Sunday, December 8, 2013

Australia - Don Quixote or Dulcinea

Australia seems to be at a management cross road in my opinion. Our Parliamentarians are so busy worrying about the next election and winning their seat for the prescribed number of times to achieve their precious parliamentary pension that we continue dither around without making any genuine progress on any thing at all.

We have bureaucrats whom have become masterful at wandering around with a bundle of papers and very expensive reports and studies tucked under their arm and when challenged quickly throw the "probity" clause around their shoulders like some magical "cloak of invisibility". Actual serious progress based on any kind of long term view simply does not exist. They can easily duck this one as their Minister's are running agendas so myopic they simply cannot see anything beyond the next election. They equally answer to Ministers,whom become instant superstars in portfolios that quite simply in the main they have at best a cursory knowledge. Then of course we have such regular reshuffles of Government that no sooner does a Minister become a tad knowledgable we flick them into a new portfolio or out of the cabinet room door.

Then of course we have this wonderful belief in this country that anything we say on the World stage has such an amazing effect on the direction the major powers choose to take. Sometime we will realise that the mutterings that come from our leaders of our 23 millions souls has about the impact of the breeze rustling the trees.

But lets look closer as to how this delusion is affecting us so badly internally and I am not going to ratchet back too far with my examples. Paul Keating following his magnificent "Banana Republic" Statement managed to have Australia lead the world into Recession - "a recession that we had to have" - a recession that we could never ever lead the world out of. But there he was preening his Italian Suit and slapping himself on the back - "Orstralia you little bloody beaudy". Then of course we had Bernie in the chair over at The Reserve Bank. Here we had a man whom as we are told is not controlled by Government, he manages our money unfettered - so who does control The Reserve Bank?

On his watch we managed see interest rates so high that we had nose bleeds. The only thing that did was widen the gulf between the have's and have nots in this country sending so many businesses/employers and individuals to the wall that our landscape looked more like the killing fields than our beautiful Australian landscape.

We had already knocked the stuffing out of business in this country we made the next world leading move expecting that our influence would see a global adoption of this outstanding policy. Let's remove the tariffs - the world should now be on a level playing field - it seems a shame that our major competitors on the global stage seem to have missed that little pearl of wisdom. And so our bloodied and bowed manufacturing industries were finally decimated.

In amongst this one little pearl of wisdom actually worked and I was not all that in favour of it either. "Little Johnny and Toe Cutter Joe" introduced and pushed through the Financial Services Reform Act that forced our errant Financial Institutions to toe some sort of line of decency in its entrepreneurial dealings in the economy.

It worked well and if not for that I am sure we would have followed the World Mega Banks that ultimately led us to the global financial crisis. Global Governments were left dashing around propping up a banking system that had become so narcissistic they believed they were invincible.

Meanwhile in Orstralia our PM was trotting around like "Black Peter" dishing out little chunks of money like "lumps of coal". However the FSRA worked.

But after a couple of decades or so of mismanaging our little tiny economy here we sit on the precipice of failing business and massive unemployment in this country. Like Dulcinea we appear to be happy to sell ourselves to the highest bidder, but instead like Aldonza we end up crying in the corner of the room, the rape victim we are allowing ourselves to be. But wait Don Quixote de la Mancha will save the day.

Dulcinea del Toboso by Charles Robert Leslie

What to do, what to do, as we fly in ever decreasing circles? Well, like the Ooh Me Doodle Bird or the Oozlum Bird, depending on your point of reference, I fear we shall fly up our own fundamental orifice and very soon.

The "Guvment" should do this and they shouldn't do that, as we hear the various points of view from all corners. Like competing packs of Hounds at the Hunt we hear them baying there excited howling as the scent of the kill permeates their nostrils. To prop up the car industry or to not, to support Qantas or not, to build a new hospital or not, to shut down services at Modbury Hospital or not. To load up our over stretched central hospitals, because we have more bed days per patient than other states, who says their right etc etc etc.The list goes on "ad nauseum". 

To the pack who says Government should not assist business, I say that is foolhardy, as Australia would again be a world leader of Government not jumping into the breach to protect gainful employment of the population.

To the pack who says that Government should assist - well I believe this is true and falls in line with world practice. We do, however, seem to not place any kind of performance outcomes on this assistance.This oversight simply reinforces my opinion that our Government and Bureaucracy is simply as myopic as the Knight of The Woeful Countenance and simply not up to the job as we lurch from windmill to windmill.

The alternative is almost to painful to consider. As Julian Burnside published yesterday - "Mistake made by many liberal societies: believing that governments respect the law and act with good intentions. Not always true".

Perhaps our mistake is allowing Don Quixote to be our leader over and over again.

Faithful Sancho - where are you when we need you to clean up the mess he leaves behind - for that matter who will be our Sancho Panza?

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