CLIMBING THE COVID MOUNTAIN

TEN ECONOMIC STEPS THAT FORM A PATHWAY TO THE TOP

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”

THE VISION OF THE INLAND RAILWAY IS NOW A TRAGEDY.

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.

Sadly, those who have followed him have not adhered to this principle. Continue reading “THE VISION OF THE INLAND RAILWAY IS NOW A TRAGEDY.”

TRUST FADES AWAY

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.

It’s very sad that this grand old asset of Australian life has passed away, a killer culture having replaced it. Continue reading “TRUST FADES AWAY”

THE COMMON GOOD

Democracy is dead.

Murdered by political, financial and religious ideology inflicted upon us by ‘leaders’ with closed minds who survive by divisively spreading fear and greed.

It is time for a new world order called THE COMMON GOOD to take over.

It will succeed when decent people, with brains, commonsense and courage, step forward and insist on dramatic and decisive changes in the opposite direction to the insanity of Donald Trump and the woeful wilderness of Australian politics. Continue reading “THE COMMON GOOD”

WARPED WELFARE WAILING

Contrary to what we are told by politicians and the media, the cost of welfare is not a major element among the issues that we face in achieving and sustaining the financial viability of Australia.

Currently, the crippling costs to the economy are –

Corporate handouts and concessions.

Tax Avoidance, particularly by multi-national corporations.

Negative Gearing.

The costs of Direct Action on the environment which should be paid by a tax on polluters.

Gross waste and inefficiency with Defence.

Superannuation tax havens.

A hugely bloated Public Service.

Enormous duplication costs between Federal, State and Local Governments.

The totally unnecessary costs of perpetuating racism at Nauru, Manus and Christmas Island

Added to these will be the proposed tax cuts which are based on the blatant lie that the benefits will trickle down from the rich to the poor. It never has and it never will.

Nevertheless, too many politicians have always believed that there are lots of votes to be won by belting citizens who are old, handicapped, unemployed or homeless. So, they commit perjury every day as they blatantly dig deep to reach the darkest elements of the voting public. Continue reading “WARPED WELFARE WAILING”

Inland Rail: Only “red tape and political gutlessness” stopping simple project more than 100 years in making.

Feature article by Michael Madigan in The Courier-Mail  20 August 2016

IT’S a bit like our own infrastructure version of the “Yowie’’ – plenty have seen visions of it, but no-one has been able to capture this magnificent, mythical 1700km rail corridor holding the key to untold economic riches.
The Inland Rail has glittered with promise in the Australian subconscious ever since 1893 when a consortium of Victorian businessmen announced they would build it to link Melbourne to the gold fields of Normanton in far-north Queensland.
Politics, mingled with the still bewildering array of rail gauges across this nation, put an end to their dreams, but the notion of laying down a silver ribbon across Australia’s fertile, inner interior has stirred nation-building dreamers ever since. Continue reading “Inland Rail: Only “red tape and political gutlessness” stopping simple project more than 100 years in making.”

TAMING THE NORTH

I have been a voter since 1952 and, at every election since then, there has been someone, either a Prime Minister or an Opposition Leader or an aspiring MP, who has seriously threatened to develop Northern Australia.

Sadly, I still wait with fervent hope for a leader to appear who will actually do it. For the past sixty years it has simply been an exercise in vote gathering. Continue reading “TAMING THE NORTH”

IN SEARCH OF A NATION BUILDER

Australia is a disgracefully underdeveloped and poorly planned nation, the result of hugely neglectful politics over a long period of time.

Because no thought has ever been given to balanced development, most of our population is crammed into capital cities where the price of housing is exorbitant, roads are clogged and suburban rail systems are primitive.

80% of our land mass is sparsely populated and poorly serviced by internet, hospitals, water, railways, roads and ports. Continue reading “IN SEARCH OF A NATION BUILDER”

Tax Reform and the Politics of Fear

There are thousands of laws that provide the basis of governing our nation. Every one of them can be improved in order to meet the needs of a changing world, particularly taxation laws, as they are an out of date mix of temporary political fixes that were deemed necessary to win elections. Continue reading “Tax Reform and the Politics of Fear”

Wise Young – Partnerships to build a great Australia

There are far too many bright young Australians who are unemployed.

Many of them have visionary ideas for new and innovative business ventures, but are thwarted by a lack of capital, experience and opportunity.

