The New Age of Australian Philanthropy.

The rapid ageing of the world’s population (from which Australia will not be exempt) will create significantly increased demand for medical facilities and research, as well as a great need for research and development to create the new products and services that seniors will need to help them adapt to a new world of advanced technology.

The good news is that Australia is uniquely placed to lead the world in this ground-breaking era if we are prepared to significantly invest in its achievement. One innovative way will be through philanthropy. Continue reading “The New Age of Australian Philanthropy.”

The Bell Tolls for the Euro.

Every day I read the voluminous comments of eminent economists and columnists who make predictions about the future life or ultimate death of the European Community and the Euro. Just like climate change scientists, they are poles apart in their viewpoints, and so I can’t claim to be providing you with ground breaking comments that will be accepted by all. I just want to raise a few basic issues.

The concept of a united Europe was a good idea that gained life soon after the end of World War 2, but it has proven to be a flawed vision. The great nations of Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria, etc, have been at war with one another for at least a thousand years, and the lack of trust that generated those wars has not abated. Continue reading “The Bell Tolls for the Euro.”

The Two Windsors

Elizabeth Windsor has just enjoyed her best-ever tour of Australia, mainly because of widespread admiration for her grace and dignity, as well as the way in which she has shown to us all that old age is not a barrier to effective public service. In addition, she brought some stability to our chaotic political scene by calming down, at least for a couple of days, the insults that dominate the conduct of Australia’s leaders.

The other “Windsor” who has a major bearing on the life of Australia is Tony, the Federal Member for New England. He tells me that, when he met Her Majesty many years ago at the time when he was a newly-elected independent member of the New South Wales Parliament, they had a very brief discussion about their respective family trees, but, unfortunately, found not even the slightest connection. Continue reading “The Two Windsors”

Should Qantas be a Kangaroo?

I have been flying with Qantas for 60 years. Long before my first flight, many school teachers had related to me the saga of its valiant founder, Hudson Fysh, and the wonderful story of how Fysh teamed up with Flynn of the Inland to create the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Then, I cheered the visionary decision that the Australian Government made to finance the expansion of Qantas overseas so that it became the flagship of the nation —The Flying Kangaroo — a symbol that the whole world identified with Australia. Continue reading “Should Qantas be a Kangaroo?”

We are just about carboned out.

Well, the carbon tax is now a reality. So, what does it mean to the average punter who has absorbed as much hot air about carbon as he or she can take.

First of all, most Australians don’t understand this new tax, as it has never been rationally explained to any of us. Continue reading “We are just about carboned out.”

Too much luck!

Paul Cleary is a senior writer with The Australian — one of their better ones. He is also a researcher with the Australian National University, and has written a very readable book called Too Much Luck, which is about the mining boom and its possible adverse impact on Australia’s future. He has set-out a very bleak forecast of the legacy of the boom.

Expressed as concisely and simply as I can, he believes that we are living in the dreamtime on the unsustainable financial benefits of mining royalties and taxes. Continue reading “Too much luck!”

Opening up the Great Australian Food Bowl

The export of the produce of Australia has always been crippled by the tyranny of distance and the high cost of covering that distance. Our national tragedy is that we have never faced-up to this fact and created a fast, efficient and economical system of transport for our exports.

This same considerable problem will be a major issue in opening-up the Great Australian Food Bowl. Continue reading “Opening up the Great Australian Food Bowl”

Can we build a great Australia with taxes that are fair and just?

The recent Tax Forum in Canberra was a worthwhile exercise, despite some cynical coverage by sections of the media.

Having been one of the 180 delegates invited to attend, I can say that — yes — some of the speeches were boring, and some people came along to push the barrow solely for the benefit of their particular narrow-interest groups — but — by and large, the debate concentrated on what was good for Australia, and a number of important matters were given a good airing. Continue reading “Can we build a great Australia with taxes that are fair and just?”

