Host: Dr. Ross Ainsworth
I know this is something that young people who live in Australia probably think they get told too often but believe me, it is the absolute truth. I am sure everyone has had an issue where they felt that they are harshly done by, but, as a general rule, Australia is indeed the lucky country and you only need to leave it for a quick visit to almost any other country on earth to confirm that what I am saying is true.
Ironically, I had this reconfirmed in the reverse last month, when I visited the Ekka, the Royal Queensland Agricultural show and spent about a week in and around Brisbane. I live in Indonesia most of the time and travel around Asia extensively, only returning to Australia 2 or 3 times a year so I certainly notice the dramatic difference every time I return.
Starting from the airport :
- The taxis, trains, buses and Uber work efficiently and nobody was there trying to trick me into an inflated priced car ride in a dodgy vehicle
- The roads, trains and general infrastructure were magnificent
- The air was clean and clear, the public spaces are clean and well maintained
- The traffic was modest with no jams caused by poorly planned traffic flows or never ending repair works.
- I visited a doctor’s clinic for a vaccination on the way to my friend’s house, the service was fast and efficient and highly professional.
- At my friend’s house, everything worked and the electricity stayed on all the time.
- I could drink the water directly from the tap!! It doesn’t sound much but seriously, this is a real treat.
- I went shopping and everything that I could possibly imagine was available and beautifully presented.
- I went for a walk in a nearby park with my friends and everything was perfectly maintained with manicured lawns and immaculate footpaths, bike tracks, dog poo bag dispensers, rubbish bins (that were not overflowing) wheel chair access ramps, solar lighting, free public BBQs, shaded rest areas, fenced off dog exercise areas, conservation areas, etc. etc. etc.
- I cannot begin to tell you how well organized the Ekka was with a great focus on visitor safety and pedestrian traffic flows, it just made visiting all the exhibits that much easier and more enjoyable regardless of the large crowds. Areas of potential danger were securely fenced off so everyone was safe.
- The livestock were exceptional as was pretty much everything else.
- AND, even though I didn’t need to, I could have safely drank the water from the public taps at the show grounds. You only realize how important this is when you spend time in a country where it is impossible.
These points are not designed to be critical of the Asian countries I visit as there are many reasons why things are the way they are and all of their governments are working very hard to catch up to more developed countries. The reason for writing this article is that when I listened to the news and read the papers, one of the strongest themes I got was that many citizens of Australia seemed to be dissatisfied with their lot and were constantly demanding more and better services and government handouts. Despite generous social security, first class free primary and secondary education, a legal system that works, Medicare, paid parental leave etc. etc. etc. all I seemed to hear in the media were complaints from every quarter.
I am not sure how to convince anyone who has not left Australia to experience other parts of the world just how lucky they really are, except to repeat what I said in the beginning. You never had it so good. Be thankful for what you have, enjoy and protect it. If you don’t believe me just leave Australia for a week and you will discover exactly what I mean.