There are many older Australians who want to keep working after 65, but they are denied the opportunity to stay in the market place by outright discrimination. Continue reading “Wise Young – Partnerships to build a great Australia”

SENIORS ARMY WILL MARCH FOR WATER

Last week, I outlined a plan to drought proof our Australian continent by sending tropical water south via dry river beds and connecting channels.

The concept is fundamentally sound, but it will become a reality only if the private sector provides the money and expertise to do the job as all governments are consumed by an insatiable desire to retain power at all costs. They think that capital spent on water won’t get them as many votes as handouts.

Continue reading “SENIORS ARMY WILL MARCH FOR WATER”

Blueprint for an Ageing Australia launched today – obtain your copy!

My launch speech to the National Press Club in Canberra

(Complete with links to your download copy of the Blueprint)

People are growing older and are doing so at a far greater rate than ever before in the history of the world. All nations now face a considerable social and economic revolution as a result, and Australia cannot hope to be an exception, as most of us can confidently expect a lifespan of at least 90 years, with many thousands about to achieve their century.
In ages past, war and disease prevented most people from reaching old age, but, thankfully, this is not likely to happen on a massive scale ever again.
If we act now, we can ensure that we will turn ageing into a significant social and economic asset, not a liability, and the Blueprint for an Ageing Australia that we present to the nation today strives to do exactly this.
Let me briefly outline the key recommendations.

PRIME MINISTERIAL LEADERSHIP
The challenge of ageing is so great that the enormous task of turning it into a powerhouse for the nation must be the responsibility of no less a leader than the Prime Minister.
There must be a Minister for Ageing within his office who has cabinet status and implements the PM’s ageing policies, co-ordinating action across all departments, as well as with State and Local Governments, community institutions, First Australians and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
Older Australians are a rapidly growing economic force in the marketplace, but they are largely ignored by providers of goods and services who fail to observe that they have special needs that can be a huge source of sales income for them. One day soon, the ageing market will be THE market. By meeting their needs in innovative ways, the economy will be transformed.
Of special note is the opportunity to export ageing services to the world. Every nation has a huge ageing problem and few are currently equipped to face it. Australia has the expertise to provide the services and products that will take them through this demographic crisis. We also have the capital to invest in all the social infrastructure they will need.
Austrade must lead the campaign, as the very considerable export income we can earn from this will more than cover the losses we are sustaining as the result of the end of the mining boom and the collapse of the car industry.
Another huge opportunity is to create a business environment in which Seniors can become entrepreneurs if they plan to do so well before they reach the traditional retirement age. They have a unique scope to take-up totally new business and professional endeavours, for which they can acquire new skills to create a second career.
To make sure that this happens, we will initiate steps to establish a Senior Entrepreneurs Institute to foster this initiative and provide practical assistance to those who take it up, including help in finding investors. The work of this Institute has the potential to greatly enhance the economy, and significantly expand the small business sector, as well as providing a challenging lifestyle for thousands of senior entrepreneurs who will bring enormous wisdom and vision to their new projects.

MATURE AGE EMPLOYMENT
Discrimination against Older Workers who want to remain in, or re-enter, the workforce is rampant, and is a blot on the traditional Australian ethic of giving everyone a fair go. As the result of this archaic attitude, Australia loses billions of dollars in productivity every year, while it adds unnecessary billions to welfare rolls. It seems incredible to say it, but it is a fact that thousands of employers in Australia actually think that when someone reaches 65, and at precisely midnight on this very day, something clicks over in an employee’s brain and that person instantly becomes geriatric.
Sadly, all three levels of government are even worse offenders in this area of discrimination than corporate Australia. A social revolution to remove this primitive outlook is long overdue.
Worst of all are State Governments who discriminate enormously by denying Work Cover to senior employees, as they are unfairly deemed to be great risks. They must take immediate action to change this, as it is the greatest deterrent to the successful expansion of Mature Age Employment, especially as private insurers of senior workers charge premiums which are unjustifiably exorbitant.
Despite these roadblocks, the Blueprint particularly recommends expanding investment in programs of skills training to enable older workers to keep up to date in a rapidly and constantly changing world.

