A WEEK IN THE HALLS OF POWER

A decade of coups has caused the Australian Parliament to be a fragile example of the way that democracy is meant to work.

However, no matter whether you belong to right or left, we can acknowledge the fact that the arrival of the Albanese Government has changed the political atmosphere around the nation and created hope that we can experience a long period of political stability that enables us to achieve positive progress in meeting many significant challenges that face us.

Be this as it may, I have been an annual visitor to the Australian Parliament for 64 years, the first being way back in the days of Robert Menzies, and I continued my pilgrimage in this past week, enjoying the experience. MP’s told me that no one in Australia can beat that record.

I flew into Canberra on Sunday on yet another delayed Qantas flight, just in time to enjoy a splendid dinner at the Kingston home of my friend, Stephen Koukoulas, whom I regard as Australia’s finest economist, as well as being an astute political observer. He gave me a solid briefing on the political scene in our nations capital.

Armed with this, I descended upon Parliament for the next four days, having managed to organise 34 meetings with Members and Senators from the ALP, LNP, Greens & Independents, plus bureaucrats and press gallery. Some meetings lasted only 15 or 30 minutes, but others took an hour or more over breakfast, lunch or dinner.

A range of issues were covered in our conversations, with the key ones being my priorities – railways, longevity, housing, climate & Uluru referendum.

Here are three personal impressions of how Australia is travelling in political terms right now.

*When the Uluru Referendum is held, it will starkly divide Australia as Hanson and Palmer, backed by some high profile ultra conservatives from the LNP, will run one of the greatest scare campaigns of all time in an attempt to convince us that our homes will soon be taken from us by the traditional owners. Nevertheless, I feel confident that the referendum will produce a positive result and I am personally committed to work as a volunteer on the YES campaign to encourage oldies like me to back it solidly.

*The passing of Climate Legislation will be a solid test of the leadership skills of Anthony Albanese. The climate commitment he made during election campaign was better than that of Morrison, but far short of what is needed. To pass his climate bill through the Senate, he needs every Green Senator to vote with him, plus one Independent. This will be near impossible to achieve without expanding the goals of his climate policy as Independent David Pocock is the one most likely to vote with him. He is a deeply committed climate activist who will ask for upgrades.

*Inflation, plus the steep interest rate rises it is creating, is the most formidable hurdle for you and me right now. We will be hit hard, but we will survive. I have significant confidence in the economic knowledge and skills of Treasurer, Jim Chalmers. I first met him 15 years ago and we chat regularly. He knows what he is doing and does it calmly. You can have confidence that we are headed in the right direction.

A couple of matters especially upset me.

*I attended the swearing in of most of the 151 Members of the House of Representatives and was appalled when they were asked to give their allegiance, not to the people of Australia, but to the Queen. This means that they have sworn not to be accountable to you and me. This is a disgusting travesty of democratic justice.

*I had hoped that the behaviour of our leaders at Question time would improve. It has not. They still abuse one another. Don’t watch it. It is an appalling spectacle that represents a bad example to the nation and a total waste of your time and mine.

However, there are some good things happening.

*Seven indigenous people have been elected to the Parliament. This is a record. And its a good one.

*There are more women in Parliament than ever before and most of them are top quality. Cheers.

*My friend Milton Dick was elected Speaker. He will reform the way in which the entire Parliament and its staff go about their business. Discrimination by gender or race or religion will not be tolerated.

Did I enjoy this visit to Parliament? YES.

Is there really a positive attitude of change in the Parliament? YES

We can enjoy life with confident calm so long as we live and work with skill, confidence, determination and persistence, while ensuring there is justice for all.

Grace and Peace.

Everald

Buy my book DINNER WITH THE FOUNDING FATHERS and absorb the sad details of why indigenous people were left out of the Australian Constitution in 1901. It will encourage you to help fix this injustice.

You can buy it from any online bookseller or my personal websites.

https://dinnerwiththefoundingfathers.com

EVERALD@LARGE

A NEW PARLIAMENT FOR AUSTRALIA

This weekend, 227 Members and Senators will travel to Canberra from all corners of our continent to be sworn in on Tuesday to serve in the 47th Parliament of Australia since Federation in 1901.

It will be led by the nation’s 31st Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, who as the Leader of the Labor Party, follows three conservative Prime Ministers, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison, whose tenure will not be treated by historians as kindly as they may have hoped.

Many significant changes have been promised and are expected to be implemented.

If they are not achieved satisfactorily, and begin to produce promised results, voters will react harshly in Election2025 as the people of Australia now have a low tolerance level for crude party politics and inept governments.

So, what are the priorities and which of them are the most urgent?

