Home > Regular Features > Weekend reflections

Weekend reflections

November 19th, 2005

Weekend Reflections is on again. Please comment on any topic of interest (civilised discussion and no coarse language, please). Feel free to put in contributions more lengthy than for the Monday Message Board or standard comments.

Categories: Regular Features Tags:
  1. November 19th, 2005 at 15:37 | #1

    A starter. Today our P.M. announced a substantial fund for our neighbours to fight off a possible bird flu pandemic. So far, this disease has not been passed on from one person to another. Deaths, so far, have been attributed to close contact with birdlife. Possibly, more people have been killed in Iraq over the last month than with this daily reported concern.
    In short, is it a beat up with a windfall to drug companies or time to take a jab?

  2. Terje Petersen
    November 19th, 2005 at 15:45 | #2

    I think a jab might make sence after the thing mutates. In the mean time your odds of catching it from bird life in Australia would seem remote unless you work in the poultry industry.

  3. Terje Petersen
    November 19th, 2005 at 15:46 | #3

    Wasn’t Costello going to punish NSW and WA by now for refusing to cut state taxes. What every happened to all that?

  4. November 19th, 2005 at 16:47 | #4

    Terje,the new reality is State Premiers are acting as a quasi-Senate. A lot of horse trading on many issues, including anti-terrorism and I.R. law. Maybe, Costello , has taken the whip to Tony.

  5. Dave Ricardo
    November 19th, 2005 at 19:19 | #5

    Costello is all talk. He never follows up on anything.

    The contrast with Tony Abbott, not to mention John Howard, is marked, and has not gone unnoticed by his Liberal collleagues.

  6. November 19th, 2005 at 22:10 | #6

    For anyone who feels the urge, emailing a message here should convert it to a fax to the people in charge of executions in Singapore. I have not tested this, but I believe the number to be correct and current.

    Unless something blocks this access, it will provide a free (advertising supported) email to fax service from “The Phone Company”.

  7. November 19th, 2005 at 22:13 | #7

    So much for links! The first link I gave was supposed to go here: mailto:remote-printer.Concerning_Nguyen_Tuong_Van/Changi_Jail/[email protected] (the service comes from http://www.tpc.int).

  8. Steve Munn
    November 19th, 2005 at 22:42 | #8

    PrQ, what are your thoughts on Melbourne University’s proposal to make it mandatory for future students to complete an undergraduate degree before specialising in fields like medicine and law?

  9. November 19th, 2005 at 22:51 | #9

    We should fax to Singapore telling them to keep up the good work? Excellent idea, thanks PM Lawrence, will see that Singapore is deluged with “good onya” messages!

  10. Jill Rush
    November 19th, 2005 at 23:15 | #10

    To legislate to achieve a very different IR structure to that devised by the Founding fathers and to dismantle 100 years of IR practice is revolutionary.

    Parliament is allowed little time to scrutinise the legislation prior to it becoming law – with long lasting implications for the wealth of the men and women of Australia. Whilst it sounds very good one of the things that was not written into the constitution was that we would become a Dog eat Dog society where the fabric of the nation is rent by the new value of Greed and **** you Jack..

    That the revolution is endorsed by so many Liberals show that the neo cons is not an abbreviation for new conservative but new conmen ( and less often conwomen).

  11. November 19th, 2005 at 23:50 | #11

    In the matter of hanging I can see various general and various specific circumstances pushing every which way. But if nothing else my overall preference is always to try to engineer out necessity even while facing it.

    So, in this area, I would recommend – in an Olympian fashion – that a moratorium be put on capital punishment except in cases of exigent necessity, all the while trying to get rid of general needs for it. But I wouldn’t hammer on about clemency or bully about world opinion.

    For what it’s worth, Montaigne said a lot about the pointlessness of capital punishment as a method of maintaining respect for law and order.

    What’s more, we know a very effective method that is thoroughly unjust: human sacrifice. That is, have a panel select a standard number of people to be hanged each year. Then people compete with each other not to be on the list rather than to avoid certain offences.

    That was not advocacy, just describing the kind of world realism makes for us all. And that was not a hypothetical either – we know about societies that had human sacrifice, even in Europe. We just don’t like to think about it. (BTW, professional army conscription worked much the same way in the 18th century.)

