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”

Voluntary Assisted Dying. Crunch time at Queensland Parliament.

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.”

THE LEFT HAS BEEN LEFT

Jeremy Corbyn has led British Labour to a massive defeat.

Bill Shorten led the Australian ALP to the loss of an election that should never have been lost.

Hilary Clinton led her left wing Democrats to lose an American Presidential Election to a candidate who will be remembered as the worst President in American History.

These astonishing events lead us to ask the question,

WILL A CANDIDATE FROM THE LEFT EVER WIN A MAJOR ELECTION AGAIN?

And how is it that this all happened.?

Let’s look for a moment at all three. Continue reading “THE LEFT HAS BEEN LEFT”

TOWNS DIE, CITIES CHOKE, AUSTRALIA SLEEPS

I was born and bred in the Australian bush.

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.

Then, they slowly began to die. Continue reading “TOWNS DIE, CITIES CHOKE, AUSTRALIA SLEEPS”

THE YEAR THAT NEVER WAS

2018 has been the most pointless of my 87 years.

Nothing dreadful happened to me or Australia. It was just a boring time of decadent politics and absent ethics in which not one inspiring thing happened and there was much to lament.

There are many regrettable issues that deserve a mention, but I will talk about just three.

The Royal Commissions on Child Abuse and Aged Care.

The Royal Commission on Banking

The demise of Malcolm Turnbull.

I write, not as a lament, but in the hope of working out how we can make sure they are never repeated. There simply has to be a better way to run our country. Continue reading “THE YEAR THAT NEVER WAS”

NO SAFE SEATS

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.

How have we reached this incredible political crisis? Continue reading “NO SAFE SEATS”

GIANT REFERENDUM

I have never before in my 86 years encountered an era in which so many Australians are utterly disenchanted with, or distrusting of, politics.

This means that there exists a once in a lifetime opportunity to make huge changes in the way Australia is governed.

Voters have given up trying to find the right leader. They clearly do not think that such a person exists at this time. So, their only hope lies in changing the rules under which Parliament operates.

This can clearly be achieved if the largest referendum in the history of Australia can be held on the day of the next Federal Election which is currently likely to happen in late 2018 or early 2019.

As I see it, there are six important constitutional changes that should be presented and adopted.

Let me set them out. Continue reading “GIANT REFERENDUM”

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”

Future of Marriage

I voted YES because I do not believe that heterosexuals like me are finer human beings than homosexuals, nor are we entitled to any special privileges.

So, I cheered mightily when YES won decisively and have now set out to play my part in healing the deep rifts in society caused by having a totally unnecessary Survey when Parliament had the power, but not the guts, to pass legislation without it. As a result, we have experienced an awfully vindictive and divisive time in the life of Australia as a nation that has destroyed goodwill.

Sadly, I note in the social media that some ‘Christians’ have stated that the institution of marriage has now been trashed to the extent that it has absolutely no value for humanity. They intend to get divorced, but still live together, so they are not ‘shamed’ by being married in the same manner as gays.

My only observation on the plight of these sad people is that in October next year, Helen and I will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of our wedding and we can confidently say that, while the piece of paper we signed on our wedding day has had nothing whatsoever to do with us living happily together for 60 years, it is a treasured document that we are not going to tear up. Continue reading “Future of Marriage”

THE AUSTRALIAN WAY

Pauline Hanson, Tony Abbott and Cory Bernardi all say that they are totally committed to the defence of the Australian Way of life. But, they differ broadly when they endeavour to explain to us what it is they are defending.

Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten have differing versions of the Australian Way, but both also disagree with some of what Hanson, Abbott and Bernardi have to say.

So, how does the average Aussie punter work out what it is we are all supposed to be promoting and defending?

Embarrassingly for more moderate citizens, there seem to be some broad areas of common bias.

The primary one is a strong belief that Australia must be defended from hordes of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, as well as foreign workers and investors who bring with them sharia law and burkas and terrorists. Added to this is a primitive view that gays, lesbians and aborigines represent a threat to ‘decent’ society.