While I dont expect Albo to take notice of my thoughts, these are my top ten priorities and I have listed them in what I believe is their order of importance.

*HEALTH – We have massively underinvested in all aspects of health, while private health insurance has been plundered by the medical profession and allowed to descend into an unaffordable disaster.

*INFLATION – This is seriously expanding the daily struggle for existence of a growing number of Australians in more ways than any other factor. It has been mainly caused by the greed and corruption of capitalism at its very worst, with costs being faked as a excuse to generate excessive profits. This must be eliminated quickly .

*ENERGY – a costly disgrace, caused by a decade of irresponsible neglect in failing to replace ageing power sources, that is particularly severe on pensioners and low income earners.

*AGED CARE – pitiful and disgraceful. Words cant adequately describe the humiliation and misery that people are suffering in their final years for no valid reason.

*CLIMATE and ENVIRONMENT – long overdue for serious investment, plus personal changes to our own lifestyles. Climate deniers are the world’s most irresponsible people and must be sidelined.

*AFFORDABLE HOUSING – will be solved only when governments make their surplus land and airspace available long term via low cost leases.

*ULURU STATEMENT – Its time to rectify the omission of Indigenous heritage from our original Constitution in 1901. It can be delayed no longer.

*INFRASTRUCTURE – it is either ancient or inadequate or inferior or inefficient. Huge defect in our quality of national life and our level of productivity

*WATER – we are the driest continent on the planet, yet we have never ever harnessed and sustained our water resources in an intelligent manner.

*CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE – long overdue, especially reform of the size and powers of the Senate and the powers of the Crown being passed to the People of Australia,

I an attending the entire opening week of Parliament in Canberra.

Have arranged 24 appointments with Ministers, Shadow Ministers, cross benchers and back benchers from all parties and Independents. I carry out my negotiations as a swinging voter who never has and never will join a political party as I regard them as gatherings where closed minds can flourish.

My personal mission on this visit to Parliament is to take part in discussions on the Inland Railway, Gladstone Railway, Aged Care, Affordable Housing, Uluru Statement and Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation for ACT & Northern Territory. My intention is to follow up these issues relentlessly until results are achieved.

Am hopeful of positive results as the Prime Minister appears to be seriously implementing a significant agenda for change, quite different to the negativity of recent governments that sought to revive ‘good old days’ that have never existed.

Over and above all of this, I hope that dignity and decency will return to the Parliament after a long absence.

Especially, I hope that Question Time will become a place of respectful debate. At present, it projects to the nation a very divisive and angry image which fosters discourtesy in our society.

It particularly encourages school children to speak in the same way to their teachers. They are just following the poor example of our national leaders.

I yearn for the dignified tradition of Menzies and Chifley who regularly debated one another in Parliament with huge courtesy and respect, as well as making excellent use of the English language as their sauce of power.

Yours in genuine hope for a Parliament of quality and achievement.

Everald.

And don’t forget to buy signed copies of my three books from my website

EVERALD@LARGE

or online from Booktopia or Amazon or Dymocks or Fishpond etc.

Even though I say so myself, they are an entertaining read.

ELECTION 2022 – AFTERMATH

Anthony Albanese has been sworn in as the 31st Prime Minister of Australia.

He does not pretend to be a charismatic leader, but I know him well enough to say he is a reliable administrator and proven negotiator who will not run away from any of the huge challenges that now face Australia. I wish him well and, like you, will hold him accountable if he fails to implement the mandate for which he sought approval during the election.

I particularly welcome Jim Chalmers as Treasurer. I have known him for a long time and am certain that he will be a safe custodian of our money and an innovative reformer of the nation’s financial and taxation systems. Let me say that he is as talented a political leader as I have met in 65 years of visiting the Australian Parliament.

Three facts will be noted by the Albanese Government.

*Their primary vote was their lowest, percentage wise, in 110 years. Actually lower than Bill Shorten received in 2019.

*They lost a ‘safe’ seat in their heartland.

*They did not win a single extra seat from the LNP in Queensland. Their electoral impact there were nil.

The ALP will be wise to address this prior to Election 2025.

The so called TEALS have arrived on the political scene as Independents in significant numbers and are here to stay. The ones I know are highly intelligent, committed and motivated. They will strive to cement their place in the Parliament with positive negotiations and should be reelected many times, also increasing their numbers. They will progressively reduce the power of major parties and this will be good for democracy in Australia.

Greens have enjoyed a resurgence in the House of Representatives and in the Senate where they will hold the balance of power. They are a more pragmatic and balanced Party than they were under their founder Bob Brown and will continue to grow in strength and influence due to their superior policies on climate change which have captivated younger voters.

The Liberals are in their death throws.

