Some readers will have come across a cry from the heart with the title ‘I’m 73, and I’m tired’. I read it with some sympathy, and an appreciation of why someone who served as a State Senator in Massachusetts and had been a Marine would write such a piece. Because I like to be sure that what I’m reading is the real thing, I did some research, and discovered that the author Robert A. Hall is real, and he did write it. He also wrote an earlier version when he was 63, with much the same message, but different details. It has been attributed to Bill Cosby and no doubt to others.

What is it about? Here’s some excerpts. The author says he’s worked very day, by and large since he was 18… Given the economy, there’s no retirement in sight, and I’m tired.
Very tired. I’m tired of being told that I have to “spread the wealth” to people who
don’t have my work ethic…

I’m tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do…

I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of all parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

I’m real tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions. I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.

You get the message. He doesn’t like the Islamic world, either. I was asked to spread the word by the man who had sent it to me. And in a sense I am doing so. But I can’t simply apply what he says to Australia, because our society is different. We have a much higher sense of general responsibility for one another than do the Americans, at least from my own experience. I once lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, whose citizens were admirably involved in the affairs of their small city. But their sense of responsibility stopped at the city’s borders with Washtenaw County, which had little revenue and poor public facilities in comparison. In our country, partly because the State and Federal Governments run schools and hospitals, and the State Governments run the police force and the justice system, we have an overarching sense of obligation to others and a much more even provision of public programs and facilities.

Nonetheless, Mr Hall’s lament caused me to ask, not for the first time, ‘Where should that sense of obligation stop?’ It was that sense of obligation that caused the Gillard Government to introduce a national scheme for disability insurance that has supplanted some of the voluntary work that Australians had involved themselves in and, because it is a national scheme, comes with rules and regulations that actually make things worse for some disabled people, as I know from the experience of my extended family. We can’t afford it, either, but that’s another matter.

The roads and railways of Australia, our postal service, our schools and hospitals, our universities, ports, airports — the shape and look of our society — have built into them that sense of general responsibility. We accept them as part of our life, and pay for them through taxation. So too our social welfare system, our law and order, and our generally civil and honest acceptance of one another. It is these aspects of the nation Australia that make us such a desirable destination while for people who have had to flee their own. And we take in around 12,000 such people a year, more or less.

Some of our number, vociferously, want us to accept much more responsibility for the victims of civil unrest far from our shores, and they want all the people who are in Manus Island and elsewhere to be admitted to Australia. At once. And I ask, where does our responsibility stop? There are some 40 million displaced people, and while they don’t all want to come to Australia we have procedural rules about those who do. The basis of those rules is fairness. Some have been waiting longer than others. Some have been sponsored by citizens prepared to look after the new arrivals, which is an enormous boon to the latter. Some have jumped the queue, for whatever reason.

There is no doubt that the civil unrest in the world is causing mass emigration, from the Middle East in particular, and the EU simply doesn’t know that to do about the hundreds of thousands of arrivals. Most societies in the world have borders which can be crossed, or over which they have other than total control. Australia and New Zealand are fortunate in that they are islands, which gives us a form of natural control. In my view this is a great virtue, and we should not be shy about using it. At risk is our nation state, about which I have written before in a dozen essays, but anyone interested could start here. It is the best means human beings have devised to provide a decent life for the great mass of people, not just the rich and powerful, and it needs defence of many kinds, not only the military form.

Once we cannot make rules about who is to be admitted to our country our ‘nation’ ceases to be self-governing. It is difficult enough anyway to be ‘autonomous’ in a global world, but I believe the autonomy we have is worth protecting. And that brings me back to the ‘I’m 73, and I’m tired’ text. I would  feel  more sympathetic to the refugee worriers if they were sponsoring people themselves and asking the rest of us to follow their example. I would feel more sympathetic to the climate botherers if they showed the way by not driving cars, flying or using the electricity grid or natural gas. I would be a lot more sympathetic to those worried about the environment who lived in rural rather than inner urban electorates. On the other hand, I am not especially sympathetic  to those who don’t want coal-seam gas, or mining generally, in their region, as though their part of Australia, and its possible products, somehow belong to them.

