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May 28th 2018 print

Peter Smith

Not Angry? You Should Be

We are witnessing the dilution and deliberate deconstruction of our peerless culture. This isn’t just a matter of immigration and numbers, though these are much too high. Rather, it is question of a judicial and political class re-shaping our world as they wish it to be, not you

wolf sheep III find the current political, cultural and economic climate in Australia – the lucky country – to be confronting. More so than at any time during my fifty-plus years living in Australia. Sure, Whitlam and Cairns caused problems but they were a mere blot on the fertile landscape. What’s happening now might not easily be undone.

“Australian residential customers are paying the highest electricity prices in the world – two to three times more than American households,” reported the AFR last August and earlier in March reported, “Manufacturers slugged by power price hikes.” Lots of people in the street, unions purportedly representing workers, politicians almost to a man and woman, most of the mainstream media, the leftstream media topped by their ABC, and most academics have become inured to Australia giving away its competitive advantage in cheap energy.

Any debate which happens is about whether Liddell should be closed or Snowy 2.0 built. It’s all a sop. Meanwhile, subsidised solar panels, wind farms and battery banks drive out cheap coal power. Meanwhile, believe it or not, we export record amounts of thermal coal to countries still interested in producing cheap power. It’s a Monty Python skit and most of those with influence or power to do anything about it are comatose. We are sleepwalking down the international economics ladder.

The choice on the political front is between Turnbull and Morrison et al or Shorten and Bowen et al, with Albanese awaiting his chance stage left. I realise that the times when we had giants like Menzies are long past, but we had within memory Hawke and Keating and Howard and Costello. There has been a precipitous slide in quality within a few short years. The choice is between lefty greens of Turnbull and Pyne hue or even leftier greens. I prefer the former between the two, but it’s Hobson’s choice between two clapped-out nags.

I also prefer a political party which sees economic sense in Australia reducing its corporate and business taxes in line with international trends. But what does Morrison offer? A derisory progressive reduction in the corporate tax rate from 30% to 25% by 2026/27. And, even then, such is the reckless and poisonous state of partisan politics that this feckless attempt to make Australia more competitive is doomed to failure. A rhetorical question: What is going on?

On the immigration front what is going on is a permanent dilution and deconstruction of our peerless culture. This isn’t a question of numbers, though these are much too high, it is question of who is being invited in. Luke Foley nailed it. “White flight,” he said. I might have even voted for him if he’d doubled down instead of wimping out. And who wouldn’t fly (or at least try to if they had the means and weren’t poor and ripe for plundering) if their Anglo-Australian suburb was changed beyond recognition by the political elite conniving its flooding by alien cultures.

And can anyone, anyone at all among the political class, tell me exactly what Sudanese crime gangs are doing living in Melbourne? Why are we increasingly seeing hijabs and niqabs on the streets? Exactly which country has benefited from Islamic culture. None, that’s right. As reported by Pew Research, Islamic countries are in the less developed section of the international league table for good reason. Their religious culture is a dead-weight on progress.

Let me switch topics from the extreme undermining of Australia’s economy and culture to the mundane business of bagging banks, which has always been an Australian sport. Nothing wrong with that. Bankers are largely mediocre, arrogant and over-paid. But that is the very nature of the beast and it won’t be changed by any number of royal commissions. What we need from banks is that they lend money and don’t go broke. All else is trivial. Australian banks have been very good at doing that while, for example, foreign banks fell apart in 2009 and 2010, bringing whole economies down with them.

I will get to the point. This banking royal commission should be shut down in early course. Okay, it has shed light on scurvy behaviour among financial planners, many employed by banks. Most of this information was already out at an official level but it is never a bad thing to publicly expose spivs and swindlers and their nefarious activities. Banks should run away from financial planning, as they had already begun to do, because it attracts too many people bereft of common decency and conscience.

Low-hanging fruit plucked, where did the commission turn? It turned to small business lending. At random among hundreds of thousands of small business loans (I jest) it picked a case involving a Ms Flanagan who acted as a guarantor for her daughter and her daughter’s partner. Now the case is sad. The lady is reportedly sick and you have to feel for her plight when the business went bust and the bank called on the guarantee. The event ended better than it might when Legal Aid in NSW was able to intervene and persuade the bank to allow Ms Flanagan to remain in the house rent free – it was reported – until her death.

Why is the bank at material fault in any of this is my question? Apparently, Ms Flanagan received independent legal advice before signing and I understand that this is a bank requirement. Why is the case before a royal commission? Has it nothing better to do with its time? And when are we going to get a banker who won’t wilt under questioning from economic know-nothing smarmy lawyers? The primary duty of care for a parent offering to guarantee a loan for their offspring falls squarely on the loving offspring – not the bank.

