Valuing the aspirational

Over the past few years, politicians in general have spoken of motivating those with aspiration to better themselves across the country. The conservatives will tell you that granting tax cuts to business and building coal fired power stations will make those businesses more profitable and those profits will be returned to the public through increased wages and job opportunities. The progressives will counter that the best way to increase wages and job opportunities is to ensure those requirements are directly funded through targeted government grants and government funded capital works. While their methods may vary and both methods have their proponents, the pros and cons can wait for another day. Never the less, we all routinely aspire to improve what we perceive to be our current position in life so if you look at the big picture, the politicians are right.

People are aspirational, otherwise how do we explain the millions of people paying money for a statistically slight chance of untold wealth to improve their quality of life in one of the many forms of gambling permitted across Australia every week? We could also use the number of people that will queue outside Apple and Samsung stores the day the latest greatest mobile phone is released, all willingly prepared to dispose of their existing perfectly good and functional mobile phone because it isn’t the latest model, as a demonstration of aspirational behaviour. Those that routinely change the car when the new generation model is released, commit to another mortgage to move to the ‘better end’ of the suburb, the ‘better’ postcode, the catchment of the ‘better’ public school or in fact send their child to private school also demonstrate the innate need to strive for something perceived to be better.

So why do we as a nation readily accept that the newer phone, car or ‘better’ house are worthwhile aims, have politicians that commit to the concept and yet deliberately penalise some who are aspiring to a better life? Refugees who attempt to come to Australia are attempting to create a better life for themselves or their families. It is worth pointing out yet again here that people seeking asylum can do so at any point of their journey from their ‘home’ country and there is no ‘queue’ to start the process under the UN’s 1951 Refugee Convention (incidentally signed by Australia’s then Prime Minister and founder of the Liberal Party, Robert Menzies).

Since World War 2, Australia has had a constant flow of refugees. A significant number of people have come from southern Europe, South East Asia and the Middle East. The possibly not so obvious connection between those countries and Australia is that when the particular ethnic group was seeking asylum, Australia and ‘our allies’ were (or had just finished) attempting to bomb the country to oblivion. Others have come from areas of the world that have suffered considerable environmental or economic hardship, generally not well supported by Australian aid efforts, such as parts of Africa.

It’s probably fair to say that deciding to leave your family, familiar surroundings, country and embark on a risky journey without a certain conclusion takes far more determination and demonstrates far more aspirational behaviour than the slight financial pain incurred to someone who can afford to purchase a new mobile phone or fund the relocation of goods and chattels as well as suffering while finding the ‘good’ coffee shop in their new locality.

The abuses to those that are sentenced to exist in sub-human conditions on Nauru and Manus Island because Australia won’t live up to our obligations are well known and documented. Some, who are fortunate enough to tick the right boxes at some stage on their journey to what they perceive to be safety, are permitted to land in Australia. Sadly, a number of these people are victimised for political gain by the same politicians that are claiming to assist the aspirational.

The RMIT/ABC Factcheck Unit recently assessed the claim that African Gangs were again making Melbourne unsafe, this time due to a recent brawl in Collingwood with 200 people apparently involved. It’s an ‘easy’ headline in an environment where a state election is due in a couple of months and the Liberal Party opposition is running on a ‘law and order’ platform. The headline is also demonstrably wrong, the percentage of crime in Melbourne committed by ‘African Gangs’ is around 1%, less than the percentage of crime committed by Australians (obviously) as well as those committed by a number of other nationalities including Indians, New Zealanders and those from the UK. The same dog-whistle was used by the same culprits during the ‘super Saturday’ by-elections as a sop to the those who intended to vote One Nation in Longman (based in northern Brisbane and next to Dutton’s marginal seat of Dickson) and it resulted in an almost 4% increase in the ALP two party preferred vote.

The Liberal Party can’t have it both ways. If they are there to reward the aspirational, it demonstrates far more aspiration and a belief that life can get better to move away from your known world into a different culture half way across the world than buying a new mobile phone or increasing the mortgage to purchase the higher specification large 4WD vehicle (on the off chance that one day you will take it off-road). To penalise one and praise the other is duplicity, if not racism.

What do you think?

Rate This Post

Current rating: 4.9 / 5 | Rated 17 times

Joe Carli


Australian politics is now at the “failed dodgy builder” stage…We have the LNP in govt’ which has to be the equivalent of the “Dodgy Bros’ Constructions” in every sense of word and deed..If they WERE in charge of building which they are! , if they WERE in charge of contracting out which they are!, if they WERE in charge of organising, timetabling, costing and supplying for basic infrastructure which they have been!, the nation would be the equivalent of your average basket-case building site chaos which it is! , not only has the owner been trying to cut corners with materials, cut cost with dodgy contractors, but also giving the builders carte-blanch with the credit card which has been used to fleece the account to purchase holidays in the Cayman Islands, apartments on the Gold Coast and buy bling jewellery in Harrods Dep’t Store!....Which they HAVE!.