  12. Terje Petersen
    November 20th, 2005 at 06:26 | #12

    I can see some logic and arguable justice in capital punishment for crimes like pre-meditated murder. However hanging people for trade violations is beyond what I think is reasonable.

  13. conrad
    November 20th, 2005 at 07:06 | #13

    What logic is there to using captial punishment for people who have committed pre-meditate murder Terje, apart from the satisfaction people might get as revenge ? As far as I was aware, capital punishment has next to no effect on reducing violent crime.

    Alterntatively, if you have ultra-authoritarian laws against drugs and actually enforce them (like Singapore & Malaysia), then in smaller countries where you might actually be able to do this, it appears that you can get illicit drug usage down to comparitively low levels — although why people actually care about what other people do so much in their free time defeats me.

  14. Terje Petersen
    November 20th, 2005 at 07:54 | #14

    Retribution is a valid part of justice. Why else would people care about catching infirmed old men who were Nazis in their youth? It certainly isn’t to rehabilitate them. And I doubt they are any longer a danger to society.

  15. Terje Petersen
    November 20th, 2005 at 07:56 | #15

    Helen Clarkes new government gets some interesting advice from treasury.

    In its briefing to the new government, Treasury recommends cutting the 39 cent and 33 cent personal tax rates as well as corporate tax, saying they discourage investment.


  16. Harry Clarke
    November 20th, 2005 at 09:07 | #16

    I couldn’t get PM Lawrence’s email address to work. It bounced. As I suggested before in an earlier post a sure line of opposition is to write to:

    His Excellency, Joseph Koh
    High Commissioner
    High Commission of the Republic of Singapore
    17 Forster Cresent
    Yarralumla. ACT. 2600.

    suggesting this terrible execution be abandoned. Don’t postpone it too long or Mr. Nguyen Tuong Van will be dead before they get your letter.

  17. November 20th, 2005 at 14:37 | #17

    Or, more properly, we could deluge the Singapore High Commissioner with letters of support. Get writing people!

  18. Ian Gould
    November 20th, 2005 at 14:52 | #18

    Anyone else get the feeling Steve never met a hang-man he didn’t like?

  19. Ian Gould
    November 20th, 2005 at 14:55 | #19

    I have no idea how reliable this source is but it presents a first-hand account for the Fench ritos arguing that the rioters are largely black not arabic:


    “One of the striking features of the two weeks of rage that swept France is that so many of the rioters are black rather than Arab, though North Africans from Algeria and Morocco and Tunisia make up more than two-thirds of the estimated 6 million immigrants, their families included, in France.”

  20. November 20th, 2005 at 15:56 | #20

    If that address bounced, it probably means that it has exceeded its limit already, or perhaps they put a block on that particular fax number in advance.

    But the fax number was advertised as (65) 6546 9208 in the letter announcing the execution date, shown in Australian media. It may work directly.

  21. November 20th, 2005 at 16:41 | #21

    To Steve, at the ‘Singapore Arms’, guess long hair should be greeted with 1 years jail. Two beers, a lock up for the night. Tobacco, outside the pub. No dope, because they only want water.

    Are you are trying to kill the hospitality industry?

  22. November 20th, 2005 at 16:58 | #22

    Joe2: Disorderly & disrespectful behaviour is incompatible with the hospitality industry.

    I have always operated to the rule “your first fight is your last drink”, “your first swearword = your last drink tonight”, “abuse a barmaid & you drink elsewhere for the rest of your life”

    The Singapore criminal justice punishments would go a long way toward causing an immediate stop to street offences here, (although a more realistic approach by our own out of touch judiciary would help)

    Ian Gould: You are correct, I have never met a hangman I didn’t like, I hope you are not suggesting there is something wrong with that? Also have never met a lash-swinger didn’t like.

    I’m afraid my sympathy lies with the victims of crime, not the perpetrators.

  23. November 20th, 2005 at 18:26 | #23

    Suspect, Steve supports drugs, that we all know. Booze and tobacco and no inrides. Strict rules at his pub, suggests he has never run one. Also, that he has compassion, by-pass.

  24. Steve Munn
    November 20th, 2005 at 19:52 | #24

    Terje and Steve Pub obviously start from the premise that justice is infallible, unless they accept that the odd innocent victim of “justice” is merely ‘collateral damage’. In America for instance DNA evidence has been applied to old cases to get dozens of convicted felons and death row inmates out of jail. So much for judicial infallibility.

