Opinion

You pack of bludgers. Your country needs you...to work

By Country News

Far be it from me to call a lot of those city folk bludgers. But here goes.

A lot of city folk are bludgers.

Now I am prepared to admit every one of us is at a disadvantage, but there is light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.

And when Canberra turns off the cash cows, it will be every shoulder to the wheel because there will be a lot of work to be done.

But from where I’m standing, if push comes to shove, you can add whingeing in front of that for a fair slice of the aforementioned bludgers.

What exactly, you may wonder, has got under the Curmudgeon's skin with such a vengeance?

I hate to say it, but it boils down to Australia Day.

These national holidays have long been a personal hobby horse of mine.

Australia Day and Anzac Day are at the top of the list. Along with Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Australia Day – and I am open to correction here – falls on January 26.

Not on, or about, January 26.

It is those 24 hours from 12 am to 12 pm.

But no. Not for city folk, living where the big votes and weak-kneed politicians are.

They want an extra holiday, come hell or high water.

Thousands happily worked on Australia Day this year and got penalties for it because it meant working on a Sunday.

Then, without batting an eye, they took the Monday off to make up for them having to do their usual quota of hours.

And the list goes on.

I dread to think what the overall cost of this may be when you tot it all up around the country.

As a farmer, it makes me laugh – and makes me sick.

I remember a run of seasons past where Christmas lunch was sandwiches in the header.

Anzac Day was sandwiches in the seeder.

However, when the work was done I don't recall any of my mates striding around bawling for another day off in lieu.

No. Mostly they were happy to have the harvest in the bin and the seed in the ground.

I know those sneaky graziers can time joining, calving and lambing to make sure they are footloose and fancy free come any opportunity for a holiday.

But even in their case, I know a holiday simply means a half day, or more, in the workshop as opposed to in the field.

The Curmudgeon has been doing some research and it's no wonder Australia is slowly waking up to the fact its labour costs are too high compared with the rest of the world.

Not just the third world. The average Australian gets a much better hourly rate than their counterparts in, for example, the good old US of A.

In fact, Australia has the highest minimum hourly rate in the world.

Our mandated minimum hourly wage is currently $19.49, according to Fair Work Australia.

In the US the federal minimum hourly wage in 2020 is $7.25. That does not include any form of medical cover, either.

Even worse, most Americans have to make do with just two weeks of paid annual leave.

And many still work a five-and-a-half-day week.

If most major American companies are moving their production offshore because labour costs are too high, what chance are we to hang onto a major industry such as our late, lamented car manufacturing?

So next time you are demanding that extra day, think about whether your business, or the business you are working for, can continue to carry that load.

Better still, get out on a farm and see what a real week's work is.

For a start, it often involves seven days – but only because there aren't eight days in a week.

So next time I hear some yobbo in the city whingeing about how hard they aren't working, I may just get in the ute and get down there to tell them about the real world.