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Everything old is new again

August 6th, 2008

After trying out three alternatives, the WA Liberals are back to Colin Barnett as leader, and, amazingly, he still hasn’t given up on the idea of a canal from the Kimberley to Perth.

Longtime readers will remember that we had loads of fun with this and similar crazy ideas last time around.

According to my quick calculations, broadly consistent with a study commissioned after the election, it could well be cheaper to supply Perth with water by towing icebergs from Antarctica.

I blush to admit it, but according to his Wikipedia article, Barnett is a fellow economist. (It gets worse – Buswell also has a BEc).

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  1. chrisl
    August 6th, 2008 at 23:06 | #1

    Plenty of economists have crazy ideas.I remember one who drove around Canberra in a prius for 3 days thinking that it was somehow connected to the grid!

  2. Jill Rush
    August 6th, 2008 at 23:38 | #2

    Never mind Prof Q. Every profession has its good and bad examples. Look at doctors – Nelson, The butcher of Bega, Haneef, Doolittle, David David, Fiona Stanley. What a range in that lot from the best to the worst or vice versa. There are teachers who have inspired and those who taught one how to stay awake under extreme conditions. Lawyers who are pedestrian and then Geoffrey Robertson and Steve Vizard. Look at scientists who find within their midst those who wilfully undermine climate change science.

    The change from Troy Buswell however will save us from any more whiffy headlines. A push for a canal will at least move us on from those.

  3. Socrates
    August 6th, 2008 at 23:46 | #3

    Its even worse for we engineers. Brehznev and even Osama Bin Laden were/are engineers.

    But yes the canal is amazingly stupid. The engineering aspects are almost as silly as the economics. Its quite hard to build a canal that flows uphill, and there are a few hills in the way between the Kimberley and Perth.

  4. huh?
    August 7th, 2008 at 02:16 | #4

    Its quite hard to build a canal that flows uphill

    The Romans solved that one: aqueducts.

  5. Socrates
    August 7th, 2008 at 07:31 | #5

    Actualy the Romans built aquaducts across valleys between hills. Water still flows downhill. The energy and cost required to pump it from teh Kimberly up over the Pilbara would be very great.

  6. August 7th, 2008 at 09:16 | #6

    Alan Carpenter is a journalist by trade but won’t hold that against him. I was impressed with him when he visited Broome earlier this year for a Community Cabinet(some video on my blog). He seemed just the same when the cameras weren’t rolling. Certainly enjoying riding the boom even if Paul Henderson is poaching his projects. Don’t know if Carpenter studied economics or is just a natural practitioner.

    I suspect that Colin Barnett has as much chance of winning as pushing water uphill.

    Is economics the hindsight science of explaining why your last prediction didn’t happen and convincing your audience to back the latest one? Isn’t that more like art?

  7. Spiros
    August 7th, 2008 at 09:53 | #7

    Barnett is not only an economist, he was a lecturer in economics at Curtin University. Just think, there are people with economics degrees, possibly in positions of influence, who were taught what they know by Colin Barnett.

    As for Buswell, according to the Wikipedia entry, he not only has a BEc he was the top student in his year at UWA.

    I’m surprised Buswell stood down. There are those who said he had no chance of winning the election, but I thought he was in a with a sniff.

  8. wilful
    August 7th, 2008 at 09:57 | #8

    in a with a sniff

    ooh, snap!

    (that’s meta)

  9. Jack Strocchi
    August 7th, 2008 at 11:11 | #9

    I despair of having a competitive Right wing party given the current gaggle of dills. God knows we need one with hard-line Left-liberals like Evans in the saddle right now.

    The LN/P’s situation is reminiscent of the ALP in the aftermath of Gough’s crash and burn. It took at least three elections before they looked electable again.

    The LN/P need to do a mass of institutional reform and ideological rethink. Obviously they are heading for the former with the merger (gơod call Pr Q).

    I suspect they will have to reformulate the liberal ideology to take into account sociological equity and ecological sustainability issues, which means giving ground to the Left.

    OTOH they can make up ground to the Right by pushing a more conservative cultural policy, based on a realistic appraisal of our anthropological identity. The merger with the conservative Nationals and the gains made by Liberal candidates in the bush and outer suburbs make that a natural fit.

  10. Spiros
    August 7th, 2008 at 11:24 | #10

    “Evans in the saddle right now”

    Who is Evans?

    Gareth? Cadel?

    Here is an Evans who is very culturally conservative, http://members.ozemail.com.au/~lindsay96/temp/Dorrie.html

  11. wilful
    August 7th, 2008 at 12:19 | #11

    …our anthropological identity…
    Whose, Jack, yours, mine, or my interracial neighbours?

    Sorry mate, the horse bolted on a white australia policy a loooong time ago.

  12. may
    August 7th, 2008 at 12:54 | #12

    familiarity breeds content?

  13. Respighi
    August 7th, 2008 at 14:47 | #13

    Jack Strocchi writes:

    I despair of having a competitive Right wing party given the current gaggle of dills. … The LN/P’s situation is reminiscent of the ALP in the aftermath of Gough’s crash and burn.

    I’d have thought that a more immediately relevant parallel than the post-Gough ALP was the United Australia Party’s fate after the 1943 Federal election. At least nobody following that event pretended there was continued life in the UAP.

    Bill Hayden showed in 1980 that Labor, when led by a conspicuously sane if uncharismatic individual, could come close to victory. But who really imagines that the Federal Libs, under any currently imaginable leadership permutation, can do that? The State Liberal Parties I shall not even mention.

  14. Jack Strocchi
    August 7th, 2008 at 17:12 | #14

    # wilful Says August 7th, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Whose, Jack, yours, mine, or my interracial neighbours?

