Significance of ANZAC Day

Anzac

Most Australians recognise ANZAC Day, 25th April, as one of the most important days of the year. ANZAC… now, that is an unusual word … originally it was not a proper word, it was a set of initials which described the Australian and New Zealand soldiers in France during the early stages of the First World War. The Australian government wanted the Australians to be under their own command. So, later a Corps of two divisions was formed, which was commanded by Sir John Monash. This included New Zealanders. Hence, ANZAC came to stand for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

In 1915, the ANZAC men together with British, Indian, and French soldiers were sent to fight in the part of Turkey known as the Gallipoli Peninsula. It was because of the way that the Australian and New Zealanders fought, and the way they faced the hardships and dangers that confronted them that the initials became a word – ANZAC – which today is highly respected in both Australia and New Zealand. The actions of the ANZACS forged what has become known as the ANZAC Spirit and that spirit has been the driving force behind all Australian service personnel ever since. It is also present in the peacekeeping operations that Australian and New Zealand service people undertake today.

The ANZAC spirit represents a sense of purpose and direction. The original ANZACS knew what they had to do, they knew of the dangers and the difficulties but they got down and did not let those difficulties stop them.

Today, we can apply this spirit to our everyday lives. We know what work we have to do at school, etc., and what tasks our parents may have set of us, no matter what difficulties we think are in the way, we need to think of others who have pushed through such difficulties and follow their example. We need to push the difficulties to one side and accomplish the task at hand.

Secondly, the ANZAC spirit represents an acceptance of responsibility. This is another quality that we should apply in our everyday lives. We should take responsibility for everything we do.

The ANZAC spirit also includes a sense of compassion. This means to watch out for our mate, help her or him at all times and don’t poke fun at other people because they have had some misfortune, or come from a different part of the world.

By keeping the faith with those who put the word ANZAC into our language, we will be helping to make sure that the ANZAC spirit always remains part of daily life and helping to build a better Australia.

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Revisiting Hiroshima

Were the Allied Forces right to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima?

Hiroshima was  a shipbuilding and manufacturing centre, but it was largely a civilian population, so the question that really needs to be addressed here is, was America and the other allied forces correct in dropping a weapon of mass-destruction on a civilian population? The humane answer must be no, especially when one considers the following protocols from the Geneva Convention: civilians are not to be subject to attack – this includes direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks against areas in which civilians are present. If we accept the protocols of the Geneva Convention then clearly Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be viewed as war crimes.

We will never know what would have happened if these events did not occur, perhaps it is true that many other lives were saved as it resulted in ending the war. However, it has resulted in immense suffering by subsequent generations as the incidence of cancer in both of these cities is markedly higher than the Japanese average.

Questions that continue to affect me, as there is no answer to them, are: why were Hiroshima and Nagasaki chosen when there were other possibilities that would have posed less threat to civilian populations; why was the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki only three days after the first one was used on Hiroshima; why didn’t the allied forces give more time to the Japanese authorities to declare their surrender before dropping a second atomic bomb; and why are the current generations of people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki now so accepting and welcoming of overseas visitors, especially Americans?

The most important thing to learn from this period of history is that such weapons are cataclysmically destructive and should never be used again. All stocks of nuclear weapons should be destroyed – immediately.

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Socio-economic impact of proposed plan on Australia’s MDB region

The Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) remains Australia’s most important agricultural region, accounting for over 40% of the nation’s gross value of agricultural production. The total area of crops and pastures irrigated in the MDB is over 1.5 million hectares. This is about 70% of the total area of irrigated crops and pastures in Australia. The turnover from food and commodities associated with horticultural produce from the MDB is more than $10 billion annually. Hence the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Proposed Basin Plan would have drastic effects on agricultural producers and the communities within the MDB.

 

Being a horticulturalist and former resident of Swan Hill, Victoria, I used to pass open irrigation channels daily. Using data from the Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology, I calculated that in northern Victoria alone, where there is around 6,300 kilometres of open irrigation channels (Goulburn-Murray Water, 2007), that over 28 gigalitres is lost through evaporation annually (Australian Government – Bureau of Meteorology, 2010). If these channels were replaced by enclosed pipelines then the resultant savings in water through reduced evaporation could be used to assist environmental flows rather than buying back water from farmers.

 

Flood irrigation used to be a common method of irrigating crops within the MDB, fortunately most farmers have adopted water saving forms of irrigating their crops, such as micro-sprays and drippers that apply water directly to the root zone. However, there are still farmers using large self-propelled irrigation units during hot summer days. This is an inefficient method of watering crops. It would be more effective if these irrigation units were used at night as evaporation would be dramatically reduced.

