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What we need is an holistic approach to governing

Meme from xaviertoby.com

Meme from xaviertoby.com

Holistic: characterized by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

Our current government has one very short term goal with a single-minded focus on how to achieve it. “Growth” is the goal and “lifting the tide” is how we will make it happen. If I could give you more detail I would but, from everything I have read and listened to from the Coalition, that’s as much as I know, and I have an uneasy feeling that it’s as far as they have planned.

Tony doesn’t want his agenda “cluttered up” with anything else. He doesn’t want the G20 leaders talking about those pesky distractions like climate change or income inequity. He has boarded the SS Big Business and it’s full steam ahead.

The only problem with this one-directional thinking is that it neglects every other aspect of life with no thought to adverse side-effects.

The push for privatisation is fraught with danger. It usually leads to job losses, increased prices, and reduction of services to rural areas. In some cases, like that of British rail and potentially Qantas, government subsidies end up being higher than when the service was state-run. Private firms exist for one reason – to make a profit for their shareholders. They are not obliged to consider the greater good.

Selling off assets must also be approached with caution with consideration given to the loss of future revenue. Peter Costello will be remembered for selling two-thirds of Australia’s gold reserves for the rock-bottom price of $US306 per ounce, a decision that cost us about $5 billion. (Today, gold is about $US1,370 per ounce).

Cutting company tax is also on the cards. I don’t understand the justification of this. It is far more likely that increased profits will be passed on to shareholders rather than used to employ more people. Demand drives markets. Any extra money that low income earners receive would be immediately passed back into the economy thus lifting demand leading to increased production leading to more jobs and increased profits. If you think helping the top 1% drift off into the stratosphere will “lift the tide” you don’t really understand the dynamics of waves.

There has been talk of a special tax zone in the north and amnesties for offshore tax evasion. In fact, every discussion and decision seems geared towards clearing the way for the rich to get richer.

”We are placing our stamp on the economic policy of the country and let there be no doubt, let there be no doubt, that Australia’s policy direction changed very substantially back in September of last year. Australia, at the official level, went from being a high-tax, high-regulating government to being a low-tax, deregulating government. That’s a very, very big change. We expect everyone in the system to be working enthusiastically with us as we reshape our country to provide more jobs and greater prosperity for all.”

As we rush into this gluttonous feeding of the corporate body, we are neglecting every other aspect of our being.

The wisdom and experience of men like Bernie Fraser, Ken Henry, Ross Garnaut and Martin Parkinson is ignored, silenced, and cast aside. Scientists, researchers, expert advisers all find themselves unemployed. Our brain has been cut off from communicating with the rest of us.

Unions, charities, advisory bodies, environmental and health and safety regulations, workplace entitlements – all are under attack – disbanded, defunded, discredited, deregulated. Our legs, that help us take careful steps forward, have been amputated.

People who flee atrocities and come to us seeking safety are locked up indefinitely in atrocious conditions with no hope for the future. The poor are described as lazy, the disabled as scammers, the disadvantaged as bludgers. Our heart is broken.

The Minister for the Arts is threatening to remove funding from artists who choose to protest against government policy. Our soul is shrivelling up.

Mouthpieces are lying to us and propaganda is causing us to self-harm. Media offices and lawyers rooms are raided. Information is withheld and opinions manipulated. Misinformation is spread widely, dividing the community. Instead of holding out our arms to lend a helping hand, we have our left hand engaged in a bitter arm-wrestle with our right hand.

The many fingers and toes that make up our society – the workers, the children, the aborigines, the elderly, the unemployed, the different ethnic groups, the refugees, the poor, the disabled – are slowly being squeezed in an iron grip.

Our reputation as a reliable nation, a nation with integrity, willing to shoulder more than its fair share of the responsibilities of the world, has been trashed.

And in perhaps the cruellest thrust of all, they are prepared to destroy our planet, our home, to feed this bloated corpse.

Money may make the world go around but, unless we adopt a more holistic approach to society and governing, it will be a lifeless rock, devoid of humanity, aimlessly spinning its way to oblivion.

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30 comments

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  1. passum2013

    Kay this is an excellent item.

  2. CMMC

    Sorry, Kaye, but they don’t believe in anything. They are trashing and adulterating every aspect of Social Democratic civility.

    Much like Al Qaeda, they are more interested in what they can destroy than what they can build.

  3. Ana Milosevic

    This article should be on a FRONT PAGE of every news paper in the country, it really would be an eye opener even for the CONSERVATIVE. Why, you may ask?, well, because it is the TRUTH.

