As they become more successful, enterprises of all types invariably expand. The ever-growing Australian Football League may be an emotionally exploitative, politically compromised, horribly woke monstrosity of a thing, but its monstrous dimensions are due to consistently high market achievement delivering huge financial power.
The AFL is a success, at least in economic terms, and thus it expands: beginning with twelve teams during the Victorian Football League era from 1925 to 1986, then growing in stages as a national competition until reaching the current eighteen teams. Next for the AFL is a team based in Tasmania, but this may be a rare financial misstep from Australia’s wealthiest code. As the old joke goes, everyone at a Tasmanian sports event gets in on a single family ticket.
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Naturally, being emotionally exploitative, politically compromised and horribly woke, the AFL in May joined the NRL, Football Australia, Netball Australia, Tennis Australia, Cricket Australia and Rugby Australia—plus various golf, boxing, basketball and baseball groups, and everything else with an “Australia” suffix in its title—to back the Yes vote.
“We, as a collective, support recognition through a voice,” these sporty people announced, having in the overwhelming majority of cases previously ignored constitutional issues and instead devoted almost the entirety of their waking lives to football, rugby league, soccer, netball, tennis, cricket, rugby, golf, boxing, basketball and baseball.
(You should hear, by the way, how some athletes absolutely scorn non-specialist commentators who dare venture opinions on their various games. Why, it’s almost as though Australian sports stars prefer the views of people who know what they’re talking about.)
Credit where it’s due, though. Many Australian sports stars—a not altogether dim bunch, by any means—have a fine grasp of both the theories and realities behind competition expansion. In a great many cases, especially in the AFL, they have lived expansion by joining newly-formed or admitted teams. Older players with families, especially, consider all manner of financial factors before signing on with an expansion outfit.
If they do sign, it will usually be because they recognise that the code overall is healthy enough to sustain an additional element. They recognise, then, that the code’s previous structure has served so impressively well that it deserves an expansionist reward.
As all Quadrant readers will agree, Australia’s political class deserves a lot of things. Reward in the form of an entire extra Canberra team is not one of them.
Consider the reverse accomplishments across recent decades of our federal political class. Above all, they have delivered one astonishing result. They have through sheer force of idiocy turned our nation from an energy powerhouse into an energy poverty pit.
It is not inconceivable that a government composed of randomly selected athletes would have done better on power availability and prices than have our elected representatives. Those representatives, of course, have at their disposal mountains of alleged expertise from all sectors, financial through to environmental. And they have brilliantly converted all of that wisdom into the notice I received as this column was being written: “Your electricity rates are changing from 1 August 2023. We estimate it’ll cost you around $362.05 more a year.”
That’s for two people living in a not-gigantic house in Victoria’s countryside. We’re not exactly running an aluminium smelter in the backyard, yet we’re copping bills that for people less well off could be punishing to the point of pain.
Someone without access to energy expertise—your average AFL footballer, perhaps—may consider Australia’s ludicrous abundance of energy resources and wonder why we even have power bills at all, let alone why they’re increasing.
That hypothetical footballer might wonder further about rewarding the economic and social madness known as a net zero emissions target by granting our political class another layer of power. He might wonder as well about following the directions of our Prime Minister to vote Yes when that same Prime Minister promised in the federal election campaign he would slash power bills.
Economically, successive governments have delivered generational debt. On energy alone, we’ve been hobbled for purely political reasons by huge prices despite our stocks of coal, gas, oil and uranium. Socially, governments paralysed us during the Covid pandemic.
And now that same wastrel class, those same destroyers of ambition and growth, want us to vote for and finance a new expansion team called the Canberra Voice.
No. No, we will not.