As another year rolls, the world faces some interesting challenges and prospects.
Globally, speculation continues to grow over the likelihood of an attack on Iran by the USA or Israel, and over the possible consequences of such a move. The Middle East remains the dangerous hotspot in geopolitics, with several potential trigger-points for an escalation of already simmering conflict.
In the field of economics, it remains unclear whether the big Western industrialised nations will return to sustainable growth or whether they will falter again in the wake of the still-reverberating “global financial crisis”.
For Australia, buffeted by slumping commodity prices and a high dollar, the continued competitive depreciation of the world’s dominant currencies threatens more damage to industries and jobs.
That may be an important factor in the federal election due this year. Most pundits insist the Coalition can’t lose but it seems that the longer the election is delayed, the more Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s stocks decline in voters’ eyes. The fight may prove closer than many imagine.
In NSW, the O’Farrell Government appears to have noticed that its clock, too, is ticking, and that voters will need to be given plausible reasons to re-elect it for the second term it has seemed so certain of securing.
In normal circumstances, the combination of a Federal Government desperate for a chance at re-election and a State Government anxious to prove it deserves more terms in office might augur well for Eurobodalla voters. But governments at both levels are strapped for cash and trying to do more with less.
To win a fair share of spending from both – or perhaps even to maintain its traditional paltry cut – it seems Eurobodalla voters may have to shout louder than ever.