Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


While we were sleeping …

First published November 28

There seems to be a lot going wrong. And it’s been developing for some time. I also think it is all interconnected and that the underlying cause is the mal-direction of our governments. I again hark back to Alan Paton’s line: “The tragedy is not that things are broken. The tragedy is that things are not mended again.” Our governments are missing in action – negligent even – by not dealing with the most important things that need attention.

I am deeply worried about the state of the environment – both locally and globally; disgusted with the state of government; and coupled with the continuing poor conduct of some of our politicians, I am also concerned about the state of our democracy.

The recent image of Gina Rinehart handing a $40K cheque to Barnaby Joyce for his farming excellence was the real clincher for me. I’m guessing there were only two people in the room that awards night who didn’t know something was terribly wrong with that picture. It speaks volumes about the relationship between the two and how boundaries between their two different positions have become inappropriately, and worryingly, blurred. How many other politicians have cosy relationships like that?

The infamous Barnaby award, coupled with the revelations of widespread water theft under the noses of governments in NSW & Qld, brought me to a head. Out of nowhere, I then found myself expressing how I felt through poetry. I’m not a poet – this is my first attempt – but surprisingly the process was a lot of fun.

So this is an open invitation to all TTers to have some fun too: try to compose one or two stanzas of your own to add to mine, and post as a comment. We can make a crowd-written ‘ode to our democracy’ and show our politicians or governments how we all feel and what we think …

It was while we were sleeping
through the years of affluence and good health,
that our country was being stealthily stolen
by greed, and those seeking obscene wealth.

At first it wasn’t really noticeable,
for only some species and habitat had disappeared.
Apart from that, it was business as usual
with progress, growth and development in top gear.

Our governments and politicians were ecstatic,
and emboldened by great growth, growing exports and trade,
they continued to develop and grow even more-so
to ensure even more and more money was being made.

All the while, dire warnings came from concerned scientists.
Carbon was burdening the atmosphere globally, they said,
and our lifestyle and emissions were unsustainable
if we continued on, status quo, full steam ahead.

Certain governments, neoliberalists, remained steadfast,
while the deniers and obscene wealth-takers joined their cause
to besmirch the scientists, misinform, and try to convince us,
saying “climate change is just a fiction, a hoax, after all”.

But something went terribly wrong somewhere, somehow.
For despite government assurances and talk of endless growth,
our dear country is now struggling, sick and depauperate
with forests depleted; bleaching reefs; and rivers a-choke.

We expected government to deal with these ecological crises.
New policies and urgent action required, we assumed.
But successive governments were instead too busy dealing with
their factions, or backbenchers, and minutiae… Oh, we’re doomed!

It appears those greedy people had a hidden agenda,
all along; a strategy for control and command.
They’d manipulated and corrupted the process’ of governments
by infiltration, their influence on more than one man.

Wake up, we’re being played and duped to lull us, voters,
whilst our democracy and country are under attack.
There are self-serving politicians who are cosy enablers
and they ingratiate themselves to a favoured wealthy pack.

Wake up. Attention all voters!
Your country and the planet both need you now
to resuscitate and restore health to ecological systems,
and bring integrity, altruism and leadership to the helm.

We must change the whole political system, don’t you see?
Two-party preferred and neoliberalism both woefully failed.
The solution is to bring in a new complement of candidates
willing to champion all that others have long assailed.

I don’t know where these candidates will all come from.
But perhaps there are an existing good few
to be found subsumed and silenced within major parties,
and keen to be free to independently bloom?

So wake up – please – all you sleepyheads.
We have to make our politicians surely know
that henceforth we demand better quality candidates;
high standard of government; and, a healthy, sustainable home.

*Lyndall Rowley is a concerned citizen … and voter

• Lyndall Rowley in Comments: The breaking Dastyari news prompted my next effort at poetry (using Tim’s #6 style as a guide) …

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Lyndall Rowley

    November 30, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Oh Philip (#18) – you flatterer you!

