Dick Smith has come into his own
Dick Smith was undoubtedly the most popular man in Australia. As a successful businessman he was known for his sense of humor and the comic stunts he did to publicise his electronics business. From Wikipedia:
"Smith has also attempted a number of well-publicised practical jokes, including the April Fool's Day attempt to tow a purported iceberg from Antarctica into Sydney Harbour in 1978, a new source of fresh water. Smith appeared in several TV ads on a pogo stick, promoting his business. In the early 1980s, Dick Smith served as the conductor aboard a London double decker bus which jumped 15 motorcycles. The bus, driven by Hans Tholstrup, was a humorous poke at Evel Knievel, who had visited Australia in 1979 and jumped his motorcycle over buses. Dick Smith's presence on the bus was a last-minute decision by himself."
Additionally, he was often ready with a cheque for people in the news who had fallen on hard times. He was a genuine philanthropist -- and still is. When he speaks publicly it is news.
When a few years ago he sold his business to Woolworths for a large sum, his focus changed somewhat. He had always been a keen patriot -- something else that tended to endear him -- and he now set about doing something about it. Like Trump, he deplored the way Australian businesses were being shut down by cheap inports from China and elsewhere.
Unlike Trump, he can't impose tariffs but he could try to persuade people to "Buy Australian". And he did. And to encourage that process, he set up a retail business that exclusively stocked Australian products. It had some success but struggled. Dick turned his business brain to the project, however, and came up with various ways of making sales.
Dick advertises his new sandwich spread on his hat
One of his inspirations was to sell "hampers" of Australian-made food products -- jams, sauces etc. The hampers included quite a lot of different products and came in a nice wooden box with a latch. I bought one to give to Jenny on her birthday a few years back. It cost me a bit but it was worth it to see Jenny's glee in getting it.
Eventually, however, most of the business faded away, though I see that Dick has persuaded Woolworths to stock a few of the products he sponsors. They are dearer than competing lines but the Dick Smith name on them is prestgious and generates some sales. I suspect that Woolworths stocks them mainly as good PR.
So when Dick saw the problems Australia was having with its high level of imigration, Dick spoke out -- pleading for a pause while Australia built the new roads and houses that had become necessary. He was ignored. Some Leftists even called him a racist.
But he was proved right. In the absence of much new housing, the price of existing housing stormed up to levels similar to London and Manhattan. It was a disaster for young Australian couples wanting to get into their own first homes.
Do Dick lost a lot of love over his opposition to high levels of immigration. For the first time, some people were saying bad things about him. He was of course greatly hurt to be condemned for trying to help his beloved country to get off an unsustainable path.
Quite recently, however, the excreta has hit the rotating device and former PM Tony Abbott made a speech or two along the same lines that Dick had taken. He stressed the housing shortage, the traffic congestion and the overstretched public hospitals that the immigration surge has brought about. The authorities have actually been very diligent in buiding new roads, traffic tunnels and bridges but finding room for such things in already crowded cities was not easy so the traffic jams have lengthened.
And guess what? Mr Abbott was called an racist too. But that seems to have been the last hurrah from the abusive Left. Even the Leftist ABC recently aired a big program pointing out the difficulties that immigration has caused. And there have been other voices raised that no longer get condemned as racist.
So Dick has been exonerated. His warnings are now widely accepted as wise and in need of action. We may not see much action immediately but there is now a pretty good consensus over the need for action.
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