JOHN HOWARD – A SENSE OF BALANCE

When John Howard’s long and eminent political career ended, he became an author of distinction.

His latest book A SENSE OF BALANCE is, in my view, his best work to date.

I enjoyed his previous books LAZARUS RISING and THE MENZIES ERA. The first was his autobiography and the latter was a biography of his mentor. Both are excellent reads.

A SENSE OF BALANCE is quite different.

He describes it in this way. ‘How a sense of balance has defined us as a nation and will safeguard our future.’

It is actually about the crises that Australia has faced during his parliamentary career and beyond. He believes that we have survived because we did not let any crisis upset our sense of balance and this has enabled us to set the basis for a robust future for our nation.

He covers crucial subjects such as the Covid pandemic, election of Donald Trump, Brexit, the rise of China, climate change, the defeat of Scott Morrison, our relationship with royalty, Nine Eleven , 6 prime ministers in 11 years, Republic, Indigenous recognition, plus other matters of significance such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

Despite being a solid Conservative, he attempts to highlight both sides of any debate before setting out his own views in moderate fashion. He gives the clear impression of wanting to create a balanced community debate on all the issues he raises and I hope this happens.

I certainly would like to debate his views on climate and royalty and the Voice Referendum.

The most powerful element of his book is contained in the background to its title – A SENSE OF BALANCE.

While not exempting himself from criticism of some of his own divisive decisions and policies, he laments the way that society is so rigidly divided on far too many issues. He is particularly concerned, just as you and I are, that our divided opinions are now expressed so strongly that they too often convey pure hatred of those who hold opposing views. This is not a healthy situation for the future of our nation.

He particularly laments the fact that his beloved Liberal Party can no longer be described as a ‘broad church’. These were two words he often used to describe the many viewpoints that existed in the ranks of his Party. He actively encouraged the ‘broad church’ but this has now been replaced by hard line factions such as the stark divisions between the Christian Right. and the Menzies moderates and the ‘wets’ and ‘dries’.

He hints in his book that the Liberals may now spend a long time in opposition due to their factional wars and long battle to achieve relevance as they lose ground to Independents.

Howard now has many critics who do their best to demean his legacy but he did try follow the Menzies ideology. I remember the day that Menzies announced the formation of the Liberal Party in 1943. He said on ABC Radio that his party stood on neither the left nor the right. He emphasised that it was a Liberal Party not a Conservative Party. It was firmly in the middle ground of politics. That, Howard acknowledges, is no longer true.

This means that the Liberals must create a modern ideology as they currently don’t have one. Their sole philosophy is ‘Don’t trust the Labor Party as they will lose your money’. That slogan will never again win them an election. Never.

Reading the book made me think of Howard’s two great legacies to Australia.

The greatest was the gun banning legislation he had courageously enacted after the Port Arthur massacre. The threats against his life by gun lovers were very real. His security team made him wear bullet proof vests when addressing meetings about the legislation. Now millions of Americans fervently wish they had similar gun laws.

The other was the simple fact that his eleven years in power were an era of general economic prosperity that was subsequently undone by Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison.

His prime failures were getting us involved in disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which are still unresolved. He comments on them in this book.

I have known John Howard personally for decades, a friendship that continues to this day even though our stance on political issues often differs. When I wrote my book DINNER WITH THE FOUNDING FATHERS, I sent it to him to review before I published it. He graciously responded and found common ground on lots of issue but differed on our views of the validity of the Whitlam sacking in 1975.

Anyway, the key point is this.

Read A SENSE OF BALANCE and debate it on social media. John Howard wrote it in the hope of creating widespread debate. It is worthy of that honour.

Cheers

Everald Compton

POLITICIANS AT PRAYER

While I was in Canberra attending the Opening of Australia’s newly elected Parliament in the last week of July, I was invited to coffee with the Rationalist Society. They were making calls on MP’s and Senators advocating that Parliament should permanently drop the historic tradition of beginning each day of debate with a prayer.

When they invited me to join them for coffee, my first thought was that the issue was trivia, but I had 30 minutes to spare and decided it could be interesting to find out why they chose to spend time, money & energy making an issue of this.

I found that they are rational people who try to live by exercising rational thoughts and rejecting all aspects of the impact of spirituality in doing so.

They believe that Parliament is a place where legislation is to be debated in a rational manner and must devote its time to doing exactly that. Praying for guidance from a God has nothing to do with it and no Parliamentarian should ever use his or her personal religion to influence the Parliament.