Chasing the racist vote

The degrading refugee debate on the merits of Malaysia versus Nauru sickens me to the very core. It is quite clearly based on the importance of the racist vote to both the Government and Opposition.

Both have decided, quite insultingly, that the majority of Australian voters are racists who must be kept onside no matter what the social and economic cost might be, otherwise they won’t win elections. So, they argue all day long for the right to be recognised as the political party that can be trusted by racist voters to reliably represent them. Continue reading “Chasing the racist vote”

Somehow we need to shed a layer of government

Let ne re-open the debate on the important subject of Regional Governments. There can be no doubt that our current structure of three levels of government and competing Houses of Parliament has reached its use-by date.

It is a relic of an old colonial era that was planned by a Parliament in London, most of whom had never ever left the shores of England, and couldn’t comprehend a distance of longer than a hundred miles. Their plans were approved by subservient State Governments here in Australia, who also had the additional vested interest of maintaining their personal and parochial power bases in the capital cities.

Local Governments were then created to enable individual power brokers to have even more power bases, and they were made very small in order to achieve and maintain personal fiefdoms.

We must now take decisive action and replace all state and local governments with regional ones that are given powers to deliver top quality services directly to their people in a far better way than happens now. We can do it with about sixty 60 such governments, and this will give us a perfect reason to close down the Senate in Canberra, as there will be no States to represent.

As it can all be timed to start from 2025 if we take action now, let me list the cities and towns around which the regional governments could be based:

New South Wales: Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Bega, Albury, Wagga Wagga, Goulburn, Bathurst, Dubbo, Broken Hill, Katoomba, Tamworth, Moree, Grafton and Port Macquarie.

Victoria: Melbourne, Ballarat, Geelong, Bendigo, Warrnambool, Mildura, Swan Hill, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Bairnsdale and Warragul.

Queensland: Brisbane, Toowoomba, Roma, Stanthorpe, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Emerald, Longreach, Mount Isa, Richmond, Townsville, Cairns, Thursday Island and Mackay.

South Australia: Adelaide, Mount Gambier, Renmark, Port Augusta and Port Lincoln.

Western Australia: Perth, Bunbury, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Esperance, Albany, Port Hedland and Broome.

Tasmania: Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, Queenstown and Ross.

Northern Territory: Alice Springs and Darwin.

ACT: Canberra.

In a number of cases, regional governments would cross existing state borders, such as joining the Gold Coast with the North Coast of New South Wales, putting Tenterfield with Stanthorpe, Mount Gambier with Hamilton, the communities on both sides of the Murray River, etc. The ACT would not be needed, and Canberra would be the headquarters of a regional government as well as the Federal Government, and would expand to cover places like Queenbeyan.

Each of the new Regional Capitals would become a centre of education and have a freight hub which will drive economic growth, thereby decentralising the population of Australia in a really significant way. Most vitally, all regional governments would have only one house of Parliament — no Senate.

 

Educating Oldies

There is a growing opportunity for Universities to cash in on the Seniors market as our nation rapidly ages.

More and more Seniors are retraining so as to get themselves back into the workforce, and just as many are commencing training for a totally new occupation so as to experience the thrill of starting life all over again. Continue reading “Educating Oldies”

Why do we have a parliament that incites violence?

Every time I watch the sad spectacle of Parliament on the evening news, I need to have an extra sip of my whisky as I listen to them incessantly abuse and insult one another, making the most dreadful personal accusations and doing their best to turn character assassination into an art form, while screaming at the top of their voices in a manner that degrades the principles on which democracy was founded.

In all honesty, I can’t remember any of them ever making a reasoned and sensible statement about any subject that is before the Parliament. They all vie zealously for the honour of being the one who wins the news headlines as being the most spectacular abuser of the day. Continue reading “Why do we have a parliament that incites violence?”

