Q: Where does a 500 kilogram grizzly bear sleep?
Wherever it wants!
The philosophy of a nation of twenty million people instigating an agreement with a nation of three hundred
million people and trying to negotiate to advantage is the definition of stupidity. The outcome is that
the majority of the desires of the grizzly bear have been satisfied, and the little monkey is basically a puppet, dancing
according to the string pulling of the master player.
It’s time to take a step back and look
at it realistically. Australia as a nation is rich in a number of resources, including mineral and energy
resources. These are firstly those mining and energy and agricultural production resources, all becoming
raw materials for other countries to value add and turn into products that become saleable around the planet.
We process some of the raw materials we produce in our steel mills for example, so that some of what we export has
been value-added. Unfortunately, due to the philosophy of the minds behind the “Lima Declaration”
held in the Peruvian capital from March 12th to 26th, 1975, where it was declared that “the international community to take measures to encourage the industrialization of the developing countries
with a view to increasing their share in world industrial production” and “to bring about the establishment of a new international economic order based
on equity, sovereign equality, interdependence and co-operation, as has been expressed in the Declaration and Programme of
Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order, in order to transform the present structure of economic
but what resulted was that Australia now does not have a clothing, textile or footwear industry, it has been exported to South
East Asia. We have more wool-growing sheep in Australia than any other country yet we have no wool processing
industry any more – it has been exported also. The trend continues, with the demise of the motor
vehicle manufacturing industry, which has been in slow decline for two decades.
The FTA with the
USA in the last couple of years and the proposed FTA’s with China and other nations of similar size continue the trend
of exporting the best qualities of our country and leaving us with an economic and cultural desert, principally a mining colony
supplying resources to the rest of the planet.
Isn’t it about time we recognised that
we have everything we need to also become a diverse national economy as well, rather than continue the decline into hunter/gatherer
We have some of the greatest intellectual capacity on the planet, and we are losing that also,
exporting it as a “brain drain”. If we retained that, through specific funding to nourish and
nurture it’s development here, and to attract what we have previously lost back into Australia, and further, attract
other intellectual capacity into Australia to reinvigorate our national industries.
Once we have the
brain drain reversed, the next step is to realise the value of what we have and negotiate on equal terms with those that want
them from us. We have great coal, gas and iron ore reserves and many bulk rural produce exports.
However, we export most of them as raw or unprocessed materials and products. We have the capacity
to value add many more of our exported resources than we currently are, building industries that have long declined, and creating
employment and business opportunities that were once the core essence of the Australian economy and certainly the power and
passion behind the Australian spirit and dream. Unless and until we have a differential value for our products
for sale, we will compete on the same basis as everyone else. Value adding will make that difference, but
the industries that used to or could value add to these raw materials mostly no longer exist in Australia, as they were either
exported or made uncompetitive within the Australian economy when their direct competitors were established in neighbouring
Our cities and regional towns are littered with the empty warehouses and factories that were the
dreams and lives of numerous entrepreneurs that were abandoned by philosophies of a shallow minded governmental practice of
exporting industries at the sake of its people. These are resources that can be reinvigorated with little
more than some local initiatives to enable the businesses to open, and assistance with start-up capital.
happened in the early to mid eighteen hundreds and the Gold Rush days, infrastructure developed around the sources of wealth
– in those days, the gold mines, so that the resources could be delivered to the buyers. The same
can happen again, with the existing transport and communication infrastructure as the basis for the new impetus.
effect likely is the decentralisation of our regional areas, full employment in regional and rural towns where industry will
have lower infrastructure costs, and incentive for further infrastructure development with the increased level of demand through
the new businesses and employment generated from it.
A prime catalyst for this could be the transport
Should the government and community initiatives and incentives continue, this can bring about
a complete reversal of the trend to rural migration of teenagers and youth in general, and the increasing average age of the
farming community. A prime reason for the increase in the age of the farming community is that there is
little to keep the youth in the region, including employment opportunity, income from farming enterprises, entertainment and
the level of community services available.
This alone, is worthwhile fighting for. However, the bigger
picture is that we can change an economy from one living in fear of the end of the resources boom, to one looking forward
to value adding to those resources as well as exporting them and the technology we develop alongside them.