Sunday, January 18, 2015

Job snobs: Aussie dole bludgers too lazy to pick up $250 a day picking fruit

YOUNG, jobless Aussies are lazy and unwilling to break their welfare dependence, ­according to leading wine producers and citrus growers who are becoming ever more reliant on backpackers to stay in operation.

Despite an urgent need for unskilled workers, regional Australia is struggling to ­attract young people from the city despite youth unemployment in Western Sydney peaking at 17 per cent, forcing growers in the nation’s food bowls to look overseas.

Wine growers in the Hunter Valley who still rely heavily on fruit pickers, claim there has been no interest from ­unemployed youth in Sydney to earn easy cash — up to $250 a day — picking grapes, as the region prepares for today’s official start of the 2015 harvest.

So it is backpackers or bust, with several operators claiming without the injection of foreign workers, many wine producers in the Hunter Valley would cease to exist.

‘‘We would probably be stuffed without them. The problem is, our unemployed don’t have to work, it’s too easy for them, plus a lot of them come with baggage; real problems,’’ winemaker and former chairman of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association’s viticulture committee Ken Bray said.

‘‘They are too reliant on welfare and don’t want to go where the jobs are.’’

While most of Drayton Wines grapes are picked by a mechanical harvester, manager John Drayton said the winery still uses backpackers to pick from older vines.

He, like Andrew Pengilly from Tyrrells Wines, rarely gets ­interest from locals or those struggling to find work two hours away in Sydney.

Wine growers in the Hunter Valley who still rely heavily on fruit pickers, claim there has been no interest from ­unemployed youth in Sydney

Across the state’s Riverina, the food bowl of NSW, the need for unskilled workers continues undiminished, despite it qualifying for the Howard government initiative to give foreigners an ­extension to their working visa if they work three months in rural Australia.

While the need for workers grows, the appeal for ­unemployed city residents appears non-existent.  ‘‘There are definitely a lot of opportunities in rural Australia, but it seems people think the change would be too stressful. 

“We don’t have fast food joints open 24 hours a day, or big shopping centres,’’ Griffith orange grower Vito Mancini said.  ‘‘Just come out for a month, try it out. Don’t say there is no work about, because there is plenty.’’

Fellow Griffith farmer David Dissegna said: ‘‘The unemployed don’t want to do this kind of work. We would be in dire straits without foreign workers.’’

Fruit growers are not the only business owners lobbying the government to relax 417 visa restrictions, ahead of the tabling of the Northern Australia Development whitepaper next month.

In regional Queensland backpackers are keeping towns afloat. ‘‘We’ll give a job to anyone who’ll pull on a pair of work boots and have a go,’’ McKinley roadhouse owner Aidan Day, 65, said.

The number of working holiday visas has grown by a third since 2008 and visas for 18-to-30-year-olds are being fast-tracked to 48 hours.

IN Germany Denny Spaeth sits ­behind a desk working in a car manufacturing plant, but in ­Australia he is a man of the land, driving a forklift and heaving ­pumpkins out of the ground.

Mr Spaeth and girlfriend Jennifer Herde, a kindergarten teacher, are among the flood of European backpackers who earn travelling money working as fruitpickers. They are not afraid of a hard day’s work.

The couple arrived in Australia in August and worked for two months in Ayr, near Townsville, picking pumpkins, watermelons and squash. Mr Spaeth was able to earn $23 an hour driving a forklift.

The couple will spend the next month pricking grapes in the ­Hunter Valley. Mr Spaeth said they had loved their time Down Under and working on farms was hard but satisfying work.

“It’s life experience. You learn a lot about yourself and it would not be bad for young people,” he said.


Newman vows to cut payroll tax

A tax on jobs is always obnoxious

QUEENSLAND Premier Campbell Newman denies he broke a 2012 election promise after he committed to a reduced target of payroll tax cuts.

MR Newman on Friday visited the electorate of Chatsworth, in Brisbane's east, to pledge the Liberal National Party (LNP) will progressively raise the payroll tax exemption to $1.4 million by 2017.

"It means that thousands of companies will not need to pay payroll tax," he said at an engineering facility.  "Indeed, companies with a payroll of up to $5.5 million will see significant reductions."

The move would constitute $100 million of foregone revenue.

But it was a theme familiar from the 2012 campaign. Prior to the LNP's landslide win at the last election, the LNP had pledged to raise the threshold to $1.6 million over six years.

The government delayed the promise for two years in 2013, citing the impact from natural disasters, and it was due to commence mid-2015.  "When we were first elected, we found in the Commission of Audit that the picture was very, very bleak," Mr Newman said.

He denied it was broken promise.  "It represents us delivering what we said we'd deliver on. We're delivering it in a financially responsible manner," he said.  "We're going to get there. We did reduce taxes and charges. We wanted to do more.  "This is proof going forward because we've budgeted in these reductions that we will deliver them for business."

Mr Newman also promised that a re-elected LNP government would not introduce any new taxes in its next term.

