Dear Australia, I don’t want to be negative but fear you are in the grip of vested interests. A letter to Australia to warn you about stuff. Ever since the days of the squattocracy some hard white men have been having their way with your resources. Never minding about the Indigenous blood they carelessly spilt upon your red earth. These determined settlers disregarded British instruction about allowing Aboriginal people to access their waterways and hunting grounds, preferring to slaughter them expediently instead. The British overlords were piss weak in this regard, it must be said.
Dear Australia, In This Letter…
Well, that was a while ago in white man’s terms. Still, however, we have mining companies hard at it on the land. Drilling, digging dirty great big holes that many of them never fill in. For some strange reason these miners pay bugger all corporate tax to the Australian people. It seems, we let them ravage our resources for minimum returns, if you compare us to those canny Norwegians. I reckon that there may be something dodgy going on with our elected representatives and these miners. A lot of the pollies, when they retire from office, end up with well paid lobbying jobs for these self-same mining corporations. A scratch of the head over that anomaly.
I Am Writing To You, Australia
Listen, Australia. I see a lot of our citizenry living in fear of the Chinese. It seems to me to be a racial anxiety, which is fed by populist politicians and vested interests. The Chinese haven’t ever done anything to me or anybody I know, in fact. We have a God awful family called the Murdochs who own too much of our media. Most of our newspapers, radio networks and TV have the grimy fingerprints of this rabid right wing mogul. Rupert became an American and has been lying to them over there with his Fox News. Manipulating folks with his negative polling, biased reporting, and opinion based propaganda.
Misogyny & The Fatal Shore
Closer to home, Australia, a woman a week gets murdered by her partner or former spouse. This has been going on for way too long. Whether it is all the grog consumed or something inherently nastier, I don’t know. Aussie blokes have got to do something about this bad shit. The media could do better. Especially that champion of toxic masculinity Kerry Stokes. It would be great to see a big clean out of all these dinosaurs in the Australian media. The days of boofy blokes banging on about bullshit are long gone. Indigenous women are murdered at a much greater frequency. The cops have been turning a blind eye to this sort of thing for centuries downunder. It is a national shame.
Great Australian Dreams For The Wealthy
Only rich people and their kids can afford to buy a house in Australia in 2023. Alan Kohler told us that since John Howard messed with the capital gains tax and the family home back in the 1990’s it has pushed property prices through the roof. It used to take 3.5 times annual average income to purchase a house and that has gone out to 7.5 times over the last couple of decades. Rents are, also, unaffordable in Australia right now. The working poor are buggered! The wealthy have looked after themselves to the detriment of the rest of us. Decades of neoliberal BS has seen governments drop the social housing ball. We were told that the market would take care of it. Bugger me if it didn’t.
Australia, I worry about the future of indigenous kids in the outback and the overwhelming economic neglect of these human beings. What is there to do in these places and what opportunity is there for these Australians? It seems to me that we have all turned a deaf ear upon these folks over many years. Indigenous Australia was declared a political football by Peter Dutton this year and he was happy to see it kicked around to score points for his side. 60% of adult citizens of this nation were happy to deny First Nations Aussies a voice and constitutional recognition. Assimilation was popular with these white Australians as a prescribed way forward for Aboriginal Australia. This seemed the rough end of the pineapple to me.
It is getting hotter and those scientists are telling us that global warming is happening. It is hard to get your head around such big stuff. The short term perspective of most of us humans makes it difficult to grasp big picture and deep time issues. The vested interests in the fossil fuel business have been fighting tooth and nail to stave off change like the green energy transition. Human greed and capitalism don’t do altruism well. Australians have this settler mentality about private wealth, where amassing riches for their family is paramount. The squattocracy hangover permeates a negative attitude toward government, where Aussies reckon governments are out to take their money. This anti-tax and small government conservatism runs deep in the bones of regional Australia. Downward envy is big in Australia, unfortunately. Robodebt, did you hear about that public travesty?
In Australia, we have one of the most concentrated corporate ownership of markets in the world. Duopolies and oligopolies are rife in most sectors, meaning that price setting is firmly in the hands of these large companies. Australian consumers are being shafted daily by banks, supermarkets, airlines, telcos, energy providers, media companies, miners, insurers, and online. Price gouging has seen record profits declared by corporate Australia in a low growth period. High CPI inflation has robbed working Australians of their savings. The RBA central bank has been steeply raising interest rates to combat inflation. Inflation that they caused via Quantitative Easing (QE2) in 2020, according to some economists. Rentiers, those that extract rents and fees as their business model, dominate the business sector. This has resulted in record low productivity over many years. The ACCC and governments have been grand failures in allowing competition to be massively reduced via mergers and takeovers in the corporate sector. Really, Australian governments have been asleep at the wheel over the last couple of decades. The Coalition and Labor wasted billions on fortress Australia, keeping desperate boat people refugees from settling in Australia. There has been this disproportionate focus on issues like this, whilst the big end of town has been making off with the wealth of the nation. I sometimes wonder if these are deliberate strategies of deflection? Recent data has revealed that 90% of the growth in wealth over the last 10 years has gone to the wealthiest people at the top, whilst the rest of us have gone backwards. Australia is a nation of haves and have nots more than ever before.
Well, Australia, I hope that I haven’t depressed you with my grievances. I thought that somebody should voice what is going on downunder. I don’t know what you can do about it, apart from bush fires, floods, cyclones, and the odd earth quake. Australia is still a beautiful place if you haven’t been pushed into extinction by inconsiderate human beings. Beautiful sun sets and beaches. A colourful cornucopia of bird life in some areas away from the cities. The fact that you have been here for what? Billions of years? 3.7 billion, you say. Wow, that is a long time. I suppose greedy self-centred buggers are neither here nor there in your greater scheme of things. But I reckon you would prefer to see a bit more harmony happening under your broad roof. A fair go maybe, something we used to say about ourselves and country? Wishful thinking? I hope not.
Robert Sudha Hamilton
Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of Money Matters: Navigating Credit, Debt, and Financial Freedom.