Welcome to 2022 from PopCultureTraveler – 2 January 2022 – COVID-19 has a new variant, but we are fighting back with vaccines, and also looking to the future and rooting for an Australian Labor Party victory in 2022

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Welcome to 2022 from PopCultureTraveler! It’s another year and now it’s two years since our last normal New Years back in 2020. (I’m sure a lot of us wouldn’t mind going back to a pre-COVID-19 world.) COVID-19 is still around, but this time we have vaccines to provide us another line of defense against this dangerous, contagious virus and also pleasingly soon medication via a pill to help people recover if they have serious symptoms due to the virus. COVID-19 has seriously hampered any chance of international travel for many of us, but looking at the bright side of things it has allowed me and many others to find a greater appreciation of the things around us and closer to home.

Plans for 2022

Despite some border closures, I have been fortunate to have traveled to Perth and Brisbane back in 2020 and Adelaide in 2021, so there will be more posts and stories to share. There was a planned trip to Tasmania in 2021, but border closures due to COVID-19 Delta outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne kyboshed those plans. (Let’s face it, some very entitled Sydneysiders and their “freedom-loving” and point scoring government caused all of Melbourne’s 2021 COVID-19 outbreaks. “Freedom-loving” in the sense that they say it for media grabbing attention, but have no problem undermining ordinary people’s actual freedoms when it impacts their rich friends and family.)

Whenever I travel, I pack a lot of things into my itinerary so that I can experience so many things. I come back with a wealth of stories to share with friends and family and it gives me a better appreciation of the history and the people whom I meet. I like sharing things and see good in many people. So you can expect to see more posts about Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide in 2022. At the same time, I will share plenty of experiences that can be had in Melbourne – my home town. 2022, I hope, will be the year of consolidation – that is, enjoying the things I have.

In terms of a new year’s resolution, I feel having achieved much personally in 2021 with a new home, new job and even meeting some personal objectives (like sitting the Japanese Language Proficiency Test for the first time), I feel its probably time for me to regroup and consolidate by reappreciating things that I used to do and seeing if I can take them to the next level. I am thinking of revisiting childhood memories, doing hobbies I dropped and reenjoying games and films. My childhood included visiting a lot of parks for barbecues, visiting the outdoors and markets. My hobbies have included doodling, writing fanfiction, creating video games, painting models, training in kung fu, and taking part in pop culture conventions and events. This means a ton of new articles and posts, because as a person who is into pop culture there are a ton of things I am into.

COVID-19 is still here

For other fellow Australian, I am glad to see that the vaccine rollout has reached a large number of people. Australia has one of the highest vaccine coverage in the world. Most States have over 90% double vaccination rates for 12 years old plus – which is an impressive percentage. Vaccines are an important shield for all of us and it’s important that we get these tried and tested vaccines to provide some protection against this dangerous virus, COVID-19. It is pleasing to see that Australians generally are getting the vaccine because it is a way to protect them and others from the serious symptoms that can be had with this virus. As many know, a vaccine is only useful before catching a virus. There is no point taking a vaccine if you have the virus. As the old saying goes, prevention is better than the cure. Unfortunately, we could have had a better period in 2021 if vaccine messaging and the rollout was treated as a race as opposed to some egg and spoon race. It was painful watching the Federal Government throughout 2021 be wholly inept in what should have been several easy goals.

Despite some fantastic vaccination coverage, the Omicron variant has managed like it has elsewhere run rampant in Australia. It is inevitable that the virus will spread given its nature and the desire of all to restart the economy, but sensible measures would have been needed to plateau as much as possible hospital admissions. (Again made worse by New South Wales’ “freedom-loving” and point scoring government. They granted the people of New South Wales nine days of “personal responsibility” where masks were not mandated before taking retracting on it after realizing how silly their messaging was in now putting thousands of people in greater harm.) It is likely that the COVID-19 numbers will increase sharply even more than if some sensible measures were taken. On 2 January 2022, New South Wales recorded 18,278 cases and 1,066 in hospital. There is no doubt the actual numbers are much higher given the New South Wales government under Liberal/National Party Premier Dominic Perrottet and his Health Minister Brad Hazzard plus the Prime Minister Scott Morrison have urged people to avoid getting tested. In other words, no tests means they won’t add to the daily numbers and this is important for Scott Morrison’s 2022 re-election campaign. (For those wondering, despite being called a “liberal” party, it is far from being liberal and it is through and through a conservative party that represents their very rich and entitled friends and donors.) I expect other States and Territories will be seeing high numbers as well given the exponential numbers we have seen in the last fortnight.

