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Weekend reflections

May 26th, 2007

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.

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  1. observa
    May 26th, 2007 at 19:49 | #1

    Woops! should have started-

    Since we’re all sick of politics by now, it might be time to talk about serious stuff like football. The real stuff that Port Power play of course, but alas, definitely not that awful stuff the Hawks and Saints dished up last weekend. ‘Tempo football’ it’s most euphemistically called, but judging by the response of footy fans on Adelaide sports talkback, it was more like temper football as far as fans were concerned. They were hot under the collar about where flooding, defensive footy has come to as a spectacle. The question is how to stop this degenerative disease of the modern game.

    Judging by the fans’ comments, the problem has largely arisen because of the much improved aerobic fitness of modern AFL players in being able to run up and down the field all game, aided and abetted by the 4 man interchange, which rests onballers, precisely for that task. The solution then boils down to either, or both of 2 choices. We could ditch interchange players and go back to the ‘good old days’ of once a player comes off(through injury) they stay off and the rucks and rovers rest in the pockets largely, as before. The only other alternative is some sort of zoning restriction for players and that necessitates an off-side rule.

    Well I may as well play AFL dictator(move overDemetriou) and tell you all how the game’s going to be played in future and because I’m the benevolent type, I’ll even condescend to tell you why. We’re going to have 2 interchange players only and afurther 2 reserves, making a squad of 22 still. The 2 interchange players can be subbed on and off at will and it’s up to coaches if they choose 2 rovers or a ruck and a rover for the task. My bet is they’ll choose 2 rovers for their legs and ‘rest’ a second ruckman in the pockets as they used to. This will give the game the benefit of speed still and also mean 2 reserves can come on for injured players, rather than add to the interchange rotation, which severely cripples a team, if a couple of players go down injured in a match. If more than 2 go down tough luck, the team plays half fit players or short. On top of that my additional offside rule requires a line across the centre of the ground and a team must have at least 6 players in each half at all times. That means they could only have a maximum of 12 players in their defensive half at any time. I don’t see the need to define/identify the back or forward 6, or perhaps the 6 that can go anywhere, as the players will most naturally define themselves. Generally half and full forwards/ backs will stay in their respective halves to be sure their team is not offside. Centre line players and onballers will no doubt run the field to avoid team mix ups too. Oh and while I’m dictating, deliberately scored points by defenders will count as usual, but instead of their team getting a free kick in, the ball will be thrown in again as per a boundary throw in. Defenders are not getting out of it that easy OK. Well the question is- am I a benevolent dictator or despotic tyrant fans?

  2. Jill Rush
    May 26th, 2007 at 20:26 | #2

    I observed several weeks ago that the issue for women were sleeper issues that weren’t being discussed.

    This week they have come front and centre through a sleeper rabbit. Having lulled us into thinking that he had no answer to the Rudd imperative the next day we are hit with accusations of malfeasance and hypocrisy by the wife of Kevin Rudd. Timing like Tampa.

    However in the meantime many working women have been well and truly put off side by their economic circumstances courtesy of Workchoices plus increasingly expensive childcare which is less than the best and high taxes.

    People don’t want Janette to be attacked and neither do they expect Kevin Rudd’s wife to be attacked wither.

    Joe Hockey’s attempts to best Julia Gillard by saying people prefer her policies because she is “prettier” with Bill Heffernan’s put downs so fresh do not go well. Most Australians are not so prejudiced that they mind the thought of a female Deputy Prime Minister.

    The Liberals are not even close to a female Deputy Prime Minister now that Amanda Vanstone has gone to Rome. Women are not even in the race for the Liberals or Nationals for the Ministry. Julie Bishop and Helen Coonan remind one of the Stepford Wives rather than real people. The hair, the eyes, the unthinking policies which are more likely to reduce services than increase them.

    One of the things that Kevin Rudd has demonstrated this week is that he understands the modern dilemmas that many modern families face. Contrast this with the PM and his wife who have a life remote and have long since lost touch from the real issues families face in paying the bills and keeping a roof over the heads of the family.

    The two narratives are likely to form a turning point in the campaigns being run.

  3. Peter Wood
    May 26th, 2007 at 20:38 | #3

    There have been some interesting developments in Iraqi politics recently. The leader of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (formerly the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq), Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, has been diagnosed with lung cancer. He has left for Iran, in order to recieve chemotherapy.

