Thursday, July 29, 2010

Light Blogging From Down Under

Light blogging these two weeks whilst on vacation in Australia; Melbourne, specifically. Watching a little television while waiting for fish and chips, I was struck by how much Australia needs a Tea Party movement as well, and how much further down the road to socialism they are than the United States.

The local news had an expose of the waste of money of local councils, whose sole function seemed to be to sue constituents over petty and ridiculous matters. A local resident was sued for removing a tree that was threatening to fall on her house because she couldn't produce a permit at the time a council member asked for one. This, despite the fact that the tree removal firm had obtained one. This woman spent AU$30,000 in legal fees in a case that was summarily dismissed in environmental court. The show revealed that one council actually lost such cases 77% of the time at an annual cost of close to AU$1.8 million. The lady who removed her tree asked, "who are these people? I thought they represented me." Clearly the ruling class behaves the same way the world over.

The Australians are in the midst of a national election as well. Labor is leading in the polls, presently, after sacking the previous prime minister over a proposal to increase taxes on mineral extraction. What I noticed in the political advertising was that the trades unions were going all out attacking the Liberal Party (conservative) leader, Tony Abbott, over WorkChoices. Not to delve too deeply into the act, but the government's current legislation regulates dismissal practices in all of Australia's businesses. The Australian Council of Trade Unions used the issue to help defeat the prior Liberal government, and the Liberals have promised not to re-introduce the legislation. This hasn't stopped the ACTU from attacking the Liberals in this election cycle. Meanwhile, my wife's cousin complained about the lack of any manufacturing base in Australia; but the inflexibility in the work force due to heavy union and government interference are surely a reason for that.

Listening to the Labor PM, Julia Gillard talk about banning knife imports and early childhood diagnosis of development disorders brings new meaning to the term "nanny state."

Meanwhile your intrepid host shocked his guests at dinner by opining that the U.S. minimum wage was in fact too high because it is a serious cause of unemployment. We'll see if I last two weeks.

Picture at top is of Labor PM, Julia Gillard.

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