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Is it Standing by Your Mate When He’s in a Fight?


I don’t know about you guys, but I finally feel like we are seeing some sunshine through the fog that we have been living under for the last few months. Not that it’s over but just some little moments of real-life are shining through.

 

The one thing I got out of the last few months is how much we have and how little we actually need. I work inside the music industry, so in 48 hours I saw a business I built for more than 15 years disappear overnight. There wasn’t even anyone to blame – you can’t be mad at a virus. It was a totally unprecedented situation. In the beginning, I threw myself into what others called homeschooling, but what was really crisis education, and like everyone else, I waited. You hope your family stays safe and that things go back to normal soon. As things moved on though, you come to realise that maybe normal wasn’t that great, maybe normal was toxic.

We made do on the money that we had over the last few months, so what the hell was I wasting money on before. I spent more face to face time with the kid. I learnt more about how she learns, what she is good at and what she enjoys learning about. That has been a joy. For her sake and mine, we now know homeschooling would never be a full-time option for us, but I feel more involved, and I’m grateful.

The kid is currently learning about ocean pollution in her class, and the thing that struck me was all the photos of what happened to the world while we were locked inside. Mother earth reset herself. We weren’t around to make a mess of things; it seemed to be a good thing for the place that is our home. I’m not sure I want to go back to normal.

I think that one of the most iconic songs talking about the Australian experience, about who we are as a country and as a group of people, is True Blue. The line that always sticks out to me is this one “is it standing by your mate when he’s in a fight”.

The fact that it’s phrased as a question. Is that actually who we are? I know that’s who we want to be. I remember when Aussie’s were in trouble during the bushfires, everyone was happy to put their hands in their pockets to help, only to get lost in what can only be described as a bureaucratic nightmare.

I know Aussies want to be the people who stand up for the little guy. And we have proven that over and over. When there is a significant, visible crisis, and we are given a tangible way to help, we step up. We fight for the little guy.

There are, however, lots of injustices happening all over this country as we speak – Aboriginal deaths in custody, the shortfalls in aged care, the shortage of funding in areas like domestic violence, child safety, PTSD treatment for return soldiers and depression.

There is a running joke that if you took away social media, lots of people wouldn’t be activists anymore. Think about that when you post something. If that’s all you are doing, that’s a problem. If you are drinking coffee with your friends and talking about how “young people have no respect these days,” why not sign up to be a primary ethic teacher. Be part of the long-term solution. You don’t have to be passionate about the same thing I am, but be passionate enough about something to make a difference.

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