Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 16/07/97

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

John Howard embraces technology

A Gusworld NOT-TRUE-NEWS story

Prime Minister John Howard, fired with enthusiasm following his recent visit to the US, has embraced the challenge of a new age and outlined his vision of how techmology will change the way we work, live and employ people, leading to a golden age unmatched since Robert Menzies ruled the country with an iron fist in the 1950s.

"The arrival of the telephone and the mechanical adding machine have done more to empower small business in a shorter period of time than anything that has happened in a hundred years," a clearly excited Howard told a Townsville radio station. "I mean, it is the greatest thing since the industrial revolution."

Asked to describe his favourite features of the industrial revolution, Mr Howard cited both the economic potential of manufacturing on a large scale and the fact that children as young as nine were able to be employed on slave wages. As well as providing a boost to employment, Howard said, high infant mortality rates caused by such practices helped to address issues such as overpopulation and excess migration which were of deep concern to Middle Australia but had been swept under the carpet by the previous Labour government, where they stayed until Howard's wife Janette noticed them recently while doing the vacuuming.

Howard conceded that some critics found such an approach "drastic", but emphasised that these issues could not be cleared up without some cost. "This is a debate that Australia needs to engage in," he said. While the Howard cabinet has yet to formally endorse any child labour policies, many in the party are known to support such a move, provided it does not apply to their own offspring.

Howard's own enthusiasm, however, is now clearly directed at how technology can transform industry practices. "It's amazing," Howard told reporters following the broadcast. "I mean, with this telephone thing, you can talk to people who aren't even in the same room."

One Townsville store, Betty's Bakery, has already embraced the changes, installing a telephone around 50 years ago. "It's transformed the way I run my business," manageress Eveline Smith said. "Those dial-up phone sex lines have sent me stone-cold broke."

The initiative is just one of a number recently proposed by Howard to bring Australia towards the end of 1950s. Other initiatives include reducing the number of compulsory floggings for single mothers, cutting out the tongues of migrants who don't learn to speak English, and introducing tax concessions for families who bore their kids stupid by taking them for a good old-fashioned Sunday drive in the Holden.

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