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With all that is wrong with Australia, all we hear about is boats

I truly detest how this country is treating asylum seekers and I detest the policies of both the Coalition and Labor – none of which remotely consider the onshore processing of refugees who arrive or attempt to arrive by boat.

I also detest how the asylum seeker issue is thrust front and centre by the government as the issue which will most likely decide who wins the next federal election. With nothing else to take to the election, naturally it’s all that the government wants us to be focused on.

And of course, the compliant Murdoch media is an active agent in promoting the discourse in our popular consciousness that we need to keep our borders safe from ‘boat people’.

I live in hope that one day (soon, I hope) that we witness an Australian government adopt both a heart and a humane policy on ‘boat people’ and I would like to see it embraced by most Australians. The latter, of course, would require an absolute turnaround to our popular consciousness.

End of story.

I don’t want to talk about ‘boat people’ any more. With all that is wrong with Australia, all we hear about is boats.

Instead of the government and the Murdoch media telling us what the important issues are, we should be turning it back onto them.

Take away the blather and the bravado about our ‘right to be tough’ towards asylum seekers and dig into the core of what really is important to us and this is what you’ll find:

As at June 2015 over 753,000 Australians were unemployed. In September 2013 – the month of the federal election – the number was just over 706,000. So since the election 47,000 more people are out of work. What is the government doing about the trend? Nothing. What is the media saying about it? Nothing.

Are there more people unemployed in Australia than the number of asylum seekers attempting to come here by boat? Yes.

Housing affordability has gone through the roof (excuse the pun) as have house prices themselves. The median house price in Sydney – our most populated city – is expected to hit $1,000,000 by the end of the year while Australia wide it sits at $660,000. Young people are now struggling more than ever to enter the housing market as the “Australian dream” of home ownership is under threat. But not according to our Treasurer Joe Hockey who insists that houses in Sydney are not unaffordable while the Prime Minister says he wants house prices to rise. That’s right. Rise. With young people struggling to buy a house at today’s prices our Prime Minister wants them to pay even more, despite the fact that housing affordability already represents a long-term structural problem that has been neglected for decades. So, what then can I assume our government is doing about housing affordability? Well based on the attitude of our Treasurer and Prime Minister, nothing. It’s not a problem apparently.

I wonder, are there more people in Australia struggling to or unable to buy a house than the number of asylum seekers attempting to come here by boat? Yes.

Over two and a half million Australians, including over 600,000 children live below the poverty line. That number represents almost 14% of our population. Welfare recipients are most at risk of living in poverty, yet these are the people most likely to be adversely affected by this government’s budgetary measures. So is the government doing anything to reduce the level of poverty in Australia? No.

Are there more people living below the poverty line in Australia than the number of asylum seekers attempting to come here by boat? Yes.

On any given night there are 105,000 homeless Australians with 42 per cent of these being under 25. We do not hear the media talk about this as a damning blight of our society and neither do we hear the government offering any solution to it. But can we expect them to when Tony Abbott says that homelessness is a ‘choice‘?

And by the way, are there more homeless people in Australia than the number of asylum seekers attempting to come here by boat? Yes.

Around one in five women in Australia have experienced some form of domestic violence. These are “epidemic proportions” to the point that domestic violence has now become a national emergency. As has the number of women killed by a violent partner: with at least one women murdered every week. What is the government doing about it? Not much by the look of it.

Are there more people in Australia experiencing domestic violence than the number of asylum seekers attempting to come here by boat? Yes.

Australia is now the most expensive country to live in and Australians are “struggling to cope as the cost of living pressures bite“. An estimated one in three Australians cannot meet their cost of living expenses on their current incomes. What is the government doing about it? Nothing. What is the media saying about it? Nothing.

Are there more people in Australia struggling with the cost of living than the number of asylum seekers attempting to come here by boat? Yes.

Our economy is “grinding into stagnation” and rather than the three or so per cent growth each year we’ve come to expect, we might have to get used to 2 per cent GDP growth. And as a result, lower living standards can be expected while “everything here is going to be much tougher than before and compared to the rest of the world”. So what is the government doing about it (apart from blaming Labor)? Nothing. “The government neither has no idea – let along any proposal, plan or program – for how to boost Australian growth back up to three or four per cent per year“. They’re not even talking about it. Meanwhile, some of our largest and most potentially-innovative sectors are held back by the Abbott Government’s bureaucracy and regulation.

And will more Australians be affected by a stagnant economy and lower living standards than the number of asylum seekers attempting to come here by boat? Yes.

Oh how I could go on. I only wish the media would too. I wish the media would tell us not only the truth about the Abbott Government but question their appalling attitude towards climate change, the environment, job security, racism, Indigenous Australians, human rights … take a pick!

And how about our spiraling debt?

And how about Tony Abbott’s record of lies and broken promises?

Yet, with all that is wrong with Australia, all we hear about is boats.


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  1. trishcorry

    Thank you. As I agreed with Victoria’s post the other day – it is time we start having these conversations.

  2. Florence nee Fedup

    Which pleases Abbott. He believes he can win any election by repeating his last two campaigns. Great big toxic tax that does nothing for CC. Keep screaming they are coming to get us. Boasting without giving us any evidence that he has stopped the boats.

    That is all he is wishing to talk about.

    The question is, are we the suffering public going to assist Abbott is fighting the next election on his agenda, on his playing field.

    Or are we going to demand he talks about what most are concerned about.

    Yes, the economy and how we use it to create a civil society. How to decide and implement infrastructure that is needed for this country to grow.

  3. M-R

    I should like to try to have a conversation with any LNP suppporter about WHY. Or perhaps HOW …
    Why does s/he support this group of lying bastards; and how is it possible that s/he does ?

  4. Harquebus

    I don’t think that the Indonesians will be to pleased about the return of asylum seekers transiting through their country.
    I would prefer to see the causes of people fleeing in boats addressed.

    When we consume more than our planet can provide, these problems are inevitable.

    “We are already consuming 140 per cent of Earth’s sustainable living resources — that is, Earth’s natural living ecosystem is collapsing.”

