Queensland election III

Until around nine months ago, I rarely paid much attention to state politics, apart from some specific issues. But I’ve had to engage with many aspects of it much more directly in recent times as part of one of the paid jobs I’m currently doing.

I’ve probably been at more meetings and events in the last couple of weeks than I have over the previous decade where discussion of a state election is either a key issue or the specific focus. Consistent with much of the media and internet commentary, there does seem to be something of a lack of enthusiasm for this particular election amongst many people. Maybe that’s either a consequence of, or a reason for, what seem to me to be fairly negative or downbeat messages from all the political parties.

One of my current jobs is with the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland, who held an election forum last Friday night, inviting speakers from each of the three main parties to talk about issues of interest to people of refugee and migrant backgrounds.

The speakers were Grace Grace from Labor (member for Brisbane Central), Ian Kaye from the LNP (running in Greenslopes) and Gary Kane from the Greens (running in South Brisbane). In my assessment, Grace Grace was most across the specific policy issues in the multicultural area, which is probably what one would expect as the only current Parliamentarian amongst the speakers. She had a good grasp of some of the employment and education challenges which migrants and their children can face.

Of course, being a member of a government that has been in power for over a decade, she also had to wear more of the concerns that were expressed about current shortcomings.

Ian Kaye has been a policeman for around two decades, and he drew on his experiences working on Brisbane’s southside to convincingly express his beliefs in the value of the refugee communities in that area and the importance of working with people cooperatively and respectfully.

Gary Kane spoke more generally and understandably emphasised the environment and the record of the Greens Senators at federal level, but his statements on multicultural issues were positive. I was especially pleased to hear him state that the Greens policy supported a migration intake around about current levels, as there has been something of an increase in recent times to use the cloak of environmentalism to push a strong anti-migration agenda. In my view, it is especially important for those promoting environmentalism – which should be innately global in its thinking – to clearly reject positions which target new migrants.

I always find the question sessions the most interesting part of such meetings, as you get a better idea of what peoples’ concerns are. There were quite a few concerns expressed regarding education, including language education. Employment issues and recognition of skills and qualifications were also raised, which was no great surprise with the audience.

Over the weekend, I also helped to run another electoral forum at Logan which was specifically aimed at refugee communities in that area. There was a good turn up of people, who were mostly originally from either Burundi, Sudan or Aceh. Apart from explaining how the electoral process and voting system works – something many other Australians would also benefit from in my experience – it was also a good chance for them to hear from local candidates and ask questions. Employment and access to local meeting spaces and facilities were some of the issues raised. I’ll be attending a similar forum this week over at Toowoomba.

There is a lot our wider society can learn from the experiences of refugees, both prior to and after their arrival here. The more they can be encouraged and enabled to engage with the wider community, the more we all can benefit.

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36 Comments

  1. Apart from donna kebabs, what part of Lebanese culture have we embraced in Oz?

    Apart from curry, what part of Indian culture have we embraced in Oz?

    Apart from sweet and sour chicken, what aspects of asian culture have we embraced?

    These people can often contribute positively to our society, but only when assimilated

  2. Today I had an interesting discussion with a Labor incumbent who came to the nursing home with the electoral team. First she LOUDLY announced that all of the other candidates were supposed to attend, but only SHE had come.

    Then she tried to coerce as many elderly people as possible to vote for her.

    She made the mistake of coming to sit with Mum and me, so I tackled her on Health, Education, Capitalism, selling out our workers through free trade agreements etc.

    I was really glad the dining room was filled with low-paid workers with children. After listening to our discussion, and also witnessing her manipulative machinations with the elderly, I doubt if a single vote will come Labor’s way from any of them.

  3. Sleeper issue is the Lord Mayoral failure to act lawfully in relation to an email on 22/01/2006. Bligh & Springborg must keep mum.

  4. Peter Piper .. what do you mean by assimilation? Do you mean that the Maronite Catholics or Druze or Muslims from Lebanon must become C of E, eat meat and 3 veg and listen to “slim Dusty” records? Or are you happy to allow the Lebanese of my grandfather’s age to drive around country roads and bring haberdashery to isolated farms and hamlets? Their sons often run menswear shops, and their grandsons can be found in just about any profession.

