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Weekend reflections

May 21st, 2010

It’s time again for weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language please.

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  1. Mike Smith
    May 21st, 2010 at 14:27 | #1

    I don’t know David Campbell from a bar of soap, but what Channel 7 did was indefensible. I struggle to think, though, of a way to deal with the “journalists”, editors, camera people etc responsbile, that would appropriately punish them for their behaviour.

    Indefensible, in any real world, of course. I’ve seen Channel 7 seek to defend their story.

  2. Fran Barlow
    May 21st, 2010 at 14:41 | #2

    @Mike Smith

    There are whole layers of a problem here:

    1. The quasi-theocratic basis for governance — rooted in ancient morality and the “holy family” — to which Campbell appealed while getting elected
    2. The public appetite for scandal — who doesn’t like to find that the gatekeepers of morality are every bit as sordid as the people they know?
    3. Mass media as a commercial product and thus as a channel for low brow infotainment
    4. Mass media as a site of deskilled labour and the need to fill space
    5. Homophobia
    6. The frailty of the government as a narrative

    While the mass commercial media are the proximate villains, the structure of governance — which excludes the public from active engagement with policy and creates a context in which ignorance and prejudice are salient best explains this latest matter.

    Also, Mr Campbell was either a moron or had a political death wish. Didn’t he recall waht happened to Kirby all those years ago?That turned out to be a total furphy but that didn’t stop John Howard’s mate milking it for all it was worth. What can Campbell have been thinking? That’s the question I’d like to put to him.

  3. Mike Smith
    May 21st, 2010 at 14:56 | #3

    And, probably more important then punish, restrain/persuade/discourage the media from doing this sort of thing again. Codes of ethics are clearly inadequate.

  4. Fran Barlow
    May 21st, 2010 at 15:06 | #4

    @Mike Smith

    It is in practice, difficult to do this without seeming to trample on “free speech”. One could try the “privacy law” provisions and have an argument on public interest grounds — but this is in practice, tricky as the context will remain.

    You could withdraw state-derived advertising and patronage from companies associated with the publisher — in this case Channel 7 — but again this is hard to do.

    Then again us individuals can make it our business to write to those advertising during the program where the segments were aired and advise that we will discourage others from buying their products on this basis. That may be the most powerful action of all.

  5. Sam
    May 21st, 2010 at 16:21 | #5

    I have a simple question. If the US is entering a Japan style lost decade of deflation (as Paul Krugman suggests), isn’t that the easiest thing in the world to fix? Why not cut taxes (possibly to zero), and finance the shortfall with purely printed money? If inflation appears, good, the problem is solved. Why didn’t Japan do this?

  6. May 21st, 2010 at 17:55 | #6

    In Japan they thought inflation was naughty. Printing money was viewed as something that only unreliable countries engaged in and they thought they would lose face if they did it. In the US inflating the economy appears to be viewed by many as immoral and a threat to America way only slightly less deadly than Janet Jackson’s nipple.

  7. May 21st, 2010 at 17:56 | #7

    Learn to make sense type correctly I do.

  8. Sam
    May 21st, 2010 at 18:11 | #8

    @Ronald Brak
    Right so I get the political arguments against doing this. Are there any economic ones? It seems to me that with a fiat currency, deflation should never be a problem.
    Further, if it allows the government to cut taxes temporarily (even down to zero, if that’s what is required) then surely you could get the political Right on board?

  9. May 21st, 2010 at 18:37 | #9

    I can’t think of any good reason why an economy would want to put up with grinding deflation. As for getting the US political right on board, I’m sure you could get them to vote for a tax cut, but I’m sure they would declare printing money to be a plot by the Aunty Christ.

  10. Sam
    May 21st, 2010 at 18:50 | #10

    The Aunty Christ? Sounds terrifying! :) Thanks though Ronald.

  11. Freelander
    May 21st, 2010 at 19:19 | #11


    Japan did expand its money supply. And did some half hearted fiscal stimuluses. Expanding the money supply does not work the way Milton imagined it does. And it is dangerous to boot. Japan got itself into the mess in the first place by following Milton’s recipe for ‘curing’ inflation. They cured inflation but found that there are worse things than a bit of inflation. They have been praying for inflation ever since. I am not so sure about Krugman’s analysis concerning the US is correct. There is an important difference. The US is the world reserve currency or at least has been and a lot of foreigners own US bonds and US denominated assets. If what he is worried about eventuates to any great degree, the US will have the ‘mother of all currency collapses’ due to an evaporation of faith in the dollar. Deflation will be the least of their worries then. With the ever increasing number of crazies in the US, T-bagers, survivalists and all, and everyone equipped with army surplus and plenty of crazies in the military at high level, and in various arms of government, one hell of a break up of the union could not be ruled out in that case. The break up will make the collapse of the soviet empire look like a non event.

  12. Alice
    May 21st, 2010 at 19:54 | #12

    @Mike Smith
    Look- anyone who is a politician should have realised by now – they are sitting ducks for media intrusion. Maybe he should have brazened it out and said – come get me – so what? Im coming outta the closet.

