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Monday message board

July 25th, 2005

As usual on Monday, you are invited to post your thoughts on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language, please.

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  1. Homer Paxton
    July 25th, 2005 at 09:33 | #1

    Guus Hiiddick is the Australian coach.
    I am encouragedby the fact of his attitude.
    It seems to me he has watched the Socceroos and seen the defensive lapses and knows how to fix them.

    It makes no sense otherwise why he would do the job.

    He has more technical expertise than I so if he can do that all praise to him.
    A well organised defence would make Australia a very strong team indeed.

  2. Terje
    July 25th, 2005 at 12:52 | #2

    TURNBULL DISCOVERS LAFFER.

    http://seven.com.au/news/nationalnews/95364

    EXTRACT:-

    ——————–

    If you were to lower the top marginal rate to 40 per cent … on my calculations in 2006 and 2007 the most that would impact on the federal budget would be by a little bit less than $2 billion,” Mr Turnbull told ABC TV.

    “Given the dynamic nature of the economy and other reforms you could make, you could say that could be done in a revenue-neutral way.

    “That is because only a very small percentage of people are paying tax at those higher rates now.”

    Mr Turnbull said most commentators agreed with the idea of broadening the tax base, giving fewer concessions for work-related expenses and depreciation and lowering tax rates.

    “I believe further substantial tax reform is financially affordable … you don’t have to cut expenditure to fund it,” Mr Turnbull said.

    ——————–

    I can’t recall any time that the Australian government sector as a whole saw a decline in general tax revenue following a tax rate cut. Perhaps others can enlighten me.

  3. Paul Norton
    July 25th, 2005 at 14:14 | #3

    I could be asking for trouble here, but here goes.

    I noticed the following comment in an article by Elizabeth Meryment in the Weekend Australian:

    “After I wrote recently. . . about the loss of relevance of feminism among young women, many people contacted me to express their views on this subject. They, too, had noticed a decline of feminist ideals among the young and had likewise observed that many girls in their teens, and young women in their 20s, were not only ignorant about what feminism had done for them, they actively despised feminism, equating it almost solely with man-hating… Many correspondents – mainly women – agree that the decline in feminism among the young is translating into greater sexism in society in which young women don’t even know when sexual discrimination is being perpetrated against them. . .”.

    This is a typical sample of a recurring theme in current commentary by older feminists about the attitudes of younger women towards feminism, with the young women being cast as not only historically amnesiac but as incapable of recognising what their own best interests are and when they are being oppressed, and therefore badly in need of having true feminist consciousness brought to them from without by condescending forty-something (or older) feminists who know how things really are. In other words, “Why don’t the silly little bitches realise that they’re structurally oppressed and that we’re better judges of their existential reality than they are???!!!”

    I would like to offer an alternative interpretation, as follows:

    1. Young women are the best judges of their own existential reality – certainly better than men of any age group and women of older generations.

    2. Young women from upper class, middle class and well-off working class families in the cities and suburbs of the contemporary Anglosphere are the freest and most prosperous group of women in history (with the possible exception of their Scandinavian sisters), and for that matter are freer and more prosperous than most men alive today or who have ever lived.

    3. Accordingly, if their judgement of their existential reality is that gender inequality or discrimination is not something which is seriously limiting their life-chances or their well-being, this may be because this is actually the case (or is near enough to being the case).

    The political consequence of this line of reasoning is that a feminist message which tells young women in the demographic referred to (Australian, urban and not poor, and in the final years of school, at University and/or in the workforce) that the world is a sad and wicked place for them, and that they are always already as structurally oppressed as any women have ever been, will be hilariously dissonant with the lived experiences of these young women. Accordingly the energy currently squandered on trying to “educate” them about how miserable they really are would be better spent on drawing their attention to the predicaments of millions of women who **really are** miserable because they are on the rough end of the intersection of gender oppression and the oppressions of class, race and/or the North-South divide.

    Now, don’t shoot the messenger. . .

  4. Terje
    July 25th, 2005 at 18:26 | #4

    Anybody notice the tax debate happening in New Zealand?

  5. joe2
    July 26th, 2005 at 20:17 | #5

    Paul,
    You are a naughty little messenger and Greer is after your balls.

    Lie back and enjoy!

