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What are the greatest challenges facing Australia?

What are the greatest challenges facing Australia?

When allocating limited resources to best satisfy unlimited needs and wants, this is the question we must ask.

Is ISIS a greater threat than climate change?

Should we spend hundreds of billions on defence and new submarines, jet fighters, patrol boats, planes, helicopters, drones and bombs or should we increase our foreign aid and actively assist in disaster relief, building infrastructure, improving health and education, moving people out of poverty, and emancipating women?

Should we spend billions persecuting asylum seekers or should we join the global effort to offer displaced people fleeing war and oppression hope, safety, and a new life?

For a sovereign currency, is pursuing a surplus more important than investing in health and education?

Should we be investing in wringing the last cent out of our natural resources, giving subsidies worth billions to a dying industry, or should we be investing in research and renewable energy?

Should we be pursuing people on welfare or corporate tax evaders?

Should we be removing regulations on gambling, food labelling, alcohol and tobacco or should we be putting the health of our citizens in front of profits for international corporations and the taxation or donations they give to government and politicians?

Should we be building more roads or investing in public transport and high speed rail?

Should we be spending billions to build a national broadband network that relies on a limited, decaying copper network that is costing us millions to maintain unless you want to pay thousands to hook up to the fibre that WAS going to service over 90% of premises without cost (other than contract)?

Should the rules regarding political donations, political advertising, and electoral funding be changed?

Should politicians’ entitlements be tightened up and better scrutinised?

Should we have the 9th inquiry into pink batts and divert funds from the child sexual abuse Royal Commission to the RC into trade unions or should we have a Federal ICAC and a Royal Commission into children in detention and asylum seeker policy?

Should we be spending hundreds of millions on school chaplains or on trained school counsellors with support and referral networks?

Should we be privatising government owned assets and businesses when that invariably leads to staff being laid off, unprofitable services being cut, loss of ongoing revenue, offshoring, huge wages for CEOs, and ex-politicians as consultants/board members/lobbyists?

Should we be making university education more expensive while we hand over a fortune to “private colleges”?

Should we be cutting funding to public education while increasing it to private schools?

When one in three elderly Australians are living in poverty is it the time to cut the pension indexation rate? The income security of Australia’s older people is comparable to that of Thailand, Ecuador and Bolivia.

When more than 600,000 children, and one third of children in single parent families, live below the poverty line should we be cutting Family Tax Benefits and the single parent pension?

Should we be cutting wages to aged care and child care workers and defence personnel when the base pay of a federal parliamentarian has grown more than 250 per cent since 1991 with a 31 per cent pay increase awarded to parliamentarians in 2012?

With youth unemployment levels reaching crisis point should we be cutting young people off from any income support for 6 months of the year and asking older Australians to work till they are 70?

When rents and house prices are skyrocketing should we be giving generous tax concessions to wealthy investors through negative gearing and capital gains reductions?

Should we be insisting that Aborigines relocate from remote communities to become fringe dwellers in urban areas where unemployment and housing are already a problem or should we recognise the value of their history and cultural connection to the land and work with them to protect and improve their way of life?

Should we be spending tens of millions to “raise awareness” of domestic violence while closing refuges and defunding support groups and legal aid?

Should we accept a Prime Minister who refuses to speak to the electorate on the one place where we could speak directly to him – Q&A?

Life is about choices and budgets are about prioritising expenditure to give us the best society we can afford. When your sole aim is to make the rich richer in the hope that this will somehow trickle down to those most in need it is inevitable that inequality will grow.

A report from Oxfam International found the following:

  • Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.
  • The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.
  • The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
  • Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
  • The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.
  • In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.

Our government, rather than devoting itself to public service and protecting us from corporate exploitation, sees itself as a facilitator for big business where profit for the few outweighs well-being for the many. While this remains the case, and politicians are more worried about re-election than integrity, we have little chance of addressing the real challenges facing our nation.

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85 comments

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  1. mikestasse

    Stop fussing……. it’s all coming to an end soon in a town near you. Personally, I’d start worrying about where my food’s coming from ~2020..

  2. Kaye Lee

    It must be comforting for you mikestasse to just give up. You make the same comment on every article. I guess it is easier than thinking.

  3. rrr

    Thought provoking though the last statement should read
    ( Our governments), rather than devoting itself to public service and protecting us from corporate exploitation, sees itself as a facilitator for big business where profit for the few outweighs well-being for the many. While this remains the case, and politicians are more worried about re-election than integrity, we have little chance of addressing the real challenges facing our nation

  4. Graham Parton

    Just keep writing Kaye.

  5. Terry2

    Some very fundamental and sobering questions for us to take on board , Kaye. I expect some profound and considered input from Zeke ………..will I be waiting in vain ?

    Troubling that the elected leader of the country will not speak to the electorate other than by bumbling sound bites and door-stops from which he frequently walks away. Makes Julia Gillard look like a beacon of democracy and transparency.

  6. mikestasse

    ME, give up….? You know nothing about me Kaye. I’ve just bought 12 acres in Tasmania, and I’m going to build a bolt hole for me, my wife, and my kids, among a community of like minded people who are also worried about their food’s coming from AND are doing something about it. Worrying about that long list in this article solves nothing. I’m the last person to ‘give up’, I’m facing up to the real future predicaments we have to deal with………

  7. mikestasse

    What are the greatest challenges facing Australia? A ist of all the WRONG questions…..

  8. stephentardrew

    Kaye:

    This is the type of clear and precise list I just love, not because of its content, but because of the raw clarity of the points made.

    The difficult part is to get citizens to realise they have been lied to and blamed for social injustice and inequality for literally centuries.

    Simple yet deeply offensive lies are promulgated like trickle down; or free markets; or self-regulation; or the invisible hand; or welfare bludgers; or lifters and leaners, or job creators, or free speech, or freedom of the press and so on which are empirically demonstrable lies perpetrated by the one percent who want to own it all and will invent any dystopian narrative to convince the low income, poor and disenfranchised that it is their fault.