    Apparently the party has known for years and the matter of David Campbell was a brewing storm. But lets face it. Any party who can tolerate Obeid rorting the system, Roozendahl rorting the system, John Della Bosca rorting the system, Tripodi rorting the system, Della Bosca’s wife rorting the system, John Robertson …..and the list goes on and on and on…

  13. Alice
    May 21st, 2010 at 20:05 | #13

    In fact, if the only crime that can be pinned on David Campbell is going to Kens of Kensington – Id rather keep him and ditch Obeid who seems t0o have far more assets than his parliamentary salary could afford (check DCs tax returns first though)…and Id recommend an ATO investigation into Roozendahl as well.

  14. Freelander
    May 21st, 2010 at 20:11 | #14

    The whole thing just an example of very sad gutter journalism predicated on appealing to base and prurient interest. Much the same as the ongoing Tiger Woods saga. Other than their wives, who should care and whose business is it?

  15. May 21st, 2010 at 21:00 | #15

    Japan expanded it’s money supply but did not follow the Keynesian prescription for getting out of a liquidity trap, which is to create inflation. Of course, grinding deflation is about the only thing that makes the lousy interest at the post office worthwhile. (You can save your money at the post office in Japan, but you can’t buy an evelope.)

  16. Tony G
    May 21st, 2010 at 21:22 | #16

    “Obeid rorting the system, Roozendahl rorting the system, John Della Bosca rorting the system, Tripodi rorting the system, Della Bosca’s wife rorting the system, John Robertson …..and the list goes on and on and on…”

    Alice, I think the correct word is rooting not rorting.

  17. Alice
    May 21st, 2010 at 21:35 | #17

    @Tony G
    Tony G – you have a one track mind – libs good – labor bad. Im not like you. I dont like State Labor (at all) but I wouldnt vote for Fed liberal in a million years (Abbott is a fool). Thats the difference between you and I – you cant tell the difference.

  18. May 21st, 2010 at 21:45 | #18

    Oooh, Craig Venter and co. have made synthetic life. This is a huge cultural milestone. You will be able to tell how huge it is from the number of people who say it’s not important. There will be a lot of discussion on just what this entails, but one thing is certain: Putting a saddle on a plastic dinosaur is so far beyond ludicrous it has gone to plaid.

  19. May 21st, 2010 at 22:29 | #19

    Back from the Global Voices Citizen Media Summit in Santiago. Just posted video of Nat Bayjay’s presentation there. He’s the project manager for Ceasefire Liberia. Truly inspiring!

  20. Sam
    May 21st, 2010 at 22:50 | #20

    There is a pretty clear graph on Krugman’s blog that shows rapid disinflation and a core CPI of less than 1%. It seems that deflation is certainly threatening. So what, specifically, would be the downside to the US financing all or part of it’s federal budget through seignorage at this time? I’m not saying they necessarily should be doing this, but if they shouldn’t, I’d like a precise argument why not. Why does being the world’s reserve currency present a problem?

  21. Monkey’s Uncle
    May 22nd, 2010 at 00:03 | #21

    Sam, the US already funds a large proportion of its budget deficit through seignorage. A large proportion of US government debt is owed to the federal reserve. Borrowing money from the central bank under a fiat currency largely amounts to just printing money to fund government spending.

    It works so long as the US has the world’s reserve currency, because the extra demand for US dollars from the rest of the world enables them to print more dollars without their currency collapsing in value. But if the world loses confidence in the US dollar and starts dumping it, the US dollar would collapse leading to hyperinflation and economic meltdown in the US.

    It is no doubt partly helped by China deliberately devaluing its currency to help its exporters, because in order to do this China must buy more US dollars.

    But you have to think that any economy that relies on the rest of the world continuing to lend it money as well as accept its paper as payment for everything looks like a house of cards that could easily tumble.

  22. Tony G
    May 22nd, 2010 at 01:32 | #22

    Alice, we both share a warranted disdain for Sussex Streets corrupt despots, some of whom you listed above, but the people who frequent this blog from interstate probably do not realise just ‘how’ bad the Sussex Street machine is. If you think the Sussex Street Despots are not exerting their corrupting influence federally with people like Mark Arbib being a Minister Assisting the Prime Minister, then “Thats the difference between you and I – you cant tell the difference.”

    Alice, I am no big fan of Abbotts (in fact my politics at the moment is probally more akin to Terjes), but I do not think I can every vote labour again until al remnants of Sussex Street are dead and buried.

  23. Tony G
    May 22nd, 2010 at 01:32 | #23

    MU said

    “It works so long as the US has the world’s reserve currency, because the extra demand for US dollars from the rest of the world enables them to print more dollars without their currency collapsing in value. But if the world loses confidence in the US dollar and starts dumping it, the US dollar would collapse leading to hyperinflation and economic meltdown in the US. ”

    So the US doesn’t have a debt problem because their debt is always in their own currency and they can always print more money to negate their debts, as opposed to everyone else (piigs iceland etc) who are enslaved to foreign debt.

    What is interesting is how the Chinese have pegged their currency to the $US, and as the Americans debase, the Yuan rises in real value in comparison to the world’s reserve currency. Maybe there is truth in the saying that the Chinese are the Shylocks of Asia, and as such the Americans need to be careful, or they might be beaten at their own capitalist game.