  4. Don

    But according to them the public can’t handle the truth, we have to be good little sheeples and follow them blindly to the edge of destruction, only then will they admit they had it all wrong

  5. olddavey

    They are so ideologically driven that they are unable to change the course they have set, no matter what logical ideas anyone who is not of the same political persuasion puts to them.

    Once they have stuffed up the country in favour of their sponsors it’s going to be a daunting job to repair the damage.

  6. John Kelly

    Will McEvoy of ‘The Newsroom’ called the American Tea Party the American Taliban. The Australian government’s ideology mirrors that of the Tea Party so, if the cap fits let us do the same. It’s a catchy phrase and one that might break through the Independent/ MSM divide and become mainstream in its own right.

  7. olddavey

    I have a plan.
    Assistance will be required.

  8. Kade

    Passionate article – you suggest a Holistic method of governance and now what we need is to hear the solutions. Many want to see a better present and future …. but where are the new leaders? If we look at the holistic model then that suggests we all take a role and I believe that role is at local Government and community level. We need to take back control of our own municipalities and the first step is to accept responsibility for our own future and communicate at a local level. The next might be to make it illegal for councilors to be affiliated with any political party. Shift the power back to the people and independent voices….. before its too late. Transition Town network may have some tools to work with.

  9. jasonblog

    Dr Evans may or may not be a neo-NAZI. That’s for him to come to terms with. Tony Abbott may or may not be a complete and utter F-wit. At least with the clueless fwitted wonder Abbott we know that he vehemently supported the fascist dictatorship of Pinochet’s Chile and we know that he physically supported the Thatcherism of destroying unions and destroying coal mining communities in the north of England because Maggie could get coal cheaper elsewhere…

    Deregulation led to the GFC… Blah, blah, blah… No-body is listening.

    Exactly how does one begin to define neo-NAZISM?

    I’m sure that there are distinguishing attributes.

    Costello sold gold? Who to the Jews? Hmmmm… I wonder if Dr Evans has moments of wondering if other people have moments of wondering if he is wondering that other people are wondering if he ever imagines it likely that he is a neo-NAZI prick? Just wondering. Doesn’t mean that I actually think he is a neo-NAZI, but it does mean I entertain the possibility of blah, blah, blah… Just for the benefit of Australia’s retarded AG, ‘Lord’ George Brandis. George, do your job & rise above politics.

    Everybody sold the gold. The Creature from Jekyll Island told them to. Blah, blah, blah… we all know that Abbott is a threat to Australian democracy. HONEST PEOPLE WERE WARNED BEFORE HE WAS ELECTED AND PEOPLE HAVE BEEN REMINDED EVER SINCE… ABBOTT IS A FIRST GENERATION NUT-JOB AUSTRALIAN WHO ONLY IDENTIFIES NUTJOB NORTHSHORE DENTISTRY SYDNEY BINGEDRINKING STAMMERING MUMBLING FUMBLING MOPING WALL PUNCHING TWERP…

    Tony Abbott is essentially slippery. As I have commented previously on the AIMN I believe that Abbott is essentially a fascist. Yes, I said it out aloud. In polite company. Fascist.

    Holistic? I agree. It’s usually the middle path for Australia & its politics. A blending of interests and opportunities. A wide range of stuff factored into the democratic equation. But we don’t have that anymore. We have a ‘demented plutocrat’ Murdoch puppet-master of the ridiculous Bolt and the shameless Albrechtsen – first generation Australians – endeavouring to develop an Australian identity that they can call their own. It’s scary. It’s spooky. It’s creepy. I don’t want to play the Andy & Janet game.

    I know myself. I know my Australia. I can visit footsteps of ancestors that go back to 1848. I know death and suffering, hope and optimism, opportunity and goodwill, in this vast place that ties me to the Aboriginal Australians… and makes me want to see respect for the landscape. My ancestors came to Australia to escape the poverty and injustice of Britain… Whereas, Abbott is just a thug with a half thought of concept of his own self-meaning and how that applies to Australia. Abbott is a no-body and he is not an Australian. He is fascist. And he is cruel and he is sinister. And he lies.

    It’s the disregard for mainstream democracy that I find galling. Abbott is a lying low-life piece At no stage during the last election campaign did he shout loud & clear that he was the IPA / Murdoch / puppet…

    He is a nut-job with no historical appreciation of Australia and is beholden to a piss-ant authoritarian, spineless, view what Australia can be.

  10. jasonblog

    Holistic. You can count me in!

