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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Political Reformation

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.

However, a Referendum will succeed only if other constitutional changes are made at the same time. Continue reading

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CARDINAL and PRIME MINISTER

Neither George Pell nor Malcolm Turnbull are experiencing happy days at the moment.

The Cardinal faces trial in a Victorian Court over significant matters relating to child abuse that are alleged to have occurred over several decades.

The Prime Minister leads a political party that is about to implode as conservatives and moderates fight an irreparable ideological battle in which he is accused of ratting on both sides.

They are the architects of their own demise.

Irrespective of their guilt or innocence, both are at the end of their days of power. Continue reading

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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

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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

Posted in ATEC Rail Group Ltd., Environment, Funding and Finance, Government, Infrastructure Rail, Air, Sea, Mining and Resources | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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

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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

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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

Posted in Ageing, Business and Enterprise, Community and Values, Environment, Government, Seniors | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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

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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

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THE TRUMP TRIUMPH

Donald Trump ran the smartest, most unorthodox election campaign I have ever seen and he won an astonishing victory.

Hillary Clinton did the exact opposite. Her campaign was a stunning disaster that totally lacked political nous or any understanding of voter sensitivity.

Pollsters were discredited forever.

The sun came up yet again the next morning.

There will be another Presidential Election in four years.

In the meantime, we will survive.

So, with positive minds, let’s have a look at what happened and talk about what we do next. Continue reading

Posted in Elections, Government, History, Infrastructure Rail, Air, Sea, Misogyny | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Rating Malcolm

Australia has had 29 Prime Ministers – some excellent, a few worthy of special mention, many mediocre, some shockers.

I thought that I would rate them while enjoying a wee dram of superb single malt scotch whisky – Lagavulin from the Isle of Islay – as it expands my mind to a splendid level of generosity.

The result is that I rank Malcolm Turnbull at No 19, ahead of Abbott, Rudd and McMahon who shared the wooden spoon.

My reasoning is simple. He has the capacity to become a great PM, but he is a long way short of realising his potential. Continue reading

Posted in Ageing, Carbon Debate, Government, History, Infrastructure Rail, Air, Sea, Infrastructure Water | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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’.”

Posted in Community and Values, Everald Posts 2016, Funding and Finance, Government, Seniors, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Goodbye Menzies

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

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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

Posted in ATEC Rail Group Ltd., Business and Enterprise, Everald Posts 2016, Government, Infrastructure Rail, Air, Sea, Surat Basin Rail P/L | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

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

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THE PURSUIT OF POWER

Malcolm Turnbull has won the 2016 Australian Election. He got there by the skin of his teeth, but no one can dispute that he is entitled to form a government.

Now, he has to make it all work for the good of Australia and for the sake of his own political future.

What a hell of a task both jobs will prove to be as he has three Opposition leaders – Abbott, Shorten and Joyce, in that order. Continue reading

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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

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THE POLITICAL DISCONNECT

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

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DEATH OF MAJORITY GOVERNMENTS

The Australian Election of 2016 will result in a Hung Parliament in both Houses.

This political deadlock will be profound, significant and long term, causing a long awaited upheaval in the structure of political parties.

A majority of the population will be horrified with this event, but a sizeable minority will welcome it as it will give democracy a genuine chance of working effectively. Continue reading

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