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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

The inconvenient truth

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Editorial: The vulnerable at risk

Most of us would hope that the taxes we pay go towards key areas such as health, education and to supporting the most vulnerable in our community.

As another federal election looms, I find myself once more in despair mode.  Why? Because whichever party comes out on top on September 14, we will still be galaxies away from tackling the most pressing issues of the day.

Politics is failing us.  Not left politics or right politics, but politics, period.  And not just in Australia, but across the world.

The unpalatable, you could say, inconvenient, truth is that even the very best governments do little more than play at the margins, tweaking bits of legislation here and there but steering well clear of anything resembling structural change, in particular, structural economic change, for fear of ruffling the feathers of their corporate masters.

Ask any group of thinking adults what matters to them in life, and you’ll get a fairly consistent set of answers: secure and meaningful work, a safe and happy future for their children, a peaceful world, a clean environment.

And what have we got? Crippling rates of unemployment (not yet in Australia, but let’s not be too smug), escalating levels of both childhood and  adult depression, global terrorism that is all but uncontrollable, and a climate on the brink of total collapse.

Of course, some individual battles are won.  I for one am happy when a forest is saved, when we stop discriminating against people on the basis of colour or sexual orientation, when carcinogenic agricultural chemicals are outlawed.

But where is the bigger-picture debate: the discussion not just of single issues but of root causes? Who is really questioning the absurdly revered yardstick of GDP, supposedly a measure of prosperity, yet one that actually grows with every wrecked oil tanker, with every bomb dropped, with every new diagnosis of cancer?

Which party is drawing attention to the broken communities and ravaged environments that are the result of global trade, and the enormous publicly-funded subsidies to big business that make such trade possible?

Name the politicians that are even talking about, let alone seeking to change, the way money is created, by private banks, for profit.

Yes, we will go to the polling stations in September and cast our votes this way or that.  But let us not fool ourselves into believing that we have thereby fulfilled our civic responsibility. Remind me, what was happening while Rome burned?

John Page, Byron Bay




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  1. Mr. Page…well said, nicely written. Great points you make! So true–It seems we must never stop calling for those basic necessary corrections to our world! We all should be active in speaking out against the unjust and criminal actions of large multi-national corporations and banking institutions who clearly are not held accountable nor made to play by the same rules as the rest of us. These high rollers and their lawyers / lobbyists are the ones affecting policy and helping politicians and government agencies to roll over and play dead or look the other way. Someone once said “Politics is too important to be left up to the Politicians!” Democracy can’t exist when corporations own it. It must be accountable to the people and the people must stay informed. We can also vote by how and where we spend our hard earned dollars. Thank God for real journalists and the Echo!

  2. A very interesting letter from John, and Pamela’s comments just about say it all. I’m afraid our collective politicians are not up to this kind of thinking let alone implementing change for the betterment, not only for Australia, but for the world in general.


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