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The invisible aged: the people politics forgot


It happens to all of us who are fortunate enough not to succumb to fatal disease, accident, assault or some other form of early death....We get older!

As children and in youth, we generally don't think about dying.  Even less do we consider that the "oldies" can possibly feel like we do or even have an inkling of what we are "going through".  The aged seem almost to be another species to whom we find it difficult to relate and who often seem so stupid that they either can't or won't accept, adapt to or feel comfortable with current technology.

We may respect and love our aged relatives, but rarely do we accept them as our equals or capable of feelings and understandings such as we have at the time.

Age doesn't creep up on you, rather it jumps out & startles you one day when you least expect it and are unlikely to be prepared for it.  Sure we can feel the change happening, but we put it down to fatigue, circumstances or lack of exercise. Any reason will do, except the truth!

There are various signs that confirm that it has arrived: the need for glasses or hearing aids; the lack of energy, the lack of mobility or flexibility that you always took for granted; the forgetfulness; the frustration at the disappearance of products, packaging, presentation and civilities to which you've been accustomed and the forgetfulness...again! I'm sure that the older among us could add much to this list.

Most aged people manage to adapt to all those aspects, sometimes easily and sometimes not so easily, even the harshest of them, such as loss of income, loss of friends or partners and loss of position. These people and "things" seem to be all that give us credibility and respect in our society today. We can often forget that true strength comes from within, but we all need external factors to help lift us up and carry us through life.

The most striking affliction, as you age, is the realisation that you've become invisible.  Not only are you no longer attractive, eligible, employable, good fun or worth being around, but, just as motorists don't see motor-cyclists even when they are wearing bright clothes, the aged become invisible to the younger portion of society.

There can, however, be benefits to this invisibility.  Ageing is not all bad - or, at least, not necessarily bad. Not being seen can allow you to live your life without criticism, interference or interruption. It's freedom and we all enjoy being free.

Unfortunately for many aged persons, life can be a lonely place. It seems that today there is little respect for the wisdom of the aged and little demand to include the valuable contribution they could bring to decision-making and organisation in our communities.

Aged people continue to demonstrate that such is a fact by contributing endless hours to voluntary work and assisting others but even that is generally considered to be "therapy" for them rather than a real contribution to the better functioning of society.

So, next time you see an old person with ancient hollow eyes, don't just walk on by, say: "hello in there, "hello".

(Acknowledgment to Joan Baez for one of the most moving renditions of the song, "Hello in there."


If you needed confirmation that the elderly have been forgotten, you only need to look at the 2016 budget and its attack on residents of aged care facilities

Source: The invisible aged: the people politics forgot | John Watkins | Opinion | The Guardian  with additions  and minor amendments by Michael Kaff

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Arts workers should be angry about funding cuts – we can’t work harder for less | Culture | The Guardian


Defiance may seem heroic but running full programs with insufficient funding is a risky business. And the burden will fall on the workers

Source: Arts workers should be angry about funding cuts – we can't work harder for less

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Vote Compass: These are the top election issues in your state


There are always some common, national issues at a Federal Election.  The major parties ensure that by choosing to concentrate on what they think will bring them votes.  Sometimes, an issue is already alive and well because of events that have happened since the previous election.

However, although there are common issues, many voters are also concerned about issues that concern their State and so differences between the issues of most concern to voters of the various states are not uncommon.

The ABC Vote Compass data reveals what voters in each state and territory think are the most important issues of the 2016 election.

Source: Vote Compass: These are the top election issues in your state - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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Negative gearing and capital gains tax


It is fairly obvious from media comment and questions of ordinary citizens that many people are unclear about what "negative gearing" means, who has access to it, how it helps them and whether it is fair.

Is it just a perk for the wealthy or is it something that can help even those on modest incomes to purchase their own home.  At  present, negative gearing is only available on investment property - perhaps it should be available instead to those buying their first or only home?

There are many questions about this issue and competing attitudes about whether its abandonment or change would make it easier or harder for people to buy their own harms.  The following article may give you some greater understanding.

Your comments or questions are welcome.

Source: Explainer: Negative gearing and capital gains tax - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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Brandis begets a Bloodbath in the Arts


The Arts provide one of the most important and significant ways through which people pass on culture, share stories of triumph and disaster, offer new ideas and attitudes, expose falsities and injustices, explore and develop creativity, beautify the world, communicate thoughts, ideas and inner most feelings. Arts provide entertainment as well as mind soothing and mind expanding experiences and escapism.

I am sure that you could add to that list, for the Arts are, in various ways, integrated into the very fabric of every community and society.

Sadly, in Australia in recent years, funding and promotion of the Arts has suffered and the interference of government in dictating what and how the Arts should be funded has increased.  Most recently there have been attacks on the Australian Arts Council funding and independence by both the Abbott and Turnbull governments, in particular the decisions and actions of the previous Arts Minister, George Brandis, the very minister who ought to have ensured a thriving of the Arts and equity across the sector.

George Brandis will be contesting the Queensland Senate election for the Coalition.

I will also be contesting the Queensland Senate election, but as a true Independent and advocate for the Arts, Arts independence and Arts funding.

The following piece from the Daily Review summarises the impact of the changes introduced by George Brandis.

Source: Editorial: Brandis begets a Bloodbath in the arts | Daily Review: Film, stage and music reviews, interviews and more.

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