Want to know the truth about why our spluttering economy isn’t working? It’s you

If the public is sick and tired of a system that never seems to make things better, maybe it’s time to change the system.

Dec 05, 2023, updated Dec 06, 2023
Foot traffic in the Brisbane CBD has improved but is yet to reach its pre-pandemic highs. (Image: BCC)

Foot traffic in the Brisbane CBD has improved but is yet to reach its pre-pandemic highs. (Image: BCC)

One of issues that always amazes me is the lack of political involvement of the Australian population.

Here we are with some major economic issues to deal with and the population is likely to go on as before and treat politicians with kid gloves despite our economy not being fit for purpose.

We couldn’t even reform franking credits and negative gearing without the pearl-clutchers feeling the world was doomed.

As the economy currently stands, many young people are highly unlikely to ever be able to afford a home, rents are outrageous, homelessness is at crisis level, women are still being paid less than men and getting ripped off when it comes to superannuation and the indigenous are woefully treated by the economy.

That is not good enough.

The current way of dealing with inflation is to whack people who can least afford it while about a third of the population who don’t have a mortgage get off free.

Closing the gap for indigenous people is not closing at all. Just four of the nineteen Closing the Gap targets are “on track”.

The median rent in Brisbane is about $600 a week. Again, ridiculous.

The gender wage gap reduced by $1000 in the past year which is basically in the margin of error and really changed not a bit.

The average annual pay difference between men and women has narrowed by $1322, but a gap of $26,393 remains.

Women earning the median wage would accumulate about $393,676 in super, $151,000 below the level defined as a “comfortable retirement” by the industry.

We complain about it, promises are made, progress is pointed to, but we move on to the next crisis and out involvement in the process is basically nil. Politicians are let off the hook because we seem to accept that it is all too hard.

Pexa, the company that handles the electronic conveyancing of so many home buyers, found that the median house deposit in Queensland was $78,000.

When I finally knuckled down and bought my first house in Wavell Heights it was with a deposit of $10,000 and it took me about a year of saving. It was a fibro shack, a dump.

Buying that same house in Wavell Heights would cost of fortune now. The median house price in that suburb is $1.2 million. I doubt that fibro shack would reach that level but it was the worst home in a very good street and it would be well out of the reach of first home buyers.

The first home buyers grant is no solution at all and many economists believe it either pulls forward demand or just inflates the cost of a home. It’s really a strategy politicians use to look like they are doing something.

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So, what needs to happen?

Voters need to force change. The politicians are not going to make housing cheaper because too many people would lose, so either new ways of wealth creation have to be implemented or new forms of housing have to be permitted.

In NSW, council areas filled with standalone homes will be forced to allow more terraces, duplexes, walk-up flats and semis under changes to the planning laws to provide up to 112,000 new homes into infill suburbs in and around Sydney.

Infill will happen more in Brisbane under the draft planning scheme that is out for debate at the moment, but it’s a treatment, not a cure.

There have been suggestions about using superannuation savings to help people into new homes. Again, a poor solution because it creates problems down the track.

There are powerful vested interests that push politics in whatever direction suits them. What really needs to happen is for people to get involved and push against those vested interests. If women want to stop being ripped off they have to force politicians to make that happen.

According to The Conversation, there were eight AFL clubs in 2021 with more members than each of the two major political parties. Two have more members than both parties combined.

That gives you an idea of how we view politics.

I bet if you looked at the demographics of that party membership you would get a better understanding of why nothing really changes.

It’s because the people who are being marginalised by the economy are also marginalised by politics.

We have to get involved.

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