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Monday Message Board

September 7th, 2009

Its time once again for Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

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  1. robert
    September 8th, 2009 at 08:34 | #1

    Although I certainly don’t agree with everything that is in this magazine, I found this piece a thought-provoking and convincing defence of authors against the Productivity Commissions (and The Australian‘s) sneers about “parasites”:


  2. Freelander
    September 8th, 2009 at 09:21 | #2

    If an author is not good enough to make a living without a subsidy why should money be taken out of my pocket (in the form of higher prices) to subsidise them? Occasionally the Productivity Commission and ‘The Australian’ get it right. This is one occasion. It is questionable whether the restrictions help local authors anyway. They do put up the price of books and they do help the subsidiaries of multinational publishers to make more money by putting out local editions at higher prices. The price of books in Australia is an outrage. There are plenty of good Australian authors who can make it without subsidies. And why should we favour local authors over foreign authors anyway?

  3. September 8th, 2009 at 10:30 | #3

    Indeed, Freelander – and why should money be taken out of your pocket to subsidise aluminium smelters with cheap energy. That’s only one of many examples where taxpayer money is used to encourage business investment. Some would see encouraging local printing as a worthwhile investment. And, aren’t all those authors dumb in not realising as you intuitively divine that it is questionable whether the restrictions help them. Poor deluded fools – if only they would listen to Freelander and his ideas, even though they are based on non-experience.

  4. robert
    September 8th, 2009 at 12:55 | #4

    I do wish those who defend the Productivity Commission in the matter of authorship would be consistent. If it is wrong to throw taxpayers’ loot at writers (and it might be), then presumably it is also wrong to throw taxpayers’ loot at the mining industry, to throw taxpayers’ loot at universities, to throw taxpayers’ loot at road networks (think of successive NSW governments’ belief that every housing / transport problem can be solved by half a dozen new Sydney motorways), and (as John L says) to throw taxpayers’ loot at aluminium smelters. For that matter, would Mr Windschuttle and Quadrant last even ten minutes without the federal “sit-down money” that, when it comes to the Aboriginal scene, they deplore?

  5. Freelander
    September 8th, 2009 at 13:33 | #5

    Yes. We shouldn’t subsidise the aluminium smelters with cheap energy. And if authors are capable of writing books people want to read they don’t need subsidies. Why should I be penalised from reading books written by one set of writers (foreign successful ones) to help another (local unsuccessful ones that I don’t want to read)? I am not sure that the Productivity Commission has supported throwing money at mining, but the reasons for funding some roads and some university expenditures are obvious and the reasons for doing so are not reasons that justify stopping books from coming in from overseas.

  6. Fran Barlow
    September 8th, 2009 at 14:06 | #6


    Mind you, Freelander … it does seem that the parallel import restriction has been associated with a growth in Australian authors being able to live from their writing. Some of the most successful authors in children lit today are Australian.

    While I am in general against protectionism, I am against making “free trade” a dogma, especially since it has never existed in practice. There may well be some value in providing a degree of protection for mass importing from OS of an author’s creative work. It’s not as if individuals can’t buy the book on Amazon if they wish.

  7. September 8th, 2009 at 17:14 | #7

    Well, Freelander, you are really not penalised. If you wait the successful books from overseas will be available in public libraries (and they are free). If your local library does not have the book you want, it can be obtained by an inter-library loan that may cost you $2 or so. So, I’m not weeping for your claim of being penalised. And, the existing system does not stop books coming in from overseas as you claim in your last sentence. It does help to get your facts right.

  8. Freelander
    September 8th, 2009 at 19:14 | #8

    @ Fran Barlow

    Maybe the parallel import restriction has been associated with a growth in Australian authors being able to live from their writing… (I will take your word for it). In that case, it has also been associated with rising global temperatures. So what?

    @ JohnL

    I suppose I could live overseas and I wouldn’t be penalised then. Stopping parallel importing is about stopping (certain) books from coming in from overseas. For practical reasons there is no attempt to stop parallel books coming in from Amazon and you are not frisked for those (parallel) books as you enter the country. Hence, I agree with your last point about getting facts right.

  9. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 9th, 2009 at 06:36 | #9

    John, Rudd has been called a lot of things but calling him a ‘Communist Party general secretary ‘ is a bit far fetched. I think the red flag is out and Rudd is not going to take this lightly.

