Confidence of the hunt

It seems that all who have arrived in Australia since 26 January 1788 have drunk the same water of trust in abundance, as the Aborigines who have inhabited this land for some 60,000 years. In that there is much to celebrate.

Our trust in abundance – that there is plenty to share – enables so many to come forward with money, goods and support for those so badly affected by the fires, the floods and the drought. The same spirit embraces the newcomers who take the pledge of allegiance as they become Australians on Australia Day.

According to anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, in his seminal study, The Original Affluent Society (1966), aborigines lived their nomadic life and economy in the spirit of confidence in the hunt.  Affluence derived from neither needing nor seeking to accumulate possessions. Sahlin’s study showed that aboriginal knowledge and management of the land, water, resources and seasons, coupled with skills in hunting and gathering ensured they would always be able to acquire adequate food and water.

Experience with bushfires

Experience of recent and previous fires has brought into sharp relief Aboriginal knowledge based on management of the land. Seasonally, fire sticks were used to cold burn fuel of dried leaves and bark that built up in the understory of forests. Such practice helped prevent larger fires ignited by dry lightning strikes, conserve the animals on which they relied for food and stimulated regrowth to service both indigenous, animals and other biodiversity.

What aborigines new naturally was confirmed on Fox’s Credlin show by two old blokes with over a hundred years of experience in forestry and bush fire management. Roger Underwood, a 60 year forester and David Packham, a former CSIRO bushfire scientist of 50 years’ experience, explained in simple language.

Australian forests differ from northern hemisphere forests in that in Australia, trees shed leaves and bark which build up. Drought dries out the fuel burden. Normal fuel build up is one ton per hectare per year. Double that and the fire risk is four times higher; double again and it is 16 times, and so on. A fire in a 50 ton/hectare burden cannot be stopped. As the aborigines before them knew, hazard reduction burns work.

Under normal bush fire conditions, the fire burns at 3 megawatts per metre. During Black Saturday, fires reached 70 mw/m. Fire intensity is now around 100 mw/m and fuel loads have never been higher as a result of a 30 year build up. At the current intensity, heat is so great that it is impossible to withstand.

Follow the wisdom

What the aborigines know and the two experienced old blokes tell us is not news. Recommendations coming out of previous Royal Commissions have all said the same thing – hazard reduction by seasonal cool burning of the build-up of forest debris.

Several reasons for universal failure to do so can be attributed to flawed green policy based on landscape ecology aimed at conserving all forests and biodiversity by leaving it alone.

Anyone with any gumption knows that saving children from everything makes them good for nothing.  Whereas reasonable admonishment, direction and support through difficult experiences helps them become productive citizens.

Similarly, reasonable known land and forest management practices could have saved the loss of forest, biodiversity, people, homes, buildings and tragedy. Responsible agencies which have not done their job need to be called to account. Policies need to be changed and rigorously implemented.

Who benefits?

To the question about ‘who benefits?’ posed by Peta Credlin to Roger Underwood and David Packham, they replied “the Greens”. Not only has flawed Green policy become so entrenched in local and state government land management regulations, preventing hazard reduction burns, but it has extended to punishing farmers and property owners from reducing hazard on their own property – a policy that has cost farmers dearly. The Greens have benefited politically by being able to blame climate change (and ScoMo) for the unfolding disaster; an opinion the experienced men dismiss. Greens could learn from the teachings of Buddha that ‘the greatest weakness in life is lack of awareness’.

Other beneficiaries identified were the fire agencies, who, having failed to control the fires, demand more resources. In the aftermath of crisis, challenged governments stump up with more resources which will again fail. How many times over the last twelve months have we seen damage and desolation caused when taxpayer funded agencies fail to do their jobs and get off unaccountable to anyone.

Trust in abundance

In keeping with the ‘trust in abundance’ Sahlins recognised in the aborigines, out of the ashes has come tremendous support – financial, practical and emotional – for those affected, for whom nothing will ever be the same.

From old wisdom we know that ‘man is tried in the crucible of suffering’. Certainly that has been the case with the bushfires. Intense heat in a crucible can produce fine, strong outcomes. Let’s hope that such is the case as people travel the troubled pathway to recovery.

The public and politicians have responded generously. Here’s hoping the charitable organisations and government agencies do their job delivering abundance properly and promptly. Those afflicted do not need more hurdles to overcome in their distress.

Fire, flood, drought and cyclones are part and parcel of the nature of this abundant land which we celebrate this weekend. We must learn from our indigenous brothers and sisters how to manage and respect the land, rather than be taken in by the false prophets of climate doomsday. Together we can celebrate our capacity to adapt and rejoice in the spirit of generosity that prevails in Australia.


Good Intentions

We have environmentalists to thank for raising awareness of green issues to mainstream, where people, policy and payment have come under capture to the green zeitgeist.

Over the last thirty years an ever-increasing crescendo of demand for improved environmental management of land, resources and biodiversity has seen the headline calls evolve from:

  • Environmental sustainability – looking at attaining inter-generational equity in resource management; to
  • Greenhouse – a misnomer as a risk, because greenhouses are pumped with CO2 to accelerate plant growth; to
  • Global Warming – when predictions failed to appear over 20 years; which led to:
  • Climate change – where every weather event is interpreted as a “climate change” in this land of historical fire, drought and flooding rains. We end up with social media morons when the Bureau of Meteorology is accused of fudging historical data and children are taught gender fluidity and evils of colonisation rather than history and geography based on facts; which now becomes:
  • Climate catastrophe – the latest headline call to action signed up to by so many from the Global Shapers heads of industry preening their green virtue instead of minding their business, to the hyper-anxious child climate strikers, many who can’t make their own bed, give up their phone or responsibly dispose of their Macca wrappers. If their protest signs are anything to go by, many can’t spell either.

Going too far

Good intentions taken too far end in disaster, sometimes evil. What previously stimulated genuine concern for the environment and innovation has evolved to become a new climate change religion in which emotion over-rides facts. Virtue signalling takes hold. That is certainly true of the green zeitgeist which has captured all levels of government, especially the air-conditioned bureaucracies and nervous politicians.

Nowhere is this better borne out than with the bushfires. Many allege bushfires are caused by Australia failing to mitigate CO2 emissions said to be causing climate change, despite this country being one of the few meeting targets set for reduction and undertaking comprehensive environmental measures at great cost to the economy, every business and household.

The green narrative of climate change bushfires is spoiled when we realise there are already 183 charges of arson (with more pending) for starting the fires, ignition being one of the factors.

Another factor is fuel. Again green intentions have paved the way to hell for so many:

  • Creating more national parks, locking them up, not allowing fire wood collection or grazing to reduce undergrowth, failing to maintain fire breaks, not allowing, or failing to conduct cool burns in winter; and
  • Preventing farmers from managing their land sustainably, from widening fire breaks and reducing undergrowth, under threat of bureaucratic charges, legal process and massive fines.

We can’t change Australia’s known propensity to drought, which has made the unmanaged build-up of understory tinder dry, except by building dams, again objected to by the Greens. None has been built for 30 years, despite plans for a modified Bradfield scheme to channel to the interior flood waters from the east coast and Gulf of Carpentaria through the centre of the country into the Murray Darling Basin.