    Do you want to close down Community Language classes and teach only English, possibly Classical Greek and Latin and maybe a version of French that is not recognisable in France in schools? Or will you accept that the children of Asian migrants can take their additional language skills and add them to their reverence for education and wide contacts in Asia to enhance our business acumen? Maybe just their becoming pharmacists and dentists is not enough for you? My radiologist is from Ghana, and my Egyptian neighbour’s gynaecologist from Pakistan.

    In our small town we have Indian doctors, whose wives run restaurants where one can eat more than T-bone steak, and their children may become accountants and solicitors, though currently they are doing well at basketball and Aussie Rules. We have Sri Lankan engineers who add considerably to the expertise of our Council’s Works departments, and who have allowed the handful of pre-existing buddhists here to finally get together a religious community. Tha Catholics are supported by the many Vietnamese and Congolese who are adding to the depleted ranks once swelled by Greeks and Italians.

    We here look forward to the next crop of migrants finding their feet and adding their human presence in all its rich diversity … they can teach us about the importance of our safety, our stability & our values of mateship & democracy. They value those too, but we tend to forget what a precarious hold we have on them. Get to know some newcomers – you’ll soon see what treasures 99% of them are.

  5. Well at least a couple of posters will be happy wiht rudd’s insular reduction of migrants announcements.

  6. Ken:

    I think what John Howard did in relation to bringing in huge numbers of migrants was very poorly thought out. I can tell you that here in Queensland it strained our infrastructure well beyond breaking point.
    As much as Anna Bligh cannot blame Howard for all of our woes, he certainly didn’t help us.

    Judging by the behaviour and policies of both Liberals and Labor at both State and Federal levels, my general feeling is that they would much prefer to privatise both Health and Education, including dentistry and mental health services.

    When I spoke with the Labor MP mentioned above, I told her that my mother and father raised 5 children on one income with plenty of tax breaks for their family.

    Then I said that we now have both parents working with only one or two children and everyone paying 10% GST – but still the Queensland government doesn’t want to provide a state-of-the-art children’s hospital on both sides of the river as they have in Sydney and Melbourne – nor does it care about Education.

    I asked her where all of the taxation moneys were going. She sat there looking dumbfounded.

    Then she launched into backpatting her government on the building of so many new schools. So I told her my area has not had a single new school in the last 23 years (11 years with Labor incumbent), despite multiple new housing estates being established.

    She tried to blame people (taxpayers!) living in a semi-rural area for knowingly moving to a place without much infrastructure.

    Then she said she would speak with our Labor MP. I told her the time for talk had passed long ago, and that her mate will be at the bottom of my ballot choices, even after the Greens!

    Then I started mentioning amalgamations of schools on the Bayside and at Ipswich. It was all too much. She had to get up and leave.

    Then very elderly people (that I previously thought could no longer speak) started asking me where I live.

  7. Ken, what’s your stance on migration rates? Am I reading too much into your choice of words in thinking that you might be somewhat critical of Rudd’s policy modification?

  8. Ken

    I think Labor’s reduction in the permanent skilled migrant intake is probably OK at the moment, although I think some of the rhetoric about ‘saving’ jobs that they’ve used to explain it have been unfortunate.

    They need be careful about giving validity to some of the “migrants take our jobs” falsehoods.

    I’ve blogged on the topic over at Crikey for anyone who wants to read a bit more about it.

  9. The Labor MP I encountered at the nursing home said that Rudd had fixed the problem of job availability by cutting visas.

    I said that wasn’t going to help us very much if the government keeps importing goods from overseas. They will just do the work somewhere else for less money.

    I really think Australian employers who take work overseas so they can make 2 or 3 times as much money for themselves should be in receipt of some kind of sanction e.g. loss of citizenship or permanent exile would suit me fine.

    I’m sure plenty of migrants would be interested in backing such an idea.

    It’s one thing for Rudd to give the Queensland Government handouts for insulating homes and upgrading existing schools to create work etc – and quite another for Anna Bligh to import steel and insulation materials from overseas – especially when we have workers here in both industries losing their jobs.

