Home' Ausmarine : April 2010 Contents April 2010 AUSMARINE
With STUART BALLANTYNE
THE EDUCATION OF AN
Australia's embracing of rules is more stringent than other
western nations, and this shortcoming started just after the
English "discovered" the place.
Most of us know that the Dutch had actually discovered
Australia but they were too mean to buy a flag.
When Cook and Co. returned to England they reported a place
"a hundred times the size of England with great weather, great
farming, fishing and mineral wealth." The long-questionable
English leadership summoned all the ne'er-do-wells, the have-nots
and the petty criminals down to the square. "Listen you chaps,"
they told them, "you're all going to Australia."
Had the Scots found the place, possessing superior intellect,
they would have heard the same news but acted quite differently
with the have-nots and the petty criminals down in the square:
"Now listen you lot, we're going away for a while, and you're
all staying here!"
You may chuckle at this, but the fact is that the decision to
populate Australia with criminals gave birth to Australia's biggest
liability -- the Tall Poppy Syndrome -- and it is everywhere,
evidenced by duplication and triplication of red tape.
If you work hard enough to get yourself a luxury car, chances
are that some loser with a petty criminal mentality will feel
justified enough to scratch it with a key or rip the aerial off. This
doesn't happen in China, or Malaysia, because they, like the
United States, applaud success
Take Victor, for instance, a young man from the Russian States
who had a passion for boatbuilding. After migrating to the West he
became known as Western Victor, which he intended as his
He started an operation as a self-employed boatbuilder. Once
his first employee came in the door he became an "employer" with
a plethora of national rules of how to treat employees. The first
wrap of red tape around Victor.
Then the authorities came about noise levels, complaints from
houses two kilometres away, and he had to insulate the shed.
Another wrap of red tape, followed by another with an expensive
styrene ventilation filtration system.
Then the requirement for an expensive drainage filtration
system, despite the two adjacent developed blocks of government
land not having any system.
Then when the number of employees crept over 12, the surprise
payroll tax where he was penalised a further six percent on wages.
Then two ex-employees decide to sue for wrongful dismissal,
incurring heavy legal fees and union bullying.
Building bigger boats, he requested some minor dredging in the
adjacent creek. He diligently filled in forms and paid fees for four
years for more layers of red tape, without success.
The EPA found trace elements of copper anti-fouling from a
previous tenant some 30 years ago and issued a contamination
notice. The banks viewed this dismally and withdrew his mortgage.
This wrap of red tape was carpet-sized.
Working 16 hours a day, six days a week, having lost his family life,
his money, his drive, he found himself disillusioned, depressed and
disgusted at a system that is totally against effort. He lost his spirit.
If a man loses his spirit, he loses his freedom, and like other
small business aspirants smothered by red tape, he closed the doors
on his boatyard and his dreams.
In many Asian shipyards you will find Victors everywhere.
Expats with good experience, good work ethic, happy to handle
sensible levels of regulations, and to achieve their dreams.
Australia needs to control its addiction to high numbers of
bureaucrats, regulations and paperwork, otherwise we will
continue to lose our talented people. This we cannot afford.
I know many good people that have left the country and given
up their residency, to achieve their dreams elsewhere.
We have more twits per head of population telling us how we
shouldn't, couldn't and wouldn't do even the simplest of things.
Not being content at ramming our own opinions down our
own throats, we now do it to others. Australia has one of the
smallest shipping fleets in the world, but at the IMO, we seem to
have the most to say.
"It's not politically correct to harvest whales," we tell the
Japanese, and we endorse and indeed encourage the Sea
Shepherds to harass them and endanger seafarers' lives by totally
ignoring the collision regulations. Indians are not harassing us for
eating cows, and the Japanese are not down here harassing us
about killing our cattle and sheep humanely. They're not
ramming the abattoir gates with old Datsun 120Y's to get their
myopic opinion across.
While tough against effort, we reward murderers and rapists
with nice, air-conditioned prisons with TVs and let them out
after a short period, then wonder why most of them re-offend.
The crims all know...Prison's not so bad, they feed you, train
you, do your laundry. It's almost as good as being at home and
your mum doesn't tell you what to do -- and you don't have to
At the age of 42, in the "recession we had to have" with Paul
Keating, I lost our business because the red tape process for
export finance was so onerous and so slow, like most
government processes, you had to bridge contracts with
overdrafts...at 22 percent. Despite a 20-year good track record,
the banks became nervous about us and called in the overdraft
on 24 hours' notice.
We lost the company, the house, the car ...when they took away
my Range Rover (which I thought was a really great car), my eight
year-old son Ross said, "Dad, why are they taking your car away?"
I was dying inside but said, "Ross, they must like it more
It gives me no pleasure to tell you that 22 years ago I kept 200
Aussies in jobs building vessels, and today I am supporting 200 or
so Asians doing the same thing.
Everything seems to be "sensitive", "endangered", "unstable",
especially our coastline, according to the regulators. Matthew
Flinders' charts of our coastline, drawn 208 years ago, are identical
to today's charts. Unstable? Who?
In 1936 there were 236 pages in the tax act. Today there are 4,100.
It is so complex that they can prosecute you on something
obscure, even if you knowingly hadn't done anything wrong.
So, can I encourage you to take a stand against this red tape
craziness? When the next lot of loonies arrive from the state or
national capital with more ways to hamper the local economies
and community well being, tell them to get real!
Tell them to come back when they have something positive
Tell them we have a great nation here with enormous potential
for our children and our grandchildren.
We need to stand up and shout about the stagnation of our
country and take to task those who are pulling us down.
RED TAPE AND THE
WUSSIFICATION OF THE WEST -- part 2
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