PHILANTHROPY
Despite the economic gloom fostered by too many politicians, Australians have never been wealthier and there is a particularly stable middleclass, as well as an ever-expanding group of the wealthy.
We now have the potential to involve thousands of Senior Australians in establishing Charitable Trusts and Foundations, which will work for Australia long after they have departed and be a powerhouse for the long-term funding of education, science, health, homelessness, etc. Those who have financial means that are not as great as others can participate in a similar manner by opening personal accounts within community foundations who will competently manage their philanthropy in the years ahead.
We have made specific recommendations about this, and will establish a Golden Givers Foundation to promote and manage this positive enhancement of community life with the active co-operation of Australia’s banks.
Above all, we advocate a strong dose of encouragement for the many thousands of volunteers who work for our nation’s charities — most of whom are Seniors. They cannot afford the heavy premiums that insurance companies charge them for protection against legal actions that stem from accidents. Governments must protect and foster them through adequate legislation.
They must also be protected from the excessive and unreasonable health and safety regulations that stop them from actively helping the needy in basic ways.
Similarly, there are some trade unions that complain that volunteers are doing honorary jobs that a paid employee should undertake. They need an injection of humanity into their way of thinking.
The entire spirit of volunteerism is at stake unless governments act with urgency.

ENABLING ENVIRONMENTS
Brian Howe will outline to you in detail our recommendations on age-friendly housing, of which there is an enormous shortage, particularly in the rental market.
He will comment on the environment in which Seniors aspire to live, and the huge investment that will be needed to encourage us to leave our cars at home and use public transport for our own comfort and safety, as well as for the benefit of the community as a whole.
These are issues that must be faced with vigour, knowing that positive action on them will create many new jobs.

RETIREMENT INCOMES
This is the most contentious issue of them all. It is the one that creates the most public debate and about which there is the greatest uncertainty in the minds of millions of retirees.
Many reports on retirement incomes and outcomes have been undertaken and more are currently underway.
In particular, let me recommend that you read the excellent report on this subject published two weeks ago by Per Capita researcher, Emily Millane, who is here today.
It faces many of the crucial issues that governments, now and in the future, must determine with political bravery. These challenges are unavoidable and will not go away. They relate to many crucial matters, some of which are retirement and access ages for pensions and superannuation, a fair calculation of pensions and planning to ensure Superannuation will last until people reach 90 years of age, together with how they may have to be taxed to avoid excessive tax impositions on our grandchildren.
A totally new retirement incomes policy is needed right now and, once legislated, must be left alone, as constant tinkering with it creates enormous and unnecessary tension in the lives of Seniors. We will not reach a satisfactory situation with either pensions or superannuation until all current cut-and-paste legislation is put through the shredder — an event that should have happened a decade ago.

TECHNOLOGY
The ageing of the population will reach its peak around 2050. But, none of us can accurately envisage where technology will take us to by then. Nevertheless, we can be certain that it will be a vastly different world to that of today, and we must prepare for it as from today.
Most Seniors are not computer literate or skilled, so we have recommended a considerable investment in a national campaign to enable most of us to stay in touch with the world and prosper as the result, but education in technology must go on for decades or we will be left behind.
My fellow panel member, Neville Roach, who has spent a lifetime in technology, has done excellent work in writing this section of the Blueprint. I am particularly impressed with the powerful comments he has made on Telehealth, as this will be an indispensable factor in improving health services and reducing their costs, provided that ample funds are allocated now for its research, development and application.

WELLBEING
Gill Lewin will cover the vital subject of Wellbeing.
A healthy nation will enjoy a happier old age. It will also ensure that the huge health costs of ageing will reduce dramatically. But, it is pointless to invest only in the wellbeing of the Seniors of today. It must commence 50 years earlier than that, and will require all medical professionals having a greater knowledge of gerontology for any programme of wellbeing to be effective.
Especially important will be a national campaign to reduce the prevalence of ageism, which detracts from a mature society.

THE NEXT STEPS
The hard work now begins.
My Panel asks all political parties operating at Federal, State and Local Government levels to give a considered response to this Blueprint, and to invite us to work with them to ensure that it all happens as soon as possible.
But, they will need the support of the business and financial communities, as well as the not-for-profit institutions and the media, if dynamic progress is to be made throughout society in making ageing a positive, not a negative.
We intend to stay with this task for the long haul. We hope that you will too.