    The US sees it citizens agreeing that their special type of corruption and gross injustice is simply rewarding those who work hard forgetting that profits ride on the backs of ordinary citizens. By creating fancy derivatives and investment rorts they avoid the productive market place for a digital fiat money world of graft and corruption in the name of financial investment. They produce nothing but wealth for themselves and suffering for the masses.

    Ideological judgment and blame work a treat when couched in God’s love and Christian faith when the only faith these people have is in their divine right to wealth, greed infested power, control and elite God-like superiority.

    They manufacture fancy weapons hauling in ridiculous profits then start unjustifiable wars putting our kids in the drivers seat to be fodder for their greedy warmongering compulsion to control the wolds resources.

    Your list says it all in one fell swoop.

  9. Kaye Lee

    mike,

    I am very well aware of your “I’m alright Jack” mentality and your “bolt hole”. Excuse me if I don’t applaud your selfishness.

    To give you an analogy, when my father was dying I learned everything I could to enable me to keep him at home and to make his last six months as comfortable as I could. I could have said well I can’t stop him dying so why bother giving up work and learning how to give injections and sponge baths etc. Those last six months were precious.

    There are some things we can’t change and some we can. While ever I am able I will work to do what I can to fight for change and to help to make the lives of others better. I also have great faith in the ingenuity of mankind so we must struggle to preserve what we can while people far smarter than me do their stuff.

    “The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveller than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.”

  10. Lee

    “What are the greatest challenges facing Australia? ”

    Selfish people. Too bad all of us who are concerned about our food sources can’t fit in Tasmania.

  11. mikestasse

    Indeed, selfish people. people who will load their credit cards to the hilt just so they can have the next unsustainable toy (sales of SUVs and luxury cars went up in the last quarter!), people who buy houses to rent out to students who can’t afford the exhorbitant rents, selfish people who expect all their food from supermarkets even if it means destroying soil, torturing animals, and screwing the climate….

    Don’t talk to ME about selfish people. I’m abandoning your system because nearly everyone in it is selfish.

    Oh and the things you don’t think we can’t change Kaye…? Well we CAN change them! It’s just nobody wants to change them. Too bloody selfish……

  12. stephentardrew

    Despair and defeat are not an option. There are a actually many multiple pathways through the matrix of possibilities and it is the minority group statistical-outliers that will trend towards the mean to become a new more sophisticated paradigm. For sure evolution is slow and tedious however there is no sign that, just because we are struggling with the dregs of magical and mythical thinking, we will not eventually overcome the self-defeating impact of attachment to primitive ideologies.

    Life has been around for billions of years and self-consciousness for no more than a fraction of that time. Some will be engulfed in greed, some in social justice, some in pure survival mode however things can and will change. Evolution is not self-defeating it is selectively weeding out the dross. Survival most certainly demands cooperation and communitarian justice reflected in kinship, reciprocity, empathy (biologically encapsulated in mirror neurons) and social justice if we are to care for our planet and each other. Defeatism is giving way to a dystopian past which is challenging us to innovate and forge ahead with change no matter how difficult it is. Evolution demands innovation not stagnation.

    I am with Kaye. Fight the bastards and stand up for what is right.

    Defeatism is a type of stagnation and ossification that cannot embrace the necessary dynamics of change.

    We may not have all the solutions nevertheless the seeds are there for the creative and innovative application of justice, equity and utilitarian distribution of goods.

    There are a substantial number of academics and scientist working towards such ends.

    All is not doom and gloom.

  13. iggy648

    I put this on Wixxy already, but I’m hoping someone clever can check my ‘rithmetic. MTAWE is currently around $75,000. Age pension is about $20,800 (around $400 per week). MTAWE is currently increasing at about 3.5% p.a. which means it will double to around $150,000 in about 20 years. For the last few years, CPI has increased by less than 2% p.a. At 2% p.a, in 20 years the age pension will have increased to about $30,900 p.a. Dividing both by 2 to bring them both back to today’s dollars, that means the pension would be about equivalent to $15,450, or about $300 per week. And the Prime Minister sent me a letter telling me he wasn’t making any cuts to the pension! I think he was fibbing. Advice to pensioners: buy your guns now, because by the time you’re starving in 20 years, you won’t be able to afford them. And in 20 years, you’ll definitely need to rob people to survive.

  14. Terry2

    “sales of SUVs and luxury cars went up in the last quarter! ”

    Mike one reason for this was probably a recognition by consumers that the devaluation of the $AUS by some 20% in the last few months will inevitably start to flow through to imported vehicles pretty soon.

  15. Kaye Lee

    mike,

    Do you seriously believe that the entire world can become self sufficient organic farmers? Do you seriously believe that you have no need of schools, hospitals, infrastructure? Do you even care what happens to other people?

  16. Kaye Lee

    iggy,

    “If only the CPI had been used since 2009 the Pension would already be $30 per week or $1,560 per year less, and that gap grows to over $80 per week / $4,160 per year in 10 years, and keeps growing.”

    http://www.cota.org.au/australia/news/newslist/2014/hands-off-the-pension.aspx

    By 2030, under the CPI-indexation scenario, the pension will be a touch below 25% of male average weekly earnings. That will be the lowest ratio since 1989.

    https://mattcowgill.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/are-pensions-being-cut/

  17. mikestasse

    We may not have all the solutions nevertheless the seeds are there for the creative and innovative application of justice, equity and utilitarian distribution of goods.

    There are a substantial number of academics and scientist working towards such ends.

    INDEED there are…………….. https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/transition-engineering-the-job-of-change-2/

    All is not doom and gloom.

    WHEN did I say it was? It will only be doom and gloom if we continue on this path, believing the future will be the same only different by attempting to answer the WRONG QUESTIONS…..

  18. Florence nee Fedup

    I suspect that creating a civil and fair society is the greatest challenge any country faces. One where we able to live our lives as we see fit.

  19. Ricardo29

    They might be the wrong questions for you Mike, but for many of us they are extremely relevant because the answers, or those implied, are critical for a better world, or at least a better Australia and I think Kay has, once again, gone to the heart of our national dilemmas. Identifying the issues clearly and concisely allows a start on setting them right, when we find those to do it. Every parliamentarian should read this.

