I WITNESSED a positive story today. I smiled as I saw a bright smile win over from a little girl’s tears. Her name is Faith and she saw her family for the first time after having cataract surgery. That was $25 well spent by the Hollows Foundation, an organisation facing a $5 million funding cut as part of the Federal Government’s cuts to foreign aid.
The cuts seem motivated by the xenophic approach of the Abbott Government with the logic revealed in more detail in Mr Abbotts’s address to the UK Conservatives earlier this week. He called on European leaders to close their borders, yet daily we see the devastation in Syria.
How is it that we can compartmentalise our compassion and political convenience? I’m reminded of a parody in Tom Lehrer’s song about the rocket scientist Wernher von Braun “Once they go up who cares where they come down? It’s not my department says Wernher von Braun.”
Fear of being caught out has paralysed Australian leadership; the 24-hour news cycle manifests into the negativity inherent in Australian politics. Both parties have been wedged by evil, justifying inhumane treatment of asylum seekers by an argument of convenience about deaths at sea. The media plays a role, always looking for the slip-up, for the negative.
Here in Bass Coast, negativity is also common. Our issues are different, our focus is different, but the approach is too often just as negative. I saw an attack on council CEO Paul Buckley this week, questioning the appointments made before his tenure and during his tenure of officers who previously worked at Latrobe City where Mr Buckley was the CEO.
In football parlance, it was playing the man. Does it matter who he has appointed? If there is a suggestion of corruption, report it to Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission, the appropriate mechanism to deal with misbehaviour. If there is not, let’s avoid cheap shots and focus on the real issues of efficiency and service to the Bass Coast community.
I’m more interested in how officers are performing; in particular how Mr Buckley is delivering to the brief given to him by the council. This is where we need to focus. I would like to understand the targets he was given and the progress being made against them since his appointment.
In an ideal world we will ignore the negative, look at how we are going and work out where we can do better. Perhaps a positive approach here, getting our house in order, may start to filter through to higher levels of government.
Let’s get positive
November 5, 2015
I could not agree more with Michael Whelan's article. A couple of weeks ago I was talking with some shopkeepers in Leongatha and Loch about the impact that the "Footy Friday" public holiday had on their businesses. Generally speaking it was revenue neutral, some businesses had increased turnover but places that had employees had basically handed the extra cash flow over in penalty rates.
The thing that stuck out for me was that their considered opinion was in marked contrast to the almost hysterical coverage in the main stream media, particularly commercial TV, that made it sound like every small business was about to pushed to the brink.
Part of our discussion referenced other Public Holidays, such as Cup Day, and gee, isn't that day off a great boon for a particular industry!? No negative impact is there?
One person reminded me about Bob Hawkes's "no worker should be sacked" for having a sickie the day we won the America's cup. How different Australia was back then. Even though we were in some pretty hard economic times there seemed to be a determination to work toward a better society; the Cup victory was emblematic of Australia's collective will.
What, as a society, are we working towards now?
One thing that angers me is that the more specialist knowledge that you have, in any particular area, the more errors or inconsistencies that become apparent in the television and tabloid coverage of news. Climate change is a good example of consistent misreporting and use of selective quotes and data to suit a particular narrative.
In relation to the jetliner that broke up in mid-air over Sinai, currently Radio and TV "news" are reporting gossip and speculation from (often unnamed) "US Government", "UK Government" or Russian sources as fact and ignoring the few known facts which point toward mechanical issues relating to previous tail-strike damage. The narrative that is being pushed is an act of terrorism which suits so many agendas whereas metal fatigue doesn't. Was there no lesson in the "Saddam has weapons of mass destruction?"
Another problem with the 24-hour news cycle is that items only get a run if they have exciting footage or some element of peril for the target audience. With so much news available, why is there a focus on just two or three items each day that are done to death with a parade of retired or former "experts"?
Geoff Ellis, Wattle Bank