Friday, January 07, 2011

Mike Hitchen Unleashed: Advance Australia Backwards

I love Australia, I would never think of living anywhere else. But why oh why, do we have to be so far behind the rest of the world in certain sectors?

Retail management here doesn't just refuse to think outside the box - they ask, "what box?" Anyone from the US or Europe stepping into what passes for supermarkets and department stores in Sydney, would think they were stepping into the dark ages. They are nothing more than glorified corner shops under the management of those who think that attending out of date training courses every month, somehow provides them with the ability to recognize their customer's needs.

Many big stores here are under the ownership of "Australian Icons". The problem with "Australian Icons" is that most "Australian Icons" are usually way past their use by date and every word they utter is lapped up by business publications purely because they are - "Australian Icons". When will the Australian retail industry finally accept the fact that they are behind the times and fail to provide the customer with services that are considered basics in more professional retail environments.

The same applies to our communication and technology sector. In this case the blame can not entirely be laid at the feet of those in the industry - that dubious honor goes to a succession of governments - especially the Howard government - who have no grasp of what they are dealing with.

Here we are, in 2011, having a national political debate about high speed broadband - and is it necessary? Even in Iran one can get acceptable broadband for only $20 per month - that is cheaper than dial up costs here. OK, you can't actually read or post anything too much in Iran without getting arrested, but the way Australia is going with its censorship and plans for compulsory filters, we are not too far away from that anyway!

There appears to be a belief in Australia that anything that requires buttons or keys to be pressed or clicked, is somehow a gimmick. That point was bought home by opposition leader Tony Abbott, who claimed the Internet is all about Facebook and Twitter. See what we are up against?

Transport is another issue. Our road system is archaic and you would be hard pressed to find a decent long distance highway. Angola constructs more roads than we do.

Another thing - we are eleven hours ahead of England - except in cricket where we are 10 years behind - thanks again to the powers that be.

Wake up Australia - let's catch up with the rest of the world by focusing on core issues instead of being so damned mealy-mouthed about anything progressive.

** Title taken from a song by Eric Bogle

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