reflections on the year gone by

Another year and another decade pass us by and as I sit at my keyboard searching for words, I wonder just what as individuals and as a society we actually reflect upon.

I started making a list and, it wasn’t hard.

Here is my list of the top 12 things that I believe has given most cause for concern and certainly, discussion.

They are not prioritised in any way.

Aged care: We had a Royal Commission. Horrific stories were aired and we still await any positive outcome. Let’s not forget a recent article showing some of our aged citizens being fed baked beans and mash on Christmas day.

These are fellow Aussies that have paid their dues and done their bit to make us a great nation. They deserve much better.

Banks: We have had a royal Commission but the banks still seem to find it hard to put aside their old ways. What is it going to take? 

Climate change – drought and bushfires: This is one issue that seems to be driven home as a crisis day after day. Except for the climate change sceptics and our federal government, it is an issue that an overwhelming number of Australians have taken seriously. They look for leadership, they look for change and they look for someone to take us forward though this difficult and ever growing issue.

Federal Election: We had a federal election that Labor won everywhere except in the ballot box. It left many wondering where the next Bob Hawke was coming from. Now many wonder how we can rid ourselves of Scott Morrison and most of his cabinet who seem to not only lack any leadership and a vision for the future, but are moribund in ways and means that should have been left in the past.

Drugs: They are everywhere! From you favourite red wine, through prescriptions to cannabis, opioids and through to the latest scourge – Ice!

It makes many of us wonder how long before we understand simply making a drug illegal doesn’t work. In Australia, its now been 119 years since drugs were first declared illegal and yet as a way of dealing with the issue it is a BIG failure.

Homelessness: We can close our eyes but not only doesn’t it go away, it’s growing. How does a country like Australia allow so many to be without a permanent shelter over their heads?

Issues of equality: There are so many sub-sets of this matter that it’s scary. Yet racism continues on and on in so many ways.

We have Margaret Court and Israel Folau, claiming to be devout Christians, yet setting out to marginalise large sections of our community on the basis of their own (rather warped religious beliefs).

If some right wing extremists had their way people with coloured skin, from a Muslim background and with broad opinions on sexuality would be sent packing out of the country.  They wrap themselves in our flag when what they really are wrapping themselves in is, hatred!

We know who should be sent packing.

Pell: Well, talking of religion – when a man in the top hierarchy of the Catholic church is at last found guilty of being a paedophile, some sighed with relief, some became angry, some say justice at last – but the Pope? He said nothing!

Sentencing: Learned judges have a wealth of experience and sentencing guidelines when dealing with serious crime. Yet, the community has looked on with aghast and anger as time after time it appears as though it’s the victims that are being punished and not the perpetrators.

Far too many people committing serious crimes continue time after time to avoid a custodial sentence. It becomes even more disturbing in Victoria when violence against emergency workers happens, where sentencing is “mandatory”, and yet results in the perpetrator walking free.

The term “mandatory” seems to have been redefined.

Social media and fake news: It is easy to understand why many people turn to alternate news sources when the major dailies are almost entirely run by either the Murdock and Fairfax.

Neither seem to have the confidence of many Australians and while there are some righteous independent media outlets, it has given voice to “fake news”, news and information that is severely skewed in order to run hidden agendas.

It certainly creates a degree of uncertainty and needs to be outed at every opportunity.

Terrorism: Overseas or domestic, terrorism has been relentless.

State based terrorism regardless of whether directed from the east or the west is part of an everyday agenda, yet, it is terrorism at home that really dogged us this year, particularly in Victoria.

So far, authorities have been on top of it but we can never really relax.

Trump: It really is a case of “all the good books have been written and all the good songs been sung”. Another way of saying almost everything that can be said about the man and the position has been said. How it will play out is one of the intrigues of 2020.

Violence: The ongoing violence against women is both highly disturbing and despite a serious media campaign against violence against women, it continues.

The year was filled with terrible examples and it seems as though a time when there is no violence against women is still far, far away. But the campaign must never be allowed to falter and certainly men play a large part in the community discourse.

We look to a time when there is no violence against anyone.

Certainly anyone reading this post could easily add to this list. Adding issues is not difficult.

Dealing with the issues is harder.

We look to 2020 with a sense of hope but a realisation that in many of the issues above, the worst may still be to come.

For us, while we do not want to deny or lessen the seriousness of any of these issues, is Climate Change and the fall-out of climate change, that gives us most concern.

Each of us is just a small cog in a very, very large wheel.

We call upon an environmental cry of the 1970’s – Think globally, act locally

We must learn to consume less, recycle more, wherever possible to use renewable energy and, be part of the renewable energy network.

We can resist the offer of goods in plastic and we can demand that retails cut back on their use of plastics and we need to be aware of our buying habits.

We need to try our best to use our cars less, to help in the reduction of CO2 reduction. While there are large polluters, the first step in any reduction starts with the individual.

We must be relentless in a cause to force the incumbent federal government to relent an indefensible position they hold on climate change and renewable energy. Each of us needs to be an eco-warrior in our own way.

We all need to remain positive and we all need to examine our own attitudes, our own values and our own habits, and make our own changes as well as take up the cause of changing things on a broader base.

We see 2020 as a challenge.

We see 2020 as a critical year where it needs to be a tipping point for real change.

So it is, that ALL the contributors and staff of both the Toorak Times and Tagg wish you all, a Happy 2020 and we hope it is one filled with happiness and positive change.


Rob Greaves – Senior editor

John Michael Pacholli – Publisher