Monday, May 27, 2013

Lucky Country

When I was postgraduate student at University, the Department I was part of decided that it was no longer going to pay us (the Postgrads) to mark the work of the Undergraduate students.

The justification of this decision was that overseas Universities didn't pay their Postgrad students, so what was good for them was good for us.

As you can imagine, this didn't go down well with us.

This was a job for some of us, helping to supplement our scholarships. Others had it as their only source of income.

My response to our Professor's decree was not well received.

"Well then, I'm not marking anyone's work."

"You will have to", he countered, "it will be part of your entitlement to your Scholarships."

"No it won't, and no it isn't." was my reply.

He wasn't a happy camper. "But they do it in other countries!".

"I don't LIVE in other countries. I live here!".

Long story short, they did away with the idea and we continued to get paid - except for HIS Postgraduate students who were required to do a certain amount of marking/demonstration work as part of their own funding.

So why am I telling you all this?
Well today I saw yet ANOTHER graph showing how Australia is a better place to live than anywhere else in the world.

It is another piece of information that demonstrates that not only is Australia a pretty good place to live, it's THE best place to live. But what about the argument, "I don't live in other countries, I live here!"? Surely that's as valid as it was when I said it to the Professor?

Well, yes and no.

Australia, as opposed to a bunch of Postgraduates in a small department in a University, is actually influenced  by other countries, deals with other countries, and generally IS comparable to other countries.

In a possibly post-GFC world, well GFC#1 at least, the way in which a country weathers the storm is relevant and its standing in the world is also relevant.

Australia has come out of the Global Financial Crisis in amazing condition. Impressive growth, low interest rates (but not disastrously low), inflation where it should be, low unemployment and so on. So now there is this chart which shows that Australia's tops the list of places where life is "the best".

Some good stuff there, but it doesn't mean that some people aren't entitled to say "I don't live in other countries, I live here!".

If you just lost your job at Ford, all of that information isn't super helpful. In fact, it probably makes you feel even worse. You lost your job and you're IN the best place to be!

But much like how Tony Abbott and co are fond of saying "just imagine how good things could be with a GOOD Government", I can only respond by asking "Just imagine how BAD things could be if you lived in Mexico!".

The problems is, it's a nonsense response.
You don't live in Mexico and you're unlikely to move there.
Why? Cos the place is terrible! High inflation, high unemployment, NOT the best place to live and so on.

Again, the Opposition's comeback of 'imagine how much better things would be with a good Government' is a nonsense response.

It's like me saying "Well, I'd have done that better" - guess what!? I didn't. I didn't do whatever it is I'm talking about, someone else did!

"I'd have kicked that ball for a goal"
"I'd have done a better job painting that wall"
"I'd have chosen that shirt in a better colour"

It's all garbage, and not only garbage, it's presumptuous, arrogant and unprovable garbage.

The LNP wasn't in Government from 2007 to now, so their claims that they would have done a good job are garbage and unprovable.

So as unpleasant as it is that people have lost jobs in Australia, the country in which they live, they should also be thankful that they don't live in any of those other countries in the world, because whilst they may have lost their job, they are eligible for financial assistance from a successful Government, their interest rates are at record lows and mortgages easier to manage, their ongoing costs are subject to low inflation, and most importantly, there are other jobs available in existing and emerging sectors, such as Energy Efficiency and Green jobs.

Be glad you can say "I don't live in other countries, I live here!".