I don’t understand millions. Even more so, I don’t understand BILLIONS.
Last weekend a magnificent concert was conducted in the ANZ Stadium in Sydney to raise money for people and communities that suffered horrific losses due to this summer’s bushfires.
Here we had: “Fire Fight Australia, concert for National Bushfire Relief”.
And, what a concert it was!
Top performers from Australia and overseas gave of their time, their energy and their love to make the night a roaring success.
Wasn’t k.d.lang amazing? (To mention just one).
Over 70, 000 people attended and had the time of their lives. Others (like me) watched the concert on television and marvelled at the performances and the generosity of so many gifted artists.
At the conclusion of TEN hours of music, it was announced that the magnificent sum of $9 million had been raised.
Everyone was impressed and so very thankful.
Nine MILLION dollars is a huge amount and will go well to help distressed people and communities.
But, Hang on a minute. This is nine MILLION dollars, right?
And yet our ‘esteemed’ government spent 4.65 BILLION DOLLARS in the lead up to last year’s election. Mostly as a boost to maintain power.
So, doesn’t the NINE MILLION DOLLARS raised for fire relief seem a bit, pathetically, small?
I don’t know about you, but 9 million compared the over FOUR BILLION shows a mighty gap.
All those zeros… 9,000,000 compared with 4,650,000,000. Really? Yes, really!
Let’s look at just a few of the ways those govt millions and BILLIONS were spent.
(Can’t see much bushfire assistance).
One of the most repellent govt spends was the $185 million (185,000,000) to open the Christmas Island detention centre. (That’s well over 20 times the money raised for the fire relief…X 20 times!)
And, remember the security company (Paladin) that scored $423 million…was that money used appropriately? Manus Island, remember?
How about the $30million given to Rupert Murdoch’s Foxtel? (Admittedly that wasn’t last year). try and explain that!
And, the $444 million to a dodgy Barrier Reef Foundation. What’s happening there?
The ‘HelloWorld’ travel company that sucks up federal govt contracts scored a juicy few BILLION dollars. (at least one billion, some estimate as much as three Billion…helped along by its donations to LNP and paying for certain politicians’ holidays).
And, remember Wesfarmers supposed plan to ‘advance Indigenous Australia’, wasn’t that $15 million? How’s that going? A company whose yearly profits are around 4.5 BILLION, gains $15 million from the govt the DAY BEFORE last year’s election. Fishy? Fair? Or, what?
Then there’s $220 million for ‘regional job investment’ (strongly criticised by the Auditor General)– anyone heard how that’s progressing? A bit dodgy, especially because the areas awarded this money were in Coalition held electorates, not where it was needed.
Old mate Barnaby and ‘well done’ Angus tied up in the equally dodgy water buy-back scheme that cost the govt a mere $80 million. Where’s that money now?
Is the $9 million raised for fire relief still sounding amazing?
Poor old Bridget lost (well, not really) her job because of the $100 million Sports Infrastructure program. Then, a little later, suddenly up pops another $150 Million sport’s thing – something to do with water safety and female change rooms that caused 120 swimming pools to be built, some of which were not even wanted - and one community didn’t even have space to dig a hole for one, but, there it was, “here’s a pool for you, vote for us!”
I can’t even be bothered adding up the dollar amount for these few examples I have listed.
Suffice to say, they are part of the stated 4.65 BILLION DOLLARS spent by the government, mostly in the past 12 months.
And, now the coffers are empty.
How much will be given to help the fire ravaged communities, when all the $$$$ have been spent on funding to help keep this govt in power?
How much more of the allocated funding for the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) can be siphoned off (“repurposed for drought relief” to quote govt.) - to try and maintain a now almost non-existent surplus? Is that fair, do you think?
As I said at the start, I do not understand millions, whether it’s dollars or occupants of ants’ nests. But I do know that a MILLION is a hell of a lot of $$$$ - or ants.
I am an ordinary person who budgets in the tens or sometimes hundreds of dollars, Yes, I do understand the cost of things. I know that simply living costs a lot.
I know that a visit to the dentist or optometrist can make me feel ill when a total sum of hundreds of dollars is mentioned.
I have, on occasion, had to fork out a thousand dollars on something very serious and, in the case of buying a house, hundreds of thousands. Yikes!
But, a MILLION? Never. Does not even compute with my brain, let alone my bank balance.
That’s why the $9 MILLION raised in last weekend’s concert seemed fantastic. A wonderful boost for very needy people.
