Taking Australia’s decency for granted Decency is one of our defining national qualities, but it won’t be for much longer if we continue to erode the living standards of people already doing it tough, writes Emily Millane.
I will not discuss the article because it speaks itself. It is a good article but I disagree with its thesis because Australia is a Country that offers what no other country can offer.
The way we treat the most vulnerable groups in our society is one way to measure decency. It is against this yardstick that we are falling short.
Emily Millane states we as a Country are falling short because we are not treating our most vulnerable groups as the Good Doers like to see happen. By Good Doers I am talking about all the groups who make it their business to criticise, Federal Government, State Governments, Councils, Churches, any other group doing what they believe should happen in the country.
Lucky for us as a Country we are young and Dutch explorers discovered us 1606 and the Australian eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 In Federation 1860 as a country we became one with states joining together and we have Tasmania . Even though we are a young country with about 23,000.000 in 2013, notice how we are not fighting each other. A credit for the laws of the land and the governments over the years.
So we have a great country and my parents came to Australia in 1950 from Fremantle and as Dutch people we are happy to live here and I am a Australian Citizen and proud to live here and particularly because the entire world has become unstable and there are only a few places on the earth that have reasonable peace and security and our isolation as a island a long way from major populations has been our saviour.
So, we have a great country and the governments here in Australia are running the Country the best it can with the resources it has, for the benefit of Australian people.
Because we are young there is a limit about how much money the government can raise to supply infrastructure projects and supplying services. From 1960 until 2012, Australia GDP averaged 325.7 USD Billion approx. As we know we have over the last few years spending more money then we earn and that is why a 500 billion dollars is a limit the Government can lend approx. A frightening figure when you consider how much interest has to be paid for the loans before the capital is reduced.
The government is doing its best with what we have and it makes sense that will all the wants all different groups have in Australia there is simply not enough money to cover the wants so money is allocated over all the different groups.
Off course there are mistakes made and that is simply life.
This means the government has its ministers that manage all areas of the Australian country and then all the different ministers find out where money should be spent and then they come together to decide where they will allocate money all through Australia. A mammoth task. and you can see why the treasurer needs to be a person who can help ministers to priority all projects to make sure money is allocated best in the benefit of the Australian People, citizens.
So we are discussing the ideal and unfortunately many people who are in positions of power whether it be Government, Business, Non-Profit groups and others who are only looking after themselves and I will list a few that were printed in Media and this is not a list of importance because I will simply mention items as I print this page.
HSU Health Service Union. Williams president was looking after its members.
HSU Health Service Union. Thompson was also looking after its members.
HSU Health Service Union. Also those who work also look after the HSU members.
The interesting question is whether people in the news are innocent like they claim regarding issues. At least in our Law in Australia innocence is in place until proven guilty and I guess so it should be because we often see people accuse of matters they were clearly innocent that is before the Media, Newspapers, Radio, TV and other media.
The interesting question is are they innocent or not?
Think about NSW and the mining licences ICAC said were obtained by corrupt means. Yet the major players such as Labor minister Obeid, also Labor mining minister Macdonald all saying they are innocent. At least in our Law in Australia innocence is in place until proven guilty and I guess so it should be because we often see people accuse of matters they were clearly innocent that is before the Media, Newspapers, Radio, TV and other media.
The interesting question is are they innocent or not
These issues above are in the media yet these issues are small compared to what happens around the world, so at this time corruption attempts are there but are manageable. So I am saying the wrong thing being done does not affect the whole government or policy and I think this is the case because we are such a young and small country away from the lge continents.
I am saying that even though the government wants to do the best job there are always people who basically can be tainted and they by evidence we here are guilty. So whom do we believe.
In a sense though Emilly Millane Article in Drum ABC makes a point I believe the Government is doing what needs to be done and there is no hint in either Labor or Liberal Government that is a danger Australia decency being eroded. The truth is Governments are doing a great job. Labor is good at spending money. This may be a joke hey. Liberal cuts spending. This may be a joke hey.
I think the reason Australia government has a good balance in policy is because we are extremely young country compared to Europe, India, China, Africa, England, America and the best part is the government has only to look after 23 000,000 people imagine if the population was 100, 000,000 with more people more people in government and the increase in people running the country more likely will the issues we have regarding people doing the wrong thing or not.
Overseas we see frightening scenes of countries falling over and millions of people are killed, starvation every where. government are absolutely corrupt not thinking about its people. Even here in Europe we see a President has a family member with millions of dollars in a box in his house. We see in Africa a President spend 10 million dollars on his house and most people have absolutely nothing. So in the older countries corruption is everywhere and the issues a big not small like our issues in Australia.