  24. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 22nd, 2010 at 07:35 | #24

    Update, Update, Update, the general consensus seems to be the Coalition are second raters and not fit to be the alternative government. The fiasco this week clearly shows the leader and Shadow Treasurer need to get a better grasp of economic and financial matters. Yesterday Garnaut said “This is a dangerous time for our country in a dangerous world. Europe is floundering, as governments wake up to the consequences of socialising the losses of private financial institutions in response to the global financial crisis’. Now ask yourself is Australia today better off as a result of Labor’s current economic policies in place or should we heed the ill-founded judgement of the Coalition. Everthing suggests Australia is in a better position to ride out the storm in comparison with other countries going under. Furthermore, the economics of the Resources Rent tax suggests that in the long run it is in Australia’s best interest to have a clearly defined tax base.

  25. Freelander
    May 22nd, 2010 at 09:35 | #25


    One swallow… Doesn’t make it Japan and a lost decade or two. The danger with flooding an economy with money is that if it does nothing the money is out there and when things do start to pick up it can create bubbles or run away inflation, in fact, it can create bubbles without general inflation. There should be some slackening of the money supply but it is something that needs to be done carefully. A great example of how not to do it was Greenspan. The vigorous monetary policy via lowing interest rates that he too often engaged in created bubbles in asset markets, not general inflation, although the economy wasn’t then at any serious risk of deflation and Greenspan’s motivation was to protect the stockmarket. That is why what Greenspan was doing was called ‘the Greenspan put’. Any time the US stockmarket looked in danger it was Greenspan to the rescue with lower interest rates. There is nothing wrong with some seignorage but there are dangers if they were to go all out with that policy. The US situation is different to Japan’s. The US problems are not easy to address. Not all problems lend themselves to a satisfactory solution. How best to solve or address all the US problems isn’t at all clear, to me at least. They are having some respite at the moment as all eyes are on Europe.

    I notice reading the linked Krugman post that Krugman seems to be suggesting some deflation could be coming but does not necessarily suggest an equivalence to the Japan situation. “Japan style deflation’ he may be suggesting some deflation coming but not necessarily losing a decade or two. The US experience, IMO, if there is deflation, will be different. Does he make more explicit comparison with Japan elsewhere?

  26. MH
    May 22nd, 2010 at 11:42 | #26

    Read recently courtesy Paul Krugman that ‘Too Big to Fail’ is a carefully managed PR exercise funded by guess who? Well guess it should be replaced by “TOO BIG TO BAIL”.

  27. Donald Oats
    May 22nd, 2010 at 13:39 | #27

    Caught half a dozen taxis this week due to some interstate travel to WA. All but one taxi driver was of overseas birth. All but one were polite and friendly, and a few made interesting conversation.
    Only one was uncouth and while friendly (to me, his fare), abused in extremely rude terms anyone pretty much on the Beck and co hitlist – ironic, since we are in Australia, not the USA – and threw in the indigenous locals for good measure. Recent immigrants of different culture or colour copped a shellacking too.
    I’m a white male Australian, and I guess that was a good enough point of similarity for the one taxi driver in question to decide I wanted to hear all about how “Obama is a monkey” and other choice tidbits from the Fox and Friends character assassination talking points list. I tuned out when the paranoid conspiracy theory about something or other was in full flight. Involved Communists I think.

    Which brings me to the tin foil hat brigade expression, often used to derisively denote people who believer they are under threat from a vast conspiracy. These outsiders, who are aware of the multinational conspiracy, use tin foil hats to stop special electromagnetic waves transmitting thought commands into their heads, or anything else transmitted by them (ie, the perpetrators of the global conspiracy). I nearly walked into a pole in a mall in Perth when I saw a bloke with tin foil wrapped around his head, held in place by a baseball cap. His attire suggested St Vincent de Paul mode; presumably it wasn’t a put on or some stunt.
    That’s the first real live tin foil hatter I’ve seen in the streets.

    It would be funny, except for the fact that there is one group of people who want to block out the E-M waves from them for a different reason – schizophrenia with paranoid delusions, afflicts the members of this group. It is a reminder to insist on decent government funding of mental health services in Australia.

  28. Alice
    May 22nd, 2010 at 16:10 | #28

    Seeing as this is weekend reflections….Ill reflect on a story Ive been told today by the mother of four children – three teenagers and a ten year old.
    The Mother and her children live on the Northern Beaches, where all four children are attending school. She rented her last house for 5 years, so obviously there was few problems with payment. However, the owner of the house who had left to start a business which didnt go as well as hoped wanted to return.
    The mother looked and looked for another house to rent but can pay no more than $700 per week (I dont know she manages that – it is not with the help of centrelink).
    She was refused time and time again, and likely has been priced out as well. Despite being on the waiting list for public housing for 14 years, there is apparently “nothing available”.
    Consequently the mother and her four children are now living in a motel…which she is paying for without any help from welfare. The most they will offer her is 4 weeks rent in advance and 4 weeks bond if she is lucky to find somewhere to live. She told me she has been refused applications countless times and thinks it is because she is a “single mother.”

    None of this surprises me at all. We live in a very uncaring Australia and one which in my opinion is fundamentally misogynistic for its treatment of these single women and their children, and one in which “public housing” has been privately rented and privately and furtively sold by NSW housing. Instead the solution is the “affordable rental assistance scheme” which subsidises “developers” and “private large scale providers” to build so called SEPP affordable housing. Not affordable for this mother. Its utter BS.

    This scheme should be open to private individuals who own property if they really wanted to see people, like this mother, have access to affordable housing. Where are all the existing investment houses and units? They are built, they are needed now and they are not in the pipe dreams of “large scale affordable house constructors.”…who are only too happy to put their hands out for the tax rebates. They are owned by private individuals. Clearly some have needed help for a long time and have received none.

