The Future Health of our Nation- Do we care Enough?

Taking a lead from the ABC’s Laura Tingle recent essay on what type of leadership Australians want, got me thinking, what do Australians really want in terms of how our society will look like going into the future?

The question I would pose is “Are we capable of halting this descent into a less attractive and harmonious Australia and if so what are we prepared to do about it?

Leaving aside the endless debate about leadership and political turmoil which seems to be omnipresent here and around the world, there appear to be questions that need to be answered by the population individually and collectively.

We live in a time where we have witnessed such momentous change, creating a landscape probably an anathema too many Australians, who could never have envisioned the changes to their respective lives.

A country blessed with so many natural gifts the world has always looked on with envy, as it has in its short history has been able to carve out so many wonderful milestones.

What appears to have developed is a country at odds with itself with no real vision of where it wants to go. We find ourselves in unfamiliar territory with an increasing divide among sections of communities, rising intolerance to opposing views and a divergence from the once held treasured national value of “Giving a fair go”.

A major indicator being the incredible rise of mental health issues as people try and grapple with the numerous issues affacting their lives. I have no doubt some people will challenge these assertions and that Australian values remain intact. I would defend this statement by asking anyone to truthfully examine the state of our national dialogue at this time, it is pretty ugly.

It appears that we are suffering a huge dose of apathy and some believe that magically all these bad elements introduced into our society will eventually dissolve and we can get back to how life used to be!!

At the outset I will declare this task would seem to be like turning the “Titanic” around within the length of a football field, it may not be realistic. Perhaps we are set on a course which cannot be altered and we just have to accept the consequences.

On the other hand, we have seen that change has always encountered obstacles to its progress and implementation. Historically Australia has rightfully earned a reputation as a country which has been able to adapt to the prevailing circumstances.

So how may we tackle this malaise?

Who is going to perform this so-called miracle? Let’s start with you and me to take responsibility for more balanced thought. Are our personal expectations too high, self- awareness has to be a factor? Are we influenced by the constant deluge of output from the numerous media platforms expressing a myriad of opinions not necessarily based in fact?

We could be accused of not being able to filter truth from fiction, the need to regain some balance in making our mind up before deciding on crucial decisions is desperately needed.

Anyone who has a platform to reach out to others in every corner of our community needs to be encouraged, there are plenty of examples of individuals who share the same ideals striving to protect our national identity.

This includes educationists from all sectors who have the ability to convince people that the current path we are treading can only lead to a weakening of our country’s identity.

Attempts must be made for restored collaboration amongst people which has seriously been eroded over recent years being replaced with the intolerance of which I mentioned above, this a serious development which goes unchecked has huge potential to dictate how we live and operate. It has echoes of fascism which previously we have fought so hard to defeat.

Is it possible to develop a new platform of trust for the future, something which has suffered greatly in recent years? It is a fundamental requirement for a successful nation. Although I do acknowledge it may not be able to be achieved in the current environment.

A very disturbing trend as mentioned above has been a person’s ability to prosecute a point of view regarding a variety of subjects without being ridiculed and shouted down without being heard. It is one of the most basic tenements of our democracy. As we stand at this moment there is a definite feeling that those with the loudest voices will win through.

I am under no illusion to some this may sound like something from fantasy land but I sincerely believe we will be well on our way to destroying something quite unique unless we start to appreciate and nurture what we have.

Whilst there can be no doubt of the culpability of the role our politicians have played in creating our current predicament but at the same time, we have to bear some responsibly for allowing the destruction of our values. If Australians truly believe our reputation and culture is at risk, we should not allow this to happen.

I am about to commit heresy and suggest that perhaps what is needed it a national campaign (funded by government) to alert people why our Australia is so special and why our internal relationships need to be protected.

One would hope that as we move towards the transition to new generations, they heed the call to rebuild a better Australia, one that is again envied from afar.

From where I sit at this time, the alternatives do not look very attractive.

Ken Wood
People Specialist
28th September 2018