  20. M-R

    The problem with Comments is.

  21. mikestasse

    Parliamentarians are irrelevant. They’ve been bought by multinationals.

  22. Kaye Lee

    Who will make the tools you need mike? Who will make the solar panels and generators? Who will treat you when you are ill? Who will educate your children? Who will help you when a bushfire comes? How did you find the place in Tasmania and how will you get there? Are you going to get your water from a well and if so, how will you build that well? What about your computer? Will you choose to have no communication with the rest of the world? How much arable land is there in Australia? I assume you own a vehicle.

    You are making a lifestyle choice that suits you, and I admire you for it, but to suggest that you are totally self-sufficient, and that everyone should adopt that same lifestyle, is unrealistic. To dismiss the possibilities of research is short-sighted arrogance. To pretend that you don’t need the system is just a lie. You are using the system to sell your current place and to buy your new one.

    You have some good ideas but total absorption with peak oil makes you blind to other problems and solutions and endlessly repetitive.

  23. jimhaz

    [Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population]

    To me this is our greatest danger as money is power and power is just a status game for the ego.

    The propaganda produced by the 1% is already preventing any form of good governance in Australia and turning people from rightful actions. With no loyalty, no care, globalised capitalism the lack of distribution will only get worse. Even if OECD countries had a revolution and the trend changed to greater distribution, there are still the developing countries who will have to go through the same processes as us, but perhaps in a worse way as per what we see in India with billionaires and ultra poor. From the 60’s to the 80’s we plebs had a good ride to more equality, but that has now been destroyed by global competitiveness and greed – developing countries are in a world where distribution is going in the wrong direction.

    The emperors in the 1% currently mostly just play economic war games, you know raping everything they can under the war banner of productivity, and producing false propaganda in relation to resources usage and global warming so as to not hamper their war game planning. Eventually though this will morph into physical war. Most of these folk are like Putin – psychotic, he is just playing Dictator for fun and status.

    The mental concentration they apply to making money, nearly always via immoral means (ripping people and governments off), limits the scope of their EQs. They are as one-tracked to money-status as a born again Christian is to the bible. They are dumb fundies and fundies always cause violence. But even if they don’t directly create violence, they will still prevent us taking the right actions on matters like global warming, until it is too late, and violence will ensue anyway.

  24. kizhmet

    Kaye, thank you for a concise, thought provoking article. What a sensational platform for a government to envision, develop and implement.

    @ stephentardrew, enjoying your posts – articulate, thoughtful and dare I say, hopeful.

    I vainly hope LNP will be unseated in the next state election. Mike Baird is popular. Luke Foley less so. Abbott will likely retain his seat if not LNP leadership. I doubt, however, LNP will be re-elected. With the majority of the electorate caught up in the nonsense promulgated by MSM we, as a country, have little chance of creating the change necessary to stop these mongrel politicians wreaking more havoc. One very positive aspect LNP have achieved is to stir the general populace from their political ignorance and apathy. More people are participating in political debate and thinking independently. It is a start. AIMN and other independent media are the standard bearers – more people are listening.

    Keep up the great work Kaye – and AIMN. We spread the word as, and when, we can. Like stephentardrew, I believe evolution, if slow, is inevitable. We just keep plugging away.

  25. townsvilleblog

    We need to take urgent steps to eradicate the threat of climate change, because if we don’t we won’t have a world to leave to the next generation. Governments can walk and chew gum, just because they take action on climate change it does not mean that they must let ratbags like ISIL continue their murderous rampage. Also on the list of things to do is: Equal pay for women, a more egalitarian society where huge corporations pay a fair share in taxation instead of avoiding $8.4 billion each and every year.

  26. townsvilleblog

    JIMHAZ, It is worth remembering that as wealthy as Clive Palmer is he only gets one vote.

  27. Keitha Granville

    How do we get people who are thinking ahead and answering the right questions to stand for parliament ? How do we get people to vote for them ? Ultimately we are the ones who choose our politicians – we need to start caring more when we vote, BEFORE we vote. Asking those questions, making sure that parties and independents are listening to us. Apathy is a huge problem, there are so many voters who don’t give a rats and just pick whoever is promising them the most. It is a fact that people power can move governments, so we have to find out how to get all those people who currently could care less, to CARE.

  28. mikestasse

    Who will make the tools you need mike?

    I don’t need more tools, I already have all those I need. Most of them are goof quality old steel tools bought in markets for half the price in Bunnings and three times the quality…..

    Who will make the solar panels and generators?

    They are already made. Generators? ME? Generators…….. sorry, they are not part of the plan!

    Who will treat you when you are ill?

    I guess a doctor while they are still around……. I’ll be living within walking distance of a medical centre. Then one day I’ll die, just like everybody else…..

    Who will educate your children?

    My children are already educated, and as an aside, totally agree with me and will live with us once I’ve built the passive solar, solar powered, and bushfireproof house…..

    How did you find the place in Tasmania and how will you get there?

    Ah well, a Tasmanian friend told me about this one actually…… and what a find! I’m driving my 20 year old ute with all our valuables (if it doesn’t fit, it’s not going…), leaving Good Friday.

    Are you going to get your water from a well and if so, how will you build that well?

    No Kaye…….. it rains in Tasmania. Heard of water tanks? And this place has a magnificent 2 acre dam on it, with Platypus and black swans…..!

    What about your computer? Will you choose to have no communication with the rest of the world?

    Not worried about the computer….. and one good thing about living in a close knit community (not a commune) is that we talk to each other, and we can walk to each other’s places or cycle.

    How much arable land is there in Australia?

    Not enough…….. hence my concerns expressed here. Where is YOUR arable land Kaye?

    You are making a lifestyle choice that suits you, and I admire you for it, but to suggest that you are totally self-sufficient, and that everyone should adopt that same lifestyle, is unrealistic.

