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There is no future under an Abbott government

While our government dithers about, there are many forums and conferences and discussions going on around the country with constructive ideas for a better Australia.

We all know the problems we face. Somehow we must drag our politicians to the solutions.

Here are a few suggestions.

Build high speed rail

This would provide ongoing employment in its construction, operation and maintenance. It would allow for decentralisation thus helping with housing affordability and bringing a much needed boost to regional areas. It would free up the roads and other railways from congestion helping both with peak hour traffic and freight movement as well as relieving the burden at airports. It would help reduce emissions from cars and planes and be a market for our excess iron and coal (which should be provided at cost price as a form of resource tax).

The estimated cost of constructing the preferred HSR alignment in its entirety would be around $114 billion (in 2012 dollars) which sounds like a lot of money until you realise it is what we hand out in ONE YEAR in tax concessions (estimated to grow to $150 billion per year in 2 years.)

Build a real NBN

World economies are changing. Automation will see the loss of many more jobs in the near future.

The NBN holds out the promise of a new age of productivity, innovation and global connection for Australians. It will provide health care, education, telecommuting opportunities, carbon-free conferencing and will shrink the distances between services in Australia. It will also provide employment in its construction and maintenance.

KPMG estimates that cloud computing over the NBN could increase the size of the Australian economy by $3.32 billion per annum within a decade.

Deloitte Access Economics estimated that the direct contribution of the internet to the Australian economy was approximately $50 billion a year, projected to grow to over $70 billion a year by 2016.

Access Economics says if 10 percent of Australian employees were to telework every second day, total annual productivity gains would be in the order of $1.4 billion to $1.9 billion per year by reducing commute times, office space and staff turnover.

It is estimated that if we could help 5% of elderly people remain in their homes for one year longer before going into care that we could save $60 billion over the next ten years.

The possibilities for productivity and social benefits are endless.

Increase Newstart by $50 a week

More than a million Australians are living in poverty. This has enormous impacts on health, education and well-being as well as productivity. Poverty can also be a contributing factor in domestic violence and substance abuse.

Increasing the weekly Newstart, Austudy, Abstudy and Youth Allowance rates for singles by $50 a week, and indexing them in the same way as the age pension, has been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office at about $2 billion a year.

The Business Council of Australia chief executive, Jennifer Westacott said that ”entrenching people into poverty by expecting them to live on $35 a day is not a pathway back into employment”. It is hard to go to interviews if you don’t have an address or money for clothes and transport. It’s hard to study if you don’t have food.

Not only would the increased payment help alleviate poverty, it would also increase demand thus creating more jobs.

Reinstate the Commonwealth Employment Service

It is obvious that the Job Network is costing us a fortune for little result and is being rorted by unscrupulous private providers.

We should reinstate the CES and it should be run by a board comprised of representatives from business, unions, the education department, and welfare groups.

Shortages of skilled workers should be anticipated and appropriate training to fill the gap incentivised. Scholarships which help with fees, or cadetships and apprenticeships that combine study with work experience, could be offered in needed occupations.

Unemployed people should have individual case workers who have discretionary powers to tailor appropriate individual assistance. Work experience at trainee rates should be offered but voluntary. I certainly don’t want someone who isn’t suited to it looking after my mother at her nursing home.

Businesses could be provided with a free employment service and employees would receive relevant workplace entitlements which they do not get when working through an employment agency.

The CES should also provide referral services for people who are really struggling to counsellors and mental health practitioners that can help them find a way forward. This might help avoid domestic violence and suicide for those who are not coping.

Invest in research

Ongoing research is a crucial investment in our future. Our scientists and researchers are our problem solvers, our warning system, our job creators, and the guardians of our health and environment.

Of the many short-sighted, ideological decisions by this government, their abandonment of research is the worst.

There is no future under an Abbott government.



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  1. babyjewels10

    All great suggestions but we’re run by closed minds, hell bent to make the more vulnerable more vulnerable and prop up the fortunate and that seems to be their only agenda.

  2. Reg

    Kaye a detailed report has been prepared on the opportunity to open up the unrecognized latent asset of NSW – “The Legendary Pacific Coast” to massive development and economic growth through productive infrastructure. This vision incorporates both existing and 21st century infrastructure exploiting the two major tourism centers of Australia. I can send the synopsis to your address if there is interest.