All too sensible for the latte sipping Greens of the inner cities hiding behind the goats cheese curtain, not out fighting the fires like much vilified former PM Tony Abbott. Note particularly, that virtually every Green policy prevents what the Quiet Australians would call sensible action to improve lives and livelihoods.

The hell of Green good intentions

While bushfires bring the hell of green good intentions into sharp relief, their Marxist influence marches an endless road through all our institutions:

  • Renewable energy is yet another farce – a good intention the results of which we have yet to realise.

Touted as cheaper than base load (coal, gas) power and bolstered by $3billion/year subsidies, renewables attracted investment to feed at the public trough. Trouble is the renewable energy is intermittent and unreliable, requires back up batteries and generators, and causes untold environmental damage to birds, bugs and bats while blotting the landscape with ugly structures unfavourable to biodiversity.

That’s before even taking into account the actual and opportunity cost of their lifecycle: manufacture (one windmill takes 220 tonnes of coal and 300 tonnes of cement); transport; installation; maintenance (efficiency declines with age, especially solar, needing repair or replacement); lack of plans for recycling, especially of batteries. Then there are the health effects on those living in the vicinity, not to mention the transmission costs and inefficiencies where energy is lost. Most renewables are dispersed without ready access to the electricity grid, which is ill equipped to manage fluctuations in supply, whereas baseload tends to be located close to fuel source, with energy generated fed into the established transmission grid.

We are yet to realise fully what lies at the end of the road paved with renewables good intentions. So far it has cost South Australia days of blackouts without any power, has increased the cost of energy for us all, causing businesses to close and households to be disconnected for failing to pay their energy bills on times. Hell enough already for many of us.

  • Protecting the Great Barrier Reef is yet another Green intention that has caused hell for many farmers and tourism operators who are intelligent, informed and best placed to protect the land, reef and waters on which their livelihoods depend. Under pressure from Green bureaucracies, farm practices have been modified to comply with the latest edicts to protect from runoff, the Reef located 100km east of the coastline. Tourism operators bend over backwards to comply with requirements for preservation of this ever evolving World Heritage site, that has shown amazing resilience in the face of occasional bleaching and naturally occurring cyclones.

Yet unfavourable reports of the reef’s condition emanating from cashed up researchers who’ve drunk the climate change kool-aid, discourage visitors who do not realise that the GBR stretches 2,400km longitude across several temperature zones and varies kilometres in width. Hell for the businesses relying on tourism dollars to show off our global icon, especially when the person challenging the veracity of reef science (Prof Peter Ridd) has been sacked by James Cook University, which has been found wanting by the Courts on 17 counts.

  • Adani coal mine, located in the Galilee basin some 400 km inland from the coast (and an estimated 500km from the Reef) has been the headline target for greenhouse and reef activism. A better understanding of the geography of distance should allay concerns, but it seems nothing gets in the way of emotional green activism and their good intentions. Mine proponents have persevered through hell during the nine years it took them to walk the road to environmental approvals. In the meantime, poor Indians for whom the coal is intended to bring much needed electricity, have continued their short, disadvantaged lives, people wanting work have been thus far denied, development of the railway and other mines have been hampered.

Yet again, the Marxist Greens’ policy undermining our economy and social fabric by preventing progress, sensible development and jobs with their “good intentions” tends to hold sway. Quiet Australians need to speak up, loudly, sensibly, and often, to raise the banner on the valuable

environmental work being undertaken by the productive people of our society: the miners, farmers, firies and tourism operators.

For 2020

So in planning intentions for 2020, it would be wise to think through to the bounds of tolerance and goodwill and be prepared to call out flagrant extremes.

One practical way, would be to become a member of Green Shirts (https://www.greenshirtsmovementaustralia.com.au/, the organisation supporting farmers with factual information and lobbying government with sensible policies, respective of both the farms, the farmers, the reef and the environment. They need city members to join with them in their fight for better consideration. Peter Ridd is helping them to bring truth to the debate.

We know from experience that indulging a child creates an insatiable monster and that political appeasement allowed Hitler to flourish. Inevitably both eventually reach a point of violent realisation.

We now have proof of the bushfires to show that green good intentions which initially had value in raising awareness of environmental issues have been pursued too far along the road to hell for so many. No amount of sensible action, commitment of funds or good will ever satisfies ever escalating Greens’ insatiable demands. Like the people of Germany under the influence of Hitler, people have become swept up in the climate change mania. Time the public became aware that it is only responsible democracies like Australia that have shown any aptitude for saving the planet.

Let’s ensure that out of the disruption of 2019, in 2020 hope can be generated for those facing hell as a result of green good intentions and ensure that future plans for managing our environment are more sensible and less bureaucratic, to bring us all along.


Christmas Presents or Presence

Christmas promises peace on earth to people of good will. In the spirit of the season we are encouraged to be of good will: put aside differences and grievances to celebrate together in hope for replenishment that peace and celebration can bring.

Tidy up time

Life is messy, making it a challenge to get everyone on the same harmonious page for a day, even with the best intentions.

At this later stage of life people in my cohort of family and friends are beginning to pass on, compelling retrospection. In tidying up their lives, several have recanted to me previous firmly held negative judgements that have long affected relationships. Where hostility is unwarranted and unresolved, a lot of good life is wasted unnecessarily. People are damaged. Christmas offers an opportunity for reconciliation far loftier than waiting till one is dying to make good on wrongheadedness.

Co-dependency counsellor, Roslyn Saunders, author of the book Emotional Sobriety, offers advice and support for those putting themselves “out there” to be present with family at Christmas. Roslyn recommends setting up a personal structure in our own best interests, with limitations and gracious exit strategy and supports should circumstances on the day work against your best interests. Useful tools that Roslyn offers help people stay in charge of their own emotional wellbeing rather than be negatively affected by the ill will of others – an important factor in keeping alive the spirit of joy and hope of Christmas.

Why wait?

Why wait to be present to those we love and who love us? My earlier blog on Forgiveness elicited a number of responses, a few of whom said there were some people they could not forgive. Each is a person of high integrity and goodwill who has been badly harmed by devastating actions in family and business. No remorse has been forthcoming from the perpetrators, hence no forgiveness. Such suffering cannot be spak-filled: it needs to be named and owned, at all times holding onto hope in our own integrity that should be celebrated at Christmas.

Australian cricketer Steve Smith had the self-inflicted troubles in his life put in perspective by an eleven year old cancer patient he was visiting in hospital. Even under the shadow of death, the young person radiated positive spirit and energy. No point in wasting precious life in bad humour. Smith was visibly affected when the young girl died days later, as we all should be when what promises to be good in life is destroyed by cancerous attitudes. Why wait to concede error and speak words of affirmation (another of Chapman’s love languages) when the joy of reconciliation can overflow into the rest of life and experiences shared?