    The chaplain’s wife opined that all we will eventually have here is a vast array of distribution warehouses, all serviced by underpaid slaves.

    So why the hell SHE would keep voting for a major party is beyond me.

  10. Ah Feral, lurking in the background, a relief to see another comment, any comment other than gushing self aggrandisement and adulation. Indeed, I do have concerns, this is Rudds own brand of hansonism (JWH would be proud of the boy) even if not intended.

    Sending the dog whistle (remember our old friend fido) “their taking OUR jobs”…why are these people always from QLD?, to the new disposed generation ie. semi literate state dependent outer urban and regional whites and of course the QLD Rednecks (not always a species of bird btw).

    However dressed up it is or justified, I am hearing and others with even less knowledge of it than me, are hearing that message.

    No doubt thsi will soon to become a matter of national security gravitas gravitas……

    Skilled migration does not take our jobs, skilled migration is net productive to the economy, if we really want to reduce the drain on the economy hoe into the family reunion 50,000 – but the squealing would be deafening.

  11. Lorikeet

    It is not the government that “keeps importing goods from overseas”. It is businesses that do this, in response to consumer demand.

    If Australians were prepared to pay much higher prices for their goods, I’m sure businesses would be happy to stay here, rather than “take work overseas.”

    However, consumers in Australia have consistently demonstrated that (all other things such as quality, warranty service, etc being equal), the vast majority of people will buy goods that have the lower price, even if they are made overseas, compared to more expensive goods that are made here.

    If people want to pay more for their insulation or building materials ifthey are made here, they are free to ask for such materials. I suspect any business that tried to rely on such consumer sentiment would quickly go broke, which is hardly a good job creation strategy.

    Ken, I agree we need to be wary of the dog whistling with the migration cuts, but I think narrowing of the skilled migration intake is justified, at least thus far. It is still higher than the intake 12 months ago.

    I’m not convinced that family reunion migration is the economic drain that is sometimes suggested, although it certainly is slower to produce fiscal gains compared to skilled and business migration. But you are right to sugest there would be significant complaint if this area was cut.

    Such complaints would be totally justified in my view. Skilled and business people have families too, as do refugees of course. Saying they can only live in Australia if it means permanent separation from their family would be very harsh. Most Australians would also be opposed to making it harder for people to marry or want to live with someone they are in love with, just because they happen to not be Australian.

  12. I guess it would be extremely racist beyond all reasonable doubt,and intentionally so ….if every decision of government business and bureaucracy had a Jewish in origin,in the general sense, that forced the price of goods and services up until the excuse was production off shore, where obviously warranties safety etc. are always guaranteed for all products and services..Andrew. Especially those Chinese Jews that Prince Philip was so morally concerned about.And seeing I always genuflect to my moral superiors,no doubt there is never ever any racism at all in decisions to close and send businesses overseas.After all, robots have always worked in our factories requirements,and anywhere else the racist Australians,rather than newly arrived,in all their aspiring improving themselves are going.After all if you are an Australian you are a bludger.And bludgers cause the prices to go up.

  13. Indeed Ken, my ambition is to become a lurker par excellence. But old habits linger, & my fingers occasionally stray to the keyboard….

    Yes, Rudd is a disappointment in various respects. Likewise Turnbull. But of greater concern to me is that dog-whistling and other blatant forms of lowest-common-denominator politics have become normalised to the point of ubiquity.

    Sure, these have always been features of the Australian political landscape, but I think we have seen a quantum shift in the balance in recent years. Political debate based on points of principle now seems to be perceived by the major parties as an electoral liability. This cannot be a positive development: throwing the experience gleaned from history on the scrapheap will only commit us to reiterating the injustices & disasters of the past.

    “why are these people always from QLD?”

    I’d say Qld attitudes are hardly the sole problem, despite their profound influence on Federal election outcomes. Much of the most noxious Australian political commentary originates in Sydney, & you need travel no further than the Hawkesbury to witness redneck racism in full flight.

  14. Your right feral there not all from QLD, even the odd one in the Shire…but not many.

    As yuo know I like to toss the odd acerbic barb into the mix, even when discussing a matter of importacne. I find it keeps the game interersting, well at lesat for me…..ther are some teribbly drearily one track posters on here

  15. The Queensland State government is importing building materials and insulation for large public sector projects financed by Rudd. Ordinary people have had no say in it.