  3. Kaye Lee

    SA Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said “It’s $250 billion on the table over the next 30 to 40 years on naval ships, including 120,000 man-years of work on the submarines alone,”

    The Government will provide Defence with $31.9 billion in 2015–16 and $132.6 billion over the Forward Estimates. This is an increase of $9.9 billion over the Forward Estimates when compared to the 2014–15 Budget and represents record expenditure on Defence.

    The next paragraph relates to Joe’s first budget…the figure has increased greatly with his second offering

    “The cost of defence is $80,281,391.78 per day. (one three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth of reported Total Defence Funding for financial year 2014–15.) This does not include funds appropriated to the Defence Housing Authority, those administered by Defence for military superannuation schemes and housing support services, nor the additional funds provided directly to the Defence Materiel Organisation.”

    Defence funding for 2014-15 was $29.3 billion. Of that they invested $8.6 billion. That would indicate to me that they already have too much money let alone increasing it to 2% of GDP – Abbott’s aim. It is ridiculous to allocate a percentage of GDP rather than needs-based funding.

    This is a very revealing document for those who like to see what our defence forces are spending money on.

  4. Kaye Lee


    I would be very interested to read it. Who prepared it?

    Send it to Michael through contact us and he can forward it on. Or just paste a link if it is online.

  5. Susan

    I’ll vote for Kaye.

  6. Keitha Granville

    CES, yes yes yes. The JobNetwork has to be the biggest rort in the country (after the parliament). Does nothing and costs a fortune.

  7. M-R

    I’ll contribute to the AIMN – albeit a pensioner – if Michael promises to put that very small amount to WordPress to CANCEL THOSE BLOODY AWFUL ADS.

  8. jimhaz

    Good ideas, however I’ve always believed the NBN advantages relative to the cost are overstated. It is more a matter of not falling behind other countries.

  9. Kenneth McGrath

    I agree with everything except raising the dole by $50. I have sent this to morrison twice and have received no response.
    “What empirical peer reviewed evidence do you use to reach a determination that two people relying on income support and in exactly the same circumstances need a different level of support to survive in 21st century Australia? Why is a pensioner paid 40% more than a person on newstart/austudy when both would logically have directly comparable and equal costs of living? I would appreciate it if you could supply me with the evidence so I can see how you have arrived at your decision as I believe that a government must make such important decisions based on evidence and not on non-evidence based ideology.”
    There should be 1 payment that is the same for all don’t you think?
    Cheers, Ken.

  10. Reg

    I started preparing the report in conjunction with local and international companies at the time Badgerys Creek airport was being heavily promoted in the media. The companies pulled out in disgust when the government could not even grasp the fundamentals of the concept vision.
    The report is basically about the true (best) use of expensive infrastructure to transform stagnating areas of the country (and not waste it just where local interests demand). The report is about 26 pages but the synopsis in 3. Best to just e-mail whole or synopsis if you give an address.

    I am looking for truly interested parties (Councils, business and community leaders) that look to support the growth and prosperity of the north Pacific Coast (unrecognized tourist paradise). I look to keep the report fairly confidential as the media appears to have very set agenda and cant grasp the alternatives and major opportunities out there.

    Let me know if there is a suitable e-mail address.

    Reg H

  11. John Lord

    Kaye for PM. She has ideas. The Government is still looking in the dictionary for the meaning.

  12. Kaye Lee


    I would like to point out that the Greens have most of those ideas as policy. I am a collector of ideas more than a creator, though my vision for the CES is growing to mammoth proportions the more I think about it. If only we could connect education with training and employment and support networks – it might cost a lot but the gains would be immense.

    As for being PM, the current state of politics does not make it attractive for people who want to achieve things. I am not interested in photo shoots and media conferences and shouting matches. I could not stick to a script handed to me by someone else. And I could not tolerate the time-wasting and the bad behaviour and abusive language and blatant lies.

  13. Anomander

    Beat me to it Kaye, I was about to say that most of these ideas are Greens policies – those extremists radical bastards.

    To me, investment in science and technology is beyond crucial for our nation. With the end of the resources age, we need alternatives pathways that will deliver progress and development far into the foreseeable future and science, technology and education are the three streams that will best deliver for all of us.

