Australia – warm weather and generous immigrant policies have created an “easy-go-lucky” country for millions

Your correspondent has just spent a few weeks interviewing many people in Australia as well as digging into newspapers and other media to get a better feel for what the country is, and where it is going. This was not the first time visiting the country, but one of many working trips over the years to this fascinating and dynamic country, which, let it be said, your correspond enjoys and respects deeply!

But it is not all milk and honey because it is a country of immigrants; immigrants who continue to flow in huge numbers (over 200 000 each of the last years) as permanent residents and as entrants on one year work or student visas. It is no longer easy to get an Australian passport but the population just grows by each year by almost 2%. You need to be well-qualified, young enough or just simply rich. And we should not forget the original native population who also remain fiercely independent after the abuse from the new colonial arrivals.

Australians have a big lovely country with plenty of hot and warm weather most of the year, long sandy beaches, mountains, lakes, high hills, tropical and subtropical forests, never-ending bush, animals galore, fish and millions of sea creatures, and the strangest birds singing all year round.

Their population is as diverse as this landscape and it is a fiercely independent nation with new immigrants now coming from Asia and South America.

Australians love the big outdoor open spaces but prefer to live in their own stand-alone houses, and definitely not in “shared” apartment buildings. This also reflects their wish to avoid being locked in to a limiting nanny government, so the basic services should be provided by private as well as publicly-owned companies…

… and this brings us to the nice negatives of this country. Yes, people there are friendly. You only have to stop with a paper map or try to work out the best route with Google Maps and friendly folk will flock down and offer unsolicited advise. Or you will find yourself talking with others in a bar, in a posh restaurant, in a park if you make eye contact with something sitting or standing nearby. Talking to strangers is hard for Finns but these Oz’s love talking and telling you stories about their ancestral history!

Their houses, at least in the older cities, towns and villages are tiny with 60% of the population in Sydney living in small 150 year old terrace houses with low roofs and wrought iron balconies, rotting wood structures and wobbly walls. It is a builders’ paradise – every 100 meters there are builders vans, demolition men, bricklayers, glaziers, painters, plumbers, electricians and carpenters busy rebuilding parts or all of the houses.
The scorching hot sun and blinding light is gimme with tiny windows and thick shutters so daylight hardly ever enters the homes. Plants and bushes spring up if a garden is neglected for a month. No Finn would enjoy the claustrophobic prison-like cells they call home – especially when the asking prices are over €1 million and €2 million for a modest relic of a building…

It appears that only the very rich can afford or expect the builders to renovate or build something that will last longer than 5 to 10 years. The work is too shady for the likes of a proud Nordic house owner.

… and then the other big thing that you cannot fail to notice is that every bar, cafe, restaurant, shop, supermarket, and hotel are filled to the brim with low cost young foreigners in Australia on one year work visas. This is a grand investment for Australia because they can operate this huge service business without using up all of the for own young people and expand with higher profits. The young foreigners also enjoy the relative freedom of a laid-back Australia with some money in their pockets and with the curfews set by their parents. The biggest drawback is that service quality, like the building business is of low quality because most of them have not not received professional training… so it is all rather easy going, “we almost get it right” attitude which is a far cry from what we have in, well, the Nordics…

Still if you don’t mind the thin walls, single pane windows and the extra noise of heavy traffic and  contraction workers, the taps that work and don’t work, the scruffy carpets tiled floors, the tables wipe with dirty clothes and the sometimes slow, slow service, with sorry is this your order? questions, then Australia is for you…

It’s big, it’s lovely, but there is so much more they could do if they really ever thought that it was necessary…

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