What a grumpy, grizzly, moaning, unhappy, blame everyone else except ourselves, bunch we appear to be. Listening, reading and watching the media you’d think that Australia was in the depths of a recession, masses of people unemployed, about to be taxed out of existence and invasion by hoards of foreigners from the North imminent.
The OECD Better Life Initiative ranks us pretty highly in most of its measurements of life satisfaction especially since the data was taken in 2009 just post the 2007/2008 Global Financial Crisis. You would think that we would have been pretty bruised in 2009 but it appears not. The Better Life Initiative indicates that out of the 34 OECD countries we are ranked first in Governance; second in Housing and Health; fourth in Safety; sixth in Jobs, Community and Education; seventh in Life Satisfaction; ninth in Environment and fourteenth in Income. Our saddest performance is our ranking of 28th out of 34 in
Work-Life Balance. No wonder we get a bit emotional whenever the Coalition’s delightfully tagged “Work Choices’ (or variations thereof) re-emerges from its hidey hole in the murky depths of its ‘Oppress the Working Class’ manual.
We also have a relatively low taxation level and I understand that some $30 billion (that’s BILLION) dollars per annum is provided to families as child based payments and/or subsidies. Some $1 billion of this is paid out as a baby bonus. Taken along with first home owner grants, tax breaks for owner-occupiers, and other tax breaks it would seem that quite a few of us (dare I say a large majority) are doing ‘pretty OK’.
So after listening to all that bitching and moaning and reading biased and crappy commentary, here’s my 20 cents worth (inclusive of a 2c Carbon Tax, Initiative, Impost, Levy – whatever) targeted at the appropriate bunch, group, affiliation, interested parties etc, etc. NB. Ross Gittins of the Sydney Morning Herald is excluded from any negative media commentary.
THE MEDIA: Do you folks actually know what the term ‘balance’ actually means? Do you know who ‘Chicken Little’ was/is? Because you certainly emulate him in your reporting. I suspect that the whole populace is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the continuous cries that the sky is falling. Ditto also to those media types who perpetually cry ‘wolf, wolf’ when it’s only a dog, and a mangy one at that. Do you actually understand the
scientific method and probability and how you might apply these mystical concepts to factual and balanced reporting? NO? Didn’t think so. Why do I confine myself to ABC reporting, only scan The Australian Newspaper and The Sydney Morning Herald, and use web based newspapers from outside Australia to get a more balanced view? Because I have more trust in the ABC news and commentary, scanning the local papers just reconfirms their lack of balance, and overseas papers give me a more balanced (there’s that word again) view of what is going on in the world. Wouldn’t touch the Telegraph and other daily newspapers with a barge pole. Gosh, even the China Daily has better
coverage internationally. As does BBC News, The Straits Times and the Mainichi Daily News. No wonder our local (and I mean that un-endearingly) are in trouble with falling circulation and advertising.
WORKING FAMILIES (aka THE BATTLER’S): Gosh! It must be hard living day to day what with the various benefits being provided by the government to make life a little easier. Can’t recall any generosity coming from the government when I was part of the ‘working family’ group. There was a tax benefit for stay at home mothers I believe and a pittance monthly child allowance. Save it up and you could buy the kids a pair of shoes for school. Sorry that I’m so unsympathetic, I guess I’m just bitter that I have missed out on all this largesse. There are some facts that you should be aware of that might help you work your way through the hard times you seem to think that you are experiencing.
- The government is not there to bail you out of the problems you have created by making poor or inappropriate life decisions. It is after all YOUR life.
- Governments take tax from you so that they can supply services and infrastructure used by everyone. Not having taxes means not much services and infrastructure. You have to pay more or it’s privately owned and you have to pay more. Simple isn’t it? So taxing the miners on their profligate profits and taxing carbon emissions might mean that there is less of a tax burden on you or that there are funds for services, and benefit payments. Do you want to keep your government benefits? Then stop crying about paying tax.
- Interest rates go up, and they go down. If you commit yourself to large loans when interest rates are low and then interest rates go up, it is not the government’s fault that you can’t service your commitments, IT’S YOUR’S. Don’t blame the government and don’t blame the banks. You made the commitment after all.