    Ive never been so disgusted in my life…that we have sunk so far and our governments have fallen apart so much that they dont even know what need is, that they waste what could be good affordable housing policies (and dollar subsidies) on large developers over the genuinely needy.

  29. May 22nd, 2010 at 16:35 | #29

    News from the lunatic “libertarian” fringe …

    Rand Paul is a candidate for the republicans in the Kentucky senate. He is the explict choice of the right-wing “Tea Party” movement. …

    <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/22/us/politics/22paul.html"Rand Paul, the newly nominated Republican candidate for Senate from Kentucky, touched off more controversy on Friday by calling the Obama administration “un-American” for taking a tough stance with BP over the company’s handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    A day after he was forced to explain remarks he had made suggesting he was not fully supportive of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, Mr. Paul set off yet another round of Twitter, cable television and e-mail chatter by lambasting President Obama and his aides for insisting that BP be held accountable — and pay — for the oil spill cleanup and damage.


    Also in the Friday interview, on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Mr. Paul extended his belief that too much blame was being laid at the feet of business, by alluding to the deaths of 29 workers at a Massey Energy mine in West Virginia last month. “We had a mining accident that was very tragic,” he said. “Then we come in, and it’s always someone’s fault. Maybe sometimes accidents happen.”

    Hmm … American libertarians … lending metaphysics to the service of big business

  30. Jarrah
    May 22nd, 2010 at 17:26 | #30

    His statements about BP and Massey Energy seem to violate libertarian principles, though there are all sorts of libertarians :-)

    He supports the CRA as it applies to government, but not to private individuals. It makes some sense to me. As I have said before:

    Public institutions absolutely should not discriminate – they are meant to represent or serve all citizens regardless of sex, colour, race, culture, etc. People and private groups, on the other hand, should not be prevented from discriminating. To do otherwise impinges on freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of association and disassociation. And they’ll do it anyway, they just have to be sneaky about it.

    However in that post I did not acknowledge the social engineering angle (which is not meant to be derogatory) – you can get people to be nicer or better behaved (and vice versa) if the law helps to create a new social norm over time. For example – seatbelts, or smoking. We can also do it for the treatment of minorities. The question (for me at least) is, what maximises freedom? However defined :-)

    So I’ve slightly moderated my view. If a certain discrimination is sufficiently widespread that it greatly reduces the ability of a lot of people to live the life they have reason to value (to take Amartya Sen’s definition), and is likely to remain entrenched despite mitigating factors like economic incentives, then there is a case to be made for prohibiting it, as long as the prohibition doesn’t go to far (ie making religious groups rescind taboos).

  31. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 22nd, 2010 at 19:35 | #31

    Update, Update, Update, Tony Abbott’s latest dumb scheme is to keep the lower classes employed for as long as possible or until they drop dead whilst the well to do enjoy the fruits of their labour. No bull, it has been reported that ‘Older Australians would be given limited access to their superannuation while working part-time or casually as an incentive to keep them in the workforce longer’.

  32. Tristan Ewins
    May 23rd, 2010 at 11:46 | #32

    Project for a 21st Century Democratic Ecological Socialism – an Australian project with global significance.

    This essay is a collaborative effort to sketch out a future for ecological and democratic socialism, developed collaboratively by members of the SEARCH Foundation. Your feedback via the URL below is welcome!

    See: http://leftfocus.blogspot.com/2010/05/project-for-21st-century-democratic.html

  33. May 23rd, 2010 at 12:27 | #33

    One of the less discussed aspects of the proposed coalition budget cuts was the cut of $300 million on Rudd’s commitment to assist communities struggling to adapt to climate change.

    This directly violates Abbott’s commitment, just a month ago, to match the Rudd government on foreign aid, and sounds a lot more like Abbott’s earlier dismissal of climate change as “crap”. Interestingly, finance spokesman Robb has already specifically passed on the opportunity to describe adaptation to climate change programs as waste, acknowledging them as worthwhile, but simply being unaffordable.

    In short, this too would be an example of Abbott “over-extending” — or to use the Lib-bot slogan, “over-promising and under-delivering”.

    It is interesting that even amongst the anti-mitigationists like Lord Lawson, Bjorn Lomborg, people who see climate change as trivial and so on — apaptation is seen as the rational response to climate change. Now we can see this trolling argument for what it was — disingenuous misdirection. It’s not that they prefer adaptation to mitigation, still less that they are concerned for the poor — they just want to do nothing and allow the consequences to be visited on those least responsible for the problem and least well equipped to cope.

    Is it not time for someone in government to point out this latest policy about-face loudly and to point out that a sea-level change-driven refugee outflow from, for example, Bangladesh is hard to reconcile with “stopping the boats”?

    I’d say so, but I won’t hold my breath waiting

  34. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 24th, 2010 at 21:28 | #34

    Update, Update, Update, the Coalition rabble (albeit Turnbull) just cannot get their act together for the latest dimwit to join Abbott & Hockey ranks is Andrew Robb who seems to have put his foot in his mouth attacking an acclaimed academic and his work. The bloody drongo probably doesn’t know that Douglas A. Shackelford is a Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation of Accounting.

