Sunday, October 31, 2010

No time to relax

The election euphoria has settled into a semi-distant memory, and life has taken on some normalcy once again. Many great things are going to come from this 'balanced' federal parliament, even more so when the new Senate is formed in July next year. Yet, everyday I'm still confronted with increasing evidence that this 'progress' is not enough.

Just in the last week, we've seen the continuing government deals with the fossil fuel industry, our female Premier not willing to change archaic, sexist abortion laws, and the GM lobby stealing food security research funding - I'm starting to realise we've got a long way to go baby!

A couple of weeks ago, I read George Monbiot's piece and got fired up again. He said progressive movements have gone missing when it comes to communicating their values:
So here we are, forming an orderly queue at the slaughterhouse gate. The punishment of the poor for the errors of the rich, the abandonment of universalism, the dismantling of the shelter the state provides: apart from a few small protests, none of this has yet brought us out fighting.
He says we must lead with strong intrinsic values and cease to be embarrassed by them. We must argue for policies on the grounds that they are empathetic and kind; and against others on the grounds that they are selfish and cruel, and we must do so assertively.

These ideas resonate with me profoundly. When I attended the Dreaming Festival in June this year, I attended a hypothetical by the brilliant Grant Sarra called, "To Understand the Present, We Must Understand The Past", where he challenged us 'whities' to announce our values. Disturbingly many couldn't state what their values were. For a long time, Australians have ridden on the wave of 'the lucky country'. We have always bounced back from various challenges due to the abundance of gifts from our natural environment.

However, we must ask ourselves are all Australians really so blessed? Have we shared the luck of some, to benefit the not-so-lucky? Can we ride on this wave for much longer without planning for that luck to eventually run out? What is it that we need to do to make our so-called 'luck' last? What kind of place are we leaving for our children, and what sort of gifts should we be planning to hand on to them? I invite you to read the online book, "More Than Luck: Ideas Australia Needs Now", released by the excellent Centre for Policy Development.

I'm off to assert my empathy and kindness!

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