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Independents and Minor Parties are in closer contact with voters mainly because they are not burdened with outdated ideology or a born to rule mentality, but they too have a way to go to bridge a yawning gap that is a national disgrace.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 “THE POLITICAL DISCONNECT”

Time has come to search for Nation Builders

To find Australia’s last nation building venture we must go back two thirds of a century to the Snowy River.

We have to take our minds back the same number of years to discover a nation builder, Flynn of the Inland, the man on our twenty dollar notes, who founded the Flying Doctor Service, Pedal Radio, School of the Air and two dozen bush hospitals in very remote places.

One does not have to be a genius to come to the considered view that it is time to revive the fine traditions of the grand pioneers after 65 dormant years of fostering the good life in preference to investing in the future of a great nation.

To emphasise our passive attitude to nation building, let me tell you about an experience I had two decades ago. Continue reading “Time has come to search for Nation Builders”

Infrastructure Australia must be an independent legal entity- currently no teeth, no money, no hope!

Of all the nations in G20, Australia’s record in creating modern infrastructure is the least progressive and most inefficient.

There are two main reasons for this. One is that our outdated Federal Constitution leaves responsibility for infrastructure in the hands of State Governments, with the Commonwealth being able to influence matters only by offering finance to the States. The only exception to this is infrastructure for Defence, which is totally a Federal matter.

Equally negative is that the Commonwealth does not offer sufficient funds to meet the huge challenge that modern infrastructure demands. Continue reading “Infrastructure Australia must be an independent legal entity- currently no teeth, no money, no hope!”

Axed Advisory Panel partners with Per Capita on Ageing Blueprint

Per Capita, an independent, progressive think tank, is astounded at the decision of the new Federal Government to axe its Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing so close to the completion of the Panel’s Blueprint for Ageing. Per Capita considers it an enormous waste to suddenly disband such a high quality, research‐intensive policy initiative on an issue of such vital importance to Australia.

In light of this, Per Capita is pleased to announce that it has entered into a partnership with four members of the recently sacked Panel to complete a Blueprint for an Ageing Australia.

Per Capita and the former Panel members will complete the Blueprint by its scheduled publication date in June 2014. The project will be funded by crowd funding, institutional donors, philanthropists, private companies, NGOs and individuals. Public consultation will be vital to ensure the relevance of the Blueprint.

The Panel was originally constituted in 2011 with a three-year mandate to produce a comprehensive policy review on the opportunities and challenges associated with an ageing Australia, the Blueprint.

However, earlier this month, Treasurer Joe Hockey axed the Panel, less than eight months from the completion of its work. The former Panel members who have partnered with Per Capita are Everald Compton AM, Prof Brian Howe AO, Prof Gill Lewin and Neville Roach AO.

Per Capita considers that the completion of the Panel’s Blueprint is critical to the social and economic wellbeing of Australia, given the scale of the ageing issue facing Australia.

“Per Capita believes the decision to sack the Panel is outrageous. This vital work must continue in light of the huge impact that ageing will have on Australia in coming decades”, commented Per Capita’s executive director, David Hetherington. “The Panel has invested two-and-a-half years of tireless effort towards the Blueprint, and it would be a shameful waste not to see it to completion.”

Former Panel Chairman Everald Compton stated, “I am impressed that an independent policy organisation of the stature of Per Capita has taken up this challenge, which is vital to the future of Australia. I look forward to working with them to produce a blueprint which will provide the basis for turning the ageing tsunami into a national asset.”

 

 

The Commonwealth of The South Pacific

Creating a Union of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands

In the 1890s, when the Federation of Australian States was being fervently debated, there were seven negotiating parties at the table — five States on the Continent, plus Tasmania and New Zealand.

Just before referendums were held to determine whether the grand venture would go ahead, New Zealand withdrew. Their stated reason was that Australia was experiencing a major economic recession brought on by the bank collapses of 1893, combined with the worst drought of the century. New Zealand had avoided both of those disasters and was motivated to take the short term view that it would be wise to pull out. In hindsight, it was a bad decision.

So, Federation proceeded without them. Yet, the provision remains in the Constitution for them to change their minds at some time — but it is an option that has never been taken up. Continue reading “The Commonwealth of The South Pacific”