    The solution has to be economic contraction and population reduction. Otherwise, with business as usual, that great destroyer we call economic growth, we can only expect more of the same and with fatal consequences.

  5. Kaye Lee

    Not only did they stop the boats, they axed the job destroying taxes that were holding back investment in Australia. Thank goodness we got rid of those billions in revenue. Now that the adults are in charge and we are open for business the unemployment rate is dropping and investment is flooding in. Oh….hang on…..

  6. aravis1

    Very timely, Michael. Next question: how do we get this to the consciousness of millions of apathetic Australians? And of course, those who are beaten down by life. Big task.
    Kaye, an exercise in “truthiness”? O how I hate that word and the mindset that invented and accepts it. If I were to have a rant right now, it would be against the Americanised culture that is creeping in and the putrefaction it brings with it. It’s not as if they were showing all that much success in their own culture…

  7. aravis1

    M-R, try having this conversation on any FB post from The Australian. I have been driven to despair by trying to get through to them, or just get an intelligent answer to a question, without mindless abuse. I doubt reasoned argument would help any of them, simply because they are wedded to their worldview and do not want it changed. Sadly too, there is a huge lack of ability to think critically. And therein lies a cause: to teach critical and analytical thinking in schools…

  8. Michael Taylor

    Neil, you seem to miss the point. From 2007-2013 the media were very active in promoting the failings of the government, which is something they are not doing to the Abbott Government.

    You also forgot to mention that under Gillard the unemployment rate fell below 5 per cent. Not a bad result, don’t you think?

  9. John Lord

    Advance Australia FAIR.

  10. keerti

    Michael, you clearly don’t get it! We, the liberal government, are developing an industry that will employ thousands. The next stage in the turn back the boats program is to build a series of lookout posts on remote islands between australia and the rest of the world. Just like in the second world war. Each wun will be staffed by two operatives on 6 month work for the dole contracts. As they will only have to do any work when they actually see a boat they will only be given the essentials of life (food and water). They will have internet access, but only to selected material provided by murdochs free press…we will send all the Aboriginals back to Indonesia (they were the first wave of boat people) and they must have come from there.
    This program is only in it’s infancy so we don’t know where it will go, but it has been fully costed ! We got help from Colin Barnett with that!

  11. Graham Houghton

    The dice are loaded and we cop the crap. How about we name and shame everyone we know who voted for this gang of lying, immoral, cheating, thieving, ignorant, incompetent, narcissistic bastards. We could have a marble Wall of Shame outside the entrance to the Pigpen in Canberra; a memorial to remind everyone how stupid the Australian voting public is and how careful we have to be with our vote.

  12. Lee

    “That is 220,00 people lost their jobs under Rudd/Gillard”

    Hey Neil, please tell us how your beloved Liberal government is “fixing up Labor’s mess”. How does importing workers provide jobs for unemployed Australians?

  13. Florence nee Fedup

    Michael, debt and debit were also trending down albeit slowly but downwards under Swan and Gillard. They may have had better luck if that dollar stayed high over extended period, never experience before.

    High dollar caused by recorded windfall profits of the mining industry. One can wonder what would have occurred if Abbott, miners and MSM had allowed a MRRT back in the time of Rudd. Money that could have been used to help industry transfer to the new economy and technology. Maybe we would have a auto industry, if government aid was available for them to survive until the dollar came down.

    I don’t want to bring up boats again, but Abbott as Opposition leader opposed and block all that Labor attempted. Would things been different if Abbott had did as Shorten, support Gillard’s attempt to change legalisation to go ahead with the Malaysian Solution, which was only the beginning of working with others in the region. Then we had Abbott shoot down the Houston Expert Panel recommendations. Yes, Abbott refuse all. All he was interested in was turning back boats and TPV. Not that interested in offshore processing. In fact not interested in processing at all. Has written into legalisation that any universal laws such as the UNHCR and refugee convention is not to be considered.

    Yes, Opposition role is to oppose. Doing so, they also must take responsibly for any harm caused by their opposition.

  14. Florence nee Fedup

    I think I seen the figure of around one million temporary workers in the country at this time. That couldn’t be right, could it.

    Anyway there are a lot.

    Something else that Howard can be proud about.

  15. Lee

    “And therein lies a cause: to teach critical and analytical thinking in schools…”

    I wish. Apparently pushing Christianity onto students is more important.

  16. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    The short term solution is to vote the LNP out. The long term solution is to find politicians who GENUINELY care about the people they are elected to serve and who actively seek good advice about policies and the economy and follow that advice.

  17. guest

    Abbott, even as a student, has accused others of inciting ‘terror’ At present, ISIS provides a reason for talk of terror and how they are coming to get us all. As well. he is prone to heckling others if he disagrees with them. Greg Sheridan tells us some of this in his memoir of student days in the Weekend Australian.

    Distraction is his modus operandi. Hence his continual bike-rding during the pre-election period in 2013 and his handful of three-word slogans. He still drags them out now as great achievements and a distraction from the real problems his government faces.

    One of his boasts is that he stopped the boats. The word is that Oz is the only country using the navy to stop and turn/tow back boats carrying asylum seekers. One wonders why, if it is such a good idea, no one in Oz thought of it before. Abbott rides heavily on the word ‘illegal’ when referring to refugees and boats. Yet we are told by others that it is not illegal to seek asylum.

    So it is interesting that no one has taken up a legal challenge to Abbott’s so-called success. Certainly, Indonesia is affronted by its unilateral approach. The UN and Amnesty have criticised it. There are large numbers who disapprove here in Oz, especially with Shorten adding it to his list of approaches to the problem.

    Can the turn/tow back policy be challenged legally? If so, why has it not been challenged?

    As well,why are the Coalition claims about the repealing of the Carbon Tax not challenged? In fact, there is hardly any Coalition policy which is credible. Remember the Great Big Debt?

    How does the Coalition get away with its twisted propaganda?

  18. Lee

    “So it is interesting that no one has taken up a legal challenge to Abbott’s so-called success. ”

    A group of human rights lawyers are working towards having Abbott and co. hauled off to The Hague.