Presence in three ways

Unlike the presents we buy as Christmas gifts, presence is both costless and priceless, truly in the spirit of hope in the season. We can demonstrate presence in three main ways:

  • Firstly, we can be present by communicating with loved ones to heal differences, whether or not we are the offended party. Keeping the door ajar to healing, redemption and forgiveness does not mean we agree with wrongs; merely that we are no longer under capture to them.
  • Secondly, as we gather together with family and friends, be truly present in the company of others in the spirit of mutual enrichment. Quality time is another of Chapman’s love languages that means so much to those who have been isolated. Put aside electronic devices, along with pre-held resentments, to allow others to be themselves. We might find we enjoy the people and the occasion far more than expected, fulfilling the spirit of the occasion. Above all, don’t be a dog in the manger.
  • Finally, and most importantly, be present to self. Be mindful, as Roslyn Saunders advises, of your own needs and limitations, so that you may also be aware of how you may be affected by others. Christians and Buddhists favour meditation to attain mindfulness.

How good is dis!

An illustration of how a happy disposition we hope for at Christmas has been achieved by poor Indian children taught by Hugh Van Cuylenburg, appears in an article, How Good is Dis!, published in the Weekend Australian Magazine (November 23-24 2019). Hugh found the children’s resilience could be attributed to three principles they practised daily:

  1. Gratitude – the ability to pay attention to what you have instead of worrying about what you don’t have. Title of the article represents the locals’ inability to pronounce “th” sounds. “How good is d’is” was a constant refrain of gratitude with the present. When even the grace of thanks for a meal and for our good fortune living in this wonderful country is drowned out by criticism and demands for ever more money, concessions and action, gratitude would be a welcome relief.
  2. Empathy – the ability to feel what another person is feeling. Empathy is all but a lost grace in an era of self-interest, yet remains essential to the good relationships we hope will prevail at Christmas; and
  3. Mindfulness – the ability to focus on the present moment. That means putting aside what may have preceded and what may be coming down the pipeline, to focus on the joy and wonder of the present.

Merry Christmas

Whether you focus on the presents, the presence, or both, I wish you a merry Christmas and the restoration of spirit, self and family. May peace and joy be with you. I’ll drink a toast to that.

Roslyn Saunders’ book: The Power of No: finding raw courage to reclaim you – https://www.facebook.com/groups/431772140315381/

Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages?

  1. Words of affirmation.
  2. Quality time.
  3. Receiving gifts.
  4. Acts of service.
  5. Physical touch.


How Dare You!

Great Barrier Reef resilience showing recovery from a bleaching event, photo taken from the same spot 2 years later.

The title for this blog is drawn from the speech by wondrous child climate prophet, Greta Thunberg, to the UN Convention on Climate Change recently in New York. Greta challenged the world for daring to pursue economic development while failing to take action on climate ‘catastrophe’.

Leaders and the media fawned on her and her every word. More rational beings became concerned about her mental wellbeing, how she was being manipulated by self-serving individuals and organisations, as well as the absence of factual information in her dare.  Largely, though, people were reluctant to criticise the child openly, which is why children, especially girls, are being used globally as front-liners in the climate catastrophe wars.

The climate strikes back

Rather than being “settled”, the science claiming the earth is warming and we are all set to fry and die from a human induced warming planet inundated by rising sea water, is being challenged.

Credible science enlightens. Distance of the earth from the sun, variations in the tilt of the earth on its axis, and absorption of CO2 in the oceans have more impact on heating and cooling of the planet than anything we mere mortals can do, though gods of the new religions presume greater powers. In basic terms, the closer you are to the heater, the warmer it gets; the further away you go, the cooler it gets. Simple!

The northern hemisphere is now experiencing record snows (not heating) while we are experiencing a common, though difficult drought period, exacerbated by mongrels deliberately lighting fires and Greens’ failure to allow timely cool burning of fuel. Over a century of records, water levels at Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour show mere millimetres of variation and satellite data proves Pacific islands are mostly growing or stabilised, not sinking. No need for corrupt payments.

Informed media are responding to the challenge with facts. People buckling under the burden of guilt, responsibility and high energy bills (27,000 households had power disconnected in Queensland in 2018-2019) are beginning to shift the debate, putting forward their own ideas of what is important, just as the “Quiet Australians” elected the Morrison government. How dare you!

Global daring

A good dose of realism from ordinary people is beginning to have an impact globally. As righteous Pharisees of the new religions engage even more outrageous claims and actions, those who have been silenced and de-platformed are calling it out.

  • USA: For over three years relentless challenges by the Democrats, Washington and New York elites and the fake media against the unexpected democratic election of Trump as President have mostly damaged themselves. Like him or hate him as a person, Trump was elected to do a job and deliver on promises. He is doing that. Taxes are down, businesses are upbeat, more people are employed, the wall is being built, troops being brought home, defence revitalised, the US has pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, the country has become self-sufficient in oil and trade conditions have been renegotiated. So far around twenty mostly very left wing Democratic candidates have nominated to stand against him in 2020, with little more than trashing Trump to add to their CVs.
  • Canada: Serial celebrity activist Jane Fonda got more than she bargained for when burning oil flying into Fort McMurray in the freezing boonies of Alberta. Her plan was to stand with First Nations people to protest against the global emissions of the oil sands industry that fuels the Canadian economy. Fonda’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. Like our miners in Clermont chasing Bob Brown’s anti-Adani convoy out of town, locals fired up and told her to blow through (or words to that effect; Canadians are very polite). Similarly with the oil pipeline that has been a focus of green activism for years. First Nations people are speaking up for themselves, the business and jobs they have in the oil industry and “are tired of fly-in, fly-out celebrities who think they know everything then go tell the world what bad people the locals are”.
  • UK: For over three years, elites in the British and European parliaments and media have thwarted the will of the majority of British people to leave the European Union. Partisan Speaker of the House defied convention, favouring remainers in debates on Brexit. Boris Johnson has leadership of the Brexit charge against those who seek to subvert democracy and has a chance of delivering on this goal following the 12 December election.
  • Hong Kong: For months the people have turned out in millions, daring to challenge the might of the Chinese Communist Party seeking to deny them freedoms and subject them to arcane extradition laws. Who knows how this ends. Yet they have dared!

Australia dares

Green Shirts gather for action

Not only did the Clermont miners shout out for themselves, their jobs and their industry, they contributed to Scott Morrison’s unexpected electoral win in Queensland. How dare they!

  • Freedom of speech and belief are seen as under threat. Other quiet Australians have been stirred by Rugby Australia sacking their highest scoring player Israel Folau, for quoting an excerpt of the Bible on his Facebook page. Over $2.2m towards Folau’s legal fees was raised in a couple of days on a go-fund-me page sponsored by the Australian Christian Lobby. People contributed, not because they necessarily believed what Folau quoted, but because the decision heralded a trend that anyone could be sacked for their beliefs or for what they say. They could be next.
  • Similarly Professor Peter Ridd was sacked by James Cook University for his views on the robust health of the Great Barrier Reef that countered the prevailing catastrophic global warming mantra that is demoralising farmers and destroying reef tourism reliant businesses. A go-fund-me page supported by the Institute of Public Affairs raised nearly $300K for Ridd’s legal fees. Judgement found against the University on all 17 counts and awarded damages and costs. How dare Ridd call for greater research rigor and suggest the reef was resilient!  
  • The Green Shirts Movement has been established as a voice for rural, regional and reasonable people, to protest 2018 amendments to the Queensland Vegetation Amendment Act. Under the Act farmers are restricted from clearing vegetation on their land, having to defer to bureaucrats and remote ideologues their knowledge of management of the environment on which their business and livelihoods depend. Imposition of $100K fines for knocking down mulga to feed hungry animals shows how remote from reality is this law.
  •  Right to Farm law has been introduced to counter the misleading Aussie Farms’ vegan ideology and action. Activists hunt in a pack, organise deliberate encroachment and aggravated trespass on farms causing disruption, destruction and distress. Public outrage now means that fines of $22k each and 3 years in prison await.
  • Advance Australia stands for values and freedoms, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion, individual initiative and safety and security. AA dares to direct campaigns to counter GetUp!-led attacks on sitting conservative Liberal MPs, and support candidates who campaign on mainstream issues. How dare they!