    Given the relatively high education standards and a history of innovation, massive long-term investment in science is the best course of action to place us at the forefront of development.

    We need our government to inject substantial funds and direct our energies into ground-breaking science like France, who have developed the Large Hadron Collider and are embarking on a 30-year project to develop a fusion reactor. Hell, our medical research once led the world and could do so again, with the right impetus. In contrast we can’t even build a major road or a functional NBN without political division and jockeying.

    These are the technologies that will drive us into the future and from which we can derive jobs, investment and revenue to sustain us all forever.

  14. Michael Taylor

    M-R, our web hosting costs are $250 a month. Without the ads I wouldn’t be able to cover the costs and as such afford to keep the site running.

  15. David Bruce

    What does the government know that we don’t? Either they expect to return us to serfdom, or they have lost the plot, or some major events are brewing? On the other hand, it might be better to build after the war? Just wondering…

  16. stephentardrew

    Great article Kaye as usual short succinct and to the point. It is a list worthy of attention.

  17. lawrencewinder

    As the chap from the CPA’s said after “Eleventy’s” Lead Balloon speech to business.”.. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic!”

    And then there was the French fellow from French High Speed Rail commenting before the ruling rabble assumed power, that Australia was in perfect shape for this infrastructure only to have “Eleventy” say the next day that we couldn’t afford it.

    These mongrels are so bereft of productive ideas that Keating’s “Banana Republic” is being realised.

  18. Bronte ALLAN

    Sadly almost all these great, nation building, employment opportunity, manufacturing possibilities are just that under this inept bunch of lying toe rags–just “possibilities”! I agree with Ken who suggests the dole should be on par with the pension, as one all-encompassing welfare payment. Think of the savings in bureaucracy for just this “minor” adjustment!

  19. Matthew Oborne

    I am going to be very specific in some of the avenues this country needs to take, Kayes list above is certainly needed but I feel our opportunities and our obligations to the people are being consistently let down in other areas.

    Aquaculture it has the potential to be many times more profitable and useful than other form of food production, we have at least three large saltfields currently suitable to providing a large proportion of the worlds food needs yet two of the salt fields are earmarked to become marinas. in the current form high end abalone aquaculture has been an intense focus of industry but we have the opportunity and existing infrastructure to make this a reality.

    Legislation needs to be introduced that enables a test of legislation that is passed. It would mean new legislation could be tested before an individual or group is caught in the entanglements of new legislation. in short testing legislation based on the known stakeholders situations. An independant body needs to be set up to do this.

    a review of all legislation that can be seen to breach common law principles and our constitution should identify the only rights we have left that in short we can not actively practice.

    a basic income.
    Many mental health issues are created purely out of poverty, so to many legal issues, fines and offences are often the direct result of poverty, Poverty increases our health costs and affects the countries overall prosperity. People need enough income regardless of their circumstance whether they have ID or not. Consumer confidence, employment and the markets would benefit greatly from more certainty regarding the consumers confidence to interact with the retail sector.

    Focussing on jobs having a future and opportunities for advancement and training would greatly improve the situation of our unskilled workforce,

    Interest rates.

    If we have too few people looking for work interest rates climb until people lose their jobs, if we have too few skilled people interest rates climb until it is corrected. Here government and the financial sector directly punish the masses for situations out of their control. Unemployed are demonised yet we understand we need some people to be unemployed so we are able to afford our mortgages. A system that addresses the reality of the situation rather than seeing poor bashing as a legitimate sport.

    Using revolutionary technology.
    Today we have a real option to have electric vehicles that self drive, embracing as Kaye says technology, but using what are potential revolutionary ways to live like cars that dont need a driver would dramatically change our lives in a positive way. in the age of smart technology we could have active primary health care to prevent excess burden on our health system. Parliaments really dont have as much need to operate in ways that dont embrace technology, and indeed technology could be applied to give us more say in what due to lack of will is so called representative democracy, which is often choosing the lesser of evils.

