The Remains of a Year of Tumult

I have been around for 84 years, none of them ever boring, but 2015 has been a corker.

Happily, the two most incompetent political leaders of my era were removed from power – Tony Abbott in Canberra and Campbell Newman in Brisbane.

Abbott was a tragic figure, totally out of his depth, and his demise was hastened by the total non performance of his Treasurer, Joe Hockey, one of the most shallow politicians I have ever encountered who has been awarded for his failure with a job in Washington.

At least, Hockey had the grace to leave the Parliament. Abbott dreams incomprehensibly, of a return to power when there is more chance of the sun not coming up tomorrow morning.

Malcolm Turnbull has achieved his lifetime goal of becoming leader of Australia. He made it to the top despite a stormy career and some unnecessary arrogance but, now that he is there, I reckon he will not make a mess of it. He intends to be Australia’s greatest Prime Minister ever and I am willing to put money on the fact that he may achieve it, so long as he manages his ego well.

He looks like a Prime Minister, acts like one, and can put two sentences together, something that was totally beyond the talents of his predecessor.

It will not surprise me if he serves as long as John Howard.

This is not good news for Bill Shorten who was odds on favourite to beat Abbott. It is sad news for me also as he is a personal friend of long standing. Nevertheless, the situation in which Bill finds himself is starkly simple. The voters of Australia do not want yet another Prime Minister under any circumstances at this point in our history. We have had six in nine years. Most Aussies want a leader who will stay for a long time to provide stability in a troubled world.

Bill could run the greatest campaign of all time, but the voters wont be listening. His only chance of victory is for Turnbull to get himself involved in a massive scandal that spectacularly comes out of left field. Having said this, I am reminded of the fact that Campbell Newman lost despite holding the greatest parliamentary majority in history, but that was the result of a total meltdown of political capital.

The right wing of the Liberals and Nationals won’t stage a coup against Turnbull under an circumstances as they know that the voters won’t tolerate it. Besides which, political ideology dies quickly at the point where seats might be lost.

In reality, Turnbull is so secure, he could bring in a carbon tax and not be rolled. Even so, there are fascinating days ahead for Malcolm.

He can’t ignore Climate Change, Gay Marriage, Indigenous Recognition, the Republic Movement, the drought, wealthy tax evaders, harsh budget cuts or the Ageing Tsunami. It will be fascinating to watch his nifty footwork when these issues hit home hard in the Election Year of 2016. I reckon he will take some carefully calculated political punts, bring them all into play and achieve some revolutionary changes that will prove to be popular.

Added to all of the above is the unavoidable fact that we live in a troubled world from which we cannot divorce ourselves and for which Turnbull must provide leadership.

Terrorism and the Islamic State bear heavily upon our view of the future, as does the huge exodus of refugees worldwide. The possibility of an America governed by Donald Trump scares the hell out of us, as does their gun happy culture. The sheer incompetence of the European Community, which is smothered by bureaucrats, dents our economic confidence even more so than China’s fall from economic grace. In addition, most of us seem to be unable to imagine a future which is not based on minerals.

So, 2016 beckons and it looks challenging. In point of fact, it will be as good a year as we make it ourselves.

A new society is developing around us with astonishing speed. It will bring more change in the next five years than we have seen in the last hundred.

Old fashioned capitalism wont be able to cope with it, nor will any upgraded socialism get anywhere near being useful.

Those who warmly welcome and embrace rapid change, thrive on innovation and accept personal responsibility for the welfare of their neighbours, will prosper mightily and enjoy a mind expanding life of genuine adventure.

Politics wont give us a good life. We must create it ourselves. It will be helpful if Malcolm can be the leader who opens some doors.

Yours at Large

Everald Compton

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9 thoughts on “The Remains of a Year of Tumult

  1. Gabrielle

    Lloyd, succinct. Agree…the lack of self awareness OR self IMAGE Tony A.has of himself, for a supposedly clever man, astounds me…is he incapable of LISTENING/SEEING the People’s
    response? Could somebody who LOVES him, enough,tell him to his face..ENOUGH! IT’S OVER.

