To many in business in Queensland, and especially to those trying to start a new business, it seems as if the lights are stuck on red.
My job in this column is to be the government gadfly — to bait the bureaucrats, poke the politicians and taunt the tax collectors till the stop-lights in George Street go green again.
This should not be seen as a partisan attack on the current brand of politicians — I have bipartisan disdain for all of them (with a few exceptions such as John Kerrin, Ian McLachlan, Peter Walsh and John Stone). I see most elections as the choice between a calamity and a disaster. However, I am not without hope — I have noticed that even members of Parliament talk quite sensibly when no one is listening.
What is wrong in Queensland? We have too many regulations, too much tax, and too many net consumers of tax. The ship has become top heavy and is in danger of capsize.
Business in Queensland today reflects the dreams, initiatives, investments and sacrifices of the past.
Our jobs and our prosperity depend on many wild gambles and a few considered decisions taken years ago. However, few of today’s wealth producing companies, big or small, will last even a decade. Like the ten little nigger boys, they will succumb, one after another, to high interest rates, foreign taxes, disappearing markets, depletion of resources or exhaustion of human energy. Thus we need a continuous and increasing source of new business to replace those which die, close, or lose their edge.
No business, big or small, was ever built without one man dreaming it, a few men believing him and a lot of people willing it to happen.
From our great Mount Isa Mines, now over sixty years old, to the Gracettas restaurant in Sherwood, which opened two months ago, every business in Queensland started with one person’s dreams.
Tomorrow’s jobs and tomorrow’s prosperity depend on how many dreams are allowed to develop.
In a quiet moment, however, almost every successful businessman will tell you he would have great trouble starting again today.
His energy and his capital would be sapped at every turn by council and business regulations, endless permits and submissions, dreadful delays and never ending fees and charges, all imposed by smug, super-annuated supervisors operating from the salaried security of the public payroll.
Only last week I heard of another dashed dream. A stud beef breeder owns a grazing block in Moreton Shire. He wanted to build a house to live in, and a stud cattle selling complex. Because there was already a small cottage on the land he was forced to go through a long rezoning saga to get approval to build his house. Then he was told he had the wrong zoning to allow him to build his stud sale yards. He has given this dream away — no house was built and no cattle sold. He is now trying to sell his land. No new business was born to replace the daily casualties of Mr Keating’s “beautiful set of figures”.
Of course they claim to represent “the public interest”. The public interest extends no further than ensuring that new businesses create no public nuisance by way of noise, smell, dust, pollution, health hazards or interference with water or sunlight. It does not extend to busybody interference based on official opinions on the esthetics, economics, industrial organisation, or political acceptability of the new business.
To be in any business today is like being a mouse in a house for hungry cats. And anyone wishing to start a new business will face scepticism from his banker, opposition from the council, hostility from the anti-everything league, and demands for up-front payment for government non-services whether he wants them or not. Baby businesses are an endangered species in Queensland. If they were baby seals we’d quickly see some action but as they are only selfish, profit-seeking dreamers they are fair game for any tax-happy knocker.
However, it takes no constructive skill at all to build a new bureaucracy — just sufficient numbers in Parliament to confiscate the necessary resources from those who earned them. Then, like sterile monuments to long forgotten problems, these departments will sit there forever, destroying dreams and consuming scarce investment capital.
And despite all the taxes they consume, our nationalised education and welfare industries have created a generation of people, many without the ability or the incentive to produce what the law says they must be paid. And despite all the regulations they enact, our legal system seems incapable of providing justice. Instead of delivering swift penalties to the guilty and restitution to the victims it rewards the guilty with endless delays and legal loopholes while the innocent go bankrupt paying legal fees.
The dreams of today are the realities of tomorrow. If I can help just one dream to survive the government gauntlet, my needling will have been worthwhile.
- Lang Hancock's Five Point Plan to Cripple Australia
- Put Windmills in National Parks
- Magnifying National Disasters
- Please Don't Feed the Animals
- Buy Birdsville Made?
- The Economics of Flood Risk
- Touring Bureaucrats
- Our slip-shod laws to blame
- Why Wind Won't Work
- A Profusion of "Prices"
- R.I.P. Ron Kitching - pioneer, explorer, author, family man, entrepreneur, scholar
- The Carbon Pollution Lie
- Closing Down Australia
- The Anti-Industry
- The Pyramid Builders
- Carbon Tax Bribery
- Crown Monopolies
- Carbon Tax Job Losses
- What Next, a Tax on Water?
- Carbon Health Warnings Coming Soon
- Growth Mythology
- The Tax Collection Industry
- Propaganda Puts Paid to Proof
- The Milk of the Welfare Teat is Watered Down
- "Crops for Cars" as Bad as Everlasting Drought
- Poll speech sets record
- The Emissions Trading Casino
- The Contract Society
- A Model Ministry
- The Five Point Plan to kill the economy with High Cost Electricity
- Put a Sunset Clause in the Carbon Tax
- Stuck on Red
- Time to Butcher "Aussie Beef"
- Carbon Tax Lies and Bribes
- The Middle of the Road
- United against taxes
- Call for Govt administrator
- Property & Prosperity
- "The Science is Settled" BUT Durban Climate Summit Not Cancelled
- No End to Fuelish Policies?
- The Right to Discriminate
- Sell the CES
- Free Water Costs Too Dam Much
- Creating Unemployment
- Viv Forbes Wins 1986 Adam Smith Award
- 1985 news item on Tax Payers United, Centre 2000 and the Australian Adam Smith Club
- Having the numbers is not the same as having the truth
- Who's Who in the Workers Party
- David Russell Leads 1975 Workers Party Queensland Senate Team
- Caught in a welfare whirlpool
- Global Warming Season
- Mining in Queensland, Past, Present and Future
- WEATHER IS USUALLY UNUSUAL
- Political branch formed
- Ron Manners on the Workers Party
- Viv Forbes on Libertarian Strategy and the Constant Resources Myth
- The New Brisbane Line?
- Carbon Lies
- We Mine to Live
- Save the taxpayer
- Solving Three Canberra Problems
- Vested Interests in the Climate Debate
- Carbon Tax Retrospective?
- Carbon Price Propaganda Taxes the Truth
- Don't Burn Food for Motor Spirit - Feed People not Cars
- Two Big Climate Taxes
- Greens Rediscover Hydrogen Car
- Atlas of Australia
- Shutting Out The Sun
- Safety Mania
- Coal - Sinking in the Swamps
- Hobbling the Competition
- Cubic Currency Coming
- "Dear Government"
- Viv Forbes mocks Flannery in 1988
- What we have is not a drug problem but a drug law problem
- Smoking, Health and Freedom
- Privatise Now! while they are still worth something
- The Electoral Act should allow voters to choose "none of the above"
- The New Federalism
- Sunset for Solar Subsidies
- The mouse will roar
- The Road to Homelessness
- Planning & Prosperity
- Viv Forbes and Jim Fryar vs Malcolm Fraser in 1979
- Quip, Quote, Rant and Rave: four of Viv Forbes' letters to the editor in The Australian in 1979
- Australia's First Official Political Party Poet Laureate: The Progress Party's Ken Hood in 1979
- Our homeless regulation refugees
- Progress Party and Workers Party lead The Australian
- Viv Forbes in 1978 on loss-making government, the Berlin Wall and misdirected blasts of hot-air