Category Archives: Politics

Have we, as Australians, lost our unique identity?


Back when we were throwing ourselves onto an outdoor cooking appliance to try to be noticed, we knew (or at least knew we thought we knew) who we were.

We were fun beachgoers who didn’t take ourselves too seriously, had a permanent cheeky grin, didn’t care if the world liked us as we we were or not, and loved a bit of mischief with tongues firmly planted in cheeks.

Then we completely forgot where we were and became rather demanding (“Where the bloody hell are you?”), refused to call prawns shrimps anymore, used outside for lonesome walks instead of social gatherings, knew we had your attention and thought we deserved more, and smugly believed we were better than most (mainly because we were).

Now we are overconfident, look down our noses at others (“No more boats!”), know we are the best at everything except for keeping our talent from leaving Australia, haven’t got time to go to the beach anymore because we constantly worry about working harder for less money, suffering hidden inflation (eventually we will be buying chip bags with only one chip in them and drinks with only a few drops to quench our once mighty thirst), hidden unemployment, an average income apparently of around $72,000 when HECS debts start being repaid at the ‘average income’ of $54,000, can’t buy a home and don’t know who our Prime Minister is (mainly because half the time we don’t have one).

The concept of a ‘fair go’, once the core of our essence, has been redefined and mostly abandoned (just ask a pensioner). We pay relatives $250 a fortnight to be full time carers when the market rate is $2,000, have not increased social security payments in over thirty years yet the cost of living (CPI) has increased light years beyond official figures (which the Australian Bureau of Statistics agrees, and now calls ‘Cannot Prove Inflation’), have the highest electricity prices in the world, an absurd ‘Australia Tax’ made worse by adding GST, and currently have as our nation’s leader a guy who we don’t know, don’t really care about, or for.

I think I prefer the old Australia, even if I have to call a prawn a shrimp.

At least back then I wouldn’t have to call our Prime Minister “temporary”, or pretend that everything was under control. In particular I wouldn’t have to listen to the words “humble, grass roots, servants of the people, we really care” every year when the next PM is sworn in.

I’ll take some unknown food cooked over a melted female doll anyday.

It’s enough to make you choke on your shrimp.

Another new PM


So Australia has yet another Prime Minister, and just yesterday the same man pledged his full support for the guy he defeated today.

Unfortunately from the outside it looks like Malcolm Turnbull was never given a chance to be the Prime Minister he wanted to be. In fact in his own words he said keeping the party unified took a significant amount of his time.

That’s what we like to hear, that those working for us, the long forgotten electors who are paying their exhorbitant salary and benefits, are only getting around seventy percent of their attention. The rest is on keeping their jobs and undermining those above them so they can have their job.

If they were my employees they would be given an ultimatum. Either take a thirty percent reduction in salary or resign.

They say they are concerned about our significant cost of living increase over the last ten years, our wages not keeping up with real inflation, our ludicrously expensive electricity prices, our sick waiting months and sometimes years to be seen and our elderly and unemployed who have not had an increase in their social payments for thirty-five years.

Does anyone, anywhere, believe them anymore? No matter what side you voted for in the past ten years, they have changed leaders (and therefore PM’s) more than ever before and made us an international laughing stock.

Time and again we see their naked ambition, their ‘do anything’ attitude towards their own careers and their unbridled megalomania.

So why should we expect it to change?

I predict a non verdict in the next Federal election, whenever that may be. Parliament will be full of independents and small parties as we collectively give up on the self aggrandisement of the two major parties.

But then minorities have held governments to account before, one of whom was described by all who spoke to him as the most stupid person they had ever met.

Well I say their stupidity would probably be an improvement over what we have now.

For heaven’s sake, it could not be worse.

Unions – why I’ve changed my mind about them


A long time ago, before the powerful wharfies union was beaten in a protracted and often ugly (children brought to the front line to hide behind) battle against much needed changes, I thought unions were archaic and had lost their relevance.

Now I wish they would return.