    Geoffrey Robertson’s book the “Justice Game” gives an insight into how brutal and corrupt Singapore’s justice system is.

    I would only consider accepting capital punishment on the proviso that the judge, jury and hangman are also subject to the noose in those cases where additional evidence shows they sent an innocent to his/her grave. Are you boys willing to put your rednecks where your mouths are?

  25. Terje Petersen
    November 20th, 2005 at 21:11 | #25

    Steve Munn,

    Why are you accussing me of believing in the infallibility of justice? It simply aint so. I am well aware of governments failures and I don’t limit that view to the executive wing.

    In case you misunderstood me I don’t advocate the death sentence for any crime. I merely stated that I could see some logic and arguable justice in capital punishment for crimes like pre-meditated murder. That does not mean that I give capital punishment a ringing endorsement, or that I would automatically vote for its introduction into Australia.

    And the context in which I stated this was with regards to hanging for drug smuggling, a punishment that in my view far outweighs the crime.

    I can understand why some people support capital punishement for pre-meditated murder. I think that we have got too soft on such crimes. There was a story on TV the other night about a guy sentenced to 30 years prison after he murdered three women on three separate occasions, and having no remorse. That is way too soft. Anything less than a complete life sentence is too soft for such a criminal. Mean while in a different jurastiction some guy is going to get hung for moving chemicals across a political line. Which in my view is way to harsh.


  26. November 20th, 2005 at 23:44 | #26

    PM Lawrence, you do not provide phone numbers or email addresses so that we may contact the Indonesian ambassador or the Indonesian president, nor do you urge us to desperately plead for the life of Amrozi.

    Why is this?

    Come to think of it, I seem to have missed ALL of the anti-death penalty campaign which has been trying to save the life of the Bali bombers.

    Could any of you who are writing here opposing the death penalty please provide links to your previous posts where you have been pleading with equal vehemence for our old mate Amrozi.

    Steve Munn: Nowhere is it “obvious” that I believe in the infallibility of justice. However I am as guilty as one can get of being extremely disappointed at the almost complete & total lack of deterrence or victim compassion in the current Queensland criminal punishments.

    Joe2: 21st century update for you, pubs are no longer full of farting truckies smoking tins of log cabin. Since you last went into a pub there has been an invention called “poker machines”, liquor sales in pubs continue only because they are a legal requirement, NOT because anybody actually wants to deal with liquor or the type of people who drink it. The 1950’s have long gone Joe, and your naive ideas on how to run a pub were out of date even then.

    You know Joe, in real life pubs aren’t like the ones in “Bellbird”, “Blue Heelers”, “Country Practice”, “Home & Away” etc etc.

  27. Nabakov
    November 21st, 2005 at 00:31 | #27

    ““your first swearword = your last drink tonightâ€?

    You must hang out at some really wimpy little fern bars Steve.

  28. November 21st, 2005 at 00:40 | #28

    Just a hunch Nabakov, but based on experience, I doubt you have what it takes to last 2 drinks in the “islanders only” bar in my place.

    Hopefully you would have enough sense of self-preservation to not attempt entry.

  29. Pingu the penguin
    November 21st, 2005 at 11:28 | #29

    My aren’t you a tough man Steve? I am trembling in my igloo. (So to speak)

  30. Sean
    November 21st, 2005 at 11:34 | #30

    Steve, who are the victims of this crime? The people who knowingly and voluntarily inject the heroin into themselves?

    If you’re honest about running a very tough islander-only bar where no one is allowed to swear (!!), then you’re a pusher too mate. I thankyou for the service and would not see you hang for it.

  31. Nabakov
    November 21st, 2005 at 11:44 | #31

    Yer hunch is wrong Steve. I grew up in a brawling waterfront town full of South Pacific islanders who’d crush pompous killjoys like you like a beercan if if you told them to leave for using naughty words.

    But hey don’t let that stop you from talking tough from the anonymous comfort of your swivel chair.

  32. Razor
    November 21st, 2005 at 11:57 | #32

    Pingu – you are giving Penguins a bad name. Find a new name!

