Letters to the Editor || Looking to the future || Glenys Bundy

If Australians genuinely want a fair, free, egalitarian society, perhaps we are losing the plot. Politicians are representative of the people – which suggests that presently standards of justice, equality, intelligence, common sense and integrity may be lacking amongst us all. But are out politicians truly representative of the people?

Perhaps there is a slight imbalance of Anglo-white masculinity, privilege, law and economics? Opportunistic self-seeking egotists (e.g. Donald Trump and some who shall remain nameless) seem to be in the ascendancy. The bottom line is promoted above all other values.

Humanity is overstocking the planet – a simple truth which few want to acknowledge, and form which most serious problems facing the world arise. “Growth”, championed by all governments, cannot be infinite in a finite world. Accelerating climate change is irrefutably present. Planning and management for sustainability should be a major issue in all countries. Less government time spent in childish bickering and more on addressing the incredibly complex problems to be faced would be so refreshing! We procrastinate at our peril.

Extreme radical and racist views should be unwelcome from whichever direction they come – Muslim, Christian, Fascist, Communist of whatever. They should be reasonably and rapidly refuted by education, tolerance and understanding in a successful multi-cultural society, which Australia seeks to b.

While deploring terrorism and the radical views which inspire it, we should remember that Muslim people have lived peacefully in Australian society, s have migrants from many lands. Those of us who have descended from the cargo of the convict ships should remember that we too are in a sense immigrants, and that our forebears were not generally welcome here.

If we are to put ourselves on a better trajectory for the future than the one we seem presently to embrace, we should perhaps stop to take stock before the next election. We should ask and expect more of our politicians, but importantly also of ourselves.

There are many good things inherent in the Australian character – some of these have recently been shown in the outpouring of helpfulness, generosity and compassion towards those afflicted by the current serious drought.

Inequality, intolerance, ignorance, complacency, greed and corruption are enemies of a fair society. If we truly want to advance Australia, we need first to acknowledge our real and partly shameful history, and change our Constitution to more properly serve an independent and multi-racial country. That has to mean accepting with contrition the mistakes of the past, including our first peoples and their culture meaningfully into Australian society, and giving them a true voice in indigenous affairs.

The fragility of the Australian environment should be considered in relation to a human population which can be sustainably supported without losing the iconic values we need and want to maintain.

We need urgently to recognise that inherent fragility of our environment, and realise the real value, not just that measured in dollars, of our not only limited water and arable land , but what is left of our rapidly declining native forests, woodland, flora and fauna, and clean surrounding ocean. The need for power and development is compromising these, with potentially disastrous consequences for our country, and indeed the planet. We need bi-partisan thinking; forward planning for inevitable change, not just planning for the next election.

We need a review of the whole taxation system to adequately maintain standards in health, welfare, education and ecology, not tax handouts to placate the electorate and a reliance on “trickle down” economics – which, strangely, so often seem rather to “float up”.

We need a powerful and effective Federal system to control the risk of corruption.

We need to address climate change.

We need to protest our borders, our freedom, our democracy and out autonomy. We need to avoid ghettos of marginalised minorities, but we should look with care and compassion on the rights of all who live here., however many generations precede us – and also the rights of those who come now seeking our help. Not only should the rights and values of people be protected, but also those of the land itself. Such rights are not presently included in the Australian Constitution. It is surely time that we resolve to review this document which underlies our governance. Australia today is a very different country from that which was federated in 1901. It is time that we elected leaders who will put aside time wasting pettiness and base our progress on values designed to ensure that it becomes a much better one for the future.

Glenys Bundy