Brian Harker and Neville Gibb
Join us in October as we dissect local, state, federal and world affairs – Tuesday 10th and 24th October, 10 – 12, Classroom 1.
Brian Harker and Neville Gibb
At our last session I went through an incident that allegedly occurred several years ago, detailing the facts that the public have slowly become acquainted with since the incident allegedly occurred. These have been ventilated at length in the media. Hoping to promote thought, I then compared this incident with other similar incidents that occurred earlier in our history.
In the last part of our session, we worked through the ten main issues that currently are in the minds of the Australian people. As expected, this provoked a great deal of discussion - we did not get to even halfway through. We will resume discussion about the issues we did not get to at our next session.
At our last session of Politics, we considered a Family Court scenario where a complicated family relationship covering several generations had to be resolved. The family court is sometimes confronted with issues that can only be described as the result of unintended consequences. Much discussion ensued.
We also went through the British Royal Family since Henry 8th focusing on the number of children - or lack of - for each monarch. There is quite a history - both tragic and mundane. Some Monarchs had many children but none who could succeed them because no offspring were legitimate. Others had children who unfortunately did not survive childhood or died in childbirth. At one point the authorities passed over 55 local claimants to the throne and awarded the Monarchy to a German branch of the family. This proved ultimately to be a wise choice. Our Royal Family are descendants of this family.
We also considered the issues Australians consider to be the most important. When the polls dig down it reveals that the main issues are the economy, health care and immigration. There are lots of sub issues which are of great interest, and these were discussed at length.
At our last session we considered amongst other topics the conflict in The Ukraine.
We talked about the history of the Soviet Union - its conception and its breakup. Ukraine as a country has only existed since 1992. Its existence has always been precarious. Is it an area or a country that no one recognises. Napoleon invaded Russia through the Ukraine. The Nazis invaded the Soviet Union through Ukraine. Is Russia seeing history repeat itself by claiming that NATO is coming to Russia through the Ukraine.
We will continue to consider all things relevant to current events over the next few months.
During February discussion was held on the Voice and related subjects. The group also covered current affairs and political happenings since the group met last year. Our second session included an excellent presentation by a class member on the RoboDebt issue, its unlawful processes and its effects on those people who were most effected.
A number of areas in Politics were discussed this month. The State Election and whether it was being conducted on the personalities of the respective party leaders, on their policies or their past performances. There were a lot of promises made by both parties, and at one stage it appeared that one was trying to outdo the other. Also, some of the promises are to be achieved a few years down the track, not in the next term of parliament, no matter who wins on the day.
There was more controversy in the United States, with the Republicans holding the congress and the Democrats winning, even though by a narrow margin, the Upper House. This result surprised many voters. Donald Trump announced that he would again be running for President in 2024, though he appeared to be out of favour with many voters. Only time will tell.
The discussion also considered the proposed Voice to Parliament, the demolition by Russia of Ukraine and its energy systems, the UK parliament, as well as NATO.
At our first Politics group at the beginning of the month, Liz Truss, the British Prime Minister had just released her new budget which caused some angst in the financial sector not only in Britain but also world-wide. The Bank of England had to come to the party, per se, and take actions to settle the markets in England. Putin was still warring with Ukraine, there were elections to be held in Italy and Brazil. President Biden was trying to make ground in the mid-term elections in USA. It was all happening.
At our next Politics group Liz Truss had resigned as Prime Minister and Rishi Sunak has been voted in as the new Prime Minister. The results of the Italian general election showed the centre-right coalition led by Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy, a radical-right political party with neo-fascist roots, winning an absolute majority of seats in the Italian Parliament. Meloni was appointed Prime Minister of Italy becoming the first woman to hold that position. Brazil voters go to the elections this Sunday, so we wait for that result between Lula de Silva and Jair Bolsonaro who were neck and neck in the 1st round.
Vladamir Putin is showing off his nuclear weapons to the world, whilst Ukraine have been winning back a number of regions in Ukraine, however Putin has his goal of winning the war itself. USA President Joe Biden is facing mid term elections in three weeks and is hoping that the Economy will improve and turn in his favour prior to the elections, though it could be a bit late now.
Brian Viall invited Gita Korkimbo to attend the last Politics group to speak about her work in Papua New Guinea.
Gita previously spoke to the group a couple of years ago whilst she was studying to become a Mechanical Engineer at University.
Gita has now graduated and is working with a Gas Exploration company in the Highlands of PNG.
Gita's discussion was very interesting, not only as she is one of three female Mechanical Engineers working with the company, they have to be escorted around the highlands region by the army and police in security vehicles for their safety.
