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As we head towards 2050 and beyond, our society will be faced with many challenges.

Climate change, food security, equality, justice, health and welfare challenges are but a few. Here I share my thoughts and observations about many current and continuing issues. I would be pleased to receive your feedback and I invite you to join me in the conversations.

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10,000 miles from Paris I walk in the shallows on a white sandy beach, the sun at my back, the breeze on my cheeks and the warm waters of Spencer Gulf lapping at my ankles. 

10,000 miles from Paris small children beachcomb with brightly coloured buckets in hand and giggle as they watch small sea creatures scurry for safety. 

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I am conflicted.

I was having one of those days.  You know the kind where there is an internal conflict of the need to do housework versus the want to spend time in the sun with a good book and then there is the matter of voices in my head telling me to let go of things I can’t possibly change; but letting go is like putting down said good book to do housework.

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“I am, you are, we are Australians” are the words Peter FitzSimons, National Chair of the National Committee of the Australian Republican Movement (ARM) opened his address to the National Press Club with in August.   

I attended a gathering of Republicans and likely some who were just curious to learn more, in Adelaide last week.  FitzSimons, the guest speaker, recited those same words and captivated the audience with his grass-roots approach to the important matter of Australia becoming a Republic. 

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Preamble: Well the time HAS come and the Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP has done the right thing. Today she resigned her role as Speaker.  In doing so she made this statement:

I have today written to the Governor General and tendered my resignation as Speaker of the House of Representatives effective immediately. I have not taken this decision lightly, however it is because of my love and respect for the institution of the Parliament and the Australian people that I have resigned as Speaker.

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I reminisce as I scour through thousands upon thousands of images in my archives.  There are slides, colour negatives, prints and digitised photos stored on hard drives.

As I do, I lament at what it now means to share a moment in time, often caught on a whim on a mobile device or a pocket sized digital camera.

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Preamble: At my Senate Campaign launch in 2013 I read this quote by Zachary Jeans,

"Great leaders don't force their people to drink; they inspire them to be thirsty.” 

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The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating how institutions like schools, churches, sports clubs and government organisations have responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse. 

The remit of the Royal Commission is to uncover where systems have failed to protect children so it can make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices. 

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What might your eulogy say about you?

The words spoken in honour of a life lived often tell a concise tale of the impression left on loved ones by the deceased. 

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Do you ever doubt your choices or feel regret about a decision?  I am not afraid to admit that I do and I’d challenge anyone who claimed that they always, unreservedly, made the right choice.

For some reason my sense of vulnerability is heightened at the moment. It’s partly about my environment, both physical and emotional; and partly about my choices. From an environmental perspective I can’t ignore the course mankind is taking.  Our leaders, in my opinion, are not making the right decisions about the key elements which sustain life as we know it; air, water and food.  I do live in hope though.

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Preamble:

These words from Justin Baxter are poignant. 

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They sit comfortably as a sea breeze funnels along the verandah and touches their skin.  Chilled glasses of sparkling wine are held delicately in manicured hands.  Three likeminded women are deep in conversation.  The conversation, spontaneous in its evolution, is centred on how fortunate they are to live their mostly contented lives in Australia. 

In their circle of family and friends their children have never had to worry about from where their next meal was to come; or if their water was safe to drink; or if they had shelter from the elements.

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With the close of one year and the beginning of the new, we often use this time to reflect on what has been; to make resolutions and decide upon changes we hope to make in our lives.

One could argue that our feelings may be skewed at this time of year with the celebrations and happiness that typically accompanies the festive season.  However not all families are able to celebrate with happiness at this time.

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For most parents living in a country like ours, a ‘first-world’ country, from the moment we learn we have conceived or even in the ‘planning’ to conceive, we have hopes and dreams for our unborn child.

When the child is born, be it a male child or female child, the contemplating commences; who does he/she look like, what will their disposition be, what colour eyes will they have and what will he/she be when they ‘grow-up?’

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Background: Justin was born in the mid north of South Australia and moved to the city at a young age.  A member of the local Country Fire Service Brigade and a full time Emergency Services Officer in the Gas and Oil industry, Justin has a unique insight into the Emergency Services in this State and here he shares his views on the increase of the Emergency Services Levy (ESL).  J

Justin holds an Advanced Diploma in Public Safety (Emergency Management).

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I, for one, know intimately what it is like to fail in a contest which meant the absolute world to me.  The pain of a failed democratic contest is like no physical pain known, it gnaws at your gut, your soul, your heat and your values.  It eats your very being.  

I have found though, that as the sensation of defeat eases, and it does, it is replaced with an immortal inner strength which welds itself to your frame and reinforces it with fortified traits of integrity and resilience.  The sensation of conquest is eventually replaced with a sense of calm.

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In my life I have a need for many things and equilibrium is one such vital requirement.

I, like many, have a daily struggle to achieve this sense of steadiness.  Conflicting priorities, demands both self-imposed and external, all compete to throw the delicate balance into disarray. 

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Preface:  At the introduction of my blog site I openly invite readers to join me in the conversations and to comment on my thoughts and opinion pieces.  One reader has taken the challenge and shared his viewpoint.  Here I share the third in a series of blogs by Justin Baxter.  You too may join in the conversation. 

About Justin Baxter:  Justin was born in the mid north of South Australia and moved to the city at a young age.  A member of the local Country Fire Service Brigade and a fulltime Emergency Services Officer in the Gas and Oil industry, Justin has a keen sense of community. Justin understands the worth of community participation.  Justin believes that when we live in the “lucky country” and can exercise our democratic right to vote, without fear and without violence, it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to actively participate in the process and not just think about who we vote in once every 4 years. 

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We have endured the first year of the Coalition Government’s 3 year term.  I use the term ‘endured’ because so many have suffered.  Upon reflection of the past 365 days in Federal politics, there is one pressing question which remains unanswered, ‘where are the bright ideas?’

Where are the proposals of nation building significance from our PM who wishes to be known as the “infrastructure PM?”  Water would be a great place to start.  Universally we must put a higher value on water.  We won’t need to worry about the economy if we fail to act and secure future potable supplies and supplies for industry. 

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Nature is a splendid thing. The regeneration and rejuvenation of the Port Germein Gorge and the Southern Flinders, following the devastating January fires, is remarkable.  

Just yesterday, as I drove north towards the Southern Flinders Ranges and as the Bluff came into view, the scars of the January fires were more apparent.  The starkness of the Range took on the appearance of leather in need of nourishment.  The type of leather of old boots, old boots which had walked too many miles and endured too much sun. 

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I stretched as I reached for my walking shoes and exhaled as I leaned over to tie the laces.  This evening was no different to most evenings when I take time-out and go for a walk to ‘wash’ the day away.  It is time for me.  It is time to think; or not. 

But tonight was different.  I deliberately timed my walk so I wouldn’t be drawn into the nightly news bulletin.  I wanted to ‘switch-off’, literally.  I wanted to escape the horror and awfulness of what is occurring around the globe.  Selfish really, considering that I am not directly affected and that my life is neither in danger; nor my safety even remotely compromised.  I just wanted to withdraw.  

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