  11. Zofia

    “…unless we adopt a more holistic approach to society, it will be a lifeless rock, devoid of humanity, aimlessly spinning its way to oblivion.”

    Why did you finish your article with such a statement? It is so arrogantly anthropocentric. It’s almost as bad as Genesis, where God gives man dominion over all the creatures on the earth.
    “A lifeless rock” without us – I don’t think so. The Earth will have a chance to replenish itself and create new forms of life.
    “Aimlessly spinning” – is it because we live on this planet that gives it purpose? It has purpose without us. We are just a species that has happened to evolve just like so many others.
    “Lifeless rock” – the Earth has not been a lifeless rock for a very, very, long time and if we as a species were to become extinct, other species would develop. That’s the beauty and nature of the Earth.

    The Earth doesn’t need humans for its existence but we certainly need the Earth for ours.

    It’s always about the Earth as a backdrop to us and our lives, never about the Earth being centre stage and vital to our very existence.

  12. Kaye Lee

    Zofia,

    I always appreciate your comments and understand the point you are making. When I used the perhaps overly dramatic phrase “lifeless rock devoid of humanity spinning its way to oblivion” I was actually talking about now, not after we wipe ourselves out when the world will hopefully regenerate from the damage we have caused.

    The accumulation of wealth has become our goal and it is leading us down a path of destruction, not only to the environment but to our humanity. We are selling our heart and soul to corporate greed. Without a heart and soul, we are lifeless automatons without purpose.

  13. Rosie Doyle

    Superbly written article, enunciating what I’ve been raving on about for years……………..sadly I feel it’s too late for a ‘mass’ movement. The propaganda has destroyed the soul &spirit of the masses. Humanity is like a ‘Bell Curve’ 20% organized &helping humanity & The Planet, 20% dragging it back by destructive management & 60% too lethargic or brainwashed to care….……Sorry to sound so defeatist but I’ve watched this unfold now from a time in the 60’s & 70’s when our present grassroots environment move me ng began . But don’t give up, eventually, like a phoenix from the ashes’, a more holistic way will prevail…………after The Revolution !

  14. jagman48

    Thank you Kaye Lee for your article.

  15. Hotspringer

    Kay Lee for PM!!!

  16. diannaart

    Excellent work Kaye Lee.

    Yes, Zofia I do agree that the earth dose not need us and can easily shrug off our type of life-forms as easily as it did the dinosaurs – although we have the dinosaurs to thank for birds, therefore who knows what our extinction will lead to?

    Not really the point though, is it?

    If we are to survive as a healthy species, not one divided into Morlocks and Eloi – which we are on the brink of becoming right now, then we need to act collectively, collaboratively to retain an ecosystem which supports our type of life-forms.

    It is up to us – part of the answer is selecting leaders who actually have a clue about sustainability.

  17. Douglas Evans

    @Kaye Lee
    Whew! And you accuse me of defeatist negativism or was it negativist defeatism (I forget). Anyway for once we agree. I overlook the florid language that Zofia notes. I understand completely how adjectives can run away with our text and our intentions – it happens to me nearly every time. On the question of holistic government in Australia there are serious impediments to the achievement of this or even (more modestly) a more extensive representation of the people’s will built into our electoral system. Mandatory distribution of preferences and the limited extent of proportional representation being chief among these. On the question of ‘growth’ and its relationship to our fairly short term future – if you don’t follow him closely you could do a lot worse than checking out Paul Gilding’s Cockatoo blog or his book ‘The Great Disruption’, or for that matter his TED talk, for what he has to say about growth. I’m a bit suspicious of Gilding and his basically optimistic message about the future which seems to me to be at odds with his analysis. I distrust his latter day cosying up to the big end of town but there is nothing wrong with his analysis of the state of play which is very clearly set out. I believe we are a point in history where it is imperative to see things as they really are (painful and difficult as that may be). This is necessary so that whatever action becomes necessary to try to save our way of life/the furniture/our very continued existence on the planet can be accurately determined. I’m guessing we won’t have the luxury of second and third chances. I’m guessing that we still have a decade before the action really hots up – which will either see me out of it all or at best completely reduced to the role of spectator – but when the penny finally drops the action will be fast and furious and it will probably be good to be prepared. Why don’t you use this article as a template and start analysing one by one, the basis and consequences of the assertions you make – that would be worthwhile project.

