How Big is Australia Really?

I’m proud to be an Australian but love the country of Ethiopia where I worked for many years. Maybe wrongly, but I have often thought that many people think of Ethiopia as a small insignificant African country. And, possibly again wrongly, I have felt that some Australian professional people have felt themselves superior to those working in these ‘backward countries’. I guess this sort of thinking sprang into my mind again when I was watching an Indian movie last night. How can India produce films as good as Hollywood? Well the one I watched last night was better (different) than many I see from the USA. Maybe because they have 1.4 billion people from whom to choose good actors? But let’s not go too far down that road.

Ethiopia is a small African country. It is about sixty percent of the size of Queensland, or about 4 times as big as Victoria. It has a population four times that of Australia. If you want to compare its history with Australia’s, it is much older. Well, if we accept ‘Lucy’ as being one of the first human being, then it is older than our Original Australian’s history, and much much older than white Australia. Their ruling dynasty which ended with the murder of Haile Selassie in 1975 dated back to the time of King Solomon in Israel. Solomon died over 3,000 years ago. Then why is it backward? I would offend Ethiopians by asking that for they are very, and in many ways justifiably, proud of their country and people. Certainly they are progressing much more rapidly than the West did!

It has spectacular beauty; said to have massive gold and oil deposits; heights extend from 125 metres below sea level to 4,550 metres; there are enough rivers that all its electricity is hydro-produced.

But I really started to write about tertiary education. In 1968 when we arrived in Addis there was one University with 1,000 students. Now there are 30 Universities plus 61 other recognized private places with Higher Education standards.

According to my Mr Google – our University in North Queensland (JCU) has 17,500 students. Of the two Universities, where I mainly taught, Jimma University has 45,000, and Arba Mintch has 34,000. When we went to Ethiopia there were 300 doctors in Ethiopia and only 13 were Ethiopians. When I went to Arba Mintch in 2011 there were there 20 medical students per year, and when I left in 2016 there were 170+/year. In that same year, country wide, they graduated 3,000 young doctors. They are paid so little that many as soon as the government permits them they leave the country for richer paying fields – often to other African countries.

The last graduation I attended for doctor, architecture and Urban Planning graduates.

Maybe life was never meant to be fair, but a little more fairness would be nice.

Dominic Cartier

5 thoughts on “How Big is Australia Really?

  1. Two points Dominic what element of unfairness are you referring to. Is it only the low rate of pay because that’s what it seems you are talking about. Secondly Using the word Murder is problematic. Some bloke in a back alley or a husband murdering his wife is one thing. But actual institutional murder by a political regime is something else.

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    1. Haile Selassie was murdered by a pillow being held pressed over his head, so that he couldn’t breathe until he was dead. Owned up to in a court of law, and I call that murder. He had already been removed from from office and the Scottish doctor who had examined him the day before and refused. to sign the death certificate was also murdered. The life is isn’t meant to be easy was thought to be a bit catchy but certainly extends far beyond money. You have been there and seen how the common man lives. It is a big question but I think you basically have a good idea of what I mean.

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  2. I think it helps to go outside Australia or even our state to help us get a world view. Where I live there are some people who have never, and I mean never, even been to their own capital city. Some no more than 100 kilometres/ miles from their home. That is fine and it is as it is but I think if we are going to make comments about much of life we need to make reasoned comments. Then again some of these ‘stay at home folk’ have more common sense and understanding of things than degree -ed non thinkers.
    Also some world travelled tourists don’t ‘see’.
    So have I contradicted myself?
    In many ways Australia is small and for many insignificant, but I still love it. Your comparisons are thought provoking and need to be.

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  3. I think it helps to go outside Australia or even our state to help get a world view. Where I live there are some people who have never , and I mean never, even been to their own capital city. Some no more than 100 kilometres/ miles from their home. That is fine and it is as it is but I think if we are going to make comments about much of life we need to make reasoned comments. Then again some of these ‘stay at home folk’ have more common sense and understanding of things than degree -ed non thinkers.
    But then again some tourists don’t ‘see’.
    In many ways Australia is small and for many insignificant, but I still love it. Your comparisons are thought provoking and need to be.

    Like

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