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Looking forward – to 2018

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A very Merry Christmas, And a happy new year, 
Let's hope it's a good one, Without any fear. [John Lennon]
2017 is over and for many people, it may not have come too soon.
 
Rather than looking backward, we at the Toorak Times and our Arts magazine TAGG would like to look forward, to 2018 and what we would like to see and what concerns us.
 
Here is a list. It’s not complete and indeed we may have missed many things, and only at the end of 2018 will we be able to see what in fact came to be.
 
Here are five domestic issues and five international issues we think need some serious attending to if our world is to be a better place.

At home –

  • We would like to see the courts around the country start to implement the penalties for many serious breaches of the law that our parliaments have provided them with, but, seem to be unwilling to use.

    We have had it up to the top of our collective heads with attacks upon our citizens. Whether in their homes, going about their business or even simply being on the streets. Attacks on unsuspecting people of all ages have increased and almost every evening evening news bulletins are filled with the stories of people left bleeding, left traumatised and far too often left hospitalised by thugs.

   We have had enough and really, despite claims by the judiciary that their decisions should not be questioned and that we lay people have no idea of the complexity of the cases, we would say – enough is enough. It is time that the punishments not just fitted the crimes, but we used to deter those who quite rightly believe that at this time, they really can get away with anything and if caught, will just be slapped on the wrist.

  • We would like to see the aged population receive a far fairer deal for the federal government.

   This should be achieved through a sufficient increase in the aged pension that these Australians can live more than just day to day. Their lives should not consist of living in fear of not being able to pay their utility bills. Their many years of contributing to the nation should now be recognised when they are at an age when they can no longer work and generate an income.

   Yes, there is what is laughingly referred to as an age pension. Even with all supplementary payments it only comes to $447 per week for a single pensioner and a ridiculous $670 per week for a couple. Pensioners would be better off living apart!  Even so, this is a pittance with the cost of living constantly rising. Unlike many people currently in the workforce, most people on a pension have little or no Superannuation to help supplement this pathetic payment.

  •  We would like to see a fairer tax system. Despite the federal Government spending over $8million in 2017 to convince us they had closed tax loopholes for multinational companies [$8 million that could have better been used elsewhere] the evidence simply is not there.

   Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan says more than $7 billion worth of sales made in Australia will now be taxed for the first time. But the ATO still has not banked the money. An explanation is really due on this one and, the evidence is that those large multinationals are spending a lot of money looking at how to restructure to avoid being hit by the diverted profits tax [McDonald’s being one of these].

   It IS tie for the government to get fair dinkum over this, and if they can’t, then get out of the way and let someone else try. 

  • We would like to see a Federal election in 2018. Yes, governments should serve a full term IF they are fulfilling their promises to serve this county.

   We believe that the Australian federal government has failed this country.  2017 saw it lurch from crisis to crisis. The handling of the boat people off-shore was a national disgrace. The NBN is a national disgrace. The treatment through his “Fair Work” legislation to casual and part-time workers is a disgrace. The failure, despite an enormous amount of rhetoric, to lower power prices is a disgrace and while the prime Minister believed he finished the year with two major wins, we say “phooey”. To claim that the passing of the Same Sex Marriage Bill was an achievement for his government simply defies logic.

   It was the citizens of this country that bought this about. It was NOT the the prime Minister or his government that was responsible. Cross that off the list.

   He also crowed about the two by-elections that his coalition government won. Really? These were blue ribbon national and Liberal seats, that if had fallen would have been an absolute disaster for both political parties. Since when has retaining blue ribbon seats been an achievement?

   We do acknowledge, that with the many failings of our current government, they are not alone. The state of politics seems to have hit a totally all-time low. A morass might be an apt description.

   We desperately seek an enlightened person to stand up, to give us a direction that Australians could and would rally around. We desperately need someone to stand up and enthuse as and to provide us with a glimpse of a fair, just, and a future where equality rules. We want someone to throw away the trough our politicians seem to take delight in sticking their snouts in. Any takers?