The foregoing shows a groundswell of action, individual and collective, as ordinary people dare to reclaim values in the public arena.

Hollowness of virtue signalling

Two issues illustrate the hollowness of virtue signalling:

  • Big banks in Australia flaunted their green credentials by saying they would not finance the Adani coal mine or any coal fired power stations which would prove a boost to the economy, keep the lights on in Australia and bring light to 300 million poor in India. While preening on gender equity and green virtue, they weren’t averse to facilitating international money laundering and child porn in the Philippines until publicly challenged by AUSTRAC – 23 million times.
  • The Medivac Bill introduced to federal parliament by independent Kerryn Phelps to bring to Australia refugees needing urgent medical attention has been a sham. Less than 10% of those transferred ended up in hospital, some refusing medical attention. Opening the back door to $100K costs for constipation treatment (pardon the pun) and self-administered penile enlargement for an abusive child groomer is not what taxpayers expect of government. A Bill to withdraw the sham awaits passage through the Senate.

Foundation to dare

Principles and values are the structures on which to build productive individuals, families, communities and countries. Deceit, lies, manipulation for greed, power or self-aggrandisement will not last. Best to do your job well (tell that to the banks and the bureaucrats) and let others get on with their lives, work and business in the way they know best.

By daring to challenge the popular virtues of the new religions progress is being made on many fronts. Get together and back yourselves!



The new cult-like religions have many of the characteristics of the old fire and brimstone ones: fervent zealots following a belief system coercing others to the cause, prominent global leaders, wondrous child prophets to berate and inspire elders, guilt, condemnation and ostracism for the questioners and deniers, as we all face the end of the world in a few years. What’s not to like?

Much activism tends to be based on blind faith rather than facts. Lives yearning for spirit and purpose have become dulled by the decline of influence of Judeo-Christian religions upon which our western democracy flourished. Over-indulgence in consumerism brought about by 28 years of economic growth has further contributed. Perhaps we just have it so good we have to make up “bad”, though a glance down the annals of history show a litany of other threatened ”catastrophes” that failed to eventuate.

No wonder groups like Extinction Rebellion gather together in thrall to the occasion and their own importance, chanting mantras while disrupting those more reasonable amongst us who have jobs to do. The media lap it up.

Though blame, guilt and condemnation abound, absent from prayer sheet of the new religions is the pathway to redemption and forgiveness. I would also add gratitude. Had the new zealots any knowledge of, or deference to history, tradition or scripture, humility would discern a wiser way that recognizes that “we all stumble many times” (James 3:2).

A quick overview of the pervasive messages emanating from activists, often funded by overseas interests, shows no end of extortionate financial demands, no credit for ameliorating efforts, and condemnation without a path to redemption.

Climate change

As the climate change religion escalates globally, led by the Marxist head of the United Nations, the name changes to climate catastrophe to up the ante, $, alarm and capture. Of course we should take best measures to care for our environment, as we are. Guilt and condemnation directed at countries like Australia which invests heavily into renewables and employs intensive environmental measures to the detriment of our economy, can never win redemption and forgiveness, because of the absence of truth in (a) the extent of environmental efforts Australia takes; and (b) scandalous manipulation of research data by vested interests in the research community capitalising on the global warming financial gravy train. Only total sacrifice of the economy by closing all mining, agriculture and travel will satisfy the joyless, hungry gods of catastrophe. Shades of the devil’s command to “Jump down from the tower and be subject to me”. No option but totalitarian obedience! And no forgiveness!

Animal rights

Vegan activists of the animal rights religion assert their moral superiority by invading legitimate businesses and farms en masse to disrupt operations, steal animals and terrify people living and working there. Humanization of animals to them has resulted in valuing animals above people. Their right to consume a meat free diet is respected. Forceful imposition of their values on others is rampant as this joyless cult seeks to close down legitimate activities that ordinary people gather together to enjoy – horse and dog racing, conviviality around a barbecue, cattle and sheep farming, camp drafting. Redemption for “sinners” is only available to those willing to comply totally with the tenets. A lot of hate, but no compassion! No forgiveness!


The alleged sins of colonialism now gain high profile in the aboriginal industry, despite the original goal of Arthur Philip’s arrival in Australia 26 January 1788, to establish a settlement on the other side of the world where all people would be free and equal. Life for aborigines at the time was short and brutal, as it still tends to be in those remote communities hanging onto past traditions. We know from historical records that it was pretty terrible for soldiers and convicts as well. That Indigenous, settlers and immigrants have grown together to found a largely peaceful, advanced economy is a miracle owed largely to the original goals, British law transferred and the universality of the English language.

Guilt imposed for imperfect colonial implementation fail to acknowledge what has been achieved for, with, and by the original inhabitants.  Investment of $35 billion annually in Indigenous interests means that 75% of them now experience life and work as most other Australians. Life span has increased by 50%; infant mortality and morbidity have been dramatically reduced; Indigenous natural speed, skill and capacity to entertain find profile, careers and financial returns in colonial sport, theatre, media, art, dance and politics. Land rights have been granted them to large swathes of Australia; and original inhabitants are acknowledged at every public function; Sorry day, NAIDOC, GARMA festivals; special bursaries afford fully paid educational opportunities that poor whites could only dream of; dedicated teachers and health professionals venture into communities to help educate and heal. 

Where is the gratitude for the advances and privileges Indigenous can reap if it is their desire? A crescendo of hatred against colonial white patriarchal males does absolutely nothing for Indigenous progress. After apologies, efforts and redemptive payments made over decades, our Indigenous brothers and sisters are challenged to respond with the greatest gift in life – acceptance and forgiveness (No.12 of the Fourteen Teachings of the Buddha). Perhaps the constant rehashing, resentment and misunderstanding make it hard to forgive? Letting go is the prerequisite for moving forward.  Rehashing hatred is a multiplier that promises no peace – for anyone.

Feminism and gender

In this country, women, men and other pronouns have equality under law, in politics, sport and business. Same sex marriage is a fait accompli, and gender can be self-determined where biology challenges clarity. Instead of celebration and gratitude for momentous social changes of acceptance, identity politics encourages victimhood and division, seeding hatred against the dominant white male patriarchy, whose sins are allegedly manifold. Nobody is perfect, especially it seems, you blokes.

It is nearly 100 years since my mother and her sister, Nelly and Rita Dean, challenged stereotypes in women’s sport with their stellar achievements in track, field, netball and hockey. They didn’t complain, just got on with it – and wrote the copy to show what they could achieve. Male patrons supported them in their endeavours. The public were entertained, as we are, today rejoicing in the magnificent athleticism of Elyse Perry, Ash Barty and Sam Kerr in cricket, tennis and soccer. As a nation we continue to evolve, if imperfectly.