    On tonight’s television news, it was announced that a contract for the making of army hats is likely to go overseas. That must be a federal government decision.

    Some of the businessmen who are taking work overseas are ripping off Asian people (slave labour) and then ripping off the Australian community with high prices as well.

    The underwear companies who fired staff recently have put a lot of Asian Australians out of work as well.

  16. “The underwear companies who fired staff recently have put a lot of Asian Australians out of work as well.”

    Yes they did, although I’m not sure why the ethnicity of the workers is relevant.

    The underwear company laid off some staff because they couldn’t keep their business profitable any longer. To keep all those people on would have meant having to charge more for their products, and they wouldn’t have been able to compete with the less expensive brands made overseas – because the majority of Australian consumers will buy the product that’s cheaper, rather than pay more just because it’s Australian made.

    That has nothing to do with government – other than governments reducing tariffs. And if they hadn’t the products would have been more expensive anyway, so people wouldn’t have bought so many of them.

    And ‘ordinary people’ don’t have to use the Rudd provided insulation. They can always pay more and install their own. They could also insist on paying more for their own construction costs

    If the government is getting an overseas based company to make army hats, it’s because it is substantially cheaper than an Australia based one. If the government spent more on paying for equipment because of buy Australian only policy, it would mean there would be less money left to pay for pensions, hospitals, aged care, etc etc

  17. Andrew:

    Then may we feel free to assume that you support global capitalism at the expense of the jobs of Australian workers?

    I spent more than half a day yesterday working on a polling booth. It seemed to me that it was the Asian people who least wanted work going out of the country.

    I don’t think they came here to be done out of jobs or end up working for terrible wages in order for our manufacturers to compete.

    I think the government should do away with free trade agreements which put LARGE NUMBERS of Australians out of work (regardless of their ethnicity).

    If we have more people on the dole, how is that going to help anything? It will only increase welfare costs, with more people struggling to buy any kind of goods.

    I think people will only buy the amount of underwear they need, regardless of where it comes from. Overseas made goods are often inferior, so there may be no cost benefit in buying cheaper imports anyway, since more may be needed.

    I heard that Ergon Energy sent 3000 fire retardant uniforms back to China after chemicals used in them made the workers break out in a rash.

    I don’t think Australian citizens have ANY say in what is used (e.g. imported steel from India) in public sector projects such as the proposed upgrade of school libraries, laboratories and provision of new school buildings.

    I think the Bligh Labor government has been re-elected mainly by default. There was almost no one else anybody wanted to vote for. Many were not impressed with “The Borg” having the mining magnate as his financier either. I think that lost him quite a lot of votes.

    In my electorate, nobody even stood on a schools’ platform, which is astounding considering our seriously overcrowded schools!

  18. Good on you, Queensland … putting an end to the notion that QUeensland is a sexist backwater .. the first woman Premier to be elected in her own right.

  19. Ken – I have more opportunity these days to talk on economic and employment issues than I did before, when my focus was more on other things. Plus my views have evolved over time – and hopefully are still open to further refinement – as I learn more and more and get more chances to examine information and evidence.

    Lorikeet said “Then may we feel free to assume that you support global capitalism at the expense of the jobs of Australian workers?”

    You are always free to assume what you wish, but you would be wrong.

    What I am in favour of is poorer Australians not having to pay more than they should for basic necessities, which is what would occur if they could never buy imported goods.

    Can I assume you are in favour of protectionism in all circumstances at the expense of the jobs of Australian workers?

    What do you think the employment consequences in Australia would be if we were no longer able to export anything because all other countries insisted on a ‘buy local no matter what the price’ policy?

  20. Lorikeet said

    “state-of-the-art children’s hospital on both sides of the river as they have in Sydney and Melbourne”

    As a resident of Melbourne, I ask ‘What children’s hospitals in Melbourne?’ there is only one and that is located near the CBD

  21. Andrew:

    Andrew Says to Lorikeet: Can I assume you are in favour of protectionism in all circumstances at the expense of the jobs of Australian workers?