  19. stephentardrew

    Neil you are an idiot. Austerity does not work; eviscerating manufacturing does not wok; importing low paid labor is an abomination; signing trade agreements with ISDS clauses is anti-democratic selling out of national sovereignty; global warming denial is for the intellectually and logically challenged; the deficit is not a problem as a percentage of GDP; the renewables industry is highly successful overseas; large infrastructure projects are great for stimulus and add to the balance sheet and on and on it goes.

    Either show some contrition or post with your sycophantic mates.

    Conservatives are destroying this country out of ignorance and pure greed.

    Why waste your time with the truth when you can live in ignorance?

  20. stephentardrew

    Buy the way Neil you didn’t really read he article did you because if you did you would no post such irrelevant cap.

  21. stephentardrew

    Whoops excellent article by the way Micheal.

  22. Andreas Bimba

    The Queensland Campbell Newman government was slaughtered by the Labor Party last election after one term and a record majority and they were the same sort of right wing servants of the rich elite and the fossil fuel industry as the Abbott regime.

    Even Shorten should be able to deliver victory but unfortunately the federal Labor Party is really neo-liberal team B and will just steer a bit to the left after the Coalitions big turn to the right.

    This is the real problem we face. A 2 party system that only offers a choice between an extreme neo-liberal party and a more rational neo-liberal party. The long term trend of neo-liberalism is what is destroying our economic and social foundation and increasing poverty, unemployment and wealth disparity.

    To elect Bill Shorten next federal election will not solve our nations most important problems. We must vote for the minor parties like the Greens and bring about real positive change for Australians and the environment.

  23. aravis1

    Don’t agree, Andreas. The :Labor Party has gone too far right, but to call it a neo-liberal party shows you don’t understand the term at all. Neo-liberal is in fact, as the LNP iteration, a fascist party. Labor is not. Because Labor can be talked with, it is not secretive, and it does listen. Which is why it will be the next government, and we can all pile into it then and force a change for the better.

  24. Neil of Sydney

    The Queensland Campbell Newman government was slaughtered by the Labor Party

    This is what Beattie/Bligh did to Queensland

    The same graph applies to most/all ALP governments

    Austerity does not work

    What is your solution? More spending? Best not to do reckless spending that gets us into trouble in the first place. Look at what lefties did to Greece.

  25. kizhmet

    NOS – I don’t profess to understand your gross generalisation. “Lefties” had nothing to do with Greece’s demise. If you listen to the IMF, they claim enforced AUSTERITY measures resulted in a 25% retraction in the Greek economy and a higher percentage of unemployment than recorded in the US during the Great Depression. Those imposing the austerity measures on Greece are not “lefties” but businessmen who fail to understand running a business isn’t the same as running a government.

  26. Harquebus

    “renewables industry is highly successful overseas”
    Because of slave labour like conditions and the resulting unprocessed toxic pollution in China.

  27. Lee

    Kizhmet, it’s a waste of time trying to point out the truth to Neil. Others have tried on numerous posts on this site. He still blames the progressives for everything and refuses to admit the problems created by the actions of conservatives.

  28. Neil of Sydney


    Greece got into trouble because of reckless spending. Austerity was tried as a solution to the problem Greece was in. OK it did not work. But would more spending work?

    Best not to get into trouble in the first place. And ALP policies will head us us the direction of Greece.

  29. kizhmet

    @ aravis1 “And therein lies a cause: to teach critical and analytical thinking in schools…”

    I did a brief stint teaching (Secondary)- English. Believe me, this was a high priority in my classrooms using – you guessed, newspaper articles.

    Critical and analytical thinking are such fundamental “life” skills, one must ask why are they not compulsory? Another subject I would add to the senior secondary curriculum – politics; a good opportunity to encourage students to register to vote as well!

  30. eli nes

    the media will pursue the rabbutt if the questions are put provocatively and urgently.
    Perhaps hockey and pyne use family trusts to pay no tax and no medicare levy how many laborites are in bed with any ‘national party’ trusts???
    labor averages $400000 pa in claims on the tax payer and the coalition $500000 no fun there??
    robb had the black dog nofun there
    the rabbutt doesn’t take questions no fun there or perhaps labor could answer questions for him???? could be fun????

  31. Nasser

    Neil of Sydney, you seem to be targeting and using figures that were impacted by the GFC. Australia didn’t get a recession and could have been very well been because of the Labor government efforts in keeping the economy going. But the GFC did have an effect on business and consumer confidence, which to this day has not fully recovered from.

    The solution, well, start with investment into infrastructure, not reckless spending. I’ll share 2 below of what I think.
    Investment into NBN FTTP, not FTTN. You can’t start a project and do only 80%, the Libs NBN might as well not be done and save money, as ADSL will do the same job, just slower.
    Labor NBN will increase speeds but will also be building a network for the future, which will create new business, will set Australia to be able to compete with the rest of the world, will be able to attract new investment into the Technology sector. The Libs can’t see how HUGE the right NBN can be for Government and health services, Education and business.

    Investment into Renewable Energy, creating new jobs, creating new businesses while reducing carbon emission and helping the environment. This will need to be done sooner or later, so what the Libs are doing is just delaying it for future government. Why not start now? Why couldn’t Australia be a renewable energy exporter?

    China’s bold new idea to create the “global energy internet”

  32. Wayne Turner


  33. Andreas Bimba

    @aravis1 The Australian Labor Party is indeed neo-liberal. Neo-liberalism is equivalent to laissez-faire economics and it really took off with Reagan, Thatcher and Hawke/Keating.

    Neo-liberalism comprises small government, low taxes, balanced budgets, global free trade, deregulation, privatisation, lower wages for ALL WAGE EARNERS, destruction of unions, corporate power, disenpowerment of the people, fractional reserve banking, subservience of all issues such as environmental protection and workers well being to the right to make money, individual freedom for the wealthy at the same time as tight control for the majority, media control, unrestrained lobbying of political parties and politicians and so forth.