Yes we still have unions, but they are mostly powerless and dictated to by employers who know how dire our unemployment (and underemployment) situation is in this country. They know the real numbers, not those controlled by Canberra.

They consider you to be employed if you work just one hour a fortnight. Blatant manipulation of those without a voice, and yet no-one reports on it and we don’t hear it mentioned in the evening news or asked of our leaders during interviews.

Why not??

We also used to believe in a ‘fair go’, but after seeing record business profits go straight to the executives, with often job cuts announced in the same week, our fair go has gone.

Large company tax cuts will NOT result in more employment or higher wages. There are countless incidences of the exact opposite occuring during the past ten years, and yet somehow the rich deserve to become richer.

The current Royal Commission into the banking and finance industry only seals this belief. Banks announce record profits then sack hundreds, sometimes thousands of workers to make sure their profit margin remains high, to maintain their bonuses.

And our unions can do nothing but feebly protest. This is not their fault and I believe they do what they can, but their thuggish behaviour of the past (1970s and 1980s) turned the public tide against them. Now they are reduced to media obscurity.

This is wrong, the pendulum has swung too far and seems stuck, unable to swing back to normality.

And so the rich executives get away with disgusting levels of pay (please, no-one is worth paying millions to each year unless they have completely turned your business around from a basket case to stratospheric profits – none of which the current crop can claim to have done).

We also have business after business not paying superannuation, underpaying and mistreating workers, and unless it makes headlines nothing is done. Even after being in the media headlines the spotlight moves so quickly in our miniscule news cycle (not to mention the fact that the vast majority of our journalists have been sacked) that all businesses have to do is wait a few days until it moves on, leaving them free to act as they please.

I certainly do not want a return to the ‘bad old days’ of unionism, but we definitely need them to be moral in their actions and outrage and powerful enough to scare big business.

Unfortunately their own actions of recent maladministration have made this nigh impossible.

So our senior executives are left to their own devices, or should I say vices, whilst their workers suffer insecurity and are paid wages that have steadily fallen behind inflation.

The gap between the rich and poor is only being enhanced by the absence of good unions and the willingness of our most senior politicians to assist those they were elected to protect.

Instead of giving the wealthy more money via tax breaks (as if they don’t earn enough), why not simply remove the $18,000 tax free threshold for those earning $200,000 or above? Why should the very rich enjoy this tax free threshold that was meant to assist the poor, which now includes our middle class?

And yet it will be the organisations, not the guilty individuals, that pay the multi-million dollar fines sought by our current Royal Commission. Those who assisted terrorists and threw Australians out of their homes and killed the ‘fair go’ continue to make more in a year than most of us do in a lifetime.

It is so absurd I’d burst out laughing, if it were not real.

Our true inflation figure and how it is ripping us off


I am sure you have all noticed the same thing.

For almost everything you purchase from the supermarket today, you are receiving around 20 percent less in actual product than you used to receive a year ago, and for the same price.

Our real inflation figure is around 7-8 percent, maybe more. Yet the figures coming out of the the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicate inflation is no higher than 2.5 percent.

So our wages increase by a quarter of the increased costs we pay for essential goods every day, meaning our buying power is being significantly eroded. We simply cannot buy anywhere near as much in the supermarket today as we did last year, the year before that and so on.

No wonder we all feel a lot worse off today, and get very angry when politicians state the ‘official’ yet wildly inaccurate inflation figure.

Its official title is ‘household gross disposable income’ and it is decreasing as fast as water draining from a bath once the plug is removed. Or at least it sometimes feels that way.

The ‘statistics’ say we should all be fine, yet we have more people seeking assistance than ever before. And our purchasing power has reduced by 20 percent or more on many of our regular food items.

For example, packets of nutritious nutbars we used to enjoy did come in packs of six. Without any price reduction they then contained five per pack, and now only four. They then reduced the size of each individual bar by 20 percent. The price of each box has not reduced at all

So the ABS, who only look at the surface and so obtain meaningless figures, sees no increase.

Obviously their data collection is way off, and they should have started to include the size of items as well as price some years ago.