  10. September 9th, 2009 at 16:00 | #10

    ABC 4 Corners peddles UK Government 7/7 Big Lie, censors 9/11 widows

    On Monday 31 August as the 8th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist atrocity was fast approaching, ABC’s four corners broadcast a BBC documentary “Conspiracy 7/7 – The London Bombings” which purported to “assess the truth behind the conspiracy theories” behind the London Tube Bombings of 7 July 2005. In fact, it did nothing of the sort. It merely attempted to discredit the whole British 7/7 Truth movement by focusing on a few questionable individuals within it. By broadcasting this rubbish and refusing to broadcast other well-researched material which blows apart the Official 7/7 story, as well as the fiction of 9/11, the ABC has shown itself, far from being biassed to the left, to be be little better than another arm of global corporate propaganda.

    Urgent: Please attend protests to mark the eight anniversary of 9/11 and demand proper inquiries into 9/11, 7/7, Bali etc. In Brisbane, meet outside Central Station at 11AM, In Sydney meet outside the ABC Centre at Ultimo at 11AM (further information here).

  11. Fran Barlow
    September 9th, 2009 at 16:40 | #11


    I’m not sure what point you were making about global warming and parallel imports … perhaps you could be explicit?

    You also missed JohnL’s point and mine. You can import from overseas as soon as the book is available so you aren’t disadvantaged.

  12. September 9th, 2009 at 18:10 | #12

    Nice to see the Left has figured out the central banking scam:

    The Federal Reserve, through its extensive network of consultants, visiting scholars, alumni and staff economists, so thoroughly dominates the field of economics that real criticism of the central bank has become a career liability for members of the profession, an investigation by the Huffington Post has found.

  13. robert
    September 9th, 2009 at 21:03 | #13

    JohnL makes a good point regarding the humble Inter-Library Loan, a much under-used resource these days. Case in point. There’s an important book on music in 19th-century Paris, by an eminent French musicologist, which, according to the Internet, would cost me $168 if I wanted to buy it through, say, Amazon. No Australian library houses it. But via Inter-Library Loan, the State Library of Victoria can get this book in for me temporarily from Britain, at a total cost of $39, GST included. Well, which method do you think a cash-strapped reader like myself is bound to choose? Forking out $168, or forking out $39? And for books available at other Australian libraries, the cost would be much lower.

  14. Rationalist
    September 10th, 2009 at 18:00 | #14


    “Metallurgical coal exports in 2008/09 surged 129 per cent to $36.7 billion, thermal coal rose jumped 114 per cent to $17.9 billion and LNG increased by 72 per cent to $10.1 billion.”

  15. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 10th, 2009 at 20:06 | #15

    John, whilst Premier Rees is targeting pubs and clubs that have rising alcohol-related assault rates and enforce a 2am lockout, I believe the time is wright to have a blanket midnight to dawn State curfew.

  16. nanks
    September 10th, 2009 at 20:34 | #16

    MoSH – whilst I know the dream of a police state is dear to the hearts of executive power throughout our land it is never the right answer. Why not try something new and address the causes of disadvantage and oppression instead? That’s what all the research supporting the development of a civil state has been pointing to for decades and decades.
    Just when is compassion the wrong response?

  17. Alice
    September 10th, 2009 at 23:22 | #17

    Sukrit…interesting article you posted here…I agree with it. In fact I think the monetarist and monetary economics views started infecting Treasuries and Central Banks slightly earlier than the mid 1970s (early 1970s). Alan Blinder must have found his brief tenure at the Fed frustrating in the extreme given the robotic control Greenspan seemed to command over his recruits. He must have thought he was working a delusion central. Economists selected from unis based on their colours (usually right) and their views (usually monetarists), given jobs in banks and Treasuries and Central banks, published in journals with the same well paid disciples and ex fed economists as editors….is it any wonder those on the left have been screaming about this for years???

    There is Bernanke putting his name to lightweight textbooks around (now and prob collecting royalties) telling us the US housing market was “normal” and he had “tamed the business cycle.”

    No the left didnt “finally discover the central banking scam”. The left knew all along it was a scam. It was the right who created it and the right who peopled the central banks and the right who became monetary economists the right who gained the prestige of Treasury appointments….and its not much better here. The left on the other hand were harassed, denied appointments in unis bla bla bla

    Sukrit ask yourself one thing about the money trail….where did it go…Central banks to banks and high level finance and gambling on wall street.

    Sukrit…you are wrong…It was the right who didnt have a clue and wanted more of it.

  18. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 11th, 2009 at 01:07 | #18

    Nanks, I don’t believe in a police State but I have seen enough of what alcohol does. It seems nobody thinks thinks about the majority of people who are affected as a result of alcohol, either directly and indirectly. No Nanks, it’s time for some common sense to prevail. Thumbs up Rees.

