Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Tue 14 Aug 2012



The Northern Territory news Tue 14 Aug 2012

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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10 NT NEWS. Tuesday, August 14, 2012. www.ntnews.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 1 4 -A U G -2 0 1 2 P A G E : 1 0 C O L O R : C M Y K Myglasswas full but now theres only half As soaring unemployment rates in Greece result in angry protests on the streets, Andrew Bolt questions whether Australia is doing as well as were led to believe Once unemployment above 3 per cent was bad news. Now were to cheer 5.2 per cent WERE told we shouldnt feel so edgy. Workers shouldnt feel this anxious, with loyalty meaning nothing and every spare dollar saved. The experts scoff: Smile and be grateful. Oh, really? Maybe Im a trouble mag net, but News Limited, publisher of this newspaper, has been shedding jobs. And on Friday, I dropped in at Fairfaxs The Age building. It was far worse. Analysts now give that paper maybe three years. At Channel 10, where I film my show, weve just said goodbye to more staff, with The Circle canned. In the factories, this is old hat. Ask the car workers. Ask even the staff of Qantas that most Australian business who are now feeling more insecure. But last week we read our unemployment rate is just 5.2 per cent and the rest of the world should be this lucky. The envy of the industrialised world, boasted Employment Minister Bill Shorten. And hes right. We want to be Greece in stead? Even the US has a jobless rate twice ours. So why dont we feel lucky? Why are we carrying on as if every day at work could be our last? Heres me, holding down three jobs for fear of losing two. The anxiety is obvious. A Nielsen poll last month found two in three Australians have slashed spending, knowing that rainy day could be tomorrow. Theyre ordering less takeaway, switching off the power, buying cheaper brands at the supermarket. For 20 years, we spent faster than we saved, but for the past five weve been squirrelling away dollars faster than ever. Some business leaders warn weve now talked ourselves into a funk, and spend too little to keep things buzzing. Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens even gives cheer-up speeches with titles such as Glass Half Full. I shouldnt argue with the governor, whose forehead bulges with statistics, while Im a financial klutz. But if my glass is half full, five years ago it seemed brimming. Then something went snap, and not just the global financial crisis. Many Australians may still have their jobs, but no longer have the savings theyd counted on to keep them from a retirement of baked beans. The value of their home has, on average, dropped by between 5 and 10 per cent. As for their super, the median share fund lost 6.9 per cent last financial year alone. Sure, we had it unnaturally easy for a long while, watching our homes make us rich. That doesnt lessen the shock of the loss. People who dreamed of retiring at 65 now wonder what work they might still get at 70. And weve lost confidence in the experts who keep telling us to relax. If they know their stuff, why do budget deficits turn out worse than promised? Or look at the mining boom, slowing faster than predicted. Should we really trust this envy of the world unemployment rate, either? Once unemployment above 3 per cent was bad news. Now were to cheer 5.2 per cent even after hiding 700,000 Australians on disability pensions, and not counting people whove stopped looking for work? Pollster Gary Morgan thinks measured properly, 9.7 per cent of workers, or 1.2 million people, are actually unemployed and another 940,000 would work more if only they could. Even that still doesnt fully describe the new insecurity. Its true, as economist Bruce Chapman found, that on average 372,000 jobless people in one month find a job the next. But its also true that over that same month, almost as many people in work suddenly arent. The job churn is incredible. With nest eggs smashed, jobs scarce, experts discredited and wobbles overseas, well, who wouldnt be a little nervous? Add the political symbol of a world slipping beyond our control a government imposing taxes it promised not to, dominated by a green party you didnt vote for while croaking slogans you cant believe. No wonder so many of us feel we are not in this together, but isolated. A fresh election and a keep-its-word government should help. So would more straight dealing all round. Until then, our glass might be half full, but the cream is gone, and whats left seems to be curdling. Mental fitness iswhat gives athletes the edge THE London Olympics proves that the next breakthrough needed to turn athletes into champions lies in rearranging whats between their ears. Yes, train hard, eat right and sleep well. But the critical missing piece? Making athletes compete like they were standing on their own soil. Competing at home gives Olympic athletes an astonishing advantage, proving how much champions rely on mental attitude and physical ability. For instance, Great Britain ends these Games in third position on the medals table, behind only the United States and China. Thats its best ranking since the London Games in 1908, although Britain did also come third in 1912 and 1920, when the Olympics were largely for Europeans and their former colonies. The home-town advantage is obvious. In Beijing, China came first, its best-ever result. In Athens in 2004, Greece came 15th, its best result since its 14th placing in St Louis in 1904. In Sydney in 2000, Australia came fourth (as it did in Athens four years later), its best result since its third in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. The US dominated in Atlanta in 1996. Several obvious factors help explain the success of home teams. The athletes are used to the conditions, and host nations tend to spend plenty to make sure they shine in the expensive showpiece for which their fellow citizens paid a fortune. But theres also no doubt competing in front of home crowds puts wind in the sails. The roar from the stadium is adrenalin. The love is an energy drink. This wouldnt be news to football clubs. Every AFL team has won more home than away games. For Geelong, the margin is huge 708 home wins to just 464 away. For Collingwood, its 780 to 601. Its more proof that while we flatter ourselves that were rational, were still social animals who feel stronger in a pack and fight hardest near our dens. But this is no more than our minds influencing our performance. If we can train a sportsmans mind to react to an away crowd as it does a home one gold. This isnt the only evidence that we should turn to psychologists more often. Weve already heard our athletes in London explaining failures by talking of nerves, inability to sleep and feeling overawed. The mind matters. Time we trained it.

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