Every year, from all walks of life, we hear the same catch cry over and over again. It resonates within the majority of the population and it always seems to get further and further away from resolution. What is it?..... EQUALITY!!
The gay, lesbian, transgender and transexual community are asking for same-sex marriage to be considered by the Federal Government, allowing people wishing to publicly celebrate their union as a couple to do so legally. This does not mean that churches will be forced to open their doors to preside over these occasions, most people these days go for Civil Ceremony's anyway, this will just give them the opportunity to have a big party with friends and family and officially unite their relationship, finances and families. As far as I am concerned, it's none of my business. I have the right to marry, and used that right more than once, so I have no issue with others wanting to have access to the same celebration as I did. Just another occasion when politics intrudes on the private lives of our citizens.
Then there is abortion. This is seen as an issue of equality also, as giving women the right to own their bodies is something that women feel men already have. And they may just be spot on about that. The right for women to choose how and when they wish to start a family is one which should be protected, safe, regulated and accessible. The safety of women is always a high priority of any forward thinking nation, and so it should be. Either way, politics aside, personal opinion aside, this is another example of the intrusion into people private lives that is not required, desired or necessary.
Equal pay for men and women. This issue has been argued for, lobbied for, legislated for, and still there is a huge gap. Why? Is it because women can leave the workforce at any moment when pregnancy occurs? Is it because women are still seen as the home-makers, not the money makers? Is it because the system is just REALLY slow to change with the times? Who cares? Just make it so. If the job is equal, the hours are equal, the conditions are equal......the pay should also be equal. Honestly, why is this even still an issue?
Equality for all races. The fact that our indigenous population has a much shorter life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher percentage incarcerated, lower employment, much lower pay, lower average educational levels....and the list goes on, should make the rest of us question the current policies and measures in a much more vocal way. Why is the gap so wide? Indigenous people are not stupid, they are not ignorant, they are not uncaring individuals and they are not content with things as they stand. And why should they be.
Is this problem staying stagnant because we are asking the wrong people to fix it? Is it a matter of money? Is it that we are not really interested in bridging the gap and perversely prefer things as they currently stand? Perhaps a bit of all of those things. Maybe we are measuring the gap the wrong way and things really are being done in the communities to affect real change. I am told they are, I hope it's true.
It's a well known fact that suburbs with problem teenagers roaming the streets, stealing, joy riding, drunk and abusive, are those lacking facilities for them to attend and socialise, and learn how to be responsible members of the community. This is very simplistic but are the problems in communities simply there because they have nothing, and I mean nothing, to do? Take away all the jobs in Cairns (some would say that the process has already begun), remove all of the cinemas, the shopping centres, the cafe's, restaurants and any other place where locals gather. Then what? 50 bucks says that we would have significant anti-social issues that would rival any area throughout Australia.
This is not the only issue, I am not foolish enough to suggest that, but it just might be the part of the problem that is not being addressed fast enough to feel and see the effects.
Equality for all? What does that really mean? Do we really want equality? If we legislated in favour of abortion and same-sex marriage, fixed the inequality between races in this country and paid everyone the exact same amount of money would this make us all happy? Hell no!! There will always be someone who feels like they are getting the short straw in life. There will always be those who wish things had stayed as they currently are. There will always be problems with obvious solutions that take an eternity to resolve.
Evolution. That's what's required. We need to jump on that bandwagon and revel in the position we are all in right now. To abolish some injustices and give people a measure of freedom they should already have. The 60's and 70's were filled with forward thinking ideals, revolution and change. The 80's, 90's and naughties were stagnant. Now is the time to make our own changes, to revolt against the few who prefer the status quo and to leave a legacy that is as great as the good old days my parents are always talking about! Who's with me?