He said Queensland would lead the nation with an economic growth rate of 5.75 per cent in 2015-16. "We will go into a surplus position for the first time in 10 years and we have budgeted for these initiatives because we have a plan," he said.

The premier pointed to Thursday's job figures, which showed Queensland's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate drop from 6.8 to 6.1 per cent in December, as vindication of the government's economic strategy.  "There is no better place in Australia than Queensland to set up a business and grow a business."


Terrible politics in Queensland but there’s no denying the economics

IT must take world-class political ineptitude to engineer the possibility of electoral defeat less than three years after winning office in one of the biggest landslides in parliamentary history.

Yet this is what the Campbell Newman-led Liberal National Party appears to have wrought in Queensland, with polls giving Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk an outside chance of becoming the state’s 39th premier following the snap January 31 poll.

But bad politics doesn’t necessarily mean bad economics, which is what ultimately matters for the prosperity of Australia’s third- biggest state. The Newman government has at least recognised the need to rein in spending and officious regulation, deflate a public sector bloated after 14 years of profligate Labor government and revitalise the state’s ageing infrastructure.

Labor, meanwhile, can have no meaningful plan while it remains wedded to public ownership of electricity provision. Thanks to its own prior recklessness, there aren’t the funds.

Since its March 2012 election, the LNP has cut annual expense growth from 9 per cent a year under premiers Peter Beattie and Anna Bligh over the decade to 2012 to 1.2 per cent.

Despite the political cost, the Newman government has trimmed the public sector — which swelled by more than 30 per cent between 2004 and 2011 to 207,000 — to a more reasonable 195,000.

It has also freed more than 9000 small businesses from onerous compliance with environmental regulations as part of a campaign to cut green tape by 20 per cent.

The LNP’s plan to spend $9 billion updating and expanding the state’s infrastructure from the mooted $37bn proceeds from selling the state’s electricity distribution network will help bolster economic growth and jobs at a time when the resource sector is suffering.

The global price of coal, the state’s biggest export, has plummeted more than 35 per cent. Meanwhile, the oil price has sunk to a five-year low, dragging down with it the revenue potential of the state’s massive liquefied natural gas reserves (whose price is linked to oil) for government and private sector alike.

While Australia’s economy grew by 2.7 per cent over the year to September, Queensland’s shrank by 1.8 per cent. The state’s unemployment rate has risen from 5.5 per cent in March 2012 to almost 7 per cent, compared with 6.3 per cent across Australia.

Indeed, if re-elected, the Newman government might want to consider spending even more of the privatisation proceeds on infrastructure. That, at least, is what the NSW Liberals are doing. They, by contrast, are poised to romp back to victory despite courting their own share of political embarrassments.



By Australian cartoonist Paul Zanetti

I may not like being called a bloody wog, dago, Itie bastard but I will fight for your right to call me one. Or anything else you like.

In return I’ll call you a dumb, hick redneck skippy, draw a cartoon of you, put it on Facebook and then we’ll have a drink. Your shout. Well, you started it.

You see, my fragile, sensitive feelings come second to my freedoms, and yours for that matter.

I grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s when life was more rough and tumble. We called a spade a bloody spade. It wasn’t about intolerance because Australia opened its arms to people from all races, cultures and faiths. I’m a product of that openness and warmth, and this friendliness continues to this day, as long as it’s mutual.

When I grew up, political correctness was a futuristic nightmare, best described today as ‘A doctrine…which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.’

Today, freedoms we once enjoyed have been eroded and in some cases destroyed by the PC brigade, all too quick to take ‘offence’ at the drop of a hat, but quick to condemn or vilify anybody who doesn’t subscribe to their wooly world view.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about free speech after the attack on the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. Everyone became ‘Charlie’, a symbol of uncompromising free speech, everyone including the hypocrites responsible for shackling free speech.

In Australia the lightning rod for free speech is Section 18C of The Racial Discrimination Act.

Simply put, that part of the Act says you can’t offend someone (other than in private) based on race, colour or national or ethnic origin. In other words, it’s illegal to hurt someone’s feelings.

The next part of the Act, Section 18D, makes exceptions. You can hurt someone’s feelings publicly if it’s in cartoons, in opinion columns (fair comment), artistic works or in the public interest or if what you say is factual, or scientific, or if you believe it.

But, someone can argue that you didn’t really believe what you said publicly, and haul you in front of the courts. That’s how ludicrous it all is.

As someone who was a regular target of idiots who picked on me because of my last name, and heritage, I’m proud to live in a country where you are free enough to call me whatever you like. As a kid, I didn’t run to the teacher or school principal each time it happened. Section 18C is a legal version of crying to the teacher. I handled it my own way. I drew very compromising cartoons of the idiots and stuck them up around the school corridors. Didn’t take long before they were my ‘friends’.