    The military wing of the SIIC, the Badr Organisation, is a Shiite sectarian militia has been responsible for numerous human rights abuses. Some media reports suggest that the Badr Organisation includes death squads responsible for kidnappings, torture, and murders. Interestingly, Al-Hakim has the support of both the US and Iranian governments.

    Meanwhile, Muqtadr al-Sadr, whose militia the Mahdi Army is also responsible for human rights abuses, has delivered a speech attacking the US occupation and calling for Sunni-Shia cooperation.

    At the same time, the Iraqi parliament is debating an oil law which some analysts say is about privatising Iraqi oil. A law which is percieved to benefit the US at the expense of Iraq would surely inflame tensions. It could be that US interference in Iraqi politics is fanning the flames of sectarian violence and some sort of withdrawal might be what is needed to stabilise things.

  4. observa
    May 26th, 2007 at 22:27 | #4

    Bad news too in the game of political football I’m afraid Jill http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21799713-1702,00.html
    Perhaps John could delete my first incomplete post?

  5. May 27th, 2007 at 09:47 | #5

    Julie Bishop and Helen Coonan remind one of the Stepford Wives rather than real people. The hair, the eyes, the unthinking policies which are more likely to reduce services than increase them.

    Jill,

    I notice that a womens looks are suddenly relevant if she is a Liberal and you don’t agree with her policies. Interesting. What are we to make of this?

    Regards,
    Terje.

  6. gordon
    May 27th, 2007 at 12:12 | #6

    The Iraq Oil Law is the subject of a short Wikipedia article, which notes that passing the oil law is one of the US’ benchmark events for withdrawal. The law has been widely condemned, for instance by US Congressman Kucinich here and by one Sandra Hernandez here. A bit of Web browsing brings up lots of other commentary.

  7. May 27th, 2007 at 12:14 | #7

    How come Labor supporters have gone all quiet over Therese Rein? Its a silly question since the answer is obvious – embarrassment.

    For months Kevin Rudd has been arguing the immorality of John Howard’s WorkChoices legislation while his own wife, Therese Rein, was using the same laws to her advantage. She runs a private job placement agencies that drags in most of its money from the public purse.

    How do her employees rate her? Well according to several ex-employees in the press this morning she is a ‘bastard boss’, ‘a bully’ who ‘screamed at her staff’. She underpaid her staff and did that most horrible of things (according to her hypocrite husband’s standards) she forced them to trade their non-salary conditions for a 45 cents per hour increase in income. And yes it was she who did it, not their previous employer.

    She seems also to have short cut the services she provided to job seekers – multiple interviews at the same time.

    She seems in short to be a woman driven by the bottom line not her husband’s IR policies.

    Rein now says: ‘I am sorry’. Now I understand.

    With tears in her eyes she will now sell her business for hundreds of millions of dollars so her husband can continue his quest to form a national Government based on truthfulness and honesty.

    Labor’s supporters have responded in one of 3 ways:

    (i) gone all quiet as noted;
    (ii) trumpeted Rudd as the compassionate husband who recognizes his wife’s right to a career and
    (iii) (about to come) by presenting Therese as a decent woman making the supreme sacrifice for her husband.

    None of these positions helps dissolve the key problem facing Rudd and Labor supporters.

    Those who oppose WorkChoices need to convince the community why it is such iniquitous policy when the person leading the charge against it has a wife who is exploiting the same legislation. And how you can excuse gross hypocrisy with a ‘sorry’ and a ‘sale’.

  8. Fred Argy
    May 27th, 2007 at 13:28 | #8

    Harry, it may well be true that Ms. Rein may be a tough boss who is predominantly concerned about the bottom line (although I suspect it would not be hard to find employees of other large firms with a grouch of some kind against their employer if you are a newspaper searching assiduously for such evidence). And it is certainly true that the inquiry by the workplace authority into her company has the potential to greatly embarrass Rudd if it finds there was some illegality.

    But you spoil your case by then claiming that she used Howard’s own WorkChoices legislation to “exploitâ€? her workers.

