“As A Nation We Are Owning Less But Owing More”

12 Jul

A superb, insightful op-ed from Barnaby Joyce in the Canberra Times:

GrainCorp may be purchased by Archer Daniel Midland. Photo: Natalie Behring

GrainCorp may be purchased by Archer Daniel Midland. Photo: Natalie Behring

To be a strong nation, we must focus on core beliefs

What do you believe in? What would you give your political career up over, rather than compromise?

If politics is the jousting of social clubs, then a politician can be anything on any day, which is a little dangerous. Have we now such a greater fascination with form over substance that it has really become a quasi thespian frolic devoid of Lincoln, Churchill and Julius Caesar.

Are we just minnows usurping the space that would be better returned to the page three babe in a bikini? Is that who we are, a people who as a nation are owning less but owing more?

There has got to be a political spine that the nation stands on, a set of principles that hurt because you stand by them: family as traditionally proposed, even if it’s not your personal reality; small business, the farmers and the shops, despite the lubricious entrapment of economic policy, a policy that has a tendency to favour the large over the small and in many instances the external over the domestic.

The mining boom is waning, prices are falling, our debt is rising and our economy cannot put its hand to an international champion that is domestically owned. BHP is majority foreign-owned, Rio is not even based here anymore. There is no international agricultural champion that is Australian-owned.

If Graincorp is purchased by Archer Daniel Midland, we will have yet another impediment to becoming the agricultural powerhouse of South East Asia. Under the current conditions our debt both public and private is higher than it ever has been and getting worse so our economic bible has taken us to a peculiar religious experience.

Our belief in a global rule book is going to be challenged by a new Asian reality that gives scant regard to wishes but exploits our weaknesses. Our terms and conditions will be just ours, as seen this week when Yancoal stepped away from their Foreign Investment Review Board conditions.

After a mining boom we should be flush with funds, instead we are $258 billion in gross debt and conducting an increasingly desperate search for what will take the place of mining. Maybe live exports because we have excelled there!

China is creating a deeper pool of offshore liquidity as it moves to replacing the US dollar as the global reserve currency. That is a global game-changer and, if we are not fully versed in all the ramifications of that massive power shift we will be in a long term strategic disadvantage.

All this is happening but what is the political debate about? Kevin Rudd managing the process of how Rudd got rid of Gillard, a slew of new ministers from treasury to agriculture with little or no expertise in their new portfolios, a tawdry attempt to politicise indigenous recognition when nothing but bipartisan goodwill has been shown on this issue thus far.

What we can take out of the indigenous recognition issue is, in the history of humankind and economics benevolence takes a backseat to greed. This is the reality of human nature which we ignore at our peril.

Europeans basically dispossessed and exploited the resources that had belonged to indigenous Australians. In a more complicated form that process is still at foot but it is just being conducted by different parties in a more clandestine form. It is naïve to think a policy desire that relies on international relations can be delivered to the detriment of that specific external nation.

Here is my point: when you look at the deeper issues, the more relevant issues that are vital to our nation’s future today, they are not the ephemeral issues that Mr Rudd appears to be engaged with.

Mr Rudd has not changed. He is a man of media, earnestly delivered with sometimes flawed and brash statements.

Whether he has the competency to guide our nation over the longer term is unlikely on previous form.

Barnaby is right.

6 Responses to ““As A Nation We Are Owning Less But Owing More””

  1. mick July 12, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    Great article. These have been my sentiments for a long time but it is like being the proverbial voice in the wilderness. Those in power DO NOT CARE.

    Australians have become accustomed to a certain standard of living. The problem is that this standard of living has been paid for by selling off the nation over at least the past 2 decades. We sold off most of our world class LNG deposits and now get a measly royalty. We sold off most of our large companies. We even sold off the rights to Walzing Matilda and the right to sell Ugg Boots under that name.

    Now we are getting close to the end as FREEHOLD AGRICULTURAL LAND is up for grabs to whoever has the money. The issue is that the land is freehold (gone forever) and that it is being sold to foreign governments (state owned foreign companies). Whilst this is not permitted in any other nation I know of it is open slather here in good old Australia. The trouble is that foreign governments will grow their crops on our land and remove them without sale from our shores. Not one dollar of tax to Australians, ever.

    So why are both sides of our political system getting away with what would be treason of the worst kind in any other country? The answer is our free press which is happy to do its beat ups but not up to the task of looking after the well being of the nation. The whole issue is kept well under wraps by the media which refuses to go after the culprits and the government which conveniently does not have a national register so that Australians can see what is going on. it is a massive con which is going to result in pain for future generations. If anybody has media contacts then please forward this message on to themas there is no more important issue in any nation than the very land which feeds them. Whilst the country is being sold out b both sides of politics we all go about our daily lives none the wiser (and more than likely not caring) about the huge tsunami which is headed our way.

    • chris July 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

      Well put, the trouble with continuous trade deficits is you have to either keep borrowing or selling the silverware to maintain the lifestyle accustomed to, either way it cant go on for eternity.

      • bushbunny July 13, 2013 at 9:45 am #

        Believe it not, one of my environmentalist friends, I think she votes Green, but I agree with her on lots of points. They are very scared of the amount of our land being sought out by the Chinese. They have Cubby Station, and are buying up large tracts of land too. I wonder if we owe them money and that is something we have to thank ALP for. Reminds me a bit of Tibet, and how they shunted the population and Dalai Lama exiled, so Chinese workers could farm the land. Frightening, especially as Julia invited them to bring their warships in to engage in joint military exercises. No wonder she allowed the Americans to base up on the Northern Territory.

  2. bushbunny July 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    The longer he stays in the news, the more I distrust and dislike him. His wife Therese Rein is in trouble in UK over her international job seeker company Ingeus. The labor movement in UK, do not look forward to Rudd and missus staying long in the Lodge. They reckon they do not practice labor ideologies as she is worth $210 million, and looks like losing her multi million contract in UK for ripping off job seekers and the Tory government. It appears they are forcing job seekers to work free up to 30 hours a week, for charities or large retail outlets, or lose their benefits. With no job at the end of it, while they are claiming so much from the government to place them in work. David Gonski is one of her boards chairman. Keep it in the family eh. $2.25 million house in Canberra up for sale? Does he reckon he will permanently stay in the Lodge?

  3. Kevin Moore July 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    Michael Hoffman talks on Usury –

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