Why? Because so much of what we hear in these areas is irresponsible rhetoric. Irresponsible because those concerned are not showing the way, but just shouting the way, because the full context of these issues is hardly even illuminated, because those concerned often seem to suppose there is a money tree, because many of them seem, to me anyway, to be about the exercise of power or the pursuit of fame and media attention, not about the cause itself.

Ordinarily I would now point out that sorting out these difficult issues is what politicians are for. They are the ones that devise the compromises that work for a time, and get us past these political road-blocks. I don’t feel in the mood for that today. Blame it on this utterly vacuous election campaign. And to think, there’ll be another one in October for me and anyone else who lives in the ACT.

 

 

Join the discussion 61 Comments

  • Patrick says:

    Unfortunately our politicians have encouraged a ‘cargo cult’ by pork- barrelling. It seems that many if not most voters expect to be bribed for their vote. Such bribes incur taxpayer expense of course. Sooner or later of course ‘other people’s money’ runs out but that does not seem to prevent successive governments from getting the nation’s accounts into huge deficits & debt. National interests run a poor second to the pursuit of political power.

  • David says:

    “I would feel more sympathetic to the climate botherers if they showed the way by not driving cars, flying or using the electricity grid or natural gas. I would be a lot more sympathetic to those worried about the environment who lived in rural rather than inner urban electorates.”

    Don we do not need your sympathy. Australia’s policies on climate change are progressing just fine without it.

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/election-2016-behind-the-battlelines-theres-surprising-agreement-on-climate-change-20160614-gpj45c.html

  • Neville says:

    Once again I agree with most of what Don has written in this post. I don’t know the answer, but I think we’ve been living in a fools paradise for far too long to ever terminate some of the stupid ideas that seem to pop up now on a regular basis. And most of these stupid ideas exist because they inevitably receive tens of billions in taxpayer funding.
    They also get full bore and endless promotion from their ABC, Fairfax and even some of the Murdoch media. Just look at the republic, Indigenous issues, the idiotic climate change mitigation fraud, refugee howling, gay rights nonsense, our terrible racism, so called Islamophobia, etc. It’s a long way back to regain any common sense on these and other issues.

  • margaret says:

    I’m 67 and I’m a disillusioned idealist …
    I am grateful however. What strikes me about the former Marine and State Senator is that he is lacking a feeling of gratitude for being at the top of the greasy pole and not slipping down while trying to climb it like so many in his country who’ve been inculcated with the American Dream.
    Also, mentioning Bill Cosby destroys any credibility that the senator’s piece has.

    • margaret says:

      To have written the piece at 63 and not have improved it ten years later is arrested development or as Grandma would have said, stuck in a rut. Title should have at least been “Now I’m 73 and I’m even more tired, boring, and still banging on about my rights”. His attitude is as entitled as anyone he’s criticising.

      • margaret says:

        … oh, and it’s definitely not a “cry from the heart” — I don’t disagree with all of this essay but I don’t empathise with this man at all. I’ve returned to comment before, I may yet again, maybe after the interminable election campaign which I reluctantly concede will probably be won by the Neo cons. I’ll have to put up with Michaelia Cash representing my gender, when the reality is that if we had proper representation of women in the parliament we wouldn’t even need a Minister for Women. Happy trails.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Re credibility because of Cosby, why? The author didn’t do it, and Cosby has publicly denied any connection with it, or even that he agrees with it. I agree with your earlier point: Americans who have made it from poor backgrounds (the author pif the lament is one) often find it hard to imagine why others could not have done what they did. You’ll get that attitude in any society, of course, but it seems more prevalent in the USA.

        • Don Aitkin says:

          Sorry, I don’t follow. I don’t know who did this, but it wasn’t either Cosby or Hall. In what way does it diminish the credibility of Hall’s piece? On second thoughts I’m not sure ‘cry from the heart’ is right. I think it’s meant to be read that way, but is too carefully staged to be from the heart.

      • margaret says:

        “Americans who have made it from poor backgrounds often find it hard to imagine why others could not have done what they did.”
        What of the people from rich backgrounds who baldly state that they started with nothing.