So, how do we find common ground on what it is in Australian life we should be standing up for as we try to curb the influence of those supposed ‘infidels’ and, much more formidably, how can we achieve it? Sadly, too many seem to believe that the creation of an atmosphere of fear is a good way to begin. Continue reading “THE AUSTRALIAN WAY”

Following in the footsteps of ‘Flynn of the Inland’

On the road to the geographical centre of Australia near the NT/SA border
On the road to the geographical centre of Australia near the NT/SA border

It was in the year 1912 that John Flynn established the Australian Inland Mission.

Immediately, he set out to establish a MANTLE OF SAFETY across the Continent, resulting in the founding of many Bush Hospitals, the Pedal Radio, Royal Flying Doctor Service and School of the Air.

I became fascinated with him as an extraordinary nation builder during my School Days in the 1930’s and studied his life story whenever I had the opportunity to visit the scenes of many of his greatest achievements.

His inspirational life caused me to make a decision in my greying years to write a book about him. I called it ‘The Man on the Twenty Dollar Notes’ and published it last year. It turned out to be a best seller, such is the public fascination of great achievers.

As part of my preparation for that experience as a writer, I travelled on some splendid bush tours with my friends John and Ros Thompson who personally run a small specialist touring company called NATURE BOUND AUSTRALIA. It is highly professional and very friendly.

The first trip was a memorable journey to the Corner Country, out where the borders of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory converge, the land where Burke and Wills died at the Dig Tree at Cooper Creek. It enabled me to look at the remains of the old Flynn Hospital at Birdsville and experience a little of what his constant drives across the Simpson Desert must have been like.

Then, the Thompson’s took us on an exploration of the Flinders Ranges of South Australia, up to Lake Eyre and the Red Centre, visiting Flynn’s old hospitals at Oodnadatta, Leigh Creek, Maree and Innamincka to learn about the lives he saved and the tragedies that he helped lonely people overcome as they suffered through sheer isolation.

What was great about a Nature Bound Tour with the Thompsons was their superb knowledge of flora, fauna, water, history and the legends of the bush. The dialogue was highly educational and fascinating. This should not have surprised me as John and I had worked together down the years planning such visions as diverting tropical rivers down into the parched inland and planning railways across the undeveloped North, none of which any government bothered to listen to. But we enjoyed the experience immensely. We even planned simple technology that Senior Australians would find useful in communicating with the world when they became too frail to get around, a very mini version of Flynn’s initiatives that finally led to the Pedal Radio.

All of this enabled me to understand how the Australian Bush fascinated Flynn. Travels across its vastness were a revitalising challenge that he enjoyed. It taught him to relax and be patient. A lot of us who work too hard could try it with the Thompson’s and enjoy the benefits while absorbing a lot of history. Actually, I met a single woman the other day who expressed interest in discovering the Inland, but not by travelling alone. I referred her to the Thompson’s. She can travel with them in comfort, style and security.

If you would like to learn more about Flynn before you venture forth with the Thompson’s, I suggest you click on the book title in the menu above, fill out and despatch the order form. Once you get into it you will want to follow the Flynn trail and experience the challenge that made him a nation builder. He will become a role model for your future no matter how old you may be.

Not so long ago. Helen and I travelled with the Thompson’s for a long weekend in the Border Ranges of Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales, right into the timber country. We did it because my father had been a long time employee of a sawmill in a small bush town. It made me realise what a relaxing experience the peace and silence of the mountains really was. I did some of my clearest thinking in a long while, nothing to disturb me except the rustle of the wind and the calls of the birds and the magic of nature.

So, I leave you with this thought.

Flynn had a powerful faith, a belief that nothing is impossible and that people are a nation’s best assets. Australia will be enhanced if a little bit of his humble power rubs off on each of us. Australia will be a better place if the Flynn magic captures you and me.

Give John and Ros a call and open the door to a new experience of life.

They can be contacted via their website and you can explore their varied tour options

Yours at Large
Everald Compton

Australia's longest place name , on the largest cattle station in the world, along the track from Coober Pedy
Australia’s longest place name , on the largest cattle station in the world, along the track from Coober Pedy

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BARNABY or HANSON

The Angry Vote is growing throughout Australia and is doing so at an ever increasing pace as voters grow more and more disenchanted with a political establishment which is so appallingly out of touch with the aspirations of voters.

Currently, Angry Voters see Pauline Hanson as their only vehicle for protest, but most of them don’t like her personally. She is simply a political convenience.

