Category Archives: Christian

FINDING TRUE FRIENDS: for Friendship to work you have to really want IN

What is life like in Australia (for the benefit of overseas fans that have not visited)

image image image image image image image imageIn terms of points of comparison I have only been to Greece, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, PNG, Malaysia, Taiwan. My strongest support is US, then UK, then Australia, so I would like to visit those to countries as soon as there is enough revenue post the 1 August launch of FINDING TRUE FRIENDS – for Friendship to work you have to really want IN  – Australia has around 24 million people and the majority are white from the UK and New Zealand, but there are large minority groups particularly China and India. Net migration is at around 220k a year with most seeking to live in the biggest cities of Sydney (approaching 5 million) and Melbourne (approaching 4.5 million). In Melbourne and Sydney nearly 20% of the population are of Asian descent. I myself am Eurasian and born in Adelaide.  Most Australians live in Brisbane (over 2.2 million), Sydney, Melbourne and surrounding smaller cities like Gold Coast, Woollongong, Newcastle, all on the eastern sea board. Perth is a nice city of over 2 million on the other side of the country. It is interesting how settlement occurred on the east, which does have a very nice coast line, when arguably the west of Australia is geographically nicer and with better weather.  Most of Australia is desert and not inhabited. The reason is simple because it is can be too hot and there is no inland water source. Where most people live we get four seasons of weather. This makes Australia very different to a country like the U.S. and more like Canada. Politically the UK is seen as the motherland and the Queen is still our head of state but Australia has a fully independent parliament. The U.S. is seen as a big brother as a result of historical war ties and a somewhat similar history with roots back to England.  Australia is an OECD country and about the 1 th largest economy in the world. It does have a strong military but not as strong as some more populated countries. Half of New Zealanders live in Australia and Australia is like a big brother to them though New Zealand chose not to join the Commonweath of Australia when federation occurred in 1901.  There are many kangaroos, koalas, sheep and cows in parts of country Austraia but you are not likely to see any of that in urban areas. In an urban area you get what you get in a large U.S. city which is cars, freeways, tall buildings, trains, trams, buses and masses of houses with back yards. There are high rise apartments in areas closer to the CBD or central business district. Not everyone works in the CBD of course but if you are a banker, lawyer, IT professional and so on then it’s likely you will commute either by car or public transport to work. Whilst the road system and public transport system is pretty good by world standards as a result of a fast growing population during peak times you can expect to sit in traffic or be crushed on public transport in the biggest cities.  As its a suburban life style with suburbs sprawling up to 50km or more you don’t see a lot of people on the street all over the place. You see larger concentrations in the CBD like in Melbourne CBD you get 800k people a day there. When there is a bug sporting match of either Aussie rules in Melbourne it rugby in Sydney then you can get up to 100k at an event. Same with Melbourne Cup or Australian Open in Melbourne.  Australians have two major past times. The first is going to the beach and the second is going out to a restaurant, bar or club to drink. There is a drinking culture amongst youth especially perhaps like the UK, US and say Russia. There is growing use of party drugs because alcohol and cigarettes are very expensive and though crime rates are low there are problems around the use of ice for law enforcement and hospitals.  Though there is a strong social security system and a lot of middle class welfare particularly for children by both sides of politics, Labor Party (union dominated socialist party) (which I support) and Liberal Party (conservative) and tax rates are not the highest in the world but pretty high. The wages are fairly good thanks to the union movement but the cost of living in Australia is extremely high and many people are behind the eight ball.  House prices are many times the average wage. For example in Sydney the median house price is nearly $1 million. This is because investors get tax breaks and overseas buyers who can afford it buy these houses as investments and then jack up the prices. Rent is also not cheap. State governments release land slower than they should to increase returns to then and local councils. As a result many people are pushed into the outer suburbs and forced to commute at least an hour to go to work. The wealthy will already live at the beach or somewhere around Sydney Harbor.  There is universal health care but over time out of pocket costs have been creeping in and university used to be free but the current government is looking more towards a U.S. model. There is a trend to let a lot of people into university but then half the students graduate and then find it difficult to find a job in there field. Law would be a good example. People come from overseas with many professional qualifications and then end up driving taxis.  Overall Australia is a good place to live but there is a growing class decide happening which is probably happening in every Western country. I don’t know how things are in say France or Germany, maybe it’s better, but if you go the other way and are too generous and don’t try to drive business like Australia, UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, then you end up with a financial crisis like in Europe.  Things could be a lot worse in Australia and I do see both sides of politics at the State and Federal level are passionate about making Australia the best place to live. You do feel there is a desire for continuous improvement and I still trust both major parties to effectively run the federal and state economies and deliver services and infrastructure, with a preference for Labor, which is centre left like the democrats, versus Liberal which is centre right like the Republicans.  Australia does not have a paid political lobbying system and voting is compulsory. All politicians in parliament are not massively off from the centre. There are no radicals from the left or the right and even the Green Party have mainstreamed and by doing that are starting to get people into Parliament.  Nick Founder