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”→
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”→
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.
Bill Shorten has recommended to Malcolm Turnbull that they join together in a bi-partisan attempt to hold a Referendum on Constitutional Change which will enable the Australian Parliament to have four year fixed terms. To his credit, Turnbull has left the door open for further discussions.
This is a good initiative that I will strongly support and I hope that you will too.
It will enable governments to spend at least their first year of office implementing difficult policies before they inevitably become obsessed with their pressing need to hold on to power at the next election.
In addition, fixed terms will cause Prime Ministers to cease their appallingly undemocratic practice of calling elections on a political whim, treating us all as fools in the process, just as Campbell Newman did so disastrously in Queensland and Theresa May did so arrogantly in Britain.
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.
The great political party, The Liberals, formed by Robert Menzies seven decades ago, is in its death throes. It has been assassinated by right wing zealots, none of whom would have ever been welcomed into its ranks by Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister.
I was at High School when Menzies commenced his political comeback by uniting a collection of conservative parties to form The Liberals. In doing so, he declared that he was commanding the centre ground of politics in Australia, planning to push Labor to the Left and the Country Party (now The Nationals) over on to the Right. It made common sense as most Australians wanted a government without ideology that made pragmatic decisions to secure Australia’s post war prosperity.
Menzies achieved his aim for 16 years, retiring at his own timing and on his own terms. Then, the rot set in as the Liberals moved steadily to the right, finally going heavily in that direction when Tony Abbott arrived and inflicted 19th century economics and morals on the nation, sending it into decline on many fronts. Continue reading “Goodbye Menzies”→
On election eve, I have belatedly come to the reluctant conclusion that politicians and voters actually live in totally different worlds which are light years apart.
In reality, the gap between people and the political establishment is huge, so much so that few will disagree with me when I say that politicians appear to be dwelling on a remote planet that has no affinity to the rest of us.
Even more glaringly obvious is the fact that, despite a seemingly endless campaign, neither Turnbull nor Shorten has hit the trigger that switches on voters. Indeed, they have actually switched us off with their childish fear tactics and patronising policies that are designed to buy our loyalty.
Independents and Minor Parties are in closer contact with voters mainly because they are not burdened with outdated ideology or a born to rule mentality, but they too have a way to go to bridge a yawning gap that is a national disgrace.
So, there will be a revolt on Saturday as voters exercise the only power they possess – the treasured democratic privilege of taking revenge on underperforming politicians who weigh down both the Coalition and Labor. Continue reading “THE POLITICAL DISCONNECT”→
It is an indisputable fact that pensioners in Australia have been underpaid for more than a century. Nevertheless, little mention of it is being made in the Australian Election of 2016. In truth, there is a defining silence surrounding it for reasons that totally escape me.
Be this as it may, the time has come to correct this huge blot on the humanitarian record of our nation, particularly as a UN Report has stated that 50% of Australian Pensioners live on or below the poverty line. This is intolerable in a prosperous nation. Continue reading “D-DAY FOR THE AGE PENSION”→
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.
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”→
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.
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”→
I have been an avid student of politics all my life, with American Presidential Elections always having a special fascination. My first experience of it was in 1940 when I was just 9 years old. I clearly remember sitting by the radio with my grandfather listening to the result of Wendell Wilkie’s failed attempt to toss Franklin Delano Roosevelt out of the White House.
Three quarters of a century has passed since then and I can tell you with great certainty that no US Presidential Election has ever been more baffling than the current one. Who would have believed that the most powerful nation on earth would contemplate having Donald Trump as President.
Andrew Fisher and Alfred Deakin met at the Melbourne Club for lunch in 1908 to agree on legislation that would give Australians an Age Pension for the first time. The figure that they chose for the initial pension was the amount they reckoned the government could afford, not what pensioners actually needed.
Since then, every government has calculated the pension the same way. Its time for us to work out what it should actually be. The best way to do it will be to establish an independent Age Pension Authority and do it with a unanimous bipartisan vote of Parliament. Continue reading “Century of Age Pension guessing”→
We have different names for God and we worship Him (or Her) in different ways. Even within a particular religion, there are wide differences of opinion about how God should be worshipped and how the major book for that religion shall be interpreted.
All of these differences can be accommodated by reasonable people in a peaceful world, but there is one major issue that divides all religions.