Rural romanticism?

rate-of-return-broadacre-farms-1978-2004.JPG

broadacre-farm-family-incomes-1989-2003.JPG

A collection of platitudes by Craig Emerson. I was struck by the following statement:

Governments must not imprison the disadvantaged by subjugating them to the state, robbing them of self-esteem and condemning them to a life of dependency; governments must liberate them by providing opportunity for all in a truly fair society. Let us not make the disadvantaged the experiments of social engineers yearning for a different social order but lacking the stomach to practise it in their own lives. It is this social experimentation of romanticising traditional life in the harsh outback that has caused Australia’s most vulnerable – indigenous people – to be trapped in misery.

I doubt indigenous people in remote areas are passive bearers of an ideology imported from outside. is the argument that all indigenous land grants should be reversed and indigenous people arrested as trespassers on Crown land? is it that activity tests should be enforced for remote indigenous people? It is all words without meaning, the ‘right’ can outdo the ‘left’ in throwing around terms without meaning. In fact a romantic belief in rural life must be as deeply held by many especially white farmers as much as indigenous people. It is 20 years since the bottom third of broadacre farms made a profit (see graph above) and it is only rarely that farm returns amount for half of broadacre farm incomes (see graph above). Both these graphs are from the Productivity Commission’s Trends in Australian Agriculture. How are these farmers ‘trapped’?

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