Can we just move on in relative harmony? Dampen offence taking, “for the taking of offense is the mark of a fool” (Ecclesiastes 7:9). That does not mean condoning; it just means letting go, if only for the benefits of greater calm, better health and happiness. By all means raise issues for civilized debate; name wrongs; and seek resolution. That is how environmental and social change has been accomplished in the past, and can be in the future. Having named the wrong, raised the issue and sought resolution, be prepared to let go, move on and forgive those who express genuine sorrow, remorse and redemption. Like confession in the old religions, forgiveness is peace making.

Maturity Model

My Maturity Model for decision-making clearly shows in visual form that to load responsibility and expectation diminishes choice. Truth is not present and continuing in this vein is unsustainable, leading to fragmentation and division of individuals and groups, with high social and economic costs.

Applying the MM to each of the topical issues – climate catastrophe, animal rights, colonialism, feminism and gender – we can see that blame, responsibility and expectation falls heavily on the “quiet Australians” who are busy going about the business of their life. It is surely time that the noisy evangelists of the new religions embraced truth (facts), showed more respect for others in their proselytizing and offered a pathway to forgiveness for those they believe have wronged.

We can practice in our own lives. Rehashing a wrong makes it hard to forgive and to do so we would have to relinquish power, resentment, disappointment and misunderstanding. We should not hurry to be offended, as we all stumble many times. Forgiveness does not mean we condone wrong, merely that in love we are prepared to let go and move on, remembering that “the greatest enemy in life is the self” (No. 1 of the Fourteen teachings of the Buddha).

Blessings to you all!


Weaponising Children

All credit to those parents who front up daily to deal with the challenges of raising a family in this disruptive era. May they continue to be encouraged in their efforts, to find direction and satisfaction in how their children mature.

That many fail is not surprising. During 2017-2018, 159,000 (28.7 per 1,000) Australian children received child protection services and/or were in out-of-home care. (https://www.aihw.gov.au) For many, neglect, abuse and abandonment will have distorted their psychological and/or physical growth that will be hard for them to overcome.

History has form

Throughout history, due to the distortion of power between adult and child, children have been misused and weaponized, deprived of normalcy.  Child soldiers kidnapped from families in Liberia were forced to fight a mindless war. Girl students in Nigeria were kidnapped from school and deprived of education to become breeders for Boko Haram. Rules of engagement in the Middle East mean little to adversaries who use women and children as shields for military action. Rapidly industrializing Britain used child workers in their factories until concern was raised that the supply of able bodied adults would be insufficient to meet future needs. Though the UN outlaws child labour, children are still exploited in developing countries. From kindergarten onwards, the PLA brainwashes children with a hatred of Jews and promotes the honour of killing them, distorting any hope of peace and progress for their people. In China, Mao Se Tung weaponized children against their parents and other adults, resulting in the death and re-education of tens of millions. Globally, the deplorable sexual exploitation of children is commoditized by deep web commercial activities.

The Family Court

Smug as we may feel in Australia about how well we’ve done as a developed nation, the tide seems to be turning as families fragment. Take, for instance, the Family Court, which is supposed to hold the interests of children paramount. All too often children are weaponized by parents trading blows to assert power. Shared parenting often means the conflict continues in undisguised hostility till the children become adults. On unproven allegations of domestic violence, the Family Court is known to deprive the alleged offending parent of access to children, while payment for child support remains compulsory. Legal endorsement by the Family Court for weaponisation of children for financial gain is not uncommon. How else could a psychologically abusive father claim inability to pay netball fees, while buying himself a Maserati?

All strength to Senator Pauline Hanson for pressuring for an enquiry into the processes and outcomes of Family Court operations! Let’s hope that people come forward with their stories, so that the costly, complex processes are addressed to become more simple and the outcomes fairer, more truly in the interests of children.


One of the areas of concern that Senator Hanson intends pursuing is the loss of access to grandchildren that grandparents experience as a result of a divorce. Understanding where you come from is in the interests of children. For the grandparents it is important to their sense of family and continuity that affirms the worth of their lives. Deprivation of access to grandchildren – the weaponisation of children against elders – is not restricted to those divorcing; it is common enough practice amongst those grown busy and successful on the back of elders’ investment in their lives. While abandoning elders may suit parents’ present interests, little do they realise that in time, they may find themselves in a similar position. Tolerance and respect would be preferable: affection may be a step too far.


It is a while since I’ve been to school or even university, so my idea of education may be somewhat outdated. Education, I believe, should support the parents’ efforts in bringing the child to productive adulthood by inculcating literacy, numeracy, fact seeking skills and a life-long love of learning.

Whereas that is the case in many instances, educational edicts embedding political and social issues into every element of learning has diluted both the quality of education and the outcomes. Literacy and numeracy standards have stalled or are falling and capability to seek out facts has been subsumed by indulgence in conspicuous compassion and privilege pain.

  • Climate catastrophe strikes by children globally and extinction rebellion activists exemplify just how feelings trump facts and how far children have been weaponized by educators and global elites. Follow the money. Elites stand to profit from renewable investments and educators gain power by weaponising children – other people’s children – even if those children are short on literacy and lack facts. Berating the government and responsible adults takes on shades of Mao’s Red Guard. Next may come public humiliation and a spell on the re-education farm for the olds!
  • Gender fluidity: Publicly funded Safe Schoolsprogram, supposedly to deter bullying, ends up being a weapon for promotion of gender fluidity, sex change and LGBTQI+. Normalcy for the 1% is pitched as normal for the 99%, creating confusion amongst those trying to find their way into productive adulthood. Again, other people’s children are weaponized by recruitment to the cause. Respected professionals can be sacked for daring to question the intent.
  • Colonialism portrayed as damaging to aboriginal culture and lands fosters guilt for actions by people long gone against those long dead. No amount of apologies, recompense or care can erase the guilt now used by educators to weaponise children in the cause.

Facts, context and forgiveness

Every one of these social issues drives a nail into the heart of western civilization, in order to destroy it in the best socialist/Marxist tradition, with children weaponized to expedite. Whether the family (children against parents), environment (against parents and government), gender (against biology and religion), or colonialism (whites against blacks), the focus is on division and virtue signaling rather than coherence of people of the nation and celebration of (imperfect) achievements in progress.

Children are being weaponized to believe virtue signaling on any or all of the issues has higher moral value than any other morality recognized under western traditions. Issues presented lack truth (facts) and context, so the virtue and compassion they are being called to are deeply flawed, and, according to my Maturity Model, unsustainable, with high social and economic costs.

Of course western civilization is not perfect: its value has been in open, honest debate to determine issues or take an alternative path, rather than unquestioning authoritarian, dictatorial bullying now used with hatred and condemnation by drivers of the current social issues.

Absent from the repertoire of hatred and condemnation of the dictatorial virtue signalers is the power of redemption and forgiveness, a central element of the Judeo-Christian traditions from which western civilization emerged. Douglas Murray, in his book The Strange Death of Europe, talks about “the tyranny of guilt” foisted on “denialists” of any of the new religious cults. If offered no other options than slavish adherence to the latest belief in the end of the world, the end of family, of culture, if you no longer know whether you are male or female, no wonder children suffer anxiety, depression and distress.