    The ALP is not as right wing as the Coalition but they usually retain most of the Coalitions neo-liberal changes and have introduced plenty of their own. For example many of the free trade agreements and privatisations. They have had a much better approach to protection of the environment and tackling global warming and have generally provided better health, education and social welfare services but in the economic sphere there is in fact very little difference. Our manufacturing industry for example has been destroyed just as fast under Labor as the Coalition. Despite the stimulatory spending by Wayne Swan after the GST, Labor still follows the balanced budget goal even though this is inherently economically contractionary.

    We never got a chance to see a well run liberal democracy or a social democracy with a well managed economy like Singapore or Scandinavia or Germany because the ALP were too busy chasing the swinging voter that Rupert and friends were successfully steering further to the right.

    We should not just blame the Coalition for our poor predicament but also the co-conspirator the ALP and our failed 2 party system.

    @Neil of Sydney You are clearly beyond help and it is obvious you are a classic non thinking conservative that believes all the drivel that the right wing commercial media delivers. On the issue of Greek government debt. Do you realise that nearly all of this debt did not arise from Greek government spending either wasteful or otherwise? The bulk of this debt was money used to bail out local Greek banks that were owned by the big Northern European banks and that profited greatly from recklessly lending to Greek and regional oligarchs and businesses before most of these loans inevitably went bad. This original bailout money went to the Northern European banks and the Greeks received none of it but were left with the debt which has increased greatly as more loans were provided to cover the interest payments. This was a scam by the bankers just like the GFC where the profits were privatised and the losses socialised. Millions of Greeks have been pushed into unemployment and poverty and ignorant fools like yourself keep blaming the victims and are happy to see the bankers move on to the next scam.

  34. Neil of Sydney

    and that profited greatly from recklessly lending to Greek and regional oligarchs and businesses before most of these loans inevitably went bad.

    So reckless spending/lending was the origin of the Greek crisis. Not austerity.

    Thank you

  35. Andreas Bimba

    Following the fraudulent bailout of the Greek banks, the Troika comprising the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank then imposed severe government spending cuts upon the Greek government and provided no further funds for the Greek economy and the inevitable result was severe economic contraction which REDUCED the capacity of the Greek government to meet its debt repayment schedule. The economy shrank by 25% between 2005 and 2010.

    In addition as Greece was in the eurozone they couldn’t even stimulate their economy with electronically printed or created money which is an option for sovereign currency holders.

  36. king1394

    Glad that the influence of Murdoch papers is waning but concerned that the development of one story to dominate the day seems to be now how all the media is running it. I’ve heard far more than I need to about the booing of a certain fine football player for example – a ten second report amongst the sporting news would have been enough. Another example is the ALP Federal Conference where the media concentrated ad nauseum on only two issues from the very many that were discussed.
    I would like to hear all the news, not this cherry-picked over-analysis of one or two issues

  37. Harquebus

    The main conspiracy theory is an orchestrated collapse of the global economy in order to install a one world government, the U.N. and a one world bank, the BIS. Greece is just part of the process.

    In my opinion, it is greed, incompetence and the depletion of resources compounded by population growth that is causing economic decay and environmental destruction. The powers that be are in a panic and are using every means possible to keep their privileged positions and are trying every trick in the book in order to keep their massive global ponzi scheme intact.

    It is a losing situation for them and for us. Physical realities trump political and economic ideology every time.

  38. Florence nee Fedup

    So some say it is Labor’s problem, 2 years later that the debt has doubled. Unemployment up. Electricity prices going through the roof. Business confidence down and look like losing AAA ratings. Public services cut. Families paying more.

    Carbon emissions rising.

    Yes, one can only blame Labor.

    Medicare and doctor’s surgery closing down, as they can’t afford to continue because of cuts to rebates.

    They are to blame when in government, They are to blame when in Opposition.

  39. aravis1

    Andreas, oddly enough, I’ve been reading Ian Wishart’s Totalitaria this evening, and i can see where you’re coming from now. Though I still consider that the ALP, though buckling to the worldwide globalisation, is trying gamely still to offer a moderate alternative. Whether they will be able to maintain the offer remains to be seen. We live indeed n interesting times – and that is truly a fitting curse.

  40. Kaye Lee

    On reflection, I find myself conflicted about this article. When I read it this morning I fully agreed with Michael. Refugees have never before been considered a ‘problem’ in this country and our reaction to asylum seekers on boats has been out of all proportion. We have far more pressing issues to deal with.

    But as I have thought more, I have come to feel that ‘the boats’ IS an important issue. Not because it in any way impacts on our lives directly – as Michael has so clearly pointed out, we should be focusing on our actual problems – but because it is the starting point for the selfishness and vile hatred that is growing in our community.

    How have we come to a point where most of us (?) demand that people who are asking for our help be turned away? What does that say about the society we have become?

    And then I read this article…

    “This is the lucky country. We like to think we achieve things through hard work; that we have earnt them. But really, we were just lucky to be born at the time we were in this country.

    So we look at the millions and millions of less fortunate in the world – especially refugees. There are about 60 million displaced people in the world of which over 20 million are official refugees in the world. We cannot help them all. And so we feel guilty.

    Then a strange thing happens.

    We begin to blame them for their misfortune. We blame them for having the bad luck to be born in a war torn country. We blame them for having the bad luck to live under an oppressive dictatorship. And then we blame them for daring to try and escape this for a better life.

    How dare they.

    We of the right do this in other areas as well. We blame the unemployed for being unemployed, the homeless for being homeless, and so on.

    Our view tends to be, “Well, I made it and am successful so why aren’t you? It must be because you are lazy.” And so on, and so forth.

    Yet how much of our success is through hard work and how much is through chance? Knowing the right person? Or being in the right place at the right time?

    Deep down we realise that luck plays a big part in our success. We feel guilty because others have not had the same luck.

    And so we blame them. They are lazy. They waste their money. They don’t want to work, and so on.

    With refugees, this guilt is magnified. Hell, these people didn’t even have the luck to be born here.

