That Australia, the nation, was living and spending beyond its means is not in dispute; well actually it is disputed by some who were happily and blissfully riding the gravy train.
The real problem, buried as it is in the clamour and noise of rights, populist opposition parties and other interest groups, lies in the fact that the gravy train had extraordinarily high capital and operational costs. Utterly unsustainable costs.
It was a lovely ride, but it cost too much.
Now, for riders on the gravy train this fact is totally irrelevant; after all, riding the train is our right!
But for those who increasingly have to stump up to pay for all these free and concessional tickets the load was becoming unbearable; and that, ultimately, means all of us.
Clearly ticket prices had to rise and sales of concessional tickets put on hold, at least temporarily or soon even the jobs of gravy train employees might be in question.
This means that even first class ticket issues, you know, those used by politicians and others accustomed to traveling in a manner consistent with their high station in life had to be curtailed, and even withdrawn in some cases. The injustice of it all!
Second class gravy train tickets, those widely used by business and industry must also be severely restricted as these too are being sold below cost. The harsh, nay bitter reality of a user-pays economy.
And unfortunately, economy class tickets, those concessional offerings that have become a way of life for many on their life journey need to be restricted.
Everyone knows that people can become very attracted to, and attached to the niceties of things like concessional gravy train tickets, and removing or restricting access to these will be accompanied by howls of protest from users (and those who make a living out of advising and counselling users.)
To wit: career students whose life mission is to become ever more highly educated, whilst contributing ever less to the community at large; those whose job is to stay out of a job for as long as possible; and those whose life mission is to adroitly manage their affairs so as to attract the absolute maximum benefit from the public purse will be particularly outraged.
We can expect elements within the current opposition parties to be vociferous in their condemnation of this outrage… ‘the inequity and unfairness of it all,’ largely due to their demonstrated skills in handing out free and concessional gravy train tickets to all who would vote for them.
It is even possible that the gravy train as we know it may cease to run altogether, and be confined to the annuls of history as a relic of that glorious bygone era when the Government was responsible for everything and gave everything that its dependants wanted.
Yet a functional, cost-effective replacement will need to be found to ensure the orderly and equitable continuance of life in such a great nation as ours.
The challenge for today’s Australian Government is to source and commission a replacement train that will take the Australian people where we need to go, safely and on time, and at a cost we can afford.
Oh, and of course, to navigate a pathway through the minefields of political and social opposition, aided and abetted by those who have awoken to discover their lifetime tickets on the original gravy train have become valueless, and are determined to retain, or regain them at all costs.
Not at their cost of course.
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