It started when bottles of wine and spirits reduced from 750ml to 700ml, with no increase in price, and the ABS registered no increase in inflation.

Many of us did not notice this seven percent increase in overall price, encouraging others to do the same.

The ABS has been completely wrong for some years now.

Packets of potato chips now contain far fewer chips, and they cunningly fill the rest of each bag with compressed air. This actually adds weight, meaning the weight shown on the packet is the same, or very close to the same, weight was before. Unfortunately we cannot eat air, yet we are now paying for it.

Once again the fast diminishing cash in our pockets tells the real story.

If the ABS does not get its act together quickly and measure the real cost of living increases we experience every day, we will soon have our buying power reduced by 50 percent with only, if we are lucky, an increase in wages of 2.5 percent.

Businesses know this, and also know it contributes to their ever increasing bottom lines so they are not going to speak up any time soon. The government, likewise, loves announcing ‘low’ inflation as evidence of their wonderful economic management.

I have read quotes from officials within the ABS admitting they are not getting the inflation figures correct. How about they simply include measurements/quantities of food items we now receive for the same money? It would quickly show the correct inflation figure, at approximately four times the current figure.

However that would mean admitting to incorrect calculations for the past several years. Why do that when the government is so happy with the way they calculate it now?

We are all being squeezed in a vice consisting of business profits and fast diminishing products for the same amount of our money.

Once again our confidence in those who are meant to know what they are doing, because it directly affects our quality of life, is eroding almost as quickly as the size of the products we buy.

So if the increased profits businesses are making from this underhanded price manipulation are not being shared with us in higher wages, why does the federal government think their planned tax cuts will be passed on?

As always the lower and middle classes suffer so the rich can get richer. The current gap between the rich and poor has never been bigger and shows no sign of slowing.

When the results of all the bi-elections from yesterday come in and victory is dominated by independents, the two main political party’s have only themselves to blame.

We are not as gullible as they think we are.

Finally I must, in the interest of balance, mention the new government here in South Australia. So far they have met all their election promises and look like they are doing their best to meet all of them wherever possible. This is reflected in recent business confidence figures being the highest this State has seen for a very, very long time.

Unfortunately they have no clout when it comes to calculating real inflation. We can only hope that a federal government will follow their lead soon and tell it like it is.

In the meantime we progressively get poorer and, unless we read and note the weight and quantity of everything we buy, it will only get worse.

But hey, with inflation at only 2.5 percent why worry?

What’s in a name? Everything!


The world renowned scientists in Israel have 30+ years of verifiable studies showing that CBD oil significantly reduces (and in some cases erases) chronic pain with no side-affects, and it is not addictive.

Other studies around the world have had the same results. Even medical studies here in Australia.

Yet we (those of us who suffer daily, with no or very little quality of life) are not allowed to access it because ‘wowsers’ hear the letters CBD and react with, “That’s cannabis! You just want to get high! Just like those 60s hippies!”

CBD (cannabis oil) contains NO THC, the stuff that gives you the high, so NO we CANNOT get high, we just want our chronic, debilitating pain gone. Oh, and to live a life approaching normal would be a huge bonus, thanks.

So if it’s the name that is causing all this resistance, why not change it? Call it something in Latin, people seem to love that. Or just something unpronounceable and therefore important-sounding like all the other drugs on the market, that are addictive and have a list of side-affects that take fifteen minutes to read and over two hours to understand. Then there would be no overreaction.

If they changed the name to simply ‘vitamin oil’ there would be no problem. Vitamins are easily imported, advertised and sold with claims that they ‘may’ assist every sickness known to man. I am sure it would be government approved within days, if government approval was even required.

But it currently has the name ‘cannabis’ in it so I must be a strungout hippie, chasing a high.

It’s all in the name.

People cannot get past the image that pops into their head when you say ‘cannabis’, of smoke filled rooms and people rolling around in their own psychedelic world. Yes, it should be their problem and not mine, but I have been in constant pain for over two years now because people cannot let go of their deep-seated biases.