    Everybody in our species. That is the aim of the human genomic project. It helps to know an individuals nature jumps when institutional structure gives it a shove. Especially when we seem intent on shipping a good part of the worlds population to these shores.

    The LN/P should concentrate on encouraging the breeding, bringing up and bringing in of gơod citizens. That is their area of expertise, with the exception of the disastrous Fraser experiment.

    wilful says:

    Sorry mate, the horse bolted on a white australia policy a loooong time ago.

    As if only the topic of anthropological identity was exhausted by the parochial activities of medium sized British dominion more than a generation ago. But post-modern Left-liberals makes anthropological delusionism an article of faith. Much as post-modern Right-liberals make ecological delusionism an article of faith.

    “Oh man, the bullsh*t piled up so fast…you needed wings to stay above it.”

    Cpt Willard

  15. Jack Strocchi
    August 7th, 2008 at 17:26 | #15

    Spiros Says: August 7th, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Here is an Evans who is very culturally conservative,

    In all honesty and without a hint of side I would prefer Ms Evans to her namesake holder of the Immigration portfolio. At least she tried to bring a bit of order to the madhouse.

    Unlike Chris Evans who seems intent on maximising disorder. His “bring the world over” policy will administer the coup d’grace to our gasping environment. And crush the living standards of the workers he was elected to represent.

    Not to mention encourage more than a few unauthorised transits to take the plunge to Davy Jones Locker.

    Proving that ignorance of ecologics, economics and ethics is not the special province of witless state Liberal leaders.

    “I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people in Boston phone book than by the 2000 members of the faculty of Harvard University.”

    William F. Buckley

  16. Spiros
    August 7th, 2008 at 17:37 | #16

    The funny thing is, Jack, exactly your sentiments were expressed when all those southern Italians and Greeks arrived en masse after the war. If they’d been taken seriously, Mr Strocchi, you and I wouldn’t be blogging today, not in English, at any rate.

    “I would prefer Ms Evans”

    Mrs Evans would be horrified to be called Ms Evans.

    Back on topic, does anybody think the Liberals will win in the west?

  17. Ian Gould
    August 7th, 2008 at 17:46 | #17

    “The funny thing is, Jack, exactly your sentiments were expressed when all those southern Italians and Greeks arrived en masse after the war.”

    Yes but that totally different.

    So was the arrival of the Vietnamese in the 1970′s.

    And the pre-WWII influx of Eastern European Jews was totally different too.

    And Jack’s sentiments are in no way realted to those of the people who burned down my German grandparents farm back during World WAr I.

    Similarly comparing Jack’s comments to 19th century dissertations on the threat of Irish papism to English liberty is simply unfair.

    Sure all the people making those comments turned out to be mistaken but this time is different.

    Because…

    Well, because.

    It just is.

    Queue Jack insisting that he loves all God’s children and is a true liberal.

    It’s just that he’s concluded on purely rational environmental grounds that we should restrict immigration.

    Similarly a couple of years back when he claimed we had to restrict immigration on national security grounds that was purely rational too.

    Ditto for when he argued that we had to restrict immigration in order to keep up our national IQ.

    And for when he argued that multiculturalism amd immigration should end because they were a threat to democracy.

    At this point, I merely look forward to what new rationale for restricting immigration Jack will come up with next year.

  18. Ian Gould
    August 7th, 2008 at 17:52 | #18

    “…the disastrous Fraser experiment.”

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/disaster

    “a calamitous event, esp. one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure.”

    So Jack exactly what sort of disaster did Fraser cause?

    Plague? Famine? Civil War? A depression?

  19. Lord Sir Alexander “Dolly” Downer
    August 7th, 2008 at 18:27 | #19

    The only disaster Fraser produced was John Howard, who went on to pollute the country with his appalling bigotry and spawn sycophants like Akerman and Flint – and our Jack.

    Oh, if only Phil Lynch had not done any funny business and so remained Treasurer.

  20. Lord Sir Alexander “Dolly” Downer
    August 7th, 2008 at 18:34 | #20

    Howard was never happier than when appealing to the Bruce Ruxtons and Jack Strocchis of this country. He would salivate at the very prospect; it was what he was put on the planet to do.

  21. Spiros
    August 7th, 2008 at 19:02 | #21

    “The only disaster Fraser produced was John Howard”.

    Quite right. Woolly headed lefties who nowadays are inclined to smile upon Fraser should not forget or forgive this.

  22. Alan
    August 7th, 2008 at 19:11 | #22

    The WA Libs have replaced an offensive dill with a dill.

  23. Lord Sir Alexander “Dolly” Downer
    August 7th, 2008 at 19:27 | #23

    Is anything worse than a WA economist?

    Peter Walsh was an economics uni dropout. Maybe that’s worse.

  24. rog
    August 9th, 2008 at 09:49 | #24

    “Open door” immigration policy has led to an influx of organised crime – both Bob Bottom and Gary Sturgess have written about the easy way the Mafia entered and became established in Australia. The latest seizure of ecstasy is a sample of the scale of organised crime here, the previous bust didnt do the gang any harm at all.

    RIP Donald Mackay

  25. August 9th, 2008 at 15:30 | #25

    Gee, rog. Thanks for letting us know that “real”Aussies would not get involved in organised crime. They are nice and clean, aren’t they? I’m sure the Coffin Cheaters would agree that they are just the victims of unjust prosecution.
    Now, where has that flying pig got to?

  26. rog
    August 10th, 2008 at 11:16 | #26

    There is a good argument against allowing proven criminals into the country – why import crime?

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