Over the Christmas break there was an opportunity to read more extensively than political life usually permits. On my list were a number of fiction and non-fiction books and a daily absorption of the major newspapers. Rather than just a cursory glance at the headlines leading to a more in-depth examination of the political stories, there was time to gain a broader perspective on the direction of our nation. There was a lot that concerned me and I suspect it would concern many readers too.
If I was to sum these concerns up in one word it would be ‘sustainability’.
Australia is on an unsustainable path. I know that conjures up images of the Green basket-weavers and their pious lectures about limited food and energy but I don’t buy those Malthusian arguments. Mankind is an innovative species and I have great confidence in our ability to provide for our future demands in a growing world.
The unsustainability to which I refer is that brought about by our government and the entitlement mentality that has been encouraged through policy positions. Put simply, we are living beyond our means economically and eventually we will have to confront the consequences of that position. Actually, we might not personally have to but at some point in the future one generation of Australians will. For too long we have been taking from tomorrow so we can ease the problems of today.
This is what governments across the globe have been doing for decades. The result has been the biggest bubble ever seen; an unsustainable bubble in cradle to grave welfare, debt and deficit and government promises that can never be fulfilled.
Over the years there have been many examples of dumb government handouts. Who can forget Kevin Rudd borrowing billions and sending $900 cheques to dead people and those living overseas? I thought that couldn’t be topped but one story in The Australian newspaper confirmed to me just how crazy the welfare system has become.
The story claimed that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal had restored the disability pension of a ‘nomad’ Aussie who did not meet Centrelink’s residency requirements. The individual has lived in Asia for most of the past ten years, claiming he ‘couldn’t afford Australia’. I’d say that Australia can’t afford him and others like him. Stories like this should prompt a wholesale review of who gets what and why from the government.
Then there are other ‘unsustainable’ policies that are destined to end in tears just like they have in other countries. The failure of ‘multiculturalism’ has been increasingly evident for many years now. The naive continually claim it as a great success in Australia by conveniently ignoring the growing divides in our society.
Earlier this week we had racial clashes in the town of Logan in Queensland. Last year we had the Sydney Islamist riots and our own Prime Minister’s office fuelled an Australia Day race riot. Before that were the Cronulla riots and many other examples of conflict– all directly attributable to a clash of cultures thanks to the ‘all cultures are equal’ mantra.
Like many Australians, I am concerned by this growing societal divide and how it is being fuelled by government policy. The continuing demands by some groups for special entitlements and privileges and their indulgence by many politicians for fear of being labelled with some pejorative term is frightening for our future social stability. It is also an area filled with rank hypocrisy and double standards by sections of the media and politicians alike.
I recall the public vilification when I met with Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Sections of the media and many politicians were clamouring to publicly denounce me, yet many were silent when Australia’s senior Islamic cleric and Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohamed met with leaders of Hamas – a proscribed terrorist group – last month. According to the Daily Telegraph, the mufti expressed his “happiness at being in Gaza, describing it as the land of pride and martyrdom”.
Just what we don’t need more of in this country – martyrdom and jihad.
Then, of course, we have the continuing armada of illegal arrivals seeking to take advantage of Australia’s lax border protection policies. The current approach is an unsustainable farce, exploited by economic refugees seeking the good life in Australia. The fact that most of these illegal arrivals will be granted a residency visa makes a mockery of our regular and humanitarian immigration programs. Even those responsible for damaging property and threatening physical violence in our detention networks were given the ‘Aussie green card’.
This policy weakness is costing us billions and can be summed up with the question: ‘why do the right things when you can be rewarded for doing the wrong things?’
These are just a few of the examples of how the bubble of unsustainability is afflicting our country. To fix it will require a rather radical change to political discourse in Australia. We need more truth to be told; not mealy-mouthed platitudes or spin. We have to explain to all Australians what is happenning to our country and the long-term consequences of continuing down the same path, without rancour or personal slurs.
Of course there will be plenty of spirited debate about the merits of making substantive changes to our economic and cultural policy framework but I suspect a sensible and rational policy discussion would be welcomed by the vast majority of patriotic Australians.