    Sorry to disappoint you though – maybe – I’m a Victorian (not that I’m ashamed; but just for some context) but with all that is going on federally as well as in Tasmanian state politics, I think it’s worth stirring the pot to get voters thinking about viable alternatives to our current mob and their sloppy (or mis-) management and their endless (esp feds) party-politics taking up most of their attention.

    Otherwise, it’s just Groundhog Day for us with Tweedledum and Tweedledee taking turns at the helm.

    We need governments that actually govern, and take care of all of us and the environment, and manage for a genuinely sustainable future – locally and globally.

  2. Philip Lowe

    November 30, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Does Tassie need a Poet Lauriat then I propose Llyndall Rowley. Not a subservient, knee bending, forelock tugging, bum kissing, establishment shoe-in.

  3. Lyndall Rowley

    November 29, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    This one’s a bit messy – not kosher poetry? – but still inspired by latest developments and raw:

    Yesterday, leader Shorten dealt with Dastyari’s
    serial indiscretions,
    noting a 2nd offence, but to be the last;
    end of matter and discussions.
    But today, public outrage, now Shorten finds his own
    judgement indefensible;
    so now Sam, a factional friend, suddenly conduct is indefensible,
    position untenable,
    gets ‘sacked’ = simply demoted, out of sight, in-waiting, and
    still remains a Senator
    in our Parliament, to continue to influence, lobby
    and be a key Labor operator.
    They don’t get it: foreign influence is the issue; so they show
    poor judgement, leadership and lack integrity
    as politicians, heads of country, and set a
    bad example for Australia’s citizenry.

  4. Lyndall Rowley

    November 29, 2017 at 9:24 am

    The breaking Dastyari news prompted my next effort at poetry (using Tim’s #6 style as a guide) …

    Our leaders all should have integrity.
    But not all of our politicians fall into this category.
    Look to federal or state, red or blue,
    it’s not hard to find a clue.
    With honesty they all should act
    but some have made their own private pacts –
    think ICAC, Obeid, Macdonald, criminality.
    Then emerging right now there’s Dastyari.
    Barnaby compromised and must not be forgotten.
    Favours, benefits, who knows what, it’s all rotten.

  5. Philip Lowe

    November 28, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Excellent verse.Wish I’d done that.

    This week whilst sitting outside a cafe cum bus station in Keswick I fell into conversation with two blokes from Kent, in their twenties. We always thought that everybody south of London was in favour of remaining in Europe, but not these two.

    They told us of the immigration nightmare that comes across the Channel. Thousands of young men mostly coming from Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan … it’s a long list.

    They have no paperwork and claim to be fifteen years of age and consequently are treated as minors, even when it appears patently obvious that they are much older than this.They arrive in the backs of lorries, on top of lorries, underneath lorries, by yacht and powerboat at night.They are found wandering, lost, hungry, and they are fed and housed, and there they manage to stay.

    The two Kent chaps were pissed off with the situation. I can understand why.

  6. Lyndall Rowley

    November 28, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    I then turned to good old Wikipedia for a more complete list of countries for a global comparison. Unfortunately, the figures for Australia (i.e. 9.31 gha/capita) don’t quite match ACT’s above, but the list is still an eye-opener. In a nutshell:
    “The world-average ecological footprint in 2012 was 2.84 global hectares per person (220.1 billion in total).
    With a world-average biocapacity of 1.73 global hectares per person (99.2 billion in total), this leads to an ecological deficit of 1.1 global hectares per person (7.8 billion in total). (The latest data are available on Global Footprint Network’s Explorer at http://data.footprintnetwork.org. )

    Based on the above, I conclude that distribution patterns of people around the planet can be of significance. Here in Australia we are emitting more carbon, and eating up resources and the future far faster, than most other countries around the world. Australia needs to start acting as a responsible global citizen in terms of its ecological footprint and sustainability.

    So I think a sustainable population for Australia does matter; and that our level of immigration intake should be reduced; and that all countries should manage their populations sustainably, with the ultimate goal of a sustainable global population. (But don’t ask me for the actual details, because I have no idea).