  33. Andrew Reynolds
    November 21st, 2005 at 12:04 | #33

    The prime deterrent to crime is not severe punishment but the fear of getting caught. Executing people for jaywalking would not reduce the rate of jaywalking if no-one thought they would get caught doing it. If every drug mule knew that they would get caught and spend 2 years (or so) in prison for doing it there would be no reason to do it.
    The emphasis needs to be on the enforcement, not the punishment. It is the belief that you can get away with it that encourages criminal activity generally.

  34. November 21st, 2005 at 12:26 | #34

    You’re a lot tougher than me Andrew Reynolds, the prospect of being hung would scare the living daylights out of me.

  35. November 21st, 2005 at 12:45 | #35

    If you grew up in a town full of them Nabakov, you’d know to steer clear of the bucks once they have more than one stubby inside them. My hunches about the clientele are rarely wrong these days.

    Curious how once we get onto the net so many who talk like a latte-sipper just happen to have a bare-knuckle third world threadbare childhood/past etc. 😉

    You got one thing correct though, I don’t like to leave the comfort of the ofiice swivel chair! I am incredibly lazy, & physically prefer discretion than go to hospital with shattered eye sockets or something.

    Sean: It is horrific to see someone who can type and spell then making a moral equivalence between a government licenced, health department standard facility, which must comply with responsible service & consumption laws, operated by people who must be of the best possible character on one hand, & an illegal, unlicenced, unhealthy dirty, dingy, foul clandestine trade, operated by some of the most reprehensible & ruthless people on the planet, on the other hand.

  36. Sean
    November 21st, 2005 at 14:24 | #36

    Steve, you’re taking my comparison waaaay too far, but I suppose I invited that. “Horrific” may be an overstatement. Don’t count on my continued ability to spell (or rather, type).

    Any highly profitable trade where contracts cannot be enforced in court will soon be dominated by the types of people you mention, whether it be smack or silk stockings. Real estate used to be run that way, it was called feudalism.

    Reading your post again, I glean that you are a supporter of the heroin injecting room?

  37. Andrew Reynolds
    November 21st, 2005 at 14:46 | #37

    The prospect of being hung is only real if you believe you will be caught. If you do not believe that you will be caught then even being hung, drawn and quartered with your t^sticles being removed and shoved down your throat will not be enough.
    OTOH, if you believe that, if you try to bring drugs in, you will be caught, your drugs confiscated and you will be imprisoned for 2 years (or some other number), giving you no upside and only downside that would be sufficient.

  38. November 21st, 2005 at 16:26 | #38

    What heroin injecting room Sean? I make no mention of supporting anything to do with heroin, except for improving the punishment of those who possess/deal the stuff. Whatever you “gleaned” obviously came from some other commenter.

    Andrew, you are dead right. However some people don’t do bad things because they are wrong, no other reason. There is an element of society which never develops past the point where the only reason they don’t do things is because they will get into trouble for it, NOT because they have any conscience about doing something which is wrong.

    The degree of punishment for such people is immaterial, they made a conscious decision to do wrong. They can only blame themselves when caught. We should not be wasting time bawling over people who hold malevolent intent.

    My sympathies are reserved for the victims of crime.

  39. Sean
    November 21st, 2005 at 16:53 | #39

    Steve, we in Sydney have a heroin injecting room. It is “a government licenced, health department standard facility, which must comply with [specific heroin injecting room trial legislation], operated by people who must be of [sufficient] character [to be doctors and nurses].”

    Who are the victims of heroin possession?

    Given that you have climbed even higher up on your horse, I feel compelled to point it out again: you sell a recreational drug, poisonous in high doses, which can and does ruin and end people’s lives.

    Though a couple of those people have been my loved ones, I don’t blame you, and I like a beer or three.

    Your thirst for Nguyen’s death, though, well…

  40. Andrew Reynolds
    November 21st, 2005 at 17:10 | #40

    If “[t]he degree of punishment for such people is immaterial, they made a conscious decision to do wrong…” then the important things, apart from ensuring that innocent parties are appropriately compensated, are to minimise the costs to the general public and also to maximise the gain to society from the criminal justice system. I would strongly argue that stringing them up or throwing away the key achieves neither of these objectives. Keeping someone in prison for the term of their natural lives is an incredible waste of resources. The amount of time and effort taken to execute someone after due process is not much less and is so still an enormous waste. Never mind the possible work that they could do both before and after their release.
    We have all done silly things in the past and some of us will do them in the future. Some of these may be criminal. That does not mean that we cannot be productive members of society. By executing Van the government of Singapore is effectively saying that he can be of no further use to society and he has forfeited his right to life. I do not know the guy, but I doubt that this is the case.
    Execution and harsh prison sentences are just plain wrong as they achieve none of the objectives of a sane criminal justice system, are inherently wasteful and do not reduce crime.

