THEKOUK and EVERALDATLARGE OUTLINE A WAY FOR THE PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA TO CREATE AND MAINTAIN SUSTAINED PROSPERITY
Covid19 has opened a door for Australians to positively accept significant changes that will lead to a shared good. This rare opportunity enables us to achieve sustainable economic and social goals that create a new ‘normal’ as our way of life.
These Ten Steps are presented as non-partisan recommendations to the Australian Parliament in the firm belief that, if they embrace them, the Australian economy and society will be greatly enhanced after the Covid19 pandemic has passed. Continue reading “CLIMBING THE COVID MOUNTAIN”→
Helen and I decided to go bush last week for a change of scenery and an escape, mentally and physically, from COVID19.
We achieved this by signing up as travellers with NATURE BOUND AUSTRALIA, a unique bush touring operation that is very professionally owned and managed by our friends, John and Ros Thompson.
For a moderate fee covering their time and all costs, they take couples like us out into the country in their comfortable four-wheel drive for a highly personalised bush experience that is based on relaxed chats on heritage, history, environment, natural capital and good physical and mental health.
We chose how many days we wanted to go on tour with them and agreed on an itinerary after we had interesting advice from them about the many options that rural Australia offers. None of our chosen destinations had yet experienced COVID19.
Our itinerary took us on back roads through delightfully small communities and our accommodation was in bed and breakfast homes on farming and grazing properties, with other meals at wineries and quaint cafes in interesting places.
John and Ros are a huge source of knowledge about local history right back to the dreamtime of indigenous culture and spirituality, their deep attachment to the land and connecting it to the advent of European culture.
We looked at the impact of civilisation on the environment and the way in which we all consume our natural capital without being aware of it. A fascinating experience.
Occasionally, we got out of phone range, but always managed to connect with Wi-Fi regularly.
The end result of it all was a refreshed mind, more stored knowledge of our superb continent & a happy attitude towards preserving its wellbeing and our own.
We got our money’s worth and more.
Next year, we will line up again because we know that, in essence, a good bush holiday is all about reconnecting to nature and the guiding restorative power it has on our lives.
You can contact the Thompsons on their website natureboundaustralia.com. It will be one of your more productive contacts.
EVERALD COMPTON RELATES HIS LONG AND PAINFUL JOURNEY
Soon after John Howard became Prime Minister of Australia in 1996, I met him at Parliament in Canberra to outline my plan to build an Inland Railway.
He agreed that it was a visionary project well worth a try and he gave me the green light to open negotiations with appropriate Ministers in his Cabinet.
I mentioned to him that there was a political downside for his Government. No matter what corridor we chose for the railway, many people would be hurt as we resumed properties & demolished homes as inevitably happens with every infrastructure project anywhere in the world.
We agreed that we must always work on the principle that every effort would be made to avoid unnecessary hardship and that compensation for property and loss of income would be generous.
Last year, the Queensland Parliament voted to authorise its Health Committee to hold public hearings throughout Queensland to assess public attitudes to Voluntary Assisted Dying and Palliative Care. They did an extraordinary job of holding hearings far and wide across the State and encouraging all opinions to be expressed.
I spoke at one of the hearings and it was evident that there was huge support for Queenslanders to have the right to choose to end their lives peacefully and in comfort when faced with an incurable illness. It was also clear that people felt that palliative care services were not adequate and were not an alternate to Voluntary Assisted Dying as many people will choose both. People who attended other hearings gained the same impression as I did. Continue reading “Voluntary Assisted Dying. Crunch time at Queensland Parliament.”→
Let me say loudly and clearly that I am hugely switched off by the Extinction Rebellion, but I am switched on about Greta Thunberg and about the fact that Citizens Referendums are a much better alternative than marching.
Thunberg made an impact at the United Nations a few weeks ago with her speech that harshly chastised world leaders for putting the future of the world at risk by being grossly negligent about Climate Change.
But, despite receiving massive support from school students of her age world wide, very little has been achieved even though they tried to march in an orderly and respectful fashion.
There, I went to a tiny bush school which had eleven students whose parents worked in the local timber mill. I enjoyed many happy days in a prosperous little community that really was one large family.
Back in those days of the 1930’s and 40’s, Australia had thousands of small towns, most of them larger than mine, which were stable and secure with affordable housing, plus good shops and a fine school and reliable hospital, based as they were on solid rural industries which were the core of the national economy.
Let us for the moment presume that Bill Shorten will become Prime Minister of Australia on Saturday evening.
Once he settles into the job, I will seek a meeting with him to advocate a number of changes to the way in which we elect governments and the manner in which changes can be made to the Senate which is currently a blot on democracy.
Back in the days of his prime, Barnaby Joyce announced that the Coalition Government had allocated 9.5 billion dollars for the construction of the Inland Railway.
He had demanded this from Malcolm Turnbull as the price for National Party cooperation at the time of Turnbull’s coup to topple Abbott.
Turnbull reluctantly agreed, but insisted that it had to be funded ‘off balance sheet’, ie, not taken from general taxpayer revenue in the next Budget, but funded by loans to be taken out by the Federal Government’s own railway company, ARTC (Australian Rail Track Corporation) against its balance sheet. Future revenue would pay back the loans.
This was mentioned only in the fine print of the public announcement. Most voters think it is being funded by regular government grants.
It is beyond dispute that Bill Shorten is correct when he states that a cash refund of franking credits on investments should be claimed only by a taxpayer.