I must admit that, until I became chronically ill, I probably would have thought the same – hippies out to legalise their highs from smoking weed.

It is a very deep-seated stereotype.

So I cannot blame anyone or get angry, there isn’t any point. I will, however, continue to write about it here and to my local politicians because chronic full body pain, with not a second of rest in over two years, can really get you down.

Then there is the massive financial saving.

I read daily of people with my condition, or worse, calling ambulances and going to hospital so they can be placed on higher pain medication for a while. Each visit costs you, the Australian taxpayer, thousands of dollars and clogs up an already stretched health system.

Personally, over the next few years I could save you all tens of thousands of dollars if I was allowed to buy what I know helps my condition.

Yes I can try jumping through hoops and attempt to navigate a mountain of red tape (and I really mean a mountain because I have seen it), but that costs a fortune in time and money (a medical professional has to fill it out, paid by Medicare out of our tax dollars) and I don’t think I would survive the stress.

Red Tape. If only we could grow cannabis oil as quickly as Red Tape, everyone in pain would find instant relief.

The money we sufferers would save the government in unnecessary ambulance callouts, hospital stays and subsidised (addictive) painkillers would be in the millions. Money I am sure you would rather the government spent on other things, or even better returned to your pocket.

Which leads me to my final point. With dozens (closer to hundreds now) of studies over decades as proof that CBD oil is safe, not addictive, not capable of giving anyone a high and yet people are stopping us from accessing it, can we sue these people for the pain and suffering we go through every day?

It is criminal, in my pain-filled opinion, that I know what helps my chronic pain, I’m prepared to pay for it myself and save the government thousands in subsidised medicine, but I cannot buy it because the government here disallows anyone to import it, or sell it without a pathetic initial prescription that lasts just two months.

Alas it is all in a name. How about we call the oil Fred? Fred oil sounds pretty harmless to me.

My great prediction


In a few days time, if it passes into law or not, we will pay GST on any goods we order that come from overseas.

Apparently this will be a big boost to our local retail sector. Unfortunately my prediction is that it will not be anywhere near as big a boost as they are hoping for.

For decades we have all had to pay the Australia Tax. This is the massive differences in price to, say, a notebook for sale in the US and the price the exact same notebook sells for here. You can find even worse examples in everyday painkillers (we pay around $8 for 24 ibuprofen tablets and in the US you pay $10-15 for 500 tablets!

Other examples are DVDs, CDs, books, food…. basically anything.

And when the companies that sell these products at vastly different prices are asked why, the excuse they always offer is the distance to Australia and our smaller market.

So either the suppliers are making a fortune because no-one in Australia has the guts to ask the tough questions or our local retailers are terrible at negotiating.

Maybe a bit of both. Personally I am staggered by the number of people here who will pay nearly double for the latest smartphone or Apple product, as they sell for in the US. Go ahead, check it for yourself.

So, my prediction is that on the 1st of July the people of Australia will have finally had enough of governments introducing new taxes seemingly every week. (A sugar tax? What a laugh. Apparently we can’t be relied on to make our own decision on what we should drink, so of course we need a tax to help us out. To paraphrase The Beatles, they’ll be taxing air next).

We will have had enough, finally, and we will revolt. Personally those items I purchased from overseas – because of this thing that is meant to be free, called the internet – I simply will not buy again.

Why not? Because every time I go to do so online there will be a stark reminder in my shopping cart, GST of 10%. I will get angry and log out.

And I will not buy it locally because unfortunately local retailers, big and small, are lacking when it comes to understanding buying on the internet. Ask them what a Google rating is and they will ask what movie are you referring to. Seriously, key into Mr Google the item you want to buy and stipulate Australia. The first items listed will be Ads for overseas sites, followed by some articles or reviews (from overseas of course) followed by something completely unrelated. Unless you include a store name in your search you will not even get close.

So until the local retailers discover Google search, it will make me so angry trying to find the item I want that I’ll end up not wanting it anymore. Shopping online should be easy and fun, and only a dozen or so Aussie retailers get it.