But, even if Turnbull and Shorten manage to destroy her, an event which is highly doubtful, the Angry Vote will remain and grow even faster.

The fact is that all those disenchanted souls need a new political home, another knight in shining armour.

The only possible candidate is BARNABY JOYCE.

This raises an unanswered question.

WILL BARNABY TAKE THE NATIONALS OUT OF THE COALITION AND CLAIM HIS, AND THEIR, PLACE IN THE SUN? Continue reading “BARNABY or HANSON”

THE MONEY MYTH

Controversy has raged around the five million dollars in salary and bonuses paid to the Chief Executive of Australia Post and the ridiculous manner in which those who were responsible tried to hide their stupidity.

Clearly, there is something wrong when the CEO of a Government Corporation is paid nine times that which is paid to his boss, the Prime Minister. Eye brows also rise when that CEO buys a home for around twenty million dollars and then spends five million renovating it. The underpaid postmen out on the beat in hot weather were somewhat less than impressed.

But, it did give the leaders like Wayne Swan an excellent platform to relaunch their much needed drive to have inequality taken seriously by politicians, voters and economists.

The Board of Directors of Australia Post is clearly to blame, absolutely out of their depth. Their Chairman is a politician with no business experience who was given a ‘job for the boys’ when his political career abruptly ended. Quite obviously, that type of political appointment must cease as it is of absolutely no value to Australia. Continue reading “THE MONEY MYTH”

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”

THE YEAR THE MUSIC STOPPED

My end of year travels enabled me to take in some Christmas functions in Adelaide Melbourne Sydney and Brisbane. Inevitably, the conversations got to focus on the sad state of politics and a few facts became indelibly clear.

Malcolm Turnbull has reached rock bottom and few now listen to anything that he says. No matter whether people are left, right, centre or swingers, they are utterly unanimous in this view and highly unlikely ever to change their minds.

They are also unanimous on another matter. They do not want Bishop, Morrison or Shorten to replace him. They just want politicians to get lost.

In fact, they all see Christmas 2016 as the end of the line. It concludes a shocker of a year when the music stopped. Continue reading “THE YEAR THE MUSIC STOPPED”

PENSION WITHOUT POLITICS

At Budget time every year, and at every election, Australia’s Age Pensioners take an unwarranted political and social pounding.

They are accused of being an intolerable burden on younger taxpayers who are concerned that most pensioners may be welfare cheats.

The cynical aspect of it all are that their accusers are mostly tax evaders who constantly cry out for more corporate welfare such as tax cuts, subsidies and low interest rates.

Nevertheless, the fact is that the Age Pension today amounts to a payout of 45 billion dollars a year, a figure that will double by 2030 as more Australians grow older and take a lot longer to die.

The question for us all is how we finance it without sending oldies to the gas chambers as some fascists would like to do.

We can start by taking an objective look at the current situation and work out how to turn it into a positive.

The Age Pension is indisputably inadequate, very close to the poverty line, and has been for a long time. Continue reading “PENSION WITHOUT POLITICS”

Federal Government must do more for growing population of ageing Australians

GREY POWER article in Courier Mail QWeekend, October 1-2,2016 By GRANTLEE KIEZA

It’s high noon in Canberra as Everald Compton gets ready to march toward the microphone and into ­battle at the National Press Club. A few weeks short of his 85th birthday, he’s still hitting his stride. As Compton adjusts his blue and white diamond-­patterned tie, straightens the jacket of his dark blue power suit and runs a hand over his shining white hair, there’s a touch of the statesman about him.

He is a veteran campaigner who has been shaking the hands of prime ministers since 1956 and twisting their arms for the past 40 years, fighting for increases in the pension and spreading his message that grey is gold – that elderly Australians are a priceless asset.

Of all the prime ministers he has met, Bob Menzies and Gough Whitlam were the most commanding, while at the other end of the spectrum he thought Billy McMahon was a “silly little bloke” – the worst prime minister he had ­encountered until he met Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott.