    War and abuse of position.
    War is serious business and yet we saw our prime minister shopping for a war to get into so his approval ratings would rise. In making a case for war the decision should be taken away from the prime minister and handed to the UN or an independant body where war for political purposes is not considered.
    access to remedies of human rights breaches was diminshed under the Fraser government and were never reinstated, both sides of politics however support Australians having diminshed access to human rights and this needs to be reversed.

    Political Deception.
    Our democracy is effected when people lose faith in the political system and are increasingly despndent as the political sleight of hand that is so routine now. Politicians love laws but they hate laws that can negatively impact on them. We need legislated political honesty. Addressing Bracket creep is just an easy way to argue for lowering the top tax rate when we know this country would benefit more from increasing the tax threshold for low income earners. The Abbott government is not what they said they would be by any stretch of the imagination. Major changes that negatively impact the poor or disadvantaged should be subject to a peoples vote.

    community democracy.
    Community venues should have some time allocated for public speaking and submissions on issues to engage the public more than just a choice every three years. Put the Demos back in democracy.

    Those are my issues I have with the way this country has travelled and continues to travel. We deserve a better system than we have and we deserve better options than tony ten flags. One thing stands out. It took a ruthless opportunist and a far right wing media baron to sweep a government into power that polling has shown we were conned into voting in. Our rights and indeed our democracy has proved to be so easily swayed and thrown aside that people should be worried at how vulnerable our system is to being hijacked.

  20. eli nes

    Another piece from Kaye, that I cannot read without being depressed about the future of the children in primary school.
    We are rich but are not allowed to believe it, we are acting from greed, and accepting of unexposed rorting hypocritically indignant at politicians who are exposed for that which we do at our level.
    The source of traumatic worry is any solution proposed by the rabbutt will be based on his amoral prejudices and allow those with access through these flaws to rename his sexism, his racism and his economic ignorance in their favour.

  21. Jeanette

    All I can say wishful thinking with this hapless government whom I suspect unknowingly wrote the script for ABC Utopia, lots of media launches on things that don’t ever happen.

  22. Wally

    “Reinstate the Commonwealth Employment Service” and staff the service with people who have been unemployed so the staff can sympathise with the clients, understand their problems, provide information that is relevant and work with each other to improve the service provided by overcoming shortfalls that are ignored.

  23. doctorrob54

    This is beautiful work,how is it 51% of this nation can not see what is going on.Are majority of voters out there ………………????

  24. Nasser

    Wow, what a great article and actually hits the spot, I agree with all those points and I share the same view. I want to add to it as well.
    We need a fundamental shift in thinking about the future and how we do things.
    Starting with getting rid of political parties and have only independents. We will get the real representation of local issues. A mention here of Community Democracy by Matthew is spot on.

    Build regional Australia, We can do it with 4 major steps. High speed rail, all fibre NBN, Education and Tourism.
    Turning major towns into bigger cities to take pressure of capital cities and reduce pressure on the property market, as it would be more affordable. Every state would have 3 to 6 major cities where it would be major centre for services and employment. Entice large business to open and operate in regional Australia. Direct all immigrants and asylum seeks (yes, we can take them right away too) to spend at least 3 years in one of those major towns. After all, it will be where are new jobs are created.
    Major towns boost will also help smaller towns close by, as many people can find work easier and wont need to move to a capital city for employment. It would reduce the number of unemployment, especially youth unemployment. Businesses in smaller towns wont have to shut down if people are staying.

    Building a High speed rail all the way from Cairns to Adelaide. It would service the transport needs between the regional and capital cities for travellers and goods. It would also encourage holiday makers to take the train and possibly encourage more local holidays. As mentioned in the article, less cars and plains.
    Improve public transport and REDUCE the cost for travellers. A return ticket on the train between Gold Coast and Brisbane cost about $30. Imagine if you have to travel 5 days a week for work. That is a LOT of money for 1 hour travel in 1 direction. Public transport should be owned and operated by the Gov for the public and ticket should cover the cost, not for profit. It’s there to service the public!

