This missive is being written around a campfire in regional South Australia whilst enjoying the serenity and majesty of the Australian outback.
Experiencing ‘remoteness’ - what I would describe as the removal from things we often take for granted - is fantastic for the soul and for providing perspective.
Whilst I am working within my electorate, I only have sporadic access to the internet and must rely on ABC radio for my daily news. Luckily I can adeptly apply my political filter to what comes across the airwaves and ignore the rest!
The week began with a wonderful commemoration of ANZAC Day. I can’t readily explain why this day takes on a different complexion in remote communities. Perhaps because it’s genuinely a community event - a happening that takes an entire town out of their cosy nests to stop and reflect on those who have given more than we ever will.
Regional communities also display a practical application of common sense that gives me cause for optimism. Despite the media saturation of certain issues, they are met with a healthy level of scepticism by the quintessential Australian realists.
I am yet to enter a pub, community meeting or casual chat in a shop where some of the populist issues pushed by the press gallery feature prominently.
For the record, on this tour and every one before, not one person has raised transgender issues with me.
Instead, they tell me how worried they are about foreign investment - particularly in agricultural land - and what politicians are doing to our country. They think national debt is a modern form of servitude and that their lives are not relevant to Australia’s political leadership.
One chap today, who volunteers as the leader of the local AA chapter, told me in graphic detail about the destructive impact of the drug ice on his community. One poignant story involved a young father who actually celebrated being imprisoned as a means of dealing with his addiction, knowing his young family would be better off with him locked away.
We talked about the progression of mind-numbing substances across community acceptance; what began with alcohol morphed into marijuana use and onward through a range of opiates, pills and other synthetics.
His take was that until people are made to feel responsible for themselves and ‘empowered’ they will proceed down a path that eventually requires others to pick up the pieces.
Society is now picking up the pieces of the indulgent leftist approach and culture of the past 70 years.
Our governments are broke or at least running unsustainable deficits, built around social engineering programs. We have diminished the importance of family to redefine it to mean almost anything and for every human failing, a new medical diagnosis (requiring a government subsidy) seems to be found.
It’s clear to me that a day of reckoning approaches. The public discontent with politics, the economy and our civil society is building to a crescendo. The final gong will eventually be felt, perhaps not at this next election but I sense the warning signs will be there for all to see.
It’s time we started to heed them.
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