Viva la revolución

| April 5, 2022

The working population of this country could be roughly categorised into unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and professional with various sub-categories such as real estate, sales, company directors and politicians falling in differing areas depending on one’s personal bias.

The COVID pandemic has shown us that we rely much more on the first two levels than we had imagined – drivers, meat workers, shop assistants, aged care workers, farm labourers and factory workers being the most obvious. Traditionally, these occupations have been some of the lowest paid and least regarded. However, we are now faced with a dilemma – how to increase the pay without putting too much strain on the country’s finances.

We are told that the gap between the rich and poor is getting wider – company directors are receiving millions of dollars a year even when their leadership is obviously not achieving greater company profits. The obvious solution would be to play Robin Hood and redistribute that wealth. It appears that the concept of company directors receiving such huge salaries is mainly limited to English speaking countries, having begun in the United States.

Generally speaking, European countries do not have such a large differential. We are told that because of the complexity of our tax laws, any attack on the very rich would result in either more off-shore banking or greater usage of dubious accountants to use the existing law in more devious ways. What is required is a complete rewriting of the tax law to prevent companies being able to claim exemption on spurious grounds and force those earning multi-million dollars a year to pay their fair share of tax.

Climate change, bringing with it fire and flood has resulted in many communities having to rely on their own resources more than the Federal government. They are finding that insurance is either out of range or that the contracts do not cover as much and was anticipated. This results in more being expected from local councils and State government.

Farmers are thinking laterally about care of the land – some are now using human faecal waste which has been put through the sewerage system instead of expensive and hard to come by fertiliser. This has resulted in great savings as well as more abundant crops (cotton and above ground vegetables) accompanied with less water use. Many young people are coming and returning to the bush in the Northern Territory, finding life on cattle stations more challenging and exciting than the city. People are moving out to country towns, working on the internet instead of commuting.

Office workers are finding that working from home can be more productive and rewarding than commuting, sometimes for hours every day to work. An obvious disadvantage to this is the lack of social contact and the interchange of ideas around the coffee machine. However, a new concept of clerical work has developed and will almost certainly continue in some areas.

Every aspect of human activity has been effected in some way by the epidemic; some people have found enjoyment in writing, drawing, creating short films on the internet, designing, cooking, exercising or just thinking about how to do something better whilst in lock-down. Others have been negatively effected, having lost loved ones or been unable to have physical contact with other people.

We pride ourselves as being free thinkers in a free country, treating others as equals. We condemn people like Putin for attacking Ukraine, the Chinese for their attitude to the Uyghurs the largest minority ethnic group in China’s north-western province of Xinjiang, Burma’s genocide of the Rohingya minority to their north, the attitude of the Muslim fundamentalist Taliban government towards women and dissension in Afghanistan; and yet we were involved in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan ourselves even though those countries posed no threat to us. We also committed atrocities there and even now are treating refugees who came here on boats as criminals, keeping them locked up for years.

The various crises we have faced over the last few years have forced us to rely more on our own resources and the help of others. Many of us are beginning to realise first hand some of the trauma other countries have been forced to endure for years. Has this made us more considerate of others’ misfortune? It appears not, with the possible exception of the Ukrainians, probably because they are white.

It seems humanity as a whole still lives by the tribal concept of like siding with like and mistrusting all others – whether it be colour, religion, language or way of life. We are basically the same as other nations. Like most of the world we discuss climate change but are unwilling to do very much about it because it affects the next generation. The same with plastic pollution, destruction of our forests and the loss of our flora and fauna.

Our leaders are focused on the next few years, of staying in office, appeasing the electorate instead of making the world a better place for all. When the next election occurs, we will be offered candidates who agree with the status quo or independents with little or no ability to make meaningful structural changes. Viva la revolución, although what that will achieve is anyone’s guess.