The Pickering Post
Wednesday, 19th December 2018

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Sam Trethewey

Sam Trethewey is a third generation Victoria farmer. He's an opinionated writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media and commentates nationally on Australian agriculture.


THE frenzy of knee-jerk tantrums and narrow views some Australians have shown in response to this year’s federal budget highlights a few issues.

Scott Pape, the impressively politically independent ‘Barefoot Investor’ put it beautifully in his post-budget review: “We’ve been conditioned to look at the budget the same way a nine-year-old looks at presents under a Christmas tree — what’ve you got for me? And for far too long far too many politicians have behaved like they're Santa Claus”.

The economic situation we face today is similar to 1996, where a new Liberal government was met with an unexpected mound of debt due to years of previous treasurers not rolling up their sleeves at budget time. The response was similar then, with waning polls and much unrest among Australian voters. But this time it’s worse. Why?

Aside from huge rises in the number of Australians on welfare and snowballing sentiments on social media, the Australian culture has also changed. It seems to be eaten away by people shunning personal responsibility, accountability and newly stained by narcissism.

Last week I listened to ‘All In The Mind’ on ABC’s Radio National. One of the guests was Dr Jean Twenge, professor of Psychology at San Diego State University. For 35 minutes she discussed her new book, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement.

Coincidentally, the next day I watched Treasurer Joe “the age of entitlement is over” Hockey front up to a foolhardy audience on ABC TV’s Q and A, that seemed to feel well informed enough to ask probing questions of the Federal Treasurer on national TV after reading dot-points on the budget in the local paper.

Looking around, and according to Jean Twenge, unfortunately for this government, they may be battling a new culture. And along with the tyranny of political correctness that cripples progression in western society, it’ll be near impossible to manage this one.

Getting a part self-obsessed culture to look past their own prejudiced opinions enough to consider something bigger than themselves is a gutsy move.

Dr Twenge has tapped into the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) that was documented in 1988, and has since combed through 15,000 tests from students between 1982 and 2006 and done numerous studies and papers on narcissism.

Aside from the NPI, they’ve assessed a wide range of key indicators, from changes in baby names to make kids stand out, through to the language used in books from 1960 to 2008. Apparently, we’re using "I, me and mine", a lot more than "we, us and team". Values on materialism and vanity have risen dramatically and we’re prone to more shallow and dysfunctional relationships.

Dr Twenge also blows apart the fallacy that self-esteem is necessary for good grades at school or even success. She claims that by trying to boost children’s self-esteem, we’re breeding a generation that think they’re special, and when confronted with a world that doesn’t think they are, they can spiral into feeling lost and confused. The sugar coated conditioning painfully erodes as reality in later years sets in. Unsurprisingly, Dr Twenge has then dealt with studies that show a correlation between spikes in narcissism and rises in depression and anxiety.

On Facebook last week, I saw people protest and attack with poor and misinformed arguments. Nothing new there, but I was repeatedly fired upon after commenting on Sydney Morning Herald posts simply for being a farmer, who apparently gets handouts and government assistance all the time; they couldn’t be further from the truth. It reminded me of spoilt little children after a treasure hunt, elbows out, hoarding their goodies and peeking either side to see if someone got something they didn’t.

At home on the farm, aside from a diesel fuel rebate, we get nothing else. And the diesel fuel rebate is simply a refund of the ‘road tax’ component per litre of fuel as we don’t use our machinery on the roads. Other industries get a similar deal.

A combined effort is required by media and voters to be more informed on the big picture not forgetting the long-term. How else will we achieve national economic resilience and feed the wave of new pensioners soon coming in for a feed?


You and I know this Larry at our age - young society are full of themselves, gimee gimee - no idea whatsoever - everyone wants a freebie - and Rudd and Gillard certainly gave them that! Hawke did in his time too - oh, go out girls have as many children as you like - we will give you single mothers' welfare - labor continually wreck the economy, society and the country - and yes like Costello our now treasurer is trying to fill up the leaks - whilst labor abuse abuse and abuse - Abbott and Hockey have some real tough times ahead - naturally they won't be thanked for it by the 43% labor voters - because the only thing they understand is gimee gimee gimee!!!!