  6. Paul Norton
    July 27th, 2005 at 09:50 | #6

    In my private capacity as a road-going cyclist, and my professional capacity as an environmental science graduate and environmental policy academic, I’m concerned at some of the well-meaning but misguided responses to the accident in Germany in which Amy Gillett lost her life.

    Firstly, strange as this may sound, whilst the accident did involve cyclists, there isn’t really a “cycling safety� issue involved. From what we can discern from the media, the cause of the accident (Stefanie Magner losing control of her car at high speed) had nothing to do with any of the specific problems which arise in cyclist-motorist interaction. It was simply coincidental that cyclists, rather than other road users, were in harm’s way at the time. Also, considering that Magner’s car was hurtling along at over 100kmh, would Amy Gillett have survived had she been driving a motor vehicle at or near the 100kmh speed limit, rather than cycling? Certainly not if she’d been on a motorbike, and almost certainly not if she’d been driving a sedan. In the latter case we would quite probably have seen reports of a German woman and several Australians being killed in a high speed head-on car crash.

    Despite this, the op-ed columns and letters pages have been full of calls for various measures to improve cycling safety, mostly linked to the tragedy in Germany. Nothing wrong with this in itself, except that such calls have been accompanied by the revival of various pernicious myths, namely that cycling is an inherently very risky form of transport, that the relationship between cyclists and motorists is a permanent state of war, and that the best response to the problem is the creation of networks of off-road cycleways so that cyclists can be shepherded off the existing road network, which is “always already� very dangerous for cyclists. Some of this nonsense has even come from cyclists and from people claiming to speak for cyclists.

    The myths about the high risk of injury or death to cyclists have already been addressed on this thread, both in Phil’s opening post and in several comments including earlier ones by myself. I can experientially also assure people that, at least in Brisbane, on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, the far north coast of NSW and the New England region, cyclists and motorists generally coexist peacefully save for a very small and quite unrepresentative minority of rude fools on both sides. It has also seemed to be that way in Sydney when I have ridden to or in that city.

    As for the revival of “commuter apartheid� as a cycling policy, see the Letters by Michael McGrath in today’s Sydney Morning Herald at http://www.smh.com.au/letters/index.html. The problem with such calls are that:

    (a) they threaten my right, and that of all other competent adult cyclists, to equal freedom of access to the road transport system;

    (b) it is impractical and environmentally undesirable to create an entire network of off-road cycleways in parallel with the existing road system – already, far too much land in Australian cities is covered by paved surfaces;

    © the practical consequence of such calls is that policymakers act on the bit about pushing cyclists off roads but not on the bit about constructing alternative facilities – three years after Peter Beattie promised an off-road bikeway from Nerang to Brisbane as compensation for banning cycling on the Pacific Motorway, construction has yet to begin;

    (d) from an environmental perspective, what is needed is a policy of redistributing the existing road space in Australian cities away from single occupant motorists in favour of more energy-efficient and less polluting forms of transport, i.e. more on-road cycling rather than less.

    Finally, these discourses of cycling-advocacy-as-victimology have the effect of discouraging people from taking up cycling as a commuter option – exactly the opposite of what self-described cycling advocates should be trying to achieve.

  7. Paul Norton
    July 27th, 2005 at 09:57 | #7

    I wrote:

    “The myths about the high risk of injury or death to cyclists have already been addressed on this thread, both in Phil’s opening post and in several comments including earlier ones by myself.”

    Oops!

    The thread referred to is actually on Mark Bahnisch’s blog, to whit:

    http://larvatusprodeo.redrag.net/2005/07/23/cycling-terrorist-bombings-and-risk

    For those who can’t be bothered following the link, it began with a post which mentioned the actuarial reality that the risk of suffering a fatal cycling accident in London is very low. I responded by pointing out that I had come to the same conclusion about cycling in Queensland and NSW, i.e. that my chances of a fatal prang whilst cycling from Brisbane to the NSW border were the same as my odds of winning Lotto, and that when the 4 day reduction in my life expectancy from the risk of cycling accidents was set against the health and fitness benefits of cycling, I was achieving a significant net increase in my life expectancy. I also commented that policies of excluding cyclists from freeways have the opposite effect to that intended, as the alternative routes which cyclists are forced onto are often much more dangerous than the freeways. Finally, I posted the comment which I have cut and pasted, without sub-editing, here.

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