I feel that if progressive Australians are ever going to come to terms with what happened on September 7 2013, we’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that the Liberal National Coalition are the government that the people of Australia want. And if we’re going to come to terms with this, I think we need to understand why on earth it is that people want Abbott to lead this country. I have lost many hours of sleep trying to work out what on earth is wrong with voting-age Australians for them to choose this complete and utter imbecile and intellectual nobody as the person who they want to make the most important decisions on behalf of all of us. More accurately, we have learnt that this person will not make decisions as the Prime Minister of Australia. Rather, he will float ideas and then judge the reaction on a narrow criteria of how pissed off influential people are, before deciding whether such an idea will be culled or snuck in a bit later when everyone has forgotten about it.
Anyway, yesterday when I was driving to work, I got a convincing insight into how this appalling outcome came to be. This is just one example, but I feel it is representative of a much larger whole. I was listening to ABC Radio National when Geraldine Doogue was interviewing Terry O’Brien, Managing Director of frozen food processing company, Simplot Australia. Geraldine was discussing with Terry the challenges the Australian arm of this American owned multi-national company are facing in remaining viable in the Australian market, with considerable cost pressures compared to cheaper alternatives that can be imported from overseas. You know, in places where they pay people considerably less than a dollar a day and where these people live in poverty. As one of the last frozen vegetable processing companies in Australia, Simplot Australia is a large employer and presumably the government, any government, would not like to see them disappear. A bit like Holden and Ford’s manufacturing businesses in Australia? Or maybe not. Abbott’s not finished floating on this one.
At the end of the interview, as the discussion centered around the actions Simplot Australia were taking to modernise their plant, to lower costs and to remain competitive, Geraldine asked:
“Well, how much do you need government here? I notice that the Federal Industry Minister, Ian McFarlane, who’s a bit busy lately defending industries, has said recently everyone will be involved in making this plant sustainable, but there’s no cash on the table yet. And the Manufacturing Workers Union representative John Short says the previous Federal Labor government pledged $15 million, and he wants the new government to match this. What are you hearing?”
To which Terry replied:
“I’m hearing exactly what you said. The Federal government, the new Federal government hasn’t been inclined towards putting money up. And quite frankly, we can live with that, if they deliver on their election pledge of things like rolling back the Carbon Tax, which certainly hurts us a bit. If they can look at the regulation. In the food industry regulation costs us an absolute squillion dollars and there’s a lot of regulation that’s really there for its own sake and not really adding any value…”
And then Geraldine said:
“But they can’t roll it back just for you, can they?”
Then Terry replied, with the clincher:
“No, but the sort of things they’re talking about doing will benefit us. And then on top of that, their catch call is ‘open for business’, you know, and if they can get a more business friendly environment going, that will benefit us.”
To summarise, the Labor government, baddy baddy bad for business, were putting money on the table to help the profit-making, American capitalist owned corporation modernise their facilities, to make them more efficient, so they wouldn’t pull out of Australia and cancel thousands of Australian jobs in the process. Labor were looking out for workers. But the Managing Director of this company doesn’t need this Labor government funding, as long as he doesn’t have to account for the pollution his company spews into our environment, contributing to climate change which is not a sustainable future (especially for vegetable growing). And he doesn’t need this Labor government funding as long as he doesn’t have to worry about regulations that we all know are not there just to give public servants something to do between twiddling their thumbs, but are actually there so that the food that Australians buy is safe and the working environment the workers of this company produce this food in is safe. Bad regulation, bad! Oh, and don’t forget the ‘catch call’ of ‘open for business’. Yes, this Managing Director really did say ‘catch call’. And he really did imply that this ‘catch call’ made him feel more positive about the future of his job, even if there is no actual government action arising from this catch call, when in fact the baddy baddy bad Labor government was offering investment to help the company, so not to see generations of the manufacturing workers on unemployment benefits for the rest of their lives, and so not to see the resulting community deterioration that comes from generations of unemployed.
To summarise even more concisely – it was big business, men like Terry O’Brien and those in the electorate who believe people like Terry O’Brien when they say ‘catch calls’ like ‘open for business’ are going to make their lives easier, and to make their businesses richer, and to make them individually richer, who brought about the Abbott victory. No care for the environment. No care for the level or regulation that is sensible and makes Australia a first world country. No care for the fact that they are using three word slogans to justify the biggest fuck up this country has ever democratically elected. It’s just the vibe. And if you weren’t depressed enough by this revelation, here is a line from Simplot Australia’s Sustainability Report 2012:
“We are committed to delivering lower emissions through using energy more efficiently, the installation of a cogeneration plant together with other improvements in refrigeration and efficient lighting.”
Presumably this commitment to delivering lower emissions is only a value of the company if it doesn’t cost them anything. Or was this just included to appease prospective investors and customers, who might by some chance have a social conscience? Ok. I think I finally get it.Follow @Vic_Rollison
Abbotts brainwashing over the years in opposition had caused many Australians into believing every three word slogan. The most effective was the Carbon Tax and the vast majority of Australians really do believe they are going to get a windfall of cash flow after the Roll Back. Here is the catch as utility prices had resin 95% on electricity prices over the last with the main culprit being those gold plated poles and wirer replacement and expanding residential suburbs including completely near ones coming on stream all the time. When the 10% CT is removed from those power bill then with increase costs of those gold plated poles and wirer maintenance costs.
The there is the Stop the Boats and thanks to KR formula with his off shore processing and no entry to Australia has started to bit those Indonesian and not Abbotts tow back the boats which Indonesia has rejected completely as it is not considered a crime there. Yes they had busted some gangs but they have yet to go to court to test their innocence. Now I add the Australia’s involvement with spying on Indonesia allegations. Abbott is going to find life a little more difficult concerning Indonesia.
