What happened to the Aussie spirit?

I ask this question because, before the protest march on 17th March this year, I wondered that, too. From conversations with friends and strangers alike, I knew that I wasn’t alone in wanting a more compassionate (though I’d settle for competent at this stage) government. But the last few election results seemed to indicate that I was part of a shrinking minority. MarchInMarch (now MarchAustralia) showed me that I am not alone…not even nearly. Which brought up a new question. If so many Australian voters believe we can again become a great country and a compassionate one at the same time, why are the uncaring bigots apparently winning?

Yesterday, on a stinking hot day in Melbourne, I found my answer. I was working and saw an elderly gentleman in a motorized wheelchair (Mum’s best friend calls hers a “gofer”; as in, “I’ll just go fer the paper.”) and it clearly was out of juice, because he was excruciatingly slowly pushing himself along the road with one foot. Quite prepared to tow him behind my motorbike (or carry him) if necessary, I stopped to offer assistance. Another gentleman, unloading everything from the back of his aging Holden station wagon nearby, interrupted with, “I got it.” He was making room for the man’s wheelchair. 

So, who are these guys? I’ve no idea. Other than the aged gent was missing most of the fingers from his right hand, all I know about them is how they make a “living”; the Holden owner was delivering junk mail (I’ve checked; it barely counts as a wage) and the wheelchair’s basket was full of empty soft-drink cans, presumably to supplement a meager pension with what little money can be earned recycling them. The good news is, the Aussie spirit that originally made this country the envy of the world is alive and well and living in my suburb. The bad news is, no one appears to be listening.

Can you hear us yet?

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