Weaponising children is just another form of child abuse that has abuse of others as collateral damage.


Enquiry before accusation

In this era of emotionally charged activism and hyper-sensitive victimhood nearly everybody can be offended or offensive at previously unimagined missteps that have little bearing on reality.

Increasingly we are seeing decisions for action, whether in personal, social or political matters, being made based on emotions, prejudice or group think, rather than facts.

Those acquainted with the Maturity Model for decision making outlined in my book Becoming, will recognise that such a pattern of decision-making is unsustainable. As the model shows, inevitably action based on emotion rather than fact leads to fragmentation and division with high social and financial costs, whether in relationships in families, firms, government or in communities. Recovery from such devastation is fraught and may take longer than a lifetime. Best to become informed and avoid social and financial devastation.

Being well informed about an issue, situation or person leaves us in an advantageous position to assess the best way to respond, or not. Indulging emotions may be momentarily self-gratifying, but does not augur well for downstream results.

Climate catastrophe

Take the case of global protest against inaction on what privileged children believe is a coming climate catastrophe that will end the world in a matter of years. Why study for a future that won’t exist?

Not enough is being done they claim, without awareness of the facts about what is being done, how much it is costing economies and how futile the exercise is proving to be. Missing is the evidence upon which rational decisions can be made. Passion runs as high as the media profile of leaders and groups, stirring anxiety along with challenge. No proper enquiry has been made before final judgement has been reached. Context is missing, as is the courage to confront truth.

My Maturity Model shows that the situation is less sustainable than the planet. Predictably fragmentation of individuals and groups is already occurring. Cost of attending to the belief in climate catastrophe and extinction is already damaging the Australian economy in unaffordable energy prices, financially crippling the elderly, the poor and small business. Tourists are staying away from the Great Barrier Reef because of widespread alarmism that it is damaged by bleaching and runoff, as farmers and graziers face increasing regulations that are remote from scientific reality. A farmer is fined $100k in a city court for the common farming practice of knocking down mulga on his own property to feed his starving cattle. The mulga grew back before the court completed its ridiculous exercise in law.

The cost to individuals, families and businesses at the mercy of bureaucracies justifying their existence is devastating, personally, socially and financially. We have yet to count the cost of the emerging havoc of treating global child protestors for anxiety, medication, indifference to education, inability to seek out facts or context, and therefore patterns of poor decision-making.

The planet, meanwhile, has shown a remarkable capacity to revitalize and continue to produce, at the same time that mankind has shown every bit as remarkable capacity for innovation to solve problems. Of course, hope, inspiration and knowledge are necessary elements for resolving global challenges.

Sexual abuse

Feminism, institutional sexual abuse of children and the #metoo movement have each contributed to heightened social awareness of what is acceptable sexual conduct by exposing practices that had been kept pretty much under the radar in past eras.

Had perpetrators been familiar with my Maturity Model they would have realized much earlier that loading unbearable burdens onto less powerful people is not sustainable and can lead only to financial and social disintegration. Woe to you who load up a pack too heavy for (wo)man to carry. Churches are floundering financially paying compensation and members depart as a result. Powerful men are being tried and sent to jail. Moral leadership of the ‘message’ has lost out to higher virtues of conspicuous compassion and privileged pain.

Distressing as the exposure of sexual abuse has been, expectations for better behaviour in interpersonal relationships have resulted. Recognition of hurt, compensation and counselling go some way towards healing those traumatized, though can never entirely “make good” for disturbed lives.

All this is fine progress. But some individuals and media take licence and go too far, contriving sexual or physical abuse where none has occurred, often to satisfy personal agendas.

Extremes betray us

While a victim’s account of abuse is now more readily believed, as with climate catastrophe, it is wise to reserve healthy skepticism, as can be demonstrated in recent cases. 

British peers and their families had their lifetime’s work and reputation destroyed by a young man who claimed he had been sexually abused by them. The accuser now is in jail for being a pedophile himself and admits to lying about those he previously accused. Fifteen minutes of fame for lives destroyed, when skepticism would have demanded more intelligent investigation!

Publication of 40 year old sexual abuse allegations against newly appointed US Supreme Court Judge, Brett Kavanagh, is a case in point. That the alleged “victim” had no recollection and was not party to the allegation seemed of little relevance to the political and career damage intended by publishing the story.

Families and reputations can too easily be devastated by allegations of sexual abuse, which are hard to disprove. When small children and improbable circumstances are involved, management of the situation is best handled quietly and directly in a way that does not cause more problems than would the initial allegation. Context is important, as is the courage to seek facts to inform the “wisdom of discernment to administer justice”. Otherwise families, lives, work and reputations can be sacrificed, quite unnecessarily and uselessly, on the altar of orchestrated emotional self-interest. Again the high social cost of intolerable burdens roll out like tsunami taking out the target and anyone else within reach.

Family Court

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is to be commended for persistence in pressing for a review of Family Court processes in which, under the perception of “toxic male”, women have successfully been encouraged to perjury, claiming domestic violence for higher leverage in gaining access to children and assets.

As with any lack of truth, there are consequences. Firstly a man’s reputation may be damaged forever; he is likely to lose his family, home, children and the majority of his assets; and the cost, injustice and length of such a damaging process may result in the ultimate fragmentation ending in his suicide. There is a further unfortunate consequence in that attention to genuine claims of domestic violence may be diminished.

A review of the Family Court should at least shine a light on the suitability of processes from the lived experiences of people who have been through them, including women and children who have been seriously disadvantaged. Hopefully the review can achieve a greater element of truth that would balance expectations, choice and responsibility, as shown in my Maturity Model, so that fairness will be better served by the “wisdom of discernment”, allowing people to move on more productively with their lives.

The principle of seeking enquiry before making accusation holds true.


Go Woke, Go Broke!

Gerry Harvey Chairman of Harvey Norman with his wife and CEO Katie Page

What a relief to hear Gerry Harvey (of the Harvey Norman (HN) chain of furniture, whitegoods and technology stores) speak out against the “woke” demands of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and other business associations. These associations are demanding that boards tick the box to reflect diversity (race, gender, age) and turn over on a regular basis so as not to become entrenched, insensitive to the needs of the community, market and shareholders. Businesses, they say, should have a social licence to operate, hence the demand to be “woke”. A psychologist should be on every board!

Gerry Harvey admitted that structurally, we are going through a tough trading period in which his company’s profits were doing OK at 7% increase on year. During the 50 years of operation, Gerry had the same CEO (his wife, with whom he sleeps) and Chairman (himself) and long standing board members who knew the company and the market implicitly. Competitors Good Guys, David Jones and Myers, who had ticked all the right boxes for board diversity and change, were struggling. Go woke, go broke!


Gillette is another global company that thought it was being sensitive by rolling out a TV advertisement deferring to feminism, highlighting “toxic masculinity”. Why ever you would demonise your target market defies good business sense. Silent men left the brand in droves. Gillette’s sales dropped $8 billion worldwide.