 

In the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA), however flood irrigation is still used for cotton and rice production. As we now know, flood irrigation leads to other problems such as rising salt levels and the evolving of methane from the soil. There has been a lot of research conducted on rice varieties and many of these can now be grown on dry-land, rather than in paddy fields. These varieties are referred to as upland rice and have the advantage of reducing the amount of methane released to the atmosphere during production (Bernier, Atlin, Serraj, Kumar, & Spaner, 2008).

 

In summary, the MDB is Australia’s most important agricultural region, so any change to water allocation at the farm level will have drastic effects on agricultural producers and communities. Rather than the buying back of water from farmers, replacing open channels with enclosed pipelines would result in remarkable savings through reduced evaporation. Improved farming practices, such as irrigating at night and growing upland rice, would further reduce water use within the MDB. Governments, at all levels in Australia, should be working with the agricultural industry and the research sector to implement current technologies in irrigation. This would not only reduce the amount of water used in food production but also contribute to employment growth.

 

Bibliography

Australian Government – Bureau of Meteorology. (2010, August 24). Average annual, monthly and seasonal evaporation. Retrieved November 29, 2010, from Commonwealth of Australia – Bureau of Meteorology: http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/climate_averages/evaporation/index.jsp

Bernier, J., Atlin, G. N., Serraj, R., Kumar, A., & Spaner, D. (2008). Review: Breeding upland rice for drought resistance. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture , 88, 927–939.

Goulburn-Murray Water. (2007). 42 Facts about water in northern Victoria. Retrieved November 29, 2010, from Goulburn-Murray Water: http://www.g-mwater.com.au/about/42facts

The Murray-Darling Basin Commission. (2006, October 29). Murray Darling Basin Statistics. Retrieved November 29, 2010, from Murray Darling Basin Initiative: http://www2.mdbc.gov.au/about/basin_statistics.html

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Annual ANZAC Day Reflection – 2009

Significance of Anzac Day

It was at Gallipoli that the spirit of the Australian soldier passed, as if by magic, from heart to heart in such a way that every Australian, every New Zealander, for all time, becomes an Anzac (McCarthy, 1965). Those young men that fought and died so that we would never have to go to war again, so that Australia would be a great place, so that it would always be a home for all her sons and heirs, whatever their political and religious convictions might be (McCarthy, 1965).

Forty years on the words of Lawrence McCarthy are as vivid as they were then. Most Australians still recognise ANZAC Day, 25th April, as the most important day of the year because of the spirit of the ANZAC. The ANZAC spirit is represented by four main characteristics. These are: a sense of purpose and direction; responsibility; and compassion. We can emulate the ANZAC spirit in our everyday life, which would help us to contribute to our nation.

The original ANZACs had a strong sense of purpose and direction. They knew of the dangers and the difficulties. However, they did not let difficulties stop them. We can apply this spirit to our own everyday life. We know what work we have to do at home, school, or work. No matter what difficulties we think are in the way, we need to think of others who have pushed through such difficulties. This will help us to be great achievers.

The ANZAC spirit also means accepting responsibility. This is another quality we should apply to our everyday lives. We need to take responsibility for everything we do.

The ANZAC spirit also includes a sense of compassion. This means that we need to watch out for our mate, help him or her at all times. It means that we don’t poke fun at other people because they have had some misfortune, or come from a different part of the world.

By keeping the faith with those who put the word ANZAC into our language, we will be helping to make sure that the ANZAC spirit lives on through our lives.

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Changing scenes in rural Australia

country churchThe quintessential components of an Australian rural town were once the local parish church, the general store and the pub. Sadly all of these are disappearing from the rural landscape as Australia is in the grips of globalism, or what some like to call marketism. The general store is closing down to be combined with general stores of several other towns in the way of a large supermarket. The pub that used to serve the locally brewed amber drop may now only be a bottle shop owned by the same conglomerate that owns what used to be the general store, and if it does serve that precious amber fluid then it is brewed by another multinational corporation. So, the only remnant of typical rural life that remains is the church. However, some may say that even the church has adopted the mentality of big business. At least it appears that some dioceses have implemented the beliefs of globalism, may I refer you to what used to be a working class suburb in the southern precincts of Melbourne and the way the archdiocese has imposed monetary constraints on this particular parish. Churches were built by the people so that they could meet together and worship. As such they should remain as possessions of the people. The clergy are there only to facilitate this worship and to assist in the development of a culturally rich society. Churches in rural towns need to be kept in the hands of the people so that the local community has a place to meet and socialise together. Should it be decided by the local community that they wish to sell the church then the funds should go towards building some other complex that will benefit that community, not someone in a capital city or in a far flung land.

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My Country–Dorothea Mackellar

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold –
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

  

Although this poem was written in 1904, the sentiments remain true one hundred and seven years later. Whilst parts of Australia are experiencing some of the worst floods ever recorded, other areas of the country are still suffering drought and raging bushfires.

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