Where to now Oz?

We, Australian citizens are very lucky to live in such a privileged country; privileged by the fact that we have a stable government, have some arable land, have decent infrastructures in our society and are a wealthy country. But this does not mean that there are not any problems in these areas and Australia should be wary about some of these issues, internally and externally. By being aware of problems in the present – we can maintain a future that is just as successful and hopefully as progressive as the previous years.

Such a positive future will only come about when major problems to do with our environment, socio-economic disparities and our international relations are considered now and acted upon sensibly. The constant issue of maintaining relations with Asia is imperative for both continents. There is much trade and partnership between Asia and Australia, so maintaining good relationships is important.

To be able to do this Australia must be showing that they are sympathetic to the Asian culture and appreciate it (which has been successful with the current whaling bans and restrictions on fish farming) but we must also indicate that we are prepared to contribute to ensuring economic stability. Basically, Australia should be aiming to be in a win-win situation with Asia that has benefits for all. Though Australia's position of support to America affects this partnership – as can be seen with the latest world evens of terrorism and the US Trade Agreement with Australia.

By being involved with our military connection with the USA (ANZUS) it already proves a problem when trying to maintain relationships with Asia. America sees Asia as an economic threat and so Asia would not want to see that Australia is siding with them. Especially as China is a developing country of great money and power and the USA does not want to have to compete with them. If Australia were to side with America in the event of a war between them, then all hopes of dealings and relationships would disappear. Australia is therefore in a difficult position that who ever we choose sides with – the other will be irritated.

Secondly, it needs to be considered what will happen to Australia environmentally? Global warming is a fear for the future – not only for this country but also for the world. On a lesser scale, Australia needs to take increasing care for it's numerous species of animals and plants and not only the endangered ones. Adequate money needs be invested into maintaining the environment and also for scientific research as these scientists are the only people who are able to discover these species and educate us about what we should be doing to ensure our future is to be living in a healthy environment.

Then there are of course, the various, exceedingly high levels of salinity and soil erosion caused by farming. It is crucial that these are regulated and improved for the future of Australia. The environment depends on it and we will eventually be the ones to suffer as a result. Thirdly, Australia is also becoming a country of increasing disparity in wealth. Vast numbers of unemployed people at the moment are resulting in a further division between the affluent and the less fortunate. This means that more people are unable to work and receive adequate living costs and the wealthy are continuing to thrive.

Once again if this gap is to widen further in the future, then Australia is no longer the classless society with equal opportunities that it perceives itself to be. High unemployment levels will also contribute to this disparity although it is difficult to simply say how it can be avoided. This then brings up the issue of the unemployment benefits because for some citizens, economical supports like "the dole" are thought of a way to cheat the government. But in actual fact the majority who receive the benefits have no choice.

With more people not accepting the dole, it gives rise to more criticism by society and a further division between those who are employed and those who are not. It is an area that is desperate to be resolved for the future. Although the issues addressed above are only brief overviews, they only represent a fraction of the many other issues potentially affecting our future. Compared to many other countries though, the outlook for Australia is bright. All we need to do is acknowledge the problems in the first place, be mature enough to resolve them and working hard throughout. So where to now Oz? A bigger and promising future…