  35. Alice
    May 24th, 2010 at 22:22 | #35

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Hey its not unusual fro the Coalition to show a marked disdain for qualifications, academics and the truth.
    Its been part of their persona since Howard started the “anti intellectual” crusade. Oh and then there was the “anti bureaucrats” crusade and we mustnt forget the anti “arts and kultcha” campaign and the “anti students campaign” and the “anti boat people campaign” and “anti terrorist and pro war campaign”. Was there anyone he liked except lying cheating businessmen (AWB, Firepower, the privatised subsidiary of the Reserve Bank, BHP etc).

    Doh – some of the ankle biters like Robb are still doing it. Its a grand tradition in the Coalition – bash an academic. Thats how they lost their brains – no-one wants to work with them.

  36. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 24th, 2010 at 22:50 | #36

    Alice, it is a sorry state of affairs when bulldust takes over from reasoning for the Australian public have been hoodwinked by an Opposition which lacks credibility and depth in their ranks (albeit Turnbull).

  37. May 24th, 2010 at 22:54 | #37

    Government operates according to a different set of rules than the private sector. In government, when a program has unintended consequences, is excessively costly or time-consuming, the program is not abolished – no, often it is expanded. Failure to achieve objectives is rewarded with more taxpayer dollars, in the hope that throwing money at the problem will bring better results. As there is no ‘bottom-line’ or profit motive, taxpayers continue to subsidise the losses of government departments, and unions resist efforts to shed jobs, even if it’s because a particular program has failed.

  38. Ernestine Gross
    May 25th, 2010 at 00:02 | #38

    While advocacy for this or that is thriving, the oil keeps on spilling into the Golf of Mexico with disasterous economic consequences. I include ecological damages under economic damages because it is pretty obvious that ‘an economy’ does not exist separately from the natural environment.


    One might also wish to remember the 11 people who died in the explosion that started off the disaster.

    There is no doubt that BP, like all legal entities called corporations, have ‘a bottom line’ and a well developed profit motive. Surely the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster is but another reminder that the profit motive and the associated accounting statements are not sufficient conditions for the economic prosperity of humans.

  39. May 25th, 2010 at 00:29 | #39

    “Surely the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster is but another reminder that the profit motive and the associated accounting statements are not sufficient conditions for the economic prosperity of humans.”

    When so much is uncosted, that is probably true. Time to bring ecology into accountancy:

  40. observa
    May 25th, 2010 at 02:47 | #40

    Well speaking of printing money here’s a tectonic murmur from a senior statesman you might not expect as he drops the dreaded G word -
    Is he suddenly sensing the chill winds of Austrian Economics coming to blow away all that Keynesian paper? Interestingly for Keynesians he directly implicates the dropping of gold standards for growth in inequality of incomes, but not for Austrians who can describe only too well how the first cabs off the rank get the most benefit from the printing press. Are we about to witness the natural demise of fiat money in a mad panic for the exits as its holders scramble desperately for an anchor of value in the rock of ages?

  41. Alice
    May 25th, 2010 at 08:20 | #41

    Sukrit if you think that expansion of departments is just a failing of Government you are wrong. When private sector corporations have concentrated market power they think up new fees and charges and they expand whole departments developing new ways to gouge the humble consumer who doesnt have a lot of choice in the market…..refer to your bank statements, refer to marketing strategies of supermarkets, refer to insurance contracts.

  42. Alice
    May 25th, 2010 at 08:32 | #42

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Michael comments on another of Tony Abbotts policies on the run…or is that policies on the ride???

    ” ‘Older Australians would be given limited access to their superannuation while working part-time or casually as an incentive to keep them in the workforce longer’.

    Now if anyone is at all unconvinced mandatory super is a con….this should nail it in a coffin for you. You cant get it until you are almost in one.

    How dare Tony Abbott dictate that people over retirment age cant get their super whilst they do a bit of casual work. This is a tradition and a very healthy one. I know a few old retirees. One lady does some ironing. Another man goes to a local car yard every Staurday morning to wash down cars. Another does a bit of bookkeeping here and there.
    If they had to live on that casual income – they wouldnt be able to. So why does Tony Abbott think they can? Of course they should have access to their super, except for the fact that Govt and the financial sector are sleeping together to take the maximum they can from it.

    All Tony can do is hang around supporting mining execs and make hard hat decisions against ordinary working Australians. First with worchoices which really hit the young hard. Now he wants to hit the retired hard.

    Hit the road Tony…and dont come back.

  43. paul walter
    May 25th, 2010 at 09:06 | #43

    Alice,#42, seems just a sort of extension of the notion floated by Rudd as to raising the pension age a while back. Your point uncovers that Abbott’s real agenda will be a Thatcherite one and that it could be some thing in balance with the darker side of his nature.
    Elsewhere, Jarrah#39, suggests that ecology be incorporated into accountancy and I could gladly second that notion.

  44. Ernestine Gross
    May 25th, 2010 at 10:13 | #44

    One can’t incoporate ecology into accountancy. However, one can start by estimating the monetary value of negative externalities and develop a legal framework which allows invoices to be issued for negative externalities and these can then enter the accounting statements. This would reduce the divergence between commercial profits (calculated from market prices) and economic profit (calculated from market prices and administratively determed prices for major negative externalities). I am saying here that a cap and trade (ETS) for ghg emissions or a ‘tax’ on emissions are but a version of administered prices.