So, our local retailers will see a much smaller increase in online sales than they hoped for. My prediction is that less than 50% of what was spent overseas up until June 30 this year, will be spent locally in the next financial year.

If I see a news article stating how local retail has boomed I will know it is false, and was probably influenced by government press releases. How do I know this? Because every year, about two weeks before Christmas, every news outlet predicts the biggest spending Christmas ever of $X billion dollars. Then in February or March, on page 27, will be a small article saying the figures are in and it was actually a very disappointing Christmas for retailers. It happens every single year, like clockwork.

I am especially a fan of TV newsreaders proclaiming that in the last weekend before Christmas shoppers went crazy and spent $X billion dollars. Hello? How could you know that? Did you ring every shop in the State and ask them for their sales figures? No? Would the shops even know what their figures were for those two days, and get them to you within just 24 hours so you can run your news item? Somehow I doubt it.

Wet your finger and proudly hold it up high. There, now you have as much chance as getting your prediction right as 80% of our so-called economic ‘experts’.

As Steve Jobs said on many occasions, do not listen to anyone who says they are an ‘expert’ or worse, a ‘guru’, because no-one is, it’s impossible.

So buy big and buy now, the clock is ticking. At least this is one tax you can choose not to pay. And just think of all the money you will save!

Is there too much white collar crime or are we lucky there isn’t more of it?


We live in a society where white collar crime has never been higher, or more well protected.

Just read any book on the GFC or High Frequency Trading. You will quickly learn how so many became so rich at the expense of the hard working lower and middle class. Like you and me.

And no-one has been charged with committing any crime.

In the GFC companies (driven by individuals within them) made junk loans to people they knew were never going to pay them back. They then packaged them up and called them A+ secure, sold them to other investors for huge commissions then bet on those same junk loans defaulting.

And yet we still listen to those corrupt ratings agencies, Standard and Poor and Moodys, and the ratings they put on investments today. Why? Because the corrupr at the top welcomed them back with open arms as being fellow greedy and unlawful money makers, just like them.

They made millions, some billions, and yet no-one was held accountable.

Indeed the senior ezexutives of companies they knew were going to collapse, sold their company for a bargain price but not before they votes themselves huge bonuses. These bonuses were then paid by the US government bailout funds. Tax dollars of individuals put to good use…NOT.

As soon as the GFC was exploding around them the same firms started high frequency trading. I will not attempt to explain it in detail here, because not even some of those who participated do not know how it works. Suffice it to say that the big end of town were making stock trades that made them hundreds of millions while the average investor, often their own clients (people like you and me) lost everything.

Given these are only two situations that we actually know about, there must be many, many more. The current Royal Commission into the finance sector here in Australia has revealed much, but only because the Australian Government was forced kicking and screaming to agree to setup this investigation. They were trying to protect their mates.

Is it a coincidence that our Prime Minister made a fortune as a merchant banker and therefore would have countless contacts, friends, amongst the senior executives now being investigated?

As disgusting as all these examples are, I now believe that the ease that people and businesses can make themselves richer and the poor (us) poorer, we are actually fortunate it doesn’t happen more often.

If you read enough books, and get a pool of money together through friends, family and a few acquaintances you too can rip people off to your benefit.

So as bad as it is, and it is pretty damn bad, I actually believe we are lucky more people do not succumb to this temptation.

Corruption in our society starts at the top with heads of big business and political parties, and as proven many times over the fish rots from the head. So they are setting us all an example that we could easily follow. That example is greed.

Yet approximately only the top 5% do so. It should be more widespread but I do not believe it is. Why? Because the majority of people have ethics and morals that prevent them from acting as decedantly and greedily.

Yes, we live in bad times like never before as the gap between rich and poor grows by the hour.

However I like to believe that it could be a lot, lot worse and will stand with those trying desperately to shine light into dark corners.

Because greed is not hard wired into our system, helping others is.

I just hope there are enough of us to stem the growing tide.