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Do you ever hear a government politician even admit that we have any problems?

The role of government should be to identify, prioritise, and deal with the challenges we face.

But do you ever hear a government politician even admit that we have any problems?

Instead, we get to pay for them to advertise the great things they have done/are doing/will do if you re-elect them twice more.

Even the drought is seen as normal.  It will rain one day.  Give them a bit of money in the mean time until the prayers kick in and get some publicly funded empathy training on how to look like you care.

They claim credit for things that haven’t happened yet – like re-announcing the same infrastructure spending over and over or using promises and accounting tricks to pretend we are reducing emissions when they are clearly going up.

We only hear what they think is good news.

It was pretty horrifying to read that, in Australia, the old-age relative income poverty rate is 23%.  It is even more shocking when compared to the OECD average of 14%.

How can you brag about continual growth for decades which has resulted in almost a quarter of our older citizens living in poverty?  Where is this growth going?

The OECD report also blows away some of the myths about the “burden” of Australia’s aging population.

“Australia is ageing more slowly than the OECD average. Given the relatively limited involvement of the government in pensions and the slower ageing process, there is less of an issue of public finance pressure than in many other OECD countries.  Public expenditure on pensions is projected to remain well below half of that of the OECD average.”

The main reason for that is our compulsory superannuation scheme.  Yet at every turn, the Coalition have fought against this and still seek to undermine it.  The weasel word avoidance of answering any questions about the scheduled increases to the superannuation guarantee do not bode well.

The NAB Consumer Anxiety Index (a measure of consumer concern about their future spending and savings), rose 2.9 points over the September quarter with worries over health expenses, government policy and the ability to fund retirement, rising most.

Concerns over the cost of living continue to be the single biggest driver of overall anxiety with 60% of Australians saying that utilities and groceries added most to their cost of living expenses over the past 3 months.

Young people aged 18-29 are stressed about rent and other debt.  In the 30-49 age group, it’s mortgages and children.  Older people are worried about bills and home improvements.

By income, far more consumers in the lowest earning group were impacted by rents and those in the highest income group by their mortgages.

“Any improvements in incomes are in part being funnelled into paying down debt and this is expected to continue over the next 12 months. Debt remains a concern for many Australians, with more than 1 in 5 of all Australian consumers indicating they had spent more than they earned in the past 3 months.”

In this sort of environment, low interest rates are not driving investment and tax cuts aren’t driving spending.

We hear a lot about Australia’s comparative ranking in standardised testing which inevitably leads to calls from conservatives to get back to basics mixed in with a lot of teacher bashing.

But you won’t hear them admitting that Australia has the third highest hospital admission rates for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a rate that is almost twice the OECD average.

Who, or what, do we blame for that?  Why aren’t we making this a priority to reduce?

In Australia, almost two-thirds of adults (65%) are overweight or obese, and over a third of children aged 5-9 (36%) are overweight. Furthermore, the proportion of Australians overweight or obese has been gradually increasing in recent decades.

Yet try to introduce anything meaningful to address that, other than advertising campaigns, and the sugar lobby or the fast food industry will tell us that it would be too costly to them.

Time and again, in so many areas, we see the government creating problems that don’t exist in order to deflect from or ignore the ones that do.

This isn’t strong governance.  It is an abrogation of responsibility in favour of imaging.

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24 comments

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  1. Peeking Waterboy

    Yesterday, in a supermarket checkout, I was asked if I wanted to contribute to a fund ‘to help the farmers.’
    I said ‘No thanks. They’ve been helping themselves to my money for as long as I can remember…’
    And thats without the Prosperity Churches…

  2. whatever

    If you even talk about “The Drought”, then you have been conned by the oldest National Party trick in the book.
    They used to bring this on every time an election was coming up (remember the talk about “Drought” during the election that Bob Hawke won)
    They assume that most city folk have no idea about agriculture, which is probably correct, but to believe that the same atmospheric conditions are occuring simultaneously in disparate climate zones is approaching the disability spectrum of stupidity.
    Look at the rainfall graphs, there is no nation-wide drought.

  3. divergent

    Hmm. Not sure what “whatever” is getting at. Looks pretty dry to me. http://www.bom.gov.au/web03/ncc/www/awap/rainfall/decile/month/colour/history/nat/2019110120191130.gif or this http://www.bom.gov.au/web03/ncc/www/awap/rainfall/percent/month/colour/history/nat/2019110120191130.gif The only pockets of above average are in Tassie and some normally more arid areas. Pretty bleak picture I’d say whether or not you’re a farmer.
    From BOM “For the year to date (January–November), rainfall has been below to VERY MUCH BELOW average over MUCH of Australia.” and “Above average rainfall was restricted to SMALL areas” and “November rainfall LOWEST ON RECORD for Australia” In other words, “nation-wide” http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/archive/20191205.drought3.lr.col.gif I believe this is why it is called a drought. However, in venerable tradition of the wisdom that governs us, this could all just be fake news. After all, we now know that the windows in aeroplanes have been manufactured in such a way as to make the world appear round when it is actually flat.