  45. Ernestine Gross
    May 25th, 2010 at 10:16 | #45

    The corporate response to environmental damage is typically the expenditure of money on image creation while keeping a measure of control. BP’s response is an example:

    “With pictures of oiled pelicans and ruined marshland dominating the newspapers, BP hit back with a PR offensive, taking out ads in major US newspapers and pledging up to $US500 million ($600 million) to study the impact of the spill.”


  46. Freelander
    May 25th, 2010 at 11:20 | #46

    Yes. BP has to do something to stop those enviroterrorist pelican who ‘oiled up’ in a vicious attempt to darken their image. I really like the way that ICI renamed itself Orica. Made it sound less like a chemical company and a bit more environmentally friendly even if the name sounds a bit like a killer whale. Nowadays the best you can hope for is not better behaviour, it is business as usual, but what you can rely on is plenty of spin. I like the way so many who have done so well out of Australia have come out of the woodwork to tell “porkies for profit” to assist big mining to avoid paying 40 per cent of the value of the resources it is currently getting almost for free.

    The attacks on Ken Henry have become particularly nasty.
    The hypocrisy of someone launching a tirade at a public servant while claiming that that public servant should, morally, keep their mouth shut when their competence and integrity is under massive attack. Why should they become a human punching bag? In the modern public service departmental heads no longer have tenure. They are no longer permanent heads which was a change made, it seems clear, because governments no longer want ‘free and fearless advice’. Some departmental heads still have enough integrity that they give it but now that frequently costs them dearly.

    Why anyone honest, with integrity, would want to work in the public sector for the good of the country nowadays is becoming more and more difficult to understand. The cost of doing so is becoming higher and higher. Lets hope the government shows some spine on behave of us taxpayers and doesn’t cave to the mining lobby.

    One more thing is this nonsense of ‘retrospectivity’. The tax is no more retrospective than any other tax change. If you following the logic being promoted by those crying retrospectivity, no tax change on business or others would be allowed except a change in their favour. If company tax is increased the impact is just as ‘retrospective’ as they are claiming this tax will be on mining. This is simply the nature of any change. Retrospectivity would be if they charged them RRT on the $90 billion super profit mining grabbed last year.

    Now some ‘business man’ Ralph is talking nonsense about sovereign risk.

    Spin never stops.

  47. Alice
    May 25th, 2010 at 19:12 | #47

    says “BP has to do something to stop those enviroterrorist pelican who ‘oiled up’ in a vicious attempt to darken their image.”

    Oh yes Freelander – it was the Pelicans fault!!!! They deliberately swam into a sea of oil just to caste doubt on BP.

    Look – BHP came, they saw and they plundered and they dont want to clean up their mess? Who amongst us is surprised? Who amongst us expects otherwise? Governments flash their peacock feathers…”BP must be made to clean up this mess!!!!”

    BP struts about saying “it wasnt our fault – we are suing some unknown supply company”

    The reality is…the locals will be left cleaning up the mess…no thanks to government, no thanks to BP, no thanks to anyone else.

    Rampant uncontrolled irresponsible worship of the “big company” structure (oh my…we dont want to upset them now…..do we??)

    There isnt anyone with the balls to take them on…but there should be.

  48. Alice
    May 25th, 2010 at 19:16 | #48

    Freelander – the less we have to do with “sovereign funds” the better off we are.

  49. Alice
    May 25th, 2010 at 19:30 | #49

    In post at 47 I said BHP when I meant BP…no matter BHP doing the same thing here in Australia….and now whinging about the rent resource tax (no different at all to BP). They make a mess, rip out the minerals, cart the profit off to tax havens, say “stuff the economy – what do we care about injecting our profits back in – whinge on to their favourite Uncle Rupert – “the RRT will kill jobs and kill investment in mining in Australia and we will leave…..” who duly publishes their lies.

    Yeah sure they will leave…no they wont…there is still iron ore gold under “our” Western Australian soil..

    No they wont leave at all …and these filthy dirty arguments from the mining industry in Australia, in the media, right now, are all rubbish.

    My partner is small businessman. Its not often we see eye to eye, given he is a descendant of Doug Anthony’s tribe…but yes he thinks it is a good thing there is some redistribution from large low tax paying industries to small business in Australia.

    So do I …and I have the weight of numbers on my side I think…both conservative and not conservative – so I say to Rudd and Swan – go for it. Give small business and other businesses a go in Australia and stop the sucking up to mining (and take Abbott and his team of idiots away in the process – the big business bagmen).

    Just stick to it. There are lots of other entrepreneurs out there who would like a cut of what mining has been enjoying and its time to give them a break.

  50. gregh
    May 25th, 2010 at 19:34 | #50

    switching topics, my schoolboy son has lately been excited by Jaime Lerner of Curabita fame


    Does anyone have any critical insights into his work, and particularly application to Australia?
    thanks, gregh

  51. Alice
    May 25th, 2010 at 19:43 | #51

    I dont have any critical insights seeing as I dont know / havent read about Jaime Lerner before your link above…. but can I say I like your kid for getting excited about him?

  52. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 25th, 2010 at 19:49 | #52

    Update, Update, Update, latest reports indicate Rudd has rebuked Julie Bishop’s lastest gaffe for suggesting ‘Australia used forged passports as part of intelligence operations’, breaching long-standing convention which posed ‘a risk to Australia’s national security’. And whilst on the topic, the Israeli Foreign Ministry response to the serious crisis is to limit intelligence between the two countries for Australia sending a Mossad rep packing after an Australian investigation revealed four of the suspects in Mabhouh killing used Australian passports.