  • We would like to see our federal government tackle environmental issues with far more enthusiasm and commitment than they have. From Climate change through to renewable energy, this coalition government receives a big FAIL scorecard from us.

   This governments continual commitment to coal as it’s major source of power generation is cause for great concern. However, while this is a critical issue, other issues such as the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and the encouragement by the federal government for the indian company, Adani, to dig coal and, for fracking to commence on our continent, are also causes of great environmental concern.  We need a new dialogue and if this government can’t lead the way, then change is necessary.

Internationally –

  • We can only hope that the mid-term USA elections, unfortunately not due to be held until November of 2018, result in an overwhelming push back against President Trump and his destructive policies.

   Some might argue that what happens in American politics is of little concern to us. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When the US sneezes we catch a cold, is an apt analogy. Few would argue against the proposition that he single handedly, even taking into account that other political lunatic in North Korea has taken us closer to a nuclear war than anyone since the Cuban Missile crisis in the 1960’s.  Trump leads the climate sceptics and hidden behind his bleats of America (read USA) for American’s, is a not so subtle racist.

   His lack of compassion toward refugees only outstrips our own governments. He stands out alone as the most dangerous man in the world and yet, he hides behind the respectability of the USA position as President.

   We hope 2018 is the beginning of the end of him and that the citizens of the USA work toward electing a rational, caring, socially responsible leader with a vision that might encourage all the world to see that a positive future is possible.

  • We are greatly concerned over the proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. As unlikely as it may be, we seek to see 2018 wind back the threat of Nuclear war.

    As much as Trump stands with his finger on an itchy nuclear trigger, we know that along with North Korea, certain countries in the Middle East as well as the USSR are increasing the opportunities for a mistake to be made. A mistake from which there may be no fix. 

  • We are concerned over the very real possibility of a serious pandemic.

    With international travel not just becoming easier and more affordable, the time it takes to travel from nation to nation and continent to continent continually shrinks. Along with this comes the increased of a pandemic.  We must also consider that there is the very real possibility of a virulent virus being used by terrorists. terrorists continue to show they have no care for the human race.

  • We believe the continuing rapid increase in the world population is leading us to a disaster. Currently at 7.6billion, the world population will reach 8billion in just two more years.

    This brings with it a plethora of issues including famine, an ever increasing lack of clean drinking water, the spread of disease and an increase in refugees. With more and more calls for nations, including our own, to close borders and to withhold money for overseas relief and assistance in order to better look after our “own”, guarantees the problem will not simply go away. It does work toward creating even more conflict.

  • Finally, we worry for the young who are yet to be born.

   Taking into account all of the above is bad enough. Add to it the ongoing threat by terrorism, the growth of pseudoscience and the ever growing gulf between the rich and the poor and we ask – “What are we leaving to future generations?”

So it is, that we look into 2018 with these concerns in mind. 

What is of more concern is, that even identifying these key issues, we can be certain that others will inevitably rear their heads.

A list like the above might be enough to discourage the most optimistic.  Yet, when things are at their darkest the human spirit and determination not to be crushed by things that seem to be out of control, inevitably shines through.

We look forward to the beacon being lit, but, unless it is lit by the efforts of the everyday person, the often unheard and unseen members of our community – the beacon will not shine brightly enough.

It is time we made certain our voices are heard. We need to retake control of our environment in its broadest sense.

2018 may not be another year of ‘doom” and “disaster”, but the beginning of the changes many of us seek.

Just don’t leave it to your neighbour!

Happy New year and a strong arm to you all – from all of us at the Toorak Times-Tagg


Rob Greaves – [Senior Editor, Toorak Times]

 
 
 
Rob Greaves
Rob Greaves
I have been with the Toorak Times since April 2012. I work as Senior Editor of the Toorak Times, but I also think of myself as senior contributor. I've been in the Australian music scene as a musician since 1964, and have worked in radio and TV and newspapers (when they were paper ), serious experience in audio editing, and a lot of video editing experience. Currently I'm working as a radio program producer for a national interview program as well as my work with the Toorak Times

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