  7. Lyndall Rowley

    November 28, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    I also found some interesting info about the ecological footprint per capita for the ACT:
    “ACT’s ecological footprint … data show that in 2011-12, per person, our ecological footprint was 8.9 global hectares per person (gha/person) and was:
    – about three and a half times the global per person average
    – above the average per person ecological footprint of other Australians (8.2 gha/person).
    – in total, about 14 times the land area of the ACT.

  8. Lyndall Rowley

    November 28, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Oh Tim (#9), you cheeky thing – yes, sloppy of me, I was referring to Australia’s annual intake.

    The things you mention in your second paragraph are all good points. However, I’m not so sure I can agree with your point about distribution.

    Lifestyles and economies vary around the globe; and countries vary in their geology, soils, water, rainfall etc. as well as natural ecosystems. So there are distribution-related factors that can influence level of resource use and the human population carrying capacity of any given country (let alone the impact on the natural environment & biodiversity with a growing resident human population).

    I went looking for some facts & figures.

    One measure of standard of living is Human Development Index (HDI) which measures economic, education, and life expectancy data. Australia ranked second in the world with a score of 0.935 out of one. http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/australia-ranks-secondbest-in-the-world-for-quality-of-life-un-study-says-20151217-glqi0l.html

    Then there is the measure of ecological footprint. The latest info I found was from 2014… According to WWF’s biennial Living Planet Report (launched at the United Nations in Geneva), Australia’s ecological footprint in comparison to 151 other nations was ranked 13th largest ecological footprint per person in the world, mostly because of carbon emissions and the amount of land required for crops and grazing. In 2012, Australia’s ecological footprint was ranked the seventh largest.

  9. Tim Thorne

    November 28, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Max #10 … What I am not exactly proposing, but more positing as an ideal, might well “stop all migration in its tracks” if it meant that everyone had an equal chance at a decent life anywhere on the planet.

    Reducing global population is a worthwhile aim; treating some of “us” as less human than others of “us” seems to me to be less so.

    As for your last point – if anyone fights in a military sense they are fighting against us, whoever they claim to be fighting for.

  10. max

    November 28, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    #9 Tim … What you are proposing would stop all migration in it’s tracks. People wish to escape their own country for various reasons but coming to a county that is no better is not one of them.

    Populate or perish has been an Australian mantra forever, but now it should be populate and perish where we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

    When push comes to shove will our migrants fight for us, or fight for their relatives who are lined up trying to get here.

  11. Tim Thorne

    November 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Lyndall (#8) … I was not aware that 200,000 people migrated to planet Earth each year. I agree that reducing the global human population would help, but its distribution around the planet is of less importance.

    What is needed is a fairer allocation of food and resources, better and more widespread education, especially for women, and reduction of our reliance on such things as fossil fuels, sheep and cattle for food, and private transport.

  12. Lyndall Rowley

    November 27, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    I agree with you Mike #7. No argument from me.

    The human species has over-populated way beyond carrying capacity. If we were any other species we’d be described as being at plague proportions; and at this level of population, we are the major driver of many of the issues we face today.

    My point about ’cause’ and attributing it to governments, is that they should recognise these underlying drivers and address them. But economic rationalism rules most governments, doesn’t it? So their quest for never-ending economic growth is based on a never-ending increase in consumers. I suggest cutting our 200K annual immigration intake to become more sustainable, and then see how the pollies & economists shout any such notion down.

  13. Mike Bolan

    November 27, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Common feelings, Lyndall.

    As a complex systems consultant, I suspect there is more than one ’cause’ for all of this. The most obvious is overpopulation of the planet. Another is the monopoly on ‘rights’ held by governments and their deeming that we taxpayers have all responsibilities.

    In our lives we pay around $1 million in taxes, serve on juries, obey thousands of laws and fight in foreign countries in wars often started by the recipients of our taxes. Then there’s our disconnection from the real world through the pseudo-religion of economics and control of our information by a media dedicated to profit from us.

    #6 has it right … we are all ‘us’ and not just the white ones etc.

