Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Working Flat Out For Australia

The federal government has launched a new campaign called “No Leave, No Life” which is targeting the stockpile of unused annual leave which has accrued to Australian workers. It is estimated that 123 million leave days have been saved up by those of us who are too busy to take a break, or who perhaps feel that the salt mine will cave in without us there to support it even for just a few weeks. The government has calculated that these untaken leave days carry a financial value of $33 billion, and if people could be persuaded to take a break and spend some of that money it would help boost the local tourism industry, and the economy generally.

Apparently the most likely offenders are male, over forty, and in executive positions where they might be tempted to believe in their own indispensability. On average these workaholics have totted up around 25 days annual leave each, which means it has been a while since their last holiday. It’s true that many people also see the accumulation of leave as building up a kind of buffer against future needs, or even the possibility of losing a job. But now the government is telling us that our country needs us, and that we should take a holiday because it’s the Australian thing to do.

The tourism industry is said to be worth around $65 billion annually, but right now the Global Financial Crisis means that there is a shortage of rich Americans looking for something adventurous to do. Most of them too busy packing their golden parachutes and wondering when the share market slide will really be over. For them, reading the financial pages is about all the excitement they can handle at present, so an adventure holiday “Downunder” is out of the question. That’s where you and I come in.

If you and I, and everybody else, all cash in our accrued annual leave and spend a couple of weeks in the country visiting pubs, not only will we be living the Australian Dream, we will be helping to preserve it. It’s up to us to take up the challenge and save the Australian tourism industry by doing what we all do best… spend some time flat out like a lizard drinking by the pool at a holiday resort at the regional destination of our choice. Like the call from an earlier era when Peter Costello urged us all to do our bit for this great nation by procreating more prolifically, it’s a job that has to be done. Yes, it’s a tough job, but I know between us we can do it.

Besides, with all the bikies shooting each other in the streets of Sydney, now is probably a good time to get out of town for a while anyway.

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