    Firstly, my understanding is that the agreement with her workers (for which she accepts full responsibility) was NOT an AWA – the preferred choice of the Coalition – but a common law contract which is the preferred device of Labor.

    Secondly, Harry, how do you know that 45 cents an hour (about $17 per week) is inadequate compensation for loss of overtime rates and penaty rates? It may be so (45 cents seems low at first blush) but it depends for example on how much overtime workers work on average, If a common law contract buys out conditions, the deal must not disadvantage the workers so if Ms. Rein can be shown that she gave inadequate compensation she might be guilty of technically breaking the law and that would be very embarrassing indeed. But, Harry, why are you pre-judging the case? Let’s see how it pans out.

  9. May 27th, 2007 at 13:53 | #9

    Fred, I couldn’t care less if the 45 cents is oir is not adequate compensation. What I dislike is preaching that such deals are unreasonable when your own wife (with Wayne Goss, a director of her firm) is doing them.

    I said nothing of AWAs.

    I don’t have to prejudge the iissue. She has already said she has done the wrong thing and apologised.

  10. Fred Argy
    May 27th, 2007 at 14:26 | #10

    Harry, I think she apologised about the under-payment (relative to the award) of the transfered workers , an oversight which she rectified without any regulatory involvement and which most sensible people are prepared to forgive her for. I don’t believe she has apologised about the 45c agreement (I could be wrong) – which is what you focused on.

    And I don’t follow at all your point about Rudd preaching that “such deals (implying WorkChoices deals) are unreasonable when your own wife is doing them”. The “such deals” were not under WorkChoices but common law contracts, which existed before WorkChoices and which Labor supports in lieu of AWA’s. It leaves intact Labor’s criticism of WorkChoices – which is based heavily on AWA”s and which do not have a ‘no disadvantage’ test (or did not at the time of Ms. Rein’s agreement).

    I think we should all wait for the verdict on her agreement under common law before getting too excited. I personally wish her well. She and her firm have already suffered significant damage.

  11. Kit
    May 27th, 2007 at 14:41 | #11

    I think you might find hc that if Ms Rein had used Howard’s AWAs instead of common law contracts there would not be any compensation needed (as it they were signed before the new ‘fairness’ test) and no requirement that there be any connection to award conditions. Therefore, these workers under AWAs would have received no back-pay and would have had no legal redress for inadequate compensation. Unlike the current situation where they have both.

    This episode only highlights the entrenched unfairness of the government’s system.

  12. melanie
    May 27th, 2007 at 15:04 | #12

    Yesterday was Sorry Day (stolen generations). We’ve also this week had the 40th anniversary of the 1967 constitutional amendment giving the Commonwealth power in Aboriginal affairs. We have got rid of some of the worst iniquities – Aborigines are now citizens; some land rights have been awarded; wages are paid in cash instead of flour, sugar and tea; wages are usually paid, you’re not allowed to ban people from public swimming pools. It’s hard to describe these as achievements when it was merely a case of removing things that we were all (or should have been) ashamed of.

    Nowadays average life expectancy remains 17 years below the white average; deaths in custody continue to rise; incarceration rates continue to be well beyong what is acceptable; diseases that were eradicated (or nearly) in the white community decades ago are endemic; drug and alcohol problems are above average; unemployment is higher than the national average; housing conditions are sub-standard; we have a condition of informal apartheid across most of the country; we have a Prime Minister who refuses to recognize that the relative privilege of the white community was built at the expense of Aborigines (‘I wasn’t there, so it’s not my fault’).

    As Lowitja O’Donohue pointed out in a speech last week, Aboriginal health has been allocated $135 million over the last 4 years, yet the government is going to spend $123 million its the uttlerly idiotic citizenship test.

  13. observa
    May 27th, 2007 at 15:23 | #13

    “This week they have come front and centre through a sleeper rabbit. Having lulled us into thinking that he had no answer to the Rudd imperative the next day we are hit with accusations of malfeasance and hypocrisy by the wife of Kevin Rudd. Timing like Tampa.”