According to government statistics (Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) there are about 2 million small businesses (0 to 19 employees) operating in Australia. They are a vital engine of growth. They employ almost half of those contributing to the economy’s output. Most, if not all, have relied at some point on bank finance. Between 25 and 30 per cent of new small businesses fail within the first two years, and more go on failing in subsequent years. The cost of having a thriving small business sector is that many small businesses fail. And it is by no means clear which businesses will succeed and which won’t. Lawyers may not grasp that fact of business life; economists and bankers do. Banks will not, and cannot, lend to small businesses without taking security. And any serious diminution in such lending would have the economy grinding to a halt and going into reverse.

Banks cannot be expected to employ enough social workers to form a view of the personal impact on borrowers or guarantors if any particular loan goes bad. And what are they to do anyway? Refuse to grant a loan because the borrower or guarantor has a disability? That would go down well. People, in any event, will go elsewhere, and might eventually end up with loan sharks – who might not stop at taking their house.

I can’t imagine this royal commission will come up with something that won’t further inhibit banks making loans to small business. That would be disastrous. Put it together with soaring power prices and high corporate taxes and the economics picture is not promising. We don’t have any natural right to be prosperous. It has to be earned and re-earned every day. Put economic malaise together with cultural malaise and this lucky country might be running out of luck. And I haven’t even covered the progressives’ march through our schools and universities. Let’s hope she’ll be right.

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [14]

  1. en passant says:

    Peter,
    When I started my business I went to six banks for a relatively small loan. None would lend to me because I had no credit history having bought everything without hire-purchase, mortgage or ‘easy money’. It took six years to complete my home as it was financed step-by-step from earnings and savings. I know, I am an evolutionary economic dinosaur, but now an asset rich one with no debt.

    However, come 30th June there will be one less small business in Oz as I am closing and delisting my last business.

    However, I saw the light two years ago and moved my family and a large portion of my assets overseas to an economically sensible country. Whereas you are watching the decline of Australia from the front row, I have decided to do so from afar.

    One final poke in the eye: my unlimited coal-fired electricity bill for the month is <$200, my total expenses are <$3,000/month. The income from my bank interest is not taxed as the Government is trying to stimulate saving so it does not rely on foreign loans for infrastructure projects. Anyone heard how far Barnaby's 120-Dam thought-bubble has progressed? No, I did not think so either …

    I now live in a great country, just like the Land of Oz was once upon a time in a mythical time far, far away when Oz was Camelot – or so I thought.

    • BobC says:

      Please tell me which great country you are in.

      • en passant says:

        I shouldn’t as I don’t want too many Oz refugees arriving and trying to turn it into another failed economic state like Oz.

        Vietnam

        • Rob Brighton says:

          I am getting my boat packed as we speak. I wonder if I shall be welcomed on Vietnams sunny shores when I roll up uninvited.

          • en passant says:

            Rob,
            I live in a condo on the foreshore (not really concerned that mythical silly sea rises will flood my apartment). However, my ultimate home is on the foreshore 1.5M above king tide and will be completed in 10-months from now – and I am not at all concerned that mythical silly sea rises will flood my living room.

            I am actually presenting to a Club lunch in Melbourne in October on “Living in Vietnam Today”, so I walk-the-talk.

            Why not just get a 6-month visa and arrive legally? Travel is so cheap here that we spend time visiting wonderful historical sites. This year saw us visit Ha Noi, Dalat, Phan Thiet & Nimh Binh (unbelievable beautiful). Food is outstanding (live prawns and fish straight from the wharf) every fruit and vegetable imaginable, etc etc.

            As I say at the end of my talk:

            “I expect to spend 7-8 months a year in Vung Tau as a base. After that we will reassess our state of decrepitude and whatever future remains.

            Of course, as is always the case with living anywhere, Living here has several major downside issues.

            Umm, if and when I find them, I will get back to you and let everyone know … but don’t wait up”.

    • ianl says:

      As you’ve said (boasted) many times.

      There are those who do *not* prefer the tropics as a climate. Find me a country at Vietnam’s current level of economic development but in a temperate zone.

      I see the Productivity Commission (as repopulated by Rudderless to suit his own vanities) has opined that SMFS accounts with <$1m would be better off in some larger fund. There is no real reason that the bureaucrats and politicians would keep their hands off the humungous super $$pile. The Cyprus haircut beckons.

  2. Rob Brighton says:

    Terrific article. Thank you.

  3. Julian says:

    Well written Pete.