The Liberal party went to the last election promising to repeal this muzzle on free speech, but Abbott decided to not keep this promise, too. He cowered to ‘community groups’ such as the Jewish and Islamic groups (and the self-titled ‘progressive’ left) who united to pressure the Abbott government to go weak at the knees. They did.

The irony is, that religion isnt covered in The Racial Discrimination Act, so anybody can still criticise Muslims or Islam without any legal consequence, but the Jews (a race) cannot be vilified by any Muslim, or other. Let’s just take a look at what’s written in the Qur’an while we’re at it. Who’s feeling like a winnable legal stoush?

In the US free speech is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution of The United States. We don’t have any such safeguard here.

Larry Flynt is a grub, a pornographer and somewhat of a hero to defenders of free speech, including me.  More than just about anybody, he has defended the protection of every American’s right to say what they think.

Flynt is the publisher of Hustler magazine, the third biggest selling porn magazine in the ‘70s and ‘80s after Penthouse and Playboy. It was the trashier of the three and lived most of its printed life in the sewer (I can say that without fear of Flynt suing me, thanks to the free speech laws Flynt championed). In one of the editions of the mag, Flynt lampooned loud mouth Christian evangelist, Jerry Falwell.

What Flynt said about Falwell in print was crude, involving incest with Falwell’s mother in an outhouse, in a satirical full page ad. Hustler had a long record of parody ads of famous people and ‘their first time’.

The Falwell satire was typically ludicrous. The page included the disclaimer in small print at the bottom of the page, reading "ad parody—not to be taken seriously.”  Falwell sued, anyway.

In a long running case, Flynt eventually won under The First Amendment. His right to take the piss, poke fun at public figures is protected.

Flynt summed it up best himself: "If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, then it will protect all of you. Because I'm the worst.”

Yes, Flynt was defending himself in legal action, but it was in his act of pushing the boundaries that sparked the fight. He went to extremes to fight for and protect the right of every American to be free in what they say. He paved the way.

Flynt was imprisoned 9 times fighting for the right to say and publish what he thought. He was also shot at outside a courtroom and remains in a wheelchair to this day.

In protecting his First Amendment rights Flynt says, “Fighting those battles wasn’t easy. I’ve been shot and paralysed as a result of it. But freedom of speech is not freedom for the thought you love, it’s freedom for the thought you hate the most. You have to get your head around that.”

As far as expanding the First Amendment rights, Flynt says the less governmental interference, the better.

“The greatest right that any nation can afford its people is the right to be left alone. Every American feels that way. Unless they’re breaking the law, they want to be left alone.”

Charlie Hebdo carried the flame in France. Every cartoonist and journalist who died at work by the spray of bullets from cowardly, medieval ideologues brandishing Kalishnakovs were martyrs for free speech. They pushed the boundaries regardless of the consequences.

In Australia we have very few prepared to defend free speech.

One is cartoonist Larry Pickering. He did so in the 1980s with his famed ‘politically candid’ calendars where he depicted our politicians warts and all in the nuddy. As funny as they were, they pushed the limits of satire and free speech.

Joh Bjelke Petersen wanted them banned in Queensland, where they were sold under the counter in a cover, yet displayed hanging over the front counter in all their glory in most other states. It could have been the way Larry drew Joh.

Gough Whitlam tried to sue Pickering for his depiction of a post-sacked wounded Whitlam with band-aids all over him, including on his dick. Whitlam contrived some silly argument that Pickering was inferring that he had syphilis and was wearing a band aid to cover it up. He wasn’t of course, but Gough being a QC thought he had Pickering.

Larry said, “Well how do we know you don’t? You’ll have to drop your strides in court and prove it.”  Gough dropped the case instead.

In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo atrocity, Pickering chose to again push the boundaries for free speech by drawing a cartoon of the Islamic prophet Mohammed.

Soon after, he was visited by counter terror police, late last Sunday night, telling Pickering he would have to be placed under surveillance because he’d ‘upset a few people’.

But whatever they believe, that’s their right and freedom to believe, just so long as they don’t want to force their beliefs on us, which they seem to be very keen to do, most often at the point of a gun or a sword.

In a free society, we should be free to ‘upset a few people’ without fear of legal or personal reprisals. As Pickering said in many of his TV and radio interviews over the past 48 hours, “If we don’t have our freedom of speech, we aren’t truly free.”

Today in Australia, it’s the self-titled, so-called ‘progressives’ (the left) who are fighting for the removal of free speech in Australia. They are fighting to keep the muzzling Section 18C of The Racial Discrimination Act.

Ironic, huh? Progressing us all backwards.

There are many other examples of the ‘progressives’ reversing hard won freedoms by the real progressives, those who fought in actual life-risking battles for our freedoms - our military.

Progressives are those who stand up and fight for our freedoms on the front line, not those who fight to erode our rights.

In this country a good start for true and total free speech would be the repeal of the repressive Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Free speech is 100% free, not sort of free-ish. And that’s coming from a wog, dago Itie.


No comments: