Young at Heart: Australians, let us all rejoice

NO! Not another Dame. I thought Tony Abbott had been ridiculed enough to never show the flag of Dameship above the parapet again. But he’s done it. We’ve grown another one. It’s like the mushrooms in my backyard. They’re going to slowly poke above the ground and then reproduce.

“Australia, let us all rejoice” somehow sounds a little hollow when our own home-grown OAM’s are suddenly dropped down in rank to be outweighed by this Tony Abbott  Five Gold Stars winner.

I am sure we have another worthy recipient in the governor of New South Wales, who should undoubtedly receive an Australian award of some description. Marie Bashir  is a remarkable and inspiring person,  but please let it be an Australian award, not a “Tony Abbott” Dameship. This NSW governor is a definite improvement on some of the very early governors who arrived on our shores in wooden boats. She’s certainly an improvement on some of our more alcoholic royal representatives from the past, or even the occasional military or legal gentleman who liked his whiskey from ten o’clock in the morning... but do we really need a Dame... again?

I admire and respect those recipients of our Australian awards. When I read the stories behind these remarkable and dedicated awardees  and their contribution  to improving the lives of Australians in so many different disciplines, from social sciences to the arts, humanities to the physical sciences and medicine, I am overawed at their dedication.  This is an amazing country and we all enjoy the advantages that come with this peaceful  “land of sweeping plains” and great cities and towns.

I was brought down to earth recently when I heard that high-pitched, hysterical voice of Alan Jones berating Malcolm Turnbull. Does anyone really listen to this rude, bullying man?  Thankfully Malcolm remained calm, restrained and replied thoughtfully and intelligently. I hope no one from overseas listens to Alan Jones or they will believe we really are a country of racists and bigots.

Nevertheless, please remember that for all Australians to enjoy this prosperous and wealthy country we must still provide assistance for those who, in John Howard’s words are, “People who need to  be given support when it is needed. We must be fair”.  We know who they are in our community, and we have sufficient wealth in this country to show compassion and generosity of spirit to these people. Many of the recipients of those Australian awards have done just that... taking up the fight for those unable to speak for themselves.

However, it is our children and grandchildren who will begin to take up the next big fight, climate change, which will affect the future of Australia. Science is being downgraded and in some cases its voices deliberately silenced, but that will change. Our children will demand that science be heard again as they see the serious danger that our planet is facing.  Politicians ignore scientists at their peril, and politicians will ignore young people at their peril if they want the support of this next generation.

It is our young people who will provide the leadership and demand to let the scientists be heard. They will be providing the answers to this “greatest challenge the world is facing” (Obama 2014) and in time these young people will be the future recipients of the Australian awards. Let us hope they are proud to wear the Australian medals and refuse the Dames or Sirs. 

Congratulations to all the medal recipients. “Australians let us all rejoice”, and special congratulations to those local awardees.

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