By ellymelly – If you enjoy my work, consider shouting me a coffee over on Ko-Fi
There is a rhythm to history. Some call the repetition of our mistakes ‘cyclic’. Others favour the imagery of a pulse, beating beneath ideological revolutions as they come and go. I prefer human civilisation as a tide, bound to the peculiarities of the moon’s cycle and subject to the odd flood where the pull between prosperity and despair gradually changes the shape of a nation.
Every century, these waters draw back for miles exposing reefs, wrecks and forgotten ideas. The slowest political swimmers are left flipping over limply on the sand. These shallow moral waters always proceed a destructive wave – a period of terrifying upheaval – global chaos that economists, modellers and commentators alike have no mental creativity to predict. They are left chasing after news headlines, throwing their hands up in frustration as international affairs spiral out of control.
I say to those ‘experts’, we have the benefit of hindsight.
The ghosts of history’s wisest strategists are stacked mind-to-mind in our libraries. The Roosevelts, Thatchers, Churchills, and Ceasars have navigated these waters before us. Considering human civilisation conducts itself largely as it has always done, we have a choice; submit to the inevitable, or skip over the conflict and proceed with an exit strategy.
Exit from what?
The first step to freedom is recognising the bars of the cage for what they are, even if they present themselves in the form of solar panels, trade agreements, and the pleadings of sold-out politicians. Australia has a lot of bars. One might say that we are living in a Rubix Cube that can be turned and turned and turned without escape unless you know what you’re doing. It is a mess which freezes our ministers into silence. They do not speak for fear of being wrong or worse, having no solution at all. Others appear to have personal interests that run in direct conflict to the obvious needs of the nation. Citizens know that the country must win in this scenario, but the individual politician is less easily convinced to sacrifice their pride.
Australia’s constraints are internal and external, though I am undecided about which presents the greatest challenge.
There is nothing straight forward about sawing through the mess of Union-driven Fairwork Award systems that govern the employment conditions of Australians. Unemployment is the most pressing issue if we are going to avoid a depression, which is not being helped by a ruling to back-pay Casual workers for leave (already compensated with a 30% loading on each worked hour). This is news that will surely fold many of the retail and hospitality industries that managed to limp through the Covid_19 apocalypse. Why the Union movement slaves tirelessly to collapse job opportunities for its members is anyone’s guess, but I lay my suspicions in a pathetic quest for relevancy.
Technically, the collective powers that govern our institutions could reinvigorate the labour market. No one has asked what would happen if a working class revolution was Capitalist, rather than Communist? More than likely it would result in a peaceful economic boom because they want industry, stability and the consolidation of wealth back into the hands of the people. If Australia leans toward a social mutiny to deal with poverty, it must be for the sake of prosperity, not power – to extend freedoms, not punish. The working and middle classes were sold out equally to global corporates who walk hand in hand with China’s counterfeit culture that steals intellectual property, knocks off products, absorbs high quality produce and sells us back rubbish. This was an unsustainable system from the start turned lethal by Xi Jinping’s hobby of flouting established international norms.
It is a matter of taking a pen to paper to grant businesses the flexibility to adapt. The amount of tax that is ripped out of their profits can be slashed along with regulations that overstep sensible caution and wade right into ridiculous paranoia. What kind of hope do Australian producers have when their farms are forced to compete with the resources of a Communist nation that has bought out the land around them and the water beneath? Our government does not favour that small Australian farmer who has been working his patch of land since settlement, no, they extend the hand of friendship to the international entity which shows little regard for the health of the land. It has been in the government’s interest to starve out our citizens and consolidate thousands of micro-farms into mega companies that not only donate to political campaigns, but are easier to please with policy. Remember, Australian farmers meet world class standards to put food on a supermarket shelf but the packets of food made in China could have had their contents drying on a dirt road.
The worst example of this agricultural betrayal sits with our dairy industry which was preyed upon right in front of the faces of regulators. When Bellamy refused to sell to Chinese interests, the Communist Party of China retaliated by first significantly increasing their purchase of baby formula to drive up the share price – then abruptly withdrew interest, crashing the company’s value into the ground to make it impossible for Bellamy to sell to anyone other than China. In my view, this is profiting from the proceeds of crime, no different to burning down a house only to pick over the ruins. Moreover these are not, in any reasonable sense, free markets.