Creating the Great Australian Food Bowl – Andrew Robb Leads the Way

Having long been a staunch advocate of using the surplus water of northern Australia for the benefit of the whole continent in a far more wise and visionary way than we currently do, I was delighted to read the recent front page coverage in The Week-end Australian of the planning that Shadow Federal Finance Minister, Andrew Robb, is undertaking regarding the storage of water and the expansion of agriculture in his policy development role for the Coalition.

It is refreshing to know that there is at least one parliamentarian who has it in mind to do something significant about water and our capacity to become the food bowl of the world, with the added benefit of becoming less dependent on mining for our national economic survival. Continue reading “Creating the Great Australian Food Bowl – Andrew Robb Leads the Way”

Food Water and Minerals – why can’t we have them all?

The conscience of the nation has been stirred by the ever intensifying and increasingly bitter battle between farmers and miners and coal seam gas producers about land, water and the environment.

This newsletter has been constant in its efforts to remind governments that they are handling these issues quite badly — their main problem being that they have had it in the too hard basket for far too long in the forlorn hope that it will go away. It won’t. Significantly, and for no valid reason, current draft legislation lets gas producers off the hook. Continue reading “Food Water and Minerals – why can’t we have them all?”

The Senate is on Borrowed Time

You will recall that, in the August Edition, I expressed my strong support for Paul Keating’s view that the Senate is ‘an unrepresentative swill’. As a result, I have been happily swamped with emails, phone calls, text messages and conversations, 95 per cent of whom were strongly in favour of its abolition.

Six interesting possibilities arose from those discussions; Continue reading “The Senate is on Borrowed Time”

We are dragging the chain on fast trains

An initial report on the cost and viability of building tracks for Very Fast Trains in eastern Australia has reached the desk of Federal Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese. It says that the establishment costs will be in excess of 100 billion dollars and that the operation of trains will never make a profit.

Most comments in Parliament and the Media immediately wrote it off as a white elephant that would be supported only by those who are out there with the fairies. Continue reading “We are dragging the chain on fast trains”

There’s Gold to be earned from Grey

There is not the slightest doubt that the rapid ageing of the world’s population will provide a significant economic opportunity for those who are innovative and courageous, especially in Australia, where our great lifestyle and general prosperity help us to live longer than many others.

The statistics are compelling. There are now 3,700 Australians who are enjoying a century of life and, by 2050, there will be 50,000 Australians who will celebrate the achievement of that honour. At that time, a quarter of our population will be over 65, and there will be more of our citizens who are over 60 than those who are under 15. Continue reading “There’s Gold to be earned from Grey”

Give Infrastructure Australia a FREE REIN

The infrastructure revolution that Australia so desperately needs will not occur unless all governments give Infrastructure Australia the power that it needs to build national projects with a minimum of government interference.

It was originally established as an advisory body on infrastructure to Federal and State governments, but they were told in advance what projects every government wanted to push — most of which were not in the national interest. They were pork barreling projects designed to help politicians win elections, particularly in marginal seats, and bore no relationship to the long-term needs of the nation. Continue reading “Give Infrastructure Australia a FREE REIN”

ASSET SALES are great if the money establishes NEW ASSETS

Federal and State Governments have a desperate need to generate a considerable volume of new funding to finance the creation of new assets to serve the people — but it is clear that they will never be able to do this from their general revenue.

It will happen only if they go into many meaningful investment partnerships with the private sector, as well as selling their old assets so they can create a continual rolling over of funds from the old to the new. Continue reading “ASSET SALES are great if the money establishes NEW ASSETS”

The time has come to get rid of the Unrepresentative Swill

PAUL KEATING is not the most loveable of characters, but he does have a wonderful turn of phrase and, on one of the few occasions that I agreed with him, he accurately described the Senate as “an unrepresentative swill.”

I reckon that few people will disagree with him. It is a quite unfortunate institution that is an utter waste of money, and does not in any way represent the basic principles of democracy. Continue reading “The time has come to get rid of the Unrepresentative Swill”