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Monday message board

May 29th, 2006

It’s time, once again for the Monday Message Board. As usual, civilised discussion and absolutely no coarse language, please.

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  1. May 29th, 2006 at 11:02 | #1

    The propsed QLD merger of the Nats and Libs is interesting, but not surprising.

    The end of QLD Nats represents the end of Australia’s most succesful economic rent seeking party.

  2. observa
    May 29th, 2006 at 11:32 | #2

    Here’s a conundrum that perhaps Professor Quiggin can answer for me now. Hypothetically I’m perhaps a director or in senior mangement of a large coal miner, gas extractor or fossil fuel generator. You know the BHP Billitons, Woodsides, Rios and AGLs of this world. Like a James Hardie man of old I have been following with growing alarm, all the road signs on global warming, that the good Professor has been pointing to here on his blog. Should I resign right now declaring my company bankrupt for continually ignoring the social costs of contributing to global warming? Or like James Hardie directors, etc, should I soldier on, because I’m in a perfectly legal industry, meeting current regulatory requirements, safe in the knowledge that my peers agree with what I and my company is currently doing, albeit that Professor Quiggin has now called it? Help me anybody, I’m just a poor James Hardie type company man, seeking moral guidance for me and all my employees and shareholders?

  3. observa
    May 29th, 2006 at 11:39 | #3

    Err, I might add I have just received on my desk a report from LLoyds of London on the company’s enquiry about insurance indemnity against class action for our contribution to global warming and it reads- Hahahahahaha!

  4. May 29th, 2006 at 12:09 | #4

    Wow – what a day was yesterday in Coburg and Brunswick – no cars for six glorious ghours on its main north south route to the city. Sydney Road is normally a traffic sewer yet yestrday Cyclovia came to town, sponsored by Rotary it is a celebration of the bike – no cars; it truly was spectacluar, no smog, no noise (save the jingle of bells) and no danger. Please can we have one more.

  5. gordon
    May 29th, 2006 at 12:22 | #5

    Browsing American blogs like Economist’s Voice (see sidebar link) has alerted me to the fact that some old-fashioned conservatives are still waging war on Big Government. These stone-age types aren’t aware that this campaign has been, as it were, suspended from trading and is no longer paying dividends – rather like our own Debt Truck. The reason, of course, is that modern right-wingers are greater advocates of Big Government than the old-fashioned liberals were. An American economist called Dean Baker has written an “e-book”, freely available here which lists some of the ways in which the right milk the public purse.

  6. May 29th, 2006 at 13:28 | #6

    gordon,
    I think you are making an error that is frequently made – that there is some great amorphous entity known as “The Right”. Just as equating our learned host with a Trotskyist would be wrong, so is trying to say that libertarians and conservatives are the same.
    GWB may be from the Right of politics, but trying to say that I agree with him on the correct size of government would be wrong.
    Interesting though is that you seem to be implying that you agree with him on this.

  7. May 29th, 2006 at 13:52 | #7

    Week by Week, interesting summation, although entirely wrong.

    The National Party ran Queensland exceptionally well for quite some time. We had hospitals which worked (ie, one got well again) and were FREE.

    This is rather a contrast to the perversion of a health system which Queensland now has. There is decline in maintenance of electricity infrastructre, rather than construction of NEW infrastructure.

    This is indisputable. Queensland ran better under the National Party.

    If the National Party in Queensland had not been so stupid as to listen to the federal Liberal Party over gun control, perhaps Queensland would still have a National Party government.

    The Liberal Party in Queensland has always been run by pillocks. Present leadership included. The prospect of the unhinged squarking of the Liberal Party influencing the National Party in a coalition government, together with the pro-mega corporation (anti-small business) mindset of the Queensland Liberal Party ensures that most of my industry have been doing our level best to influence our patronage into voting for the ALP.

    However, as state parliament has less NP & Liberal sitting members than is required for a rugby union team, I don’t think we would have to worry any time soon, except the spectacular incompetence of the Beattie team has me quite scared that the Liberal-National coalition may win government again.

  8. Hal9000
    May 29th, 2006 at 14:14 | #8

    “The National Party ran Queensland exceptionally well for quite some time. We had hospitals which worked (ie, one got well again) and were FREE”

    Not so: Ward 10B, Townsville. Beds in corridors and on verandahs in dilapidated buildings. Aged dementia patients tied to beds lying in their own excrement at Eventide. Health Minister Austin sent to prison for trousering public money on new suits and hospitality.