Gita also gave an insight to the recent political elections and its effect on the Island and its future. Questions were also asked about China and its influence in PNG.
Discussion was also held regarding farming out of Public Service organisations to various private organisations and the impact it is having on users of these services, whether it was working to the benefit of these users or just a cost cutting exercise.
Plenty to discuss on a cool winter morning. Europe suffers heatwave and drought whilst Russia and Ukraine fight over the remains.
There has been a lot of activity in both Federal and State politics. The Federal sphere has been taken up with the Scott Morrison secret portfolio saga, whereas there are only a couple of months until the State elections, with both parties commencing their own party policies. One party does not appear to have much depth, whereas the other party has its past achievements which they are highlighting.
The raid on the Trump home at Mar-a-lago was discussed, whilst waiting for the FBI release of details of the warrant issued prior to the raid. China’s actions against Taiwan are slowly becoming more critical, but it was felt that the takeover of Taiwan would not be as destructive as the war Russia has inflicted on Ukraine, as it would destroy the electronics industries which supply equipment worldwide.
Terry Case and Heather Wallace
Politics and Current Affairs this month covered many areas of the world’s ‘happenings’, from Ukraine, China, America, and Papua New Guinea to name a few. We are very lucky to have Brian Vial in our group as he has had many years of contact with various people and has kept up with the history of Papua New Guinea. Brian was able to clarify the situation about the elections being held currently in PNG.
The 6th January 2021 rebellion against voting results and subsequent invasion of the American Congress building by Trump supporters was also discussed.
China’s interest in the future of Taiwan and America’s involvement and the ramifications of a proposed visit by Leader of the House, Nancy Pelosi, was another topic that was delved into.
Both the upcoming State Election and the result of the recent Federal Parliamentary elections were included in our discussions, with the future of the Teals and Greens, as well as the Nationals, and their effects on Government of our country.
Politics is running as a masked group to ensure the safety of those who might otherwise fear to attend. Brian will be inviting the two PNG engineering students he supports to a future session. It will be good to see them again.
Our group has explored many areas of politics during our sessions this month. The Teals and how they would operate in Parliament – as a joint voice or as individuals as they presented to the electorate. The loss of power by the Liberal Party and how they will attempt to recover from their defeat, will they attempt to move in a different political direction, when will they become an effective opposition party.
The current situation with the Aging population of Australia, the NDIS, the changes to the local Age providers following the withdrawal of Federal funding.
We also looked at American politics and way the country is being torn apart, with the recent Gun Legislation and the overturning the Abortion legislation Roe v Wade.
The British Parliament was also delved into, with Boris Johnson again surviving a vote of no confidence.
The terrible Ukrainian war that is currently taking place was also discussed in depth.
It was a very interesting month of politics.
The group meeting prior to the Election discussed what could happen if there was a change of Government, how it may affect the general population of Australia and how each party was spreading their message, whether it be spending large amounts of money on advertising, door knocking, social media etc.
Our meeting following the election looked at how various seats had changed their political preferences, what effect the Independents and the Greens Party would have on the number of seats counted and if there isn’t a majority by the Labor Party, which was well in front of the Liberal/ National Party at this stage, what their actions could be in the future.
We also re-looked at whether spending large amounts of money on advertising in preference to door knocking and personal contacting of constituents by various parties was effective. This led to some interesting and stimulating discussion by members of the group.
Due to Terry’s absence, Neville Gibb was the Convenor for the second session this month.
Neville delved into the history of both China and Ukraine, explaining how this history was instrumental in the current conflict in Ukraine and also the current situation in the Solomon Islands and China.
The current Federal election and how all parties were approaching their campaigns were also discussed.
The pace is picking up towards polling day with some comment on the South Australian result. We also noted independent and female candidates and pondered what influence Clive Palmer may have.
We also considered medical inequities in rheumatic heart disease outcomes.
Of course, Ukraine took our attention with NATO's anxiety to avoid further escalation.
We're into election mode, checking for reds under our beds and sharpening our wits to sift through the bulldust that might be coming our way. Perhaps tedious but a preferred way to decide a regime!
We wonder if there'll be more independents and hope that won't mean only those with millions to spare.
Photograph: David Palmer
Politics and Current Affairs
Join our discussions as we dissect local, state, federal and world affairs.
2nd and 4th Tuesday 10.00 am to 12 midday
U3A Meeting Room 1
Convenors and contact details
0478 606 398
0428 858 688
Politics & Current Affairs Convenor,