Audio version with SPECIAL EDITION THEME MUSIC. Hi-fi version on Spotify.
Tool Up Australia
I have fucking had it with governments’ fawning worship of tradies.
Watch their announcements and you would believe there is literally no other industry in Australia. So tradies are showered in subsidies despite being … just let me check … ONE OF THE LEAST COVID-AFFECTED SECTORS IN THE COUNTRY.
This from the South Australian premier last week:
What the hell Village People dress-up recovery policy is this?
Tradie friends say they’ve never been so busy, even earlier in the year before any subsidies. So yeah, while other industries face extinction, let’s shovel some more money at them.
To subsidise work they’re too busy to get to at the moment.
Governments have made the hi-vis vest a visual shorthand for ‘real’ work. There’s a strong message that jobs that involve thinking, teaching, caring, helping or creating aren’t real work. That’s lady work. In 2020, Australian governments’ idea of proper jobs remains this:
(I watched a stack of period VB ads and counted the women and non-white guys doing a hard day’s work. That number was zero.)
Tradie worship pervades everything. I watched a TV news announcement about jobs, and what’s the screen graphic? A toolbox full of spanners and hammers. There’s your future, kids.
Right at a time when COVID economics are hitting women far harder than men. The ABS just revealed female university enrolments dropped by 86,000 in 2020. The male decrease was 21,200.
Tech-Heads Need Not Apply
In Blokesworld Australia, if you don’t drive a jacked-up twin cab ute, you have no value. This from a recent Prime Ministerial speech about digital policy:
“We’ve just got to be the best at adopting. Taking it on board. Making it work for us. And we’re really good at that. You don’t have to be a tech-head. You don’t have to be someone who was totally absorbed in the technology of this to understand its implications. It’s a massive priority for my government.”
You don’t have to be a tech-head. Man up, code tradies, let’s renovate some innovations from overseas!
Sure, tech has created the greatest wealth explosion the world has ever seen. But no need for those nerd skills if you’re happy for Australia to remain a dumb-ass quarry and Project Home World forever. It’s all good mate!
Why would you acknowledge our tech global achievers like Atlassian when all those guys do is use that money to stir up opposition to dinkum Aussie coal?
Australian innovation policy is a white paper adaption of an 80s jocks versus nerds movie.
What Do We Get For Our Money?
This is not a personal vendetta against tradies themselves. They work hard. So do the rest of us.
If we’re lucky enough to have work at this point.
It’s not tradies’ fault they’ve become our national emblem.
But let’s consider what we get for our tax dollar investment. Where does breakthrough innovation come from? The kind that boosts productivity and puts us ahead as a nation.
It comes from driven people on a mission. Who are determined to find better ways to do things. Who have big ideas they’re desperate to take to the world.
Those people are working around the clock.
Tradies knock off on time every day of their lives. They’re in no way pushing back the boundaries of what’s possible. Why should they bother? They’re never short of work.
Thanks to decades of tax policy from both sides of politics that subsidises housing, until our two biggest cities are in the Top 5 most expensive housing cities in the world.
Tradies are a modest 9% of our workforce, number 4 on that list.
Why do they deserve government cash more than the the 91%? Particularly when tradies are running at full capacity anyway.
Is it because governments just like man smell? There’s now Tradie shower gel in both Lager and Pilsner scent, packaged in a takeaway twin pack of fake beer bottles.
If someone isn’t already writing a thesis about Australia’s endless fetishization of the tradie in the Morrison era, then they should be: pic.twitter.com/1QHs58ZmC1
— Michelle Arrow (@MichelleArrow1) October 30, 2020
Enough of soft-hands government types trying to get some reflected macho man glory from putting on the hard hat and ‘rolling our sleeves up’.
We see your Cosplay agenda for what it is. Time to pay some attention to industries that really are doing it tough, and to support industries that make us a smarter country.
Update: I wrote this on Sunday. I spent Monday getting a stream of updates from our Adelaide business on the South Australian ‘rona outbreak. Just as we were starting to creep back toward recovery, we’re now pretty certain all our revenue for the rest of the year is gone, over $100K evaporating in a day.
This year can just eat a large bowl of unpleasant things.
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