Welcome to this week’s editorial,
To all of us living “inside the bubble” of Australia as it goes full steam into election mode it is easy to be distracted by the main stream media ‘shiny things’ that tend to focus on the personalities rather than the issues. Gilmore is very much under the media spot light but sadly not for the right reasons. What we should instead be reading, in depth, are the intentions, the commitments and the rationale of policies that relate to the next four years looking at projected outcomes for improvements in health, industry, employment, education, inflation, along with infrastructure and transport improvements for safety and growth. At a local level we should be hearing the candidates put forward their opinions of issues such as the move by the Federal Government to take control of our fisheries that will see international trawlers allowed to fish our SE waters, unrestricted in their catch and quota, with the exception of Marine Parks and Sanctuaries. We should also be hearing a lot more detail on policies around climate change rather than one liner responses that either mimic a scant party policy or reflect little of the broader global issues. Instead what we see in Gilmore is sadly a reflection of what is happening Australia wide in what is fast becoming an all-in name calling battle playing the candidate rather than the issue and it is all being fuelled by the media in print, TV, radio and any Social media platform you turn to with a massive uptake of letter drops and Telecalls by robotic voices bitching on about the ‘other party’ and how they “will let you down”.
Meanwhile, our roadsides are strewn with promising candidate faces; and even that game has upped the ante with the introduction of huge electronic ads and billboards in the hope that more is best. If only Australia could see itself from outside of the bubble. From somewhere like New Zealand for example. Often considered the little cousin of Australia, New Zealand has found itself on the world stage and now deservedly stands tall with who they are and what they have achieved however they do it with humility and with respect. NZ has only ‘Federal’ and Local governance which works well removing an entire tier of ‘red tape’ ensuring that policy is clear and responsibility of that policy well defined and measured. Their commitment to the wealth and wellbeing of their population is to be commended and they do it collectively and inclusively of their first people, their pakeha settlers and now their newcomers from all corners of the Earth making them a truly multinational country. Australia lays claim to being multinational however falls a long way short with how it actually manages its population interface. Imagine if Australia was seen by the world as a leader in repairing its environment that now has an appalling and catastrophic record. Imagine if it announced Zero Carbon emissions by 2050, health care for everyone, free education, open transparent community engagement. Imagine them putting in place a Statement or Treaty that recognised first people writing them into the Constitution, recognising traditional lands and incorporating their culture into the broader culture of the nation.
Imagine if Australia gave recognition to rivers, mountains, the sea and gave them a legal voice in courts so that they could be represented for their natural values and the role they play in the preservation of ecology that requires any proposed impact to ’country’ to be weighed against economic or social gain. Imagine if at election time candidates spoke of these things with a passion about the subject and their tussle was not about showmanship or denigrating their opponent but by clearly defining what could be improved on and done better. Welcome to New Zealand. For decades New Zealanders have looked across the Ditch at its Big Cousin as the example of all things better but now they can only shake their heads as they see what was a great country becoming mediocre, where what once stood was an environmental wonderland now soiled or destroyed. And all we can do is continue to bicker over small things in the leadup to an election that will see little if any improvement to the downward spiral we now call home. Until next, Lei