    I presume by ‘he’ you mean John Howard Jill. Whether the govt was responsible for the timing of the publication Ms Rein’s ‘misdemeanour’, any more than Bill Heffernan’s gaffes is beside the point. Ms Rein’s actions, like those of motel owners are always fair game in our free press society from which noone can hide from the truth. Ms Rein was simply caught like a rabbit in the national spotlight of supersensitivity to conflict of interest. Those who are so ready to see graft and corruption in politician’s ownership of shares and the like have hoisted one of their own on that petard. The fact she is a woman even doubly so for them now (not that they dare mention that) This is not a gender issue at all. The same quandary would have faced Kevin the millionaire businessman, if wife Therese was running for PM with those poll numbers. The witch-hunters of political correctness and conspiracy theorists would have had him skewered the same way. In the face of this new reality, Ms Rein had to make the only sensible choice she could under the circumstances-divest the threatened arm of the business before it possibly became worthless. Although her firm to date has won govt business on its merits, that was about to change, as every contract under a Rudd govt would be suspect according to the whispering classes. Faced with such pressure, her firm would have to be so far out in front of the tender pack with govt bureacrats and administrators then, as to be commercially untenable. The business and its staff had to be considered under the potential new circumstances and so sell it was. Congratulations to all you who are so keen on dissecting share registers, business interests and the like for similar witch hunts on very remote or spurious conflicts of interest. Another great moral victory for you all to celebrate here, together with Caesar’s wife.

    Then we come to the second hanging offence for Ms Rein, who unfortunately for the usual lynch mob, doesn’t fit their bastard boy Chris Corrigan mould. Hence the deafening silence. She didn’t pay her staff what the lynch mob thought was fair, but rather what Ms Rein and her staff, mutually agreed was fair between them. Naturally she was a standover merchant like a certain motel owner. That’s how she saved $70,000 in salaries, which when you add 9% super and say a low 2% Workcover levy on top adds to $77,826 which will come out of profits. That money may well have supported an extra marginal staff member to lighten the load of existing workers, so they could all get home a bit earlier or work a little less stressed. Oh well the new owners can sort that out with a retrenchment or two and reallocate some extra workloads, to satisfy the bloodlust of the purist lynch mob. No capitalist or brainwashed victimised worker is going to tell them what a worker is worth.

  14. Hermit
    May 27th, 2007 at 21:20 | #14

    I see our very own Alexander Downer has been joyriding around with exalted company in electric cars in the US
    http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=15251&url=
    If they’d done this earlier they may have reconsidered the need to invade oil rich countries. I’m sure the hybrid Holden project was mothballed during the term of the current government. Seems the US has do something first so we can take note.

  15. observa
    May 28th, 2007 at 00:09 | #15

    Hermit, I am in no mood for talk of hybrid cars after getting wet at AAMI stadium this evening. Hybrid cars have as much chance of saving us from global warming as Port had of beating the Cats at half time. (Eagles fans should begin to worry) We might all be better off environmentally, driving a Hummer than a Prius
    http://clubs.ccsu.edu/recorder/editorial/editorial_item.asp?NewsID=188
    Or shall we look at the sums like I did when deciding on a LS Mitsubishi Colt instead of a Prius for the missus. Here’s the specs comparison
    http://www.redbookasiapacific.com/au/vehicle/comparespecs.php?key2=TOYO07EZ&key=MITS07AX&new=1
    Identical in most respects except the Prius(cheaper version note) has cruise control but no CD stacker and a more sluggish engine 57Kw cf the Colt’s 77Kw. Add nearly a quarter of a tonne to the Hybrid and it’s going to be a bit of a porky slug for a 1.5L green machine. Never mind because at 4.4L/100km cf the Colt’s 5.6L/100km it’s saving the planet 1.2L/100km at first glance. So suppose you are driving an average of 16000km pa for the 10 year power train warranty of the Colt(sorry the Prius only has 3 years) That’s 1920 litres of fuel saved at say $1.35/litre or a saving of $2592 in today’s prices. Take that off the price difference of $18410 for the 2 cars, leaves you an upfront saving of $15818. Hell for that you could add to it the govt’s $8000 subsidy and chuck $23800 worth of solar panels on your house and most likely negate your whole driving carbon footprint. Whilst I can tolerate doctor’s wives driving a Prius, there is no excuse for seeing company logos on them. With their bean counters, they should know better than environmentally illiterate airheads. Still the airheads vote, which is why foreign ministers, etc have to hang out at hybrid car photo ops. Why on earth Mitsubishi don’t target potential Prius owners with the green facts of their Colt offering is beyond me. The impossibility of overcoming conspicuous greenism I suppose.