And, don’t get me wrong. $9,000,000 is fantastic!
I thank everyone involved in that great gesture of giving.
But then I can’t help but ponder what BILLIONS of dollars might be able to do if aimed in the right direction.
PS: I apologise for the image above that depicts NZ money. I made a mistake when gathering an accompanying pic and am too lazy to alter it!
Last week I posted a blog full of disjointed whingeing about politicians’ rorts and their lying. Well, never-ending corruption, actually.
I have been absolutely fed up with all that was/is wrong with the people who are pretending to be in charge of this country. I also am sick of myself, as all I do is whinge and feel ineffective in amongst the awful stuff that is the current state of affairs – in this country and across the world.
I apologise to anyone who may have read my last blog. That sort of writing from me is about to stop!
I have written so often about inequality that I have almost run out of accompanying Google Images of empty un-balance scales!
It is time I left political and other world worries for a while.
I will, for a while, only briefly scan Twitter. I will also only briefly scan online daily headlines from ABC, The Age and The Guardian.
I will try to not get too mad when I watch the ABC News at night, as I sip a brandy.
When the 7:30 program comes on, I will leave the room and make a cup of tea whenever a lying politician appears.
That way I hope to retain some needed calm.
Meanwhile at ground-zero on the home-front:
The dog is not well. Her back legs are no longer working and she is seemingly unaware of her surroundings. At almost sixteen years of age, I’m sure she is nearing the end of her life.
I am reluctant to make a call to the vet, as I feel sure that it will not be a happy prognosis and the ‘treatment’ offered will be more final than I can bear at the moment, so I will continue to try some doggie-type home based palliative care for her. I am hoping that the steroid injection I have had in my hip will stand me in good stead, as I try to lift a 12 kg Cavoodle on and off her bed.
It’s all a bit messy.
To add to all this canine patient care, it has been raining for a week. Not just sprinkles, but continuous tropical downpours, averaging over 100 mm per day. The ground is awash and the back yard is underwater. Not a helpful situation with a seriously ailing dog who needs to squat on the grass (with my help) every so often…otherwise it’s inside or on the veranda!
Oh, happy days!
Life has its ups and downs.
For contrast, here’s an upper—totally off-topic but up for discussion…
I offer one of my parenting observations to perhaps provide some irrelevant cheer:
There are times when parents have to temporarily relax some of their rigid rules and principles--with wild abandon. A child’s birthday party is one such occasion. The one time a small child, who is raised on healthy food and healthy habits, should be able to ‘run amok’ (in a dietary way) with permission, is on his or her birthday. It adds to the day’s excess of fun, creating delight and happy memories.
In my mind it is their right!
Lying - The 'new normal'
Hello to all truth-seeking people. Sorry this is a long post, but ,have you noticed that lying seems to be all the go lately? I’m about to write about lying. Seems it’s de rigueur today – especially in politics.
As hot weather and bushfires are now referred to as ‘the new normal’, it seems as if LYING is also ‘the new normal’!
Australian politicians have been caught out lying a lot lately —and yet there seems to be an acceptance of the habit, with precious little being done to curb it.
So many lies. So many potential scandals and yet we, the everyday people, appear powerless to stop such behaviour. Sure, if there is an election, we can vote out politicians who lie…but that opportunity for us here in Australia will not be available for another two years. Can we survive?
At least, in U.S., anyone who feels they have been lied to by their leader will have the chance to vote him out in November of this year. And, surely that’s what will happen. (Hopefully!)
Everyone knows Donald Trump is famous for lying - and denying it. He lies so much that there is a ‘Fact Check’ website (PolitiFact) set up to record his statements on a “Truth-o-meter”. It’s a busy site, with a fairly big Trump lie added more often than once a week.
Over in UK, Boris Johnson hasn’t had a chance to reach Trump’s standard yet. His lies mostly concern Brexit of course. We wait to see how his pattern of lying develops, as I’m sure it will.
I guess if we stopped to check on most other world leaders we would discover lying in varying degrees.
Is it only politicians and so-called leaders who lie so much? I suspect not. But how terrible if lying is accepted as an almost legitimate mode of operation.
But, back to Australia and to our (non) esteemed PM, Scott Morrison.
An enormous amount of his (and his colleagues’) lies have merely (merely!) concerned ignored promises; that is, mostly promised reforms that have not seen the light of day. So many promises, so many never heard of again, including that important Federal Integrity Commission body “with teeth” that was announced in December of 2018 and yet still nowhere to be seen, apart from an occasional argument about it.