He hopes to channel some of Menzies and Gough today. Watching on, the moderator at the Press Club address, David Speers, Sky Channel’s political editor, remarks: “When Everald Compton is on the warpath, both sides of politics need to watch out.”
Compton casts an eye over the lunchtime audience in the large dining room and as he takes centre stage behind the lectern and adjusts the discreet hearing aid in his left ear, he outlines the reasons why Malcolm Turnbull not only has to appoint a special minister for ageing Australians but why the whole age pension system needs overhauling. There are 1.5 million aged pensioners in Australia, he says, and a third of them are living on or below the ­poverty line, mashing their food because they can’t afford dental care or missing meals so they can pay their rent.
“The age pension in Australia is clearly inadequate,” he says, “and the Government of Australia has to face up to it.”

He holds up a report labelled “The Adequacy of the Age Pension in Australia” that he and a team of researchers have been working on for 12 months. He says it should have been titled “The Inadequacy of the Age Pension”.
Back in 1908, Compton says, Alfred Deakin and Andrew Fisher, who both served as prime ministers that year, “got together and set the age for the pension at 65 because that’s the age when they reckoned most people would be dead, and they were going to give the age pension to anyone who survived”. He says the pension rate was then £26 a year ­because that’s all the government could afford.
“There was no other scientific calculation involved. Down the years governments have made adjustments on whether they need to win an election, but they have never done an economic study to see what it really costs a ­pensioner to live.” Compton says many pensioners are ­giving up their phones and their computers because they can’t afford the $40 monthly bill – “so we are entering an age of technology where pensioners are going to be cut off from essential medical services”.
For the past year, Compton’s not-for-profit group the Longevity Innovation Hub, along with Australia’s oldest charity, the Benevolent Society, and the research think tank Per Capita, have been researching the needs of ­pensioners, holding focus groups and public meetings around the country. His research shows the need for “an independent tribunal set up by an act of Parliament that takes the whole pension out of the budget and out of polit­ical and election places”. Parliamentarians, he says, have a similar tribunal to ­decide their own salaries and never question the findings. Making the pension adequate and fair, he says, would cost the Federal Government $2 billion, but it could save $8 billion a year by cutting out middle-class welfare and negative gearing. Even if that meant a ­decline in the value of the home at Aspley, about 13km north of Brisbane’s CBD, where he and his wife Helen, 78, live, Compton says it’s a bullet he’ll take for the team.
We’re sitting in the study of that neat, lowset Aspley home two days after Compton’s speech. He’s behind the desk where, with a tumbler of good Scotch beside him and one finger working tirelessly, he tapped out a ­biography of his hero, the Reverend John Flynn. He wrote The Man on the Twenty Dollar Notes while winding down from a schedule that includes fighting for the pensioners, consulting on an inland railway from Melbourne to Darwin, writing regularly on his blog, tweeting voraciously under the handle @EVERALDATLARGE, advising on the cattle business, and raising funds for the Uniting Church in Aspley, where he and Helen are both elders.

Already on the day Everald talks to The Courier-Mail, he has had breakfast in Brisbane with Cloncurry cattleman Don McDonald, whose properties cover a land mass bigger than Belgium, and who is backing the inland railway. He ­followed that with a public meeting with pensioners at Mt Gravatt, in Brisbane’s south, hosted by the State Member for Mansfield, Ian Walker. Then it was lunch with a ­researcher to discuss affordable housing.
Helen is constantly amazed at her husband’s workload but Compton swears Flynn’s spirit is beside him, urging him to fight for disadvantaged Australians.
“Flynn was always a hero from my earliest childhood memories,” he says. “My mother took me to Sunday school at age three and I’ve been going to church ever since.”
Compton was born in Toowoomba and grew up in the logging villages of Linville and Monsildale in the Brisbane Valley. When the local mill closed, his father, Herbert, moved the family to Toowoomba for work at the KR smallgoods factory.
Herbert was descended from a British convict and Compton’s mother, Thelma, was the granddaughter of a ­Lutheran missionary sent from Germany with the charter to “remove sin from the continent of Australia”. John Flynn became Compton’s idol and exemplar.
“The sheer scope of what he achieved is staggering,” he says. “Back in 1912 the Presbyterian Church said to him, ‘we are going to make you the head of the Australian Inland Mission to look after the bush’ – which was 80 per cent of the continent. They thought he was going to build churches but he went out to spread the word by building a mantle of safety. He built hospitals, started the Flying Doctors and School of the Air. He was a true nation-builder and we don’t have nation-builders like him any more.”
Compton says writing the book kept his brain ­constantly firing. “I believe someone who remains active like me will live five years longer,” he says. “The more ­people who keep working into their later years means less money the government has to find for pensions. And the longer a person works, the more money is going into their super fund so they have a better life.
“I’m on a board of directors of a cattle company that I have a minor interest in. All the others on the board are 40, and I’m almost 85. They keep referring to my experience, and that situation should be replicated all over Australia. Every company with young turks should have an old guy on the board, provided they are willing to learn new ways.”