    NBN, the liberals should save money and not even bother building their half baked network. It will not be a much better option than what we currently have with ADSL. So, why spend billions on something that will just double the speed of the current setup!!! We don’t need to double the speed with sub-standard copper lines.
    The real NBN we should be building is FTTP, a world class network, this is what will make a huge, massive difference. When we do have an all fibre network, the possibilities really are endless, we could have new business that we haven’t thought of as yet. Ask any geek and I am sure they can think of a few.
    All fibre network will put us ahead or at least on an equal footing with some other nations. We should not be left behind on such an important issue within our reach and will be a huge boost to the economy. I am not really sure why the Liberals are against it or don’t understand it. FTTP network can be many capitalists dream of creating business and jobs and have the whole world as your market. The future is linked with Advancing Technologies not mining, we haven’t even gotten out of the infancy stage in utilising the Internet.

    Education, overhaul the system in Australia. We need the best education system to ensure our best assets (People) have the best options ahead of them. Once we are known as world class, we will attract more and more international students.
    Utilise Major towns to be the education centres for overseas students with new and world class universities. Boost intake of students to help build and advance those universities R&D. Those students will boost the economy and it will grow yearly. Its a sustainable growth business.

    Tourism, why not make the big towns as well as costal towns a major tourist attractions. Yes, we get a lot of tourists every year but why can’t we double or triple visitor numbers. But we need more than the Big Banana or the Big Pineapple. We need to build major attractions, even Palmer’s dinosaur world idea would be great, theme parks in different cities and art / Aboriginal museums. Disney world in Cairns wouldn’t be a bad idea for many Asian tourists. Hospitality sector has been struggling for years. Lets build it up and create more jobs. Its a sustainable growth business.

    On another note, Commonwealth Employment Service I believe will have to be in the future plans in order to get unemployment addressed correctly and we have a system were getting a job, learning a new skill or studying for a certificate/diploma is easily and quickly organised.

  25. Reg

    Very well said Nasser. Actually the fast train linking just Brisbane and Sydney would result in remarkable change along the NSW coast and Gold Coast far beyond what is understood bringing prosperity and productivity to all the local communities. A tourist paradise. But the gov. cant even grasp the concept and the concept seems to offend the heads of the tourism industry.

  26. Kaye Lee

    Line 1: Sydney to Melbourne (2 hours 44 mins) comprising of Canberra to Sydney (1 hour) and Melbourne to Canberra (2 ½ hours).

    Line 2: Sydney to Brisbane (2 hours 37 mins) comprising of Sydney to Newcastle (40 mins); and Newcastle to the Gold Coast and Gold Coast to Brisbane.

    Once complete, the High Speed Rail would stretch 1,750km linking 11 major cities and regions all the way from Melbourne to Brisbane. The preferred alignment includes four capital city stations, four city-peripheral stations, and stations at the Gold Coast, Casino, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Southern Highlands, Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga and Shepparton.

  27. Matters Not

    All in favour of high speed rail but I’m not sure we have the population to support same. Take, as an example only, the line between Paris and Brussels, a distance of about 320 kilometres which takes about 75 minutes. Through the day there’s a Thalys train every hour or so, 20 plus return trips on most days (Thalys isn’t the only operator). Not sure total capacity but if you look at this link there’s hundreds and hundreds of seats and each one is allocated.

    If you book far enough in advance (months if possible), a seat costs about 30 euro or slightly less than $50 each way, but it’s much more expensive if you just ‘turn up’ and if you do the chances are you’ll miss out. Depending on time of day you might pay up to 100 euro $160.00 for a single journey. All the figures quoted are for 2nd class, with 1st class costing about 50% more.

    People use the train, even though at times it can be cheaper to fly, because the airports are some distance from the city centre and because of the wasted time with check ins, security and so on at airports.

    While trains are certainly a very good way to travel around Europe, again, because we simply don’t have the population, I can’t see high speed trains being viable. The railways lines would have far, far too much ‘down time’. Much as I regret that.

  28. Kaye Lee

    Matters Not,

    Melbourne to Sydney is one of the busiest air routes in the world. High speed rail could alleviate the need for a second Sydney airport. Once fully operational (from 2065 if we start planning now), HSR could carry approximately 84 million passengers each year, with express journey times of less than three hours between Melbourne-Sydney and Sydney-Brisbane.

  29. Matters Not

    Yes Kaye the Sydney to Melbourne air route is about the fifth busiest in the world.

    But I would like to see a link shows something like 230 000 people a day (365 days a year) would use that line? Somewhat fanciful I suspect.