So, they hold the firm view that prayer to a Christian God, or any other God, has no place in any Parliament, especially as the most recent Census shows that less than 50% of Australians identify with any religion and, therefore, would certainly approve the removal of prayers from the daily agenda.

They also believe that the Christian prayer discriminates against Muslim and Jewish Parliamentarians, as well Indigenous ones who have their own heritage of spirituality. There are also several atheist and agnostic MP’s.

Above all, the records show that only a small number of MP’s and Senators ever attend the saying of the prayer which is recited in a boring tone without conviction. Just enough are there to ensure a legal quorum is present. While the prayer is being said, those present can be seen reading and answering their emails and texts.

It really is a farce.

The Rationalists say it should be replaced with 5 minutes of meditation when members reflect on their conscience and personal responsibility to the voters of their electorates in the matters to be debated that day.

I note that the Rationalists have achieved some success. The newly elected President of the Senate has publicly supported them. At another level of government the Wagga Wagga Council, by a vote of 5 to 3, scrapped the prayer at the opening of Council meetings and replaced it with a time of reflection when all Councilors are required to be present.

May I raise another matter which is similar?

We should remove the practice whereby those being sworn into Parliament are asked to ‘take a holy book in your right hand and swear etc’. This usually means a Bible or Quran. What they should be holding is a copy of the Constitution of Australia. However, I was in the Gallery and noted that about a quarter of the Parliamentarians refused to hold anything, but the ceremony went ahead anyway.

(I would have objected on the grounds that I am left-handed).

However, the issue that really aggravated me was the requirement that they swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth, not the People of Australia. This is an absolute disgrace.

Be this as it may, my great hope is that one day our Constitution will state that no one can nominate to be elected to Parliament unless they have a proven record of voluntary service to the community, no known violation of gender equality & have successfully completed a course of study that has embraced a full understanding of democracy, the constitution and how government and parliament actually perform their work. This will raise the quality of Parliament by 1000%.

So it was that at the end of a pleasant coffee chat, I wished the Rational Society well, but said that I want, at age 90 & growing in frailty, to concentrate on 3 personal passions – railways, longevity & Uluru.

Plus writing books about physical and social nation building.

You can buy them on my website

https://everaldcompton.com.

It is actually a rational thing to do.

Everald

A long term working partner of Jesus of Nazareth in striving to create a better world.

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.

ELVIS

Enjoyed a relaxing and interesting evening at the local cinema.

It was a movie filmed recently on the Gold Coast of Australia that powerfully depicts the spectacular life and sudden death of Elvis Presley.

45 years have passed since Elvis died, so he may not be on the radar of many younger Australians, but back in my more youthful days, he was a legend.

Neither his singing nor his acting ever impressed me at that time in my life, but he captured the hearts and minds of my generation in a hugely impressive fashion. Almost unbelievably, 500 million recordings of his music were sold and his movies were big box office attractions.

His style of singing was ultra physical, hurling and shaking his body in every direction and this caused far too many women to descend into a state of hysterical fantasy. Church leaders in America tried to have him banned from performing because he was ‘sexually provoking’. What particularly upset them was that, at every one of his performances, many women, both young and old, took off their panties and thew them on to the stage, right at the feet of Elvis.

Elvis had become a God and this upset Church leaders even more.

But we all have Gods because we have a very human need to worship heroes or believe in causes.

It is usually a singer, actor, sports champion, charismatic community leader or politician, or a football club or many similar obsessions. Gods can also be alcohol, gambling or sex.

In my life, my role model is Jesus of Nazareth.

There are other people whose lives have greatly inspired me too, such as Martin Luther King, St. Francis of Assisi, Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi. In the sporting world, I am a huge fan of Roger Federer and I never miss plays or movies in which Judi Dench or Maggie Smith are acting.

What is sadly lacking in my life is a political leader to inspire me,

Just look at our current world leaders.

Putin (murderer) Biden (weak) Boris (irresponsible dill) Xi (utterly without personality), and until recently, Morrison (Australia’s worst ever Prime Minister).

But, I live in hope. This is an asset none of us must ever lose.

Nevertheless, back to Elvis. At the conclusion of the movie, I really did feel sorry for him.

His professional career was dominated by a retired Colonel who signed him up as a highly promising unknown with a contract that earned him half of whatever Elvis earned, plus endless expenses paid solely from Elvis share. This meant that Presley was constantly in a sparse financial situation.