    Well…….. I’ve NEVER suggested I was 100% self sufficient for starters, because that is impossible… but it’s adapt or perish. Sticking your head in the sand ENSURES you’ll perish.

    To dismiss the possibilities of research is short-sighted arrogance.

    We don’t need more research. We know everything that needs to be known to survive. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1la9ik-MscM&list=PL0X1J0EUp_GNneI0i8FrV3yiFwiGMvThl

    To pretend that you don’t need the system is just a lie. You are using the system to sell your current place and to buy your new one.

    TRUE….. but the people buying our place agree 100% with me and are going to reap the benefits of all the work I’ve done here for the past 13 years. How good is that?

    You have some good ideas but total absorption with peak oil makes you blind to other problems and solutions and endlessly repetitive.

    That’s just not true. I just think we need a new set of priorities. YOU are living in the past…..

  29. Jexpat

    Unless we deal with the problems of money corrupting our politics and media consilodation with its attendent dishonesty, most of the other questions become moot.

  30. Loz

    Great article Kaye. The fact that we now have other media rather than Murdoch owned newspapers allows everyone a voice and can vent their displeasure at what is happening and thereby help change things for the better.

  31. Kerri

    mikestasse what will you do when government officials arrive at your door demanding land taxes and payment for your rainwater? Because if this type of government remain in power do you honestly think they won’t come after you?? Not everyone can afford to buy all your good strong tools and your 12 acres. Most of us live in a co operative society and whilst you have every right to shun that society if right wing conservatives remain sucking the blood from everyone who isn’t already a billionairre you can bet your new, self sufficient, sweet life they will look at survivalists as the new tax pool. How will you deal with officialdom demanding the right to frack gas from your 12 acres? You may think you can be self sufficient but one day you will need a lawyer. Or will you follow the fool’s path and represent yourself? The utopia you dream of is unrealistic in todays world. Even the Amish now use phones! I’ll bet you don’t vote either because of some delusion that voting encourages the society you are opting out of! To not vote, is to give in to the neo conservative fanatics who will ultimately bring you down. Unlike most who post here they hate people like you and they are vindictive at your arrogance. Go and live your life but don’t try to convince anyone you are following a path that is not totally self centred.
    Kaye Lee for P.M. I swear Kaye if someone (not Shorten and def not Abbott) read out this article as a speech and a promise for change they would win with an overwhelming majority.

  32. susan

    This article should be reprinted over and over again but maybe in capital letters so it draws more attention. I would suggest leaving out the bit about Q & A though because that is just a poorly disguised platform for ultra conservative propaganda.

  33. Blanik

    Yes Susan, Q and A is just as you describe it. We stopped watching it a long time ago. Just couldn’t stand politicians mouthing off with out being brought back to the topic.
    Keeping Captain Catholic off it is the best thing the ABC could ever do as I don’t think many folk watch it or take it seriously if they do.

  34. Kaye Lee

    What big business and the corporate world forget is that without our labour they make nothing. We are the ones who create their wealth both through our productivity in producing goods and services and as consumers. We own the resources. We need to use this power to force them to change their behaviour. Rich people only have one vote and most have an aversion to physical labour. We should reward ethical companies and boycott those who exploit workers and the environment. We need a financial transaction tax so those who produce nothing and make their millions by shifting money around make their contribution by sharing some of that wealth. We have the power – we need communication, organisation, and the will to force change.

  35. mikestasse

    mikestasse what will you do when government officials arrive at your door demanding land taxes and payment for your rainwater?

    IF it gets to that stage…….. I suggest to you they won’t even have fuel foer their cars to come as far as our place!

    Because if this type of government remain in power do you honestly think they won’t come after you?? Not everyone can afford to buy all your good strong tools and your 12 acres.

    Trust me, by most Australian standards, I’m poor…… we actually live below the poverty line.

    Most of us live in a co operative society

    AND I will too………. in fact, I’m moving BECAUSE there’s a cooperative society in my village of choice……

    and whilst you have every right to shun that society if right wing conservatives remain sucking the blood from everyone who isn’t already a billionairre you can bet your new, self sufficient, sweet life they will look at survivalists as the new tax pool.

    I have a pitch fork……… 😉

    How will you deal with officialdom demanding the right to frack gas from your 12 acres?

    Fracking is already uneconomical. Come the next GFC, and I believe it will be this year, all those bastards will go tits up, which is all they deserve…….

    You may think you can be self sufficient but one day you will need a lawyer.

    NO I won’t…….. I just did all my own conveyancing, for the fifth time in fact….

    Or will you follow the fool’s path and represent yourself? The utopia you dream of is unrealistic in todays world.

    THIS is what people like you don’t understand. Today’s world has NO LEGS.

    Even the Amish now use phones! I’ll bet you don’t vote either because of some delusion that voting encourages the society you are opting out of!

    Not only do I vote, I have actually stood for election, so you people need to tone down your ideas about who I am…. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_by-election,_2001

  36. Kaye Lee

    And what will happen when you are too old or sick to work on your farm mike? What happens to people who are physically incapable of manual labour? Do you think we as a society have an obligation to help vulnerable people? Do you think we have a duty to help victims of domestic violence or those fleeing war and oppression? Or do you only think about your own family and your personal situation? Will your children and their children be obliged to support you in your chosen lifestyle? Will you refuse to accept an aged pension or subsidised medicines and healthcare? Or do you just want to use the parts of the system that suit you while vilifying others? Do you recognise the hypocrisy?

  37. Mary Mannison

    Again you’ve said it all! Why can’t we have a government with at least 10% of your insight…

  38. Dee4peace

    Firstly, this was a good article and I agree with its sentiments. I was very interested in how the argument changed to “survivalism” and especially how some posters on here went for Mike’s throat. I actually have similar views to Mike, so also expect I also may come under attack. No matter how I look at the world, we just cannot keep increasing our population, consuming resources and expect to have any kind of future. We can change the party in power, (and we need to do this) but things just won’t change quickly enough to make much difference. The whole system we live in is about to collapse and its just not going to be pretty for any of us. We won’t get through this by doing what we’ve always done and we will all need to hone our survival skills. Mike has chosen to do that, involving his kids in it too. He’s just being realistic, not selfish at all. Going solar and catching rainwater is the first step. Learning to successfully grow things is another. Our world has reached is technological peak and is already on a downward spiral. There is nothing “selfish” about attempting self sufficiency. It’s the natural human state and moving away from that is how we’ve found ourselves in this current predicament. It’s also how most people live in underdeveloped countries. Learning these age-old skills, growing healthy food and sharing or swapping it with others is also very fulfilling. It brings back a true sense of community, something we have long ago lost.

