I think "musical chairs" would be the party game politicians would excel at, but watch out for bullying by the boys! This is usually the stage of the year where I begin to find it harder to find material as we approach the end of the year. Yes, I know its Spring and we have a way to go! This year we should still be finding new topics as both Victoria and New South Wales will be focused on forthcoming state elections. American politics will be consumed by the half term elections and the continual series of tweets from Trump. Britain may go to elections early as the Government is torn apart by the lack of progress and consensus caused by Brexit and Boris Johnson. Plenty to keep the Politics class occupied!
How should we deal with politicians making outrageous statements in order to boost their profile? Is the media being “gamed” by politicians seeking to create a following? Is it better to ignore these attention seekers, or is it the duty of the media to report their views?
It appears the rest of the year will be spent watching the Liberals play their version of “Game of thrones”, who will emerge victorious from the bloodbath?
Terry has returned from his travels with many anecdotes, including a fascinating one involving the Queen's brooches!
After having a break I have resumed hosting the group which continued meeting in my absence. We now have members offering topics, giving the group a new focus.
A spin off from Politics is the new "Hot topics" group, which got off to a good start, check their report!
Whilst in Britain I found the media was dominated by World Cup football, together with Brexit and how Trump treated the Queen & P.M. Theresa May. The Queen of course is not going to comment on Trump's lack of courtesy, but for those who note how she dresses there was a message – the Queen wore two brooches at different meetings with Trump, both were presented to her by the Obamas! What do you think of that Mr President?
Whilst Convenor Terry Case is currently overseas three members of the group took up the challenge and have put together informative presentations about the roles in the China Government and its effect on world politics, the prominence of religious and other self-serving groups within the Australian political scene and 'has Democracy had its day'.
Local Liberal member Tony Schneider discussed the make up and operation of the Liberal Party and Brian informed the group about the history of the Murray Darling Basin Irrigation policy.
At our last meeting we viewed Planet America to help us unravel Donald Trump’s thinking (!) on breaking the Iranian deal and why it will affect companies and countries who trade with Iran.
Writing this report three days later I hear Trump is now saying he will not meet with the North Koreans, yet the night before his Secretary of State and the Chinese Foreign Minister both said all was ready for the summit! Can world leaders believe what Trump says?
I am having a short break, group members will run the sessions whilst I am away.
"No report this month, I’m all Trumped out, but watch out for "Hot topics" in semester 2”.
Now election fever is past the Politics group wait for Kim & Trump to make a deal! Meanwhile the Trump crew try to unravel the US/Iran nuclear deal made by Obama, stranger than fiction? There must be plenty of vacancies & spare offices in the White House. Anyone game to apply must realise the work is on a "casual" basis, that is the Deal!
It seems out political class are so self-absorbed that they forget the struggle against poverty and homelessness that many in Australia face. The issue over Barnaby's flat does nothing to help the growing numbers of very young and old now facing life on the street. How can we condone the advert showing a young woman sleeping in a swag under a bridge, leaving her vulnerable? How can we condone people begging and living rough in a wealthy nation like ours? Surely it is time that our governments intervened, or are we so sucked into capitalism we believe it is the fault of the homeless and nothing to do with us? This is politics in 2018.
We started our year with President Trump and he is still grabbing the headlines at the close of the year. Australian politics was remarkable in the demonstration of how the Constitution and High Court can determine the fate of mere mortals, oops dual citizens!
I hope to see you back refreshed in 2018 for another year, surely it cannot be as strange as 2017?
What a strange year! President Trump still Twitters and the North Koreans continue to defy him, leaving many of us hoping for a peaceful outcome. We continuing to see America’s abdication of a leading role in the West, resulting in European leaders looking to make their own deals with China and Russia. Saudi Arabia may also be changing tack with the first visit to Russia by any of its rulers, lookout Mr Trump!
In our first session of the month we viewed part of an Australian documentary on the problems of waste plastic in our environment, I had hoped to show part 2, but those pollies took up too much time! We should soon know if the 7 before the High Court are really Aussies! Nick the X man has already decided his future lies back in South Australia, others might be looking to Britain & New Zealand. Good luck!
From threats of nuclear war to Barnaby’s and others questionable citizenship, the politics class is striving to stay abreast of developments. In this crazy political year young people may find themselves learning new communication tools, such as posting a letter whilst the Commonwealth Bank stands accused of aiding criminal gangs to launder money. What next?
President Trump’s latest Twitterings dominated our Politics class, together with thoughts of nuclear war being stirred by the North Koreans. The G20 Summit was remarkable for America’s abdication of a leading role in Western leadership. It leaves the way open for China & Russia, two authoritarian regimes to dominate the world stage. Many American allies are left doubting their security pacts and wondering which of Donald’s speeches/twitters to believe.
We had time to consider the turmoil in the Federal Liberal Party, with an ex Liberal Senator speaking on the topic “The party is over”. Not helpful Cory! Tony is also trying to be helpful, or so he claims.
We tried out the new TV and computer in the second part of our class looking at a documentary on Turkey. We liked the picture, but some thought the TV is positioned a bit low. We will tryout different seating arrangements for the next class to overcome this.
On a sad note, many of us missed James Casey’s inputs, he was a long-standing member of this group that was established 17 years ago.
I finally ran a class without having it dominated by President Trump’s latest Tweet, however I suspect we will have to give in and accept that he will continue to demand attention. We had time to consider happenings in Australia and mull over the French and British elections.
Our Federal politicians are about to take their winter break. Tony Abbot will probably huddle up to a nice coal fire as he contemplates how to help Malcolm keep the party unified. Other MPs will now have time to spend tending their electorates and maybe contemplate the dangers of early elections as happened in Britain.
Another fake news report was sent by Terry Case?
I keep telling the class we will get away from American politics, but the Von Trump family have a way of dominating the news (real & fake) and make some of us scared.
The threat of war often makes people unite so it is also a tool desperate politicians use.
Trump became President promising to look after America first and stay out of costly conflicts, so how would you rate him at this stage?
In February last year I wrote “It is a pity that public and political pressure does not seem sufficient to make some companies pay tax.” I presented a table of the top 10 Australian companies who pay no tax and their annual profits. How can companies whose profits range from 14 billion dollars to 4 billion dollars pay no tax?”
This year I reflect on how Centrelink sends debt collectors to pursue people, most of whom do not have real debts. Our politicians dare not pursue the exporters of our Natural Gas which we are now giving away! Is this what the mantra of “market forces” is meant to produce, a timid response to large companies?
About the Politics and Current Affairs group
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, Benalla Senior Citizens Community Centre.
Convenor and contact details
Terry Case 0427621700
Developed and maintained by members, this website showcases U3A Benalla & District.
Photographs - acknowledgment to U3A members;
Weebly 'Free' images;Travel Victoria and
State Library of Victoria