    How soon we forget who choose not to remember.

  9. wpd
    May 29th, 2006 at 15:08 | #9

    The Nationals did not run QLD quite well. They created the myth that you could have first rate public services and low taxes.

    The Health crisis in QLD has been coming for at least two decades. Ask Mike Horan of his experience when Health Minister.

    Don’t forget Joh would have gone to gaol, except for one juror who was a member of the Nats.

  10. May 29th, 2006 at 15:44 | #10

    Two jurors, wpd. Luke Shaw was the National, but there was another who could not bring herself to convict Joh. A pretty dim bulb indeed, as I gather.

    Otherwise, spot on.

  11. Hal9000
    May 29th, 2006 at 17:38 | #11

    Luke Shaw was a member of the Friends of Joh association dedicated to fundraising for the old fraud’s defence, not just the Nats.

  12. May 29th, 2006 at 19:17 | #12

    The furphy that the jury was rigged in Joh’s favour is still around?

    If the answer was so simple, the government could have had a re-trial, this time with a “politically correct” jury.

    The Queensland health system under the national party compares rather well to the shambles of today. I note that the internal agitation of those who didn’t contribute to Queensland’s prosperity still exists, those who would derail workers will resent forever a government which had balls?

    Look at the tragic joke we have for a government in Queensland now.

  13. May 29th, 2006 at 20:41 | #13

    Reading newspaper reports on the situation in East Timor gives rise to a reflection on the fragility of small, or newly formed, nations that can seemingly be so easily and completely rent apart by social divisions.

    In retrospect the political management of ET should never have been taken for granted. They might have done better had they adopted presidential rather than a parliamentary system(?). The sacking of the 570 or so soldiers seem in hindsight to have been extremely foolish, evidence of a lack of political judgment and skill, as well as rivalry between the president and the prime minister.

    Aside from the workability of the political system, ET was apparently facing significant unemployment among its young and growing population. Unemployment will remain a problem, exacerbated by the flight of foreign capital. I doubt that ET will manage its potential oil dividend as well as Norway.

  14. May 29th, 2006 at 21:38 | #14

    Given the toxicity of the Australian debate on immigration it is interesting to watch GWB push a more liberal line on illegal immigrants in the USA. Is he a nice guy or a smart politician?

    P.S. your answer is of course a binary choice.

  15. May 29th, 2006 at 21:48 | #15

    Immigration has not a toxic bone in it’s debating body in Oz Terje. The supplication of some to the concept of “open slather” illegal immigration does not however grate well with the more level headed of our population.

  16. May 29th, 2006 at 22:28 | #16

    It’s hard to see your toes if you always keep a level head.

  17. Jill Rush
    May 29th, 2006 at 22:30 | #17

    The kind of immigration that grates in Australia is that condoned by the Govt which brought us no WorkChoices.

    To have brokers able to bring people in under semi slave conditions where people are bonded labour receiving low wages which undercut Australian Workers is a disgrace that we should not be repeating as a nation.

    Australians know that there is no shortage of people in other countries who have a desperate desire to come to this country. We have shown a harsh attitude to those escaping governmental terror and yet have set up a system which will help reduce our wages and conditions and re-establish a strong social divide in the nation.

  18. May 29th, 2006 at 22:44 | #18

    Terje: definition of “Level Headed”; simultaneously dribbling out of both sides of the mouth.

    Jill: The White Australia policy will never be dead while you are still alive eh? ;-)

  19. May 29th, 2006 at 22:46 | #19

    Jill,

    I always saw tough immigration laws as being the flip side of a welfare state. Open the borders and the welfare state will topple under it’s own weight.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  20. SJ
    May 29th, 2006 at 23:37 | #20

    We have tough immigration rhetoric Terje. That’s all. Plus a shirtload of inhumane treatment of refugeess.

    Actual immigration numbers have been increasing over the past ten years.

    The government is running a huge fiscal surplus. I don’t see any toppling of the “welfare state” on the horizon.

  21. May 30th, 2006 at 01:46 | #21

    SJ, when you say”refugee” do you mean illegal immigrant who has “lost” all of their paperwork, but managed to retain the USD$10,000 for a passage to Oz on a leaky boat?

  22. Hal9000
    May 30th, 2006 at 09:20 | #22

    “The furphy that the jury was rigged in Joh’s favour is still around?

    If the answer was so simple, the government could have had a re-trial, this time with a “politically correctâ€? jury.”