        • Don Aitkin says:

          Too vague for me. Do you have someone in mind? And what then?

          • margaret says:

            Michaela Cash. I don’t know about the what then … she’s in parliament, I’m not.
            You said on the birthday of your website’s first year:
            “We the electorate make a rod for our backs by asking politicians to help create the better world that is in our heads, but since there are, for the sake of a number, a hundred single-issue groups out there all wanting a better world, and one hundred different better worlds, it is not surprising that politicians play up to us, and that we find them generally wanting.”

          • Don Aitkin says:

            I’m not in Parliament either, and I know only that she is. Sorry, Margaret, I know too little to comment.

          • margaret says:

            Fair enough.

          • john` says:

            Hillary Clinton perhaps? She was broke when she left the white house in 2000; just ask her.

  • Peter B says:

    Regrettably the situation has been getting worse over the years whereby a larger part of the population simply expects the various political parties to offer up more and more without [it would appear], being aware that they [which includes all of us] will end up paying for those promises through higher taxes or charges.

    I have long supported the idea of voluntary voting [future essay, Don?], and this was brought home to me this week by two women who attend to my wife. I asked them separately about the election and whose policies they favoured. Neither of them had any idea about the local candidates or their policies, but they were both married to union members who had been told by their union that their jobs and penalty rates were in jeopardy if they voted for Turnbull, so this was uppermost in their minds. They were unaware of [eg] the Andrews govt bullying the CFA, the so-called ‘Safe Schools’ programme, or even the Qld govt raiding their own public servants’ Super fund to bolster the budget. Both were more than surprised when I explained this to them, but of course the lack of media coverage also contributes to this.

    So if people are prepared to give up an hour or so on a Saturday to vote, my opinion is that they would do so more readily [and responsibly], after consideration of what the parties were offering and be more circumspect in who they actually voted for. I also believe this might possibly relieve the pressure on political parties to offer unrealistic policies, and maybe produce a more educated voter. Of course the Labor Party has always argued against this because they know that many of their supporters would simply not turn up to vote.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Absolutely right, Don.

    My father ended up the top public servant in his department and he was the sort of bloke who tore his hair out for as long as I can remember trying to balance his departmental budget. He always lived well within his means and taught us to do likewise.

    And my Aust forbears going back a C before him also were the types that died young while hard at work. Kids [that survived] in those days started work when they could walk and only went to school in their spare time. They were too busy getting educated to go to university. You got your engineering degree while studying around a campfire after a hard day’s grind in the field.

    Since the end of WW2 Australia has consistently improved and we have probably never had it so good. We are deluded to the point of thinking this is ongoing and can only get better. A quarter of a C without even a recession. Why should we pay a medical co-payment?

    So, boy, have we really got it coming with our current mad entitlement mentality combined with modern Keynesianism.

    What comes easy, goes easy and, sadly, the greater majority of us will have to be impoverished once more in order to get our values back. But it probably isn’t even that easy.

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      Most of our ills can be attributed to a disconnection from reality – a victory of idealism over pragmatism. We cannot take all the world’s refugees; we cannot support all Australia’s disabled; we cannot make having and educating children cost-free – without vastly increased revenues (taxes), or vastly increased levels of debt.

      Abbott had a slogan, sure, but it was achievable. “Jobs and growth” is just a nice idea peddled by someone who, in previous years, would have been a snake oil salesman.

      • spangled drongo says:

        The “entitled” hate people like Abbott and Trump. The thought of being made to face reality fills them with terror.

        Sadly, when they exceed 50% that’s the end of democracy and we’re just about there. As Peter B says, voluntary voting would help but the voting entitled are increasing because of greater activism.

