I often feel that when those tv advertising executives have their meetings to work out who the audience is for another piece of misleading advertising for a product that is doing the world more harm than good they forget me. “What about me?” I want to scream, referring, subconsciously, to yet another ad that wasn’t produced with me in mind. Take the recent advertising rushed out by the impoverished mining industry after holding a chook raffle to cover the cost. There is a scientific graph showing the outrageously high taxes these poor fellows are going to have to pay for removing pieces of my continent and sending them to China, compared to, oh, I don’t know, Canada, to pluck out a country with a far right government at random. I mean, I know what I am supposed to think when I see those bars of different heights, but what I do think is – “How stupid the Canadians must be to want to rip all the resource wealth out of their soil as fast as possible and get so little return for the people of our sister country in the north”.
And when I hear threats of the miners picking up their buckets and spades and taking them to another more corporate friendly country if we won’t play nicely, I tend to think, well, good riddance, close the door quietly behind you. Keeps happening, doesn’t it – this bank moving its call centre overseas where it can pay pittances and pretend they are wages; there a manufacturer sets up a factory overseas because the peasant workers are getting uppity, wanting decent working conditions; once a company with asbestos dust on its hands moved its head office to a distant land, coincidentally at the time that former workers wanted some compensation for dying of mesethelioma; and now, if the country wants a share of the rapidly growing profits (purely the result of demand, not some virtue of the mining company performance), well then, they’re off to dig a hole in some other country with less interest in money.
And then there was the Business Council, prophesying they would all be rooned, go out of business, if paid maternity leave and improved superannuation was introduced. If these guys had their way we would be back to small children working in factories and climbing up chimneys; back, probably to slave labour (check out the objections raised over the original reforms to factory work conditions, and to the abolition of slavery, if you don’t believe me).
It is as if these people are Martians, have dropped in, conquered the planet, stealing its resources, without a concern for the original inhabitants who are Earthians, quite unrelated.
It would be nice, just for once, if these big, and rich, mining and business leaders said “Look we are all Australians, all in this together, we are rich enough now, and we think it is time the riches were spread around a bit and families supported. Time to improve health and education for all Australians, fix up infrastructure, look after the environment we have damaged in 200 odd years of pretty much unfettered corporation activity. Make a better country for all of us.”
Should I hold my breath?