There’s a national joke in Australia about “whinging Poms” and their attitudes towards life. Apparently, we think English migrants who wax lyrical about the good aspects of their lifestyle back in the Old Country shouldn’t be able to express their views. To me, it seems like it’s the Australians who have been complaining the most in recent years, rather than anyone else.
Let’s take a look at the state of things in this country for a start. Per capita, we’re one of the most wealthy countries in the world, highly secure, peaceful and politically stable. We even have a fairly balanced distribution of wealth, unlike the United States. So why then, do some believe we’re on hard times? We’re one of the most literate and free societies in the world, with universal healthcare, decent infrastructure and relatively good work-life balance and many fun things to do outside of work. I was born in a country that is only now becoming relatively wealthy, but only by aggregate, the wealth distribution there is worse than the United States and it’s run by corrupt Communists. Life could be much worse.
Of course, people who visit China from other developed countries don’t see the daily struggles of its people for what they are. Which tourist would? The bright, shiny lights of new skyscrapers, glamorous shopping, tasty food and bustling megacities are the facade that hides much of the squalor, discrimination and downright nastiness in the country. Like I said, life could be much worse. Australians whine because things aren’t fairyland perfect. We don’t all have a unicorn (or brand new iPhone of the year yet) and it must always be the fault of the government.
Why? I don’t really understand it. On the one hand, everyone thinks that people should be rewarded for hard work and good ideas. But the moment something goes wrong, it’s straight to the government for a handout or favourable regulations. This all seems a bit strange to me. This is how we get silly commentary about how families earning over $150,000 a year are real battlers. I would dearly love a sample of the drugs they’re on and the location of the planet from which they acquired them. I remember growing up where the family income was far less than a third of that.
Personally, I think that the media has been very effective at pulling the wool over people’s eyes and managed to insulate everyone’s brain from the totally necessary process of thinking and using a bullshit detector. I mean, how could anyone develop a good bullshit detector when most of the newspapers in the land are written in the same vein as the Herald Sun? I mean this is the newspaper that tells us that we can have it all, but we shouldn’t have to pay for it nor responsibility for things that don’t work so well. The solution? Tony Abbott!
As an aside, I’m a swinging voter who can’t countenance the aural drivel that is coming out of all major political parties. Having said that, I reserve a special level of disdain for Tony Abbott’s politics for the reasons below.
I find it amazing that people can read or listen to the magically outlandish things he promises and accept them without an iota of criticism or the bat of an eyelid. Let’s not contemplate that making real decisions when being in government is going to be hard for anyone. That someone can simultaneously promise lower taxes, increased government services AND enough money in the kitty to take to the bank and save. I mean, look, I don’t know much about economics (although, recent history shows economists don’t either, so it seems I’m hardly alone), but that the lunacy of those proposals were not questioned by anyone in the media and so were left as is when going to press. Of course, people were more than happy to believe that they could get more for less. That’s like saying Susan Boyle could walk into Koko Black, drink some delectable, Belgian hot chocolate and walk out looking like Jessica Gomes.
Come September 14, Australia will probably be walking down the path into the fantasy world that Tony Abbott describes. But, we, as a society should stop to think if that kind of fantasy is actually plausible or realistic and actually think about the way we’re living our lives and spending our money. Because I think most people should stop and wonder how it will all be achieved given the largest allocation of the Federal budget is for welfare. Because this is the pool of money that people are banking on when they do irresponsible things like having children without a careful financial plan or buy a house with 5% deposit.