  4. divergent

    While we’re at it you should check out the seminar, “Busting Bushfire Myths” by Kevin Tolhurst from 2010. I refer to this is response to the venerable non-leader B Joyce who said these fires were the result of a lack of maintenance, that is to say pre-season clearing. In a nut shell, K Tolhurst states no amount of clearing is going to overcome severe weather conditions. This is a seminal lecture I recommend all watch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xhlKITtgq0 We are now in the grip of such severe weather conditions.

  5. New England Cocky

    @whatever: Now wash your mouth out with soapy water Whatever!! To imply that the nat$ always tell porkies is one of the greatest political truisms of the fake news generation. Just ask yourself,”What quantum of political donations are received by the nat$ with the present skewing of MDB water allocations so that 4/168 allocation holders have rights to 75% of any water allocation in the MDB?”

    Or our New England local quiz question,”What quantum of political donations to the nat$ is purchased by installing at taxpayer expense a $13 MILLION pipeline from Malpas Dam, the drinking water supply dam for Armidale NSW, directly into the Guyra Tomato Farm”?

    Then what future quantum of political donations does free access to Malpas Dam water during the worst drought in living memory to grow tomatoes for export and financial profit of overseas shareholders while Armidale Regional Council ratepayers struggle on Level 5 Water Restrictions?”

    @divergent: Uhm … A small correction ….. Australia is a flat tectonic plate bounded by the Hawkesbury Bridge, the Nepean Bridge and Tom Ugly’s Bridge and persons fall off the edge of the Earth when they cross these bridges to be consumed by dragons hiding in the schlerophyll forests of the Royal National Park.

    Then “NSW” stands for “Newcastle Sydney Wollongong” where all the government funds are spent after selling off public assets in other regional community centres.

    However, you are correct when you identify that Australia is a number of climatic zones interacting according to known atmospheric conditions impacting on ocean water temperature and circulation around those respective ocean basins. The panic descriptions of BoM staff are the result of education at the leftist university that produced such political luminaries as Johnnie ‘Flakjacket’ Howard, Toxic Rabbott and Muddles Turdball.

  6. Vikingduk

    Divergent

    Recently NEC has put a link (twice) to the Glen Innes Examiner detailing the experiences of Wytaliba (approx. 30~40 ks east of Glen).

    They experienced a major fire in September that required 20 trucks, 100 fireys plus water bombing. As the article states, there was nothing left to burn, on the ground at least, until the monster came roaring through the canopy, raining fire, heat so intense a car exploded before the fire was visible, two dead, homes destroyed, a community wiped out.

    As far as The Drought goes, we recently travelled from sunny coast to New England tablelands, drought conditions the whole way. Those hundreds, or, perhaps thousands of hectares of dead eucalypts, the many thousands of hectares of dead ground are most definitely real, as Divergent shows in the links provided.

    So, Whatever, is this an attempt at sarcasm or have you spent far too long in your bubble?

  7. corvus boreus

    In the NSW tablelands and slopes inland from me there is most definitely an ongoing severe drought that is visibly manifest in the condition of the land and vegetation (eg, dried-up creeks, bare cracked soil, swathes of dead and dying trees).
    In practical political terms, what this means is an ongoing gutter-fight between rural communities/small farm-holdings and environmental flows (ie ‘living rivers’) over the measly trickle that international mining consortiums and agribusinesses allow to trickle through.

  8. TuffGuy

    This is a government of no ideas, no real intelligence and who just want the power of being in government. They are all corrupt and only there to water their own gardens, feather their own nests, look after themselves and their mates. They are just a bunch of self-serving fascists.

  9. Andrew J Smith

    It’s short term PR over substantive long term policy.

  10. New England Cocky

    @corvus bores: The nat$ are doing everything possible to maintain the status quo with MDB water allocations. Having 4/168 licence holders receiving 75% of the allocated water flows is good business for political donations to the unelected political hacks who control pre-selection in the nat$ and wish to remain in their privileged financial sinecures for as long as possible.

    The easy solution for MDB theft of environmental flows is to require the installation of telephone switches on each and every pump in the MDB with regular compliance checks and criminal prosecutions of offenders breaching pumping dates. How do you get a bumper cotton crop in a no pump year? Steal MDB water and let al the fish die while killing off agricultural enterprises in thesouthenr basin by not allowing flows down stream fro NW NSW. QED

  11. wam

    25% in poverty is awful/
    Sadly it is only that level because of keating and labor super, our labor gov just got done for over paying the fat cars in the public service, including pollies, and short changing the workers.
    Where are you albo?? This should be plastered on every labor pollies office window.
    The next election depends on undermining these bastards chip chip chip. As much as possible, keep off the abc and ignore the greens.
    ps
    We had a soap trap and watered the garden with bath and shower water.

