there's a hole in the bucket

Whose purpose is being served, who benefits? The immediate questions raised by the daily news …  more accurately named the news feed because it’s limited to what the editors and gatekeepers deem worth the reporting. What gets left out isn’t missed – how could it be when I don’t know what I don’t know.

Among the flurry of protests, riots and atrocities revealed, nothing lasts more than a day or two in that daily news. Froth and bubble, a small lifting of the lid on some further degradation of the human condition which then subsides without much action.

Another Royal Commission here with Disability Services being scrutinised while the upheavals caused by previous Commissions still reverberate. Banking – ‘Heads will Roll’ and ‘Things will Change’ is greeted with scepticism because the various scams exposed show such an ‘ethically challenged’ culture that any remaining trust evaporates. Much the same with the Church and with Aged Care.

Our population’s trust in government is as low as it was when Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was removed from office – basically by using the Queen’s representative in a dubious manner. Didn’t go down well but just another can of worms.

Yet I wouldn’t wish to live elsewhere.

The last twenty years of my working life – not that it’s over – were spent working in a Group Home. The Group Homes were set up by our State Government to replace the large Institutions which had failed in so many ways that public outcry prompted the government to act.

Very few societies attempt to marry ‘equal human rights for all’ with the financial and human resources needed. Group Homes cost more to run than Institutions but it was seen as worth it. Now we’re moving to a National Disability Insurance Scheme where individual need is taken into account along with a recognition that a Group Home isn’t the answer for most with disability – support within the family home being seen as preferable. This approach gives rise to a network of support workers and, in theory, everyone lives a better life. It’s a new scheme with many teething problems and there’s still the need for Group Homes.

The investigation into the Group Home system reveals abuse and neglect as one would expect. The Group Home in which I worked was well run but the financial resources needed in order for our clients to mingle in the community, ‘just like everybody else’ were eventually too costly to maintain with the result being that staffing was gradually cut to the minimum and as you can’t have less than one staff member on a shift, that becomes the norm.

Enter those who aren’t ‘good staff members’. Our clients were intellectually disabled and not very verbal and, in those situations, it’s easy for the lazy and the downright wicked to indulge themselves and … who’s to know?

Of course we do know regarding laziness, it’s always obvious but neglect and abuse takes many forms. So I might not know the specifics when I arrive for shift changeover but I can read body language and ‘not very verbal’ just means that I need to learn a limited language which I did …. It takes a long time to prove anything.

The system of Group Homes is being privatised which can’t be good for anyone but the profiteer but it does allow government to outsource a problem and to rid itself of responsibility.

Reminds me of the ‘pass the parcel’ and ‘musical chairs’ games of childhood but with a far grimmer potential outcome.

I’m considered employed if I work one hour a week – absurd but true. Massaging the figures to give a desired result is what this is. It doesn’t reflect reality.

‘Climategate’ - many have never heard of it. It exposes the massaging of figures in the battle to bring CO2 ‘front and center’ in the public mind.

James Corbett, remarkable researcher, explores this whole issue far better than I can … if you’re unfamiliar with James Corbett’s work then the video below is a Christmas present. Tony Heller is also excellent in showing how the ‘Scientists warn …’ narrative has changed over the last thirty years or so.

Smoke hangs in the air, the fire only an hour’s walk away. It’s very still, a welcome change from the gusty conditions of the last week. Our local fire is tiny compared to the massive blazes occurring up and down the coast.

The immediate threat to many on the fringes is to survival itself but the devastation left on the land impacts on wildlife, food, water, services. ‘Shock and Awe’ with a long, drawn out and dry season of heat ahead.

Much the same on many fronts.


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