Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #20

This time next week we will be waking up to a new Australia that we can all see. This Australia is already here but not yet fully visible.  

In this Australia:

  • thousands of women march and say enough is enough to gendered violence and sexism
  • flood waters rise
  • people sit in boats at sea, run into the ocean to escape flames as they watch a bushfire scorch the earth and destroy all they know
  • vast numbers get a dog for the first time, bake sourdough bread and create edible landscapes
  • young people strike for climate
  • we ingest the equivalent of a hard hat of plastic every month
  • algorithms match us to find new love, new music, new books
  • we know a single woman over fifty who is homeless or couch surfing and some of us are one of the 400,000 in this situation
  • we say goodbye to a friend or family member to COVID and not be able to touch them, and join a funeral via a small screen
  • ache from the separation from friends and family for significant life events
  • one in five of us join the global phenomena of the great resignation
  • the unlawful federal government raise of $1.76bn in debts leaves us numb and some of us dead
  • energy bill defaults rise as renewables energy use grows
  • a young member of the family learns a few words of an Indigenous language and passes them on to the rest of the household
  • two hundred million litres of hand sanitiser are used in the past two years
  • its unexceptional to have a trans friend and use they as a pronoun
  • meaning is found by walking in nature is healing
  • you join an online choir during the pandemic that includes past Prime Ministers, opera singers, dogs, children, nurses and lawyers, is fun
  • many are wishing shares in Zoom were in their investment portfolio
  • binging on a series set in Edwardian England or Korea is a topic of conversation
  • divestment from coal is a race being run by fund managers
  • on Monday 19th April 2022, 214,000 people registered to vote through the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on the last day to get registered on the electoral roll – the biggest single-day enrolment in Australia’s history, making 96% of us eligible to vote on May 21st.

It is an Australia that is emerging into compassion for First Nations and recognising colonisation is not past tense. It is an Australia that is ready to make peace with its past through voice, treaty, truth. It is an Australia that understands women’s rights are human rights and that rape culture starts with language. It is an Australia that is yearning for climate justice for farmers, coastal households, and highland towns. It is an Australia that wants to turn away from the shame of treating refugees as criminals. It is an Australia that is ready to shape up to its geopolitical responsibilities as a good neighbour in the Pacific.

This is the decade, our last possible one, to halt and if at all possible, turn the climate around. We have not got a minute to waste. The collective actions we take at the ballot box will make visible the kind of Australia we are at this time, facing our greatest challenges as a species. I am confident we are up for the challenge.

Next Sunday we will have new leadership, which will look more like us, more diversity in the Parliament, in age, backgrounds, gender, political parties.  We will be set for more debate, discourse, and discernment. More is going to be asked of us as citizens, this next period of governing Australia is not going to be a set and forget, or a suck it and see mentality. There will be in the famous words of a past Prime Minister, thrills, and spills.  And I cannot wait for what is ahead and what will be required of us all to get to the next stage of our development as a Commonwealth.  

March 2021 Parliament House, Canberra

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