  • Aert Driessen says:

    Another thoughtful piece Don, thank you. It’s the sort of piece that I can only read once because it arouses my sense of frustration. So on the basis of a once-read piece my reaction is that two root causes that you have not mentioned are the UN at a global level and the constraints of ‘political correctness’ which restrict the common-sense folk to offer solutions. I see the UN as a failed institution. As the numbers of displaced people swell in search of better living conditions they see their responsibility as aiding and supporting that process instead of exerting their influence to change the conditions at the source that is causing the exodus. We need a global ‘policeman’ on the beat; we cannot keep on relying on the USA to do that and the ‘civilised’ countries need to have a way to help the USA to make the right calls. Then we have the constraints imposed by PC language that limit us to tell sections of the population to ‘get off their bums’ and make a contribution lest we offend them. Enough said. GO TRUMP! And if I was a UK citizen I would be voting to leave the EU.

  • Alan Gould says:

    Should that essentially fair-minded but disaffected ex-Marine make me feel discomfited/ For i am now ‘on the bludge’ for the rest of my life, having been awarded an OAP 27 months ago, the first regular income in a lifetime where, all too needily, I have applied for and intermittently got, patronage for what I presumptuously adopted as my vocation – author.
    I can plead that, while on that OAP, Oz has had another novel from me – my ninth, will get another vol of poems from me in Feb next year – my fourteenth, and with luck will get a book of essays on Shakespeare that is now about half-written. But I am under no illusion that most tax-payers do not want these items and will find no use for them, that on an open market they would not pay me even the scantest livelihood, and that my products along with 99% of writing that aspires to art in Oz (and the world) would vanish without patronage, state patronage in particular. For that very few portion of readers, that loss would be intense. For the bulk of the populace, it would not be noticed.
    One might argue that welfare payments of various kinds are ‘The Bushranger Levy’. That is to say, if the Sate were not paying such things as an OAP, then types like me would be prowling the suburbs and shops in search of theft opportunities. With my new hip – fitted at the state’s expense, I might prove quite adroit at the kinds of ingenious burglary rampant in cities like London or Paris of which Dickens, Mayhew and Balzac apprise us.
    I agree, Don, that the question of ‘how far our responsibility goes, is an inescapable onew. I suspect the answer is difficult because it is, of its nature, so fluid. Certainly I would wish your disaffected ex-Marine rest.

  • JAC says:

    JFK said “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your county”. Obama’s speechwriter put it in a clumsier form -“If you have a successful business – you didn’t build it, somebody else did”. It is a fine sentiment, one which builds communities and nations, and it is one which resonates with the Australian ethos of giving the battler a hand. The hospital I was born in, I did not build. The school I was educated in, I did not build. Each generation commits expenditure to build infrastructure from which they may receive no benefit, but do so in the knowledge that future generations will. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was commenced in 1923 in precisely these terms. With eight lanes Bradfield envisaged a time when people would cross it in something more than a horse and cart As it neared completion, Premier Joe Cahill used it as a “stimulus package” with work for the dole satisfying the immediate needs of the Depression while still achieving the original objective of nation building.
    Which brings us to the current situation we find ourselves in. In the last eight years we have seen several stimulus packages, both home grown and internationally. Some to solve immediate financial or humanitarian crises while others are more ephemeral and distant, like climate change. There is an element of commonality in all of these impending catastrophes. One is the need for huge amounts of money to be collected from ordinary folk who are usually not closely connected with the drama. Another feature is there is very little of substance to show for all the political upheaval and diversion of capital from community investment. A generation which takes its collective feet off the pedals and coasts burns up community capital to the detriment of future generations which is bad enough, but to leave a huge debt is unconscionable.
    Consider this. There are 150 seats in the House of Representatives. The interest bill on current Federal debt is about $250 million a month. Or about $1.7 million per electorate per week. If your electorate received that money on Monday morning to spend on whatever was desired above any other what would it be for? The NDIS? Gonski? Affordable housing? Or refugee housing?. Don’t fret if is it spent by Friday because there will another cheque on Monday. And the Monday after that, into the foreseeable future.
    But there will be not a 1.7 mill windfall for your electorate, or mine. Instead it will be taken out and bundled up with all the other electoral contributions and sent off to the grateful merchant bankers around the world, who could not believe their luck when the Australian Treasury sold them the triple A rated 10 year bonds at 4.5%. And instead of making any effort to turn this around, we have politicians who think only of taking more. To spend. On the perceived damage of climate change, or attempting to shut down any industry or energy source which may cause some . Or promote others that have shown a remarkable resistance to providing any of the touted benefits. The intellectual dishonesty that drives much of the political discussion is as aimless as it is irrelevant.
    Meanwhile the telephone landline in our street has been broken for two weeks and Telstra can’t give a reliable date for repair, there is no mobile phone reception and congestion on the mobile internet network regularly denies access for weeks at a time during daylight hours. Yes weeks. School holidays are the main cause I can see the ocean from my front verandah, and the Princes Highway – the A1 – is five minutes drive away. It brings visitors to the biggest tourist destination in NSW after Sydney.
    It is this that makes me weary. I suspect the ex marine has similar problems.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      JAC,