  39. mikestasse

    And what will happen when you are too old or sick to work on your farm mike?

    THAT is exactly why you have intergenerational households. We abandoned this a long time ago, because once we had cheap cars and fuel, it didn’t matter how much damage it did, we could just drive across town to see our children or our parents….. this is all about to change as dee4peace ably says……

    What happens to people who are physically incapable of manual labour?

    They TEACH……

    Do you think we as a society have an obligation to help vulnerable people?

    Yep. But it only entails money these days, because EVERYTHING’s about money. 200 years ago, nobody got the pension, and oldies were largely looked after.

    Do you think we have a duty to help victims of domestic violence or those fleeing war and oppression?

    We do what we do because we can. Soon, we will not be able to help, no matter how eloquent a list you write on blogs like this…

    Or do you only think about your own family and your personal situation? Will your children and their children be obliged to support you in your chosen lifestyle?

    No one’s obliging anyone….. our children UNDERSTAND that this is how it will be, they are already starting, my son is helping me drive the 2,800 km trip to Tassie……. nobody forced him, he knows his future isn’t like what you think it will be.

    Will you refuse to accept an aged pension or subsidised medicines and healthcare?

    I’ll turn 65 in 2 years time. I’m not holding my breath on getting the pension…… I think Capitalism will have already tanked by then, that’s why I’m taking steps to do all I can so I don’t need it if it disappears. Money isn’t everything, it’s just the veneer that makes today’s society look so rosy everyone’s willing to work for the 1% like slaves!

    Or do you just want to use the parts of the system that suit you while vilifying others? Do you recognise the hypocrisy?

    WHAT hypocrisy……?? The Matrix sucks. I want nothing to do with it.

  40. Win jeavons

    2 comments, To Kaye ; spot on! keep it up . To mikestasse. Do you think starving city dwellers will leave you alone to enjoy your bolthole ? Get real , we live together or die together.

  41. Kaye Lee

    Dee4peace,

    Mike and I have history and I admit that I get overly annoyed when he turns EVERY post, regardless of topic, into a discussion of his lifestyle. As I have said, I admire what he has done. What I don’t admire is his refusal to see anything outside it.

    We cannot possibly all become farmers and nor should we. Many of us contribute in other ways, something Mike refuses to acknowledge. I appreciate it when he gives positive advice about what all of us can do to reduce our impact and I recognise the truth of limited resources and the inevitable unsustainability of continued population growth.

    I do not agree that we have reached a technological peak and that we are on a downward spiral. We have challenges, no question, but we also have ingenuity and hope. Whatever the future holds, we have issues that we CAN address right now. Community is vitally important but that should not be confined to growing and swapping food.

  42. Kaye Lee

    Mike,

    I am happy that your son wishes to embrace the life you have chosen but what about his kids? What if your granddaughter shows aptitude for science and wishes to go into medical research rather than plant tomatoes? What if your grandson would rather be a concert pianist than chop wood? What if they don’t want to stay on the farm and look after you?

  43. guest

    Mikestasse,

    The doped up hippie dreamers of the past did not last when they realised what hard work was required to till a paddock – and so many of them ended up in business suits.

    I think, too, of the Oklahoma farmers who lost out to the vagaries of nature, shrouded in storms of dust. Climate Change from the past.

    As for old people being well looked after 200 years ago – not according to Dickens. What did save some old, poor or infirm people then was private charity, pre-welfare.

    So you will be living in a close rural community. Sounds idyllic. But the dynamics of human interaction shows that after a period of time those idyllic conditions can run into problems not easily solved. It is then that the groups disintegrate and some move on. The search continues. Neighbourly squabbles are illustrated recently in Australian Story. But at least you will not be entirely alone.

    Kaye has listed some pertinent questions here, suggesting alternative solutions to pressing problems. And those solutions need to be undertaken on a broad scale. But it can start with the upwelling of groups of people saying ‘Enough is enough!’

    This is the message of Naomi Klein’s latest book in which she extols the power of communities across the country. As she says (p. 465): “One day it was just me and my friends dreaming up impossible schemes, the next day the entire country seemed to be out in the plaza alongside us.”

    We can only wish you well, Mike. Do it!

  44. longwhitekid

    Mike Stasse sounds like an asshole.

  45. Mark Needham

    Mikestasse.
    All the best of luck to you mate. I do not have the “Temerity” or ”Authority” to wish you otherwise.
    Mate, even Big Bill Shorten has said “Some peoples choice of Lifestyle, should not be subdidised by the public purse” Is Bill and Tony wrong. Dunno. Don’t care. Doesn’t matter.
    It is your life, go for it.

  46. mikestasse

    I admire you too Kaye……. What I don’t admire is your refusal to see anything outside of bashing the government (which I despise as much as you do) and your obstinate belief that voting for anyone else will fix our predicaments.

    You also wrote ” I get overly annoyed when he turns EVERY post, regardless of topic, into a discussion of his lifestyle.”

    This is simply untrue. I ignore 90% (at least) of this site’s articles because there’s no point adding to what was written, we are indeed led by morons, etc etc……. it gets boring. I only entered the fray with this one because it’s titled “What are the greatest challenges facing Australia?” and you totally ignored the biggest challenges which are collapse of civilisation due to failing resource extraction and limits to growth… in fact it’s everyone here who starts attacking my lifestyle… I’m only trying to help!

    To guest who wrote “The doped up hippie dreamers of the past did not last when they realised what hard work was required to till a paddock – and so many of them ended up in business suits.”