    Thalys, for example, only gets 7 million passengers a year on all its routes in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany with about 50% being business and the rest being tourists. That’s about 19 000 passengers a day.

  30. Kaye Lee

    Matters Not,

    They did extensive study on that

    The greatest demand in the study area, as represented by the number of trips within and between sectors, was for relatively short trips between the capital cities and adjacent sectors.

    For example, in 2009:
    • Approximately 35 million trips were made between Melbourne and the intermediate area between Melbourne and Canberra.
    • Approximately 24 million trips were made between Sydney and the intermediate area between Sydney and Canberra.
    • Approximately 19 million trips were made between the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

    Trips between the capital cities (that is, with their origin in one capital city and destination in another) are smaller in comparison, although are comparable in terms of passenger kilometres due to the long distances involved. Examples are:
    • Over six million trips were made between Sydney and Melbourne.
    • Almost four million trips were made between Sydney and Brisbane.

    They go on to justify their estimates of future demand in some detail if you are interested.

  31. Matters Not

    Had a quick look Kaye but not impressed. For example they talk about 19 million trips between Brisbane and the Gold Coast which is certainly on the high side, by about 50%. Further any number of those trips are very short journeys of only a few kilometres. Such journeys can’t possibly be included (sensibly) in any HSR calculations.

    HSR works when distances are great, passenger numbers per journey are large and stops are few and far between so that speeds approach (say) 300 kph. It would be a nonsense to use such trains on what is now well serviced by suburban trains which spend considerable time slowing down, at rest and then gathering speed. Besides new lines to take HSR will be required. Presumable they will not replace existing track in most instances.

    As you point out, they are estimates and it seems to me they have about as much credibility as the car ‘tunnel’ operators here is Brisbane which over estimated demand by a significant degree and went broke in a very short time.

  32. Kaye Lee

    Possibly so Matters Not. They were done by Infrastructure Australia so I considered them a credible source. Beyond zero have also done a HSR study and say it can be done for about $30 billion cheaper.

  33. Nasser

    Kaye Lee, I have seen the figures and travel times you mentioned, also the HSR would be finished by 2065. This is the wrong plan or wrong way to go about it. That plan is looking at speeds of 250 – 275 KPH, and will take up to 50 years to finish, that is 50 years??? How slow will the work be to take this long. The plan should look at speeds of 400 – 450 KPH that Japan and China are testing and aiming for and get the lines build in 20 or so years. We don’t want this to be another half baked Liberals NBN.

    I am not sure if its possible but we need to have the lines used for high speed goods transport. We get a few trucks off the road and it would be faster and cheaper cost for business to transport goods between capital cities.
    If we are only looking at people transport then we might as well wait a few years for Elon Musk Hyperloop as a better option, which will be faster and a lot cheaper to build.

  34. Kaye Lee

    I have read about the hyperloop before. I think the distances in Australia make it less viable.

    A lot of time for the HSR is taken up in acquiring the land corridor. Construction of the whole HSR system would take around 30 years.

    For the purpose of evaluation, the study assumed the initial stage between Sydney and Canberra would operate from 2035, with the Sydney-Melbourne line operational from 2040. Brisbane-Gold Coast would be completed in 2051. Gold Coast-Newcastle would be the last stage to be built, with the complete Brisbane-Melbourne line operational by 2058. It is possible the program could be accelerated, with the Sydney-Melbourne line operational by 2035. In this case the Sydney-Canberra stage could be operational by 2030. Assuming funding, financing and all relevant approvals were in place and preliminary design had been completed, the earliest that main construction work could reasonably start would be 2022.

  35. Wally


    I don’t think high speed rail is designed to carry freight, other than news reports mentioning high speed freight (that I don’t believe or trust) this is the only link I could find to support my belief but I am no expert in this area and stand to be corrected.

    When I visited Japan in the mid 1980’s I travelled on a high speed train, it was comfortable, affordable and obviously very fast. Back then I did notice that freight trains used different lines to the high speed trains and there was considerable distance between the lines to avoid impact occurring.

    In Victoria we cannot even catch a train to get to either of our airports so I think a high speed train between capital cities would be very good. By the time you get to Tullamarine, park your car and check in an hour before departure you could already be half way to Sydney on a fast train.

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