Labor Leader Bill Shorten has again outsmarted the Coalition Government by announcing that Labor would introduce a federal version of ICAC. It was a simple statement but it showed how out of touch our Coalition Government is with public opinion. The announcement should have come from Prime Minister Turnbull – the government has had plenty of time to make a similar decision.
For some reason the Government has resisted any action to show that Mr Turnbull’s government was at all interested in ensuring the big end of town has been acting honestly. The Coalition steadfastly opposed any call for a Royal Commission into the banking sector until public opinion – and Labor - forced it to do so.
It has given the appearance that the present government wanted to turn a blind eye on any suggestion that the big end of town could ever do anything dishonest, despite evidence about some questionable actions, particularly by the banking and insurance sectors.
Now Mr Turnbull’s team will be forced into either opposing the formation of that ICAC or, at least, conceding that it is a valid proposal. It is another big blunder by the present government – and a blunder of its own making.
If the Coalition expects voter support in the next election it will need to get much closer to the public and start accepting that it will receive that support only when it makes it clear that it will work for all Australians, not just for their friends at the big end of town,
JOINING THE WAR MONGERS
It says something about mankind that the biggest industry in the world today is selling machines that kill people. It is sad, but understandable, that our government wants to join this huge industry, but why not some creative thinking instead?
Why not put as much effort into the creation of locally made electric/solar cars and the infrastructure to provide the energy to run them? We have a very high immigration rate, so if we don’t have the local expertise, why not import some experts and use their skills?
Such a scheme would also be a major boost for our real defence – after all, this country would grind to a halt if enemy action cut our imports of fuel oil. Enemy action aside, ridding us of the need to import oil would surely be a bigger boost to our economy than selling our very limited supply of war weapons. And locally-made cars would save on importing them.
Maybe making and providing the facilities for an Australian electric car industry would be a better financial deal than joining the arms race. Cutting oil imports would surely improve Australia’s bottom line, and at the same time help in protecting our defences (and our environment) would surely benefit our economy more than selling weapons of war.
CELEBRATING ABORIGINAL CULTURE
It is sad to see so many people denigrating the importance of Australia Day by claiming that the date is considered to be a day of mourning for the Aboriginal people. They want to call it Invasion Day.
Sure, this country was invaded by the British when the First Fleet arrived but, really, is the history of Australia any different from every other country in the world? Name one country that has never been invaded. Australia was spared for so long simply because it was isolated from the then known world.
It’s really sad if everyone concentrates on the sins of the past, rather than enjoying Australia today.
The Aboriginal people, like everyone else, should be celebrating Australia Day as a day when we show our appreciation of the great things now enjoyed by the descendants of the original people as well as the offspring of the newer settlers.
Do these protesters really believe they would be better off today if their country had never been invaded? Would they rather still be hunter-gatherers living in this harsh country, just like their forebears?
Sure, it was an invasion and there were examples of unfair treatment, but that unfair treatment applied to the prisoners they had brought with them as well. It was not one-sided and there were examples of white offenders being rounded up by the authorities and quite a few were hanged.
So, why not keep Australia Day as a day for everyone to celebrate the fact that all Australians have a lifestyle, a standard of living and a freedom which is unknown in many parts of the world – and a standard if living that would also unknown in this land except for the arrival of the white man.
Then have a special holiday to honour the original settlers in this land, a holiday, say, marked by a series of sporting events featuring Aboriginal people.
Why not celebrate their skills at sport rather than the image of doom?
Maybe it’s too late to recreate the tracking skills that amazed ‘the invaders’. Your ancient scribe had personal experience of these skills as a lad. Some Aboriginals, not all, had an amazing ability to ‘read the bush’.
Such as a man in Western Australia was named Mollydobin, who tracked a missing five-year-old white child for five hours through some of the toughest country in Australia and found him alive. Or the trackers who back in 1864 found the missing Duff children aged nine, seven and four who had been missing for nine days.
There have been some outstanding heroes, so why not fix a date and honour them with a national day for the descendants of the original occupiers of this land?
- Ray Williams has been a Post columnist since retiring from the newsroom in 1993. This will be his final Williams’ Word for the paper, but we look forward to hearing from him on the topic of local history.