  41. November 21st, 2005 at 17:32 | #41

    Andrew Reynolds, please provide links to your previous posts where you state the case for how much good work Amrozi could do for society, & how bad it is for the Indonesian government to shoot him, or lock him up forever, etc etc.

    Most people in gaol are there because they deserve to be, & we have all seen the sort of things they get up to when they are not incarcerated. A locked up crook is not getting up to any monkey business.

    When you are referring to “silly things” in the past, which “may be criminal”, I’m afraid my sympathy lies with the victims, who had no choice in the matter, NOT with some tosser whose ill thought out hijinks got a little more carried away than anticipated.

    Sean, I am sorry for your relatives drinking themselves to death. I try myself to cease consumption at the giggling stage.

    To even ask who are the victims of heroin possession states that you have never been in the unfortunate and unplanned situation of minding your own business, and of being confronted with person(s) who are under the influence of the stuff. I have no sympathy for drug users, only for the victims. It is to our shame that we use the valuable resources of our strong economy pandering to such a large segment of totally useless lead swingers.

    If someone makes a choice to use drugs, the consequences should be their own, not a “burden” for those in society who choose to NOT use drugs.

  42. Ian Gould
    November 21st, 2005 at 17:36 | #42

    “Curious how once we get onto the net so many who talk like a latte-sipper just happen to have a bare-knuckle third world threadbare childhood/past etc”

    You mean they don’t call black men “bucks”?

  43. November 21st, 2005 at 17:38 | #43

    Sean, your government has a “legal” heroin injecting room? Offhand I cannot think of one single thing the NSW government has done which is anything but infantile & stupid. Clearly the intelligence level of the voters is in line with all the NSW jokes which get around, or the opposition is equally as inept.

    The state is totaly broke, has been so for years, & these wallies spend money so that criminals can shoot up in comfort?

    What measures has this government taken to assist diabetics, who have to “shoot up” daily, but from no choice of their own? Presumably diabetics, who are at least law abiding & useful, are being equally or better served by their government, surely?

  44. Sean
    November 21st, 2005 at 18:10 | #44

    Hmm, Steve, I hope you’re not living in one of those states that we stupid NSWelshman support with our taxes.

    You don’t need to apologise for other people’s consumption, Steve, as I said. Your own possession and use is immaterial. I was talking about your claim to be a dealer, who knows that his islander clientelle are mad on the piss (which he supplies them), mate, and he doesn’t let them swear, and calls them demeaning racist names, but nor does he confront them, he uses “discretion” to get crazy-drunk bros out the door without leaving his swivel chair, and so on; ie, possession of a commercial quantity with intent to sell, if you are to be believed.

    I understand that diabetics have the benefit the public health system.

    And with that, good night.

  45. Ian Gould
    November 21st, 2005 at 18:29 | #45


    As it happens i’m a (non-nsulin-dependant) diabetic and your analogy is a load of crap.

    Passing over the fact the government heavily subsidises insulin, needles and sharps disposal bins for diabetics (and provides us with lessons on how to inject safely), there’s the fact that diabetics don’t face arrest; are unlikely to need medical care (because the insulin is pure and pharmaceutical grade) and are unlikly to be unconscious or semi-conscious after shooting up.

    Sorry to disagree with you, guess that’s just more proof of my insidious latte-slurping tendencies.

    “The state is totaly broke, has been so for years, & these wallies spend money so that criminals can shoot up in comfort?”

    1. New South Wales isn’t broke;

    2. harm minimisation is a lot cheaper than jailing addicts or having to deal with the medical consequence to them and others of unsupervised injecting. (Avoiding one case of AIDS spread by a needle-stick pays for a lot of injecting rooms.)