In terms of seats won, they had their worst election result in 70 years and they suffered a significant drop in their % of primary vote.

It is highly likely they will split into two parties.

The right wing are so extremist they cannot possibly continue to call themselves Liberals without displaying utter hypocrisy.

The moderates have been decimated by the Teals and some of those who did survive will probably walk out of their Party and sit as a group on the crossbenches where their neighbours will be the Teals.

May I also say that Josh Frydenberg is a valued friend of long standing, introduced to me by our mutual friend, Sir Zelman Cowen, long before Josh went into Parliament. While I warmly welcome so many Independents into the Parliament, I am sad that Josh was a casualty. He is an honest and decent conservative whose presence will be missed.

The Nationals did not lose a seat, which is quite extraordinary, but the childish negativity of Barnaby Joyce did cause moderate conservative voters in cities to vote for Teals. They have nothing to gain by renewing a Coalition with the Liberals as even their combined numbers will still be insignificant in the Parliament. To survive, they need to establish their own clear identity.

Clive Palmer spent huge sums of money in political advertising in both Election 2019 and Election 2022 and was rejected by voters on both occasions. Despite his political failure, the Australian Electoral Commission must request that legislation be passed by Parliament to make it illegal for any person or entity to attempt to buy an election.

The political star of Pauline Hanson is quietly fading. Few will weep.

So, how will all of this pan out in actuality for the people of Australia.

I have always held the view that no government should stay in power for more than three terms, certainly no more than a decade. A long term government usually gets tired and runs out of ideas and almost certainly needs a clean out by then. So, our change of government right now is a good thing for next decade, but no longer.

Labor has won only one third of the elections held since Federation in 1901. Conservatives have consistently been able to convince voters than the ALP are big spenders who will lose their money. However, Albanese is not going to allow himself and his Party to be tarred with that brush this time and then be tossed out after just one term. He will be careful and responsible.

In deciding their own fate, the Liberals will do well to recall Menzies speech when he created the Liberal Party in 1943. I heard it on ABC Radio at the time. I was just 12 years old. He said,

‘I have called my new Party the Liberals as we are not a Conservative Party. Our ideology is in the political centre.’

If the current Liberals don’t reclaim the initial ground staked out by Menzies, they may find that Albanese decides to move there in what for him and his party would be a very smart political move.

All is well for now.

Albo deserves a fair go. If he fails to deliver, we will have the chance to kick him out in 2025. This is our democratic right.

Scomo is finished and it is possible that the laws of the land will hold him accountable for some undemocratic and unethical behavior. Nevertheless, his miracle victory in the election of 2019 was the most spectacular of my lifetime.

Cheers

Everald

Enjoy a good read about the creation of the nation of Australia in 1901 and join me in a crusade to improve our Constitution in a new world of 120 years later.

Buy my book by visiting its website https://dinnerwiththefoundingfathers.com

A BUSH HOLIDAY IS MOST EFFECTIVE VACCINE FOR COVID19

Heritage listed bridge
Heritage listed Dickabram Bridge over the Mary River

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.

Creekbend B&B
Creekbend B&B

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.

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”

THE EXTINCTION OF THE EXTINCTION REBELLION

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.

Indeed, the main publicity was generated by grossly unfair personal criticism of Thunberg’s character and motives. Apparently, it is a big social error to be both young and female. Continue reading “THE EXTINCTION OF THE EXTINCTION REBELLION”

VALE LIBERALS FOREVER

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.

It is all over. Nothing can save the Liberals, absolutely nothing. Continue reading “VALE LIBERALS FOREVER”

LET’S KILL WELFARE

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.

So, it will be smart if we plan for it now instead of having it forced upon us in panic mode. Continue reading “LET’S KILL WELFARE”

A FUTURE WITHOUT ADANI

We are led to believe that the economic future of North Queensland is utterly dependent upon the opening of the Adani Mine in the Galilee Basin. Without it, we are told that there will be massive unemployment and a general economic downturn.

Indeed, it is of such enormity that an election in Melbourne for the Seat of Batman in the Federal Parliament will be decided on the issue, even though the electorate and the mine are thousands of kilometres apart.

This nonsense, spread by politicians, free market advocates, climate change deniers and general fear mongers, badly fails the pub test.

The stark fact is that development of the North and the Inland has never been backed by either serious political will or genuine investment, nor has a well researched long term plan of sustainable development for the region ever been prepared, let alone implemented.

The Adani mine was chosen as a quick fix for years of neglect and it was based on series of appalling fabrications. Continue reading “A FUTURE WITHOUT ADANI”

THE ADANI ELECTION

Queenslanders go to the polls on Saturday, 25 November, to elect a State Government.