    And that was indeed an option, was the preferred course of prosecutors, but was abandoned because it was believed politically risky given the ‘poor old man’ defence the lying old crook was running. If you believe he was innocent, you must have been at the pub too long. $100,000 in cash, in a brown paper bag, a 2-hour meeting over a private lunch, and no recollection? Carmen Lawrence’s amnesia was more credible.

  23. gordon
    May 30th, 2006 at 10:46 | #23

    No, Andrew Reynolds, I have an idea that the theoretical positions of Conservatives and Libertarians are in some ways different, but my point is that they are no more than theoretical positions. Such positions can sometimes be used for propaganda purposes by real-world political groups, just as the Debt Truck (implying a certain approach to macroeconomic issues) was used, then dropped, according to its political usefulness at the time. I find it funny that some small-government theoreticians continue to bang on without noticing that their usefulness ended some time ago. The point of Dean Baker’s book is that it shows the extent to which the small-government ideology has been abandoned and how extensively the current US Govt. plunders.

    As for my agreeing with George W. Bush on anything, Heaven forbid!

  24. May 30th, 2006 at 12:09 | #24

    Hal 9000: You probably also feel that Whitlam was unfairly dismiseed.

    After an exhaustive trial, Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen was convicted of NOTHING. Live with it.

  25. May 30th, 2006 at 12:30 | #25

    gordon,
    Just because G W Bush has decided to adopt a quasi-socialist position does not mean that the rest of “The Right” goes with him. Look at what has happened to his popularity amongst self-described conservatives in the US – it is now down to or below 50%.
    The current US government is just behaving the way most governments do – once they get into power they decide that, because they have power they must use it. Where they can get revenue they must and where they can spend they should.
    I hate to point this out, but you are agreeing with him.

  26. Hal9000
    May 30th, 2006 at 14:41 | #26

    Steve, you’re the one reinventing history with your ‘golden age’ view of the Bjelke-Petersen era.

    I’m happy enough that the blinkered old despot suffered incontinence and dementia for years before his unlamented departure.

    You seem to want to memorialise a time when Queensland had Australia’s lowest per capita income, official contempt for democracy, corruption at every level of every branch of the state apparatus, and third world public infrastructure.

    You’re welcome to pine for the fjords, but present-day Queensland looks to be the better bet to me. By no means perfect, but better than the sick joke it was under Joh.

  27. May 30th, 2006 at 15:11 | #27

    Hal 9000: Queensland today is unsustainable. Beattie has stuffed up just about everthing the state has.

    Under Joh things happened, things got built, and things were NEW. I don’t see anything happening under Beattie but talk, depreciation of infrastructure, and a health care system in crisis, UNLIKE the golden Joh years.

    Perhaps we should hive Brisbane off & get on with become a free and independant nation, without the handbrake on us that Brisbane & the south are proving to be.

  28. Katz
    May 30th, 2006 at 15:39 | #28

    Welcome to the free and independent nation of Bjelkeland.

    Form of Government: the best that money can buy

    Electoral system: whatever works

    Official Language: Malapropism

    Official religion: anything that involves handling snakes for Jesus

    Currency: brown bags

    National Coat of Arms: Dragline Rampant

    Natonal Motto: Don’t … don’t you worry about that!

  29. May 30th, 2006 at 16:56 | #29

    Cost of Health System: Nil to users
    Cost of Petrol, Grog & Smokes: considerably less than to southerners
    Immigration Intake: Almost endless streams coming accross the southern border, and they ain’t coming here just for the sun!

  30. Katz
    May 30th, 2006 at 17:17 | #30

    “Cost of Health System: Nil to users
    Cost of Petrol, Grog & Smokes: considerably less than to southerners
    Immigration Intake: Almost endless streams coming accross the southern border, and they ain’t coming here just for the sun!”

    And remind us, how long have the ALP been misruling Qld?

    SATP has forgotten whether he is a Beattie hater or a Qld lover.

    A touch too much sun perhaps? Aye???

  31. Muskiemp
    May 30th, 2006 at 17:35 | #31

    The Immigration to QLD happens after Joh.
    I would never ever have migrated here, if that jerk or anyone like him, was still in power.

  32. May 30th, 2006 at 18:23 | #32

    Muskiemp: Southerners flocking to Queensland most definitely DID happen during rule of Joh. You are a bludger? Only net “takers” object to the Joh years.

  33. May 30th, 2006 at 21:10 | #33

    Of course QLD is worse off! Look at their state of origin performance over recent years. Shocking.