I have been watching a film on the Argentine economic crisis. One of the causes is political self serving and buying votes with public money. Laying everything on for voters ensures poverty for all int he future. The people need re-educating into a reality. Australians are becoming an embarassment in their clamour for handouts.

So true.

OMG. Are people really going to be required to gradually pay off their minimal interest student loans, once they are earning?? How mean minded Hockey. And dole recipients may be required to work a bit? Mean again. Surely everyone deserves everything for nothing -after all, "the government can pay"!

All I want under my Christmas tree is lower excise on fuel and deportation of all Muslims !

Great article. Keep up the good work :)

What can anyone expect from extremists? Poofters, feminists and little girls, all are absolutists and these wired extreme Uni retards are asking us to pay for their riots? No bloody way it is better to ignore them, give them no consideration or time until they earn it.

Having only recently returned to this great site, I have observed a tendency of a garrulous/uninformed few subscribers to target a persistent fellow scribe who, obviously, feels passionately about his factual/historical (but still pertinent) topic. Australia is not unique in its’ displays of political naivety reacting quite viciously to any suggestion of criticism (illegitimacy) attaching to their ‘constricted comfort zones’.
Arguably. Bruce Rugby would be of a mould of ‘sterner stuff’ to suffer and survive the tirade of tenuous trash based - in the main- on pernicious puerile prejudice.
Surely, these weekly-one-liners not only do themselves an injustice – but also their suffering readership?

Many thanks, Sam, for a great article...I just hope the Abbott government and all honest, working Aussies will be able to turn this sad situation around. The loafers are in for a shock and so be it. The Age of Entitlement is Over. Good Luck to you and the family.

Thank-you again Mr Sam Trethewey , for the topic generated .I wish you well genuinely in your career options, and livliehood :)).

I don't expect anything from a budget on a personal basis, and I don't read, watch anything to do with the ABC! The sooner we sell the ABC the better! The screaming, foot stamping brigade from the Uni's and Unions should be condemned as your typical loser lot! Not worth listening to!


Hey Larry, this guy is great. Very interested to read more of his thoughts.

Excellent article Sam. It's a pity a few of these so called "special" university students stood up and decried their rabble counterparts for a start. Then they can get out and try working for a living like most of us do. Thanks again for a great article and " keep the farm fires burning".

Something I received in an email well worth the read.

Ahh it's just amazing, the noise coming from all those sectors who have been so fortunate for so many years, Ahh the favours paid, Free money as much as you can spend. Empire builders, connections to unions and schools and science research. Arts grants......fake pension freeloaders and their equally fake carers ( of course not the legit people so don't bother whining ) Oh...look how important our needs are, how will we survive.....where is my free lunch going to come from?
Well. the way the Labor liars are all behaving in parliament lately I can only say CONGRATULATIONS to the Abbott Government for rattling these freeloaders comfy little bludge caves and showing us who the noisiest ones are. Great work and keep it up !
Most small business owners right across this country know they could never get what is freely handed to all these people. During the hardest of times of the last six years with no work coming in, no pay and a shitload of bills, I inquired about assistance, The audacity of me…….well really, I would have to close the business and show all receipts to show how bad it was. SO , rather that an assistance in keeping a business going, I was encouraged to close it as proof of it not being productive…….Gladly, since about August 2013, the turnaround and business confidence if remarkable.
Labor, stay the hell away from the controls, you are the problem, you are the vandals, the takers and the wasters. Yes, harden up Australia

Bloody spell checker...every time I try to type Gillard, it changes it to Bollard....maybe it knows something we don't terrestre.

Good article, Sam, people need to realize what a catastrophe it will be when we no longer have Aussie farmers. Hang in there mate!

Sam, this is good stuff and should be read by everybody! But! How can you get this stuff into the mainstream press and media generally. Good luck.