Prevention is better than cure, and the best way to prevent crime is to have a society in which adults are able to establish a secure and happy life for themselves and for future generations. This is not happening today. Children blame Climate Change for their anxiety, but it stems, I believe, from insecure childhoods. There is too much busyness, too many demands on the time of parents. They, too, are anxious and rushed.
As I have said before, we need an economy which is the servant of the people, not its master. The consumer society is the enemy of the family, a producer of waste, and even an enemy of the planet. If we cut the working week to 30 hours and made it completely flexible, at least one parent could be home with babies and infant children, rather than putting them into professional care. A child inculcates its values and morals from a stable relationship with one or two adults, in the first two to six years of life. Putting it into professional child care, where the carers change from day to day, and from shift to shift, does not allow for stable relationships, and parents are understandably often too tired and stressed to spend quality time with their children after work. We must change this system before Western society goes down the plughole.
Children are learning morals and values from their peers and from questionable television programmes and social media. Too many of them have learned that it is permissible to take drugs, become intoxicated, or behave promiscuously. We need to give back control to parents. To have the control they need the time and energy to exercise it. Let’s OVERTHROW THE STATUS QUO and make Australia a healthy society.
We all need to rethink our values in this materialistic society. Family and friends, service to the community, and our environment give us more happiness than possessions, but we feel driven to accumulate them. It is the paradigm of the consumer society with its advertising, and government and big business urging us to spend, spend, spend. We CAN spend and make the economy grow, but it would be wise to spend our money on necessary lasting goods and on services like health and education, not on goods with planned obsolescence.
The above is a tall order, and may not be popular. You may, some of you, have to sacrifice dreams of a beautiful home, a fancy car, if you are going to give necessary time to your offspring. They depend on their peers and their phones for comfort now.
Many of those now working in the Child Care sector would have to be retrained for other careers, but there are severe shortages in nursing, aged care and teaching. Many could fill those gaps. There will always need to be professional Child Care for the unfortunate children who are offspring of single parents without resources like grand-parents to care for the children while they work. The State has a responsibility to aid parents who are single through no choice or fault of their own. I confess that I personally think single parenthood by choice a selfish and irresponsible option.
We all need a home, but the present trend of Federal and State governments of encouraging us to invest in private real estate, rather than their building public housing is lazy, short-sighted and counter-productive. Our own wealthier folk tend to spend on spacious mansions they rattle around in. They could instead spare some of the money in helping the less fortunate. The homeless need roofs over their heads which they will not obtain while rental housing remains largely in the domain of the private sector.
Poverty breeds crime. The growing gap between rich and poor must be halted,but neither major Party is genuinely interested in anything but securing a further three year term with the backing of big business. We need a government which will give us a basic wage per hour, and those working less than the full 30 hours a week need to be on a means-tested scale of income assistance without conditions.
The penny-pinching red tape involved in policing the unemployed so that they live on a pittance benefits fat cat public servants more than it does the taxpayer. It is past time we excoriated the word “dole-bludger” from Australia’s lexicon. “Dole-bludgers” per se are few and far between. Give them a genuine opportunity (before they succumb to the misleading comfort of crime, drugs, alcohol or gambling) and most unemployed will jump at a job. Surely for their sake we can carry the few who won’t.
As to those already involved in crime, one third of those in jail are suffering from mental illness, and need support in the community. One third are intellectually disabled, and need residential care and support, not incarceration. One quarter are in jail for drug offences related to addiction, not trafficking, and need rehabilitation, not incarceration with traffickers. The whole prison system needs a complete overhaul and rethink.
The young tend to experiment with what they consider ‘party drugs’. If more families were secure, stable and firm in discipline, and instructed the young, there would be far fewer instances of youth following their peers and experimenting with drugs. I suspect youth suicide would also decrease considerably if family life were healthier.
Indigenous Australians, and particularly Indigenous youth, are grossly over represented in the prison population, as is well documented. This is even more damning considering that often young people, mostly boys, are often incarcerated thousands of miles from home and family, with no means of direct contact. Such punishment would be bad enough for white boys; for Aboriginal boys, attached as they are to Country it is incomprehensible. It must stop.
There is no need to incarcerate wilful boys. They simply need guidance and a stable environment. Give them role models they can look up to, a hope for the future by way of promise of meaningful employment with advancement. They need to have pride in their own culture and language nurtured first, followed by urging them to participate in learning the essentials of living in a Western economy, of trading money for goods and services. Put offending youth in Boot Camps if they need some reinforced discipline, but with young friends or relatives, close to home. Somehow redeeming the fathers of these wayward boys would go a long way to saving them. Save their fathers from alcohol and petrol sniffing, from unemployment, and just plain loss of pride in themselves, and we will have happier, healthier young people too.