    Of course, I’m sure you’ll argue that it’d be cheaper still just to organise a provisional court-martial with the power to summarily execute people on suspicion but us latte-slurpers don’t go in for that sort of thing.

  46. Andrew Reynolds
    November 21st, 2005 at 18:40 | #46

    Unless he is in Victoria or Tasmania he would be in one of the states supporting NSW with our taxes.
    There are always exceptions that prove the rule – but even in Amrozi’s case I think it would be better to see him rot than to make him a martyr. Despite losing a friend in the September 11 attacks and nearly losing another in London recently, I still think the same of Osama – i.e he should be caught, tried and, if convicted, put away for the rest of his natural life.
    Most criminals, however, are just like the rest of us, concerned with risk versus reward. Increase the risk of getting caught, exposed and punished and you will find most criminals stop. Throwing them in jail for long periods with harsh punishment just means they get out with fewer skills and are more likely to re-offend, with all the other detriments to society that this brings.
    Yes, I strongly believe they should be caught and yes, they should be punished. Yes, in a few cases society may be justified in throwing away the key and yes, in some cases the courts have erred on the side of leniency. To make a general case from this, however, that anyone caught walking out of the pub with a glass or smoking a joint at home with friends should be banged up in prison or a drug mule on a trip with less than half a kilo of heroin deserves to be strung up until his eyes pop is pushing things more than a bit too far.

  47. Sean
    November 21st, 2005 at 19:44 | #47

    That good night was for Steve.

    Andrew, you are saying that SA and Qld subsidise NSW? Er, the thing about that is, it’s a load of bollocks. Qld takes substantial amounts of welfare payments from us, and they ain’t even broke. A Current Affair should be all over it.

    WA And Victoria at least pay their own way, but none of youz subsidise the engine room, I’m afraid.

  48. November 21st, 2005 at 19:47 | #48

    If NSW ain’t broke Ian, why does it continually increase state taxes? I certainly don’t see anything about the services & infrastructure in NSW worth jerking your thumb at, almost a textbook case of financial & ethical incompetence.

    I live in one of those states which have always supported NSW through our resources.

    There is nothing about the word buck for young man which is specific to black people, your racialist prejudices are showing Ian. “Buck” is a standard Queensland term of address from one male to another, in use from the schoolyard to old age, generally used on healthy young men.

  49. Andrew Reynolds
    November 21st, 2005 at 21:47 | #49

    The point on taxes is true, if you just look at the bald face of it. However, the tariffs and subsidies that ‘assisted’ the south east corner for nearly a century effectively transferred huge amounts of wealth out of WA, NT, Qld and (a little) SA, destroying part of that wealth and giving the rest to molly-coddled industries in NSW and Vic that could not pay their own way.
    Your ‘engine room’ was (and is) coughing and spluttering along on the back of the resources of the truly productive regions of this country. Without those massive distortions to trade Australia would have been a lot richer and less centred on the smoking rust belt that is NSW (Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong).
    The scaling back of these idiotic silly impositions is gradually having the effect of moving population out of NSW and Vic and to where the real value of this great country of ours is.
    Long may it continue.

  50. November 21st, 2005 at 22:37 | #50

    Amen Andrew Reynolds, Amen to that.

  51. Ian Gould
    November 22nd, 2005 at 08:00 | #51

    >If NSW ain’t broke Ian, why does it continually increase state taxes?

    Tell you what, Steve, go to the NSW Treasury website, get the Budget papers and see what’s happening to state taxes in total as a percentage of GSP over the past several years.

    Post the results here and we can continue the discussion on the basis of actual fact, it’ll be an exciting new epxerience for you.

  52. Ian Gould
    November 22nd, 2005 at 08:02 | #52

    “Your ‘engine room’ was (and is) coughing and spluttering along on the back of the resources of the truly productive regions of this country.”

    Actually the New South Wales economy tends to grow faster than the national average.

  53. Sean
    November 22nd, 2005 at 09:01 | #53

    Also, NSW has large and profitable mining and agricultural industries. The glamour of Australia’s global city tends to distract attention from them, but they’re there.

    I was always wondering how Queenslanders could reconcile their claims to superior rugged individualism whilst simultaneously begging for my money, and now I know. Fantasy.

