A red, white and blue view of Aussie budget blues

May 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

Australian political news doesn’t make headlines here in Tucson, Arizona – unless maybe a pollie’s been bitten by a shark – but some of the most telling commentary this week on Tony Abbott’s election promise budget back flips were not on news websites but Facebook.

Aussies ripped the lid off some home truths about the budget and clearly it’s just the tip of the iceberg for how unhappy the nation is right now, and rightly so.

Another tax on fuel and the Greens don’t want that spent on funding roads? There was a time the post was delivered on foot to Dubbo, but seriously, how much more dilapidated do the state’s country roads really need to be? Then of course if motorists can’t afford to use them, what does it matter, right?

Here in Tucson, I recently put 16 gallons of petrol in my car and paid $US54.90. Translated, that means 63 litres of petrol, which at your current average price you’d pay $97.92 for. The bottom line? Tucsonians are paying $0.92 cents per litre, why aren’t you?

While the planet may not be able to sustain motorists endlessly driving fuel driven cars, at least in the USA there’s plenty of people and incentives at work researching and creating alternative solutions, such as Tesla Motors with its electric car, which recently made headlines for beating Toyota as the largest auto employer in California.

That’s right. They’re opening factories based on renewable energy solutions, not closing them. Your recent budget is cutting back on funding to the CSIRO. Didn’t they invent WiFi?

Electricity bills work out to be similar here but one difference in the US is that power-generating windmills are embraced as common sense, real solutions to clean energy.

Getting caught up in red tape over whether someone thinks the windmills are pretty or not, cause cancer or kill birds is laughable. Birds get sucked into aircraft engines, hit by cars, kill themselves flying into glass windows or fall out of their nests as chicks. Not good enough reasons to down air travel, walk everywhere or ban glass and bird nests.

It’s not like Australia doesn’t have some wide open, out of the way spaces where wind farms could function far from people and views.

In the US, 15.5 million homes are powered by wind-generated electricity from more than 46,000 turbines. To put that into perspective, Australia is tipped to have around 11.8 million homes by 2031 according to the Bureau of Statistics. So, already behind the eight-ball, the budget is cutting back on the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and sticking with coal, again.

I doubt anyone can deny Australia’s belts need to be tightened and expectations perhaps lowered a little as the country continues to recover as much from the Global Financial Crash as the stimulus package which saw plenty of cash wasted on projects like basketball stadiums for rural communities with a population of 11 people (not even enough for two teams), or tennis courts built, torn down and then rebuilt because the money just had to be spent.

Just like the country needs a kitty for the lifetime gold travel passes of former pollies? Sure, former PM Malcolm Fraser would say dumping that annual expense won’t bring the country out of the red but asking politicians to stop lining their own pockets while unpicking the stitching on everyone else’s would be a politically popular decision.

But it smells like a corporate policy to me – where cutbacks are made to save the company but somehow there’s always enough to include bonuses the size of a smaller nation’s GDP.

America thrives on this system and there is a political right wing movement here stirring the pot to push society to an extreme where poverty or being poor is regarded as a responsibility of those enduring those conditions, leaving the rich to remain unaccountable and in fact by right, unable to lend assistance or develop structures that are inclusive for the benefit of all.

Based on the writings of American author Ayn Rand, it’s a radical approach to which republicans primarily subscribe, but if the past couple of elections are anything to go by, where there was a gross underestimation of not just what America wants, but who Americans are these days (no longer loyal to the rich white man’s club), it may not see the light of day as policy. 

On the flip side, however, the system is backed by some of the most powerful people in the country with unlimited financial resources and who are reported to have purchased seats at the table in The White House.

It’s one thing to serve your country and be recognised long afterward, like an ANZAC, but in the very least when it comes to post-PM perks there ought to be a litmus test on politicians whose pensions are performance based.

Let’s say on a scale from one to 10 where one suggests “sorry, you stuffed the country more than it already was so you don’t get a bonus every year” up to 10 which would denote good leadership, fair policies and no lies.

No-one’s ever going to get a 10 so there’s a saving right there before the test is even taken. 

Australia is really between a rock and a hard place. It’s a western country with western values in an Asian world and that world is moving mountains (of Australian dirt) but also economic mountains against which Australian’s cannot compete.

Americans are waking up to the jolt of Chinas ability to produce en masse, and cheaply too, and while wages are not high like Australia, they are still uncompetitive.

When it comes to American wages, the flip side to the minimum wage here is that customer service in the States rocks and it shames Australia. When your staff is hungry for tips (possibly literally), they will be consistently friendly, chatty, accommodating, humble, willing and able because if they’re not, their work colleagues certainly will be.

Maybe if Australian politicians salaries were lowered even by $7 a year, only the hungry to truly serve would apply for the job and if they perform, then the public might be more agreeable to throwing a few extra coins in the tip jar. 

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