News & Comment
The long march
A leech bites back
Western Australia is the next state in the long march to the ALP National Conference in December.
On Saturday ALP state delegates will debate a motion calling for marriage equality.
It helps that WA Labor leader, Eric Ripper, has endorsed equality, bringing him into line with the majority of his fellow West Australians.
We can only hope Ripper is right about having the support of conference delegates.
By an amazing coincidence, and ash clouds permitting, I will be in Perth on Saturday for the next marriage equality action workshop organised by Australian Marriage Equality.
There are still two places available. If you'd like to attend email firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm looking forward to seeing old friends in Perth.
But there is something I have to get off my chest before I fly across the Nullarbor.
Earlier this year WA Premier, Colin Barnett, lashed out at Tasmania for being the nation's national park (i.e. nice to look at but economically unproductive).
This followed an outrageous comment by his state Liberal colleague, Don Randall, that Tasmania is a leech on the nation's teat (as well as being deeply offensive that is an appalling mixed metaphor).
What's most annoying about the attitude of these men is that it is WA's economy which is problem, not Tasmania's.
The money WA is earning from mining is inflating the value of the Australian dollar against other currencies.
This is making it harder for Tasmania's more diverse agricultural, aquacultural, manufacturing and service-based sectors to find and keep overseas markets for their products.
It's easy to dig holes in the ground and ship the dirt off to China. It's harder, but much more important, to develop and maintain a balanced economy.
I say "more important" because a balanced, diversified economy is the foundation of a balanced, diversified society.
A one-note economy like WA's is, well, as dull as the dirt it's based on.
I'm not saying Tasmania hasn't got profound economic problems.
The Howard-era arrangement of dropping state taxes in return for a share of the GST has been exposed by the GFC as fundamentally flawed.
Instead of cutting out the hearts of local communities, as the current Tasmanian Government is proposing, it's time to return to innovative state-based revenue raising.
But this will be all the harder as long as we are stuck with a high dollar and a depressed private sector.
If Colin Barnett and Co want Tasmania to be less "leech-like" they should start with their own over-heated commodity sell-off.
In other WA News, Brian Greig looks at the evolution of LGBTI human rights over the last twenty years, and a Broome man proposes to his partner at a Kylie concert.
In other Tasmanian news, a Launceston-based Uniting Church minister explains why he supports marriage equality.
And in other news altogether,
Conservative UK PM, David Cameron, invites LGBTI people to his house.
So why do LGBTI Australians have to pay before they can meet their Labor PM at her house?
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