I am. I walk through my local shopping centre wondering which shops will be among the first to go.
As I wander about I hear the book shop is closing. In today’s mail is a personalised letter from the home wares shop telling me that the business is family-owned and explaining that their prices are rising because of the falling dollar – they sound worried. In other shops I see reduced amounts of stock being artfully displayed to disguise empty spaces and lack of goods. In another shop, usually filled with customers, the young sales assistants are standing about doing nothing. There seems a feeling abroad that something very bad is about to happen, that the bad news is about to leave the newspapers and make itself felt on our own streets.
In today’s Herald Sun Terry McCrann begins – “This is the year we will find out whether Australia has a future. It really is that basic and that serious.”
In a letter to the Australian Financial Review (19 Jan) Des Moore warned – “There can now be no doubt that our unemployment by mid 2010 will be much higher than 5.5 percent and, if the Government proceeds with both Fair Work Australia and the introduction of targets to reduce CO2 emissions as announced, it will probably exceed the 11 percent level it reached after the ‘recession we had to have’.”
It is a worrying summer all over Australia and the government knowingly gives us a divisive Australian of the Year to take our minds off the serious things that are happening.
It is a time for leadership and unity, not stupidity.