Some of the aforementioned cannot be solved by the government, but that does not mean they have no part to play in Australia’s recovery. Scott Morrison has re-lived his days as Treasurer by writing a lot of blank cheques, but borrowing our way into debt is not the same as forging a clear path out. Australia is not without her assets. We are a resource rich nation that has (bewilderingly) been talked out of our strengths. I cannot decide if successive governments on both sides were foolish, narcissistic or sinister when they actively closed our baseload power plants in exchange for a nearly entirely China-dependent, low-yield, intermittent, expensive disaster which negatively impacted every part of the Australian economy except political mileage in the Canberra press gallery. The benefit of the doubt will end if they do not rectify this mistake in the face of obvious geopolitical strife.
There is a reason that our ancient rulers, the ones who successfully built empires which loom over us still, engaged in major public works programs. A population needs to be kept busy to distract itself from the pain it has endured. With work comes hope and the gradual acquisition of wealth. If the government is facing a few years of bleeding handouts, it may as well be in service of building the infrastructure we need to link our regions together, drought-proof our food belts and create a busy environment for local support businesses to pop up around the activity. This expenditure tilts the scales back towards tax coming in rather than going out and accelerates recovery. It also provides the perfect excuse to go country shopping for new friends to diversify Australia’s investment market away from China.
Which brings us onto external problems and yes, they centre around China.
It is fair to say that the Australian people have retained a scepticism of China throughout the decades and often voiced complaint at the expanding influence various governments were allowing them to wield over us. We are a nation of migrants, many of whom escaped last century’s Communist dictators and the very same threatening politics which Xi Jinping’s party models itself on. There is a saying that ‘every person has a price’ but elected governments are supposed to operate with a glass ceiling of national security that no wad of cash can break. Well, that lays shattered at our feet with the leasing and control of strategic ports, dodgy Belt and Road deals in Victoria and a virtual monopoly on our trade market.
Allan Gyngell’s essay ‘History Hasn’t Ended’ notes that, ‘The challenge we face with China isn’t having to choose between our economy and our security. It’s more difficult than that. We have to find a path that enables us to protect and manage both.’
Their answer is posed as a question, and a vital one at that; ‘What does China want?’
It is a query that elected officials have finally begun approaching with a good deal more honesty and sobriety than before. After all, what China publicly expresses and what ambitions it keeps in the dungeon are its wife and its mistress, never to be seen in the same room.
Here, we caution Australia’s leaders. It would be unwise to walk in the footsteps of Chamberlain, holding up pieces of paper, offering speeches of appeasement or apologies for the annexing of unwilling nations into the fold of dictatorships. If our United Nations and its network of international courts have any value to global unity, surely it is in defence of sovereignty as it comes under threat? And yet we have seen sparrows snatched from the air by swooping eagles and not a finger twitched to their rescue…
The most basic right of geopolitics is for a nation to exist. When Stalin signed a non-interference pact with Germany, it washed its hands of Poland’s fate. This pact is not dissimilar to China’s non-interference pact, The Shanghai-Cooporation. Considering Xi Jinping is a devout Leninist and careful study of Soviet Russia, we can only imagine that he drew it up for the same reason – to stop neighbouring, powerful nations from stirring when he takes Hong Kong and Taiwan by the neck. As for India, an unusual and highly debated signatory of this pact, it could be that the nation wedged between the rising forces of Russia, China and the Middle East may find itself an unwilling prisoner. China has already threatened the Sino-India border, starting skirmishes to remind the only democracy in the group of what might happen if it does not remain quiet.
Australians must not allow themselves to be made poor and while ever our fortunes are tied to China’s feelings, we can be ruined on the back of the slightest word of support for our friends. This trade relationship paralyses our democracy and makes a mockery of our other pontifications of human rights on the world stage.
If we are not free to speak, as an independent country, then what value does our freedom have? It is clear to the population of Australia, if not its businessmen, that our wealth must now be built from within and grown among friendly nations that value robust freedom as much as we do.
By ellymelly – If you enjoy my work, consider shouting me a coffee over on Ko-Fi