  53. gregh
    May 25th, 2010 at 19:55 | #53

    he is a great guy :)

  54. Alice
    May 25th, 2010 at 20:01 | #54

    Hello ??

    You mean the “cockroach” suggested it was Australia’s fault that Israel used fake Australian passports to carry out a Mossad hit on its enemies??
    The cockroach (Julie Bishop) tells lies (big huge lies…the Caolition has lost the plot…seriously) like the rest of the Coalition.

    So the Coalition thinks the Australia voter is stupid and instead of doing the right thng politically and whilst in government ….they think if they can lie long enough…the bogan vote is now theirs?

    So whats new Moshie? Unless the bogans are a majority vote it seems a silly way to go, to me.

    I dont think the majority of Australians are that dumb, but it seems the Coalition thinks they are (maybe thats why they are losing….badly??)

  55. gregh
    May 25th, 2010 at 20:03 | #55

    If people didn’t choose to have their passports stolen by Mossad they wouldn’t have passports

  56. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 25th, 2010 at 20:05 | #56

    Alice, the Coalition lost the plot when Turnbull was turfed out from the leadership.

  57. paul walter
    May 25th, 2010 at 20:10 | #57

    Am glad to read comments here, Bishop’s intrusion last night antagonised me considerably. she joins Hockey and Abbott from last week, in a sin bin for the unintelligent, from which there is hopefully no return.

  58. Alice
    May 25th, 2010 at 20:13 | #58

    Be careful Gregh… you sound horribly like a libertarian…

    You know – indoviduals have choices and if you donty want to have your passport stolen you will choose not to have a passport…so its all your own stupid fault for choosing to have a passport!! Who would have thunk that?

    Guess you will just have to choose to give up the Hawaii holiday if dont want to have the risk of Mossad (or any other damn weird undercover murderous outfit) stealing your passport.

    Where the hell are the lawyers when you need them?

    Just throw the Israelis out of the embassy in Australia till they learn to use their own damn passports for their nasty activities.

  59. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 25th, 2010 at 20:21 | #59

    Paul Walter, Julie Bishop’s gaffe is far more serious than those of Abbott, Hockey & Robb. Not sure how it will end for Bishop.

  60. Alice
    May 25th, 2010 at 20:31 | #60

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Moshie – has it ever crossed your mind that politicians, once in the inner sanctum, simply lose the ability to smell themsleves as outsiders (the voters do?)

    I mean seriously – everyone can smell State Labor – they have done jack to to maintain infrstructure over ten years or more (probably 20) and now the federal Coalition is on the nose (for just plain lying).

    No – the Australian people are not stupid. How did they ever get the idea that they were?
    What happened that they came to lie, deliberately, and thought Australians would believe them?

    Not good enough. Why doesnt K Keneally say “sorry – the state is broke…we cant fix the traffic just yet.”
    Why dont the Coalition say “sorry – we got Iraq wrong. We got AWB wrong. Maybe we shouldnt have privatised it” “we got workchoices wrong. It was unfair on hardworking Australians”.

    Idiots – and lies wont now save them from the punitive vote.

    Rudd may be boring but the alternative will bring misery to many more. Ill place my bet now.
    State labor out – Fed labor will stay.

  61. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 25th, 2010 at 20:50 | #61

    Alice, your predictions may be spot on for Kristina Keneally is having a hard time correcting past mistakes. But she is trying and must be given the thumbs up.

  62. Alice
    May 25th, 2010 at 21:30 | #62

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    No no no Moshie … State Labor has had it….she is a puppet, Obeid still in power…
    they cant fix the roads (that they have not fixed in the past twenty years) for another twenty years…by that time we could all walk faster to work. Trouble is we wont get any sleep.

    Hopeless Moshie…State Labor are hopeless, clueless and pathetic (you Moshie – would have your time better spent campaigning for Rudd against the nutters in the fed Coalition). State Labor rode the boom and collected all those taxesb under Egan BUT rpivatised income generating assets and lost money on PPS deals they shouldnt have PPS’sd, spent so much on spin (endless endless spin and endless “plans”) and committees (endless committees) and made sure they covered their own wasteful trips and retirement benefits

    …they have nothing left to offer the people of NSW except…their own resignations.

    The sooner the better Moshie..hopefully before we are all walking to work at 3am.

  63. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 25th, 2010 at 21:40 | #63

    Update, Update, Update, Abbott is at it again calling Labor’s Resources Rent Tax ‘criminal’ without providing any evidence to support his claim. Furthermore, next week’s poll should make him think twice about glouting that ‘the backlash over the super profits tax has put the election within the Opposition’s grasp’. Bloody drongo.

  64. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 25th, 2010 at 21:56 | #64

    Update, Update, Update, the Coalition is a complete rabble not knowing where it stands with respect to the Resources Rent Tax with some members arguing large corporations can afford to pay more and others opposing the tax. Bloody drongos.

