Pure Imagination

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

Housing policy is on my mind this week. The two main political parties vying to form the next national government of Australia have made their pitch to voters. One has offered to bend the superannuation rules so that first home buyers can access their retirement savings to help raise a deposit for their first home. The other is offering a government/purchaser shared equity scheme. Those are interesting ideas, both with their pros and cons, but as some commentators have asked, where are the additional houses needed to offset inflationary pressures? Hence, some have said that supply, not demand, is the main issue.

In a perfectly competitive market, supply and demand are apparently equal at the optimum price point. That’s capitalism, right? That optimum price is far too high for low to middle income earners. Correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t rising property prices and higher interest rates meant to benefit investors under Australia’s current taxation rules? Is this the real aim of the election commitments? Australia has the most generous housing investment incentives in the Western world. The current promises seem likely to increase residential property prices further and if the price of residential property goes up, so do rents. It is a zero sum game.

Lack of supply is, of course, someone else’s problem. For example, the cost of land is enormous. Land releases are normally the jurisdiction of state and local governments. Once a metropolitan problem, land prices have skyrocketed across many parts of Australia. Some have suggested that local governments should be forced to release more land for development and that red tape be cut (a familiar refrain). Deregulation could encompass, for example, lifting height and density restrictions, and doing away with community consultation on development proposals, etc. Some jurisdictions require developers to fully or part fund public infrastructure in the new suburbs adding to the price of house and land packages. I am equally as frustrated by simplistic land supply arguments as I am with demand side house price pump priming.

Meanwhile, good luck getting a qualified trades person, especially in this day and age of house burning or flooding climate catastrophe. Then there is the shortage of building materials also driving up costs and slowing construction. Both of the major parties are keen on boosting trade apprenticeships to help overcome labour shortages. Great, but I wonder if they realise there is a shortage of qualified trade teachers in the vocational education sector?

Many important sectors of our economy rely on temporary workers from overseas to fill skilled and unskllled jobs, including in bustling tourism towns in the regions. Even a tent is hot property in the peak tourism season. Are these workers going to want to come here if they can’t secure a roof over their heads? Last time I travelled up the coast of eastern Australia, I met fruit pickers who lived in their cars. It is a trend that has caught on. If low paid care workers can’t afford to rent or buy, we surely cannot be surprised that they are leaving that sector in droves. Our community suffers as a result.

From my perspective, the availability of affordable housing for all is an important indicator of good economic management and a good business-friendly policy, while its lack is a constraint on economic growth. How large must the ranks of the economically vulnerable, housing-insecure grow before housing affordability is genuinely addressed by Australian governments? Maybe nothing of substance will happen until affected businesses – and I don’t include property developers in this group – demand action. The voice of businesses, of commerce, seems to have more impact than the pleas of the vulnerable. If voters care about which political party can manage the Australian economy best, they should care about what’s on offer to improve housing affordability. Sadly, the answer appears to be not much. We are now in the land of pure imagination.

Tomorrow, Australia elects its next national government. Is writing this a good use of my time? Probably not. I’m just a quietish Australian. If you get a kick from champagne and (un)reality TV, this whole fruitless exercise should be a real turn-off. That’s okay.

So, back to the Friday song. Today, I’ve chosen a clip of Josh Groban singing Pure Imagination. I am particularly fond of this verse.

We’ll begin
With a spin
Traveling in
The world of my creation.
What we’ll see
Will defy
Explanation.

[Songwriters – Anthony Newley / Leslie Bricusse]

Sounds like the election campaign to me.

Enjoy.

For those reading because they are interested in my True Love’s adventures in hospital, rest assured that he is still with us. He’ll be in hospital for at least a week. For the moment, there is pain but hopefully in a few weeks, he won’t be so crook in the guts (Aussie technical term).

Take care, everyone. Stay safe and be your most compassionate self.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

One Way Or Another

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

This week, I had the great pleasure to attend Jo Shevchenko’s launch of her poetry chap book, Journey – A Cancer Story. Jo blogs at http://www.outofthecave.blog. What a talented poet and all round nice person Jo is. Not only did I meet Jo for the first time in person, but I also met her friends and family. They made me feel so welcome. I also want to make mention of one of Jo’s friends who has faced her own journey with cancer. She told me about a seven day, 25 kilometres per day trek she was planning. Awesome.

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It Is Our Turn Now

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

Goodness, I almost forgot about Friday song day this week. Is it possible that I haven’t thought about anything this week? I shy away from thoughts of the future these days. What does that make me? Sensible? Foolish? Scared? I can’t control my future but I can vote for the candidate or party that I want to represent me over the next three years.

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Charm Offensive

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

It’s an election year here in sunny Australia. Sometime between now and May, we will be lining up at the polls to elect a new national government. Voters don’t choose the Prime Minister. The leader of the winning party normally becomes the PM. Party leaders are elected by sitting government members or other processes determined by the relevant party. Too easy. In the lead up to the election, the current PM has, according to media reports, embarked on a “charm offensive”. Charm is not an attribute I usually associate with the PM. Anyway, he and his fam recently did this big interview with one of the television networks. Anyway, anyway, I’m not sure that the interview achieved the charm objective but we are all talking about him as a result of that interview, so perhaps it was a success?

