalition supporters.
Agreed. The politicians who make these biased political decisions should be held personally responsible for the financial cost of their actions.
4) Dan Andrews in Victoria is doing a wonderful job under difficult circumstances, with too many idiots believing that they are personally bullet-proof and immortal, protecting Victorians and Australians generally from COVID-19. Thanks Dan.
Presently there is inadequate legislation to protect Australian voters from the personal greed and nefarious practices of their politicians who are in real8ity unaccountable for just about any action that could barely be described as ”political”.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. It is wonderfull to read your words of reason and wisdom. I would encourage all Australians to seriously consider your essay for the good of our future society.
Now here’s a thing. I had drafted several paragraphs in response to this article but when I typed a reference to Syria’s Bashar al Assad, my whole comment suddenly and mysteriously disappeared.
I know Syria would seem to be a little off-topic but recent revelations have exposed the extent to which the British and US government’s have corruptly, and very expensively, sought to support regime change, which I was positing as a wider extension of the corruption to which this piece by Rosemary refers.
My laboured point being that political corruption goes beyond our borders and is so powerful as to be both depressing and difficult to oppose.
Within Australia we have the power to throw out corrupt governments but too many of us are disinterested or have their attention diverted by such things as the mindless TV pap served up as so-called reality programs or by the streaming services which make it easy to avoid actually following politics.
Even for the engaged there is the difficulty of sorting fact from fiction when so much of the media is biased or untruthful.
Finally a minor correction, Berejiklian’s ex is from Wagga Wagga, a NSW electorate.
Thanks RC29 – but I could not find what your correction referred to, as I have been inclusive over corruption in Australian governments all (?) being guilty of corruption.
A good summary of much that is wrong, apart from ;
racism eg high incarceration of first nations, huge housing grants to businesses or mates to build basic decent houses for remote communities little of which ever results in livable housing, the vile mass Press which declares the very Party that campaigns for a federal iCAC being called stone age by an ignorant passing pensioner at a polling booth, the entitlement culture of young , mostly Coalition voters , the extortionate old age home rort Howard invented that forces the old to give interest free huge loans of often half a million to swell the coffers of the overseas millionaires who own the care homes, and who pay the staff peanuts; the theft of our lifeblood, clean water , by mines and cotton growers, venal politicians whose rich friends pay to save destructive feral animals eg brumbies , and so it goes.
Another great article Rosemary! The Coalition rag tag bunch of lying, flat earth, happy clapping, dickheads think thy are born to rule–but any normal thinking individual, such as yourself–& many thousands or millions of others know. just what a mob of idiots they all are! I can see nothing but even worse trouble than we are in, if they get to rule us for another term. they, along with all their wealthy pastoralist, mining, media & retail mates have done nothing about corruption, money rorting scandals, non payment of huge amount of taxes, etc etc & have stuffed our once fine country so much it is beyond a joke, & have made Australia a laughing stock in the world with some of our non-activity on Climate Change, our “fine” treatment of all the refugees wanting to live in this country & the use of quasi religious ideas & activities etc to make all this happen! BASTARDS!!!
Josephus – I refuse to follow some bloggers because they go on – and on – and on . . . .
I do not wish to join their ranks!
The short cut to a brief report on the Coalition is to write about what they have achieved which is beneficial.
Result: bugger all!