Election Fever

We just had an election and we ended up with the same mediocre government we had before. They are not a government to guide us through the perils of our present times.

 

The so-called democratic system allowed us to elect a mediocre government, by mediocre people for mediocre people. The best we can say is, we live in a country administered by bookkeepers who always enjoy a beautiful set of figures.

 

There are always mediocre voters in a country but it doesn’t follow that we have to cast a vote for a mediocre government.

We had this government for the last six years and can say with certainty that they did nothing right or advanced our country only one iota. They did not advance the cause of our indigenous people, the Aboriginals who look back at a continued culture and possession of this continent for more than sixty thousand years. We asked them for advice and they gave the glorious “Uluru Statement from the Heart”. They were asking for a treaty or Makarrata ( a complex Yolngu word describing a process of conflict resolution, peacemaking). Their ideas and suggestions were rejected during a press conference given by the then PM Malcolm Turnbull in a thoughtless flash.

 

Another subject of contention is the locking-up of refugees.  The East German government had the dubious distinction locking up people who tried to leave their country. Here in Australia, we are locking up people who were escaping tyranny and arrived on our shores by boat.

 

Unemployment in a capitalist country is encouraged by the government as a tool of keeping the wages of the working class low (it is the desired effect). The unemployed are paid an allowance called Newstart which is so low that nobody can live off it.

 

Then there is Climate Change, a challenge for the survival of all mankind. Something has to be done by our government in concert and cooperation with the global community. Oh no, they say we are only causing 1% of the global CO2 and whatever we do won’t make any difference. They are forgetting that we are only 1/3 of 1% of the world’s population. We are the highest per capita producers of greenhouse gases.

 

I’m touching here only on a fraction of issues where urgent action is required. But what can you expect from a mediocre government that thinks tax cuts for the wealthy is the way to go. Surely, as the sun follows rain money will trickle down to the underclasses? It is like it was during the times of the Romans when the poor walked every day across ancient Rome to sit under the tables of the rich patrons and waiting for the crumbs to fall off the tables. Sometimes, they would drop some food to their hungry clientele.

 

How can one combat a mediocre government? When one lives under a dictatorship revolution becomes one’s duty. If one lives under a rotten, mediocre government rigorous, intellectual thinking becomes the duty. We have seen, by yesterday’s example, the elections don’t always solve the problem. The electorate has to become aware of what is wrong within the country to permit the necessary change.

Leaders, elected or otherwise, have the duty to lay the framework for policies that are understood by a majority of people. Surely, the media has its part to play. But what good is a media platform that works actively to falsify reality and supports the status quo of keeping the clientele under the table and make the middle classes even richer?

 

The desired framework of policies will give the people and the country the tools to cope with the changes in the future. And we need leadership which can combine principle and pragmatism. A tall order but we had it once under the late Bob Hawke who passed away only two days before the election. I was sorry for him that he would have missed the triumph of his party but now, I think he was lucky to be spared the disappointment of the loss of the election for his party.

 

Personally, I’m at a loss and feel like fever has befallen me. I’m confused about what will happen next. Perhaps we should rest our minds for a while and await the final result and then plan for the future. At my age, I just turned eighty-four, and not much future lays ahead of me.

In Berlin on a Hot Day

On our trip to Berlin in June last year,  we had the opportunity to vote for the federal election at the Australian Embassy in the centre of Berlin.

In Berlin, you can find statues of the Berlin emblem, the Berlin Bear, everywhere in all different disguises. We even found one inside the embassy.

 

IMG_1546

The Berlin Bear greets little Aussie Lucas at the Australian embassy.

But there was a kangaroo too. It looked a bit on the “dry” side in a Berlin court yard.

 

IMG_1550

“Skippy” the Bush-Kangaroo hiding in a backyard in Berlin on a diplomatic mission

In the next picture, you see indeed some Aussies marking the ballot papers. The children thought we went there for a scribble session and Lucas wanted to have a pencil and a piece of paper too.  This is election Australian style. The voting papers are not marked in secret nor are there any cabins where you can hide what you are doing.

IMG_1549

 

It was a very hot day in Berlin, actually 33°C. So we felt quite at home and what better idea than heading for the water. We did a river cruise.

 

 

IMG_1551

One of the modern buildings replacing the infamous Wall.

Remnants of the Wall can be seen nearby.

 

IMG_1554

Parts of the old Wall has been transformed into an outdoor gallery.

Not far away up-river is the beautiful Oberbaum Bridge. You can see another Berlin anomaly where the underground train is actually an elevated train.

 

IMG_1557

A castle-like structure over which the, here elevated, yellow underground train traverses.

IMG_1559

At the Technical Museum, the elevated train crosses the Landwehrkanal meeting a plane that used to be part of the air-bridge during the “Blockade” of 1948 / 49

 

IMG_1569

The office of the Chancellery as seen from the River Spree. From here Frau Merkel runs the country.

The river cruise took us right through the centre of Berlin.

 

IMG_1570

This is the Central Railway Station. Trains are pulling in from all directions of the compass. The East/West trains are above the ground and the North / South trains are under ground.

 

IMG_1573

This is the Parliament building the centre of the German democracy.

 

IMG_1577

The “Ganymed” Restaurant and the theatre of the world famous “Berlin Ensemble” to the right of it.

 

The “Ganymed” was once owned by a member of my wife’s family. Because of the closeness to the theatre, it attracted members of the cast and crews after the show.

 

IMG_1583

The ‘Berlin Cathedral at the Pleasure Garden.

At the end of the 3-hour cruise, we were all exhausted and when we arrived at the train station we found this sign:

 

IMG_1595

Train has been cancelled

It wasn’t as bad as it sounds because in Berlin the trains run every few minutes and every station is well stocked with food and drinks of all description. As we were parched we were able to buy some bottled water.

 

It was a memorable day