What's Not Wrong With Australia

04 May 2006

It's interesting to see how different the Australian political scene is from that of the US.

Yesterday the Reserve Bank lifted interest rates. Now, John Howard was re-elected in late 2004 on a key promise to keep interest rates low. This morning on Seven Sunrise, the re-played a clip of Howard making this promise at the time, following which the show's host, David Koch, said of Howard "Well, that was all a load of hogwash."

Now, when George W. Bush visited Canberra in 2003, he said, "I love democracy" when heckled by some MPs. But can you imagine Bush appearing for an unscripted interview on Good Morning America, following which the host called the President's words, "Hogwash"?

Apart from the fact that the interview wouldn't take place in the first place, any major network anchor who said something like that would be innundated by hate mail. Because there is that mood amongst some Americans - that the slightest critic of the Bush administration hates America, is abetting terrorists, and goodness knows what else. You can see this any time you go surfing amongst "conservatives" blogs (though I really don't recommend you do so).

There is almost nothing like that in Australia. Australians are either too open minded (or too apathetic, which is ironic considering voting is compulsory). I know many people who intensely dislike John Howard, but have never heard anyone anywhere say that we should trust him in everything he does. As I said, people voted for Howard at the 2004 election because they believed in his ability to keep the economy stable, not because they trusted in his vision for the future of Australia.

But the Right and Left wing can be scarcely discernible in Australia. There is no Australian Al Franken or Michael Moore; on the other hand, thank goodness, there is no Australian Ann Coulter. (There are columnists like Piers Akerman, but their influence is not great). People generally aren't that passionate - which means our Prime Minister (and many other politicians and public figures) can go on national television and state their mind, and the interviewers and the rest of the population can freely call them idiots or liars. I often despair at the apathy of my fellow citizens, but if it means I can freely post my mind without being accused of hating Australia, I know which I prefer.

* You'll notice that there are no links for this post. That's because there are certain people mentioned whom I don't want to give referrals to, and I don't feel I should provide references for some things in a post and not others. Anyway, I'm sure we can all do our own research!


  1. "...but if it means I can freely post my mind without being accused of hating Australia, I know which I prefer"

    Beware the legislation regarding 'sedition', or do you only have to worry about that if you're a muslim or islamic sypathiser? I could never work that bit out...

  2. I've often thought similarly. Especially when doing rudimentary mental comparisons between our Liberal and Labour parties and their Republican and Democrats.

    We all know (how do you spell sarcasm?) that Republicans are war mongering, gun toting, bible bashing rednecks forcing women with unwanted pregnancy’s to keep the little guys so they can grow up to fight the good fight against those damn communists *ahem* terrorists.
    We also all know that democrats are tree hugging, relativistic, hedonistic, homosexual liberals in de facto relationships aborting kids like there’s no tomorrow….while smoking pot.

    But our liberal party is…well…kind of not all that liberal. It’s known for its…um…ability to produce leaders with pointy eyebrows? They sort of favour tax cuts for high income earners, and they seem to like smaller less intrusive government…like the republicans. The liberal republicans? As for labour…I believe once upon a time they were the uglier, fatter and forgetful arm of the unions…but what are they now?

    …anyway I know this wasn’t your point, but…its almost home time and a quick rant passes the time nicely :p

  3. Cotard - the sedition laws are a huge worry, but most Australians as I've said aren't that concerned about politics. I was referring to the apathy of many people and whilst I may get in trouble from the govt for my views, it's unlikely that bloggers will be attacked by extremists they way many US blogs I've seen are.

    Andy - I used to try to draw those parallels myself, but it really is meaningless. The original name "Liberal" referred to their liberal economic policies (as opposed to their conservative social policies) and these days Labor doesn't really seem to stand for anything...

  4. Worse than the high price of petrol and the higher interest rates combined... will be the 'i told you so' reactions of the Howard-Haters.

    Completely lacking any form of education or research.

    Many analysts were stating that the RBA increase is unfair on NSW investors and homebuyers. Do these analysts pay attention to the 'stamp duty's' imposed by the state government? And 'stamp duty' is just Bob Carr speak for "I am going to ram a garden stake up all of your arses, and drink you dry!".

    Then Iemma announces that the state government will be removing many taxes... and they state labour is truely the friend of the people. He didnt point out that these are taxes that they were supposed to scrap over 2 years ago. And that every other state already have done it. AND... here is the best part... the time frame for the abolishment of these taxes, spans up to 2012.

    Give me two, three, even 5 more RBA increases. 10% is still a hell of alot better than the 17% of years past. When the RBA increases werent 1/4%... they were 1 and 2%.

    Sorry... not saying anyone of you are ill informed. Just i have heard SO much crap over the past couple of days, it angers me.

  5. Rex, well you're rather OT, but anyway...

    The taxes imposed by the Iemma Labor government are independent of the interest rates set by the Reserve Bank under the Fedral Liberal government, and vice-versa.

    Federal interest rates could be at 12% and it still wouldn't affect NSW government policy.

    And what about how the Federal govt screws NSW up the wall on the GST???

  6. I know the taxes are independant of the federal govt and RBA. Isn't that just blaming the state government more? which is what i was getting at anyway.

    My point about the NSW govt. is that we are the highest taxed state in the western world. Many analysts believe that within 5 years, NSW will enter a recession. Based largely on the price of houses (which has nothing to do with the state govt.). One easy thing the state govt. could do to ease this, is reduce all the stamp duty's on houses. You pay taxes when buying a house. and again when selling. And if you have an investment property, they are taxed through the roof.

    Frankly the amount of GST the state government gets from the feds is irrelivant. NSW is so poorly managed, no matter how much the federal government gives back, it won't change. Since the introduction of the GST, NSW govt has been claiming its stake in that, PLUS hitting residents with all the taxes that the GST was supposed to replace. Granted... the GST wasn't as much as this previous figure... but it is growing. And the state doesnt seem to realise that by getting rid of the taxes, this will increase spending... and increase the amount of GST... and it will STILL get back to the state.

    If the state previously took in $100m a year in taxes (just a hypothetical number), it was supposed to get rid of those taxes in order to reclaim the GST... which may have been $90m or something slightly less than the first figure. But after another few years of the GST, and with the growing economy, the states can be claiming back $150m.

    But as it is now... the feds are still doing their part and giving over the $90m or so... PLUS the state is raping us for another $100m.

    I don't care how you look at it. Every financial analyst in the state is of the opinion that NSW is almost broke. But how can this be when they have such a massive income?!?!?!

    two words. Bad Management.

    If only the people of NSW did some research and proved they werent as stupid as the government.

  7. I think you should get a blog of your own (but then I've been telling you that for years).

    I'm not going to get bogged down in the semantics. Other than your last point:

    If only the people of NSW did some research and proved they werent as stupid as the government.

    I take it you mean that people should stop voting Labor in NSW...

    But what is the alternative? The Opposition is in disarray, weak and ineffectual. I won't say they absolutely can't turn it around in the next 20 months, but I doubt it. You may be sorely disappointed.

  8. deaf dumb and blind school children with amputated limbs could manage the state better than Labour. I dont care who else. But they have had enough time to get it right... and it is only getting worse.

    At your place of employment, if someone is fucking things up, they get fired. THEN they worry about the next person.


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