I love Australia. My love for such a country, any country for that matter, is a strange thing. I’m not a fan of nationalism, patriotism or any other ism that alludes to a love of one place over another for pure reasons of race, culture etc. But here I am declaring it openly. It may well be the simple fact I was born and raised there, or of course it could have something to do with a slight bias in my comparative assessment of the 30 odd countries I’ve had the privileged to visit and/or live in. The space, the relatively untouched surrounds, and I know it’s a cliche but the ‘vibe’, especially once you get out of the cities are all things to ‘write home about’. But most importantly I’m a great fan of the nations potential. I know I know, it sounds like I’m writing on Australia’s report card to be sent home to mum and dad, but allow me to explain;
We’ve had moments of compassionate brilliance, i.e. Gough Whitlam pouring a handful of sand through Vincent Lingiari’s hands, yet we’ve also had a long history of hiding our heads in the stuff that Gough passed onto Vincent. A good measure of our potential, I feel, is the Inequality Adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), which is a United Nations backed tool of measurement which gives one of the more robust indications of how well a nation is doing in regards to health, education and income. Now some may be surprised but Australia has consistently ranked in the top 5 since the indexes inception in 1990. We’re currently ranked 2nd, just a smidgen behind Norway. So if this is anything to go by, then we truly are the lucky country, well the second lucky country anyway. We’re like the Buzz Aldrin of nation states.
So when I hear what the current coalition government is up to I’m understandably a little perturbed, to put it lightly. I needn’t go into detail about the collective and dominant paradigms focus on infinite growth on a finite planet, I’d like to think anyone reading this would comprehend such an ecological, mathematical impossibility, so I won’t deride anyone espousing the neoliberal school of free-market economics or even the much outdated school of classical economics as foolish and short sighted. I won’t do that. What I will do is ask why it is there’s such a large number of Australians that are ok with the dredging of the Great Barrier Reef to make way for coal ships? Why it is that many Australians see no problem in our current governments renegotiating the status of World Heritage listed old growth forests for the purposes of logging, because as our current Prime Minister says ‘We’ve too many forests‘?
These are but two particularly irksome factors of our current governments policies, needn’t I mention the disregard for care workers in general, the heavy bias toward corporate entities, and the continued privatisation of all things that were once public and owned collectively by all Australians in the name of saving money. Because as we’ve been told numerous times through our Murdoch and Rinehart press, ‘We’re facing economic hardship’, well, kind of, compared to Norway anyway. I understand that our economic prosperity has relied almost solely on our extraction and exportation of minerals, but need I remind you that these precious minerals are limited? Investing in our future sustainably through education, health, and manufacturing is what we should be doing. Yet there seems to be a great emphasis on “get the rich richer quick” schemes.
The reptilian minded men and woman in power would appear to be seeing just how far they can push the average Joe Australian before they break. We need to show them that we’re not apathetic drones which they can placate with reality television, glossy magazines and a constant stream of mindless media barrages. The very first thing we can do, this weekend in fact is to march. Take to the streets and let the government know we’re not happy. This is not only letting the government know we’re not happy but about showing others who are unhappy about the way things are going, those who comprehend that we’re not living up to our potential, showing them they’re not alone, inspiring them to take action as you are, have and will continue to do until we’re living in a country deserved of it’s 2nd place accolade.
This week from March 15th to the 17th people all over Australia are taking to the streets. As the March in March website explains: This signifies the people’s vote of no confidence in policies of the government that go against common principles of humanity, decency, fairness social justice and equity, democratic governance, responsible global citizenship and conserving our natural heritage.
Get out there people, let’s send home a report card to the rest of the world that we can be proud of.