- Life is a probability curve. Best to be to the far left for the bad stuff and to the far right of the curve for the good. You are not going to be in the best position on all the curves but you can certainly nudge yourself in the right direction on most of them by making appropriate decisions. Guess what? You are making the decisions, not the government, nor anyone else. So guess who’s responsible?
THE LABOR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: What a totally incompetent bunch of twits you
appear to be. Everything you have touched since you shafted Rudd has turned into a total debacle. What bunch of fools are so inept that they make major announcements (Timor, Malaysia, Carbon thingy compensation, etc) before the concrete has set? Federal Labor. Who are so panicked by the Coalition and that wowdy webel wowsing Wabbitt that they look like bunnies in a spotlight? Federal Labor. Julia – get your act together and start
sounding like a committed Prime Minister. Labour Caucus, start actually working together and start looking like a Government that knows what it’s doing. Where’s your
intestinal fortitude for God’s sake! I’m almost (that’s almost) wishing we had Howard back, and he is a total anathema to me. And guess what? I don’t believe that Rudd was how he has been portrayed, and that if he was, then the Caucus or Labor power brokers weren’t able to pull him into line. Simple. You panicked, Rudd wasn’t popular with the Right and you seriously stuffed up by removing him without a viable alternative. Bloody incompetent idiots.
THE FEDERAL COALITION: What a venal, self-aggrandising bunch of ne’er do wells. I can’t believe that you are so contemptuous of the democratic process that you will engage in sloganeering and total negativity in the hope that you will bring a government down and
replace them. Or, for that matter, to align yourselves with self-interested industry groups to destabilise good governance. Don’t forget that what you create in entering into such arrangements will be visited upon you when you are the government. Marriages of convenience have a habit of turning very ugly. You want to be in government but you offer nothing to the electorate except slogans and stunts by your so-called leader (by one vote wasn’t it?). Where are your policy initiatives? If the current government is so wrong where are your alternatives (and Nauru isn’t by the way, nor are slogans, nor
working-class photo ops by your leader). What have you got to offer us beyond mediocrity. The sooner you replace Abbott with Turnbull and establish a half-decent front bench the sooner you will be recognised as a viable alternative to what we have now. Despite Labor’s problems you can’t establish more than 1 percentage point difference between Abbot and Gillard as preferred leader in a poll with a plus/minus 3% error margin. With the huge difference in who would win government at an election what does that say about your leader?
THE GREENS: You have in your hands the chance to provide a viable alternative party
to the Coalition and Labor and to establish yourselves as credible to the electorate. The ‘just wait till we have power in the Senate – we’ll show them’ will not make you popular with voters. Sensible and pragmatic approaches to legislation and policy will. Relegate
some of your more radical and stupid policy positions to the bin of history or your supporters will evaporate back to the Coalition and Labor. You have your greatest opportunity and, on current behaviour, it looks like your lack of realpolitik is going to consign you to the same fate as the Democrats – irrelevance.
THE INDEPENDENTS: Ditto the Greens comments. You too have a great opportunity to show that a non-Coalition coalition of a majority party and independents will provide
good governance. Gaining public acceptance for such arrangements can only benefit democracy. Note that if you act like idiots, you will be treated as such by the electorate and relegate independent members of parliament who might follow you to ineffectuality. Get it wrong and we may never see independent candidates elected to Australian parliaments again.
MINERS, RETAILERS, OTHER INDUSTRY GROUPS: What can one say about these? Propaganda ads pushing your self-interest and corporate greed? Bitching about people
buying on the internet where prices are more competitive? Fallacious claims that a Carbon thingy will be the end of everything? Aligning yourselves with extremist non-scientific views to push your agenda’s? Stupid demands to call an immediate election
so that we can get rid of all the negativity? Yep, you’ve obviously got the best interest of Australia and Australians in mind. It just leads to the view that as visionaries you have failed. As status quo, stick in the mud’s, you’ve all got distinctions. The world is changing – adapt or die. What you appear intent upon is the Americanisation of Australian democracy where power, money and industry lobbying override sound policy making that benefits the country and its people.
And that’s my rant for today.