THE BEST YEARS
In October, I will reach the numerical age of 83, and I invite you all to give serious consideration to shouting me a wee dram of rare single malt whisky from deep in the highlands of Scotland, one that is at least 25 years old.
On that day, I will once more acknowledge that I have not yet reached my prime.
I joke not.
I firmly believe that I still have the best years of my life ahead of me, as is the case with many thousands of Aussies in their Eighties.
All we ask is that we are given the opportunity to compete with younger Aussies on a level playing field and be given a fair go at proving that we have the wisdom, vision, loyalty and reliability to make a valuable contribution to the life and future of the nation through vibrant inter-generational partnerships.
I invite you to meet me here at the Press Club ten years from now to review what progress we have made in implementing our Blueprint for an Ageing Australia. I have no doubt that I will be here. You all look young and healthy enough to have a reasonable chance of making it here that day also.
As the legendary American singer, Al Jolson, once responded when someone suggested he was getting old and should retire: “You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.”

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
May I sign-off by expressing my thanks to Per Capita, especially its team of David Hetherington, Joshua Funder, Emily Millane and Dennis Glover, for their initiative in suggesting to me that we finish this Blueprint as a private sector project, for their sterling work in making it all happen and for their very professional drafting of this report.
My special thanks also to National Seniors Australia for joining the partnership and making available the services of their Productive Ageing Centre for detailed research. The contribution of Michael O’Neill, Sarah Saunders, David Carvosso and Tim Adair has been splendid.
Similarly, the prestigious involvement of National Australia Bank has been wholehearted. They are our major financial contributors, as well as providers of valued economic and commercial data. I particularly acknowledge the talented contribution to the Blueprint by Paula Benson and Helen Brady.
Generous words of thanks are due also to Ashursts as the generous providers of services and facilities across Australia, particularly the contribution of Tony Denholder.
May I make particular mention of the valued assistance of my friend, Professor Graeme Hugo, of the University of Adelaide. I regard him as Australia’s finest demographer.
Thanks also to the many contributors of donations from every part of the nation, as well as the professional input given to us by all those who attended the consultations that we held in every State.
Finally, it has been a great privilege for me to work with my original Panel from our days in Treasury — Brian Howe, Gill Lewin and Neville Roach — as well as a former Panel member, Susan Ryan, of the Human Rights Commission. I especially want to thank Gill for arranging a generous financial contribution from Silver Chain in Western Australia.
Especially, may I thank Wayne Swan and Mark Butler for their decision to commence work on this Blueprint three years ago, and for their continued commitment to the project both in and out of government. They are great Australians.

Yours at large
Everald Compton

You can view a full pdf version of the Blueprint for an Ageing Australia document here.

You can download the document here

Come to the Launch – Blueprint for an Ageing Australia, National Press Club, Canberra, September 3

I am delighted to invite you to join me in Canberra on this important occasion, in which a Panel that I chair will present to the nation a Blueprint on how Australia must plan to meet all the social and economic issues that we face with the rapid and sustained ageing of our population and turn those issues into assets.

You can reserve your place at the luncheon by going to The National Press Club www.npc.org.au and booking online.

The cost of the luncheon is $79.00

I will be the lead speaker, and will be supported by my fellow panellists, Prof. Gill Lewin (Gerontologist) and Brian Howe (former Deputy Prime Minister).

The speeches and question time will be covered by ABC News 24 and Sky Television.

I’m looking forward to saying hello to you in Canberra.

National Press Club, Canberra – Wednesday 3rd September 2014, at 11.30am for 12 Noon.

 

We must face the inevitability of retirement age rising to 70.

Change is forever with us, a clinging certainty from which we cannot hide.

So, the time has come for Australians to accept that, after 106 years of enjoying a Retirement Age of 65, we must face the inevitability of it rising to 70.
Having said this with a strong conviction that it is a right and good thing to do, I totally disagree with the negative manner in which the Australian Government has presented it to us in the 2014 Budget by declaring that there will be economic doom unless we make the change by 2035.
Fear is the weakest form of motivation available to humanity, yet this year’s Budget was riddled with it.

Continue reading “We must face the inevitability of retirement age rising to 70.”

There’s promising possibilities for old investment in a new bush – Go West Old Guys!

My article published in Crikey 13/12/13

Too many farmers are burdened with unmanageable debt, some of them heavily so. Many bought farms with minimum equity at maximum prices during the height of the boom before the GFC of 2008, then went further into debt during subsequent droughts and floods in the hope of surviving until a new wave of prosperity occurred. In a rapidly changing world, those good days are now a mirage on a disappearing horizon.

Their only viable path to survival is to welcome an injection of friendly equity that will enable them to take their bank manager to lunch and tell him to get lost. But, the challenge is to find equity which is friendly, non-threatening, helpful and wise.