  14. Tim Thorne

    November 27, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    When it comes to who you mean by “us”,
    there happen to be a billion plus
    whose nationality is Chinese
    and 65 million refugees
    who are also “us”. Let’s do what’s best
    for all of us, including the rest
    of the planet’s creatures, their habitat
    and the future, because lest we do that
    we’re rooted, stuffed; posterity
    won’t be around to write our history.

    To revert to prose, I would like Robin (#4) to explain what Chinese capital can do that capital from elsewhere cannot.

  15. Kim Peart

    November 27, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Re: #4 … We can be a defensive koala as a nation, and a timid devil as a State, or we can get ahead of the Chinese dragon.

    Space development holds the key to our future, and being ahead of the Chinese dragon.

    We have been so mentally slack for so long, we have no idea what we are dealing with.

    Time to mobilise our inner koala, or devil, and get serious about space as a State, and as a nation.

    We can be partners with China as a space nation, or be ruled by China as a lazy backwater full of resources.

    Our choice.

  16. Robin Charles Halton

    November 27, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    There is only one winner in Queensland, the recent political swill means nothing , Adani is the kingmaker for Qld, what ever they want will be served to them on a gold plate!
    In today’s Mercury newspaper NEWSFRONT ” China win for Tasmania”
    Tasmanian resource experts will help China develop sustainable farming practices in a deal that could be worth millions of dollars to the state.
    Now come on, its about China steadily wielding its influence over Tasmania’s agricultural resources at their pace!

    Now come on China only signs deals with the West where it can steadily work on getting the upper hand, its been going on for too long and will eventually result in a sad ending with Chinese whispers!

  17. Chris

    November 27, 2017 at 11:56 am

    There were young men from Tassie
    Who were seduced by Hodgman’s fissie.
    When asked by a citizen
    When will we be fitagin
    Reply we are in the shite again.

  18. Kim Peart

    November 27, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Would we vote for ourselves: do we walk the path that we would vote for?

    If we want an end to homelessness, we can build homes: so what are we doing about that?

    If we want an end to poverty and unemployment, then we can demand real work with real pay for all able workers: so what are we doing about that?

    If we want a healthy environment, then we need to live in harmony with Mother Nature: so what are we doing about that?

    If we wake up to the detail that Nature uses evolution to drive the survival of the fittest to improved levels of diversity, then we may need a philosophical revival: so what are we doing about that?

    If we come to realise that Nature drives expansion, and would rather like to fly among the stars, that the getting of harmony with Nature means getting serious about space development: so what are we doing about that?

    If we want a safe Earth, and really do want a safe Earth, then we will see that we need the power of the Sun harvested in space to deal with all problems on Earth, because the Sun is a virtually infinite energy-well that will allow us to do any work: so what are we doing about that?

    If we want to send poverty into history, globally, and really look into it, then we will see that this will only ever be possible, globally, by investing in solar power stations in space, and launching industry beyond Earth, where we can create any dream: so what are we doing about that?

    If we want peace on Earth, and a planet free of nuclear weapons, how will we ever get there by focusing in the Earth alone, when expansion will open new options in space for all nations: so what are we doing about that?

    If we want to clean up the seas, from the micro-plastics up, its too expensive on Earth alone, but factories in space can make the machines to do that work, at no cost, once established: so what are we doing about that?

    If we want to stop the Earth getting hotter, as tipping points tumble toward a runaway greenhouse effect, and we delve, really delve, we will see that we must extract excess carbon from the air, which can be done with the power of the Sun harvested in space: so what are we doing about that?

    If we would like to cool the Earth, as excess carbon is extracted, then we will need industry in space to create a sunshade above the Earth, which is also the way to extend life on Earth by billions of years as the Sun gets hotter: so what are we doing about that?

    If we would like honest politicians who tell the brutal truth, are we willing to be honest and tell the brutal truth: so what are we doing about that?

    If we want compassion to dominate in our society, do we care enough about homeless people, the unemployed, battery hens and forests to fight like bloody hell for working solutions: so what are we doing about that?

  19. Lynne Newington

    November 27, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Nobody seems to be bothering about the Chinese take-over, not while we’re sleeping but wide awake.

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