    I don’t understand the need to import pretty much any anyone from a whole host of countries of the world (the Japanese, the Hungarians, the Koreans, etc seem to be doing reasonably well without doing do) Why do we do it? 1) Left-Liberal guilt and one-world cosmopolitan utopianism; and 2) the ‘economic growth-ist’ types who see Australia as one big shopping mall and apartment block and only think in terms of units sold (not in terms of a common culture, cohesion, safety, trust, etc) (and now that we have no manufacturing industry etc – retail, apartment building and services are about the only game left in town)

    As you mentioned, the long-terms effects of this do not look promising in spite of their short-term sugar hit to the economy – ’tis a damn shame. And well, people will suffer in the meantime :(

    • en passant says:

      Julian,
      Might I suggest a correction to your last sentence?

      You say:
      “… the long-terms effects of this do not look promising in spite of their short-term sugar hit to the economy – ’tis a damn shame. And well, people will suffer in the meantime.”

      This would read better (and more accurately)as:

      “… the long-terms effects of this do not look promising ….– ’tis a damn shame. And as a result, people will suffer forever because of the disastrous policies of today’s treasonous politicians”.

      • Julian says:

        Thanks Mr/Mrs/Ms/Mz/(Trans? – one can never be too careful these days can one?) Passant,

        Yes, a cursory look at my comments will show that I obviously left the spell-checker and proof-reader at home under the bed when I wrote them.

        However, I take your point more generally. Some of them are no doubt treasonous, for sure. However, I just think the main problem are the naive, simple-minded econocrats who – as Western feminism etc has eviscerated the birth rate and the family (see Mark Steyn etc for more on this whole debacle and what happens when it encounters Islam, e.g. see what’s happening in Europe right now) – have turned to largely non-discriminatory mass immigration in order to create economic growth and prop-up the market. Sure, it might work for a couple of years, however, as you said, the long-term effects do not look good.

        E.g. How does an Australia of say, circa 20m from around the year 1999, of majority Anglo-European stock and descendants, compare to an Australia of say, circa 35-40m, composed of people from pretty much every part of the world (which, is obviously, unquestionably virtuous and noble, as, let’s say it again one more time folks, ‘diversity is our greatest strength’) 50 years later in 2049? I think we know the answer to that question.

        They suffer from the delusion that there’ll be integration and assimilation. It’s also just as likely that they’ve imported, at best ongoing low-level social tensions, enclaves and ‘white flight’, etc and at worst, large-scale violence, civil war type episodes etc.

        And once again, the Japanese, Hungarians, Chinese, Poles etc will all be sitting back and laughing and saying ‘you naive idiots and your utopian cosmopolitan fantasies’

    • whitelaughter says:

      Julian, the idea that importing people is a good idea is because in the 50s and 60s OZ *proved* that importing people was a good idea.
      And consider that from a govt perspective, people are a massive drain on resources for their first two decades, before finally becoming taxpayers and paying back that ‘investment’. An immigrant is a free worker: no paying for their birth, rearing, schooling etc.
      Japan and Korea are wallowing in debt, and generally fighting to stay above water. Taiwan, of particular interest to myself recently *is* recruiting people despite having more people on that tiny island that we have on an entire continent: and rents are only a quarter of what they are here.

      It’s an indictment of our current political class that they’ve snafu-ed this cash cow. If they’d say bring in a couple of million South Africans, or some of the many Europeans who realise that their govts have abandoned them, or non-Islamic minorities from the Middle East – rather than a horde of invaders – we’d be delighting in the advantages of doing so.

  4. Julian says:

    With respect, it’s just seems the same kind of ‘argument justified by economism’. I’m no communist, and favor a free market; however, that seems to be missing the point. The point is the non-economic factors. Japan, for example, may be in debt – yet, they live longer than us, have a lower crime rate, probably have greater educational outcomes (we seem to have gone backwards), have greater social cohesion, better health outcomes, and a lower unemployment rate. Should they change all of that with mass immigration in order to prop up their economy in the short term? Their answer to that in the last few decades has been ‘no’ and, having lived there, I can’t blame them.

    Also, to take an extreme case, should the Europeans accept the bombing of rock concerts (filled with mainly young girls), the shooting of cartoonists, the running-over of people in markets, the mass rape and assault of women, etc etc etc in the name of diversity and economic growth. E.g. ‘no need to worry that our daughter was blown up outside a pop concert, because the national GDP figures are up and we’ll be out of debt and in to surplus 3 years quicker than usual’. Seriously, what a bunch of idiots.

  5. Bran Dee says:

    As we all know the Federal Government is too weak to cut expenditure and balance the budget and under pressure from the Treasury they facilitate mass migration at more than double the norm to do the job for them.

    The migrant flood has a family reunion component that I recall approximates 60 000 people pa. These migrants will be mostly coming from impoverished areas of the world and many will be on social security and hence will become Labor voters in the shortest time that Labor can engineer.