Losing sight of the lucky country
Dennis Thompson wrote:
The answer is the differences between Australia’s conservative Liberal-National Coalition and the ALP, now union-Labor socialists (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5).
5 Apr 2012 7:32 AM
Ian McCree wrote:
Oliver, you will fall out of love with New Zealand very quickly (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5). My bet is within 18 months you will wish you were back here. I just spent 20 years there, and you will find a deeply divided and confused place that can’t make up its mind whether it is British, Asian or Polynesian.
5 Apr 2012 7:41 AM
Tony Davis wrote:
Great article and mirrors the opinion of many Australians who wonder what else we have to do to prove we are indeed the lucky country (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5). I see the problem is not so much the Europisation of our political decision making albeit I agree on the points made about failed initiatives, but more the Europisation of our media. Once upon a time Australian media was innovative, daring and colourfully positive about being Australian and living in the lucky country. Now our media cannot wait to espouse the European condition and marry our condition to it. for our media bad news is news, good news is not read so don’t print. This fall in media performance is reflected in the sales of daily broadsheets and leaves thinking Australians with a degree of sceptism, mistrust and apathy. all this is compounded by the lack of ingenuity, honesty, social commitment and accountability of politicians of all parties.
So vale the old Aussie media, pooey on the politicians and to all us battered Aussies “we are getting what we deserve”. Social outrage is building but not for a long time will we see change that allows us to really see how lucky we can be.
5 Apr 2012 8:00 AM
Kalash Mohan wrote:
Oliver, unlike some others, I find New Zealand unique and beautiful but with a whole set of different challenges (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5). but one thing is certain, you will find a lot more creativity and innovation coming out of New Zealand than here in Australia.
5 Apr 2012 8:59 AM
10J J wrote:
Don’t you worry about us mate we know what we are doing (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5).
Hey, all the best in the future we have enjoyed your articles!
5 Apr 2012 9:00 AM
David Graham wrote:
The era of shock-jocks and sound-bites has reduced us to a quivering mass of insecurity (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5). Alas, perhaps populations get the media they deserve. nevertheless we are probably lucky enough to be able to get away with this for a short time. all we need is to do rediscover our healthy scepticism of conventional wisdom and believe in our ability to forge our own destiny. Oliver’s departure is a loss to the Australian conversation. his frank discourse has provided a useful counterpoint in an otherwise drab media environment.
5 Apr 2012 9:03 AM
Anthony Chow wrote:
Best wishes for your future and thank you for your writings. I have read many of your writings on this forum (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5).
5 Apr 2012 9:08 AM
Paul Hanly wrote:
“How a continent-sized country can believe its ?carrying capacity? is just around 22 million people is beyond me.” (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5)
Au revoir and thanks for your articles but could I suggest three areas of study:
1. Australian deserts, water resources, variability of rainfall, quality of soils, frequency of drought and flood and cost efficency of infrastructure to service population centres more than say 50km from another large population centre.
2. The exponential funcion including the Rule of 72 and doubling times, how long it takes from now to use more of a resource than has ever been used before. The YouTube videos featuring Albert Bartlett and the exponential function will be the best value hour and a quarter you will ever spend.
3. The difference between what might be possible and good for companies and what might be best for existing citizens in terms of wealth, share of resource base, educational opportunities (40 per cent of doctors are imported denying opportunities for existing citizens) and quality of life.
Could I also suggest that there is for most people a change in viewpoint as the opportunites of personal growth and adventure and new ideas give way to later middle aged maturity and responsibility, the weight of previous now obviously poor decisions, the stalling of careers, the decline in health, the loss of loved ones and the development of understanding of the exponential function!
Best wishes for NZ.
5 Apr 2012 9:48 AM
John Mihail wrote:
Thanks Oliver, I have always enjoyed your columns very much, providing a rarely found lucidity on complex matters, which is not an easy thing to do. I’m very glad to see they will return after a brief hiatus. all the best with your new adventures (Losing sight of the lucky country. April 5).
5 Apr 2012 10:08 AM
Stephen Riden wrote:
You will find New Zealanders curiously resigned to poor economic performance (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5). I think most of the Kiwis that remain are not the ones with entrepreneurial motivations, those Kiwis have already left.
5 Apr 2012 10:13 AM
James Buckley wrote:
Good luck in your new venture, Oliver. I have enjoyed your commentary as you seem to be one of the few who can actually see the forest (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5). I would also like to commend Tony Davis, who I totally agree with (April 5, 8.00am).
5 Apr 2012 10:21 AM
Ross Tychsen wrote:
Queen Elizabeth II once said that Australia always has been a country on the move. It still is (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5). Australians have a healthy scepticism for its political class going back to its colonial beginnings. This is a strength. It’s all about intelligent honest courageous leadership that delivers results in an ethical way. Australians have to hold their leaders in politics, government and business accountable for this.
