I worked as a teacher in the UK and emigrated to Australia in 2010 luckily without the need for a visa. I was relieved to leave the UK after the disastrous years of Blair and Brown. Like many people I felt appalled at the growing levels of violence, poverty and corruption in the UK. The biggest shock was the higher cost of living in Australia especially the prices in supermarkets for basic foodstuffs. I was also amazed at the cost of fruit and vegetables in a country famous for agriculture and dairy farming. When Cyclone Yasi destroyed the banana crop in Queensland there was no attempt by the country to import bananas to avoid sky rocketing prices. House prices and rents are much, much higher in Australia. When I arrived in 2010, the cost of housing in a country many times larger than the UK led me to conclude that market manipulation through the deliberate refusal to build new homes was artifically inflating prices. Just as with the UK, the quality of education children enjoy over here is linked to location with the poorer suburbs generating the same type of white, unemployable youth as any UK city. Pay and conditions for teachers have not kept up with medicine, law and engineering. Few teachers I know under 40 own their own home. The private school sector is much bigger in Australia but there is a bias towards hiring cheap, overseas (Indian mostly) teachers on short-term contracts. The health service over here is not as good as some NHS services and you will wait a very long time for an operation in a state hospital. What does the future hold for Australia? From reading the media here, most Australians now accept that the economic boom has ended and are anxiously repaying debts. House prices are falling and unemployment rising. Negative equity has now reached 6.4% in some areas of the housing market up from 4.9% in just three months, It appears that the Eastern seabord cities are experiencing rapid economic decline.