For example, The Australian is reporting* that their government is willing to throw away free trade controls on the general economy, out of pure spite.
THE Gillard government is holding up free trade agreements (FTAs) with Japan and South Korea, despite its Asian Century white paper urging the removal of trade and investment barriers.
The government has said it will not consider any form of investor-state arbitration (ISA), a provision commonly included in FTAs.
This is understood to be a response, in part, to tobacco company Philip Morris taking the government to international arbitration over its plain-packaging legislation through a clause in Australia's 19-year-old investment treaty with Hong Kong.This is pram toy-throwing of the most extreme kind. In short, they want to veto controls on unilateral lunacy by national governments simply because they are experiencing resistance to one of their daftest laws. Thus flying in the face of the stance by other nations, who naturally want their own free market business interests defended from idiotic legislation in other countries.
Most of the other 10 countries with which Australia is negotiating the ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership, including the US, want an ISA clause in it.Of course, to perpetuate their tantrum, they are going to have to cut a deal. And they don't care if their own trade suffers as a result.
[Luke Nottage, professor of comparative and transnational law at Sydney University] said that in exchange for having such a clause excluded, "Australia will be expected to make some sort of concession to conclude the overall agreement".
"One distinct possibility is reduced market access for Australia's agricultural exporters . . . By excluding any room to compromise on ISAs, Australia may end up with sub-optimal FTAs."Yes, you read that right. They are happy to shaft their own agricultural industry - and take the resultant loss to their economy - because they're in a strop about Philip Morris quibbling with them.
Meanwhile, their bovine public are chomping at the bit to throw away their health system too!
According to the annual Private Health Insurance Report by financial services researcher CoreData, most Australians think those who lead unhealthy lives should have to pay more for private health insurance, something the federal government doesn't allow.So hypnotised by the "unhealthy cost us more" canard are they, that they have confused life insurance with health insurance and are quite prepared to throw their rights away just so they can sneer and moralise at other Aussie citizens.
Under community rating, health insurers must offer the same product at the same price to everyone (though with provision for single, couples and family pricing), regardless of the state of their health. And if you want cover, they must sign you up.
In addition, you must be allowed to move from one health fund to another without penalty - if you have served waiting periods with one insurer, those must be recognised by your new insurer.
''Once you allow smoking [as an exception to community rating], it opens up a whole range of things of a similar kind, and which are just as significant in terms of going to your doctor, going to hospital,'' [health insurance industry actuary, Peter Carroll] says.
Ultimately, you would undermine community rating and potentially end up with a life insurance-style system where people's risk is assessed via questionnaire or even medical examination - a process known as underwriting - before insurance is offered. Some people could end up paying perhaps three or four times what they pay now because the risk would no longer be spread evenly across a pool of people that includes the young and the old, the sick and the healthy.Screw Australian business interests, and screw healthcare at an affordable price for all! The Australian government and public are quite happy to do without both in return for the right to finger-wag and moralise.
Cutting one's nose off has never been seen on such a wholesale - and incredibly funny - scale.
Forget Advance Australia Fair, it's fast becoming time the topsy-turvies installed the Benny Hill theme tune as their national anthem instead.
* The link won't work except by pasting the headline in Google and clicking through. They can't even get that right.