It would be easy to think we had left our sanity behind in 2019. It is difficult to imagine when Australia as a whole, has faced such uncertainty. Having travelled extensively around Mallee these past couple of weeks, I have had the pleasure of hearing from locals from Kaniva to Dergholm, and Dunolly to Pyramid Hill. I am struck by people’s basic commitment to local community and productivity, and yet reliance on government rules which shape how we live our lives. Regional communities across Mallee have had zero COVID for well over a year, and yet are caught up in lockdown as determined by the state government, as though we were metropolitan Melbourne or Geelong. It is in times like this that we need to get back to basics; the strength of our relationships, whether family or friends, the ability to make choice, albeit in limited capacity, and to keep our hope alive for a better tomorrow. Our community life is a shared responsibility and joy.
We need to get back to basics at governmental level too. I was disturbed to learn of a motion before Council this week to remove prayer at the beginning of Council meetings. Why? Why now? It is imperative that council focus on its basic purpose, to better the lives of locals rather than indulge in ideological whims. Locals tell me they want their council to focus on local roads, bins and services. Basics. Perhaps councillors need to rethink their calling if they are focussed on ideological and political agenda.
As some locals have stated in response to the motion, council needs to focus on local government operations, rather than engage in ideological and partisan politics. We are a country founded on Judeo-Christian values and our laws are based on those principles, regardless of what cancel culture may wish to impose.
As some locals raised with me this week, getting back to basics applies to our children’s education too. Reading, writing and maths for a start, and beyond that, teaching kids how to think, not what to think. Progressive political agenda should not drive our education curriculum.
Basics provide the framework and scope for innovation.