Victor P Taffa
When Queen Victoria on 17 September 1900 at the Court of Balmoral, proclaimed that New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia be united in a Federal Commonwealth the voice of the people had been carried and thus began the birth of a great nation that came into being on 1 January 1901.
The pioneering spirit that endured through the dark days of two world wars was witnessed with the construction of the Trans Continental railway in 1917. Running from Sydney to Perth this railway line has one of the longest single straight stretches of track in the world. Built on the toil and perseverance of men, Australians led the world with many inventions that have transformed the lives of ordinary everyday people.
Granny Smith Apple
Inventions such as the Boomerang, Didgeridoo, Stump Jump Plough, Combine Harvester, Granny Smith Apple, Self-propelled rotary hoe, Box Kite, the ‘Ute’, Black box flight recorder, Hills Hoist, electric drill, Kiwi shoe polish,
Victa two Stroke lawn mower, latex gloves, the Notepad, Shepherd’s Castors, Aerogard Insect repellant, Garage roller door, Polymer Bank notes, refrigeration, Vegemite, Wine cask, election secret ballot,
electronic pacemaker, Penicillin, physiotherapy, lithium, bionic ear, Aspro, Google maps, feature length film,
Painter Pro Hart, Australian Rules Football, freestyle swim stroke, the ‘Tote’ (automatic totalisator), the winged keel,Speedo swimwear, the Teleprinter, The Pedal wireless, Kerosene refrigerator, The Stobie Pole and dual flush toilet to name a few are uniquely Australian.
In order to sell these Australian inventions retailing thrived. How times have changed and not necessarily for the better. Sydney is littered with retail businesses now consigned to the history books. Names such as Baberfields, Waltons, Anthony Horderns, Grace Bros, Gowings, Mark Foys, Bon Marche, Farmers and Marcus Clarke are some that serve to remind us just how the CBD has played a part in the life of Sydney and New South Wales.
The Sydney CBD in 2009 is served by two David Jones stores, Myer and a multi storey Woolworth’s store. The Rees Government is intent on demolishing the Woolworth’s store to make way for a Metro rail station entrance. In contrast when the city underground railway opened in 1926, the David Jones Elizabeth Street store opened a year later.
How healthy is retailing in 2009 when the following market share is taken into account:
Supermarkets: Woolworth’s with 40% share, Coles with 30 % and IGA 7%.
Liquor: Woolworth’s 80% share and Coles 20 %.
Petrol: Caltex with 23%, Woolworth’s 22 % and Coles 22%
Department Stores: David Jones with 12%, Myer 19.5%, Big W 20.5% and Target/K Mart 41%
Hardware Retail: Bunnings with 56.5% and Mitre 10 11.1%
*Source: IBIS World
How has this situation of market concentration been allowed to develop to the point where retailing in Australia is dangerously uncompetitive and unhealthy?
Wasn’t the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) supposed to ensure a fairer playing field?
Successive Federal Government’s have ensured that market domination has been allowed to erode real competition and that legislation should be introduced to break the domination of the marketplace. Cartels do exist in Australia and these should be banned by legislation.
It would seem that the health of our Commonwealth could be tied to the wealth earned by the big companies. The health of the marketplace while tied to the spending patterns of consumers can also be attributed to the myriad of constraints placed on marketplace competition.
Take the print media sector for further evidence of market domination. Fairfax and News Ltd have significant business interests and appear to control a large portion of the media industry.
When freelance journalists submit articles for publication free of charge these contributions are ignored. When a freelance journalist starts an on-line newspaper and that journalist seeks to join the Press Gallery both establishment print media organisations make that request unreasonably difficult.
In the age of the internet there are a handful of on-line publications such as Cowra Community News and The Southern Thunderer.
Is the banking sector competitive? It would seem not. The banking industry 4 pillar policy was introduced by then Treasurer Paul Keating in 1990.Over the years there have been numerous reports such as the Wallis report in 1997 recommending that the 4 pillar policy be dismantled.