    Then we get to the other reason. Fear of the different. We fear the different. It’s okay to fear the different. Humans have been doing it for thousands of years.

    But we don’t like to admit it. In modern times we feel unable to admit that deep down we just don’t like some people because they are different. Different looks, different language, different religions, different customs.

    So we make up reasons. They don’t assimilate. They don’t contribute. They stay on welfare. They don’t follow our way of life. All of these may be true to an extent.

    But that is the argument used against the different for ever. But Australia is a nation of difference. And you know what? Over time the different blends into the normal. We discover that deep down they are just like us. Which of course makes us feel guilty about how lucky our lives are. And so it all starts over again.

    So we think of more reasons not to accept them. They should arrive “the right way”. Through the front door. Joining the queue. We justify this by saying that we should help the most needy, the most desperate, those who are left in refugee camps. We say the words but deep down we know that this means we won’t have to accept anybody.”

    The boats hysteria is symptomatic of an uglier side of our society that we MUST address just as we must address the incompetent embarrassing poison that is Abbott.

  41. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, I’m not saying we don’t need to focus on refugees, as we certainly do. But I do think that Abbott and the Mutdoch media would have us focus on them only.

  42. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee.
    I like your sentiment however, unless the causes are addressed, oppression, poverty, scarcity, desertification, overcrowding etc., people will continue to flee in boats. Accommodating asylum seekers is only one half of the problem.

    Here is something that I have just read. It refers to the U.S. but, I think it also applies to us.
    A photo for the boomers of which, I am one. I remember the days.

  43. Matters Not

    Yet how much of our success is through hard work and how much is through chance? Knowing the right person? Or being in the right place at the right time?

    Deep down we realise that luck plays a big part in our success.

    Keep asking such questions Kaye because they are really important. A Philosopher in the making methinks.

    As for ‘luck’ and its importance, can I suggest the works of Lester C Thurow.

    For my part, I know that ‘luck’ in the education, social, political, economic sense and the like has played a very, very important in my life.

    And I never forget it.

    But it has nothing to do with a ‘lord’.

  44. Andreas Bimba

    One of the perverse aspects of the drive to a more dog eat dog hard edged neo-liberal world is that the worse things get the more selfish and cruel people become. Hardship, worry and fear are amplifying selfishness, bigotry and hatred rather than tolerance and empathy. The collective good is being discarded in favour of looking after only oneself and ones immediate family. Even the environment gets ignored in the ever worsening battle of living. The mass media and corporate elite are clearly fanning the flames and exploiting this paradox.

    The US is even further down this path than Australia with the prosperous era following Roosevelt’s New Deal being forgotten and the electorate likely to increase their own pain by choosing the plutocratic and corporate madness of the right wing Tea Party and Heritage Foundation and entrenching the power of lobbyists over the legislative process. The US middle class is caught between the rich self serving plutocratic elite and high taxation to support the vested interests of the military, state security and expensive health and social support programs while their productive economy relentlessly shrinks.

    Have a close look at the more extreme followers of right wing groups like Reclaim Australia. I suspect they are mostly violent bigoted people who have had a hard life often with long periods of unemployment or have had many of the worst jobs available.

    The police and our system of justice also treat the less well off much more harshly than the more affluent. Our society is brutalising more and more of its members similar to how our prison system brutalises new inmates. To survive you become worse than rest but nearly all your victims are your brothers and sisters and not those hidden away in the corporate board rooms and the bureaucracy that are profiting from the current situation.

    The Liberals are on a winner here, divert more wealth to the affluent elite and the increasingly poorer and indebted members of the electorate votes for more. It also beats me that the once mighty working class still votes for a Labor Party that also follows the globalisation total free trade neo-liberal economic agenda that has led to the closure of thousands of businesses and has made hundreds of thousands of them unemployed.

    Happy days.

  45. Bilal

    It is quite clear that this incompetent government is using fear campaigns about terrorists, asylum seekers, indigenous settlements, trade unions and their superannuation funds, Muslims etc to divert attention from their idiocy. Plenty of other political opportunists and frauds have done the same thing for generations but those who can read are becoming more and more aware of the technique. If it was not for the leadership of the Opposition in the hands of John Roskam’s friend, the polls would be even better. Speaker Bishop is doing a good job in bringing down the front bench morons, as is Abbott’s hopelessness.

  46. Pingback: With all that is wrong with Australia, all we hear about is boats . Where is Tony Abbott? | olddogthoughts

  47. Lee

    “The boats hysteria is symptomatic of an uglier side of our society that we MUST address just as we must address the incompetent embarrassing poison that is Abbott.”

    Kaye has nailed it.

  48. Lee

    “It also beats me that the once mighty working class still votes for a Labor Party that also follows the globalisation total free trade neo-liberal economic agenda that has led to the closure of thousands of businesses and has made hundreds of thousands of them unemployed.”

    Agreed. It also beats me how a coalition, that is clearly only serving 1% of the population, gets nearly half the votes. It’s a sad indictment upon the intelligence of Australians.

  49. totaram

    Andreas: You engaged with NoS and tried to explain the Greek crisis, (which he knows nothing about clearly) and you get this:

    “So reckless spending/lending was the origin of the Greek crisis. Not austerity.

    Thank you”

    Do you see how it is done? Andrew Bolt and others are expert at this kind of thing. They can take any statement and cherry-pick relevant parts to make it look just the opposite. Engaging with such people is pointless.

  50. Andreas Bimba

    @totaram Indeed, NofS is clearly a hopeless case and like Bolt are not in search of reason but soldiers for the cause of narrow self interest at the expense of the majority. Some readers however may have thought his arguments had some merit and so it still may be better to offer a brief rebuttal.

