Saving your legacy

Dear Mum, they say we are ‘living in the age of entitlement'...

Saving your legacy

Guest blogger Caroline’s letter to her mother expresses the feelings of many. 

Dear Mum,

In my mind’s eye, I see you here, walking along the Pittwater shore.   The bay is grey today, but the sun is beginning to reach through the clouds to brighten the water and the wind is soughing through the Casuarinas.  I have come to that finger of land near the school and to my surprise the anti-tank pyramid is still here, marking the war you fought. 

I used to sit in this spot and wonder how your generals must have thought the West Head gun battery would not hold, hence these defences down the bay. In my childish way, I imagined myself a coast watcher, reporting on enemy movements and decoding signals when the next war came along.

Then when a flyer came in my letterbox about coal seam gas mining in the water catchment I realised that an invader of a different kind was attacking our way of life.   It’s really beautiful down the coast where I live now, but the mining corporations want to drill in the Woronora Dam area. This dam and four others all along the escarpment supply water to Wollongong, Sydney and the Southern Highlands. They know that any drilling activity in the catchment could poison the water, yet it seems our parliament and courts, our water board won’t protect the dams any more.

Things are getting worse by the day.  The government is so extreme and they are trying to implement a budget which benefits large corporations, yet will utterly diminish the lives of hundreds-of-thousands of people.  They say we are ‘living in the age of entitlement’ because we expect our taxes to pay to support us through difficulties like unemployment and sickness and pay for education and retirement.  Only people who worked their whole life in an office could think it is OK to stop people from retiring until they’re 70.  And all the while the corporate tax rate is being reduced.   

Sadly Mona Vale Hospital is under threat. Your community on the peninsula is still fighting to save it, but it looks grim.  The government want to sell the hospital off to developers, and spend the revenue on a private hospital at Frenchs Forest.  I remember how important the hospital was to you. You told me the story of how just after the war the community started to mobilise to build the hospital, and the big parade we went to through Mona Vale on opening day. It must have been such a relief knowing it was there, bringing up young children in the funnel-web capital of the world.

They started blaming your generation for the high cost of health care years ago, and now your children – the baby boomers – are described as “unaffordable” as we start to hit 60.  I don’t understand this.  In 1946 when our troops were home there were thousands of young men in need of health care for debilitating war conditions, as well as a boom in births. The government didn’t talk about not being able to afford the care of the disabled and mentally ill servicemen, or tell pregnant women to fund their own care. They just opened rehabilitation hospitals, built maternity wards and opened schools. After six years of war, yet they still managed to find the resources needed.  Because that was part of the social contract the government had with the people.

But here we are now, the Treasurer, Hockey crying about a ‘budget emergency’ when since 1964 our economy has grown by a factor of 320% (and that’s after adjusting for population and inflation).  Over three times better off, but they tell us there is no money for health care for the very generations who grew this wealth.    

Click NEXT to read the rest of Caroline's letter

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    20th May 2014
    Well said.
    20th May 2014
    True in every respect and very well put.
    20th May 2014
    Thanks to Caroline for expressing so clearly what many of us struggle, in frustration, to say. She certainly speaks for me!
    20th May 2014
    Good letter. Sadly this Government is trying to change life in Australia and not for the better.
    20th May 2014
    Send the letter to the government and the opposition,maybe they will read it and really think about what's happening.
    20th May 2014
    This is the saddest, but most beautiful letter. My parents have also passed on but were in the same age bracket as yours and I'm sure they would be grieving at circumstances in play today.
    20th May 2014
    Caroline speaks for me.
    My dad went to war and thought the Liberal/Country Party govt would always look after the poor and the man on the land. As a Christian he would always put those in need first. My mum had MS and dad cared for her for the last 18 years of her life.
    I truly think they would be shocked and saddened to the core by what is happening to their beloved Australia who they fought for so many years ago.
    I am ashamed and sorry that their legacy is now being thrown away to satisfy the greed of the powerful.
    Thank you for the letter. Thank you for sharing. As I race toward turning 61 I despair for all that is in the future for us and for my children and grandson. What to do.
    20th May 2014
    20th May 2014
    And did you know that 3 brand-new hospitals during WW2 were handed over to the Americans for the exclusive use of sick and injured U.S. troops?

    The Australian public were totally excluded from the use of these hospitals until Wars end.

    This is the type of sacrifice the Australians of Carolines mothers era made - and why it is so insulting today to hear "Smoking Joe" Hockey tell us there's no longer any "entitlements" available.