  34. May 30th, 2006 at 21:32 | #34

    You could be onto something there Alpaca!

  35. Jill Rush
    May 30th, 2006 at 21:56 | #35

    Steve at the Pub,
    There is nothing in my post to suggest that I support the White Australia policy. The argument is against the lowering of wages and conditions in this country through the importation of semi slave labor to pressure people who have few rights in the workplace whilst using refugees as a ruse to divert attention and to demonise desperate people.

  36. May 30th, 2006 at 22:32 | #36

    Jill, my apologies, I thought you were trotting out the tired old “little brown man is coming to take your job”.

    Are you talking hypothetically, or do you have knowledge of people being underpaid?

    Please list the awards in which wages have been lowered.

  37. Seeker
    May 31st, 2006 at 07:20 | #37

    SATP:
    “The National Party ran Queensland exceptionally well for quite some time.”
    “Under Joh things happened, things got built, and things were NEW.”

    Whatever they got right and spent the money on, it wasn’t the roads, except around Kingaroy, of course. Queensland had by far the worst roads of any state/territory in Oz, until Labor got in. Whenever I crossed the border from NT into Queensland, which happened many times over many years, I had to slow down by 15-20 km for safety reasons.

    “a health care system in crisis”

    Just like the rest of the country (and the world). Nothing special about Queensland on this issue.

  38. May 31st, 2006 at 16:19 | #38

    That of course is lies Seeker. Name the “roads around Kingaroy” which had plenty of money spent on them, and how much “better” were these roads than any other in Qld?

    Everything about the Northern Territory was funded by the Federal Government. (Lucky NT, why would they ever want to be a state?)

    The contrast between Qld and NT roads was enhanced by the road from Mt Isa to Cammoweal (& the 13km onward to the border) being one of the worst roads in Oz, whilst accross the grid in the NT it ran up against one of the best.

    At least you agree the health care system is in crisis in Qld, which it was NOT under Joh. Moral equivalence between the current incompetent administration of Qld and other incompetent administrations around the world does not unfortunately improve the health care system in Qld.

    Do you seriously suggest that because some other jurisdictions cannot treat patients in a timely & effective fashion that this makes it ok for Qld to also let people die?

  39. SJ
    May 31st, 2006 at 17:21 | #39

    Please list the awards in which wages have been lowered.

    Don’t you read the papers, sport?

    A survey by the Office of the Employment Advocate – the agency where employers must register Australian Workplace Agreements – showed that of 6263 agreements lodged since the legislation took effect, 64 per cent removed leave loadings and 63 per cent cut penalty rates.

    It also found 52 per cent of new agreements cut workers’ shift loadings and 40 per cent stripped staff of public holidays.

    All removed at least one award condition, while 16 per cent removed all of them.

  40. May 31st, 2006 at 18:20 | #40

    Very good SJ, but no awards have changed. Neither do you state how much less people are being paid for the exact same work for which they were previously paid more.

  41. SJ
    May 31st, 2006 at 18:33 | #41

    Very good SJ, but no awards have changed.

    So what? If you’re so ignorant of how the new process works, but insist on making comments about it anyway, I really can’t help you.

    As for the rest, I suggest you try reading the story. Duh.

  42. May 31st, 2006 at 18:56 | #42

    No mention in that article of how freedom to call tenders on labour costs, (just like any other cost) is benefiting companies with cheaper labour SJ.

    Some hard data on how much less people are being paid for the same work would be helpful.

    Don’t I read the papers? er.. that article is in a newspaper which is published only today. And it is from Sydney, thus is never seen here.

  43. SJ
    May 31st, 2006 at 19:00 | #43

    I believe it’s published on the interweb thingy, as well.

  44. May 31st, 2006 at 21:38 | #44

    The Sydney Morning Herald seems to have .. er… misinterpreted the information in the report made to the Senate Estimates Committee.

    The Sydney Morning Herald (in SJ’s link) lists various statistics which resulted from a survey of the 6263 Australian Workplace Agreements lodged since the new legislation came into effect.

    The Federal Employment Advocate, Peter McIlwain, says that the data was complied from just 4% of the AWA’s registered in the month of April. He urges “caution in jumping to conclusions”

    He also states that while the survey (into 4% of AWA’s lodged in April) mentions some award conditions which are negotiated out, that there are also extra provisions being negotiated in.

    Rather a handy tool this interweb thingy. Perhaps you could use it yourself sometime SJ.

