In 2007 Western Australia was booming. Tradesmen were driving around in gold-plated utes, a handful of nickel could buy a small island and a two bedroom shack in Karratha cost half a million dollars.
Then in 2008 the GFC happened. Mines were laying off contractors, nickel was worth less than magic beans and we had to spend Federal money at Harvey Norman to keep the national economy alive.
Yet that only quietened the boom to a dull roar. By 2010 the only price higher than iron ore was that of a cup of coffee, except there was nobody left to serve these extortionate beverages because anyone with less than a doctorate in nuclear physics seemed to have gone FIFO.
But now the boom is definitely over and we face what the Chinese call interesting times. Police have to supply their own stationery and local retail is so bad you could ironically discharge a vintage firearm down Beaufort Street without hitting a shopper.
So what happened to the in-between bit? When was the economy not too hot and not too cold but just right? Why is the finance system following the career arc of Halle Berry? Must the boom of Monsters Ball be followed by the busts of Catwoman and Movie 43?
I just want things to be okay. Not 1920s laissez faire nor 1930s Great Depression. I want enough demand for jobs that my friends and I are employed but not so much that it costs an arm and a leg to rent a bedroom and bathroom in the same time zone as the CBD.
If Halle Berry is a horrible inspiration for an economy then which actor should we mimic? How about Ray Meagher,better known as the nemesis of flamin’ galosh everywhere Alf Stewart.
Meagher’s IMDB profile has a distinct lack of Oscar winning roles and comic book franchises (he doesn’t even have a head shot) but he has been steadily employed since 1978, the vast majority of that with ratings juggernaut Home and Away.
Yes, the loves and lives of Summer Bay aren’t high art but it brings a smile to the face of millions of people, which is more that can be said of Catwoman. And once Halle turns 50 you know the Dementors will drag her off to the island prison for Actresses of a Certain Age that only Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren have ever escaped from.
So whoever wins the approaching federal election should instruct the the boffins at Treasury to put away those Keynesian text books and star channeling their inner-Alf.
While it would mean us never again reaching the giddy heights of $60,00 “luxury” utes, Australians would also never have to rob undergraduate Peter to pay high school student Paul.
Yes, Australia and Alf Stewart, you know they belong together . . .