  54. Andrew Reynolds
    November 22nd, 2005 at 14:14 | #54

    Accuse me not of bending bananas. Guess again.
    It is also good to know that NSW has been sucking dry other parts of their own state for some time. The agricultural sector, though, asssisted by the agrarian socialists in the National Party, has been subsidised to the hilt with the Australian Wool Board, Potato Marketing Board, Egg Marketing Board etc. etc. etc. for a long time.
    The ‘glamour of Australia’s global city’ is a mirage, like other government subsidised projects. I bet I could create a global city, given sufficient wealth transfer from the truly productive. It would only take the pillage of the rest of the country for a century or so.
    Anywhere can grow faster than the national average if it uses its strong position in Parliament to its own advantage shamelessly.

  55. November 22nd, 2005 at 14:35 | #55

    Ian Gould, NSW has added a bed tax, increased poker machine turnover tax, applied stamp duty to both purchaser and vendor, increased land tax etc etc etc… hardly a sign of decreasing taxes.

    Anything produced by NSW state treasury has to be taken with a grain of salt, this government is not noted for being open or up front about the consequences of political & financial irresponsibility.

    Ever dealt with shopping centres? They are expert at “decreasing” rent on a shop, however the hapless tenant discovers that with the “reduced” rent their bill is now 150% of what it was. But the paperwork really does show that rent is reduced. Hmmmm……

  56. Katz
    November 22nd, 2005 at 16:59 | #56

    “The scaling back of these idiotic silly impositions is gradually having the effect of moving population out of NSW and Vic and to where the real value of this great country of ours is.
    Long may it continue.”

    If you look at the reference below AR, you’ll notice that Victoria has actually enjoyed quite rapid population increase, including net migration gains from other parts of Australia, since 1999.

    I believe that Victoria is second only to Qld in nett population shifts between states.

    So rumours of the death of Victoria are somewhat premature.


  57. Ian Gould
    November 22nd, 2005 at 18:30 | #57

    Anything produced by NSW state treasury has to be taken with a grain of salt, …

    Yeah so let’s just go with uninformed assertions instead.

    What’s happened to the thresholds for land tax and payroll tax? How about the various duties they abolished?

    What’s the net affect on their position?

    Offhand I don;t know – and neither do you.

  58. Andrew Reynolds
    November 22nd, 2005 at 19:22 | #58

    Looks like more tariffs and subsidies need to be cut, then – but, why are NSW and Victoria losing seats in federal parliament? WA and Qld keep adding them.
    I note that neither of you have even attempted to address my main point about the effects of the tariffs and subsidies. Before you do, you may want to read Hal Colebatch’s book about his father (Steadfast Knight); he was one of the few economic dries in existence long before the term was even coined. The commentary in there on the effects of the tariffs on the real wealth of this country is devastating.
    Whether NSW is increasing, reducing or keeping taxes the same is irrelevant. NSW has been a drag on the country for years – a few changes in tax rates in the state will not change that.

  59. November 22nd, 2005 at 19:54 | #59

    Katz: You can expect the net shift to Victoria to reverse now that the people there have voted against a progressive government, & given themselves that Bracks instead.

  60. Katz
    November 22nd, 2005 at 20:03 | #60

    AR, I don’t know upon what basis electorates are allocated, but I imagine it has something to do with census results.

    The population turnaround in Victoria has happened only since 1999, which addresses SATP’s rather prejudicial comment. The big decline in Victoria’s population occurred during the Kennett years. I imagine that SATP and Kennett, during his time as Premier, would have found many areas of agreement. Since then, like Fraser, Kennett has improved considerably.

    I don’t know how much financial benefit Victoria derives from tariffs in comparison to other states. I’d like that info ifanyone has it.

    I wonder if that amount, if indeed Victoria is a nett beneficiary of tariff policy, compensates Victoria for the massive transfer payments that are leeched out of Victorian taxpayers and poured into the troughs of the “smaller” states.

  61. Sean
    November 22nd, 2005 at 20:24 | #61

    Andrew, asa fallback I now accuse you of groping sand. AJ days taught the rest of us that for delusional parochialism, it’s a tied race between Qld and WA. Though wherever you’re from, don’t worry, we in NSW are used to the inferiority complexes.

    What you say of the ag sector, to the extent that it’s true, is true of it all over Australia and indeed the developed world. Hence you must be from a desert state to pooh-pooh food growing, and surely no Crow Eater would have the chutzpa to bite the hand that fills SA’s feeding tube.