Market Street Sydney
Key Financial Events:
- 1817 Bank of New South Wales
- 1890 Stock Market crash
- 1911 Commonwealth Bank of Australia
- 1929 Stock Market crash
- 1931 Australian Pound devalued against Pound sterling
- 1959 Reserve Bank of Australia
- 1983 Australian dollar floated
- 1987 Stock Market crash
- 1990 4 Pillars Policy
- 1990 State Bank of Victoria collapse
- 1991 State Bank of South Australia collapse
Top Four Banking Groups In Australia
The top four banking groups in Australia ranked by market capitalization at share close price 30 July 2009:
Rank Company Market capitalization (AUD $)
- Commonwealth Bank $63.2b
- Westpac Banking Corporation $62.8b
- National Australia Bank $49.0b
- Australia and New Zealand Banking Group $44.4b
When The Southern Thunderer applied for on-line merchant facilities 2 of the four big banks declined those applications. Those applications were ‘doctored’ to ensure that they were rejected. Reasons for this vary however support for the introduction of railway bonds for the construction of new heavy railway lines by Editor Victor P Taffa figure highly in the mix. The Detailed Overview report in www.isput.com.au covers railway bonds.
The New South Wales Lotteries have been sold by Treasurer Eric Roozendaal at a LOSS of $50 million. The Rees Government fails to collect millions from fines and also has overseen the following:
- Devaluation of the Electricity Industry.
- Sale of the State Lotteries at a LOSS of $50 million
- TCARD electronic ticketing at a LOSS of $90 million
- Transport administration amendment (rail trails) bill 2009 if passed would ensure that the New South Wales Railways have no chance of expansion in the future and the financial LOSS to the State is unable to be estimated. Railway expansion expands the economy. Railway contraction contracts the economy.
Then there is the state of our Hospital system. Prior to the introduction of Medibank in 1973 by the Whitlam Government people were encouraged to take out private health insurance and Hospitals were administered by a local board.
New South Wales and Queensland had local Hospital boards and after the abolition of the Queensland Legislative Council that state introduced a free health system.
The O’Farrell New South Wales Opposition has a six point plan that will:
- Remove Labor’s huge and out-of-touch Area Health Services and create smaller, community-focused Health Districts;
- Appoint Boards to the Health Districts and make them accountable to their community;
- Restore the decision-making power of Hospital General Managers and give authority and decision making back to expert clinicians;
- Further develop clinical networks to link medical experts across the State;
- Appoint qualified medical practitioners as Executive Clinical Directors in each Health District; and
- Publish information about health service management including budget allocations, spending, medical errors, infections and other patient outcomes.
The question that should be asked of the Federal Government is why would they want the endless nightmares of hospital waiting lists as well as administer the Medicare payments system? Who would be the winners and losers?
Would a community hospital like Ryde Hospital remain open if the Federal Government took over the hospital system?
Would the Federal takeover of a Tasmanian Hospital be the same as a nationwide takeover of the system?
What was wrong with the old pre-1973 health system in Australia?
If it took 100 years to complete a truncated Eastern Suburbs railway in Sydney and 100 years to build the Alice Springs to Palmerston railway how would Canberra be in a position to administer the day to day running of Ryde Hospital?
The structure of Australia’s Federation should only be changed if the proposed change is as good if not better on what currently exists. Since 1901 the population of Australia has gone from approximately 3.8 million to nearly 23 million in 2009.
With a 3 tier system of Government servicing a larger population how would Australia cope if there was only officially 2 tiers as is the situation in the United Kingdom or New Zealand?
This very same question arose prior to the Federation of Australia in 1901 and is now being asked.
Currently there is 1 Federal Government, 6 State, 2 Territory and 560 Local Governments.
Abolish State Government’s and that leaves 1 Federal Government and no less than 800 Local Governments to service a landmass equivalent to that of mainland United States. Abolishing State Government’s will not abolish ‘The tyranny of distance’ for those living in regional and rural Australia.
When you consider that the Northern Territory is administered by Canberra it is apparent that a 2 tier system of Government in Australia will never work.
The Federal Government has intervened in Northern Territory affairs when it suites them to do so. Constitutionally, The Northern Territory has no real power and unless it obtains Statehood with a State Governor and Constitution that has real authority then Territorians will not be on par with those living in the existing 6 States.
Some may argue that The Australian Capital Territory (A.C.T.) should also be granted statehood. The only difference here is Local Government in the A.C.T. serves an undivided area and is also subsidized by the Federal Government. The disparity in the size of the A.C.T. against that of The Northern Territory is another reason why Darwin should administer the affairs of The Northern Territory and not as currently the case be considered as an afterthought in the makeup of the Ministerial allocation of the Federal Government.
In 2009 if wealth is for all, how healthy is our Commonwealth?