Is it just me or did anyone else see the irony in a bunch Australia richest people protesting loudly and expensively about extra taxes for miners? One single person being worth 4 or 5 Billion, with a capital B, has to make you wonder a little when other people are sleeping under bridges in this weather, or any weather, come to that. And these bozos are complaining that Australia’s credibility or face in the world may be at risk if they have to pay extra taxes. I’m starting to get a funny feeling that we might have all been had.
The Labor Party’s backroom cockroaches believe all the hand-wringing and financial gloom-mongering and immediately dump the Prime Minister. I thought the man was a famous windbag, but well intentioned, and I wish Julia well, but I would have hoped for a bit more courage from the puppet-masters when the country is set to lose an extra billion dollars by giving in to the poor, pitiful miners.
In the 1972 when North Sea oil was first discovered, the Shetland Island government did a deal with the oil companies for one penny a barrel to be paid to them, even though it wasn’t really their oil to sell; they are just the closest port. Less than dozen years later, a B for billion barrels has been pumped from the seabed and all those pennies have come home to roost, big time.
Q. If a billion barrels have been shipped in 12 years, how many have been shipped in the last 37 years?
A. A ship load.
And there’re only 24,000 people on all the Shetland Islands to spend it. And spend it they do, with great glee. It seems that every village of more than about six people and Shetland pony has a large, heated, indoor swimming pool and community centre attached, colourful kids play grounds dot the landscape, the schools are as flash as those in an American high school teen comedy and the roads a pleasure to drive. I noticed the hospital having a huge makeover and an awful lot of traditional farmhouses are standing roofless and derelict because the new ones are modern and easier to keep warm, I suppose, though they do look a lot like they came flat packed from Ikea. The locals are extremely friendly, but then I imagine I’d be extremely friendly too if my government was looking after me as well as Shetland’s does for their citizens.
With a smaller population than Albany, if the burghers of Shetlands can pull a deal like they did here, then I expect a little more from the WA Government of 1.2 million of us for all the billions of stuff that’s coming out of the ground in my country for years and years and being shipped overseas as quickly as possible. For all that enriched dirt you’d think we should be awash with, flash hospitals, swimming pools and good health for Aborigines, over-resourced schools, first-rate museums, libraries and art galleries and even, as much as I hate to say it, sports stadiums. Not just the basics of daily life we pay the government taxes to provide, like water that falls from the sky for free but is not collected efficiently, roads and traffic lights with only three colours.
With those great holes all over our North West we shouldn’t have all the government departments stretched for funds and the Treasurer forever wringing his hands, sucking his teeth and calling for cuts and restraint.
The next line here could well have been, “I’d like to see someone cut and restrain him,” but as you can see, I thought better of it.