With the state election looming high on the horizon, it has almost been overshadowed by the appalling atrocity in Christchurch which has touched the hearts and minds of people all over the world.
So often we hear harsh and condemnatory comments made about our Muslim people, but in this instance, such unwarranted and unjustified remarks have thankfully been absent.
In their place there has been an outpouring of loving compassion, sympathy, goodness, kindness and mercy for so many fellow human beings whose lives have been lost or marred, and for their grieving families, friends and relatives.
It is almost beyond belief that anyone could conceive and plan such an outrageous attack, and raises serious questions about that young man's mental capacity. Be it sufficient to say, we are not in a position to judge.
It is almost beyond belief that anyone could conceive and plan such an outrageous attack.
Returning to the state election, it will be interesting to see what the outcome will be. All the men and women who have come forward to offer themselves as candidates have chosen a difficult path to travel.
We can be grateful to each of them for their tenacity and courage to participate in the election. After all, there will be far more losers than winners of the parliamentary seats.
So, what do we expect of these candidates? Becoming a parliamentarian can be an onerous and demanding task, making inroads into a person's personal, family and professional lives.
It must never be simply about reaching the top of the greasy pole. Someone is reputed to have said that if you put an empty jam tin on the top of a pole, it will attract all the passers by to take a shot at it.
We don't want electors or electees taking pot shots at each other, but we need representatives who are well informed on the issues being brought before them, who can speak intelligently and meaningfully about them, and ensure that legislation that is passed will contribute to the common good of our state and nation. Our planet is only ours in trust.
Each of us has an obligation to ensure that we do our little bit to preserve and care for it, and our legislature needs to ensure that we stop polluting the atmosphere, especially with coal fired emissions, and disregard of climate change.
Health needs to be high on the agenda, making sure that our hospitals, palliative care services and aged care facilities are adequately funded and staffed so that they can provide the level of care that is appropriate.
Education, child care, disability services, humane provision for refugees and asylum seekers, especially those incarcerated on Nauru, Manus and Christmas Islands all need to be well considered, not to mention our need for better transport and police services.
So, whatever the outcome of the election, hopefully we will have an eminent group of people concentrating on the needs of the people on the ground, recognising that the Blue Mountains are not the granite barrier, and that life and living takes place well beyond the city limits, and that racism, discrimination, extremism, bigotry and self aggrandisement are not welcome in wise and conscientious debates and decisions.
May the best candidates take the seats.
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