  18. Stephen Tardrew

    Kaye have been giving consideration to such ideas for some time. It is almost like we need to develop a new set of constitutional values based upon justice and equity. The neoconservatives and economic rationalist are a lost cause. You and others have listed a variety of concerns that need to be collated into a draft policy document supported by Keynesian economics and social justice. I don’t think attacking anyone at this time is going to cut the mustard. Bloggers on this site have generally found an axe to grind with both left and right and as far as I can see the continual payback, vilification and abuse on other blogs detract from a cohesive sense of purpose that you could engage and encourage policy-literate individuals to pursue here.

    Not being a policy wonk I am not the person to achieve such a goal however I think that there are guiding principles that can be gleaned from places like the Earth Institute, Jacques Fresco’s futuristic cashless society and other like minded publications and institutions that have the requisite expertise.

    I know it’s a big ask however unless progressives have a coherent foundational philosophical document we are often barking in the dark. The Charter of Compassion gives an idea of the types of core connectivity for those who wish to promote a more just and equitable world. I realize that hard headed political objectives and compromise play against contemporary social justice however it’s time to leave the main stream for better pastures.

    We just do not know what is around the corner so being prepared is the best strategy. Finally it will take a core group of advocates to collate ideas into a useable document by reducing a diversity of contributions to manageable content. It would be beneficial to avoid party affiliations of any kind so as to act as policy advocates and not political advisers.

    I know I am a naive optimist, and many will be critical, however we must start somewhere.

  19. Gilly

    Holistic, yes. In simplistic terms for all the people not for sectional interests. For the good of the country, not for the profitability of corporations. For the electorate not the party. For long term sustainability not short term pragmatism. With integrity not with ideology. With consideration not with conspiracy. With social conscience not with personal ambition. For the democracy not for a plutocracy.

  20. Dan Rowden

    Good luck trying to find 20 random people who will agree on what “for the good of the country” means, let alone how to enact policy to facilitate the notion.

  21. hilderombout

    Kay Lee, as always i find your articles inspiring. I am also impressed by Stephen Tardrew’s emphasis on compassion and love. I agree that those values are the only ones that can make life better and should underpin everything we do, in how we look after the earth to how we look after all non human beinga and how we look after each other. If all of us who have similar values could start bringing these into practice in our own lives, that would be a start. I too am an optimist though at times despair of where this government is leading us. And i too wish to strive for a wholistic government, but in the absence of such i will continue to live as wholistically as i know how. I read somewhere once that if 20% of well meaning people exist in a community, change will occur. I hold on to this. Eventually the pendulum will swing back.

  22. Keith

    Thanks for a thoughtful article again.
    Ken Henry gave an eloquent speech on the 7.30 Report about where the Abbott gang stand. He did not sound impressed!!!!
    How low the Abbott gang have become was displayed for a couple of days by Brandis with his condemnation of Artists. Firstly, artists are meant to be gracious in taking grants from the managers of concentration camps; and secondly, they are meant to be supporting tobacco companies whose products destroy health and kill people.
    The ruthless IPA must be very pleased with what their underlings are doing.
    ” 38 Repeal plain packaging for cigarettes and rule it out for all other products, including alcohol and fast food” from
    http://ipa.org.au/publications/2080/be-like-gough-75-radical-ideas-to-transform-australia

    Neanderthal describes the IPA.

  23. Stephen Tardrew

    Dan there are cases where intelligent people have come together in the interest of the society and produced workable though flawed policy. That is why we need a mission statement of ethical obligations to which policies can be responsibly applied. I admit to naive optimism however better than depressing cynicism.

  24. Gilly

    Dan Rowland @ 11:44
    I fully agree, First a process of definitions, visions and priorities. Start from first bases with tighter, if general , guidelines, moving step by step towards policy and strategies using methods something akin to a QA cycle of continual revision. Idealistic, yes, but a measured step towards an adult ego state for a nation.

  25. Stanis

    Really well written and thought out article, thank you. The big question, I guess! is where to from here?

  26. Don Winther

    Why do we still need politicians, with the internet we can all collectively control this country. We just need someone we trust to write the program.

  27. leighton8

    Well written …. and to the point …..

  28. Paul Raymond Scahill

    Definately the ALP need a new leader, the incumbent gives the impression that he is only there because the “faceless men” had their say. Some of the names I will throw up may not be to the liking of the “faceless men” however, it is almost a given that they would show much more HEART & PASSION than Bill Shorten. Antony Albanese, Tony Burke, Chris Bowen, Mark Dreyfus. Tanya Pleberseck, Catherine King would all carry the fight up to Tony Abbott with a vengeance. The time to act is now, with 2.5 years to run of this Abbott rabble we cannot wait any longer. Please go with me on this matter, you only have to look at the dejected look on Bill Shortens face.

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