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Life Expectations

bA child born in Australia today can expect, on average, to live 82.5 years. As a country we have the third highest life expectancy in the world after Switzerland and Singapore. Considering we have almost three times the population of Switzerland and seven times the population of Singapore and we have a very high immigrant population from all over the world, we must be doing something right.

Within a generation of people immigrating to Australia from a country with a life expectancy of 50 to 60 years that life expectancy is extended by up to 25 years. A miracle in anybody’s terms. So what has led to this increased life expectancy? Who has been responsible for it? Why is life expectancy in Australia about to decrease?

The much maligned trade union movement and equally maligned radical activists are the principal impetus for increasing life expectancy in this country. Without the struggles that have been conducted by them and other Australians over generations, Australia would not have Medicare, a Universal Health System which allows all Australians irrespective of their income access to the public health system. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) which allows Australians access to subsidised medicines. A social security system which prevents people from experiencing extreme poverty if they fall on hard times or are too old or too sick to earn a living, have all contributed to Australians enjoying a life expectancy of over 82.5 years.

The provision of a publicly funded human waste disposal system for cities and towns has dramatically decreased water borne and sewage borne diseases. Universal vaccination has dramatically decreased the deaths caused by contagious diseases. History has taught us it doesn’t matter how strong your natural immune system is, contagious diseases have a catastrophic effect on human populations that have not developed herd protection through prior exposure or vaccination.

Current life expectancy in Australia is about to decrease for a number of very important political reasons. The reduced expenditure on Medicare, the public health system, PBS and the social security system because of reduced government expenditure as a result of corporate Australia paying voluntary taxation and the inability of government to rein in corporate welfare. Reduced expenditure on public infrastructure, especially a viable long term waste disposal system, the inability of government to tackle the abysmal health gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. The loss of herd immunity during a period in human history where bacteria and viruses will benefit from predicted global warming. The increasing numbers of Australians who are being pushed into an underclass which includes the working poor as well as people who are destitute as well as the possibility of an increase in global violence as a result of the current political climate will all have a negative effect on the average age Australians will live in the future.