Perhaps my biggest hope for 2022 is an Australian Labor Party win

Given how little the Liberal/National Party care about anyone other than their own, that is their wealthy friends and donors, it’s important that Australians send them a message at the next Federal and State ballots. You can see that whenever the Liberal/National Party introduce policies to apparently help “working class people”, people who work for a living in a job or run their business, these measures are only introduced if most of the benefits go to support the already well off such as tax cuts, generous subsidies and handouts. Any actually tax measure that is of any great help to the vast number of Australians is only ever a temporary measure such as the $1,080 tax offsets for middle-income families. The Liberal/National Party track record is always one for their rich friends and donors and just saying enough to get people on their side, without actually delivering for them in the long run. Remember always that these people will never accept you into their club. Their club is exclusively for their rich friends and donors. Look at their record and there is close to nothing that anyone can point to that is long lasting and good for our economy in the long run.

The Australian Labor Party (or ALP for short), the only other party that can form government in Australia, achieves so much more and actually delivers for the benefit of all Australians, for example on two key areas:

  • tax reform: the Labor Party provided low income families a huge increase to the tax free threshold from $6,000 to $18,200, introduced superannuation which has a maximum tax rate of 15%, and kept taxes lower – remember that Joe Hockey actually introduced taxes with his 2% high income levy; and
  • infrastructure: the number one infrastructure of COVID-19 has been the National Broadband Network, which has allowed so many Australians to work from home, many schools and hospitals were upgraded, and many of our highways and iconic buildings were as a result of Federal Labor governments funding and support. You only need to turn your mind to State Labor governments who are building or have built new passes (as part of the level crossing removals, especially in Melbourne), new train lines (Perth Metronet and line to Airport, Queensland Cross River Rail and light rails, and Melbourne’s Airport, Metro, Suburban Loop), higher than usual number of new roads, facilities, and amenities.

The Australian Labor Party has a rich history of delivering reforms that greatly benefit the country from Medicare, building proper sewage in major cities in the mid-70s, and protecting workers’ entitlements. If the Liberal/National Party had their way, we would have an American system which is horrific where people pay expensive fees for simple healthcare (e.g. just seeing a doctor), people working for low wages with minimal holiday leave, and most of us would be at the mercy of some bad actors (i.e. corporate greed and powerful donors).

The Australian Labor Party are ready for government and they have some great policy announcements including fast rail projects, child care reforms, electricity infrastructure, upgrading the National Broadband Network, supports for small business, introducing a Federal Anti-Corruption Commission (which doesn’t exist at the moment) and so much more. As a family with a small business, I know the Australian Labor Party does a better job looking after the economy because the reforms they make are positive and long lasting and even to this day all their reforms are what are currently holding up Australia’s current economy. We know that trickle down economics does not work and it is only through empowering people and providing them with opportunities that we all end up reaping the rewards.

On leadership, I think Labor leader Anthony Albanese (or “Albo”) is a person who does what he says, is authentic, and committed to doing public good. You can see that in the way he successfully handled his portfolios without any major controversies when he was in last in government, he doesn’t seek shameless selfies with people or photo ops (like Scott Morrison who has on more than one occasion forced people to shake his hand on camera and appears in Facebook posts pretending like he is hammering a nail into some cubby house, rather Albo will just talk to people genuinely and won’t alert media when he is visiting miners at their workplace), and the public positions he has taken whether on policy issue or even leadership have turned out to be right time and time again. He is the best leader to lead Australia over a very inept Scott Morrison.

Scott Morrison and his team are so inept that even former Liberal Party leaders Malcolm Turnbull and John Hewson has called him a liar and criticized his handling of issue. Also, rarely have we seen foreign powers speak so poorly of any Australian leader, but it has recently happened. French President Emmanuel Macron has called Scott Morrison a liar and US President Biden has noted that the way Scott Morrison does things is clumsy.

So in the interest of us and saving us from Scott Morrison and team’s ineptness, it’s time for Australians to cast their vote in favor of Albo and the Australian Labor Party at the 2022 Federal Election. Support Albo and his talented team and give the Australian Labor Party a 1 and remember to number all the other boxes. Also, make sure you number the the Liberal/National Party last.

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