The cost of petrol and the price of Government neglect

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The Government is more concerned about what men and women do with each other in their bedrooms to be bothered about the cost of living, writes Frank O'Shea.

YOU ARE home a bit late and decide that you will wait until the following day to get petrol. It’s less than $1.10 a litre and you will fill your tank, enough to do you for a week or more. But when you get there the next morning, the sign reads $1.39 and suddenly that fill-up is costing an extra $15.

How can an everyday item increase in price by more than 25 per cent overnight? And why aren’t people out with furious placards complaining at such obvious disregard for ordinary citizens? Perhaps the petrol companies really think that we believe them when they say it is down to some fluctuation in cost per barrel unreported in the media. Or perhaps it is really the fault of the greedy Saudi royal family.

Anyway, how come it is the same price at all the other bowsers in the neighbourhood? This is purely accidental, of course, and if you use the word collusion, we will set our lawyers or our media people on to you. Besides, you have a job to go to, so we know you can do nothing about it except fume and curse and take it out on the other road users.

You hear talk about the price cycle as a way of explaining something that is nothing more or less than naked price gouging. We have been told that the franchisees – the poor slobs who actually run the petrol stations – can do nothing about it and, indeed, they are themselves being ripped off anyway. So you, dear driver are at the very bottom of the pile that has Shell and Caltex and the others at the top. And they seem to be answerable to nobody.

You may, of course, wonder how a Government can allow this kind of thing to go on, but you realise there is an easy answer to that one. The government, you see, is too concerned about what men and women do with each other in their bedrooms to be bothered about the cost of living. There is a war being fought in Canberra between rich men from the North Shore of Sydney, with allies from private schools in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

Most of these warring egos are from one or other branch of Christianity — a religion which once had a care for the ordinary man and woman but is now exercising its muscle to make sure that people of the same gender do not tickle each other in inappropriate places.

And what about the poor folk who have chosen to love each other in ways Christ is supposed to have condemned, although there is no record of his ever having done so? It is bad enough that they are living in sin, but the state says they are not catered for in a law which our parliamentarians are too cowardly to change.

So a fill of petrol goes up $15 overnight and the highly-paid folk in the big building in Canberra do nothing about it. They are too busy, you see.

Oh yes, they have another concern. It’s to do with those dastardly New Zealanders. How dare they interfere in the affairs of their neighbour. Perhaps they have too much time on their hands, having decided the same-sex issue with just a vote in the House. Of course, the country has gone downhill since then, not that anyone has noticed. All sinners over there. All black sinners.

Two honest Australian politicians from a small party do the honourable thing by resigning when there is a question raised about their citizenship. It’s not an entirely clear question of course, but they decide that the Australian parliament is too sacred an institution to be held to doubt while their question is being adjudicated. So they resign.

Then the Deputy Prime Minister is told in clear words that he is citizen of another country. Not maybe, or perhaps, or might be, but a definite yes, you are one of our citizens. He does not resign and is not asked to do so, and his decision is supported in most appalling displays of partisanship by the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, and the sneering Mr Pyne, whatever he is minister of.

Though it may not have been what he intended, the Prime Minister’s statement on the matter could even be read as an instruction to the High Court as to how they should adjudicate the matter.

So is it any wonder with all those problems, that our parliament is too engrossed in trivialities to care about the way that the big petrol companies are ripping off the rest of us.

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