At the National Press Club, Jo Toohey, chief executive of the Benevolent Society, follows Compton to the stage and tells the audience that for many pensioners, the daily challenges of medical bills, paying rent or hiring tradespeople are “hugely amplified”.
“This has an enormous effect on their health and wellbeing.” Out of their pension, she says – a maximum basic rate of $797.90 a fortnight for a single person and $1203 for couples – they have to pay the basics first, so even a dental visit becomes “an extraordinary event”. Australia’s minimum wage is nearly double the age ­pension. The lowest-paid Member of Parliament receives almost 10 times the amount. “The poverty line in Australia is $851 a fortnight,” Toohey says. “If you’re a single person receiving the age pension without any rent assistance ­because you own your own home – which is quite possibly falling down around you – then your living income is $56 below the poverty line. That’s one-third of age pensioners.”
Many pensioners, she says, switch off their hot water for months because they can’t afford the electricity. “We are a rich country, the fifth-richest in the world (according to OECD wealth-distribution figures) yet we allow a third of our pensioners to live at or below the ­poverty line.”
Compton watches his confederate speak. He has the look of a general commanding troops in attack.
John Flynn knew how to build partnerships with people who could help him, Compton says. He had Hudson Fysh, the founder of Qantas, and fundraisers such as cattleman Sidney Kidman, farm machinery manufacturer H. V. McKay, and author Jeannie Gunn.
Compton started his partnership with Helen when he was 25 and president of the Presbyterian Fellowship for Brisbane. He was at a church camp at Alexandra Headland on the Sunshine Coast. He made a speech to farewell a missionary heading to Vanuatu, cracked a joke and saw a girl in the crowd smile at the remark.
That was 60 years ago. They have four children – Wendy, 57, a high-school teacher in Brisbane; Robyn, 55, a dietitian in Melbourne; Paul, 52, a banker in London, and Lyndel, 49, a cancer nurse at Swindon, also in England. Each of his four children has two of his or her own.
Compton worked at the smallgoods factory, then the Commonwealth Bank in Toowoomba, and studied at night to become an accountant. When he was 24 he heard that the Presbyterian Church was looking for a fundraiser to help build St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital on Wickham Terrace in inner Brisbane’s Spring Hill.

He was so successful at tapping wealthy old Scotsmen on the shoulder that he soon set up his own fundraising company, which became Everald Compton International. He ran it for 40 years, establishing offices in Brisbane, Wellington in New Zealand, Johannesburg, Vancouver and London. He raised money for politicians across the spectrum – Gough Whitlam, John Howard, Bob Hawke and Joh Bjelke-Petersen. He met Joh’s future wife, Flo, when she was Florence Gilmour and teaching bible classes at St Andrew’s on Creek St, in Brisbane’s CBD. He ran campaigns for the restoration of English cathedrals – at Ely, Worcester, ­Gloucester, Winchester and Portsmouth – and raised money for South Africa’s Progressive Federal Party, which eventually helped to free Nelson Mandela.
All along Compton wanted to help a group in Australia he saw as being especially needy and in 1976 was one of the founders of National Seniors Australia, which boasts 250,000 members.
Since then, he has lobbied prime ministers for a better deal for older Australians and built three retirement ­villages – Compton Gardens at Aspley, Comptons at Caboolture, and Brookland Village at southside Sunnybank.
In 2009 he negotiated with then-federal treasurer Wayne Swan, his local member, an increase to the single pension of about $33, but he says much more is needed now to provide the elderly with a decent standard of living.
Compton gives a series of media interviews after his address to the National Press Club and talks over his ideas with Labor powerbroker Anthony Albanese. He ends the night tweeting: “Quiet scotch after 11 hours with #Pension Study Team … A small step towards justice for pensioners”.
Back at home with Helen in Aspley, he’s preparing for an open day at the nearby Bald Hills mosque to strengthen ties with his neighbourhood’s Muslim community. It is a rapidly changing world. He recently tweeted: “As committed Elder of my #Church can I say we have no right to say a word re #samesexmarriage in light of our infamous record on #childabuse”.
He has little faith in the present government, saying that he is “terribly disappointed” with Malcolm Turnbull. “I worked with Malcolm during the Republican movement in 1999. He was arrogant then, but decisive. He’d make snap decisions and you couldn’t contest them. He alienated so many people. But as Prime Minister, he is now so indecisive.”

