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MEETING AN OLDIE IS NOT SO PAINFUL. LINGER AND GIVE IT A GO
I invite you to visit also my literary blog: Journeys in Creative Writing where I post original fiction including short stories, poetry and 'Paternity', a full length mystery novel.
This is me and my new bike - a gift to myself that I bought with part of our new government's extra payment to pensioners, scheduled to arrive in our bank accounts this week, in time for Christmas. I couldn't wait!
New Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the payment several weeks ago, just after the world's economy hit the fan. He acted early on several fronts in an effort to cushion Australia against expected global shocks.
The government's idea is to stimulate the economy as well as do something to help the less well off who had missed out badly during the years of the old government.
Aged pensioners, carers, seniors, veterans, and people with a disability are among those to receive the one off payment. People on their own will receive $1,400 and couples $2,100 between them. You can imagine that there is much excitement.
Mr Rudd said that these amounts were a down payment on additional regular amounts to be announced in June next year, in the 2009 budget. At the moment those on a full pension live on $A276 per week - or about $US178, 122.4 British pounds or $CAN227 - not much to maintain a house and feed and clothe yourself, especially if you live alone!
Mind you we are lucky to have a largely free health system, even though that too was watered down in recent years.
The government is doing research before establishing future payments and probably announcing a whole new ball game for pension entitlements. Ministers are very straightforward in their declarations of support for the strugglers, and these acts back their words in a very practical way.
Rudd and Co want us to spend the one off money as quickly as we can to help stave off any threat of recession. I bought my bike as a way of keeping fit and healthy and will pay off bills with the rest - in effect pumping my little lot straight into the economy.
It does look as though Australia is being gradually drawn into the whirlpool of international economic crisis, with China's demands for our minerals slowing somewhat.
The Australian Reserve Bank has announced several huge interest rate cuts and the government very large programmes of spending on national infrastructure, plus other various measures all designed to keep the economy moving.
Our economy slumped to record a growth rate of only one per cent in the past quarter - good by international standards the Treasurer rushed to declare, but pretty scarey in reality.
Banks still aren't lending much money and retail sales have dropped drastically.
Mortgage payers have breathed a sigh of relief with the interest rate drops as most home loans are based on variable rates, not fixed as in so many other countries. Also there are not so many sub-prime loans around, unlike overseas. That means the burden of home buyers is softened here.
News of future job losses is gaining pace however, and companies and businesses are beginning to collapse.
This global situation sure demonstrates how important it is to watch those in power in the global economic system doesn't it? We must regulate them, whether they like it or not.
How are you all going in your little neck of the woods? Tell me in a comment ...
By the way, things are getting very exciting over at Journeys in Creative Writingwhere I'm serialising my novel 'Paternity'. There are eight episodes there now and you can start at the beginning by following a link. Join the hundreds of others who seem to be enjoying it.
Currumbin Waters, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
I'm past my 70th birthday and undaunted.
So far I can look back on probably a dozen different phases in my life, all producing deeply felt experience:
- A barefoot carefree childhood in an Australian seaside town
- Work as a young journalist in the days of hot metal and male chauvinism
- Dipping my toe into real life in Sydney the big city
- Marriage and precious motherhood
- A second career in corporate public relations management
- Another marriage and disillusion
- Battles for financial justice in the law courts
- Re-jigging a career
- At 60 my first university degree (Creative Writing and Australian History majors)
- Fighting sometimes lost causes
- Sneaky aches and pains of the approach of age
- Living on a pension.
All fodder for writing and a valuable background for the development of what could become one day an incisive point of view.
My blogs may become a way of answering the question: 'What's next?'