    @Lee The top 1% are indeed the main beneficiaries of our Coalition governments, and vice versa, but my guess is that the top 20% probably still benefit from their wealth shifting policies. So 80% are disadvantaged as there is bugger all real economic growth happening, yet as you mention they still manage to win elections. The other perverse factor is the frustration of all efforts to limit global warming by the Coalition and to subsidise the fossil fuel industry and worst of all coal use and mining. Not are they just recklessly endangering humanity and the biosphere but they are INCREASING THE ECONOMIC COST of transitioning our economy to a sustainable economy which is UNAVOIDABLE. They bleet about removing Labors toxic carbon tax or ETS and the savings this provides to consumers but are not held to account for the fact that this action will in the end greatly increase the economic burden on everyone. Putting a price on carbon is the most economically efficient market mechanism to reduce emissions which all nations of the world must do now. The mass media as always is too brain dead to fire this message back at them.

  51. Neil of Sydney

    Andreas: You engaged with NoS and tried to explain the Greek crisis

    The Greek crisis was caused by reckless spending. When faced with the crisis the powers that be tried austerity as a solution. But austerity did not cause the crisis.

  52. Kaye Lee

    Nor did it solve it

  53. Neil of Sydney

    And more spending is the solution?

  54. Kyran

    “I live in hope that one day (soon, I hope) that we witness an Australian government….”.
    Sorry, I bastardised you’re sentence. I do, however, share your desire for an Australian government. For nearly two decades now, I have endured Australian government’s employing spin doctors over policy advisors. If any one cares to goggle weasel word, it is amusing in this context.
    Seems to me, a spin doctor is employed to take an unpalatable truth and bludgeon it into a ten or fifteen second palatable sound bite of nearly accurate news. A policy advisor was, usually, a career public servant, with security of tenure and an obligation to be frank and fearless in their advice to the incumbent. Not, necessarily, Sir Humphrey Appleby. Now, all that continuity, is defined on annual contractual terms, on the whim of the government.
    My cynicism appears to be noted by other posters. I remain critical of spin. Your reference to ‘right to be tough’ type thinking, raises a question. If these BASTARDS are so TOUGH and HATE all the disenfranchised (pick a subject), why don’t these TOUGH BASTARDS declare to their constituents, and the world, we are no longer signatories to the conventions we have signed?
    Grateful, as always, Mr Taylor. I apologise without reservation for my keyboard, which appears to have developed Tourette’s Take care

  55. Florence nee Fedup

    Greece like most other countries was victim of GFC. Like most countries except Australia, austerity programmes made their problems worse. Yes, cutting spending led to bigger debts.

    Australia went against the trend, increasing spending. Came through GFC with little bruising.

    Increase spending can and does lead to smaller debt.

    Making Greece cut more spending, demanding debts being paid will lead to that country’s collapse.

  56. Neil of Sydney

    Greece like most other countries was victim of GFC

    No it was not. Greece was a victim of the policies the ALP wants to inflict upon us. And if the ALP wins the next election, Greece here we come.

  57. The AIM Network

    Neil, what a ridiculous comment.

  58. Nasser

    Greece needs to spend, Government and people need to spend, when there is no spending it creates recessions.
    I am not saying reckless spending, but increase spending to stimulate the economy and the service industry.
    The service industry will get the economy moving, money changing hands builds momentum and builds confidence in the people and the country.
    Government spending to boost tourism and export, bring new money into the economy, not sure if they have a big export market.
    Increase taxes on high end business and the wealthy, with a minimum tax payable and reduce tax evasion, I think that is a big issue for them.
    No tax on lower income earners and small business to help increase spending on services. Being a consumer is not always a bad thing.

    As most taxes are collected from high end anyway, increasing taxes on it rather than lower incomes will collect more taxes and wont affect people’s spending much. The government can tax lower income and small business but only when the economy is moving along nicely, to help pay the loans.

    Of course its easier said than done. But less spending and more tax to repay the loans is not the solution.

  59. Florence nee Fedup

    Neil, you have answered your own question. Whether countries spent or not before GFC, they came out worse when austerity budgets were put in place.

  60. Florence nee Fedup

    It was the policies of the ALP that kept Australia’s head above water during the GFC. Led to AAA ratings from there agencies.

  61. Neil of Sydney

    they came out worse when austerity budgets were put in place.

    And if they had spent they may have come out even worse. Best not to get into trouble in the first place.

    And the ALP have policies that will lead us to Greece.

  62. Andreas Bimba

    @Harquebus You need to read less of those articles, they are controlling your mind.

    @NofS More government spending is indeed a big part of our solution. Think of it like watering a pot plant to allow it to harness the sunshine and nutrients from the soil and grow. The same with the economy, invest some money so that human labour and ingenuity can be harnessed so the economy can grow. In the end the taxpaying capacity has been enlarged and the loan can be repaid but better still continue the process indefinitely so that everyone is employed. You stupid conservatives would refuse to water the pot plant and similarly would starve the private sector of funds for growth and harm your own business constituency as well as everyone else.

  63. Andreas Bimba

    @Nasser Many good points about Greece but I would add that leaving the eurozone and reinstating the Drachma is essential. Then with a devaluation they can build exports, cut imports and become more self sufficient and their tourism sector can grow substantially.

  64. Michael Taylor

    And what policies would they be, Neil. I don’t recall seeing any that they’ve released.

  65. Harquebus

    Andreas Bimba

    Did you actually read it?
    The opposite can also be said. You need to read more like them in order to free yours.

    My reading list is large and my sources are varied.
    What kind of articles do you read and where do you get them from? Not main stream media I hope.


  66. Neil of Sydney

    And what policies would they be, Neil

    ALP policies never change. It is always spend spend spend. Deficits do not matter because we have a soverign currency.

    Unemployment increasing = we need to spend says the ALP

    Greece here we come.

  67. Florence nee Fedup

    Abbott doesn’t talk about debt anymore. They say he is missing today. Back in the bunker, I wonder?

  68. aravis1

    Andreas Bimba, excellent precis and a good analogy too. It is to be hoped that NoS and others like him can pause their thought railway and run along a new track for a bit. O dear, dreadful metaphors here!
    I’m no economics expert but your ideas seem on the money to me

  69. numbnuts

    today we had an earthquake of the qld coast. its all bill shortens fault, isn’t that not right neil ?

  70. Lee

    “And the ALP have policies that will lead us to Greece.”