      Some interesting thoughts in that piece. But the premier was J.T. Lang not Joe Cahill, who was after the second world war.

      • JAC says:

        Don,
        An embarrassing slip, and your faintly wary tone made me realise that what I had written was slightly manic. I can only plead extenuating circumstances. Earlier in the evening I was at a town meeting which was convened to discuss possible relocation of civic amenities or construction of new ones. This was prompted by the construction of a Highway deviation taking it away from the main street in town. A great outcome, and the upbeat crowd which gathered to consider this were dismayed when a local self proclaimed activist arrived. She had one idea only – to make the whole town plastic bag free by Christmas. Nothing else could be considered, and she talked over other speakers or accused them of having selfish , ulterior motives if they disagreed with her proposals. Now I have a reasonable tolerance for different opinions – if we all wore boiler suits and Red stars on our hats, it would be a dull life indeed – but as this tiresome, timewasting battle of wills dragged on, I thought that she is behaving very badly and getting away with it because most of the polite, conservative people she is haranguing will avoid a confrontation at all costs. They do not want to make “a scene”. But , more importantly, she did not want to solve the problem. Any objections based on practical implementation were swept aside with distain or insults.

        So when I read your piece, it triggered a pent up frustration with the meeting and with activism generally. Somebody once observed that having a grievance is a wonderful thing. It can brought out as required and polished up, displayed and then put away until it is needed again. A resolution would spoil the fun. Which brings me to the question you posed – where does our responsibility stop. To the activists, the answer is nowhere and never. They do not want a solution to the perceived problems, because it will render them irrelevant. They are gatekeepers. They determine what is important and who is responsible and what the penalty is for failing to meet the remedy they outline. The way to deal with gatekeepers is to step around them. Do not defer to their self proclaimed authority.
        I would pose a different question – when do we acknowledge the responsibilities we have that are not being upheld?
        One of them has been troubling me for some time. It has been subjected to some virulently corrosive gatekeeping for quite a while and we are going backwards because of it. It is the welfare of aboriginal people in remote settlements. Since the mid 60’s successive governments have, I believe, made genuine attempts to improve the living conditions, the health, the education and the employment of these communities. Per capita funding has been considerably higher than the national rate. It certainly has been higher than remote rural towns. For half a century proposal after proposal has been formulated, funded, overseen and failed. Why?
        The Whitlam era coincided with the emergence internationally of a move to restore land ownership to native people. If you felt a slight tremor of guilt at the phrasing of that statement, it gives you some idea of how well us white colonial imperialist aggressors have been re-educated. The event which triggered this shift occurred nearly thirty years prior. It was the end of British rule in India and Pakistan. That set in train a raft of decolonising which resulted in a sea change in attitudes around the world. India has gone on to be a modern , democratic nation with a robust well developed economy. Pakistan/Bangladesh, less so. And so it has been with other erstwhile colonies. Some prospered, some didn’t. By the time the 70’s arrived, attitudes developed some Attitude. The civil rights movement in America for both black and First Nation citizens was mirrored around the world. Canada saw both First Nation and French separatism in Quebec. And so it was in Australia. Self Determination for the first Australians became the primary focus, and land ownership the key to its advancement. It still is. Noel Pearson has expressed a need for a national body of Elders(?) to be formed to review any legislation which is passed by Parliament to see if there is any impact on the principles of Self Determination.