    You are absolutely correct…… fossil fuels give us the equivalent of some 200 energy slaves, but mate, they are running out…. what will YOU do?

    Losing our Energy Slaves

    And back to Kaye who “do[es] not agree that we have reached a technological peak and that we are on a downward spiral.”, tough…. your not believing it won’t make it go away! It’s already started…..

  47. Kaye Lee

    “you totally ignored the biggest challenges which are collapse of civilisation due to failing resource extraction and limits to growth”

    Mike the whole article was based on the premise of limited resources. I spoke about the dying industry of resource extraction. I will never accept your assertion that civilisation is about to collapse any day and, as we still have other problems to address, I cannot confine myself to one aspect. My mind doesn’t work that way.

    As for the technological peak, every day I hear about amazing new technology.

  48. Sad sack

    Good read, Kaye. Sad to hear the PM’s refusal to put solar power on Kirribilli House. As for bolt holes we all thought about it in the Cold War. My family had a beautiful spot a couple of hundred Kms south west of darwin, lovely little spring, soils a bit ‘clayey’ close to big fishing rivers. A great dream.
    God’s St Pat’s day dilemma only one bolt of lightning left with abbott and pynenut standing. St Pat whispers go for a ricochet!

  49. Dee4peace

    “We cannot possibly all become farmers and nor should we”
    @ Kaye
    I should have added that there will be a need for some services which can also be traded for food. The planned decimation of the old age pension drives me to learn as many gardening skills as possible before I retire and there are sure to be many others doing the same. (No one should underestimate the strength of baby boomers when it comes to adapting and preparing for change.) Others in my neighbourhood are doing the same and we already share knowledge and produce. We all help each other. I doubt I could become self sufficient on my size piece of land but it helps to have a plan as I don’t hold a lot of hope for a rosy future.
    someone above mentioned how starving city dwellers will converge on our rural retreats. Of course I’ve thought of that. In that scenario and since they are starving, the best we can do is share what we do have. I don’t intend to resist as peace is my name and nature. We’re all going to die one way or the other. Best we all help each other to survive and go down together. This may sound depressing but its not depression, just thoughts on how to deal with the approaching reality.

  50. Wally

    “What are the greatest challenges facing Australia?” Quite clearly Tony Abbott and the LNP at the moment. Since taking power they have humiliated us, sent the dollar spiralling downward, stifled growth, insulted our intelligence, attacked every minority they can, decreased taxes for the rich at the expense of the poor, spent squillions on armament we don’t need, ruined the local motor industry and told too many lies to remember.

  51. Kaye Lee

    Dee4peace,

    “I should have added that there will be a need for some services which can also be traded for food.”

    So you are suggesting that you can produce all the goods necessary for your family’s well-being. You can produce the medicines? The books? The tools? The housing? The plumbing? The glass? The pots and pans?

    I would suggest you may need more help than just services.

    I do not want to denigrate those who choose to live a simpler lifestyle. I would probably enjoy it myself. But when discussing options you must be truthful and I find that many are not. You all still rely on modern society though I admire and agree with your steps to reduce your reliance and impact.

    It would be much easier to applaud and support you if you were realistic rather than idealistic. No man is an island.

  52. mikestasse

    So you are suggesting that you can produce all the goods necessary for your family’s well-being. You can produce the medicines? The books? The tools? The housing? The plumbing? The glass? The pots and pans?

    Already have all this…….. that’s the trouble with society really…. isn’t it? ALWAYS wants more? And more?

    Self sufficiency = I have enough………

  53. Kaye Lee

    “that’s the trouble with society really”

    I already have enough and bugger those of you who don’t?

    (BTW medicines go out of date and windows break)

  54. Dandark

    mikestasse said all this,
    Does mike recognize his own hypocrisy here

    “This is simply untrue. I ignore 90% (at least) of this site’s articles because there’s no point adding to what was written,”

    So 14 comments out of 60 were mikes, some quite long, but he ignore this site mostly, well not today he hasn’t,Mike
    and its been “boring” to use your words…

    “You also wrote ” I get overly annoyed when he turns EVERY post, regardless of topic, into a discussion of his lifestyle.”
    “This is simply untrue. I ignore 90% (at least) of this site’s articles because there’s no point adding to what was written, we are indeed led by morons, etc etc……. it gets boring. I only entered the fray with this one because it’s titled “What are the greatest challenges facing Australia?” and you totally ignored the biggest challenges which are collapse of civilisation due to failing resource extraction and limits to growth… in fact it’s everyone here who starts attacking my lifestyle… I’m only trying to help!”

    “Stop fussing……. it’s all coming to an end soon in a town near you”

    “What are the greatest challenges facing Australia? A ist of all the WRONG questions…”
    .
    “.I’m the last person to ‘give up’, I’m facing up to the real future predicaments we have to deal with………”

    Don’t talk to ME about selfish people. I’m abandoning your system because nearly everyone in it is selfish

    “is doom and gloom, then I guess I’ll just have to eat my hat…….”

    “All is not doom and gloom.
    WHEN did I say it was? It will only be doom and gloom if we continue on this path”

    “That’s just not true. I just think we need a new set of priorities. YOU are living in the past…..”

    “TRUE….. but the people buying our place agree 100% with me and are going to reap the benefits of all the work I’ve done here for the past 13 years. How good is that?”

    “Or do you just want to use the parts of the system that suit you while vilifying others?
    Do you recognise the hypocrisy?”

    Mike can you keep ignoring this site “90 % of the time” because this thread has turned into the Mikestasse show like Kaye said.

  55. paul walter

    A couple of things.

    I thought that essay was really, really good. I wonder why people like Kaye are stranded at blogs when at least some of MSM are cretins who have never written an honest, coherent article in their lives.

    Secondly, I enjoyed the three-way between mikestasse, Kaye and Stephen Tardrew, later joined by others. I understand where a rub may come from, but it made for a good thread discussion.