    I dont think see said that at all. In economics, countries should produce enough for themselves and export their surplus. If we continue down the road we are going we will lose any hope of producing for ourselves and become reliant on overseas countries for almost every manufactured product.

    The idea now that we will have to import uniforms for our police and state emergency workers is wrong. The revenue raised by firms producing these items here, far outways any short term gain by having them produced in China (Which by the way has tariffs on their goods protecting them from other countries imports).

    If protectionism didnt exist then no country would have a motor vechicle industry today. In some circumstances…yes we need protectionism.

    Free trade should be just that “free trade” not us importing from countries that have tariff protection on their goods while we export our jobs over there.

    Germany and Japan taught us after the war that no country becomes rich from exporting. They become rich from not importing. Then with strong local industries excel in exporting their products overseas.

    In this economic environment we need to revert quickly to a mixed economy and start looking out for ourselves.

    Not follow the Global idealism that the ALP and the LNP push. Its time we looked after our own before its too late.

    Tony

  22. I have just been watching the ABC news, in which Oxfam is accusing Pacific Brands of importing goods made in Hong Kong under very abusive sweat shop conditions – working very long hours, with high production rates, terrible living conditions, and low wages.

    I suppose Pacific Brands and some politicians can blame Australian consumers all they like, but the fact is if we don’t start protecting our primary, secondary and tertiary industries, soon the Chinese government will own us.

    They are already economically stronger than the USA, Japan, and the whole of Europe. I heard on the news the other night that China is trying to buy one of our mining companies.

    China could easily raise an army 5 times the size of our entire population and come and take over any time. Instead both state and federal governments keep allowing them to buy us.

    I think poorer Australians would not mind paying a bit more for necessities if they weren’t receiving among the lowest pension payments in the OECD or if more public housing and a decent standard of social services was provided.

    Those of us who try to do our bit for charity would have been unpleasantly surprised recently to find that knitting yarns (mostly imported) have risen in price by 25%.

    A severely disabled man told me this morning that his landlord is putting in ceiling insulation and increasing his weekly rent by $25!

    Andrew:

    I don’t think we’d ever be placed in a position where we couldn’t export anything. For one thing, we’re running a lot of livestock in order to feed China, Japan and the Middle East. If it were not so, fewer Greens would be complaining.

    I cannot completely answer your 2 questions, but would be very interested in hearing your views on both.

    I think if we bought only local goods, consumers would set the prices to a certain degree.

    Getting back to underwear, I buy all of my mothers Australian Made Bonds underwear at the Big W. You can save a bit by buying small multi-pack

  23. I think we need to get back to a Tribal Agenda. Before accusations start flying, it is not about racism.

    It is quite a simple concept where we trade other countries for things that we need. For example, we don’t import wheat, bananas, oranges, apple juice or meat, putting our own farmers out of business, and ruining our ability to self-provide while also destroying our industries with imported plant viruses and diseases.

    We don’t let other countries buy our primary industries (mining, farming etc) so they can rip us off in situ.

    We don’t pay our Gladstone steel workers the dole to sit on their hands, while we import steel from India.

    I think Malcolm Turnbull is correct about Labor (Rudd and Bligh) not knowing how to manage money. When you’re heading for recession, it’s the very last time one ought to behave in a fiscally irresponsible manner.

    Dolphins:

    Now Anna Bligh will turn the Royal Children’s Hospital into a “bandaid and crutches” arrangement, put recycled sewage into the water supply, continue to export jobs, and turn every school into a mega-metropolis of students.

  24. Lorikeet:

    Removing the childrens hospital from the northside will no doubt cost many young Queenslanders their lives.

    What will Anna do with the donations (about 5.5 million a year) that have been willed etc to the Childrens hospital ?

    I’d imagine that it will dissappear into the black hole where our stamp duty etc went. Each year from 2004 to 2008 the Qld government took record stamp duty from home purchases. Each year was worth over 23 years in real terms. A century of stamp duty down the drain.

    The merger of our councils into super regionial councils will cost taxpayers for years to come without ever seeing any benefits. Increased costs and reduction of services is that what the future holds there. Adminstrations with no real power or means of gaining an revenue in a system similar to the old Stalinism.