So for us in Australia let us continue to support our governments in our land and help them to run properly to help our people have a good life here in Australia.
This article below is fine for us to think about, but I believe Australia is in good hands.
Taking Australia’s decency for granted
Decency is one of our defining national qualities, but it won’t be for much longer if we continue to erode the living standards of people already doing it tough, writes Emily Millane.
Ruth, the protagonist in Anna Funder’s novel All That I Am, is a political activist who escapes the Nazis to live out her later years in Sydney. Reflecting on the defining quality of the place and its people, Ruth sees Australia as “a glorious country, which aspires to no kind of glory. Its people aim for something more basic and more difficult: decency.”
Decency. It is a humble ambition, but no less noble than the greatness to which the Americans unashamedly aspire or the nobility the British seek. It is not to be confused or conflated with a discussion about justice, with all its splintered philosophical meanings. Decency represents something less confected and perhaps even less cerebral: a sense of what is fair, what is the right thing to do by another human being. Decency is, as Funder suggests, a defining national aspiration. It is a quality which is at risk in our public life.
The way we treat the most vulnerable groups in our society is one way to measure decency. It is against this yardstick that we are falling short.
People on low incomes have taken a number of hits in the last year. Most recently, the government struck down measures relating to the Aged Care Workforce Compact, meaning that the country’s aged care workers – 90 per cent of whom are women and who earn on average about $19 per hour – will forego a scheduled rise to their wages. The grounds for this decision? A perceived union bias embedded in the requirements for the Compact. Because the Government used its majority to strike down the Compact it did not have to repeal its governing legislation, which would have entailed going to the Upper House. A neat and sly move.
A scheduled pay increase for childcare workers has been scrapped. People in this industry, also mainly women, earn between $19 and $21 per hour. The minimum Australian wage is $16.40. The $300 million allocated to the pay increase has been diverted to professional training for childcare workers.
The Government refuses to rule out a proposal received by the Commission of Audit that people should pay an up-front fee to see their GP, in addition to the regular charge. There is no question that health costs, as a proportion of the budget, are growing and that we need to figure out a sustainable way of raising revenue to fund this increase. However, as the Australian Medical Association has said, this is not the way to do it – many people are already in the position where they ask themselves: “Do I really need to see the doctor?”
Westpac recently found that the average 60 year-old woman would need to work an extra 25 years in order to retire with the same superannuation account balance as her male counterpart. With consistently low wages in female-dominated industries, it is not hard to see why. Coupled with the fact that women go out of the workforce to have children and to care for them, without mandated superannuation contributions during this time, they start retirement on the back foot.
We are told that the Abbott Government’s fiscal tightening is a direct response to Labor’s economic recklessness. Seeking to cushion the budget blowout in the Mid-Year Economic and Financial Outlook, the Prime Minister posited that, ‘This has been the most profligate period for debt and deficit in Australia’s history.’ Interesting, then that net government debt as a proportion of GDP is at about 12.5 per cent – smaller than most OECD countries. It is also curious how an extra $1.2 billion can be allocated for things like offshore processing of asylum seekers. The money is there for the line items the government wants to keep in the ledger.
There are examples of the erosion of decency which pre-date the current government. When Bob Carr spuriously characterised asylum seekers as ‘economic migrants’ we were reminded how political opportunism so easily trumps all other considerations. Joel Fitzgibbon suggesting that families in Sydney on $250,000 were doing it tough was both laughable and appalling. And speaking of appalling, let’s not forget the self-serving warfare that went on in the highest ranks of the parliamentary Labor Party over the course of the Gillard government, often with pistons aimed at the prime minister herself.
All of this has gone on against the backdrop of a changing economy and growing inequality. With Ford and now Holden, we are seeing manufacturing jobs move overseas. Over one-third of the workforce is employed in casual work with the concomitant lack of security and benefits like superannuation which workers should be entitled to. As Andrew Leigh MP has written, half of all Australian families are living on a pre-tax income of $77,200 or less.
Do we really want a society where we erode the living standards of people already doing it tough? Where we make it harder for people on a basic wage to put money away for their retirement? Are we really content to be fed a diet of misrepresentations, lies and half-truths about these matters, whether from politicians or a compliant press? I suspect most Australians would answer these questions in the negative. That being the case, we need to be vocal about the kind of decent society we aspire to, rather than sleepwalking into a society we don’t recognise as ours.
Emily Millane is a Research Fellow at Per Capita. View her full profile here.
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