No Celebration Today


NOTE:  The subject matter of this post is political and includes my opinions.

Last night was Budget night here in Australia.  It was the first budget delivered since the election of the new government last year.  There have been so many leaks and hints over the past weeks that people may have been forgiven for thinking that they had heard it all by the time last night rolled around.  How wrong we were!


The governement have been hammering the message about the dire straits of the debt and deficit in this country and how everyone has to share the pain.  From my assessment of the budget there is pain, YES (lots of it)………….shared, perhaps……………..equitably shared, NO!

I wanted to write this post last night but I was simply too angry to even contemplate putting my thoughts together in a coherent manner.

I would like to point out that my anger is not about what I or my family will lose personally, both now and in the future.  I am angry that the sick, disenfranchised, elderly and those least able to defend themselves have been viciously attacked whilst big business have emerged virtually unscathed.

Here is a list of some of the measures announced – it is not complete and the time frames for introduction vary.  I and most others do not have all of the details but I understand enough to be very, very unhappy.

As far as I can see I can expect to pay more for fuel with the reintroduction of the fuel excise to be indexed twice-yearly.  This will also affect the cost of everything, including food that is subject to transport costs.  I will have to make a co-payment to visit the doctor, have a blood test or an x-ray.  Prescription medicines will rise in cost.  The eligibility for an aged pension will rise to 70 years.

Our income is such that we are not liable for the debt levy which is being applied to all those earning in excess of $180,000 per annum.  However, we have sufficient room in our own budget to accommodate the increase in costs that I outlined in the previous paragraph.  We plan to have adequate superannuation to fund our own retirement without having to work until we are eligible to access the aged pension.

So, I should be pretty happy, right?  I am not because I fear for others in our society who are not so fortunate.  Check out this graphic for the ‘Winner and Losers’.

Here are a few examples of some of the negative changes.  There are far to many to list.

No unemployment benefits for 6 months if you are under 30
Changes from Newstart to Youth Allowance for 22 – 24 year olds
Eligibility for aged pension to increase to 70
Superannuation Guarantee Levy to be frozen at 9.5% until at least 2018
First Home Savers Account to be scrapped
Schoolkids Bonus abolished
$7 co-payment for Dr visits and also pathology and radiology
Funding slashed to CSIRO, ANTSO, ABC and SBS
Abolish PHIO (Private Health Insurance Ombudsman)
Increase in cost of prescription medications on PBS ($0.80 for concession card holders and $5.00 extra for the rest of us)
Abolish the Australian Renewable Energy Agency
Cut funding to the National Anti-Tobacco Campaign
Gonski school funding model disbanded – cuts in education funding
Allowing hospital emergency departments to bill for “GP-type” visits
Cut funding for human rights education
Higher university costs

Here are some of the beneficaries that you may not have heard about yet.

Increased funding for school chaplaincy services
A new icebreaker ship
Funds for Australian Drug Commission
Medical Research Future Fund
$1 million for accommodation for students of Australian National Ballet

A quote I found online:

“No progress on tax avoidance, no sign that Australia will responsibly lead the G20, no reform of expensive concessions to the rich: this budget is a massive moral failure”

And finally, absolutely nothing positive for the environment and the effects of a changing climate but that is hardly surprising since Mr Abbott does not believe it exists.




Where Are We Headed?



Today I want to share a question that was posed recently on an internet forum that I read.  The following is an edited version of the original question/statement that was put up for discussion.

“So many people seem to be in such dire straits with health – physical, mental, emotional and monetary problems.  Why? Do you honestly think it is normal?  I don’t.  I think that the world is in melt down.

So much hatred and heartache in the world, the home, the streets and the schools ,these days.

I think that if we could go back to a simpler life of less things and more love and understanding then we would need less drugs for depression, anxiety and emotional related illness.

The word dis-ease is of course a body not at ease, not happy, not content, not reaching its potential and of course we all know the health system is buckling under the weight of diseases.

So why is humanity doing this do you think? We are clever and we do have choices about how we live and how we work and live in our family units and amongst our friends and in our communities and the wider world.

What are people’s agendas?  Is progress the be all and end all of humanity, if in the end it only causes destruction?  I think that we have gone too far and that it is time to pull back from the vortex we are hurtling towards.”

I found this quite confronting and to be honest, downright depressing.  Several people responded and added their view of what was wrong with the world and I could literally feel myself being dragged down.

2013-04-21 02So I took a dose of my own advice, wrote the following response and immediately felt better.

“There are problems – there have always been problems.

Most of the issues have been thoughtfully identified in preceding posts.  (Original forum discussion not copied here).

So, what to do about it? Whinge? Wring our hands? Worry? These are not productive responses and will only drag you into the downward spiral with everyone and everything else.

Take a step back and heed Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

I do not believe that ‘Dropping out’ is a solution. We are essentially a social species and are not wired to live in isolation.

Make small, incremental changes that are sustainable, otherwise you will be overwhelmed and setting yourself up for failure.

Turn off the TV – or at least skip the advertisements
Do not buy magazines
Limit your exposure to news coverage
Shop during conventional hours (Mon-Fri 9-5 and Sat 9-12)
Support businesses that only open during those hours
Turn off your mobile phone/internet for set periods so that you are not connected constantly
Reach out to your neighbours
Give something back to your community – volunteer?
Participate in local activities
Eat simple meals

It is difficult to change the sense of entitlement, constant anger, greediness etc that we see in the world.


Practise the sorts of things I have mentioned
Model positive behaviours to your children, family, friends and neighbours


You will feel calmer, more resilient and positive
This may be the first drip of a new flood

If everyone who is concerned about the direction that society is headed makes positive changes we can make a difference. We are the society.”

2013-04-21 03What do you think?  I am genuinely interested in how you view society today.  Are we all agents of our own self-destruction?  Can we change things or do we need to?  Are you perfectly happy with your life and your place in the world at large?