Radio stations are playing Christmas
carols, supermarkets are stocked with plum puddings and suburban homes are
festooned with blinking lights. The holiday season is almost here and we each
have our own way of celebrating. One of my (corporate) Christmas traditions is
to publish a parody of Clement Moore’s classic poem, The Night Before Christmas.
My sixth annual Christmas parody will
be posted next week. As always, it will be set to the rhythm and rhyme of the
world’s most famous Christmas poem. Like the versions from previous years, it will imitate the style
and form of Moore’s original lyric while addressing a different subject matter
– Australia’s performance during 2013.
Meanwhile for this post - my
penultimate missive for 2013 - I would like to reflect on the year that was.
Despite the dire warnings of the headline grabbing gloom-and-doom merchants, we
are still here. The world has not ended, the global economy did not go into
meltdown and the catastrophic job market losses did not eventuate.
As is typically the case, the outcomes
were not as bleak as first thought. We humans are a resilient lot and have a
track record of adapting and surviving. The news is a form of entertainment and
there’s nothing more entertaining than drama. That’s what drives the
fear-mongering media and their stories about housing bubbles, mining downturns
and distressed consumers.
While these stories may not be as
confronting as images of brawling bikies, they nonetheless get into our psyche,
making us less likely to spend and consume. Paradoxically, we humans like bad news more than good news, so we
need to ensure that negative 15 second sound-bites don’t become self-fulfilling
prophesies which exacerbate downturns.
Personally, I think we did well as a
nation during 2013. Inflation is under control, unemployment is low compared to
other nations, interest rates are at historic lows and our national debt as a
percentage of GDP is one of the lowest in the world. Now I’m not suggesting we
are perfect – the Australian dollar is too high and GDP growth is sluggish.
On balance, however, we are the envy of many nations and should give ourselves
a pat on the back. Indeed, according to the United Nations, Australia is the second best country in the world to live. The
Land of Oz is ahead of the pack and currently enjoying its 22nd
consecutive year of economic growth. Australia is one of only 11 countries with a AAA rating.
Despite our economic challenges, we
have much to celebrate. We remain the lucky country and continue to punch above
our weight. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics we are healthier, wealthier and happier than a decade ago. Plus,
we enjoy fringe benefits like stunning beaches, temperate climate and
As we approach the season of goodwill
to all, my Christmas wish is that we reflect as a nation on all that is good
about Australia. In truth, we have little to complain about. There may be a
place where the grass is greener, but in all my travels I am yet to find it.
That’s why I am proud to still call Australia home!
On a personal note, thank you to my
loyal readers for their on-going support. I appreciate you clicking on each
week. I trust you have enjoyed the breadth of topics covered in Doubting Thomas during 2013. May peace
and happiness be yours during this holiday season and throughout the New Year.
Paul J. Thomas
Posted Monday, December 09, 2013 1 Comments Make a comment