It all got too much for him. He had to perform superbly every day or his fans would be stricken and, to keep going, he took huge number of pills daily, all washed down by lots of Coca Cola, a deadly combination. At the same time, his marriage broke up and his relationship with the Colonel became vitriolic.

Eventually, he just collapsed and died. Many say that his stage performance at Las Vegas the night before he died was his greatest.

Tom Hanks acts the fat old Colonel. Does it superbly. In the end, you hate his guts. This is not a trivial matter for any of us. We all tend to find people in our lives whom we hate and this, too often, sadly fuels our lives as much as our heroes do.

May, I make this trivial comment of personal fantasy in closing.

In my public life, I have made more than 10,000 public speeches in 26 nations in many settings that have occurred in my public life which has so far lasted for 70 of my 90 years, They were mostly about campaigns I have been organising or public issues in which I have been involved or sermons at Churches or talks at service clubs and conventions.

While, I was often able to stir up enthusiasm in the crowds of listeners, I did not ever cause women to rush forward and throw their panties on the stage. Elvis left me struggling far behind in the skills of human motivation. My life really has been a terrible failure in comparison.

However, I am absolutely certain that the world needs an Elvis from time to time.

Cheers

Everald

Keep on buying my books.

THE MAN ON THE TWENTY DOLLAR NOTES

DINNER WITH THE FOUNDING FATHERS

A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET

You can buy them online, in print or kindle, at Booktopia, Dymocks, Amazon, Book Depository etc

or from my website

EVERALD@LARGE

and click on BOOKS

IN THE STEPS OF FRANCIS OF ASSISI

Tomorrow, Sunday, my local church, the Aspley Uniting Church, at which I have been an Elder for 63 active years, celebrates ACTS SUNDAY, as we do every year at this time.

ACTS is the community service arm of our small Church which has about 100 regulars attenders.

Obviously named after the New Testament book, ACTS is an abbreviation of ASPLEY CARING THROUGH SERVICE.

It’s purpose is make direct cash grants to people in strife, especially those who are not members of our Church and live far beyond Aspley. We achieve this through a network of friends, usually Members of Parliament or Ministers of Religion, who let us know of people facing tough times and have little hope of receiving government aid.

For the last two years, we have made grants totaling 75000 dollars each year. The funds are donated to ACTS by our church members over and above our usual Sunday offerings, plus friends of members who want to identify with what we do. Gifts are tax deductible as we have legally established ACTS as a public charity.

We take pride in the fact that all of our ACTS team are unpaid volunteers. Our only expenses are the annual fees to our auditors.

On Sunday, when I report to the congregation on our work (especially mentioning 29 grants of 1000 dollars direct to bank accounts of flood victims this year and 35 grants of 1000 dollars to people hit by bush fires last year), I will talk about the man who is our role model.

SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI

Francis was born into a wealthy family in Assisi one thousand years ago and lead a very happy social life in the days of his youth. This changed when on separate occasions he was significantly confronted by a beggar and a leper seeking alms.

To cut a long story short, he renounced all claims to his family wealth and went to live for the remainder of his short life with the poor and the sick, begging for alms in the same manner as they did, wearing the most shabby clothing, and sleeping with them in the streets.

Eventually, he founded an Order of Franciscan monks who spent their lives caring for beggars and lepers. The Order exists to this day in many nations.

Frances, on many occasions, told people that, while making regular gifts to the poor and the sick is an essential element in the life of a Christian, we cannot possibly know what their existence actually is in reality until we choose to live the same life.

Few of us, and particularly me, will deliberately choose to live in poverty, but we can come to a realisation that no matter how generously we give to people in need, we are only ‘dancing around the edge of the fire’. Even though our actions help, we can always do better.

Francis died a young man. Only in his mid forties. The toll of his spartan life caught up with his huge huge personal commitment to humanity.

So it is. At the Aspley Uniting Church, we intend to do better every year by extending the size and outreach of our work and identifying more closely with the pain of those we try to help.

Huge challenges lie ahead of us in facing crises in the areas of domestic violence, elder abuse, homelessness, poverty, mental illness etc.

We intend to give it our best shot.

Listen in to our Church Services on ACTS Sunday tomorrow, 19 June, on https://aspleyuc.org.au at 8.30am or 10.15am or any time later on live streaming.

If you would like to get involved with ACTS, we will welcome your contact on https://aspleyacts.org.au

If you buy any of my signed and personalised books, ACTS gets 5 dollars from the royalties of each book sold, Go to https://everaldcompton.com & click on Books.

