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.
October - "It was all happening"!
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.
August - "Plenty to discuss..."
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.
May - Pre and Post Election discussions!
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...!"
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
Only one session was held in November, but it was filled with a variety of discussion topics as a lot has occurred in the world of politics during the lockdown period in Victoria. Terry opened the discussion for members to participate to try and make sense of world, federal and state politics.
Because of inherited distrust due to religious and voodoo practices in their region, our nearest neighbour, Papua New Guinea is currently in turmoil regarding the Covid-19 dilemma of vaccinations, etc and we are looking forward to hearing from Brian Vial regarding information he has on this matter at our last meeting for 2021 on the second Tuesday in December.
The group met for the first time in many months in October to try and make sense of both the World and Australian politics and current affairs. Many subjects were covered during the session in an effort to get a handle on Climate Change, the handling of Co-vid recovery, discussion on the demise of a Premier and its effects, the riots in Victoria, changes to legislation, and the handling of various issues by the Prime Minister. We also discussed local government politics and its effects on the local community.
Please note that a meeting will not be held on Tuesday 23 November as the date falls on the day of the Christmas Lunch at Chrismont Winery. There wil be two more meetings this year - Tuesday 9th November and Tuesday14th December.
Politics and Current Affairs will next meet on Tuesday 26th October 2021 at 10am in the U3A room at the Seniors Centre. Please note the change of venue.
Politics does not rest during the Co-vid lockdowns and our discussions covered the many changes taking place around the world.
Barnaby Joyce back in Cabinet as Leader of the National party is sure to cause some headaches for the Government with his forceful attitude to climate change, coal and water. Should be interesting in the coming months!!!
The implications of the meeting at the recent G7 where Scott Morrison’s one on one meeting with US President Joe Biden became a three-way meeting which included Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnston was discussed.
The Government’s response (or lack of) to various crises that have occurred in the last few months, ie the Brittany Higgins sexual case, the former Attorney General’s case, the withdrawal of Job Seeker, etc. was also the subject of discussion.
The recent Victorian lockdown highlighted the effect on businesses and the mental health of the public. Discussion regarding the lack of housing or accommodation was centred on its effects in the Benalla area. It is reaching a crisis situation in Benalla with many people sleeping in cars, along the riverbanks and in parks, etc. It was pointed out that many of these people were women.
The matter of Employer Paid Superannuation contributions was highlighted. Workers who are on salary packages which includes their Superannuation may find that they may have to contribute the incremental increase in employer contributions out of their salary. Employers will cover the additional contributions as they currently do for employees whose superannuation is in addition to their weekly wages.
The current status of Covid in various countries around the world was also highlighted and the various ways individual governments were handling these outbreaks and the effects on the populations concerned discussed.
Politics and Current Affairs
Join our discussions as we dissect local, state, federal and world affairs.
Convenors and contact details
0478 606 398
0418 353 244
2nd and 4th Tuesday 10.00 am to 12 midday
U3A Meeting Room 1
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Photographs - U3A members; Benalla Art Gallery website; Weebly 'Free' images;Travel Victoria and State Library of Victoria