    Police and emergency service uniforms now being produced in China, as the ALP continue to export jobs overseas. Australian mining assets being sold to a communist run & owned company that will use these assets to control the price.

    What were Queenslanders thinking on Saturday as the demanded more of the same

    Tony

  25. Tony:

    I don’t think the people liked “The Borg” being financed by the mining magnate, but they might have won with a more popular leader.

    Then you have the people who say, “I vote for Labor. I have always been a Labor voter.”

    If you ask them why they aren’t concerned about the Royal Children’s Hospital being turned into a “bandaids and crutches” arrangement, they refuse to discuss anything further (the old head in the sand approach).

    They are Labor voters and that’s that!!!

    One would hope that those donations will at least be used to service the “bandaids and crutches” outposts and new super-hospital, which I might add are to be largely serviced by NURSE PRACTITIONERS – not too many doctors!

    When my local GP asked me what I thought of the election outcome, I said I was completely ASTOUNDED.

    I was also told that my ex-husband is absolutely spitting chips (not the actual words used).

    Of course, a lot of people would have responded to the huge, irresponsible pre-election handouts, with dollar signs blurring their vision.

    I think private home owners could have bought their own insulation – it would cost no more than a new fridge. There I was foolishly thinking the government would use Rudd’s handout to insulate all of the public housing (both old and new).

    Hmmm, not many votes in it!

  26. I’m not really that astounded. If I lived in Karumba then perhaps I might be, but can you really expect people to sift through all the media charades and stage managed wafer thin soundbites to actually make informed decisions? Before I get branded as cynical I must say I wish fervently that people could see through the manipulation. For a lot of people out there – Lorikeet mentons the straight up Labor voters – the only reason to change who they vote for is if they are personally impacted upon by a decision of government.

    Okay, I may as well out myself as a former Democrat member and candidate and believe me if the party ever looked like becoming a viable force once again I would jump straight back on board. I have to say though that media charades aside, running a state is a difficult gig for anyone and no matter who is in government there are going to be stuff ups and scandals, I believe it is simply unavoidable. To my mind there are too many people willing to be critics and not enough people willing to put their ideals into a form of positive action. By the way I don’t intend this as an attack on anyone who has posted.

  27. The Grey Ghost

    The Grey Ghost says: To my mind there are too many people willing to be critics and not enough people willing to put their ideals into a form of positive action

    I agree that too many are critics but why do people make no effort to find our who they are voteing for. The media only push the two party line. Most people only think on the two party line. After running in the last campaign and feeling the absolute frustration of waiting for hours to get on the air and then having the radio station say they ran out of time. Releasing press releases only to have them doctored or not published at all. The list goes on.

    Politics affects every part of our life… where we live, how much government services costs us…… Education…. health.. business …….whether we have a job next week etc etc.

    How can people not be interested in something that effects so much of their life directly. Lets face it, had people really took an interest in the most important part of their life then we would have a totally different government then what was formed on Saturday.

    Andrew Fraser would have been a forgoton nightmare and just maybe, we would have had people in government who really would fight to save this great State from the troubles we will now surely be subjected to.

    I guess the majority just dont give a damm.

    Tony

  28. The Greg Ghost:

    Yes, I knew you weren’t trying to insult us.

    I don’t think the voting public needed to sift through much. The rubbish that goes on is thrown in our faces on TV all the time.

    Downgrading our children’s hospital, complete with research facilities? Stuffing up our schools? Sending contracts overseas? Useless public dentistry?

    We see these things in the media every day.

    At the same time, the major parties use their global agenda to silence anyone capable of thinking outside of their dangerous capitalistic/communistic square.

    They had no trouble libelling/slandering Pauline Hanson (complete with fake photos) to keep her out of contention, and they reorganised the electoral boundaries to get rid of the only One Nation incumbent left.

    At the polling booths, Labor supporters lied to voters about jobs. Anna’s placard said, “Keep Queensland Strong”, which may have fooled some people into believing her government had some strength, instead of plenty of weaknesses. Her sign only made me laugh. I thought it needed a second line ( …. get rid of Anna.)