Compton says the first Federal Budget he heard was delivered by Harold Holt more than half a century ago and the government’s funding for pensioners has not improved since then.
He has dealt with every prime minister since Menzies. “I had a fair bit to do with Whitlam,” he says. “He was an enormously impressive personality – the problem was he would imagine these great things but couldn’t get them done. He had some dreadful hillbillies with him like Jim Cairns and Rex Connor, who dragged him down. Malcolm Fraser was a very ordinary prime minister, and Bob Hawke was the best negotiator I’d met until Julia Gillard.
“Bob had a marvellous ability to be everybody’s friend. Paul Keating had the best economic brain but also an ability to make people dislike him. His ideas – such as compulsory superannuation – were brilliant.
“John Howard was probably the best grassroots pol­itician I dealt with. Old John could smell trouble coming a mile away and the Howard era was the most prosperous in my lifetime. We had 11 good years with him at the helm.”
Compton says he has “a very low opinion of Kevin Rudd” and cheered his downfall. “You never knew what he was going to do next. He was one of the most intelligent blokes I’ve dealt with but he couldn’t deal with people.”
Julia Gillard, he says, had a poor public image, like an old schoolmarm, “but one on one she was superb – a great negotiator. She had an attractive personality, which didn’t come through to the public”.
Tony Abbott, he says, was “totally out of his depth … a very rigid thinker driven by religion and hard-right ­ideology” – and he says Turnbull is only surviving because there is no natural successor.
Compton says the present Federal Government must do more for the growing population of ageing Australians. “By 2050 there will be 50,000 Australians over 100,” he says, “and the largest population group in Australia will be aged 85-100. The Government seems totally oblivious. Turnbull only has a Minister for Aged Care – that represents only about one per cent of the ageing question.”
The clock on Compton’s wall chimes and reminds him of more meetings he has scheduled.
When he gets a chance to relax with a smoky, peaty ­single-malt Scotch, he’s working on a new book about Australia’s Federation. He says it is “staggeringly stupid” that such a wealthy country as Australia still treats its oldest ­citizens so poorly.
Last week he told his audience in Canberra: “The Government hopes that by three o’clock this afternoon everyone will have forgotten about this, and I just want to let them know that in whatever short years I may have left on this planet, I’m going to relentlessly pursue them. We’ve come to the point in the history of Australia where the ­pension has to come out of politics and enter the area of human justice.
“As Gough Whitlam would have said if he were up here: ‘It’s time’.”

Outback Magazine comments on my unusual book about Flynn of the Inland

BOOK REVIEW – OUTBACK MAGAZINE ISSUE 108 Aug/Sep 2016

A new take on John Flynn

This is perhaps the most unusual book ever written about John Flynn, the legend of the inland who died in 1951. In addition to helping create the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Flynn built bush hospitals all over the continent as the head of the Australian Inland Mission, and founded the School of the Air.

Author Everald Compton, 84, has been an unashamed admirer of Flynn and his simple, practical theology since his schooldays. “Flynn’s role as my spiritual mentor is my prime motivation in writing this account of his life,” Everald writes. The 250-page work takes in Flynn’s “enormous impact on Australian life and his redefining of what it means to be a follower of Jesus of Nazareth and how a good Christian still makes many mistakes.”

Everald’s unusual style means the whole book is written as a series of conversations that Flynn may have had along his life’s journey. Everald says that Flynn liked nothing better than to have a yarn. “This book is my attempt to write an account of Flynn’s life in a way that I think he would like to have it told,” he says.

