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The Forum > Article Comments > The Lucky Country > Comments

The Lucky Country : Comments

By Andrew Leigh, published 6/9/2010

If we grab our opportunities with both hands, we will truly be the nation that makes its own luck.

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Hi Andrew,

Congratulations on getting into Parliament!! We're all genuinely excited to have one of the nations smartest minds in the House. Can you please tell Wayne Swan to let you take over as Treasurer asap?

cheers
Posted by David Jennings, Monday, 6 September 2010 5:08:43 PM
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Change a few words around and this could be an advert for the ALP. Pity they didn't get Andrew to write a few for them during the election.

None the less what he has to say seems primarily true. We have had a good run over the years and are currently much better off than most other countries. This has developed over many years and many governments. Australians have a strong record of reelecting good governments and not tolerating bad ones. Our current situation seems a bit unfortunate but may yet result in the delivery of some good results. Todays agreement over reform to parliament is a good start so let's hope that Australian voters continue to make the choices that have helped us develop and strengthen as a nation.
Posted by nairbe, Monday, 6 September 2010 8:20:39 PM
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There are a couple of rather important things that you didnít mention Andrew Ė

Australia is largely arid with poor soils and low sporadic rainfall. Hence, we have a population that is vastly smaller than what it would be if we had a fertility and rainfall regime similar to that of the USA or Europe.

This in combination with enormous mineral wealth has given us a huge amount of Ďluckí.

Then if you add in the fact that we are at a point early in our national history where thus far we have been able to reap high productivity from low-fertility lands, which are now going into decline, then we have done very well.

This is DESPITE some extremely poor management of our natural resources and finances.

It really has been a case of luck rather than good management. Of course, thatíll have to change, and rapidly.

We are lucky that we still find ourselves in one of the best positions of any country to make the transition from luck to skilled management. But whether we can do this remains to be seen.

Alas, the wonderful opportunity presented to the Greens to promote good sustainability-oriented governance by way of the hung parliament seems to have been squandered. They could have put forward strong demands that would really have put us on the right track. Both major parties would have agreed to them in order to win Green support. http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=3936

So Iíve got to think that we are not likely to make the shift from luck to skill, but rather that we will be feeling the effects of this failure to be proactive and will be playing reactive catch-up politics and national management for a long time to come.
Posted by Ludwig, Monday, 6 September 2010 9:29:52 PM
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According to Alan Greenspan (some time ago), Australiaís economy improved as a results of greater amounts of work being contracted out.

Iím not certain if this has actually improved the quality of life over time, as work hours now seem to be increasing, while wages seem to be falling compared to a number of European and Asian countries.

Australian education standards are also falling, without much hope of improvement without some type of short, sharp shock to the education system (IE large scale sackings).

Australian manufacturing (or what is left) needs obvious resurrection, or else we will have to continue to rely on what we can dig out of the ground.

We also have quite considerable social problems, with one in 4 households now a single person household, and obviously families need resurrecting also, after the feminist onslaught over a number of decades.

I donít think the author will provide much of any use in fixing the above.
Posted by vanna, Monday, 6 September 2010 11:21:14 PM
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I wish you would look at some of the remarks regarding the unemployment, When Whitlam was in, the unemployment was up to 17%, and when John Howard became PM, he changed the rules so that if a person worked for 1 Hr per week, he was employed. I think that if you used the same rules as existed in Whitlams day, the unemployment would still be about 17%. Some of the factories are employing workers for 2 or 3 days a week so they can have cash to live, but there are still about 4 families in the cities being forced out of their homes each week, because they can't keep up with the mortgage. We were lucky back in the late '40's to '70, because we had a treasurer who then became Prime Minister, His name was Harold Holt, and he tested different tax levels until he found one which gave our workers and small business, decent living conditions, and that top tax was 66.6% on what would have been about $400,000 today. They could do that today, but the treasurers and PMs think that are of the very clever variety, and insist on going their own way. After all, Government only needs 30% of GDP to run, so why won't it run on that without going into a recession or - like the US, go into a depression? I hope they grow a brain soon, or some intelligent person with integrity gets elected, and we can start to say again "Wr're a lucky country".
Posted by merv09, Tuesday, 7 September 2010 8:25:20 AM
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I wish you would look up the internet, at the various sites, "Tax history of Australia", "Tax history of the US", Tax history of the UK" and "Taxs around the world". If you know anything about the affect of tax, you should know that when the top tax ic about 47%, there is a recession, and in the tax of Australia, you will see a drop in the top tax to 50% which caused Paul Keating's "Recession we had to have". IN the US's top tax, when they tried to get to the 30% top tax, they ran into a depression, their economy goes into negative. In the UK tax, you will see where the top tax was increased up to 146.1% on 8,000 pounds, which in 1946, would have been an obscene income, and this tax was to force these people to reduce their salaries or whatever they were making their income on. If the 66.6% tax was applied and the no tax was brought up to about 30 or 40 thousand dollars, our workers would be able to live decently and if a similar tax about 45% was appllied with corporate tax, Woolworth and Coles, would not be willing to force out the smaller shops when their business was starting to show a decent profit. However Mining export is corrupt, the required reciprecal imports distroyes our local manufacturing industries, I believe that there are very few of them left, I am 40 years too late.
Posted by merv09, Tuesday, 7 September 2010 8:52:29 AM
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