  12. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    Because, despite living on a relatively arid continent, we are, as a society, way too aspirational affluent to consider sullying ourselves by dealing with any form of former effluent, and far too dainty-gentile to countenance the idea of flushing our dunnies with grey wastewater.

  13. Matters Not

    Many people prefer that all their water be new.

    And they get terribly excited when spelling scores are less than perfect.

    Perhaps we need to rethink what the compulsory schooling curriculum should be about. You know – go back to the basics like Dan Tehan is demanding.

  14. Wobbley

    Get rid of cotton and replace it with hemp, how much water would be needed then? Why not grey water for industry? How about building roads that incorporate solar panels manufactured from recycled materials. Rail lines could be modified to produce electricity. They, (rail lines), could be used for thermal energy. There are so meany things that a lay person such as myself can suggest to ameliorate the energy crises that we are now in. Why can’t governments think out side the box, oh that’s right they don’t even want to find the box, fucking fascists!!!!!!!

  15. New England Cocky

    Now now Wobbly, you are being too practical.

    1) Growing industrial hemp would also reduce the use of defoliant sprays and their pernicious effects on the environment.

    2) Grey water and treated sewage is already used in many regional locations for irrigation of suitable crops. In Gloucester NSW I have seen corn growing so fast it nearly knocked you off your feet after such irrigation.

    3)Modifying railway lines to produce electricity would defeat the nat$ plan to support the Northern Inland Railway (NIR) proposal of NIR Chairman, former nat$ leader and Ole Mate John Anderson, by destroying about 220km of the NSW Great Northern Railway between Armidale and Wallangarra/Jennings thus removing all rail freight competition for the NIR between Melbourne and Brisbane and possibly, just possibly, allowing the NIR financial analysis that repayment of the initial investment presently about $70 MILLION to take under 50 years.

    4) Making roads into solar panels is a radical idea and especially practical when the nat$ seal quiet country lanes to the residences of the few surviving geriatric grazier nat$ members.

  16. Wobbley

    Thanks NEC, the bastards could do so much good if they just concentrated on doing they’re jobs properly, the sooner the braindeads in Turdock land and nine and stokes wake up to the fact that they’re being conned by the fascists the sooner cognitive dissidence sets in so there’s no hope of getting theses greedy self centred pigs to see any practicable alternative. The country is fucked until the fascist facilitating msm and half the electorate is “re-educated”.

  17. corvus boreus

    In terms of the relative virtues of cotton (genus Gossypium) vs hemp (genus Cannabis) as practical fibre crops, apart from hemp’s comparatively modest demands in terms of water, and relative scarcity of associated pest problems, in terms of sheer efficiency, hemp fibre utilises the entire stem structure of the plant, whereas with cotton all that is utilised is the stuffing of the fruit.
    Unfortunately, in this country any rational discussion of the myriad utilitarian virtues contained within the genus cannabis (eg medicine, fibre, fodder and fuel) is immediately muddled and retarded by pollies and pundits making ill-informed pejorative usage of Mexican slang (marry-jew-arnah!).

    Just another little piece of the fupduck puzzle that is ever-stoopider straya. .

  18. Kaye Lee

    When I was teaching, my boss told me she had glaucoma. I told her she should smoke dope. Whoa, did I get in trouble. For the sake of other readers, it is true dope lessens eye pressure but opponents say the effect is temporary. (Like the effects of eye drops are permanent?) It is true dope lowers blood pressure, but it stops you from “operating heavy machinery” (just like many other medications). Warning warning Will Robinson, there is no legal limit for cannabis consumption and driving (unlike alcohol).

  19. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    Medicinally speaking, smoking anything for health benefit is somewhat akin to injecting vaccines via a shotgun blastl.
    The various medicinal use cannaboid compounds that provide remedial, therapeutic and palliative benefits (which often chemically differ from psychotropic THC), are usually much better taken orally as extracted oils.

  20. Kaye Lee

    No doubt cb. The suggestion was made cheekily many years ago. I never showed suitable reverence to hierarchy and kinda liked to tease them.

    Living about an hour north of Sydney, I have been inhaling about the 40 cigarette equivalent for some weeks now. Stinging eyes and a funny taste in your mouth are the usual. But my house hasn’t burned down.

  21. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    The morning nostril litmus test for life in the new normal.
    ‘Will it hurt to breathe today?’

    A government with more civic focus and concern for public safety might consider opening temporary outlets for the couponed rationing and/or cheap sale of low end but proven effective filter/respirators to help reduce the consequential burden on public health.

  22. wam

    spot on wobbley. My call has been no cotton south of the ord but the geese make your suggestion so sensible.
    The name kills it but seeds are healthy and a boon to the ravages of age on the skin. The plant is environmentally friendly, fast growing and has heaps of current uses like rope, textiles(for at least 10000 years), clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel.

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