    Australia can’t ever be like Greece because we have our own currency.

  71. Harquebus

    Fiat currencies are intrinsically worthless and that’s how they all end up.

  72. Florence nee Fedup

    Could the tourist trade be reviving now the dollar has fallen. Seems to be the case in Tasmania. I have a hope, the economy will improve in spite of Abbott’s and Hockey’s actions. If not, we will be in trouble.

    Best way in the world to lower population growth, is to raise standard living among the poor, With a growing middle class, we should see, will see numbers of births decrease.

  73. Neil of Sydney

    Australia can’t ever be like Greece because we have our own currency.

    And that is why we will end up like Greece.

  74. Florence nee Fedup

    Spend spend spend. Build build build Grow economy. Create productive workforce. Spend spend spend. Build build build.

    Wonder who does that. Who goes for real reform that leads to better things. Who is about people not corporations.

  75. Lee

    Neil, don’t be an idiot all your life.

  76. The AIM Network

    Lee, we must admit that his last comment goes beyond idiocy. We think it was made with the sole intention to disrupt the discussion, if nothing else.

  77. Andreas Bimba

    @Harquebus I know it has been pointed out to you many times but you can buy all sorts of things with your worthless fiat currency for some reason. Despite your protestations a fiat currency is a very powerful tool for example if the Greeks introduced their own fiat currency, the Drachma they would have at their disposal a source of funds through money creation to help get their economy moving again. This is not loan money but money created out of thin air. Despite your closed mind, a few percent of GDP of created money can be spent into the economy per year as long as it is absorbed in economic growth and it is not inflationary. For maximum benefit any government spending should emphasise creating sustainable ongoing employment and also be for items with long term benefit like infrastructure or renewable energy for example. If inflation is too high however, governments usually need to run a surplus to reduce the money supply a little. Oh and I read all of Rupert’s rags. 😉

    @aravis1 Thanks, the Modern Monetary Theory economists like Bill Mitchell have a lot to offer the world. We can indeed have near to zero unemployment if we as a nation adopt their reasoning.

  78. Nasser

    What a statement Neil, really offering something there mate and no, you don’t need to elaborate on it. Thanks for the laughs.

  79. Matters Not

    Fiat currencies are intrinsically worthless

    And who could disagree with that? But, pray tell Harquebus, what ‘currencies’ (in the modern world) aren’t ‘intrinsically’ worthless?

    Yet I find when I offer large amounts of ‘intrinsically worthless’ dollars there’s almost an unlimited number of punters who want to exchange same for services that I desire. And in some cases, want to tempt me with services my wife won’t allow me to engage in. (Just jokin …)

    Can you please explain who’s the silly bugger(s) here?

    By the way, what do you do with your ‘intrinsically worthless’ dollars?

  80. Harquebus

    Neil is right. For the first time in history, all currencies are fiat and all economies will collapse. It will truly be a global catastrophe.

    My fiat goes mostly on energy and communications and when I can, garden and hand tools and such. Get ’em now while you can.

    “Economic chaos is beginning to erupt all over the planet, and the depression that we are entering into will truly be global in scope.”

  81. Lee

    And here I thought Doomsday Prophets were just an urban legend.

  82. Matters Not

    Harquebus, can I recommend a Bex or two and a good lie down.

    And I don’t expect a response because you did say you won’t read my posts any more.

    But there’s promises and promises and the like. Isn’t there? Hilarious.

  83. Andreas Bimba

    @Harquebus OK so you sort of admit fiat currencies are not worthless now but that the world is heading towards a mega global financial crisis which will destroy all fiat currencies. You are also deeply worried about the global warming crisis and overpopulation and resource depletion.

    Although you probably appear to many as being too pessimistic I happen to agree with most of your concerns but I am sure I differ regarding the best solutions to address those concerns. For example renewable energy is part of the solution and the various types do offer ample EROI ratios that are more than sufficient to justify their use. James Hansen says we must cut current global CO2 emissions by 6% p.a. if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. This we must meet otherwise we are all in deep poop. I hope we agree on this.

    On the issue of overpopulation it has been pointed out to you many times that education and empowerment of women, better health care and an adequate standard of living are the only worthwhile solutions.

    On the impending collapse of the world’s financial system you may have a point. Government debt levels have indeed grown enormously in recent years especially in Japan, the US, Europe and China BUT NOT AUSTRALIA yet. The Chinese national and local governments have also participated in ensuring easy credit for speculative non productive share and real estate investment. The quantitative easing in the US by the FED during Obama’s Presidency is an example but the same has also happened in Europe where huge sums of money created by the large commercial banks has been offered as low interest loans that has largely just been used by investors for pointless share market and real estate speculation. The productive economy could barely use any of the cheap loan money due to a lack of consumer demand which largely arose from high unemployment and low wage growth as well as a failure by many governments to invest in worthy infrastructure and the essential transition to a sustainable economy.

    When these levels of government debt become excessively large the interest bill can indeed take up most of the yearly tax revenue but this has been met by issuing more debt which is in the form of even more government or treasury bonds.

    There is actually no point as far as I can tell that this all goes boom. Even if that debt is 10 times bigger or 100 times bigger? I would appreciate clarification on this point by an MMT economist.

    What however I am concerned about is that the big commercial banks do make a hell of a lot of money from these interest receipts and so it does represent a greater and greater diversion of the share of the world’s wealth to the private owners of these banks. We as humble citizens would have been much better off if the big commercial banks were owned by the government so that the profit from interest receipts was then available to the government for more spending. Better still would be to abandon the debt servitude arising from the fractional reserve banking system and for governments not to sell bonds to obtain extra funds in excess of taxation revenue, but for them to just create any required money out of thin air as required. This avoids the need to borrow from the market (commercial banks and sovereign wealth funds and similar) by selling government bonds and therefore avoids the need to pay back the principle (bond face value) or any interest.

    Creating money out of thin air sounds like black magic but this is how the commercial banks provide all money that they loan. Governments should however only create and spend into the economy a moderate quantity of new money p.a. (a few % of GDP) so that it is within the economic growth capacity of the nation and it is not inflationary.

