OPINION: by Major-General W.B. "Digger" JamesNews Weekly
Where is Australia going and why?
, August 20, 2011
We are facing a time of world financial crisis, and what are we doing? We have chosen to be influenced by extraordinary views, many by elected leaders, who seem unable to spend our taxes wisely and administer well-controlled programs.
Let us look and view the policies, advocated by some of our leaders, which are loathsome and evil in contrast to those beliefs we have grown to develop and live by in a Christian society. We even have a female Prime Minister who calls herself an atheist. She nominally leads a non-governing government.
There are those who wish to introduce euthanasia, presumably to cut costs and commitment on health care. Family responsibilities are among the oldest commitments we have known in the development of man on this earth — the care of our family, our parents and our children.
Feminism has introduced many changes in our society and some deserve review, such as the shortage of male teachers in public schools. This is wrong, for the influence of good men on the development of young children is an essential element of life.
Then there are those who promote methadone to enable addicts to be “weaned” off hard drugs. But it doesn’t work.
There are those who promote abortion as a willy-nilly means of relieving women and girls of taking responsibility for avoiding pregnancy. Does anyone tell our youth to practise chastity?
Then there is the push by homosexuals to bring in a law to allow same-sex marriage. Marriage is clearly defined in our current laws: marriage is between a man and a woman, and is not for same-sex couples. The basis of all mankind and of all forms of life is proven in biology. It is part of the pattern of propagation, to raise a family to continue the race and to fulfil the needs of our society.
But perhaps, the greatest curse we now seem to live with today is for people to tell lies. This is often practised with pride in politics. The truth is forsaken for gain.
I do not intend to discuss the particular people who make our laws, and who seem so often responsible for the social horrors we face today.
Instead I want to point out the way we were, the way we faced the many problems of developing our great country in the short period of 222 years since Captain Arthur Phillip led a fleet to Australia in 1788 to set up a colony. He was on a mission for his government to give a future to convicts from Britain, and with great wisdom, leadership and fairness he sowed the seeds for our nation, a nation we now seem determined to ruin.
Later, our outstanding leaders carefully developed our own constitution, arguably the best in the world. It was written and approved by the people of Australia who wished to enhance our capacity to plan and assist the development of our land, and to encourage new arrivals to honour their origins but become true Australians.
Australia has developed an outstanding military capability to assist our friends in times of world wars and in other wars in defence of our way of life in a fair and responsible way. Those who served, fought and died in the many campaigns were truly fighting for our country. We should aim to emulate their attitude.
As a child at a primary school in country Victoria, we had a flag-raising ceremony every Monday morning. All students participated in a ceremony of raising the Australian flag on the school flagpole. Here we were called to attention, place our right hand over our heart and recited an ode to our nation. The words were “We love our country, we honour our flag, our parents, teachers and the laws.”
Surely, this is still needed for our children in our schools today.
In the case of our youth, what do we promote? “Schoolies week” — a week of careless waste, of alcohol and health abuse and more, and it seems some parents support this frivolity. Why?
In 1950, Prime Minister Robert Menzies, seeing the problems of communist subversion, acted with many other free nations to introduce national service for our young males. At 18 years of age they were required to undertake 90 days’ full-time training in the Australian army, or in similar schemes in the RAN and RAAF. Today, our volunteer servicemen are engaged in a war against terrorism, a major world problem.
I believe national service should be introduced again, for such an action would both strengthen our defence capacity and give our young men a meaningful period of education.
I have spoken to many hundreds of men who served in the 1950s and the later program in the 1970s. They say that their service in the program was excellent and that they are proud of their participation. It was here that they grew up, for they worked and lived with other young men from all walks of life, grew to understand the truth of discipline, honesty and what leadership means.
Let us all commit to sense and not nonsense.
God save Australia, the country that Captain Arthur Phillip foresaw.
Major-General W.B. “Digger” James, AC, MBE, MC (Ret’d), is a decorated war hero, seriously wounded in the Korean War, who rose to become director of the General Army Health Services. He was elected national president of the Returned and Services League of Australia in 1993.