  65. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 26th, 2010 at 05:26 | #65

    Update, Update, Update, a close examination of the mining resource sector shows it is heavily subsidised thanks to the Australian taxpayer ie Fuel Tax Credits program worth $1.7 billion per year on top of other generous tax breaks worth some $1 billion per year. And one must not forget that the mining industry has been paying nix for its greenhouse pollution which has been conservatively estimated at a cost of $20 per tonne to be about $1.3 billion at 2006 levels. The facts speak for themselves, for in an industry where there is high profitability during the boom times it is only fair that the Australia taxpayer get a better return on their investment.

  66. May 26th, 2010 at 06:58 | #66

    Just caught your comments on ABC about the super profits tax and cost of living, PrQ.

    Well said …

    Did you hear Barnaby and Tikki Fullerton? Gosh … how embarrassing for the coaltion …

  67. Tony G
    May 26th, 2010 at 09:23 | #67

    Update, Update, Update, The only thing criminal MoShie is Sussex Street and all its derivatives; Like KRudd being Arbib’s and Obeid’s stooge etc.

  68. Alice
    May 26th, 2010 at 10:06 | #68

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Moshie – the Mining sector in Western Australia – mostly BHP has been wealthy enough to buy up tracts of whole houses in some towns, for their workers to live in “in case they start a project” – leaving the firemen, school teachers and other residents who cant afford to buy facing exorbitant rent increases while streets and streets of houses stand empty (owned by BHP).

    BHP obviously has more than enough super profits….while they decimate whole towns of small business and its traditional residents….while they think about projects.

    That must also mean they get a good share of rentn income from their own employees?

  69. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 26th, 2010 at 18:56 | #69

    Tony G, I have no idea what you are on about but I am interested to know what it is that gets under your craw.

  70. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 26th, 2010 at 20:03 | #70

    Update, Update, Update, former Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser’s, resignation from the Liberal Party was not surprising given that others have also disowned the Party for moving too far to the right side of the political spectrum which says a lot about the current neo-conservative rabble within the Federal Opposition Shadow Cabinet.

  71. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 27th, 2010 at 07:21 | #71

    Update, Update, update, according to reports today the Treasurer has rebutted suggestions from Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese that the mining sector was not properly consulted arguing “The independent tax inquiry consulted the mining companies – they consulted mining companies more than they consulted virtually anyone else in the process of preparing their report.” You get the feeling Albanese is just as dishonest as the rabble in the Shadow Cabinet.

  72. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 28th, 2010 at 19:33 | #72

    Update, Update, Update, according to the latest reports Uniting Church president Reverend Alistair Macrae lambasted Tony Abbott & immigration spokesman Scott Morrison for having abandoned not only Christian values but basic human decency in a return to hardline asylum seeker policies which punish already vulnerable people’. And to make matters worse for Abbott & Morrison next week Malcolm Turnbull is ready to roll up his sleeves and enter the fray.

  73. Alice
    May 29th, 2010 at 20:25 | #73

    If Kristina was trying hard to correct ats mistakes…Obeid would have been fired by now…Roozendahl the great seller off of lublic assets would have been fired by now….they would have taken away half the fines by now…they would have started ficing the roads….instead of another transport plan by now.

    There is a Carole King song that summs it up nicely for State Labor

    …Its too late baby now its too late but we really did try to make it.
    Something inside has died and we cant hide but we really did try to fake it…

  74. Alice
    May 29th, 2010 at 20:29 | #74

    I know Tony is truly atrocious Moshie. Id vote for Atilla the Hun over Tony but Id vote for Atilla the Hun over Kristina Keneally as well (they really are on the nose). Actually Im giving Barry O’Farrell a go.
    I think he is a good bloke unlike the lunatics in federal liberal.

  75. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 29th, 2010 at 22:37 | #75

    Alice, I’m not convinced Barry O’Farrell has the goods. As for Kristina Keneally, she is trying her best and only needs to reassure the NSW public that Labor is in for the long haul and more than a match for the Opposition. Thumbs up Kristina.

  76. Alice
    May 30th, 2010 at 10:22 | #76

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Moshie – KK just cant get out of the shadow of Obeid can she? As well – we have Roozendahl now complaining the party is on the nose, without even a dim recognition he contributed to it with his “EganesqueCostalot” privatisations – and his private insider profit making ventures with unit redevelopments. Is there a soul in NSW Labor who hasnt managed to amass a small fortune privately for themselves and their friends or family, above their salaries, from their State dealings?. The attitude has been – Public service ethics? None. Public services? Sell em. Transport problems – ignore them by writing a plan.
    Dont start the thumbs up again Mosh.

  77. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 30th, 2010 at 10:32 | #77

    Alice, you raise a number of problematic issues in relation to transport which go as far back as 1940s when the Cumberland Regional Council first raised them. Try a little harder for Labor is trying to correct what the Opposition failed to do when they were in office. Thumbs up Kristina.

  78. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 30th, 2010 at 19:58 | #78

    Update, Update, Update, when it comes to immigration policy many would have to agree with Craig Emerson’s views that ‘internal rifts within the Opposition were still alive and well’ and that the rabble were totally ‘confused and chaotic and deeply divided’ whose aim is as Lindsay Tanner puts it ‘stoking prejudice, not about solving problems’. Bloody drongos.

  79. Michael of Summer Hill
    May 30th, 2010 at 20:35 | #79

    Update, Update, Update, the latest Morgan face-to-face poll shows Federal Labor leading 54.5-45.5 in comparison to last week’s figures of 50.5-49.5.

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