  84. Andreas Bimba

    The speculative share investment and real estate investment bubbles all over the world can indeed go boom which can bankrupt many banks, financial institutions and businesses in the real economy just as happened following the GFC. So indeed another Great Depression is indeed possible. I am not sure that the government debts are in themselves a serious problem and the source of an economic crisis. A response from an MMT economist is needed on all these points.

    My gut feeling is that we as a nation should be moving to greater self sufficiency and gradually reducing our reliance on mineral and fossil fuel energy exports so that any global depressions are felt less intensely. We are better off in our own life boat rather than the world’s economic Titanic.

  85. Nasser

    I think Australia will need an overhaul of thinking to really advance and be moving to greater self sufficiency without depending on minerals and fossil fuel. We have to spend big, I mean massive spending into science, technology and medical research. The outlay might be big but the returns could be many folds bigger.
    Expand the educational and financial services to Asia, especially China. We have a big advantage over USA and Europe and this is being in the same time zone and the new FTA with China (even if its not on the best terms for Australia as yet, hopefully that will change).

    Tourism is huge in Australia but can always spend to boost it but I reckon we need to build / create new attractions to keep them coming back for something different other than Theme Parks and nice beaches.

    One thing I’m personally against is foreign ownership of land and property. It should be all Australian owned and this can help build and increase individual wealth, which will increase local investment for local projects and small business. I understand foreign cash coming into the country but we can do the same with long term leases! Money coming in will be less than money leaving when land or property is sold.

  86. aravis1

    Didn’t Rossleigh of Brisbane suspect NoS is Joe Hockey? If so, then he is manifestly trying to get his literacy skills into order for the fast-arriving moment when he has no job any more. After all, writing resumés is an important skill.
    Poor Neil will be left high and dry, gasping for air, like a fish out of water. And that is the extent of my attention to the silly troll.

  87. Harquebus

    In my statement, I said that fiat currencies are “intrinsically” worthless. Throughout history, all fiat currencies have failed. Every one of them without exception. Combined with the fact that global debt can never be repaid, it is a mathematical impossibility, it is only a matter of time before the global economy implodes. It is coming and my doom and gloom statements are only to warn others to prepare as I am doing. I am a socialist at heart and do care.

    CO2 pollution is a serious threat to humanity. We will blast through 2 deg and will probably exceed 4 before the end of the century. This will cause massive disruption to the climate and subsequently, agriculture and will result in desertification, famine, mass migrations, sea level rise and many fatalities. These things are also unavoidable unless we stop burning fossil fuels now. I do not believe that “renewable” energy collectors are the solution but, that is another argument.

    Resource depletion, especially crude oil and water scarcity will only compound these problems and will most likely result in resource wars.

    I am slightly less concerned now about population since I have read this although, the moral argument I am yet undecided.
    Gates Foundation-funded birth control microchip implants.
    “Callaghan notes that wireless technology allows the remotely controlled chips to essentially activate a woman’s ability to conceive, or prevent it, at will, which amounts to temporary sterilization (if a decision is made, say by an all-powerful government agency, to prevent a woman from bearing a child).”

    If we do not reduce consumption and populations, the natural world will do it for us. I am not the only one who has this opinion. David Attenborough says the same things and I doubt that many disrespect his views.

    “It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.” — David Attenborough

    This is why am pessimistic and keep harping my doom and gloom messages. I am only trying to raise awareness. Those that ridicule me, I feel sorry for. They will suffer badly.

    Unless the ideology of continual debt fueled economic and population growth is realized as the absurdity that it is, we are heading for financial and ecological disaster. I write to politicians and journalists every other week on these matters and of course, am mostly ignored although, I am starting to gain some support. A few more doing the same might help.

    While criticism of the likes of NoS and myself seem popular on this site, I would like to remind you all that, there is only one spaceship called Earth and whatever happens to it, happens to all of us, regardless of our social standing, race, gender or views.

    Thank you Andreas Bimba for your considered support. I agree with you that the banksters are destroying our future in their grab for power, wealth and temporary privileged lifestyles.


  88. Pingback: Abbott the Dragon Slayer: The art of making scary mountains out of tiny molehills | Progressive Conversation

  89. jim

    Those employment figures that Not. Overly. Smart. gave us are only for a phone poll taken recently under the LNP rabbit gov..quote: The estimates in this publication are based on a sample survey. The published estimates and the movements derived from them are subject to sampling variability.
    Not Overly Smart. NOS Liberal stooge for sure.

  90. Neil of Sydney


    Not sure what you are trying to say. It would be great if you could speak English.

    But the unemployment rate is determined by the ABS. In theory the ABS is independent of govt. The rate is determined by a survey/poll just like a Roy Morgan poll. The first survey is taken face to face and then followup questions are taken by telephone. Personally i have never been polled. But if you have worked one hour you are classified as employed.

    Apparently working one hour/week to be classified as employed is an international definition used by all Western countries so we can compare unemployment rates between countries.

  91. Michael Taylor

    But the unemployment rate is determined by the ABS. In theory the ABS is independent of govt. The rate is determined by a survey/poll just like a Roy Morgan poll.

    So which one is it? The ABS or a phone poll?

    Actually, it’s neither. It’s determined by . . . wait for it . . . the number of people out of work!

  92. mars08

    Ah… actually, NoS might be right. I recall reading a few years ago, that the calculation of unemployment stats had been revised… and they were going to be done by taking a survey.

    No time to Google it just now.

  93. Michael Taylor

    No, NoS isn’t right. I was a director in the department that provided the numbers for publication. They are embargoed until they are seen first by the Minister, then they were published. I have told Neil this before, but on each occasion he has called me a liar.

    I won’t be bothering with him anymore.

  94. JeffJL

    About two years ago I got polled by the ABS. It was a phone poll. No face to face interview. Included questions about my employment status.

    My 2c.

  95. Pingback: Abbott the Dragon Slayer: The art of making scary mountains out of tiny molehills – Written by PROGRESSIVE CONVERSATION | winstonclose

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