On the Wrong Track

There has never been any doubt in my mind that Australia is the very best country in which to live. With the benefit of spending extensive time abroad as a younger man, my position is based on personal experience.

Having just returned from Europe last week, I retain the sense of wonder and good fortune that I was born in Australia. It is little wonder therefore that those from other nations also seek to make their lives here.

However, whilst we compare favourably with so many other nations on the state of our economy, our quality of life and opportunity, there is a sense of foreboding that we are travelling down the wrong path.

Our government is wasting money that it doesn’t have in an attempt to develop a political narrative. Our Prime Minister is considered completely out of her depth at home and abroad. Australian families are struggling to make ends meet. Government intervention is making home ownership even more of a struggle for young Australians. Business confidence is getting lower as interest rates rise. Our border protection system is failing while our immigration centres are full to overflowing. I could go on…and on and on.

It is hard to believe that any government could have done so much damage to our nation in such a short time.

Now the dwindling ranks of Labor Government supporters will use the global financial crisis as an excuse for the excessive spending. However, they will conveniently ignore the simple fact that tens of billions of dollars were wasted responding to this over-pumped crisis. The schemes are familiar to us all – solar panels, pink batts, school halls to name but a few.

These failed schemes not only dissipated the government coffers, they have sentenced our nation to intergenerational debt that will cost somewhere in the region of $8 billion per year to service. That is money that cannot be spent on tax cuts, health, education or any other worthwhile project.

However, the damage done by this government far exceeds fiscal imprudence. They have undermined the confidence of the Australian people and their belief that their government actually acts in the national interest. While this crisis of confidence will likely be felt at the ballot box, it may also manifest itself in our approach to life.

Resilience and personal responsibility have been hallmarks of our national psyche. We dig deep to help our fellow man when they need it, despite many being too proud to ask for assistance themselves. The origin of this approach surely stems from our colonial convict roots where, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin at the signing of the US Declaration of Independence, that if you don’t hang together you were likely to hang separately.

This mateship was further forged on the battlefields during the great wars and continues in various guises to this day. We have always had little time for the assorted bludgers and whingers that seek to take advantage of others.

Unfortunately, that stoic and forthright approach is being undermined by our national government. Many are asking questions that reflect the sense that it is now the government who is taking advantage of them.

Why do illegal arrivals get more benefits than longstanding taxpaying citizens? Why are so many new taxes in the process of being introduced? Why is the cost of living going through the roof?

These questions – and many others like them – are being asked in lounge rooms and bars across the nation. The people are sick of the spin and downright lies from their politicians. Unfortunately, too many citizens have resiled themselves to that sangfroid of resignation that this is now how it always will be.

Somehow, Australians seem to be accepting the notion that government is now more about the power to the politicians than the people. This is a malaise that has crept into every country where big government and the welfare state take hold, usurping the self-direction and incentive of individual citizens.

Australia cannot afford to continue down this path, for to do so would be to place at further risk much of what makes our nation the very best in the world.

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