Ostensibly, it is a contest between Annastacia Palaszczuk and Tim Nicholls as to who will be Premier of the Queensland Parliament,

It is absolutely not.

The battle is about whether or not one of the largest coal mines in the world will be opened in the Galilee Basin of Queensland and send its coal to India via the Barrier Reef.

This creates a complicated political situation as both Palaszczuk and Nicholls strongly back the opening of the mine, as does the likely holder of the balance of power, Pauline Hanson and her competitor for that role – Robbie Katter.

One would think that this would place the Adani mine in the safest of political positions, but it does not. It is an issue that will dominate the headlines until voting day as Adani protesters turn up to disrupt every political meeting, particularly those of the Premier.

Its chief beneficiary will be the Greens who have never before prospered in Queensland.

They will gain the balance of power and deny Hanson her dream. Continue reading “THE ADANI ELECTION”

Climate Trumped

Everything that Donald Trump does is a combination of good and bad and both are always out on the extremes.

His decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Change Accord is a typical example of classic Trump.

He deservedly won praise for carrying out an election promise. He said many times during his election campaign that he would scrap the Paris Accord and he did. It is a pity that more politicians don’t follow his example and carry out their promises.

He also gave the climate change fanatics a good kick in the head, which they richly deserve. Their vicious attacks on anyone who disagrees with, or reacts calmly to, their predictions of doom are an absolute insult to the intelligence of those of us who are moderates in search of practical solutions.

At time same time, Trump showed utter irresponsibility.

Whether or not climate change is occurring, the undeniable fact is that 7.5 billion human beings are polluting our planet every hour of every day and we have to do something sensible about it, despite Trump’s ridiculous denial of human impact.

In addition, his call for ‘America First’ is selfish, misguided, disastrous and doomed to failure as he gives up American leadership in the world and allows China to step into the vacuum.

But Trump is not the only one to blame for the situation the world now finds itself in. Continue reading “Climate Trumped”

BIRTH OF A RAILWAY

Shortly after John Howard was elected Prime Minister of Australia in 1996, I visited him at Parliament to outline a plan that I had to build an Inland Railway from Melbourne to Darwin via Parkes, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Gladstone, Mount Isa and Tennant Creek.

He has readily agreed to see me as I had been his honorary fund raiser for the marginal seats he had to win in order to be PM. I was not a member of the Liberal Party and had done this with no strings attached as he was an old friend, and still his.

Howard apologised and said he did not see it as a priority. He wanted to carry out all of his election promises and this was not one of them. That decision blows the theory that politicians are duty bound to repay political debts, not that I ever expected him to do so.

I decided to undertake the project privately and formed a company that I called Australian Transport and Energy Corridor Ltd which is still operating 21 years later. It is largely responsible for the decision in last Tuesday’s Budget to fund the Melbourne Brisbane section of the Inland Railway.

Let me tell you the story of two decades of persistence. Continue reading “BIRTH OF A RAILWAY”

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”

EVERALD’s ELECTION EDICT

We are two weeks into the 2016 Australian Election and I have waited in vain to hear any policies of vision and conviction from either the Coalition, the Opposition or the Greens that will stir my passion as a proud Australian who wants to build and expand the quality of our nation.

Sadly, I have stared at a barren waste.

Our politicians have missed the heart beat of the nation. They are talking to the old fashioned electorate of yesteryear that no long exists. Continue reading “EVERALD’s ELECTION EDICT”

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”

THE WINDSOR KNOT

Tony Windsor has made a decision that will change the political culture of Australia and instigate a long era of minority governments.

He will challenge Barnaby Joyce for the Seat of New England in the 2016 Federal Election and he has a better than even chance of winning, as do lots of independents across the nation. Continue reading “THE WINDSOR KNOT”

2016 – Turnbull year of destiny

My holiday reading included a very readable book called Born to Rule, an unauthorised biography of Malcolm Turnbull by veteran journalist Paddy Manning. I enjoyed it immensely.

Paddy makes it clear he is not a Turnbull fan, but he treats the Prime Minister in as unbiased a manner as is possible in politics and journalism. However, it is interesting that, in the end, he acknowledges that Turnbull has what it takes to be a great leader of the nation if he conquers a few idiosyncrasies. Continue reading “2016 – Turnbull year of destiny”

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. Continue reading “The Remains of a Year of Tumult”

THE CLIMATE GUYS HIT PARIS

I am a committed environmentalist, actually a conservative Green, but I am convinced that Climate Change Conferences are a colossal waste of time and money, as was proved by the ridiculous disaster of Copenhagen a few short years ago. Continue reading “THE CLIMATE GUYS HIT PARIS”