Choose from (or buy all three)

THE MAN ON THE TWENTY DOLLAR NOTES

DINNER WITH THE FOUNDING FATHERS

A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET

Our world is a great place when we work together to make it progressively better for everyone.

Let me close with a few words from a famous hymn written in honour of Francis of Assisi.

‘Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is despair in life, let me bring hope.’

Everald

BRIGHTLY FADES ELIZABETH

The Platinum Jubilee of the longest reign in British History is over.

Despite the physical frailty of the Queen denying her the ability to attend most of its premier events, it has been a memorable success and the British people appear to have enjoyed it immensely.

Now, the monarchy will slowly fade away and in a few generations it will be no more, an historical memory of the grandeur of old England.

Indeed, the royals of all the nations who still have them will slide into obsolescence.

After all, why should the descendants of families who gained places of privilege centuries ago continue to hold a place of authority in any nation.

All leaders of whatever rank must always be chosen by the people. No one is entitled to inherit authority or entitlement.

Having said this, it would be unjust and ungracious to fail to acknowledge that Elizabeth is as fine a monarch as anyone is ever going to find in the long histories of the monarchies of the world.

She admirably represents justice, stability, decency and a total commitment to service.

Down the years, some of her family have acted like alley cats, but she coped with it with considerable grace.

But, much of her heritage is wrong.

Why should any monarch require four huge castles in which to live – Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Sandringham and Balmoral, plus several large income earning estates – when there are countless people in her nation who are homeless.

Why is she also be the spiritual head of the Church of England, when there should always be a clear separation between Church and State.

So there it is.

We can prepare for a world without Elizabeth (and her tribe).

Young 4 year old Prince Louis caught it all superbly well when the relentless media caught him yawning and groaning with boredom that most kids of his age do quite naturally. They roasted his parents for not exercising discipline. I am pleased they did not chastise him. Lois represented us all. He was thoroughly bored with all the nonsense and let the world know about it.

Your un-royal friend who gives Elizabeth a well earned cheer.

Everald.

PS. Order the book bargain of the year. Go to my website

EVERALD@LARGE

and click on books to get my 3 good reads

THE MAN ON THE TWENTY DOLLAR NOTES

DINNER WITH THE FOUNDING FATHERS

A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET

for the total bargain price of 50 dollars, plus 15 dollars postage and packaging.

A great birthday present for a friend. I will write their name in each book and sign them.

EVERALD’s TRIO OF BOOKS

In my twilight years, I enjoy writing books and have published three over the past five years, with another five in the planning stages.

I reach 90 years of age in October this year and I will have those five finished by the time I am 95. Then, I plan to write a few more to keep my mind active until I score my century. From then on, there are real possibilities.

May I invite you to join me in this pleasant pastime? 

It is relaxing and invigorating and brain stimulating because we are able to use a lot of accumulated wisdom and experience to expand our vision of the potential and satisfaction of life and convey it to others with words they will enjoy.

Let me tell a little about the three I currently have out there in the bookshops.

Continue reading “EVERALD’s TRIO OF BOOKS”

CONTINUING THE WORK OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS

HELP SEND THREE PETITIONS TO THE AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT

Many of my Facebook friends have read my book DINNER WITH THE FOUNDING FATHERS and have expressed interest in helping to upgrade the work of the Founders of our nation by advocating constitutional changes that modern Australia needs 120 years later.

If you have not yet read my book, I invite you to do so and then consider offering your help also.

I reckon that we can only get three changes through at a Referendum at any one time.

So, here are three for your consideration, outlined in the form with which they can be presented to Parliament.

Continue reading “CONTINUING THE WORK OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS”

TRUMPED BY TRUMP

Donald Trump is the worst American President in my 86 years on Planet Earth.

In all likelihood, he is the worst since George Washington kicked out the British.

But, let me stop beating around the bush and admit that I utterly and thoroughly despise him.

Having said this, I must confess that there are times when I am tempted to cheer him, especially when he kicks the hell out of the political establishment. They absolutely need their guts hit out of the park because of their complacent insensitivity to the needs and aspirations of humanity.

But, the problem is that his skills end at the point of his boot. He has not got a clue what to do next, because his sole skill in life is as a gut kicker.

All this means is that we should pause for more than a moment and do some objective analysis of THE DONALD because we are stuck with him. Continue reading “TRUMPED BY TRUMP”

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”