At the moment Abbott is still in Holiday time and I think in time most people will wake up with a big thump when the Abbott fix-it trust me balloon busts in their hip pockets.
It was interesting to read your article, Victoria. Your work is appreciated. I believe a great many people are puzzling about the predicament Australia now finds itself in. I keep on and on about this, but I believe we will see no change in this country until the MSM get their act together. They seem unable or unwilling to focus on the bigger picture. Ordinary Australians, the ones who determine the outcome of an election, simply take in headlines. Until our headlines are truthful and meaningful I can’t see much change occurring. I put a comment on Facebook this week about a dear old dog we once had. He used to literally look the other way when something was happening he didn’t want to see or didn’t want to happen (like a bath). Our MSM at the moment remind me of that dog. But those journalists have children and families of their own to consider. I only hope they wake up in time.
I wrote to my Local MP a couple of days ago when I heard that the Original Juice Plant at Mill Park in Victoria is to close in march next year with the loss of 123 jobs directly and goodness knows how many more from associated industries and suppliers of fruit.
For year now two of my immediate family have worked there installing and modernising the plant.
One thing the reports didn’t tell you is that Original Juice is owned by Heinz. You know the mob who make the 57 varieties.
Last year they closed their Tomato bottling plant at Girgaree in the Goulburn Valley. Not only did 143 people lose their jobs the Tomato farmers lost their livelihood as well.
The farmers had helped out Heinz by taking a dollar less a tonne of tomatoes so that the company could install new machinery.
When the locals wanted to buy the Plant after Heinz closed it they refused to sell it to the local cooperative which had been formed.
Heinz claimed that most of the jobs would go to their Brisbane Golden Circle plant and the rest to New Zealand.
Heinz claimed that these Original juice jobs would go to Queensland as well. But I doubt that as you just can’t ramp up the production of fruit in 6 months. And a quick look at the Queensland government site for the citrus industry shows that may be the case. A bit more research may be needed to confirm my theory however.
So these large food producers are just concerned about themselves and their profit. They don’t give a fig about the industries they have closed in Australia or the people they have hurt. Like John Howard their “Mutual obligation” just goes one way and that is their way.
They still expect people to buy their goods on the supermarket shelves and for people to have the disposable income to buy them.
The ultimate result of such greed is to have a marketplace where the people don’t have the disposable income to buy their products and so they are really destroying their own business. If people don’t have jobs then they don’t have a marketplace. Simple stuff really.
I am very proud that I haven’t bought a Heinz product since they closed their Tomato factory at Girgaree in 2012. because they should employ Australians if they expect to sell tomato sauce to me.
I will now research what products Simplot make and keep a close eye on what they close down so that I won’t buy their products either.
As a matter of principle my wife and I only buy grocery goods which are made in Australia to support the Australian farmer and Australian Industry.
The Liberals/Nationals don’t support the Farmer by allowing such market dominance. And that is how stupid they are. Their own party promulgates policy which hurts them a great deal.
But you just can’t cure stupid.
Don’t forget the Dairy industry either and The Potato Industry for MacDonalds. It’s rife.
Interesting article Victoria. For a contrasting view, have a read of the article in todays Weekend Australian by that oh so objective economics commentator Judith Sloan who addresses this very subject. I do wonder if Judith was one of the two or three Australian economists who responded to the Fairfax survey of economists about the viability of the emissions trading scheme & it’s value in the climate change debate. I would think that she conformed with the Rupert view of this matter.
Hi Victoria, I do get it and its sooo depressing! But head up there are many of us out here who agree with you and want a saner, more compassionats and more economically fair and viable reality. In the meantime id rather read you than the bloody australian on my weekends! Thanks : ) Trees
And in that ABC segment I bet Geraldine didn’t call the Simplot guy out on his ludicrous argument. MSM continue to do us all a dis service when they give these tools an unchallenged platform for their libiterian propaganda. Low wages, poor conditions, no environmental obligations……short term shareholder value all the way
I weep for my country with this lot in. I despair for things like the environment, money is better than looking after things like water, the barrier reef, etc. We need money. Now we have John Howard saying he is agnostic towards climate change. What hope do we have?
I also despair for the animals being exported overseas. We keep hearing of the terrible cruelty but no government says the trade stays even though there is more money in boxed meat and more jobs for Australians if we change the trade.
Please Australia wake up, kick this government out now. Protest. There is going to be rallies on 17 November for action on climate change. I hope a lot of people go.
Do people really believe that the coalition got in because the Australian public hated the carbon tax.
I will never accept Tony Abbott as PM because I believe he only got there by lying and propaganda and of course help from the master himself, Rupert. I saw a photo of Joe Hockey chatting to Rupert Murdoch. I though the UK government got into trouble from being in bed with Rupert. I know we are slow learners but really why do governments have to talk to him. His journalists are facing criminal action in the UK.
So the truth is now out about the lies that Abbott and his colleaques have been spruiking on the deal with Indonesia about towing the asylum seeker boats back to Indonesia. In fact there has never ever been a deal between the two counties and by the looks of there wont ever be one.
The Minister of Indonesia Security and Political Affairs Djoko Suyanto has stated no such wishers were never agreed too with Australia to take back asylum seekers from international waters or Australia itself.
So Abbotts Stop the Boats policy is dead in the water drifting helplessly for evermore. Then there is the spying that reignited by the Howard Government after the Bali bombings and has continued ever since. Howard and Abbott and their gang of spying terrorists have a lot of explaining to do about their activity in all this to Indonesia when they were in Government last time around.