Rugby Australia

Not insignificant is the Israel Folau case. You will recall Israel, a lay Christian preacher, was summarily sacked by Rugby Australia (RA) for quoting on his online media, an excerpt from the Bible which invited sinners (including gays) to repent. According to Raelene Castle, CEO of RA, rugby is an inclusive organization (except, it seems for Christians). Of course, RA was heavily influenced by main sponsor, Qantas, whose CEO is openly gay, an activist in the same sex marriage debate. At risk to RA was Qantas’ sponsorship said to be around $4m.

The “woke” sacking of Folau is likely to cost RA much more than Qantas sponsorship. The silent people, outraged that a person could be sacked for quoting from a book on which this country was founded and on which we are required to swear to tell the truth, rallied to Folau’s support – not because they necessarily believed the biblical quote, but because they could see a basic freedom of this country being destroyed and that they may be next. Neither did they like the transference of malice to Folau’s wife, Maria, a talented netball player for the Silver Ferns. Others have been taken to court or sacked for expressing the traditional view of marriage. In a couple of days the funding page set up by Australian Christian Lobby raised $2.2m from the silent people towards Folau’s legal fees to defend his right to play rugby while retaining his faith.

In the meantime, people have turned away in droves from “the game made in heaven”. Attendances are down, and in a World Cup year the Wallabies prospects, once daunting, now appear grim. People have vowed not to follow rugby until the matter is resolved. Others have shunned Qantas.

If not for “woke” pressure for gender diversity and inclusion, RA could be in a far more propitious position. Not only would they be fielding their best player, they would be spared the cost of defending the indefensible. All they had to say on the quiet was that while they respected Israel’s faith, but it was not that of RA. One’s beliefs and freedom of speech are not for RA, Qantas, or the government to bestow or take away. Go woke, go broke!

Australian Medical Association (AMA)

Now we have the AMA talking the same left/green woke claptrap that seems essential for the leaders of that organization to find a way into a seat in parliament. The latest claim is that “climate change is a health emergency” that, amongst many claims, will cause:

  • “high mortality and morbidity from heat stress” – not true as facts show more people die from the cold than warmth;
  • “food insecurity resulting from declines in agricultural outputs” – again not true, as facts show agricultural production globally has increased significantly;
  •  “higher incidence of mental ill-health” – again without any substantiating scientific facts.

Nevertheless ” the AMA is proud to join the international and local chorus of voices urging action to address climate change on health grounds,” Dr Bartone said. Says it all! No wonder membership of the AMA is declining, down from 46% to 23% –no longer representing the silent professionals who harbour long held values not swayed by any woke chorus, local or international.

Adani and Queensland

Relentlessly over nine years we have been assailed by protesters against development of the Adani coal mine in central Queensland, saying that it would increase C02 in the atmosphere and destroy the Great Barrier Reef. Never mind the facts that the Australia’s share of the minuscule amount of C02 in the atmosphere barely rates, that the mine is hundreds of miles from the coast, the reef a further 100-200km off shore and that 300 millions of Indians stand to rise out of poverty using the coal.

The silent people spoke up when Bob Brown led a convoy of vehicles from Tasmania to protest against Adani prior to the 18 May election. At Clermont a noisy counter protest by locals dusted the Adani protesters out of town. It was a joy to see good old fashioned Australians speaking up for projects, work and jobs for their region. Having stalled the project expecting a Labor win nationally, the State Premier had to concede to commencement of the mine. In the meantime, Queensland has accumulated the largest debt in the country (>$80 billion), the highest unemployment (6.2%), the biggest public service (+30,000), largely as a consequence of declining to build necessary infrastructure like dams (Stanthorpe and Rookwood Weir) even with federal funding, buildings and social housing on “woke” green decisions. Even States go broke when they go woke!


Blow me down if we don’t have BHP Chairman Andrew McKenzie drinking the woke Koolaid, talking about getting out of coal on which much of the company’s fortunes have been built. He has probably signed up to Global Shapers, a global organization of heads of companies committed to the climate change catastrophe, fronted by a 16 year old with mental health issues (Greta Thunberg) and failed climate prophet (Al Gore). Spare the silent people!

As Gerry Harvey said, each of these CEOs is one of a very small elite talking nonsense and they are wrong. Conversely they think he is wrong. But like Scott Morrison, Gerry Harvey is dealing with the reality of the silent people by providing needed services. No need to go broke being woke.


Garden of Memories


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Memories of travel gardens

Travel opens eyes to many wonders. On overseas jaunts I have taken such delight in the gardens visited, public and private, comparable locally only in the colder climates of Australia in Toowoomba and Canberra, where it is easier to amass flowering species.  Otherwise Australian bush flourishes in the harsher climate, when wattle blossom in the winter and full flowering pink of pongamia emerges later.

What has so often enchanted me are the large and generous flowering hanging baskets to be found in spring in the UK, Europe and Canada that are a sight to behold. Full of colourful petunias and dangling vines, they hang from lamp posts, brightening the streetscapes in the ever so brief northern summer. Complementary tubs full of similar bright flowers decorate the sidewalk, inviting custom, admiration and photographs.

So enamoured of these images, I have tried to emulate them at home with my own little corner of reminiscence as demonstrated in the photo, that takes me back to places, remembering fondly the people associated with the images.

Bedford Landing near Vancouver conjures up several images: one of a freezing cold Christmas night walk along the canal, full moon shining on the water, after the warmth of a huge festive dinner with the Vairo family; and later in the spring enjoying special time with sisters traipsing the boardwalk admiring the floral show over a coffee at the local cafe.

An enormous heart shaped floral display centre square in Copenhagen conjures up memories of a jolly campervan trip with sisters and one husband around northern England and Europe, including a visit to the amazing Viking Ship Museum at Roskilde, rowing out into the Fjord in a ship much like the relatives would have back in the day. By now you would be getting the drift – the garden reminds me of people I love and past experiences savoured still.

Family garden mementos

One pot plant that is an enduring memory of the love of family is the one I have kept alive for over fifty years, still flourishing today. The pothus plant is a daily reminder of Frances, my mother in law, who gave the plant to me all that time ago. Frances was a quiet, religious woman, who tried her best for her family, helping where she could with the grandchildren, and leaving each of them with a beautiful hand- crocheted rug. For her deep love of faith, family and flowers, Frances is daily remembered with love, stirred by her enduring bequest in a vibrant plant.

That plant sits on a kitchen trolley made by my father Allan, who was similarly constructive, decent, though less religious. Allan was a wonderful home handyman in retirement, who would consider the list of jobs to be done, take a nap, and wake to have all consumables listed and calculated without the need for digital assistance. The trolley reminds me of the past and its contribution to our present and future.

With only a pocket handkerchief (i.e. tissue in today’s speak) size garden, I have to be aware of the space plants might take up before planting them in the ground.  One huge grass like plant given by a sister Jan living on acreage, grew to take over more than its share of garden till it was reduced by seven eights and moved to the corner, where it is less dominating, yet still a reminder of fondness for the donor.

A pot of curly leafed fern is a contribution from my loving and generous sister in law, Patricia, who cannot allow a person to leave without gifting them with something. The fern is a constant reminder of the kindness of Patricia and my brother, as is the cherry tomato plan that sprang from the same soil and has since spread to other sites in the garden where it is allowed to prosper.

