So they've set the date for the Federal Election...

Frank Avis by | May 13, 2022 | 2020s

So they've set the date for the Federal Election and you know your Reporter is going to be nailed into his seat in front of the TV that night and probably monitoring ABC News Radio if the result is still unclear after 10. Oh I love the ebb and flow of the election count. As I said some time ago there's no way Scott Morrison could possibly survive COVID. Add in the bushfires, two major flood events and a recent mortgage rate rise and "every man and his dog" is predicting a Labor win. The only thing running in ScoMo's favour is that Anthony Albanese is the most low-key ALP leader in memory, and I go back to Arthur Calwell. All of the evidence suggests that Labor will win but as a minority government, depending on the support of the Greens and a bizarre consortium of fringe dwelling political TeleTubbies. Our country will be in the hands of people who basically want to stop all coal, Gas and oil mining - indeed probably any mining going really - who want to open us up to anybody who wants to come here from anywhere (including immediate welfare and public housing) and some extremely odd independents who believe that the most important t issue in society at the moment is to ensure that High School boys who think they're girls should be allowed to use the girls' toilets. Er... good luck with that lot Anthony. I must say the Coalition's campaign has been remarkably unconvincing. They're concentrating on Economic Management but not with a lot of conviction. And why wouldn't you? The IMF's latest annual report puts Australia at number 12 on the list of the world top 20. Our annual rate of growth was 18%, second only to China. Not only that but we're expected to pass Russia in 11th spot next year and even challenge Korea at 10th in the near future. Not bad for a place with a population of just 26-million.

This is a reminder of radio's earlier years. A shot of the original facade from one of the icons of provincial radio - 2MG, Mudgee, formed back in 1938. Your reporter spent 9 month there in the mid-50's and the pic comes courtesy of another former "old boy", Programmer Geoff Brown. I think a lot of very well known performers spent time there and would love to hear any memories you may have. I know one of the famous voices of 2GB, Harry Hambridge, spent time there. There'd be a lot of other big names. These are stories we need to collect and treasure.

Some 40 or 50 years ago the two Communist giants, Russia and China, made a decision to become part of mainstream life around the globe. They joined the international trading and financial systems. China became one of the great industrial powers, manufacturing just about everything - white goods, cars, electronics, medicine - they became responsible for all of it. The Russians started to exploit their massive resources - especially selling oil and gas to Europe. Communist money went all round the world - buying shares and assets in mines, factories, infrastructure - even football teams. Then one day the leaders in Moscow and Beijing sat back and did a bit of philosophical stocktaking. All of these systems used in the international arena were products of democracy. You join organisations like the UN, WTO or WHO and you join the same playing field. Everyone gets a vote and everyone gets to have their say, in the public arena. All of this is subject to peer review under the constant gaze of the free press. This is anathema to the Communist regimes. Their central political philosophy is based on THE STATE. Individuals do what is right for the state. Beijing and Moscow aren't remotely interested in "peer reviews" or public scrutiny from a free press. They'll be telling reviewers what their opinions need to be and making sure that journalists are well and truly up to speed on the "party line". The moment the Communist leaders suddenly realised where they were heading is one of the truly significant events in modern history. We are watching now how these diametrically opposing directions will manage to merge again or indeed whether the Chinese and Russians will simply decide their political systems are inviolate, ending this period of detente. Probably the most obvious example of this fork in the road came in the original Wuhan Coronavirus crisis. The second it became clear the world was under threat from a new, deadly virus the rest of the world behaved completely predictably. We started to try to share all of the critical information with a view to establishing an international medical response. The poor innocent Australians even suggested sending a special WHO team to Wuhan to make a definitive decision on how it started... was it passed from bats via the local markets, or could it have accidentally escaped from a nearby biological lab, which happened to specialise in the study of this particular type of virus? This is the moment where DEMOCRACY met COMMUNISM. Beijing immediately closed down the site and put the clamps on any local scientific comment. WHO experts couldn't get hold of their local Chinese colleagues. The world quickly learned that there'd be no WHO teams coming into Wuhan until Beijing said so. And Australia was roundly condemned by the Chinese and punished with trade sanctions within months. The Chinese were apoplectic. "How dare Australia tells us we need to investigate the outbreak? We've already told you it's nothing to do with our lab. Indeed we're sure it came into Wuhan in packaged food from Europe".

I can tell you this. The Russian invasion, Chinese aggression and two years of the dreaded COVID have well and truly stuffed trade and international finance, which is going to remain in a very delicate condition for some time to come.

I was surfing my TV recently when I happened to alight on a news outlet which was covering a new poll of national opinions. It was based on what we were seeing in the Ukraine where astonishing numbers of people were willing to put their lives on the line to defend their country. What the survey was asking was "Would Australians do the same? How many of us would be prepared to die for Australia?". The final numbers rocked me. Faced with fight-or-flee, 40% of us said they'd flee. 40% would head for the airport and fly off to somewhere else. Another 26% weren't certain so we had 66% of Australians announcing they'd either leave or were uncertain as to which way they'd go. The presenter then interviewed a veteran Social Researcher, asking whether these numbers came as a surprise. Sadly, the answer was NO... These were pretty much in line with his findings over the last 25 years research. He said he had been stunned by the attitude he'd encountered in the last generation, particularly among younger respondents. The central reaction he'd been getting was SHAME. The majority of interviewees were "Ashamed... Ashamed of Australia". And this had been underpinned by our education system. From their early years in Primary through to High School and University their teachers and Lecturers had cemented this SHAME. This negative message is insidious and unrelenting. We're killing off the Barrier Reef, destroying our forests and koalas, mining coal and thus triggering climate change. It's all our fault. 100's of 1000's of people want to jump on to ships and sail into Australia - taking advantage of our hospitals, schools, welfare, but we won't let them. We're absolutely awful people. We have 12 and 13 year old kids taking a day off school to join public protests not even realising that there are millions of other people with a totally different view. They've never heard it. What chance do you think we have for these young Australians to join the rest of us singing our National Anthem or standing up while they raise the Australian flag? Good luck with that. Many are going to just stand there cringing in shame. 1788 was the YEAR OF INVASION... The year of Shame. As to the battle that cemented the Anzac Spirit and gave us our national Anzac Day? Well, that was actually a horrendous defeat, an infamous retreat... More shame, unending shame. Our kids have been getting this since they kicked off school when they were 6. I was, as I say, a bit rocked to see it spelt out so harshly but, in the end, no not really surprised either. Heartbroken though. Fancy living in a country and not loving every bit of it and being willing to fight for it? At least somebody loves the place. Our famous artist Tom Roberts happened to find a bunch of Eucalyptus leaves when he was over in Spain for a spell and was moved to say to his mates, "Don't you smell it, boys? Don't you smell it? It's Australia."

(Tom Roberts 1856-1931)

Oh Tom... Tom... We need you now mate. Our beloved land is in big trouble.

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This is the history of radio newsman Frank Avis who worked in the Australian electronic media from 1954 to 1996.


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