Fair Go

June 15, 2018

Australia used to be described as the lucky country, and in spite of the free and open discussion that democracy encourages about our history (and its problems,) there is still a lot to feel lucky about.

Lucky, especially in comparison to much of the global headline content. Yet, luck is an outcome, isn’t it? It is a positive circumstance and the more life you live – the more you get to realise that luck and positive circumstances are the outcomes of values and behaviours. If I have to distil the Australian value that translates to ‘luck’, I think it comes down to fairness.

Fair is about holding our politicians to account through an institutionalised process of government, but more tactically against a fairness barometer that we colloquially refer to as: ‘the pub test’.

The pub test is an understanding that folk have a collective and intrinsic sense when something is unfair. It might be a government deal to let foreign countries or private companies mine our natural resources for short-term revenue. The pub test is a collective gag when a pill is just too much to swallow.

Fair is about making a decision about what we are prepared to accept in terms of living conditions and paying tax into a social equity arrangement that should guarantee that standard for all. Fair is about individuals in our community taking it upon themselves to do good works to fill the gaps in that system and help out those who have fallen through.

Fair is deeply embedded in our nation as being one of the few in the world that has a bedrock of legal protection against discrimination. If you listen to popular claims that “Aussie’s are racist” you are really undoing a lot of what has been one of the world’s most successful experiments in multiculturalism, and we live in peace with unparalleled economic prosperity.

In our region, we take fair further. As I walk around, I see a stronger emphasis on local produce than I do anywhere else in Australia This gives our local farmers a fair go. I also see the absence of fast. There is no fast food; just good, local food – sometimes prepared with haste. Local food is also fairer for our planet.

When we do import, I see an awareness about importing fairly. There are labels and badges worn with pride about being socially and environmentally fair when it comes to importing commodities from developing countries.

It can be easy sometimes to give into outrage and forget to celebrate the good that we have designed in our society and that we deliberately create. We’re not lucky by accident.

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