It was reportedly stated in the early 1900s that the “problem with Australia today is that people are too concerned with their rights and too little concerned with their responsibilities”. It seems not much has changed.
There are many in our country able to cite chapter and verse exactly what their “rights” are and how these should be fulfilled. But how many can also cite their responsibilities, what they owe for what they receive and where the precedence lies – in the taking or in the giving.
There is an increasing tribalising of our society. “Tribes” isolating themselves and claiming only they can know and understand their concerns. If you are not one of “them”, you cannot comment on their position and must meet their demands.
Of course these tribes appear to have no responsibility to the rest of society – they are takers, not givers. We are becoming less seen as Australians and more identified by the subcultures of these tribes.
Equality as and for Australians appears to no longer suffice, we must have tribal specific equalities - for the sexes, the homosexual, the ethnic, the religious etc. We are in danger of the “whole” becoming less than the sum of the parts.
The associated implementation of anti-discriminatory laws has led to a more discriminatory and divided society. The nation is distracted by the bleating of these tribes, wasting an inordinate amount of resources on what are peripheral issues at the expense of the real concerns facing Australia.
We need one set of laws for all Australians, one identity as Australians and one Australia with equal rights and responsibilities that are well understood and accepted.
We need to think first about our country and our culture and second about ourselves - the concept of an Australian state, based on rights and responsibilities, within a framework of the rule of law, equality for all and a national identity. This is the country we should want now and into the future.
We have responsibilities to this great nation in the first and second instance – then we might think about what we may have a right to expect, not demand.
The Bega Valley Shire Residents and Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) has made a submission to Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) in respect of council’s Code of Meeting Practice, currently on public exhibition.
The Association accepts BVSC is determined to improve the level and quality of engagement and consultation experienced between council and the residents of the Bega Valley. The Association shares council’s aspiration. The Association believes one way of building greater community awareness of issues, along with opportunities to engage with and consult with council, is to provide opportunities for members of the community to become more aware of issues and to gather a greater understanding of their significance.
The Association believes that there is an ideal opportunity for council to enhance community involvement and engagement by allowing residents to attend the non-confidential sessions of council workshops.
It has been well established that Facebook encourages instant and foolish responses, when a bit of thought would result in a more measured reply to irritation.
I was an alderman of the City of Hobart and was often provoked into wanting to respond hotly, but that was before Facebook, so I could not retort rashly. That saved me from a lot of needless controversy.
At the bottom line, being insulting to voters is not a good idea at any level of a democracy. I learned to bite my lip.
When being questioned by a voter, “a soft answer turneth away wrath.” Let’s hope Cr Bain either has learned that lesson, or will do so very soon.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.