        I believe that the gatekeepers, those people who vehemently insist that all traditional lands should be restored to the claimants, and that they should live a traditional lifestyle on those lands autonomously, while being supported with every first world benefit available to capital city dwellers – jobs, education, health services – those things that are not available in most small rural towns around the country – are the cause of the disintegration of the very people they claim to be fighting for.
        The life of most members of these remote communities is purposeless. It is devoid of any stimulation, or engagement. Yet they are urged – told it is their right – to stay on their land. That the Government must provide them with the services they need. Animals in captivity are routinely stimulated with new experiences to keep them alert and to avoid behavioural disorders. Why do we deny the same benefit to the humans in remote settlements? Why are they not encouraged to enter the 21st Century like the rest of the human race? Other indigenous groups have done so while maintaining traditional cultural practices. Traditional lands can be maintained without the need to squat in the middle of them.

        I suspect it is because the gatekeepers want to maintain the fiction of their moral ascendancy. They prefer to claim the right to curate the living display in the traditional first Australian exhibits they have created and which only they can interpret. The inhabitants of these displays are paying a severe price for the moral gratification and personal financial benefit of a few. For some insight into how this works I can recommend reading the blog of a full blood aboriginal man, Dallas. It can be found at: http://theblacksteamtrain.blogspot.com.au . He doesn’t write much – but it has the ring of truth.

        Don some time ago you noted you had severed a long held membership of the Fabian Society. I am generally very sceptical of the benefits of the Socialist ideal. After many years of trials I have yet to see a working model worth emulating. But I have a soft spot for the Fabians. They attracted a better class of membership for a start, and the concept of gradual non confrontational change is far more to my taste than violent revolution. If we must have activists in today’s world, I would prefer them to more Fabian than Trotskyist.

        • margaret says:

          “Somebody once observed that having a grievance is a wonderful thing. It can brought out as required and polished up, displayed and then put away until it is needed again.”

          Isn’t that exactly what 73 year old ex-marine and State Senator has? A grievance that he has held for ten or more years and not even bothered to reflect on.
          He could retire, but I expect he would not enjoy making do like those less fortunate. Because one is indeed fortunate to have drive, ambition, intelligence, connections etc. and good on him for his wealth creation but he lacks the grace to acknowledge that he’s an individual human being with a unique set of genes and circumstances that shaped him.
          We’re all on the same train just in different carriages.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Dunno about the different carriages but we are sure on that OoC train.

            C’mon, admit it Margaret. You’d rather give your life savings to the govt to redistribute than to your kids.

        • spangled drongo says:

          JAC, having lived and worked with full blood aboriginals in remote parts, I understand your summary. They are wonderful, capable people in the wild but rather dysfunctional in civilised groups and I feel their only way of coping in the 21st C is to dilute themselves into the mainstream.

          Pre ’67 it was beginning to work but siddown money and the attendant philosophy cruelled it.

          BTW, great summary on “gatekeepers”.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Alternatively, Margaret, if you knew you were never going to get welfare you [and society generally] would be much more productive. I retired at 33 and have funded it ever since.

    • spangled drongo says:

      But then, Margaret, there’s this much more equitable modern society:

