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Greed Is Good

By Pearl Bullivant on November 11, 2012 in Other

My column this month was supposed to be a rant about the Abel Tasman super trawler, as requested by a faithful reader. I’ll be honest here; except for adding my name to a token online petition, I’ve been ignoring the super trawler, praying to god that the ship goes the same way as Clive Palmer’s Titanic: underwater, where it belongs. But one thing I do know about the super trawler is that forty-five Tasmanian jobs will be lost as a result of its dry-docking! Yep, forty-five jobs – OMG! Outrageous considering at the same time 10,000 public service jobs in Queensland are about to be axed. Forty-five measly jobs – no wonder Alan Jones is chaffing in his bag and inciting hate against the PM.

Another thing I do know about the super trawler is that it is just another example of corporate greed dressed up as the ship ‘we have to have’ to feed the affluent, hungry masses. It’s yet another example where corporate self-interest is put above the common good, and where environmental and personal safety is put at risk for the bottom line. We laugh off the 1980s with its Bonds and Skases and their ‘greed is good’ mantra, but what we now have in the 2010s is far worse.

I may be naive but I had assumed Australia would emerge from the GFC as a humble, frugal nation, particularly with the recessionista and eco-hype pushed by the media. Instead we have emerged from the GFC at the mercy of greedy billionaires and corporations who style themselves as the saviours of the economy and the only people who can prevent Australia from going down the same path as Greece. We are exhorted on a daily basis to ‘spend, spend, spend’ otherwise the retail sector will go to the wall, when the corporations really just want even bigger profits, even bigger bonuses for their managers and a higher share price. The reputations of scientists and other experts are routinely called into question whenever their findings become an obstacle to profit making and self-interest. Governments are put under pressure to change legislation relating to wages, construction or workers compensation, with corporations arguing that the existing laws impact on their bottom line.

The champions of greed and self-interest have to be the mining and property development sectors. I have nothing against mining or construction, but what I despise is the absolute greed displayed by those who have so much influence over the government. Instead of mining sustainably and ensuring that our mineral wealth benefits future generations, the mining sector has to extract as much as it can just to reap the immediate financial benefits of China’s transient demand (and to keep Gina in white designer kaftans). And then there’s gas fracking, where every aspiring miner is looking to get on the band wagon with the blessing of the NSW Government, which considers mining profits to be far more important than our water and food supply.

As for property developers, how can I not have an issue with an industry that is prepared to exploit valuable residential land for its own bottom line? An industry that builds vile, ugly, environmentally insensitive suburbs, devoid of trees and crammed with cheaply and shoddily constructed houses? How could I not have an issue with an industry that is prepared to put passing planes at risk so they can build a huge residential tower on top of Balmain Leagues Club?

I’m looking forward to the day the super trawler is sunk, creating a lovely reef system and forty-five jobs in the Tasmanian tourism industry!

Pearl xx