Moving on

If one asks why the richest democracy on earth supported by the most sophisticated science of all-time is barreling towards social, economic, political and environmental disaster, it quickly becomes obvious that the root problem lies not in a single arena, but in an interconnected web of institutional crises and failures. From toxic food, media and education to dysfunctional health care, economic policy and politics, every field is in trouble—just ask them. (1)

What Australians need is a superior narrative for the future of the nation.

Everyone needs a story that inspires confidence and hope, something that will allow them to grow and develop into a competitive country, equally well positioned for coming opportunities and calamities.

But what Australians experience every day is government inefficiency, waste and incompetence, increasing charges at State and local levels coupled with decreasing quality of outcomes from public services – from Universities to hospitals to infra-structures.

Australians now live in a world where spin, denial and political game playing are occupying a growing proportion of the political narrative causing increasing cynicism about the entire business of politics.

It’s a world where bogus emails and loans of utes assume national significance while people die waiting for medical treatment or stand for hours waiting for trains that never come. 

It is time for a breakthrough.

It is time for frank and fearless discussion about issues that really matter to people. It is time to define the situation as it really is so that we can deal effectively with whatever is needed.

It is time to face up to our real difficulties and invite the Australian people to work together to create a better future.

Government’s false promise

It is becoming ever clearer that the promises offered by governments are ultimately based on the same ideas that have shaped Australia’s thinking since colonisation – bigger government, more regulation, more bureaucracy, escalating costs, fewer citizen freedoms.

These ideas remove our freedoms, we are forced to relinquish control over our lives to distant bureaucracies and to gradually sink into total dependence on public services that are being stripped of the very personnel that we need – doctors, nurses, carers, firefighters, teachers and police.

Australians need new ways to shape lives that have become bogged in regulation and penalties coupled with cost increases for ever worsening services and ever bigger and more intrusive governments that are taking decisions without understanding their costs and consequences on real people.

This new Australian Labor’s relationship with business is a subservient role in which governments are manipulated onto partnerships and deals that waste money and produce dysfunctional outcomes.

Private profits – socialized costs.

Voter economics

Hip pocket economics for voters are that Australia’s 3 levels of government are taking too much money and time from voters without returning commensurate added value. In that context, the constant blizzard of news stories of waste and failure is even more stark.

On top of federal taxes, voters pay directly for various state charges as well as local rates and charges. Meanwhile governments are shucking off responsibility for essentials like water and power, adding to the householder’s non-discretionary payment burden without providing any commensurate relief.

From a voter’s perspective, the rhetoric on the federal ETS is merely a diversion from its most obvious realities – bigger government, higher costs to Australians, and big payments to polluters.

Yet no evidence has been presented to demonstrate that the climate will respond usefully to these payments.

Renewal means a new start.

Australia must deal with its federalist structural failures that lead to so many bizarre and expensive failures – from water use to business compliance costs.

Government must reduce its size and the burden that it places on voters and businesses.

Government must perform – it must create and maintain infrastructures that build our competitiveness and it must deliver quality service in return for its taxes and charges

Government must invest in Australia and Australians instead of allowing us to be controlled by overseas interests

Australians need messages of hope grounded in their daily realities

The list is extensive - both the need and the opportunity are great.

The battleground has moved on from federal politics in the federal parliament, it is becoming the main political parties and their affiliates versus the public interest and the public purse.

The parties have forgotten that it is the public that defines the public interest, not an unrepresentative party or a focus group.

ALP government investments are too often in bigger government. The ETS is but one example where massive and unknown negative impacts are likely. An investment in actually reducing emissions would be more direct, less expensive and more certain.

The role of the media

The combination of growing pressure to do something different and a cadre of status-quo supporting experts are both standard signs of what I call ‘great change’, a massive rethinking and rearrangement of society’s daily patterns of seeing and doing. The blind-sided experts, for instance, are still stuck inside the old cultural cocoon. Pressure, however, drives other people to develop solutions to the failures in their chosen field of endeavour. (1)

Our media is holding us back by limiting the information and ideas that our social groups need to devise, and engage in, new behaviours that transcend the old paradigms.

It is the development of new social media, in which citizens can participate in describing, and solving, their own problems, that is needed to carry us forward.

Goerner (1) identifies many of the problems of social decay to the culture developed by oligarchies.

Oligarchic culture breeds the kind of dysfunction that destroys the home society (usually along with others) because:
(a) authoritarians suppress effective collective learning
(b) imperialism drains public coffers, destroys lives and encourages profiteering and corruption among the mighty and
(c) plutocrats become dangerously unaccountable and influential by concentrating exorbitant wealth and power via an exploitative system that breeds outrage and dysfunction along with inequity, injustice and incompetence. The resulting failures create the conditions for great change and new noble upsurges such as the Enlightenment 300 years
ago and the sustainability movement today. (1)

The ‘Murdochised’ media of today supports the oligarchy and disempowers the citizens by presenting a ‘one paradigm view’ of what is acceptable – and now Rupert wants us to pay for that service!!

There you have it.

The problems are evident – our system isn’t working.

We are choosing war to bring peace, trees instead of food, money to reduce atmospheric temperatures; and denial and spin to bring compliance.

It isn’t working and it won’t work. We need to find new ways forward that satisfy more people than just the power elite.

One essential answer is citizen journalism.

Watch this space.


Mike Bolan http://www.abetteraustralia.com
Mike is a complex systems consultant, change facilitator and executive/management coach.


Sally J Goerner,  (2007) Today’s Copernican Flip, Systems Research & Behavioural Science 24, pp 481-91

Note. The author welcomes constructive criticism and new information that adds to our understanding of these matters.

 

MIKE BOLAN

Australians now live in a world where spin, denial and political game playing are occupying a growing proportion of the political narrative causing increasing cynicism about the entire business of politics.

It’s a world where bogus emails and loans of utes assume national significance while people die waiting for medical treatment or stand for hours waiting for trains that never come. 

It is time for a breakthrough.