  2. Lloyd Graham

    Much of what you say Everald is absolutely ‘spot on’ as I believe most Australians want a Prime Minister that garners respect at both home and abroad. The voters will no longer have to cringe at the repeated mouthing of the mantra that: ‘We have stopped the boats, got rid of the mining tax and got rid of the carbon tax’. And all of this done with Tony Abbott riding a bicycle, driving a truck, laying bricks or kicking a football in a vain attempt, in Vladimir Putin style, to convince us that he was ‘one of the people’.

    One thing that I would acknowledge though is how difficult it must have been to fall from grace so quickly to featherduster status. This could explain the subsequent overseas travel to counsel others on ‘How to stop the boats…’ The condition I believe is called ‘relevance deprivation syndrome’ which many of your retired readers may well have suffered from, or who assiduously seek to avoid it by continuing to work. What one must not do is to hang around talking about the past, and even the good people of Warringah now think Tony should move on. I agree. Perhaps a job in the Vatican is in the offing??

    The Joe Hockey story is equally sad and reflects badly on the government. It is a classic case of easing the pain on the former Treasurer by parachuting him into a job where his elevated ego will be on further display. It will not take long for an astute diplomat to quickly detect the weaknesses of the man.

    As for the future, who really knows. Although the honeymoon period for Malcolm Turnbull is nearly over, the initial signs are promising. If I was Malcolm I would sleep well at night, because Labor have no chance of winning the 2016 election. As Bill Heyden once said ‘Labor needs more than a drover’s dog to win the next election’. Perhaps a good start would be for Bill Shorten to sail off into the sunset.

    By the way Everald I disagree with you that Tony Abbott could not put two sentences together. It’s just that the second sentence was the same as the first.

  3. Gabrielle

    AH! Everald, you create the most INTERESTING discussion to be had,THANK You! This OPEN air
    discussion is the Q&A of the Internet. As you say we do have interesting times ahead…to be increased tenfold ..IF MIND”S can be opened! Whatever his inclinations, Malcolm has the Intelligence and nous, I believe, to read his positioning and recognise what IS and what is NOT
    acceptable to the Australian public who DO, THINK! Geographically the overuse of my grey matter
    is unlikely! and so to ALL who offer words that show contemplation I THANK YOU..Life would be dull without your always interesting words AND YOUR sometimes contraversial subjects! EVERALD. Seasons Greetings to you and yours. Gabrielle

  4. Rod Foster

    Thanks Everald and I agree. Two people I thought would make good leaders were just hopeless. I don’t agree wtih one of your commentators who think Turnbull is just a dressed up
    Abbott. That is just plain silly. Sorry about yor being a friend of Bill shorten as I can’t stand the fellow and we certainly don’t wan antoher Labor Government. Happy Christams.

  5. Kane

    I think you will find that the shine on Turnbull is fading fast as each week shows us that he is Abbott, only the polished turd version thereof. I personally lament Shorten not naming Neoliberalism for what it is, educate the public about it. It isnt that hard: Try “neoliberalism is an ideology that claims redistributing money from the poor to the rich, in the form of public asset sales, cuts to services, welfare, health and education to fund tax cuts, and cutting penalty rates, will make the poor better off. What it does, however, in fact is increase inequality, corrode democracy and reinstate pre world war 2 class power relations.” I’m sure a political speech writer could make that into a message that cuts through. The fact that it is anethema to Australian egalitarianism alone is a great starting point. That it opposes organised Labour alone should have it named and shamed.

    But beyond that most basic of messages, neoliberalism has a much darker reality inherent to it that is currently overlooked in main stream public discourse butbthat is so important tomunderstand and that is the current phenomenon of Islamic State and its MO of terrorism are products of neoliberalism and are about far more than Islam. If you read the statement to the United Nations Security Council by anthropologist Scott Atran
    you will see how his research points to Islamic State being a counter culture movement, within globalisation, that has wide appeal across the atheist, agnostic, Christian and Muslim youth of the west and that it is a middle-class crisis of the sort that fascism and socialism constituted in the pre world war 2 era. It is no coincidence that after 40 years of neoliberal attacks on organised Labour, services, public assets and welfare (a shredding of the social compact) that this generation of youth find themselves in the precarious position that their grand parents did because the same class power relations are in play.

    Remember the illegal war in Iraq was fought to privatise Iraq’s assets and to make from scratch a neoliberal economic “dream”, a lot like 1970s Chile. That gave us ISIS. When wiki leaks revealed that the US were fomentng sectarian violence in Syria in 2006 it was quite clear that Washington wanted to run the neoliberal conversion/regime change there just like they had in Iraq 3 years earlier. Currently Abbott and Hockey have lost their jobs for trying to foist neoliberal economic reform on Australia. They failed because Australians aren’t idiots but as with Abbott getting elected, the possibility of Australians voting in Turnbull exists, as we are unfortunately (in this case) always willing to give someone a go. If Shorten wants the formula to link Turnbull’s wealth to his policy decisions, ie how he is against the rest of us, he need only label him neoliberal and all the Cayman Island pidgeons will come home to roost.

  6. Peter Hanson

    I for one as a nearly 60 year old are very grateful for the dedicated work of scientists, engineers, some governments and volunteers in making huge gains in our knowledge and understanding of environmental damage caused by ignorance to the effects our lives and industry have on our fragile world then lobby for change for the benefit of us all. I know economically we would be better off digging up and burning our cheap coal for GDP, clearing and burning our forests for commercial farming and industry and pumping out coal seam gas from under fertile farmlands and clean water but luckily more of us prioritize clean food air and water over personal wealth. I ask Anonymous would he be happier leaving his wealth as a legacy for his childrens children or a healthier cleaner world they might better survive in without the sickness and disease so common today?

  7. Heather

    Smokin’ Joe was a real let down to the public & Liberal Party. Financial services totally beyond his reach.

    Malcolm many prepared to give him a go… you say looks good as a PM would do better as a President of Republic of Australia ? He has to hasten his good works tho has upset the lower classes with Radiology fees this week. Personally I think all the Welfare must cut out after 2 children….you want more ….you pay.

    I loved your et al ideology of Dam the Northern Cairns rivers sending water inland down the Thompson for agriculture (growing Medicinal Cannabis its products made by Australian Pharma i.e. Blackmores who bought Bio Ceuticals who would pay tax….more of AusCan (Christmas Island) two crops per year up N.Qld. (Also the new created water ways tourists would love). USA’s Illinois just legalised and the first few months gleened $51 million tax. Boy could my local hospital use that..its falling down, guttering falling off roof, panels inside falling off, Black Aspergillus killer fungus growing on the outside walls in the shade) We cannot grow enough clean green food for the 2 Billion Chinese market, as we have seen with the Infant Formula. Russia would be an excellent market for our food/medicine too 180 million population snows most 9 months of the year. Our own domestic market would reap Billions a year foremost. The Ruskies loved me when I was there and other Aussies. We are looking a Gift Horse in the mouth with Medicinal Marijuana sold on a medical card….as in the States, could better our previous boom of mining. Holiday beach destinations for Russians now closed in Africa/Europe – we could win big here we have best beaches NT, WA Qld in the world.

    Firstly tho MP (President) Turnbull needs to stop/catch up with l/3 of our largest companies escaping paying any tax or only 15%

  8. Anonymous

    Still a bloody old green left environmentalist, eh, Everald. As a retired engineer, I would join your Committee to plan for a better world for my grandchildren if you dissociated yourselves from the warmists and used your influence to use the dollars being wasted on your misguided and arrogant attempts to alter natural climate change and instead on planning structural and civic construction needed in the long run to protect all coastal settlement.
    The world has enough coal to last nearly another century and by using this to save monies and get the coastal communities protected against the undoubted rise in sea level of a couple of metres during the next 200-500 years, we can afford to get all the world’s people out of poverty and those around the coastline made safe in good time. Present policies are a waste of time and money. As an 87 y.o., I won’t see the exposure of the utter futility of your ilk, later in this 21st century.

  9. Anonymous

    Everald, if you believe that Bill Shorten is “on the nose” with the electorate because we couldn’t stand another leadership change, then I’m afraid that your personal friendship is clouding your judgement.

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