    Labor also kept saying on national television that Springborg would axe jobs. Maybe some people were scared.

    Tony:

    Most people don’t trust politicians at all. Here is an excellent reason.

    We are about to start importing apples from China, when our orchardists are already copping fierce competition from NZ.

    According to a woman who is about to start manufacturing sugarcane juice in Australia, we currently import $15,000,000 worth of apple juice, mostly from China.

    She said we helped Thailand to grow their own sugar, only to start kicking ourselves in the guts.

  29. Lorikeet:

    Most people don’t trust politicians at all. Here is an excellent reason.

    We are about to start importing apples from China, when our orchardists are already copping fierce competition from NZ.

    According to a woman who is about to start manufacturing sugarcane juice in Australia, we currently import $15,000,000 worth of apple juice, mostly from China.

    Both the major parties have sold our agricultural industries down the drain. Manufacturing was attacked first under Hawke and then it continued down the line.

    Both major parties have the same ideology. Global Corporatism.Until the electorate change ( and that seems unlikely) the two headed monster will continue on its way. Same direction just passageing on the other side of the road.
    Sad but true…

    Tony

  30. Tony:

    Well, here are some classics as to why people voted Labor.

    “Well, he’s always been good to me (Labor MP). He fixed up the bus service.”

    (Bus service is still stuffed for evening travellers! This lady knew nothing about hospital issues.)

    “Well, it won’t happen in my time (global takeover). John Howard was a weasel. Who would want Springborg in charge?”

    (This guy has children. I suppose he doesn’t care about them.)

    “By the time I eliminated all of the people I didn’t want, there was no one left.”

    “There were no Independents – only DS4seq and Greens. I had no one to vote for.”

    “None of them are any good, so why bother.”

  31. Bearbrass:

    I’m sorry, I missed your post earlier.

    I read a report that said the “southern states” had 2 children’s hospitals in each capital city. I thought that would include Melbourne. When I did a search, it said they were building a new hospital right next to the old one there, and using the old site as parkland. It is supposed to open in 2011.

    In Brisbane, we have had 2 children’s hospitals on either side of the river for at least 30 years, probably quite a lot longer. With increasing population (and traffic), I think it makes little sense to create these little “outposts” on the northside, with the only state-of-the-art hospital on the southside.

    Imagine if you had a very sick little child and had to keep travelling from the outer northern suburbs to visit him/her in hospital. Imagine if he/she had a life threatening condition which required immediate treatment, and the ambulance had to battle its way through peak hour traffic (possibly twice).

    The Labor MP for Ashgrove told me children could be moved from the Royal Children’s “Bandaids and Crutches Outpost” to the new superhospital in 5 minutes flat. (It would take longer than that just to arrange transportation.)

    I think the whole idea is about penny-pinching.

  32. In this sort of discussion it is always worth looking at such factors as drought and seasonal capacity to supply the market. In Australia we have a shortage of water and there has been a drought for a long time in such areas as Orange, in NSW, where many apples are grown. These days people want apples, and other fruit and vegetables, to be available all year round, and there is a limit with the climate of Australia to what we could grow, even with unobtainable unlimited amounts of water.

    The market compensates when there are no locally grown fruit by importing from the opposite hemisphere. If the people who complain about imports either grew their own or declined to buy imported products they might have a chance of influencing the market for locally grown fruit, for example, but since apple juice is widely used by industry, which will import if it saves money, people need to decide whether they prefer to give up purchasing cakes, etc, which are often sweetened with apple juice concentrate. Education about the effects of the lifestyle lived these days by many is seen as propaganda by some, and so the journey goes. Maybe we need a Depression to bring back the virtues of thrift and forebearance into fashion.

  33. Dolphins:

    Yes, a return to thrift and forebearance would be good in some ways, but not if it’s forced upon us by global governance.

    We now have a long history of importation of foods we don’t need that put our own farmers out of business, which has little if anything to do with seasonal shortages.

    Surely you can remember farmers dumping oranges on the steps of Parliament House in protest, possibly dating back more than 20 years?

  34. Here’s something else to ponder.

    The last of our white goods manufacturers is shutting up shop and moving operations to Thailand! That’s another 300 people losing their jobs.

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