OZ NEWS: Is our foreign debt OK?

Submitted by Editor on Fri, 25/11/2005 - 13:11

For tens of thousands of years before 1788, this country sustained its population with food. There were not that many people around, but they were seemingly happy eating what the land and sea provided. :(

John Rivett

Great Australians Members

Fri, 25 Nov 2005

By Austand Inc

Since the convicts arrived we have been importing food. The first goodies (?) came in the holds of the stinking ships – rat infested, rancid and no doubt tasting for all the world like it had been soaked in buckets of summer Thames water – the largest and foulest open sewer in Europe. Silly British.

When OZ was a boy growing up in the suburbs of Brisbane, we ate beef from the Ipswich abattoir and vegies from the Lockyer Valley or Redlands, and were treated to a backyard chicken at Christmas. The lamb came all the way from Victoria. The milk was delivered in billies by the Redman family of Long Pocket – third generation dairy farmers. We grew bananas, paw paws and passionfruit in the back yard. It was all tasty fare, except for those awful chokos growing on the chook pen which mum boiled to a mush in order to spin out the dinner potatoes.

Takeaways were corned beef sandwiches wrapped in grease proof paper and jammed with an orange or an apple in the saddle bags of the Malvern Star for a long bike ride to the river to fish for catties and mullet. Takeaway drinks were water. Headwear were hats not caps and protected our ears.

Now we import tomato, orange and apple juice. Our children guzzle on that sickly black syrup from the western world – Coca Cola. We import bananas from the Philippines while our own growers struggle to survive and when there is an unacceptable risk of importing a disease that could annihilate their industry. We import semi dried tomatoes by the container load from Turkey when Bundaberg and Bowen growers could easily grow all we need. We continue to import olives and olive oil while our brave fledgling industry battles to get off the ground.

We import milk while our dairy folk flock off their fourth generation farms. We import tinned pineapples while Golden Circle spins around in circles trying to find an equity partner. We import Jamaican rum when Bundy is best. We even import lollies from China even though our sugar producers can’t seem to sell their product for a decent price. We import petrol while our politicians fiddle around with the ethanol debate. Silly pollies.

We have cut down nearly half the trees in OZ, so we now import hardwood timber. Someone forgot to replant the seedlings. Silly woodcutters.

We dig up our minerals and rail them off to the coast in long trainloads to be shipped out (GST free – of course) at bargain prices. The mines are virtually all foreign owned, so all we really earn is a few wages and a bit of workers comp.

We inhumanely export our cattle and sheep live because the bosses and unions can’t agree on workplace reforms. We are too lazy to value add the product, so we earn nothing from value adding. Silly bosses – silly unions.

And whenever we want a new car, we just about have to buy an imported one – there are so few car factories here producing them. Try and find an OZ made piece of clothing in Myers, DJ’s or even Rivers.

Our manufacturing sector as a percentage of our economy slides slowly down to about 12.5%. The OECD average is 25% - we are the second lowest – just before Greece. Singapore is over 28% and their skilled workers now earn more than ours. Worse, what we are producing is the 2005 equivalent of the stump jump plough – useful, but knocked up out of old steel bits in a back yard foundry. We are missing the technology revolution. Our children and grandchildren will become the floor sweepers and rickshaw drivers of Asia if we don’t get off our backsides. Silly us.

What about all our wonderful inventions? Well, the problem is that so much of our post war wealth is now tied up in over inflated, tax benefited, negatively geared residential rental housing (courtesy of Income Tax laws supported by both major parties) that there is little money left for new capital expenditure in existing businesses, let alone new inventions and new businesses. Most (and their manufacturing jobs) go offshore in desperation.

Is it any wonder our current account deficit is about 7% of gross domestic product and we have just had 44 months of consecutive trade deficits ? One thing the IMF is good for is telling us how other countries are going and how we rate. Well they say 5% is about the limit thanks. Beyond that, additional foreign borrowings might start to fund excessive consumption, yielding no future income with which to service foreign debt. Then the risk is that foreign investors will stop funding it and our currency free falls. In recent years our Credit Card debt has soared. All the signs are there. Free fall coming.

When OZ was a boy, if you borrowed too much you went broke. We must be perilously close to this right now.

We are on the knife’s edge but the only thing left to cut up for dinner will be the chokos.

The major parties have no real answer, other than diverting our attention away from it with tax cuts for the rich or the poor (or both - if they are female and pregnant) depending on which side you support. The smirker Costello sidles up to the fat cats and Tugboat Beazley pontificates in aid of the poor. Poor us.

Each fortnight Oz trots along to the Noosa Farmers Market held under the tea trees in the parking lot of the Aussie Rules Ground on the banks of Lake Weyba. Nearly all the 80 or so vendors grow or produce their own fare – mostly organic. There is local fruit and vegies, seedlings, coffee, wines, bakery, dairy, deli items and goats cheese – to name a few - all farm fresh and carted lovingly there in the pre dawn by the very hands and hearts who grew it and value added it. As the currawongs warble excitedly in the tea trees in the hope of a few organic scraps, right beside the market you can watch the Noosa Tigers “Under Ages” thrash it out in the game of the week. There is no middle man, no foreign multinational, no government bureaucrat telling us how to shop.

It is an idyllic all-Australian scene.

The answer to our Balance of Payment crisis lies not with which team of pollies currently hold the key to the Lodge, but with all of us who tread these fatal shores. We do have a choice – learn to live within our means - and buy Australian made and owned goods or slide into the Thames and start gulping Thames water.

Matilda Alliance

OZ pushes positive policy. It is a positive to have a united third political force in this country to push the policies of national economics, personal freedoms and choices ahead of global interests and foreign domination. Our tax system urgently needs total reform – not tax bracket fiddles for vested party political interests.

OZ likes the idea of the Matilda Alliance – an alliance of the smaller parties and individuals intent on running one fully supported Matilda Alliance candidate in every Federal seat come 2007.

We mentioned last month that the Matilda has sprung back out of the billabong. There is another Matilda Alliance meeting coming up soon. You can have a say in the future of this country. If you care – be there.



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