For those watching and paying attention to Venezuela, Australian should remember that but for the grace of God go we. Or perhaps not.
Venezuela was once one of the most prosperous nations in the world, blessed with ample natural resources and a nice climate (sound familiar). Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world, totaling 297 billion barrels as of 1 January 2014 and as such, should be one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
Then in 1998, the Venezuelans elected Hugo Chavez as president. Chavez was reelected in 2000, 2006 and 2012. Chavez died in 2013 and was replaced by his protege, Nicolas Maduro who remains President until today.
During his presidency, Chavez used then record oil prices to massively expand the size and scope of the Government. He nationalized Venezuela’s largest telephone companies, electric utilities, steel, food plants, rice, coffee, banks. Following his death, Maduro followed the policies of his mentor Chavez.
Combined, their policies and regulations have destroyed the Venezuelan economy such that basics, food, medicine, toilet paper are barely available. The economy was so damaged that last year, 75 per cent of the population has lost an average of 8.6 kilos in weight.
- Phillip Adams (ABC broadcaster)
- Lee Rhiannon (Senator – Australian Greens)
- Kerry Nettle (Former Senator – Australian Greens)
- Sylvia Hale (Former NSW MLC – Greens)
- Meredith Burgmann (fromer President of the NSW Legislative Council – ALP)
- John Pilger (independent journalist and film-maker)
- Keysar Trad (Islamic Friendship Association)
- Natasha Stott-Despoja (Former Senator – Australian Democrats)
Together, Chavez and Maduro have governed continuously for 19 years.
In December of this year, Australian’s will “celebrate” the 10 year anniversary of the election of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister, a man who currently lives in New York and maintains his own vanity website. Since then, Australians have seen 4 changes of Prime Minister – an average tenure of 2 years for the 5 post John Howard Prime Ministers. From Rudd to Gillard to Rudd to Abbott to Turnbull.
Over this period we have had, among other things:
- Pink bats
- Gonski 1
- Gonski 2.0
- Not 1 single budget surplus and nearly $600 billion of commonwealth debt
- School halls
- The highest electricity prices in the world
- Loss and recovery of border control for untold costs
- Increased income taxes
- $50 b leaky French bathtubs assembled in South Australia
- Increased labour market regulation
And now, our entire political and media establishment is focused on ….. same sex marriage, a republic plebiscite and Aboriginal recognition.
There is an old saying, if we don’t change our direction, we will end up where we are headed. In December 2007 we changed our direction and we are now headed straight for Caracas. Forget the banana republic Mr Keating. Try tin pot despotism.
The case study of Venezuela should be taught in schools and told before every Australian election to remind people of the consequences of the policies proposed, and in fact enacted, by some of Australia’s political class. If taught in schools, it might crowd out some of the other daffy material such as safe schools and so all the better.
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