Category Archives: Society

Real Policies from the Faux Campaign

[Published at Independent Australia 17 April 19. While the political class held its breath for the official beginning of the coming Federal election campaign, I reflected on a policy platform that would actually make a difference, and give us some hope of surviving the coming decades without civil strife and collapse.]

Friends,

Let us acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet and pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

In fact let us acknowledge that this modern nation of Australia occupies a land never ceded by its original inhabitants. We are belatedly realising the ancestors of our First Peoples forged sophisticated cultures that fostered the health of the land and provided generously to support diverse lifestyles including villages, cropping and farming of various kinds. They lived as part of the great fabric of life, and at peace with each other. We have many lessons to learn from them. Let us return to them the power to heal their own lives and communities. Let us take up their most generous invitation, in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, to walk together into the future.

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Extending Human Lifespans

[Couldn’t get any takers for this. Too long, not newsworthy, and The Monthly doesn’t contemplate responses, being in the business of glitterary packaging of its generally substantive pieces.]

The feature article in the September issue of The Monthly, The Fountain of Youth by Ceridwen Dovey, describes Professor David Sinclair of Harvard and UNSW and his biotechnological research into ageing mechanisms and how they might be slowed, stopped or even reversed.

The topic raises profound issues, but unfortunately Dovey’s account is more paean than critical evaluation. There are multiple and diverse concerns, and they are aggravated by academic competitiveness, a not-uncommon technocratic narrowness, the power of global finance, and the potent interaction of those forces.

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The Far-Right ABC

[This was written ten days ago and I thought it was dead and gone. But lo, my reliable Independent Australia eventually got around to it. By the way it’s worth seeing the video of George Lakoff there, if you have 35 minutes to spare. He elaborates the ‘strict father’ and ‘nurturing parent’ world views that lie behind ‘conservative’ and ‘progressive’ attitudes.]

Steve Bannon

The ABC is pandering more and more flagrantly to the Far Right.

Monday 3rd of September was a good night for the Far Right on the ABC. There was a 45-minute exclusive platform for Steve Bannon, alt-Right champion and Trump booster,  in an interview on the Four Corners program. Later Q&A, which regularly includes at least one Far Right panel member, had three out of five, including – spare us – radio shock jock Alan Jones, as if he needs another megaphone.

This while the ABC is re-running a version of “It’s your ABC” featuring nostalgic clips of the Bananas in Pajamas and the lovely Noni of Playschool. Only it’s not our ABC any more. It has been the Liberal Party’s ABC for some time.

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Howard’s Anzac Fictions and the Ageing Adolescence of Oz

Andrew Fisher, first majority Prime Minister 1910-1913, and twice more PM

[Published 30 April on Independent Australia, with informative comments.]

With the last of the centenary Anzac commemorations behind us, perhaps we can look more closely at the source of some current attitudes.

For nearly two decades government agencies have been quietly filling our kids’ heads with right-wing propaganda. Not only was the Australian nation allegedly forged in the crucible of Gallipoli, but our noble and gallant boys were fighting for democracy and freedom. The ‘Anzac spirit’, also born at Gallipoli, has infused every great thing we have done ever since.

The claims are fiction, one long-standing, the others rather newer.

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Immigration is a Big Drag on the Economy, and Our Lifestyle

[Now on Independent Australia, 15 Mar]

Australia can choose not to be ‘big’ if it wants. Both our material income and our quality of life would benefit.

It’s good that the ABC’s Four Corners has provoked a debate on immigration, and it’s good that it avoided racist, xenophobic or xenophilic claims, but still so many of the arguments presented are ill-informed or self-serving.

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The Darkness and the Damage Done

[This was written November 2017. I was in a dark mood and needed to unload some of it. Having done that, I felt better and left it. However the dark mood has been returning. Twice now I’ve been triggered by being taken back in time, as you’ll see in this and the next post. The previous post, To Armageddon on Automatic, was on a topic long brewing that I struggled to find words for. There may be more. These are not bright times.]

Reading a collection of essays by author Rosie Scott* has taken me back to the early nineties. Those times were far from idyllic, but how much lower we have sunk since then.

That was before we turned decisively to the dark side, before we learnt to stumble through the gritty, coal-dusted moral gloom, mocked by boofhead bully politicians, conditioned to fear others and to destroy innocent lives, cloyed by Big Brother in our pockets and purses, taunted by visions of robot workers, android dreams and a baking planet. That was before the colours faded.

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To Armageddon on Automatic

[As usual the MSM and even The Conversation can’t be bothered looking at actual thoughts. So this will soon be on my old faithful, Independent Australia. Good, but a wider audience would be nice. Also, been working on a new MS, so there hasn’t been much here for a while.]

apocalypse-end-timesPerhaps the Aussie summer pause is a chance to ask a really basic question.

Do we have any say in the human future? Are there any human beings anywhere who have any say in how our future unfolds? Do the political leaders, the billionaires, the giant corporations?

Or is our children’s future ruled by inexorable laws of economics, or of society, or of flawed human psychology. Is it in the hands of the gods or of God? Is it determined by Fate?

Judging by what is written and said you’d have to conclude that most people think it’s all out of our hands.

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eBook Release – Desperately Seeking the Fair Go

The best of Oz past, the smartest of Oz present, an enduring Oz future

Most Australians want a more stable and cooperative society, stronger communities and families, more equal distribution of wealth and better care of the environment. However free-market ideologists have badgered and deceived us into selfishness, fear and mediocrity.

We Australians have shown, over our short history, we can be innovative, resilient, bold, generous and welcoming. We have abundant skills and resources. We have clean technologies and techniques. We are creative. We can harness the economy so it delivers a fair go for everyone, without trashing the land and planet.

We can live well and generously in this ancient, fragile land.

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A System to Support Healthy Communities: Policy Ideas

Most of us do not want the world our society has become. It is too frenetic, too stressful, too superficial, too unequal, too acrimonious, too violent, and getting worse. Surveys show we want more time with family, friends and community1. More than 90% of us would prefer a greener, more stable society2, where the emphasis is on cooperation, community and family, more equal distribution of wealth, and greater economic self-sufficiency3.

Many studies now show that for a more fulfilling life, and to restore the planet to health, we need to restore connections with each other and with the natural world. Our emotional and physical wellbeing are best served by a small, supportive community and by regular connection with the living world around us. Caring for the natural world requires us, or some of us, to know each locality intimately4.

Local communities can only be stable and healthy if they have a viable local economy. Many studies show local businesses recycle a large fraction of wealth within the community, whereas businesses owned nationally or globally drain wealth to a distant few. For our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing we need to tilt the balance back from global to local5. We will still want many national and global activities, we do not need to be isolationist nor 100% locally self-sufficient. However we do need to be in control of the larger-scale activities, and they need to be supportive of strong and healthy local communities.

So we need to think about a different system. Below are some of the things we will need to change if we are to create a system that supports strong local communities, healthy living and a healthy planet.

These ideas may serve as a framework for a Progressive party or movement.

Read the whole essay.

To Parliament With Love (draft)

A down-to-earth guide to a decent and enduring Australia

I have drafted a new book. I would be happy to get feedback. If you would like a copy, email me at geoffd – at – netspeed.com.au . It is available in pdf or epub formats.

You can download an extract (pdf 200 kb)

More information follows, and additional material can be seen at the new book page.

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