The road to recovery would demand the above standard response..: First SACK the builder!, second : Remove costing and quality and structural control from the builder’s jurisdiction..and Third, set the building inspectors onto the builder and financier and seek legal redress!! This mob of LNP ministers and govt’ would have to be the most corrupt and incompetent collection of useless good-for-nothings ever brought in to run any sort of project..There is not ONE area of expertise you could point to and say that THERE is a competent minister doing a good job…NOT ONE!!..Not from the Prime Minister or his dept’ , neither Foreign Affairs, Treasury, Defence, communications, health, education, employment, environment…and the list goes on and on…not ONE competent minister, nor one moral or ethical standout in the entire government.

Sack the bleedin' lot of them!

Joe Carli


And concerning those Australia Day Honours Lists ... the "aspirational citizen" is rewarded.. 

Look..I’m not jealous, BUT..Why are there never any tradies given the gong for “job well done” when it comes to recognition of one’s efforts..Why is a fast runner, a media queen, a diligent scientist or even a bee-keeper held in higher esteem than your local honest tradie…ok, ok…your local tradie?...

Why are accolades of swooning compliments pasted with wincing obsequiousness, icing-, over those ed from elite and popular pastimes while the merits of great..even supreme sacrifice to one’s trade skills overlooked for the glittering prizes…Whyyy, I don’t to boast or to blow my own trumpet on such sensitive issues, but I have distinct recall of certain customers back in my trade-working days who would heap praise upon my carpentry skills when a solution for a particularly tricky bit of construction was called for..

“’re a genius!” was more than once heralded upon my skills with saw and mallet..

”How did you think of THAT?” was another fulsome acknowledgement toward my capacity and dedication to my trade..AND..not just me!..there were others…I’m sure…I mean..look at Keith the plumber who worked out the re-routing of the black-water septic under the floor of Jack Androlopolous’s granny-flat secretly into the neighbour's sewerage pipe..They toasted a retsina or two to THAT idea..or Ron-th’-brickie, when he suggested it would be a better thing if they plastered over his brick-work for appearances sake..a solution avoided before out of mistaken sensitivity..THERE was humility for you….but were the accolades for THAT self-sacrifice.. those great achievements?.. the glittering prizes?..not for the tradie the PM handshake…the trophy upon the wall..the embossed certificate or that piccy in the paper..Nothing , save a disgruntled phone call of “So the hell are you?”…or “WHAT!...more materials?”..and it’s back to the blood sweat and tears on the job without the least thanks..

And don’t even mention the cultural contributions gifted to the nation by the tradie…f’rinstance..I suppose many of you have heard the expression used in surfing mythology of “hanging five”..being, of course the practice of hanging five toes over the nose of the surf-board whilst skeeting down the face of a wave…Well..I bet you don’t know THAT little icon of surfabillia came I'll tell you…: Tony Simmioni and the fifth-floor concrete pour of the Waymouth St Telephone exchange way back in the late sixties…Yep!..hard to believe, eh?...but there you happened that Tony Simmioni, the carpenter foreman in charge of the pour there, was standing on a plank on the edge of the concrete pour observing, when the concrete pump hose did a sudden flick, they do, and knocked the edge of the plank he was standing on and it swung out of a sudden over the edge of the scaffolding and Tony was suspended out over the edge of the building, five floors up, in a crouching position, arms akimbo as he kept his balance and his front left blunstone boot was hanging over the edge of the end of the plank whilst it pivoted and hovered over the abyss…and for just that short moment, before he was swung back to safety, he held that now well-known classic position of the surfer in juxtaposition with the wilds of nature at his back and his trusty surfboard under his feet, a mile-wide smile upon his face and those five toes hanging over the nose of the board…”hangin’ five”..

One of the labourers there at the time..a shortish blond-haired young bloke named “Farrelly”…”Midge” was his nick-name if I recall, was heard to comment upon the sight of Tony Simmioni wobbly-legged hanging over the edge of the plank..

“I reckon I could maybe hang five toes that upon my “Malibu” surfboard down at Moana …”

Here’s the resulting song!.. And so history was born…but did Tony Simmioni get a mention in the song…noooo accolades for the tradie…and another thing..I bet not many of you really know how the discovery of the “X-ray” really happened..but “Smokey” the short-sighted electrician could enlighten you…but hey..that’s another story..right now, I gotta go back and listen to ANOTHER boring story of the development of Quantum computer physics or something..

It’s SO unfair!

Joe Carli


Geez, gotta do sumfin' about that's a shocker!

How many Rabbits do I have if I have 3 Oranges?