    I’m not saying I’d be altogether behind mike, but I kind of identified with his asshatty grumpy bloky stuff, the fatalism and even defeatism and suspect there is an idealism under the disillusion, but the years have passed and I can feel most closely the discouragement that drives his comments. I hope he feels welcome and sticks about, important for him and important for us.

  56. DanDark

    Paul Walter said “I hope he feels welcome and sticks about, important for him and important for us.”

    I will decide what is important for me, and if you want to read mikes comments that’s fine, but don’t put me in your “us”
    I have read enough of mikes comments over the past year or so on here, and its always about the end of the world, doom and gloom.

  57. mikestasse

    History will soon enough decide who is wrong and who is right……. but I’m a numbers man, and they do not stack up. Goodbye.

  58. stephentardrew

    DanDark I saw the pontifications of the new wave yesterday and was gob smacked.

    If Josh Friedadozencircuits is an example of the new school of conservatives we have no worries as Abbott’s foot in mouth disease seems to have been virulently passing throughout the ranks of the young driberalls.

    Nearly choked on my caviar if I could afford it.

    Gina’s big burly guards will fall down in horror as the mythical kidnapper wandering around in Friedeggs vacuous carapace come to take her away Ha, Ha.

    All because of tax disclosure.

    We have reached a new type of idiocy.

    I think a strait jacket is probably in order.

  59. Lee

    “Careful Gina could be kidnapped according to Joshy Frydanegg”

    Who does he think would pay to get her back?

  60. DanDark

    Stephen said “I think a strait jacket is probably in order”
    The whole lot of them have gone mad, what is in the drinking water in Parliament house
    because these lot are not rational or sane, they are all barking mad in the lib/tea party
    I wish someone would kidnap Gina, but where to hide her would be a problem because of the largeness of the greedy woman
    A small cupboard would not make the grade, she would have to be housed in a warehouse its the only thing that would fit the bigmouth woman in,,, she is a chip off the old Lang mad man block and a danger to our country.

  61. DanDark

    Lee LOL too funny, yeah who in the hell would pay to get her back, none of her kids that’s for sure LOL

  62. Blanik

    We, along with several friends, did exactly what mike is advocating some fifty years ago. Hard work, cutting firewood, digging gardens,planting trees etc. And when the kids grow up and want to find their own entertainment, not to mention schooling. Water in tank is nice, as is solar power (yes Mike, it was available way back in the dark ages), but one still needs money, Growing a “cash crop” is one way, work is another but, it tends to get in the way of living the dream.

    And the constant hard work plays havoc with the joints – so to speak. Easy to handle while young but one isn’t always young. I had all the answers just as you do now, Mike. I was right and the world was out of step. But i also have the crook back and the various other ailments associated with the aging process.

    Now, in my 7.5th decade on the planet I live in a similar environmentally friendly manner near a small town with doctor, hospital, pharmacy, library and simple things that make life easier in my dotage. We sill have solar power supplemented by SEC and water tanks and permaculture garden and a pension.

    Good luck to you mike, go for it, but don’t become a bloody bore, telling all and sundry how wonderful you are and how stupid we are.

    You may think that you invented your lifestyle, but it was invented long go and many have trodden the same path to become boring old pricks like me.

  63. Dee4peace

    Kaye,
    “So you are suggesting that you can produce all the goods necessary for your family’s well-being. You can produce the medicines? The books? The tools? The housing? The plumbing? The glass? The pots and pans?”
    No, I didn’t suggest that at all. (I live and work in a rural town and do all this in the backyard.) I don’t have the answers and can’t see or predict the future. What I am doing is taking some steps to learn and practise skills that can be used in future as I’m expecting life on the pension to be very sub-standard, whichever party is in power. I’m not expecting things to get any better as I can’t see any way they can as we’ve allowed fools to gain power and rise to the top. However, we will all make the best of any situation that comes our way as that’s human nature.
    I disagree with dandark about this thread being boring. While it did go off on a tangent, it was a debate worth having and If it was boring to some, so many people wouldn’t have joined in. Most of Mike’s posts were in reply to the questions/taunts raised by others. I appreciate what he had to contribute and enjoyed visiting his very informative blog and through that, finding the blog of Dr Bob. I wish him and his family all the best in their future endeavour.

  64. Kaye Lee

    Mike has some very good ideas Dee4peace. And we all need to do what we can to minimise our impact. I admire all who have the skills and the willingness to embrace a simpler life.

    My objections have always been that mike ignores all other problems facing our society because, for him, everything boils down to peak resources and limits to growth. I agree these are crucial problems but they are not the only thing we are dealing with. He states with absolute certainty that we are stuffed and so there is no point in discussing anything at all. I will never subscribe to that sort of fatalism.

    My father always said “Give me the courage to change what I can and the strength to endure what I can’t.”

  65. Dandark

    Dee4peace said “I disagree with dandark about this thread being boring.”
    I didnt say the thread was boring, I dont believe anything I read that is written by Kaye Lee is boring,
    or most of the people who comment on here far from it actually.

    I said “So 14 comments out of 60 were mikes, some quite long, but he ignore this site mostly, well not today he hasn’t,
    Mike and its been “boring” to use your words…

    mikestasse said “This is simply untrue. I ignore 90% (at least) of this site’s articles because there’s no point adding to what was written, we are indeed led by morons, etc etc……. it gets boring”
    Dee4peace, I believe with this statement mike believes AIMN is boring, but went on to jam down our throats its the end of the world but he has all the answers and we are just losers living in society and caring about each other…
    pffffff he went off on many rants
    But yes goodluck to him, all the best, bon voyage and all that 🙂

  66. Dee4peace

    @ dandark
    I obviously misinterpreted your post, sorry for that. I thought you meant the whole discussion today was boring when I and some others on here seemed to be enjoying it. I guess I just struggle to see what was so offensive about his comments and the level of angst that seemed to be directed at him for openly expressing and sharing his views.

  67. Kaye Lee

    “I just struggle to see what was so offensive about his comments ”

    The following is a small sample of mike’s contribution to this article which is exactly the same as he always says on any article he chooses to comment on which he has been doing for years. It wears thin when he keeps telling you over and over and over that what you write is rubbish and pointless and that there should be no discussion of anything except his pet topic.