      The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
      The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the squirrel is warm and well fed.
      A social worker finds the shivering grasshopper, calls a press conference and demands to know why the squirrel should be allowed to be warm and well-fed while others less fortunate, like the grasshopper, are cold and starving.
      The ABC shows up to provide live coverage of the shivering grasshopper, with cuts to a video of the squirrel in his comfortable warm home with a table laden with food.
      The Australian press informs people that they should be ashamed that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so while others have plenty.
      The Greens, the Labor Party, Greenpeace, Animal Rights and The Grasshopper Housing Commission of Australia demonstrate in front of the squirrel’s house.
      The ABC, interrupting a cultural festival special from St Kilda with breaking news, broadcasts a multi-cultural choir singing ‘We Shall Overcome’.
      Bill Shorten rants in an interview with Laurie Oakes that the squirrel got rich off the backs of grasshoppers, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the squirrel to make him pay his ‘fair share’, and increases the charge for squirrels to enter Melbourne City Centre.
      In response to pressure from the media, the Government drafts the Economic Equity and Grasshopper Anti-Discrimination Act, retrospective to the beginning of the summer. The squirrel’s taxes are reassessed.
      He is taken to court and fined for failing to hire grasshoppers as builders for the work he was doing on his home, and an additional fine for contempt when he told the court the grasshopper did not want to work.
      The grasshopper is provided with a Housing Commission house, financial aid to furnish it and an account with a local taxi firm to ensure he can be socially mobile.
      The squirrel’s food is seized and re-distributed to the more needy members of society – in this case the grasshopper.
      Without enough money to buy more food, to pay the fine and his newly imposed retrospective taxes, the squirrel has to downsize and start building a new home.
      The local authority takes over his old home and utilises it as a temporary home for asylum-seeking cats who had hijacked a plane to get to Australia as they had to share their country of origin with mice.
      On arrival they tried to blow up the airport because of Australians’ apparent love of dogs.
      The cats had been arrested for the international offence of hijacking and attempted bombing but were immediately released because the police fed them pilchards instead of salmon whilst in custody.
      Initial moves to make them return to their own country were abandoned because it was feared they would face death by the mice.
      The cats devise and start a scam to obtain money from people’s credit cards.
      A 60 Minutes special shows the grasshopper finishing up the last of the squirrel’s food, though Spring is still months away, while the Housing Commission house he is in, crumbles around him because he hasn’t bothered to maintain it. He is shown to be taking drugs.
      Sarah Hanson-Young blames inadequate government funding for the grasshopper’s drug ‘Illness’.
      The cats seek recompense in the Australian courts for their treatment since arrival in Australia.
      The grasshopper gets arrested for stabbing an old dog during a burglary to get money for his drugs habit. He is imprisoned but released immediately because he has been in custody for a few weeks.
      He is placed in the care of the probation service to monitor and supervise him.
      Within a few weeks he has killed a guinea pig in a botched robbery.
      A commission of enquiry, that will eventually cost $10 million and state the obvious, is set up.
      Additional money is put into funding a drug rehabilitation scheme for grasshoppers.

      Legal aid for lawyers representing asylum seekers is increased.

      The asylum-seeking cats are praised by the government for enriching Australia’s multicultural diversity and dogs are criticised by the government for failing to befriend the cats.
      The grasshopper dies of a drug overdose.

      The usual sections of the press blame it on the obvious failure of government to address the root causes of despair arising from social inequity and his traumatic experience of prison.
      The Greens and the Labor Party call for the resignation of the Prime Minister.

      The cats are paid $1 million each because their rights were infringed when the government failed to inform them there were mice in Australia.
      The squirrel, the dogs and the victims of the hijacking, the bombing, the burglaries and robberies have to pay an additional percentage on their credit cards to cover losses, their taxes are increased to pay for law and order, and they are told that they will have to work beyond 65 because of a shortfall in government funds.

      • Bryan Roberts says:

        LMFAO. Well done, sd.

      • margaret says:

        Lame, silly and pathetic.

        • Bryan Roberts says:

          margaret, when you lose the ability to appreciate and enjoy mockery, you are indeed getting old.

          In fact, you, and I fear quite a lot of people, are losing the trait that was once quintessentially ‘Australian’.

        • spangled drongo says:

          Of course it is, Margaret. But not quite as lame, silly and pathetic as that once proud public breast has become.

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            Tch, tch, the only breasts you are allowed to talk about these days are the disembodied remains of chickens.

        • margaret says:

          I knew sponged dangle was odd … but Bryan Roberts … a bit of a nasty side. That’s okay guys, you obviously found Caroline’s piece disturbing. My work is done.

          • spangled drongo says:

            “My work is done”

            If only that were true.

            Your lot haven’t even started.

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            margaret, I don’t read URLs, because I think people who post them can’t defend their own opinions. As Don said in a previous opinion, just an appeal to authority.
            I suspect your work has just begun.

          • margaret says:

            That’s original thought.

