Australia launched a new set of postage stamps last week, one of them featuring the rural fly spot I now regard as home. I’ve no idea of the actual population of Mia Mia, or neighbouring Redesdale in Victoria. The census lumps them together and they still don’t reach the base reporting number of 300 souls. But fascinating souls if the district can warrant a postage stamp.
The stamp set celebrates a century of flight in Australia, and in 1910 the local Duigan Brothers flew the first plane designed and built in this country. Harry Houdini actually beat them in the first flight stakes, but in a plane he brought here from France. He also left it here, having had his fill of barnstorming.
So one hundred years on another aviation story nocked the history right out of the headlines – THE massive Joint Strike Fighter project is going to be delayed and cost more, the US Deputy Secretary of Defence Bill Lynn says. The relevance is that Australia plans eventually to purchase 100 of the fifth-generation stealth warplanes at a cost of about $16 billion.
With healthcare also on the agenda in Australia and the USA the cost for these toys raises to an estimated $US112 per unit some interesting questions arise. For a start, if it is suggested our countries can afford hundreds of these obscene machines of destruction why is it so difficult to contemplate provision of effective universal health care?
These unrelated concepts tend to coalesce in a mind almost devoid of human engagement, with sheep, kangaroos and cockatoos sort of un-numbering people here by a wide margin. Perhaps the policy makers know something beyond my understanding.