    Handy of you to leave out the mining. Since you’ve made vague assertions about the economic history of the nation, you may have heard of Broken Hill, and its small business of Proprietors. The wealth creation continues.

    And of course, if by “productive” you mean industry, service sector or trade, sorry mate, there’s them pesky facts again.

    I hence remain unconvinced that the state which provides more of the nation’s consolidated revenue than any other, and gets back less than it gives because large swathes of this are supporting certain other states, is a drag on the country.

  62. Sean
    November 22nd, 2005 at 20:27 | #62

    Oh I also wanted say please create your global city; you can call it the MFP.

  63. Andrew Reynolds
    November 22nd, 2005 at 20:44 | #63

    I know why NSW people are used to inferiority complexes – they have had them for years. The belief that they needed protection from all and sundry all over the world was the reason for the tariffs and subsidies in the first place.
    The problem with tariffs and subsidies is that they not only transfer wealth, they destroy it.
    I have heard of Broken Hill. Isn’t that the part of your state that wants to be part of South Australia so much they use its time zone, rail system and roads?
    The former proprietors of Broken Hill were amongst the worst leaches once they got their hands on the steel industry – tariffs and other protective measures, including the banning of the export of iron, forced through in the mistaken belief that they could not compete stopped development of some of the biggest sources of iron ore on the planet until the late 1960’s when at least Sir Robert Menzies (pig iron bob) had the brains to reduce the stupidity.
    The only reason Sydney remained of any real size, never mind grew, was the way that the politicians worked to grab the Sydney and Melbourne industrial worker’s vote by systematically beggaring the rest of the country since 1901.
    I will leave you guessing on my origins; for now I am (temporarily) in Korea working for a living. NSW should try that some time. A move to Korea would do the rest of us some good.

  64. Ian Gould
    November 22nd, 2005 at 21:27 | #64

    “…systematically beggaring the rest of the country since 1901. ”

    Yes that’s undoubtedly why living standards have fallen so badly in the past century.

    I haven’t read the book you refer to but I’d be reasonably confident than on both a per capita basis and as percentage of GDP the biggest benefiticiary from protection has probably been South Australia.

    BTW – what was the largest city in Australia in 1900, before Federation and the common tariff?

  65. Harry Clarke
    November 23rd, 2005 at 18:55 | #65

    An online petition to save Mr. Nguyen Tuong Van’s life is at:


  66. Andrew Reynolds
    November 23rd, 2005 at 19:10 | #66

    Melbourne was the largest, due to the effects of the large mining industry and associated banking revenue. I will leave the satire in the beggaring response alone.
    I doubt that SA was a big ‘beneficiary’ from protection, about the only thing there that was protected would have been the Chrysler factory (now Mitsubishi).
    I place beneficiary in quotes because, of course, protection only benefits anybody in the short run. In the long run, we all lose. NSW (and Vic) was run for short run benefits for a long time.

  67. November 23rd, 2005 at 23:12 | #67

    Steve at the Pub, I don’t provide those other contact details because they didn’t happen to fall in my lap the way those details did. And I am not urging people to save Amrozi for the same reason I am not urging them to act on the Singapore information – because I don’t know enough about the underlying rights and wrongs. I do, however, think it is worth making this information available to others who might be interested so they can follow their own consciences.

    By the way, harsh sentencing does have an effect at the margins. I know this from personal experience. When I was younger, in my prime, I once met a fly boy whom I had met earlier while on holiday. He offered to put me in the way of performing in pornographic films, since he was an occasional distributor and he had observed me on holiday and thought I looked the type (he offered 500 pounds per week, which was good money in those days). I declined but out of curiosity enquired further about the trade. Among other things he told me that he religiously avoided anything with children or animals since those attracted an automatic longer sentence if caught (this was in the UK, of course).

    Moral: the sentencing structure may not affect overall levels of criminal activity but certainly affects just what occurs. I also suspect that reasoning from how today’s criminals are not put off crime in general reflects survivor bias; those who would have been criminals in other times and places, and could be swayed, have been and so no longer form part of the the criminal base under observation.

    In Singapore’s situation, harsh sentences probably stop all drug traffic in those parts from funnelling through Singapore.

Comments are closed.