      • margaret says:

        Ah …. I get it – a dystopian Wind in the Willows …

  • spangled drongo says:

    But wait! there’s more:

    http://cartoonsbyjosh.co.uk/subsidy-sam

  • spangled drongo says:

    Where does our responsibility AND our [as in ABC and MSM-type] STUPIDITY end:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/science/british-beech-tree-could-die-8210417

  • margaret says:

    Help! David, Jimbo, Ross, dlb …

    • JimboR says:

      My advice Margaret is filter, filter and filter!

      Oh, and I’m with you on the “I’m 73 and I’m tired” author. I’m afraid I feel no sympathy for him at all, especially after reading his complete rant. I know plenty of folk who are enjoying a comfortable retirement in the US. I suspect this guy made some bad choices, or had some bad luck. Life hasn’t turned out as he had hoped and now he’s looking around for someone to blame: the government, the Muslims etc. etc. The list is disturbingly long if you read his full rant. He is your classic old, white, male, angry, whinging conservative…. another one best added to the do-not-read filter.

    • dlb says:

      Margaret, probably not even worth lifting a bat to some comments.

  • spangled drongo says:

    And if not a “classic old, white, male, angry, whinging conservative…. ” possibly just an upright, respectable, rent seeking or trough occupying progressive?

  • spangled drongo says:

    More on where does our stupidity end.

    The experts, after years of telling us that our dams will never fill again because of Glowbull Warming and sending us broke with elaborate water grids and desal plants are now telling us that our floods are increasing for the same reason:

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/eastern-australian-flood-events-a-significant-rise-in-frequency-says-study-20160617-gplbwi.html

    Can you bear it?

  • spangled drongo says:

    I emailed Acacia Pepler, UNSW, who is in this article, a couple of weeks ago about some of their claims and it seems like she is still at it.

    They are simply cherry picking. It’s amazing what you can do by fiddling time periods and specific areas:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/updates/articles/a010-southern-rainfall-decline.shtml

  • JimboR says:

    I’m guessing this angry, old, white, male conservative isn’t real keen on welcome-to-country ceremonies:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-21/man-pleads-guilty-to-using-facebook-harassment-of-nova-peris/7528674

    Good to see the Libs expelled him from the party pronto, and brava to Senator Peris for letting his comments stand for all to see.

    • margaret says:

      At first I thought of all the ‘if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen’ platitudes when Nova Peris resigned, which shows my own personal failing I expect but of course, where there’s smoke there’s fire and this man lit it. Apologies for all the imagery and folksy sayings. He’s a bad egg 🙂

    • spangled drongo says:

      Yes, jimmy, we all know that it is great to abuse old white males but if OWMs abuse Philipino/Aboriginal/white, time serving, political, parachuting, opportunist females, well that deserves a 2 year gaol sentence.

      Never mind 18c, You’ve really got it sussed.

  • margaret says:

    A brilliant rant – where indeed does our responsibility stop?

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/06/i-want-my-country-back

    • Don Aitkin says:

      It is a brilliant rant, and it is so full of adjectives, adverbs and exaggeration that most of the time you’re not sure what the issue is. I’m a nation-state person, and we still have a way to go in making the nation-state (ours, anyway) serve good purposes for those within it. It is far too early to go into super-regional, let alone global government. Let’s fix what we have.

      If I were a Brit, I would have voted to leave the EU. The whole EU thing got bigger and bigger and less useful, and then plainly dysfunctional. It should have stayed as a common market. One of my friends says it should have stayed at the earlier stage of the European Coal and Steel Community.

      • spangled drongo says:

        Don, you might have to do something on BREXIT. Margaret’s Remainians just don’t realise how lucky they are.

        As someone said: “So let me get this straight: you pay 8.5 billion a year to be in a club that tells you where to fish, what to farm, who to let into your country and about 40,000 other things, all so you can be inside its trade barriers which make the world’s goods 8% more expensive, and you’re debating whether to leave it or not??”

  • spangled drongo says:

    “There is homophobia within Islam and within Christianity”

    She’s got her country back even though she doesn’t get it.

  • margaret says:

    Even in Ky?to—
    hearing the cuckoo’s cry—
    I long for Ky?to

    Could apply to Brexit.

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