  19. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 11th, 2009 at 07:49 | #19

    John, today Turnbull had a swipe at Rudd over Howard’s economic and structural track record but I see things a little bit differently. If one looks back at ie Howards IR reforms and the reasons why States implemented deeming legislation to protect workers, then it is not hard to fathom out that Howard’s IR reforms was a real disaster for it took ‘State governments’ to protect employees who were being ripped off and in many cases not being paid at all. Thank God he’s gone.

  20. Alice
    September 11th, 2009 at 08:24 | #20

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Moshie – exactly how has NSW Lbor protected employees???/ By privatising every govt employing organisation it can get its hands on ???? If state governments supposedly protected workers Moshie….and my guess is you will say thumbs up Rees for protecting workers….however Mosh – why, just tell me why if NSW labor so… protected workers…why does it have the highest rate of unemployment of any state? And why is it now coming out that the Victorian Bushfires may have been caused by faulty unmaintained electricity wires (privatised version of course). Never mind the jobs of the old linesmen lost and the shoddy state of infrastructure and the lives lost.
    Howard was vicious to employees. We all know that, but you suggest state governments have protected employees? Bah humbug Mosh.

  21. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 11th, 2009 at 08:35 | #21

    No Alice, just look up the past NSW deeming legislation to get a better understanding of what was happening. Thumbs up Labor.

  22. Alice
    September 11th, 2009 at 08:51 | #22

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Mosh – then tell me why Ken Bayliss, the rail station manager who helped disabled people up the stairs and elderly people buy tickets at Point Clare station on the central Coast for the past eleven years just lost his job to a ticket machine Moshie? If your “left faction” Rees was such a workers friend…why is the right agenda still continuing merrily along unabated in NSW Labor, the mates state?

  23. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 11th, 2009 at 09:03 | #23

    Alice, you have gone off the topic. As for Ken Bayliss he has my sympathy but technological changes will disrupt peoples lives no matter what industry you are in.

  24. Alice
    September 11th, 2009 at 10:01 | #24

    I will just say one thing Moshie. Jobs. NSW jobs. Bugger technology on train stations. Its only for the able and it usually gets vandalised anyway and it leaves the station unsupervised for thieves and thugs to rob or harass travellers. Its a disgrace to have unmanned stations. At least they could put in talking ticket machines. Imagine it… “good morning Mrs Smith – the usual ticket??? – if you just step on to the mini crane we will assist you down the stairs.” Lost it. Do you see this sort of scrimping on transport services in the US? Or the UK or anywhere for that matter? Only from this pathetic government.

  25. Kitchenslut
    September 11th, 2009 at 10:18 | #25


    A few months after privatisation the Cairns Post has reported that the Qld Guvmint has had to step in and broker a peace deal between Jetstar and Cairns Airport over landing fees after negotiations broke down.

    Are the profit interests of both parties closely enough aligned with the broader interests of tourism in Cairns? There was a proposed tourism levy (ie bed tax)by Council earlier in the year would it be more appropriate for part of such a levy support the airport in return for lower charges and increased flights?

  26. Alice
    September 11th, 2009 at 10:48 | #26

    That happened in Sydney as well KS. After the guvmint removed price caps….Macbank increased landing fees 40% in a year after JH’s productivity commission declared “we really dont think they (Macbank) will raise landing fees because there will be the disincentive of the possibility of the government reintroducing price caps”….yeah right…laughter heard all the way down the corridors to the boardroom lunch at Macbank!!

  27. Alice
    September 11th, 2009 at 10:58 | #27

    The sad reality is we have governments that have so stripped away their expertise they couldnt run a simple airport if their lives depended on it. Not NSW Labor and not Bligh’s government either anymore. They keep stuffing up badly with privatisations and are doing the states out of growth, out of tourism dollars, out of income and out of jobs..they want to get paid to front a camera and deliver spin and not have to worry about services and still collect their pensions on the way out the revolving door.

  28. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 11th, 2009 at 12:01 | #28

    Crikey John, when the frustrated Coalition runs out of ideas up pops Tony Abbott hurling abuse at Julia Gillard calling her a ‘shi*-eating grin’. What next.

  29. Alice
    September 11th, 2009 at 12:19 | #29

    Dont worry about Abbott Moshie. He always was a grit eating u know what…..

  30. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 11th, 2009 at 12:33 | #30

    John, it’s funny how the neo-conservative indolents who are ridiculing Rudd for telling the truth are now coming out of the woodwork to defend the indefensible.

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