    No entitlements - unless you're a politician or a corporate CEO or senior manager, of course.
    20th May 2014
    Back in 1992, Port Macquarie had private hospital and a public hospital. The government decided to pu;ll down the public one saying it was a fire risk; so what did they build to replace it --another private hospital, meaning two private and no public hospital. A guy from the government came down to explain why they needed to build another private hospital; At the meeting I stood up and mentioned the figures in the Hastings shire for the number of pensioners who wouldn't be able to stay plus the number of unemployed for the region, asking what would they do if they had to go into hospital , to which the Minister for health said "Oh the government would pay for them, pick up the tab", to whic I replied "so why make it private, the government are paying costs in public hospitals now" Needless to say the question was sidestepped. Anybody reading this and living in Port Maquarie in 1992 will well remember that meeting!
    20th May 2014
    Lovely letter. It used to be a wonderful country, our Australia. Governments used to be trustworthy, if not always perfect. Nowadays they get power over us by lying. There is so much anxiety. People always wanted to better themselves but now it looks like overpaid people in power want to get full control of our lives and decisions. Very depressing.
    20th May 2014
    An old saying is very true "It's easy to critisise but hard to resolve" Try doing something positive for others for once . Times have changed- Australia can't hide from the rest of the world. We are all connected in trade, but our wages are too high to compete- so either drop them or starve it's that easy.
    20th May 2014
    Oars, I've spent my entire adult life doing positive things for others and enjoyed every minute of it. Not once, but hundreds of times. I agree, wages are too high to compete, it was too much union power that made us uncompetitive. I support the idea of success and prosperity and do not envy risk-takers who generally supply jobs. Some people don't aspire, some do. That is just how people normally differ. Yes times have changed but honesty is always the best policy and we are not seeing that in our politicians, so many of them corrupt, so many of them getting elevated to ministerial jobs and leadership as a result of lying. Not nice.
    20th May 2014
    But again she only puts the old labor" views- and conveniently overlooks ( or forgets) the massive spendup (without any true benefit study being done) by the New Labor. That is what you should winge about. Poor thing she was cloned into being a winger- can't help that group.
    20th May 2014
    I remember well how terrible it has been during the last six years, how the politicians were dishonest, they spent our money and ran up large debts so that our country is paying huge interest bills. My father and mother both served our country in the Second World War and taught us to save for everything, do not spend more than we can afford, appreciate what we have and make the world a better place. That's exactly how I live and how I have trained my family to live. Unfortunately the media blows everything out of perspective. Fortunately my parents didn't have to cope with such sensationalism 24 hours a day.
    Peace be with you.
    20th May 2014
    So true, sensationalism 24 hours a day. We all need some peace, you are very right. But I would like to say how abominable was the Gillard woman she's now swanning around the world trying to make a big person of herself having divided our country and walked with a massive pension and lifetime perks. Never before and never again a person like her and Rudd. I never feared Hawke, Keating, Howard but the latest crop they make me feel ill.

