We must harden up and put our collective shoulders to the wheel to make our country more economically resilient and self-reliant, as well as to repair our much neglected and grossly inadequate defence forces
ADELAIDE - Australia's 'timid' government (Keith Jackson’s descriptor) has sniffed the wind and knows that, while Australians were intensely unhappy with the previous government, they were not necessarily going to buy into demands for thoroughgoing reforms of the current system.
In particular, a large majority of voters still fondly imagine that the serious problems now manifest in the health system, aged care, disability services, public transport and housing can be magically fixed without, if not an increase in taxation, at least the abandonment of the unjustified and inequitable tax cuts which passed into law before the recent election.
Well, I have news for my fellow citizens: the broader public services systems will remain broken unless and until we collectively accept that they have to be paid for through the combined impact of a reformed and much more equitable tax system and the abandonment of the many dodges and boondoggles that, for example, enable large corporations and the rich to avoid paying much if any tax.
Our days of wine and roses, such as they were, are now well over. Laissez faire capitalism has wrought its magic, enriching the few at the expense of the many.
This will be a surprise to no-one with any basic grasp of the history of how capitalism works if the market mechanism is allowed to utterly dominate how goods and services of all kinds are delivered without at least some constraint.
The world has changed, much for the worse in many important respects.
We must now harden up and put our collective shoulders to the wheel to make our country more economically resilient and self-reliant, as well as to repair our much neglected and grossly inadequate defence forces.
Normality, as it once was, will not be returning any time soon.
All this applies just as much to a Marape-led Papua New Guinea.
PNG, a country corruptly and incompetently governed, is ripe for the picking by an ambitious and unscrupulous great power.
The same may be said of other Pacific countries whose politicians fondly delude themselves that they can somehow 'manage' relationships with great powers to their advantage without consequence. They can't and won't be able to do this.
I appreciate that my views are likely to be perceived as those of a catastrophist and serial pessimist, but history tells me I am merely pointing to the blindingly obvious, at least to those with the will to see.
I would be hugely glad to be wrong, but fear I am much more likely to be right.