Then there is the geranium cutting taken from plant at Diane’s, showing all manner of hardiness as it thrives and expands, regardless of the weather, making a fine showing against the stark rock wall. The golf stick plant, bought in a pot from the Rocklea markets years ago, has been released into the soil to fill gaps in the foliage, along with donations from neighbor Joan, making pleasant, memorable viewing, and an orchid taken from a cluster at Uncle Pat’s has thrived over the years, putting out spectacular canes, despite birds stealing its copra basket for their nest and Uncle Pat having passed on at 101.


Bromeliads from a pot given by Jane made a fine display, turning a glowing red under the fig trees until favoured by crows, pecking energetically at the leaves for the water, dislodging and disfiguring the show. Other pots and plants marking birthdays and special occasions are opportunities to remember the givers fondly, memories sometimes outlasting the plants.

Similar tussles have been waged with the possums which, in their evening ramblings, pounce on any new plantings, causing frustration (to me). A hanging wall herb garden gifted by brother-in-law John was not safe. Overnight parsley and lettuce were chewed to the nub until John fashioned a mesh cover. Even then the possums climbed on top and reached through the mesh, which is now held aloft by a length of washing line, unreachable by the natural predators. Bless John for his thoughtfulness.

Ecosystem of garden memories

Though the whole ecosystem of plant and animal life that sustains in my garden of memories may not be a substitute for a much loved pet favoured by others, to me it is an enduring reminder of valued people and experiences of the past, their contribution to the pleasures of the present and part of the hope in continuity in the future.


Out with the Olds


With a bit of luck and good management we all might live a long life, even if as a medical miracle, so it would be beneficial for all of us to mind how we treat elders. One day we will be one of them.

Those in their seventies and eighties (or older) – the silent generation – have experienced history: depressions, recessions, World War II, the threat of nuclear war and Vietnam are part of their living memory, or what’s left of it in the frontal lobe.

Resilience has been challenged as they adapt to changes in values, technology and materialism, from a base of thrift. They miss manners, respect, behavioural standards, empathy, compassion, understanding and kindness.

Global working families may mean they are remote from children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Even in proximity, disconnectedness may be a function of the busyness of families combined with capture by devices intended to enhance communications.

Expectations held by the silent generation are modest, born of their history and experience: usually a measure of attention, respect and kindness is all that is required by this resilient lot.

We are not alone

Society has yet to adjust to address the needs of elders at every level. The disjunction leaves many of them vulnerable to many forms of abuse: physical, emotional, sexual, financial, exploitation, neglect, even indifference. As the condition of elders declines, it seems difficult for younger people enculturated to self-absorption to treat elders with dignity and respect, even kindness and affection (the latter might be a stretch).

According to the UN, around one in six older people experience some form of abuse that can lead to physical injuries and long term psychological consequences. Much goes unreported. Estimates of global population indicate that people above the age of 60 will exceed the number of younger people by 2050, rising from 900 million in 2015 to about 2 billion. Current elder abuse issues are likely to increase in line with demographic changes. How well we adapt to care of our elderly will become an indication of our maturity as a person, family and society.

Regulate or resolve

Elder abuse is known to be significantly under-reported, hence the theme “Lifting up Voices” for this year’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It is so easy to write off the importance, knowledge, wisdom and stories of our elders merely because of their accumulated years and diminishments, especially when it takes time to listen – time that others may not have, or be prepared to give. Much can be lost.

Higher incidence of abuse is reported against elders in residential care, as the current Royal Commission in Australia is finding out. Many of the findings will lead to increased monitoring of treatment and regulation to raise standards of care. All this will cost money that will be shuffled down the pile of priorities, relying for resolution on the dedication of carers and family members.

Abuse of elders in family and the community is likely to be under-reported, especially when the perpetrators are family members. Embarrassment, denial, shame and powerlessness become overwhelming.

In families, abuse takes many forms, or combinations that cannot necessarily be regulated, yet need to be resolved. To name a few along the spectrum:

  • Financial – coercing elders to hand over money and assets, even eviction, leaving the aged parent bereft, likely to be followed by indifference, neglect or threats of withholding grandchildren
  • Psychological – constant berating, humiliation, bullying and manipulation
  • Physical – actual or threatened physical menace to assert domination
  • Sexual – taking advantage of relative powerlessness
  • Weaponising of grandchildren – preventing access to grandchildren deprives all parties of love, knowledge wisdom and affirmation of the worth of life
  • Neglect, indifference, isolation – demonstrating laziness, inconsideration and ingratitude for the gift of life and the opportunities current generations enjoy that were not possible for the olds they now abandon. Loneliness has become a major issue for elders, which, for some lends to depression and suicidal tendencies.

Some regulation may be necessary, though resolution is more likely to achieve better outcomes by breathing fresh life into proven traditional Christian principles that seem to have dissipated along with the practice of religion.


Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’d be aware that rugby player Israel Folau has found himself in a lot of bother and out of a $4 million contract for quoting his Christian tenets on social media. So I am sticking my neck out by mentioning a couple myself:

  • Honour your father and your mother – one of the ten commandments that have guided western civilization, invoking respect for elders, along with the concomitant obligation that parents also honour their children;
  • Love one another as I have loved you – evoking empathy, kindness, compassion and love;
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – a call to treat elders how you would like to be treated when you are old;
  • Love thy neighbour as thyself – setting the gold standard for behaviour towards others and towards care of self.

Today’s elders were raised on Christian principles and honoured them, if imperfectly, over a lifetime of service, generosity and respect. They become confounded and dismayed with the deterioration of values that parallels their own decline. They wonder what the world is coming to, what their grandchildren will have to contend with and what they can do about it.

What elders can do

Firstly, they can confine concerns to caring for themselves. Having despatched their duties over a lifetime, they can take a cue from Jesus or Jordan Peterson and care for themselves first. Following the Maturity Model outlined in my book Becoming, they are responsible only for themselves at the later stage of life. Blessings of good will can be projected to all others, while focusing on their own lives.

Be cheerful and positive as possible in all communications. State your case simply and listen carefully. As far as possible remain independent and in charge of your own life. Be mindful, though not responsible, for the quandary that many adult children confront as they are compelled to deal with the multiple crises presenting in midlife. How midlifers deal with the crises will largely determine how generative (or not) their own later years will be. In this era of corporate social responsibility, elder abuse may not look good on a CV.

Governments recognise the commonality of problems and provide a range of services as outlined at the bottom of this blog to help alleviate concerns. Elders under pressure need to know that their problems are recognized and help is available.

The five in six

While the emphasis of this blog has been on abuse experienced by the one in six elders (common enough), there are another five in six who, thankfully, are exemplars of how things could or should be for elderly. Families including elders in events, celebrating their lives, sharing with grandchildren, phoning and visiting occasionally to let you know they care, bringing them along to grandchildren’s’ sporting events and performances, looking out for them with household assistance and meals where needed. None of these is spectacular or challenging – just thoughtful and considerate.

In doing so, benefits accrue both ways: a family can be enriched by the wisdom of elders and the elders themselves are affirmed in the value of their life, even in decline.


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