  16. Ian Gould
    May 28th, 2007 at 00:56 | #16

    Observa,

    The Prius Vs. Humvee comparison is simply false.

    http://www.sudburyedc.org/blog/2007/05/12/prius-vs-hummer-analysis-debunked/

    http://donoevil.netscape.com/story/2007/03/13/prius-outdoes-hummer-in-environmental-damage/comment/730334

    I note too that not only are the claims about Sudbury more than a decade out of date, there’s no discussion of the relative amount of platinum in the catalytic converters in the two vehicles and where that comes from.

  17. Ian Gould
    May 28th, 2007 at 01:09 | #17

    You are also assuming Observa that the Prius is the be-all and end-all of hybrids.

    Toyota has already said that as they increase production and add more models over the next several years the price differential between the Prius and other cars will disappear.

    At the same time new battery packs are entering production that are lighter; pack more charge and last longer.

  18. Hermit
    May 28th, 2007 at 07:47 | #18

    Some reasonable observations on hybrid cars. My main point is that our cabinet is goggle eyed in awe of all things American like schoolboys who’ve snuck into a striptease club. At various times all members of the Howard cabinet have scorned ‘green’ innovations; for example Sen. Minchin is apparently on parliamentary letterhead saying that cosmic rays not CO2 cause global warming. For whatever reason the hybrid Holden didn’t go ahead. But the chance of a spin in an electric car with Condy Rice brings out that schoolboy again and ‘green cars’ are suddenly great.

  19. Andrew
    May 28th, 2007 at 14:03 | #19

    Jill states – “One of the things that Kevin Rudd has demonstrated this week is that he understands the modern dilemmas that many modern families face. Contrast this with the PM and his wife who have a life remote and have long since lost touch from the real issues families face in paying the bills and keeping a roof over the heads of the family”

    Excuse me? When was the last time Kevin and Therese has a real issue with paying a bill and keeping a roof over the head of the family? They are an awful lot wealthier than John and Jeanette……..

  20. Jill Rush
    May 28th, 2007 at 20:09 | #20

    Andrew,
    I don’t know when the Rudd/Rein family last had trouble paying a bill but there is no doubt that they have been doing so. The Howards by contrast have spent untold millions on their accommodation and not faced a single bill.

    The Howards will never have the understanding of the organisation it takes to run a family and have both partners in the workforce.

    Observa – sorry about your team losing the footie – however you have completely missed the point of my post which is about the away that the Liberal coalition treat women.

    I don’t think that Therese Rein is a losing but her commitment to the Australian people will do both her and her husband a lot of good. Her promise to sell her company has earnt her respect. For those who are tired of the relentless pursuit of the wife of Kevin Rudd there are clear messages that have been picked up by the electorate. None of them those that the PM or his Ministers prefer.

    What Kevin Rudd and Therese Rein have shown is that they are the kind of couple that most would be happy to have live in the Lodge. Meantime the Howard government’s promise to persecute the companies of Therese Rein will be seen for the bullying behaviour it is. This is very off putting to women voters.

  21. observa
    May 28th, 2007 at 20:13 | #21

    My general point is we have cars now that can seriously contribute to conserving fossil fuels and Shoichiro Honda made stepthru motorbikes over 30 years ago that ran on the smell of an oily rag. Whole families ride them in Asia, but don’t hold your breath for even a modicum of solo riders to make some sacrifice on them here. Concern about Global Warming (sorry ‘Climate Change’ for our elites nowadays) is moral badge wearing and when grown economists come out in force to support signing up for failed Kyoto, that says it all. Hey, why not sign The Pledge? It sure beats actually doing anything about it. Sweet Jesus, if you turned the aircon off in the universities they’d squeal like stuck pigs.

    Kyoto type cap and trade policies stink like middle class hypocrisy and even if they could be made to bite, as fast as the Milky Bar Kid and Co stuck their fingers in the dyke, their State mates like Iemma would be doing 25 yr exemption deals with the Bluescopes of the world. Yes I own Bluescope shares but that doesn’t make the stench of middle class vomit go away. As for the silence of the media, doubly so.

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