    Perhaps the journalists at the Sydney Morning Herald could benefit from use of this interweb thingy. Nothing quite as humiliating for a journalist as having written an inaccurate report due to poor research.

  45. May 31st, 2006 at 21:40 | #45

    The number of AWA’s surveyed, according to the Office of Employment Advocate, is 250. Almost 20,000 AWA’s have been lodged.

    Do people actually pay MONEY for copy of the Sydney Morning Herald? (laughing now!!)

  46. May 31st, 2006 at 22:18 | #46

    Some help Steve
    Statistics Every Writer Should Know – Sample Sizes

    It’s the reasons why auditors get to go home at nights.

  47. SJ
    May 31st, 2006 at 22:27 | #47

    Time for you to put the Bundie down, Steve.

    What’s your point? Jill remarked about lowering of wages and conditions. You tried to counter that with an irrelevant question about the number of awards modified. Then you started whining that the statistics collected didn’t satisfy you. Again, so what?

  48. May 31st, 2006 at 22:45 | #48

    That whizzing sound I hear, would it be backpedalling? It is you SJ who made the snide reference to newspaper reading, then to web use.

    You were using those (now) baloney statistics to demonstrate that workers were worse off.

    I take it from you flippant comment post just now that you resile from your previous position?

    FYI, I do not drink rum, particularly English rum.

  49. SJ
    May 31st, 2006 at 22:58 | #49

    Steve, this is getting quite sad. The statistics aren’t “baloney” just on your say so. What do you think should be the correct interpretation of the report made to the Senate Estimates Committee?

  50. May 31st, 2006 at 23:24 | #50

    I am only taking the Employment Advocate’s word for it SJ. He says “contrary to media reports…” (note that phrase Anthony) and urges “caution” in jumping to conclusions.

    ABC news tonight reported that a significant number of AWA’s have meant that employees recieve more money. Wonder if there anything to this report?

    I know all about “sample sizes” Anthony, hence all my auditing is complete and comprehensive.

  51. SJ
    May 31st, 2006 at 23:55 | #51

    Jesus H Christ.

    I ask you for your interpretation of the report made by the Employment Advocate to the Senate Estimates Committe, and your response is

    I am only taking the Employment Advocate’s word for it SJ.

    His word for what?

  52. June 1st, 2006 at 00:41 | #52

    The argument is against the lowering of wages and conditions in this country through the importation of semi slave labor to pressure people who have few rights in the workplace whilst using refugees as a ruse to divert attention and to demonise desperate people.

    That reminds me; under the accord Bob Hawke encouraged workers to lower their wage claims (as inflation ate away the real value of existing wages) in return for reduced taxation. A clever linkage.

  53. June 1st, 2006 at 01:23 | #53

    This Employment Advocate?

    STEPHEN LONG: Peter McIlwain heads the Government’s Office of the Employment Advocate. It studied what he says is a “representative sample” of AWAs filed in the first month of the New Act.

    “contrary [whizz] to [whizz] media [whizz] reports [whizz...]” noted Steve.

  54. June 1st, 2006 at 01:46 | #54

    250 from 20,000 is representative? *snort*

  55. Muskiemp
    June 1st, 2006 at 07:12 | #55

    I see s.t.a.b. you spend all your time here because everyone ignores your own blog.They understand that you have very little to say.

  56. June 1st, 2006 at 08:39 | #56

    I am only taking the Employment Advocate’s word for it SJ.

    Hmm, so the “employment advocate” set up by Kevin Andrews’ department isn’t critical of Kevin Andrews department’s IR “reforms”? Wnat. a. surprise. (Rolling eyes)

  57. June 1st, 2006 at 12:23 | #57

    Very likely Helen, public servants are occassionally very good at getting unspoken messages, and Kevin Andrews is a particularly vindictive & dogged zealot at times.

    There are 3 things the Employment Advocate said which were missed by all media outlets yesterday:
    That only 250 AWAs have been looked at when considering his report
    That conditions may have been negotiated IN as well as OUT.
    That caution should be taken to not jump to conclusions

    Muskiemp, please provide information on how you got to my site counter, as I have trouble getting to it. Beyond that you are entitled to your own opinion, though it says a lot about you that you don’t keep it to yourself.

  58. June 2nd, 2006 at 15:27 | #58

    Steve if you can’t do better than “snort” over problems with the sample size and can’t agree with the very person whose word you’re taking then it’s looking like you don’t get stats and you don’t get argument from authority.

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