Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Is Turnbull out of touch?

I curse the day that I moved out of Malcolm Turnbull's electorate. It would be fun to have a totally loaded guy as your MP (I got a bit dyslexic when I typed that and actually typed "PM" to start with).

The SMH attacked him today with an article accusing him of being out of touch regarding petrol price increases. After reading it, my first thought was that the journalist who wrote it does not live in the east, and has possibly never visited the eastern suburbs. They probably live is some sinkhole the wrong side of Parramatta and a Labor apparachik as their member.

I thought Turnbull was spot on - after all, all he said was "soaring petrol prices were not a talking point with his constituents". My guess is that he is right on the button with his electorate.

Consider the following thoughts:

Bondi Junction is about 5 kms from the Sydney CBD. Many of his constituents probably work in the CBD, and many probably catch the excellent train into work. Buying petrol to commute is not something they do. They are not commuting 50km in each direction from outer woop-woop to greater smogville each day. Even if they do, they are only using 1/10th of the petrol that an outer suburban fringe dweller will be using.

The eastern suburbs is one of the wealthiest parts of Australia. It is the home of the 5 series BMW and the bg fuck-off Mercedes and the Range Rover. In that part of the world, poor people drive the 3 series BMW and downmarket Land Rovers. If I have just spent $170,000 on a car, the last thing I am going to be worried about is the price of petrol, even if it only does 15 litres per 100 km in country cycle.

Think about the depreciation on a $170,000 car. What is it worth after 3 years? Maybe $70,000? So you are burning at least $30,000 per year in depreciation, or $600 per week. Given that the average fuel bill for Sydney families is $235 a week, are you really going to care if your fuel bill goes from $235 a week to $300 when you are blowing double that in depreciation?
Nah, I think not.

You've got to remember that a lot of people in his electorate probably spend on flowers for the house each week what we spend on topping up the tank.

Would you really care about petrol if you are spending $1,000 a week on rent, as opposed to say $200 at Blacktown?


Like he said, petrol costs are not a big talking point. The only time his constituents would use a lot of juice is when they are driving down to their chalet at the snow.

As usual, it would be nice if the SMH bothered to actually just report the news instead of trying to comment on it all the time.

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