5 Apr 2012 10:32 AM
Ngoc Bui wrote:
To answer your question, simply note that ALP government came to power in November 2007 (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 4). Wealth redistribution agenda has caused entrepreneurism can-do attitude to evaporate. Spin and bureaucratic regulations are killing the innovations. It’s the tall poppy syndrome!
5 Apr 2012 10:55 AM
Josef Franek wrote:
“Instead of celebrating the resources boom, Australians only wonder how they can tax it.” (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5)
Perhaps we should just sit tight and wait for invitation to Gina’s garden party or hope that one morning there will be a new Merc in the driveway courtesy of Clive?
That was the way 40 odd years ago when I arrived to these shores. but Australians matured a bit since then.
Our luck has always been dependant on other, far away peoples. Even now we need their demand, and their money to dig the stuff from the ground. and because that can not be guaranteed, we feel insecure.
We have too many think tanks and not enough national leaders who would put Australia on it’s own feet. We may even come to the point that foreigners will do this for us.
5 Apr 2012 10:58 AM
Onny Mousse wrote:
Great article, Oliver.
Please write about how you find New Zealand initially, and also after you have had time to reflect on the attitudes you find (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5).
Your experience of multiple countries provides an insightful perspective which I appreciate.
As always, it is the attitudes (of government, officialdom, and people generally) which ultimately determines a country’s direction and fate.
I look forward to reading your projection of both New Zealand and Australia’s position in say 15-20 years time, assuming current attitudes continue (which I’m sure they will).
5 Apr 2012 11:26 AM
Ralph Becker wrote:
While there is no single answer to the questions raised, and I share Oliver’s sentiment, it does come down to one common denominator (no pun intended), and that denominator is simply ‘us’ (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5). Who we vote for, what we read and watch, what we talk about and importantly, what we choose to tolerate and ignore, makes this country what it is. unfortunately, a healthy self-reflection requires the will to do so.
5 Apr 2012 11:26 AM
Michelle Wilkin wrote:
Australians are indeed very fortunate, but many fail to realise how lucky we are (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5). I concur with the comments above about media always looking for the negative side of a story. great article, and good luck with your new endeavour.
5 Apr 2012 11:33 AM
Colm Moore wrote:
Oliver, sorry to lose you (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5). what about a Letter From New Zealand ala Alistair Cooke and bill Bryson? you would be regarded as neutral, a major advantage.
5 Apr 2012 11:47 AM
Andrew Davies wrote:
A good read well put and while we are run by lawyers and bureaucracy they have their own patch to protect (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5).
You missed Hawke and Keating who started the changes Howard continued.
5 Apr 2012 11:49 AM
Graeme Kinsella wrote:
Thank you for an honest and accurate account of our demise. I don’t think that Australians misunderstand the extent of their good fortune – mostly, it’s about our inability to express our disgust and horror at what is being inflicted on us by the current Government (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5).
I left NZ 40 years ago to settle in this country for many of the same reasons that now deprive Australia of its previously-held energy and appetite for innovation and reform. NZ in those early 1970s days was poisoned by the same politically correct attitudes of the socialist Left and the class warfare and “tall poppy” syndromes that characterise their style of politics. No longer were people able to express their opinions openly. many left the country in frustration that their forum for initiative – their parliament – had been hijacked by the beneficiaries of a group of welfare-dependent and largely unrepresentative bludgers – much as I feel today when I see my Government here in Australia, unrepresentative in numerical terms and swayed at every turn by two or three political turncoats and a handful of Greens whose agenda (if one could be kind enough to call it that)is solidly opposed to economic development.
The natural resource fruits of NZ do not hang so low on the tree as those in Australia but a sense of desperation and a resourceful people in the 1980s have transformed that country, despite its many social issues, from a minority-dominated welfare state into a pretty good place to live. Let’s hope that our sense of desperation here in Australia soon produces a similar result.
In the meantime, Oliver, thanks for your intelligent and observant input. I hope you return to contribute again.
5 Apr 2012 11:56 AM
William Bourke wrote:
Paul Hanly (April 12, 9.48am) – don’t bother injecting any rational discussion about finite resource limits into mr Hartwich’s “deplorably populist population debate” (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 12).
Anyone who believes in endless growth in a finite world is either an economist or a madman.
12 Apr 2012 10:39 AM
Margit Alm wrote:
Oliver – let me tell you from one German to another: I came here when the population was 11m and I loved it so much that I came for a second round (Losing sight of the lucky country, April 5). 11m that was just the right population density for this ancient, dry and contrasting continent. We should have left it at those numbers and made the most of it. but no, we continued mining and ‘mining’. Mining the dirt from the ground and ‘mining’ the agricultural land until it too will turn into desert. Successive governments, especially the Howard government, continued on the path to destruction. Gillard is no saviour either. With a population attitude like yours, you obviously do not enjoy nature, which most Germans cannot get enough of. Beware, NZ has much of it – cherish it.
16 Apr 2012 11:54 AM