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Monday Message Board

February 11th, 2008

It’s time once again for the Monday Message Board. Please post your thoughts on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language, please.

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  1. February 11th, 2008 at 07:34 | #1

    Rupert Murdoch is pushing for Howard to get a knighthood and pimping a new Murdoch Inc. book about him. Today they publish as “news” comments which Howard made over two years ago!

    Look for books like this on the big discount “remaindered” tables soon!

  2. February 11th, 2008 at 08:17 | #2

    And whatever happened to that Iranian Oil Bourse? It looks like those mysterious cable cuts might have derailed the plan

  3. gordon
    February 11th, 2008 at 09:36 | #3

    On 13 Feb. the Economic Policy Institute (US) will release a paper entitled “Renewing U.S. Manufacturing: Promoting a High-Road Strategy” as part of their Agenda for Shared Prosperity campaign. I’ll be interested to see how it compares with the report the NIEIR did for the AMWU: “The State of Australian Manufacturing” (.pdf).

  4. gordon
    February 11th, 2008 at 09:41 | #4

    OK, the AMWU report is now downloadable from here.

  5. gordon
    February 11th, 2008 at 09:44 | #5

    Ok, OK, you have to go to here and click on “reports”.

    There are times when unions get up even my nose! Learn how to run a website, guys!

  6. February 11th, 2008 at 10:04 | #6

    Could the US slowdown be, in part, due to the highly uncertain state of the US election? If economic decision makers have little idea as to what the economic landscape will be in 2009 (as the 3 candidates right now are quite different in their economic outlooks, and the betting markets are a coin-flip), they may be simply like deer in headilghts–afraid to make a move until they see what happens next?

  7. Donald Oats
    February 11th, 2008 at 16:12 | #7

    Cripes Ghandi (#1). If that book comes out, I’ll give it the due attention it deserves. To mis-quote slightly:

    “I have the book in front of me, in the littlest room in the house. Soon, it will be behind me.”

  8. Ian Gould
    February 11th, 2008 at 17:46 | #8

    Once again, public money is sacrificed on the altar of ideology.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23182150-5013172,00.html

    “Policy made in haste locks communities in a jobs vacuum

    * Font Size: Decrease Increase
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    Paul Toohey | February 09, 2008

    THE impulsive ideology behind former Aboriginal affairs minister Mal Brough’s plan to transfer Northern Territory Aborigines from unemployment benefits to work-for-the-dole programs has collided with reality, as the for-profit organisations with contracts to create jobs struggle to come to grips with the extent of their task.

    Mission Australia, to name just one of the Job Network providers, has been paid more than $3 million by the federal Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, but seems to be making little headway. In late October, Mission Australia arrived in two of the main Aboriginal population centres of the north and signed unemployment benefit recipients to individual mutual obligation Job Network commencement contracts. The mutuality was that the people would agree to participate in work programs and Mission Australia would provide such programs.

    In Maningrida, in western Arnhem Land, Mission Australia signed up at least 400 unemployed people and an estimated 500 on the Tiwi Islands. It has done the same thing in nine other Top End communities. For every signed contract Mission Australia earned $1500, with structured fees payable if people were placed into 13 or 26-week job programs.

    “In Maningrida, people were put through a drafting process and were assessed as either fit or unfit for work for the dole,” says Ian Munro, chief executive of Maningrida’s Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation, which runs the biggest community development employment program in the territory. The process was repeated by other job providers in numerous communities but so far those programs are few and far between. Unemployed Aborigines are largely as they always were: unemployed.

    The work-for-the-dole contracts pre-existed the federal intervention but once it was announced there was a rush to sign people up. This followed Brough’s warning that Aborigines on welfare ought to prepare for work. He had also announced he would quarantine, or income-manage, 50 per cent of their earnings.

    Adding further urgency to the drafting process was Brough’s announcement that the 7000-odd people involved in the territory’s CDEPs would also have their earnings quarantined. About a month after the intervention was announced, Brough realised CDEP money was not a welfare payment: it was real wages that the commonwealth had no power to quarantine. Brough therefore decided to abolish CDEP in the territory and put everyone under the Social Security Act so he could quarantine their income.”

  9. February 11th, 2008 at 18:30 | #9

    Another piece of news is that former-Minister Mal Brough has popped up looking to make some money in Indigenous housing in just the place (Tiwi Islands) where he pushed (read – bullied) through the 99yr lease which has made his involvement possible.

    I think audacious is the polite word for that.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/11/2159360.htm

  10. February 11th, 2008 at 18:35 | #10

    Ian,

    Yeah, I’ve seen it in action.

    They’ve ben working in a smaller Arhhem Land community where the single part-time Mission Australia worker worker was, not surprisingly, getting precisely zero people into real work.

    It’s not MAs fault, they have seen an opportuniy and gone for it. The fault was in the conception of the idea (if you can elevate it to such a lofty status).

    At least it has created some jobs – for non-Indigenous job network staff.

  11. BilB
    February 12th, 2008 at 04:28 | #11

    That is all just too distressing to think about.

  12. observa
    February 12th, 2008 at 22:16 | #12

    Not half as distressing as the breaking news that the Kramers are coming http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,23203976-2682,00.html

    Speaking of Kramers

    Once upon a time in the kingdom of Heaven, God went missing for six days.
    Eventually, Michael the archangel found him on the seventh day resting.
    He enquired of God, ” where have you been? ”
    God pointed downwards through the clouds. “Look Michael, look what I’ve
    made,” said God.
    Archangel Michael looked puzzled and said, ” what is it ? ”
    “It’s a planet,” replied God, “and I’ve put life on it. I’m going to call it Earth and it’s going to be a great place of balance.”
    “Balance?” inquired Michael, still confused.
    God explained, pointing down to different parts of the earth, “For example Nth America will be a place of great opportunity and wealth while South America is going to be poor; the Middle East over there will be a hot spot and Russia will be a cold spot.”
    “Over there I’ve placed a continent of white people and here I’ve placed a Continent of black people.” God continued pointing to different countries.
    This one will be extremely hot and arid and this one will be very cold and covered in ice.”
    The archangel, impressed by Gods work, then pointed to another area and Asked,” what’s that?”
    “Ah”, said God. “That’s South Australia, the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful people, impressive towns; it is the home of the world’s finest artists, musicians, writers, thinkers, explorers and sportsman.
    The people from South Australia are going to be modest, intelligent and humorous and they’re going to be found travelling the world.
    They’ll be extremely sociable, hard working and high achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as speakers of truth.”
    Michael gasped in wonder and admiration but then proclaimed, “What about balance God, you said there will be BALANCE!”
    God replied very wisely, “Wait till you see the wankers I’m putting in the Eastern States.

  13. February 14th, 2008 at 15:08 | #13

    Plus ca change…

    Bad news for Morris Iemma: a new Standard and Poor report casts doubt on privatisation profits.

    Meanwhile (top news story at Reuters today) a top global economist says the US government and Federal Reserve might need to start buying up assets to stave off a major 1930′s style Depression.

    And back home again, the Chinese government is buying shares in Rio Tinto…

    Is it time to start nationalizing industries yet?

  14. observa
    February 15th, 2008 at 10:42 | #14

    Not more bloody Kramers!http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,23215649-2682,00.html?from=public_rss

    “Is it time to start nationalizing industries yet?”
    Ditching income tax, etc and relying on resource taxing instead, is totally ambivalent about ownership and we can get rid of those taxeaters in the FIRB straight away. The penny will drop eventually with these SWFs forcing us to see reason.

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