4 things I would really, really like to see happen
IT HAS occurred to me recently that, in the 10 years I've been writing this column, a lot of things have changed ... but a lot have stayed the same.
We've seen the dreadful statistic emerge of, on average, one Australian woman is murdered every week by a man known to her - either a former partner or a current one. Imagine the uproar if terrorists were responsible.
We've seen a dignified, erudite black man heading the most powerful Western nation on the planet, followed by a orange spray-tanned petulant man-child who, according to many who know him well, can barely read - and needs to have someone remove the exclamation point from his keyboard. Same-sex marriage is now legal in Australia and guess what? The sun still rises and sets each day.
Having thought long and hard about our infinitely adjustable society, here is a list of changes I would dearly like to see come about.
No rush, just before the end of the year, thanks.
When a large money-making corporation (insert name of bank or insurance company here, take your pick) loses its moral compass, as we have had confirmed recently, I'd like to see the executives and officers of those corporations fined personally. They are paid obscene amounts of money and even more obscene bonuses.
Why is the corporation (read shareholders) punished and not those who allow the toxic culture to flourish? Full disclosure: I own shares in a Big Bank. That does not influence me one iota.
How about offering financial incentives (for those of us who don't consider the environment incentive enough) for reusing, recycling and generally refusing wasteful packaging, and things we just don't need (like plastic straws).
Better still, a built-in fine for using such things would encourage a lot of people to do the right thing. Add an extra couple of dollars to coffee in disposable cups, or $20 to a pack of "flushable" wipes (they're not, by the way).
We are not allowed to drive a car or operate machinery while affected by alcohol, and rightly so. Why, then, can our elected representatives make decisions that affect the whole country after consuming a bottle or two of Grange in the parliamentary dining room?
According to former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, another former prime minister, Toned Abs (I know, I know, try to keep up), missed a series of key votes in 2009 because he'd passed out after a very long lunch. Could have been worse, I suppose, and he could have stayed awake and attended. Bring in breath tests for MPs.
And while we're on the subject of governments, how about having one that actually governs in real time, rather that relying on royal commissions to clean up after the wheels fall off.
Bring it on.