    20th May 2014
    On Q&A last night a person said to to the Treasurer ....about taking away the Concessions for pensioners...and the Treasurer rightly pointed out that was not so. Goes to show how many folks believe the BS going around. It is the Seniors Concession that is going to be dropped, not the pension concessions..wake up folks.
    20th May 2014
    It was refreshing to hear his measured responses and some clarification of many issues. Well done Joe.
    21st May 2014
    Folks prefer to listen to rumour and innuendo, instead of trying to understand what is going on. Look at the crazies in the Universities..the socialists..students....causing respect for anyone
    21st May 2014
    The outstanding effort by Joe Hocking to weather the barrage of stupid comments on Q & A- this shows the depth of the man. The well rehearsed sneering lefties "questions" were typical of folk who have been dipped in red paint and leave their mess for others to clean up. Well done Joe. How would you lefties bring the mess back into positive- spend up on more Union Rort slush funds. Bow your head in shame for backing a bunch of thieves. The reason why the lower income are suffering is due to nothing left to spend-FACT.
    Happy camper
    21st May 2014
    Aged pensioner concessions will be affected as the federal Govmnt allocates over one billion to the states for pensioner concessions. This will no longer be the case in one months time. If the state governments don't put this in themselves the concessions will be affected, so Joe Hockey did tell the whole story. I am trying to find out through my liberal state MP as to whether they will put that money in themselves so far no definite answer.
    Pass the Ductape
    20th May 2014
    Yes - and isn't it a mystery why, as a young country 100 years ago we could afford to lay main roads around Australia, paid for by the taxpayer, whereas today, with such a vast increase in population, we are now required to pay a toll to build and use the self same road construction programs being implemented in todays modern world? Where is all our tax money going - the same taxes x 1000 times over, that we used to pay to construct roads in the first instance?
    20th May 2014
    I was so angry and lost for words. Caroline has said what I and everyone has been struggling to say. Well said and sadly very true.
    21st May 2014
    I agree fully with you on that comment! Dotty
    20th May 2014
    Lovely letter that expresses the views of the majority in Australia at the moment...80 percent actually...shown by a poll just in on Facebook! We will be waiting anxiously to see if the Senate can block the budget. At the very least, modify the changes to reflect the Australian identity of mateship and social justice.
    20th May 2014
    Thanks Caroline for painting such a clear picture.
    21st May 2014
    When are we Australians going to unite and stand up for our rights! We sit back and just seem to take it on the chin!
    21st May 2014
    Sandy. When you say stand up for our rights, do you mean to demand to return the rort money that the last mob ripped off the taxpayers, or what?
    21st May 2014
    Great article and well presented, this is what things should be --and were fought for !
    21st May 2014
    How true is all you have written, and what a lovey woman your mother looks, reminds me a lot of my mum. But what can we do, we vote for who we think will do the most good, and then find out they have lied, we used to have a nice middle income population in Australia, now there is really poor, slightly poor, a little bit poor, really well off and rich. What a shame to wreck such a great country.
    21st May 2014
    Mine would be devastated to know what is happening to what my Dad,Granfather and uncle,s died for protecting this Country !
    It,s a farce( excuse that word ) but its the only word I can think of that fit,s this situation as far as this Budget is concerned !
    When I am laying there on my death bed will this Government Intern my body or leave me to rot while they take from what little I have left behind into their coffer,s ! Dotty
    22nd May 2014
    The Feds never directly took away the discounts on Elec / Water / Phone/ Rates etc --they have robbed the STATES of money so as the States are not unable to give the discounts, so once again a VERY sneaky way they have done it and then they blame the State Government. Plus the STATE are due for elections in months so they are not about to make themselves unpopular at this time --so it will be all held off -- I guess till after the elections.

    I have watched every interview --and Hockey and Abbott -just answer questions
    --or I should say DON'T answer questions ---by repeating themselves like a broken record over and over again the same reply
    22nd May 2014
    Well Tony Abbott is really saving his legacy.......not only will he get humungous payouts for the rest of his life but he is making sure his family does too.
    A $60000 scholarship for his daughter from a friend on the board of the private institution giving them. No wonder he doesn't have to worry about education funding. We are funding his family's for him. Well Mr Abbott how about cutting Fee Help fees so my son can finish his education.
    Talk about **** with their snouts in the trough. So obscene.

    My grandfather had his legs blown off in WW1 and survived but could no longer be a farmer and he continued to work his whole life ON CRUTCHES.
    My father fought in New Guinea and saw unspeakable things happen to one of his mates. He kept quiet all the years until he got alzheimers and out it all came. Two men who did everything by the the book as did most early Australians. Carried their weight and were not a burden on society. Today society would call them stupid and losers because they were not rorting the system.
    And now we see the politician leaches who are trying to be politically correct selling us down the road for one more term in office and trying to please OVERSEAS and big business interests as well as feathering their own nests.
    The AWW got it right making Hazel Hawke one of the greatest 100 Australians and not Bob. She had the Australian heart.
    Politicians make me sick.
    23rd May 2014
    Wow, this is a wonderful letter Caroline. Thank you. So true that our parents generation and the generations before and even our own generation provided so many public hospitals, schools and roads and yet our population was smaller and many woman did not work in the workforce except during WWII. They achieved so much with half the taxpayers we have today. So why is it necessary to privatise our assets these days? Why are we being told there is not enough money to support pensioners, our welfare system, our health and education systems? You're right Caroline, it doesn't make sense. We are being lied to for devious purposes almost beyond comprehension. Our politicians have become puppets to corporate powers. Is there some way we can harness the anger so many of us are feeling right now to bring about change? We need to demand that our governments are honest, respect and build on the legacy of past generations and above all GOVERN FOR THE PEOPLE. We must not let up and we must fight against privatising our assets, especially public health and education.
    23rd May 2014
    When a political party deliberately lies and makes false promises to be elected, then cuts back it's funding, ignores the anger against suspect investment policy,
    Even those who voted them in were hoodwinked and betrayed.
    Will all this be forgotten by the next election?

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