One promising possibility is to involve Australia’s rapidly growing population of Seniors, especially those with spare capital and business wisdom. The best deal would be for those elderly investors to decide to live in the same rural community as the farm.

Actually, there is potential for this to occur as the majority of older Australians have lived their years in capital cities and, when they retire, too many head for the beaches as they follow a dream of happy days watching the waves roll in to pleasant sandy shores. Problem is that, after a few months, they have watched the waves for too long and are bored out of their brains.

Now, some are heading to the bush, looking for a small and pleasant community which gives them a new and interesting lifestyle in total contrast to their city days. They enjoy involvement in the life of the community while coming to understand the economy of surrounding rural industries. Some buy a local shop, while others look for a farmer who needs a financial partner and is willing to introduce them to farming skills.

Without doubt, there is capacity to turn this trickle of new rural dwellers into a national movement of significance, following the American vision of two centuries ago when Uncle Sam said ‘Go West Young Man’. We can say ‘Old Guys’.

There are problems to overcome such as identifying rural communities who are not wary of ‘city slickers’ and where farmers are ready to welcome business partners.  We also need enlightened governments to provide tax incentives and do something significant about reducing transport costs and other financial burdens caused by the tyranny of distance. Politicians have been promising this for a century, but have delivered little because there are not enough votes out in the bush to cause them real concern. The disgraceful result is that the huge potential of rural Australia to become the greatest food producer in the world has never been realised.

Also, we need to protect farmers from the owners of Supermarkets who screw them into the ground mercilessly – indeed they are greater predators than floods and droughts.

Strange as it may seem, an even greater challenge is to convince oldies that a relaxed retirement is a fast way to the grave, while long life comes when you start a second career which is a stimulating challenge.

But, they will resist the lure of country life until there is a revolution in the quality of bush housing as most of it belongs to the lifestyle of yesteryear. And cultural life of rural communities has to come alive as well.  Society based only on the local pub is primitive.

Nevertheless, the opportunity for regeneration of the bush is there for the taking because the world has  7 billion people, growing to 9.5 billion by 2050. Most are underfed. There is a fast growing middle class on every continent who seek quality food that only a huge and empty island like Australia can produce if it builds a prosperous farming industry backed by innovative marketing and distribution.

So, it’s worth a go. I am involved in starting a movement to find thousands of ‘grey apprentices’ to partner young farmers whose skills need an injection of cash, wisdom and mutual respect. I am working with a fine team of researchers at Per Capita to determine the most effective way to bring this into being. Watch this space.

Follow me on Twitter @EVERALDATLARGE

70 is a very young age to retire

When Andrew Fisher and Alfred Deakin combined together to have a bi-partisan Pension Bill passed through Parliament in 1908, they asked an Actuary for advice on what age most workers could be expected to die.

The actuary did not hesitate to say,

‘The vast majority of them will not make it to 65’.

Fisher and Deakin both knew that the government could not afford a huge pension payout so they set the pension age at 65. Up until that time, all Australians had no option but to work until they died.

Those 65 year olds of 1908 are now the 90 year olds of today as longevity for Australians has increased by 25 years over the century that has passed.

Now, we are faced with the fact that millions of Australians will live to a very old age, kept alive by costly pharmaceutical, medical and hospital expenditure that will cripple the nation along with burgeoning pensions. And, at least a million of us will suffer from Dementia, especially Alzheimers.

A crucial issue is that most Australians will have inadequate superannuation and its poor returns will peter out soon after they reach 80 unless we have a huge increase in contributions – at least 15% from employers, plus far more in personal contributions.

Above all, it will be essential that no one is allowed to access superannuation until they are 70 and taking it as a lump sum must be banned as too many blow it quickly and go on the pension.

However, all of this will be of no avail unless employers start hiring Seniors into the work force.

Too many of them have a policy of not hiring anyone over 50 and the worst offenders of all are governments whose public service regulations force employees to retire early and make it almost impossible for anyone of mature years to apply for a position.

We need laws that require every employer to have at least 10% of their staff who are Seniors or it will be pointless to raise the Pension and Superannuation Age to 70 as most will have to apply for the dole.

All of this means that this nation needs a positive plan to turn ageing into an asset.

We won’t get far with it if we follow the coverage in the Main Stream Media. Headlines like ‘Work till you drop’ trivialise the matter. A more accurate headline would have been ‘Australia is the most overpaid, underworked and uncompetitive nation in the world’.