The most surprising part of the interview was when the PM’s wife, Jenny, took the rap for the PM’s disappearance to Hawaii on a family holiday during the bushfire emergency after Christmas in 2019. I can’t blame her for wanting to get away from Australia at that time because both Canberra and Sydney where they live, were covered in toxic bushfire smoke. Their official residences are old so they were probably full of smoke. Any mother would want to get her kids away from that. I’m not sure Jen should be taking responsibility for the PM’s absence though. Strange decision for the PM to leave the country in the middle of a major emergency affecting half the country.

Anyway, anyway, anyway, I was delighted to see that the PM had taken up the ukelele. Everyone needs an outlet in these stressful times. In his very own Like a Version cover, he strummed a few bars of the old Dragon hit, April Sun in Cuba for us. Strangely he didn’t seem to know any of the words beyond the first line of the chorus. I wonder why he picked that song? Let’s have a look at the words of the first verse:

I’m tired of the city life
Summer’s on the run
People tell me I should stay
But I’ve got to get my fun.

[Songwriters: Paul Hewson / Marc Alexander Hunter / Yaleidys Salazar Fernandez / Dayana Otero Salazar / Mark Richard Edwards]

C’mon, the PM’s taking the piss, isn’t he? The one thing I’ve learnt from my Friday song day is not to offer up a tune until I’ve checked the lyrics.

I look forward to the (soon to be ex?) PM participating in the national uke muster at the National Folk Festival in future. I suspect he may be too busy to attend this April due to family commitments, campaigning and not taking responsibility for anything, except maybe for scaring the hell out of voters or further taking the piss.

Sadly I won’t be attending the Nash this year either. My hearing is going and I need to protect what’s left of it. I guess that comes from attending too many folk festivals. Or maybe it can be attributed to that Dragon concert I went to at the Calamvale pub in the 80s. Gosh, that takes me back. Let’s have a listen to the original version.

I also like that line about snake eyes on the paradise, but I’m easily amused. Despite Jen’s convenient mea culpa on the Hawaii trip, I’ve come to the conclusion that the PM really doesn’t “get it” if he needs his partner to take responsibility for his actions.

Here’s to holding the hose and taking responsibility for your own actions or lack thereof.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

Photo by alleksana on Pexels.com

That Will Be The Day

The wild weather keeps coming, doesn’t it? We don’t have to wait to know how incredibly difficult sustaining life, livelihood and shelter will become if we exceed 1.5c degrees of warming.

All over the world, we are already experiencing the results of poor climate policy decisions. It has been a particularly stormy few months in eastern Australia, and it makes me wild. Like the wind. It does not pay to get too attached to your garden or the trees, for Canberra, the bush capital, is being rapidly re-modelled.

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We Shall Decide When You Shall Return To The Office

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

Unfortunately, I’ve had a really shit week. I accidentally got my Covid booster shot during the week. I had a doctor’s appointment late one afternoon and they had vaccine doses left over so they offered me one and I accepted. Gee, the fizzer shot raises your blood glucose level, doesn’t it? My BG has been all over the shop. The day after my shot, I was high all day so I decided to walk that blood sugar down. I felt really good when I started out. That should have been a warning sign. With the pump cannula in my leg (I know, stupid), the intramuscular insulin and exercise slammed me down pretty fast. I started to stagger when I reached my street on my way home. I don’t know why I didn’t stop to drink my Lucozade when I felt the hypo symptoms. Too far gone and too stupid, I guess. But I only had a few hundred metres to go, so I pushed on. I made it to our bin when my legs started to collapse under me. I then somehow made it to the front steps. I don’t know how long I was outside, clutching on to the railing, but by the time I was discovered, I was covered in mosquito bites. I remember whispering, “Help me. Help me.” Very pathetic. My True Love has a sixth sense about these things and he found me on the stairs.

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Landing It

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

To travel to my home town, the place of my birth, would take a number of days by car. For a family with small children that journey would likely stretch to over a week. When I was a child, the cost of plane fares was also exorbitant, hence our family rarely visited our relatives in Far North Queensland. I remember a special occasion when our family did make the trip by plane. Perhaps it was my first plane trip. It was very exciting.

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Shake It

Welcome to another Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

It’s been a newsie week which leaves me with many options for this week’s Friday song. We had the sudden announcement of the Aussie government’s cancellation of its French sub contract, and instead the government will purchase you-beaut US nuclear-powered subs. Oh wait, the French have nuclear-powered subs but we didn’t want nuclear subs at the time. Did we even give the French a chance to bid for the new contract? Maybe not. Consequently, and apologies to the French, ABBA’s Waterloo and Fat Boy Slim’s Weapon Of Choice, immediately popped into my head!

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Hold The Line

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

Who is an essential worker? That is the question that the New South Wales Premier has refused to answer. Politics! Meanwhile, cases of the Delta variant grow in Sydney (Australia). The Premier is not personally to blame for the increase in cases, but it would be helpful if she could say who should stay at home under her government’s lockdown provisions. I am sure she will get around to it soon because she is a sensible woman. A few more people may have to die first before official advice is given.

I send all my love to family and friends in Sydney. Thinking of you. You can do this. My thoughts are also with all those in hospital at the moment and with the families who have lost loved ones to Covid.

Today, we need a big song. This is for everyone in Sydney and other parts of the world who are dealing with the horrors of Covid at the moment. The song is Hold The Line by Toto.

Stay safe, everyone.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

Photo Credit: J Bar, Fairfield Railway Station, Wikimedia Commons