What is in dispute is the timing and manner in which he intends to legislate changes to current taxation laws on those credits.
His planned legislation must be changed to exempt all shares purchased prior to 30 June, 2019. This will give retirees the same privileges that he has stated that he will grant to those affected by his changes to taxation benefits relating to negative gearing and capital gains.
For 75 years, the Liberal Party of Australia has been a respected and enduring institution of our nation which will be remembered kindly for many notable achievements.
However, it is breathing its last and rigor mortis will set in very quickly and permanently.
Its record over the past few years has been so lamentable that few will weep.
The death spiral began when Fraser illegally removed Whitlam in 1975, then governed with such a guilty conscience that he will be remembered as a very dismal Prime Minister.
Temporarily, Howard steadied the ship, but the rot set in when Turnbull ruthlessly destroyed Nelson and Abbott replaced Turnbull in as stupid a ballot as has ever been held.
Abbott’s reign in Opposition and Government was as close to insanity as can be imagined and Turnbull let down Australia in everything that he did and did not do, a huge disappointment to me personally and many like me.
Now Morrison is an illegitimate Prime Minister, not accepted in this high office, as he was put there by 45 people, most of whom the nation disrespects.
We have reached a huge watershed in Australian political history.
There is now no Member of the House of Representatives in the Australian Parliament who holds a safe seat, not one, no matter what their current majority may be, not even Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten.
And neither the Coalition nor the ALP can be certain of getting more than one Senate candidate over the line in any State. Their number two Senate candidates cannot be confident of getting the required quota. And I joke not.
Some, quite wrongly, will see this as a terrible catastrophe that will ensure huge a period of very unstable government.
However, it is far more likely to provide a refreshing change in which the political establishment will self destruct and never again be able to return to its inefficient complacency and its inability to be accountable.
Above all, it shows that Australian voters have had a massive gutful of bad government and blame it on all the major parties, without exception.
Incredibly, most politicians are blithely unaware of their very uncertain future and need to be blasted into recognition by getting a brutal dose of acute voter anger.
American Marine Scientists have discovered the remains of the Endeavour, the fine old ship sailed by Captain James Cook on his voyage of discovery along the Eastern Seaboard of Australia in 1770.
It lies at the bottom of the harbour at Newport, Rhode Island, where it was scuttled during the American War of Independence long after Cook had died on his third world voyage.
My hope is that the remnants of the Endeavour can be brought Australia and placed in a new Museum which can be built at Cooktown. There, it can become part of an international study centre on the enormous impact it had on life on the Australian continent, changing forever the proud heritage of 65000 years of indigenous habitation.
Sadly, we are now at a time in Australian history where an influential minority are demonising James Cook, accusing him of being the originator of every social and economic problem that Indigenous Australians have faced, and will face, into an uncertain future.
However, I am one who seeks to differ quite passionately, but courteously.
When John Howard departed the political scene in 2007, there began an era of instability that has all but destroyed legitimate democracy in Australia.
I am in my 87th year on this planet and I have never witnessed a more shameful Parliament than this one. Sadly, only a few of our Parliamentarians are aware of it. They live in a world of utter unreality, totally divorced from voters who now feel a huge sense of insecurity.
What can we do about it?
Nothing at the moment.
We have to wait for an election and hope that the deadwood in all Parties will be wiped out and replaced by Independents of quality who will force quality debates that will result in fine policy decisions.
Barton and Deakin achieved this with minority governments in the first decade of Federation 120 years ago and passed historic legislation that serves us to this day. They had brains and vision and they were leaders who had people skills. Our current Parliament hasn’t got these attributes and never will.
Donald Trump is the worst American President in my 86 years on Planet Earth.
In all likelihood, he is the worst since George Washington kicked out the British.
But, let me stop beating around the bush and admit that I utterly and thoroughly despise him.
Having said this, I must confess that there are times when I am tempted to cheer him, especially when he kicks the hell out of the political establishment. They absolutely need their guts hit out of the park because of their complacent insensitivity to the needs and aspirations of humanity.
But, the problem is that his skills end at the point of his boot. He has not got a clue what to do next, because his sole skill in life is as a gut kicker.
It is unfortunate that the word ‘welfare’, which used to mean well-being, now implies that recipients are unfortunate people who need to be propped up by the rest of society, much to the anger of an increasing majority who resent the sense of entitlement that many welfare beneficiaries seem to have adopted.
It’s time to remove it from our vocabulary and from our economic and social system, replacing it with a NATIONAL DIVIDEND that is paid to every Australian citizen every year.
This is not just another political idea, it is an unavoidable change that will be forced upon us when robots and their artificial intelligence take over the productivity of the nation leaving millions of us without employment while the Federal Treasury absorbs the revenue of a technology driven Australia.
The Royal Commission on Banking has stirred Australians to the very core of our being.
It has convinced us that TRUST no longer exists in our nation. Our sense of security is severely diminished, particularly among Senior Australians.
This is understandable as, once upon a time, our local bank manager was a highly respected citizen. He was trusted to give solid advice and not give us loans we had no hope of paying back or credit cards we do not really need.
He was also heavily involved in community life in a high profile way.
Then, he disappeared from public view.
Now, it is almost impossible to find a local bank manager even if we go to a bank. We enter an atmosphere where the message is that they don’t want us there. We must phone a ‘friendly’ relationship manager whom we track down after have pressed about a dozen buttons. We get a different person every time we call and she is only interested in our number, not our name.