    “Stop fussing……. it’s all coming to an end soon in a town near you.

    Worrying about that long list in this article solves nothing.

    What are the greatest challenges facing Australia? A ist of all the WRONG questions…..

    I’m abandoning your system because nearly everyone in it is selfish.

    The entire world HAS NO CHOICE!!!!

    Sticking your head in the sand ENSURES you’ll perish.

    We don’t need more research. We know everything that needs to be known to survive.

    YOU are living in the past…..

    THIS is what people like you don’t understand. Today’s world has NO LEGS.

    Soon, we will not be able to help, no matter how eloquent a list you write on blogs like this…

    tough…. your not believing it won’t make it go away!”

    He has his own site where like minded people can discuss peak oil to their heart’s content. On that site he has ridiculed me before.

    “Recently, the AIMN published an article by Kaye Lee on the worth of having High Speed Rail in Australia. The AIMN is a barely hidden ALP lovefest site where the writers take turn at hating the current government. Not that you can blame them mind you, but that topic can get tiresome. So any time I get a chance to put some alternative stances on the state of the world, I grab it with both hands. It always lands me in deep water, I’m labelled negative and without hope.

    To be frank, I don’t know myself why I bother. Neither I nor anyone else can ‘save the world’. I won’t save Kaye Lee either. She’s been convinced by the techno-utopians that we have a future low flying in renewable powered HSR.”

    I for one am heartily sick of it and I find his dismissive attitude rude.

  68. Dandark

    I did write a reply to Dee4peace and its got lost in cyberspace 🙂
    But yes mike is pedantic and this is where he loses people, life is a bout balance and not going to extremes in anything in life.
    weighing up all options to solve problems, not just being myopic in ones approach
    and believing no one else might have some solutions, this attitude will not get anyone very far,
    Hence the gov has the same problem, too extreme with no need to be that extreme other than ideological views and ideas, people will run the other way ….

  69. paul walter

    Yes…wisdom to know the difference.

    Which reminds, exasperating to have to keep writing in my email and name each time, what happened to the old automatic system?

  70. Wally

    I just wrote this comment in response to this article – Dam them – https://theaimn.com/dam-them/#comment-327001 but it is also very relevant to this article given the direction taken by Mike hijacking the comments. I wonder what Mike will do when there is not enough water to grow his cash crop? No water, no money, no smoko might be the end of his existence!

    Water is a finite resource, I always wonder how the government continue to predict population growth when the biggest limitation has not been overcome. We struggle to provide the infrastructure required in our expanding cities but most problems can be solved by throwing money at them. It doesn’t matter how big a bank roll we have we cannot control or make more rain. The more water consumed in our cities the less there is to irrigate crops forcing us to become more reliant on food sources from other countries. A single nuclear accident in China or Asia could have as much impact on Australians as it does on the residents near the accident. It becomes very scary when a country with as much land as Australia cannot grow enough produce to feed its population.

  71. Blanik

    Mike is a bore who thinks he has invented ‘the way’. He will grow up one day as we all did.

  72. Dee

    It sounds like there’s a lot of history there. It was a good discussion anyway!

  73. Kaye Lee

    I am as much at fault as mike for this conversation degenerating. I should learn to ignore. I guess the reason I find that hard is because I agree with him on many things and wish we could have a sensible conversation but as I am summarily dismissed every time I try to I get aggravated. Mike sees our future as inevitable destruction and he is no doubt right. We just disagree on the time frame and what we should do in the mean time. I welcome your contribution Dee and apologise for being so petty.

  74. Andreas Bimba

    Kaye, what you write is true and what I write I also believe to be true otherwise I wouldn’t write it.

    The bastards who actually like the policies and actions of the Abbott government probably outnumber us but at least it is being whittled down. Some of these bastards will switch their vote to Labor and we will then have Abbotts lesser clone Bill Shorten for PM, who is also a slave to the mining industry, the banks, the tax avoiding corporations and all the others who value money before people.

    The Australian Greens with the minor parties and the independents forming government is probably the only answer to shake off Australia’s malaise. Voters will always have the choice to turf out the Greens later down the track if they won’t deliver.

    Maidan in Ukraine was a middle class revolution. The people just had enough of the oligarchs stealing everything, the lack of progress, the corruption, Russian interference and all the other bull shit.

    We like the people in most countries are behaving like thousands of sheep that allow ourselves to be ruled by a few wolves.

    The international Greens movement is also predominately a middle class movement (all classes are very welcome though) and basically the middle class needs to get on the streets with their working class friends along with all the other community based groups and their friends and not just protest but tie this country in knots in all sorts of weird and wacky ways until the next federal election and maybe then will the battle for the hearts and minds of the electorate be won.

    Here is another example of this approach. The protests in the late 1980’s in Lithuania to regain national independence from the Soviet Union which were predominately led by young middle class environmentalists that built up sufficient momentum that eventually most of the population actively supported the cause regardless of the huge risks involved. A film has recently been produced that covers this story.

    GREEN MUSKETEERS
    A trailer for the film ‘Green Musketeers’ which is about the role played by Lithuania’s Greens or environmental movement in the drive for Lithuanian national independence from the Soviet Union in the mid to late 1980’s. The film was created by Swedish born film maker Jonas Ohman who has lived in Lithuania for many years and who speaks fluent Lithuanian and Russian.

    http://kinopavasaris.lt/…/programa/5124-the-green-musketeers

  75. iggy648

    Please divide the MTAWEs mentioned in my post by 52!

  76. Blanik

    Kaye Lee, I also agree that our future will end in our destruction, but the planet will survive and eventually will probably become the haven it once was. However I also believe that it’s survival depends upon the total destruction of the human race – the mikes included – in spite of his bolt holes and all the rest of his idealistic dreams.

    We can only hope that when the planet is again populated by animals such as us they have the intelligence to see what does occur when greed controls all.

    The good thing is that none of us – Captain Catholic included – will be around in the final stages. That’s something to be thankful for.

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