The most positive and pragmatic thing we can do is to commence action now, particularly in squarely facing up to the important decision to raise the retirement age to 70 as this must happen far sooner than the Productivity Commission has recommended. Every three years, commencing in 2015, we can raise the retirement age by one year.

Side by side, there must be a huge program of preventative health and tele-health to get the nation’s medical bills down, in tandem with an expansion of recreation and tourism industries where Seniors can contribute significantly to economic growth.

In addition, we will need a huge attitude change to growing old as it is a time of life where we can contribute wisdom and experience more than ever before.

Essential to it all will be to diminish our sense of entitlement and acknowledge that  Australia owes us nothing. We owe a lot to Australia for the greatest lifestyle in the world.

If we can become a nation of givers rather than getters, the Ageing Tsunami will lose its sting and we will lead the world in ensuring that we are a land of opportunity for the vision that comes with greying hair.

 

I will complete the Blueprint on Ageing

I have made real progress with my plan to complete the Blueprint on Ageing and am pleased that we will do so with the aid of an eminent Australian Think Tank, using crowd funding plus some corporate and trust gifts.

We will publish it on schedule in June, 2014, so that Hockey’s sacking of me and my Panel will have been of no avail and we can then plan to implement many of the recommendations without help from government.

Before we finalise the Blueprint, we will hold public consultations around Australia and I hope that those who have contributed to the debate will be able to attend and express their thoughts.

The more I work on the plan, the more I realise that the scope of it is enormous, as ageing is a significant element in every facet of national life. So, the turning of ageing into an asset will create great change, but I believe that it can be centred on an economy that is not dollar driven and will create a level playing field for young and old.

A problem we face in Australian politics is that anyone who has a conscience about anything is labelled a socialist and, every time there is a change of government, it is regarded as essential to destroy everything the previous government has done. But, Australians are wise enough to overcome this and export our good policies on Ageing to a world that is being hit by the same ageing tsunami as we are.

Government sources have hinted to me that I will breach copyright if I try to complete the plan. Can I say that I will enjoy my day in court and I will appear without a barrister as my defence will be that I am completing a document of national importance that was otherwise destined for the shredder simply because it was initiated by Wayne Swan.

The court case will cause millions of Australians to read the Blueprint.

Why Joe Hockey should not have sacked me.

As we face an ageing tsunami, Treasurer Joe Hockey has sacked the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing (and me as its chairman), declaring it to be irrelevant without stating why this is so. Shortly before that, Prime Minister Tony Abbott decided not to have a minister for ageing, downgrading the importance of millions of seniors in the life of the nation.

The sole reason for the dismissal of the panel, as conveyed to me privately by Coalition MPs, is that it was established by former treasurer Wayne Swan and it has been decided that every vestige of Swan’s term as treasurer must be obliterated. Such is the waste that politics represents in our national life. Continue reading “Why Joe Hockey should not have sacked me.”

Economic Growth or Quality of Life – measuring the progress of a nation.

Politicians and economists calculate the stature and prosperity of a nation by the annual percentage increase in its Gross Domestic Product. Governments rise and fall on the basis of this statistic, mainly because nations are declared to be in recession if there is negative GDP growth on three successive occasions.

However, the thoughts of many support the view that it is long overdue for this inadequate gauge of a nation’s growth to be declared the farce that it is.

I want to suggest that it should be replaced by a new measure that could be called General Domestic Prosperity. This means that a GDP will still be calculated, but it will have a new meaning and a different basis of measurement. Continue reading “Economic Growth or Quality of Life – measuring the progress of a nation.”

The Commonwealth of The South Pacific

Creating a Union of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands

In the 1890s, when the Federation of Australian States was being fervently debated, there were seven negotiating parties at the table — five States on the Continent, plus Tasmania and New Zealand.

Just before referendums were held to determine whether the grand venture would go ahead, New Zealand withdrew. Their stated reason was that Australia was experiencing a major economic recession brought on by the bank collapses of 1893, combined with the worst drought of the century. New Zealand had avoided both of those disasters and was motivated to take the short term view that it would be wise to pull out. In hindsight, it was a bad decision.

So, Federation proceeded without them. Yet, the provision remains in the Constitution for them to change their minds at some time — but it is an option that has never been taken up. Continue reading “The Commonwealth of The South Pacific”