Remember this? “On 13 December 2018, the Australian Government announced that it will establish a Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC) to strengthen integrity arrangements across the federal public sector.
The CIC will be a centralised, specialist centre for the investigation of corruption in the public sector. It will also work with agencies to build resilience to corruption and bolster agency capability to detect, deter and investigate corrupt conduct”. (Aus Govt Attorney General’s Dept).
I don’t intend to even mention names such as Angus Taylor…
But here’s a couple of examples of (what I’d refer to as) lies of neglect:
Promises have been made about improving the Aged Care system (so far it seems as if it is, instead, being dismantled by stealth – as observed with Medicare).
The govt. was supposed to fix up the corrupt banking sector, after the Banking Royal Commission— to which they were dragged kicking and screaming. (Concluded in Feb., 2019). Only a tiny amount of the 76 recommendations have been even slightly dealt with.
These are but a tiny example of promises not kept.
Then there are the actual LIES.
Recent lies about rorting have been widely reported. Money has been thrown around, aimed at marginal seats as a means of buying votes. Generous payments, using taxpayers’ money worked really well for Morrison’s party. Hopefully, as more and more evidence of this rorting surfaces, we, the so called ‘Quiet Australians’ will see something done about it. (Don’t hold your breath!)
Another (secret) sports grant has just popped out in the open - $150,000,000 - funding that has an extremely fishy odour about it!
By the way, that’s not 150 thousand $$, it’s 150 MILLION dollars– said to be for something about ‘water, & increasing female participation in sports’ – or some other made-up thought bubble, that went towards 14 swimming pools…
In an ABC report today, “A Queensland community on the receiving end of controversial federal funding to build a new school swimming pool says it did not want the pool anyway.”
And there are other similar tales, including a tidal pool in Port Macquarie, that no one asked for.
As for Morrison’s countless other lies – they infiltrate every one of his statements.
One of my favourite lies (small but transparently laughable), was (if anyone was listening) at the time of his infamous Hawaii holiday. The excruciatingly badly timed holiday was carried out under a cloak of secrecy. At first, when asked why it had to be secret, Morrison’s answer was that he wanted to give his children a surprise.
A mere week later, when asked why he chose to go to Hawaii at that particular time, he said that he had promised his children they would go.
So, which was it? Did his kids not know, so that it was a surprise? Or did they know and would have been disappointed if the trip was cancelled? All very minor, you might think but lies like that slip out so effortlessly.
And what an excellent idea it was to holiday then, as bushfires raged!
Perhaps being caught out was more the problem!
And good old Murdoch media is along to help ScoMo at every stage.
News Corp’s papers (and TV) have continually supported Morrison and the LNP in its untruths. It’s a weird set up. Does Murdoch have some sort of ‘world domination’ urge? Or is it just his dislike of anything resembling a Labor Party?
Way back in 2013, there were serious reports of Murdoch papers lying about Climate Change (in a study by Wendy Bacon). This has continued relentlessly.
That Climate Change is happening has been denied by the Murdoch Media for years – and yet they claim that they don’t deny the facts.
Well, who’s lying now?
Last Friday several hundred protestors could be seen (physically) lying in the street outside News Corp’s Sydney Office. Their message was simply something like ‘You’re lying here, so we’ll lie here also!’ Good tactic, with probably zero effect.
We can complain. We can lie in the gutter. We can write things on Face Book, or Twitter, or to the newspaper. We can wear a T-shirt with a slogan. But I fear it will have little effect.
Lying is here to stay.
But, is it?
Interestingly, only yesterday it was reported that “Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has been knocked by a "sluggish Australian economy".”
Hopefully, it’s not ‘the sluggish Australian economy’ that is decreasing its profits, but a more enlightened populace who are no longer buying or watching their products; no longer willing to accept the lies.
Lies from the media and lies from politicians, as huge amounts of money changes hands, as nothing less than bribes— from and to the current government. (Hello, Clive Palmer).
It is corruption that can no longer be denied.
I could go on and on about lies and how dangerous and disappointing they are. It is sad that lies form a big part of political manoeuvring these days.
Not much of a good example to be setting for anyone —young or old.
The late Cambodian leader, Norodom Sihanouk, once had something to say about lying. He said:
‘Time will inevitably uncover dishonesty and lies; history has no place for them.’
Sadly, I’m not so sure!
We shall see.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.