Most of the characters are real, although a handful are fictional, and the result is a flowing text somewhere between an historical novel and a biography. There are a few places where the dialogue becomes a little clunky, but on the whole it’s an enjoyable, thoughtful and insightful book that reminds us of the crucial, long-lasting legacy of John Flynn.

Discounted copies are available for churches and charities to aid fundraising efforts.

“The man on the twenty dollar notes:
Flynn of the inland”
Everald Compton
$25
0407 721 710
https://manonthetwentydollarnotes.com

Man on Twenty Dollar Notes: Compton puts words in John Flynn’s mouth – Book Review by Ross Fitzgerald

Book review by Columnist for The Australian – Ross Fitzgerald (Published in The Weekend Australian, 9 July 2016)

Decades ago, when I was a student at Melbourne High School, I was entranced by reading a battered biography of John Flynn, founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. First published in 1932, Flynn of the Inland was written by that vastly underrated Australian writer, Ion Idriess.
Now, 84 years and eight books about him later, yet another biography of Flynn, who was born at Moliagul, central Victoria in 1880, has seen the light of day. Self-published by veteran author Everald Compton, this is a peculiar but fascinating book
Blessed with a catchy title, The Man on the Twenty Dollar Notes, the book reveals that as well as creating the RFDS, in partnership with legendary aviator Hudson Fysh, Flynn helped found the School of the Air, pioneered the pedal-powered radio and built numerous bush hospitals throughout inland and remote Australia for the Australian Inland Mission.
Compton regards Flynn as a prime example of muscular Christianity and of faith in action. Indeed, as he notes, in 1912 Flynn — an ordained minister — was commissioned by the Presbyterian Church of Australia to create what it termed “a mantle of safety” across what was then for many non-indigenous people an extremely lonely continent.
In this clearly produced and well documented book, Compton confesses that he has been a huge fan of Flynn since he first learned about his exploits at bush Sunday schools in the mid-1930s.
Yet The Man on the Twenty Dollar Notes is not an easy book to read or to understand.
Even though Compton claims, I suspect in the main rightly, that his tale is based on the known facts of Flynn’s life, the copious dialogue in the book is what he thinks would or could have occurred at the time, given what he says is his knowledge of Flynn’s “unforgettable personality”.
To take another example, the sermon in the book that Flynn “delivers” at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Brisbane is not the one he in fact delivered there shortly before his death in 1951. Instead, Compton admits, it is “an amalgam of words” based on selected themes from speeches Flynn made across many years, including some of the words that he actually spoke that evening.
While most of the characters in this book are real people with whom Flynn is known to have lived and worked, others are invented. These include a young volunteer nurse Flynn “meets” just before his death and a handful of pilgrims who, decades after his death, relive and review Flynn’s life of service to others. The role of these made-up characters Compton endeavours to explain in a postscript, not altogether successfully.
One of the many pluses in this biography is how Compton documents and explores how Flynn’s successes were based on partnerships, not just with Fysh and Alfred Traeger — with whom he created a pedal radio that connected the bush with the wider world — but with the ‘‘cattle king’’ of inland Australia, Sidney Kidman, and also with leading politicians.
The latter included Country Party leader Arthur Fadden, who was famously prime minister for 40 days and 40 nights in 1941.
Flynn also worked well with Liberal PM Robert Menzies, who publicly mourned his death, and especially with the ALP’s Jim Scullin, a devout Catholic who regarded the pioneering Presbyterian doctor as a mate.
From time to time Flynn also co-operated with Labor’s Ben Chifley and even with the notorious political turncoat WM “Billy” Hughes.
Even though I remain a committed atheist, it is hard to disagree with Compton when he concludes that Flynn leaves a great legacy and a fine example to modern Christianity, which so often continues to struggle with a crisis of belief.
But ultimately this is not a book about religion. It is based on what its erudite author calls “a power beyond ourselves” that manifested itself in Flynn’s life of service to others. This force or power Compton vividly describes in a non-religious way. He regards it as being deeply relevant to our secular society in the 21st century.
It seems to me that Compton’s creation is a vintage and authentic Reverend Dr John Flynn who, according to this well-written book, seldom preached but simply yarned with the diverse men and women he met along the way, including members of his many congregations.
Ross Fitzgerald is emeritus professor of history and politics at Griffith University.
The Man on the Twenty Dollar Notes: Flynn of the Inland
By Everald Compton