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Monday Message Board

August 19th, 2013

It’s time for another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language. Lengthy side discussions to the sandpits, please.

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  1. Ikonoclast
    August 19th, 2013 at 08:46 | #1

    Something ought to be done about the internship slave trade. Let’s hope internships don’t take off in Australia the way they have in the US and UK. An internship is where a young person is totally exploited, working for nothing to gain experience. Presumably thir parents must keep them or give them allowance so that they can live.

    Given high youth unemployment, the employers now have such a whip hand over the young that the young are expected to work for nothing in an internship for the first few years. Of course, there is no guarantee of a job at the end of it. The experience gathered is often of dubious value as interns are used as low-skill “go-fers”.

    Some intern dealerships in the UK even tell; “potential recruits that if required they must pay “between £50 to £200″ a day for the privilege of an internship. Etsio takes a cut for itself and the employer takes a share too because, as Etsio instructs its young customers: “The fact is, most of our employers wouldn’t offer work experience unless they’re paid.”

    That’s a great one isn’t it? Paying an agent and the employer for the privelege of a job! I hope our laws are strong enough to stop this egregious exploitation of the young (and their families) in Australia.

  2. Newtownian
    August 19th, 2013 at 10:18 | #2

    One of the reasons I am lukewarm about carbon and energy markets and trading systems as proposed by Labor (not that the coalition has any plan whatever) is the tendency for perverse or blow-back effects arising from the current global trading environment. If ‘stuff’ becomes more expensive here there will be movement of production out of national markets to (short term) cheaper production areas outside of Australia and benefits will be lost.

    An illustration of this can be found in “Wiedmann T. A review of recent multi-region input–output models used for consumption-based emission and resource accounting. Ecological Economics 2009; 69: 211-222.”

    Here is an illustrative quote “They find a rise of 8% in total UK consumption-based emissions between 1990 and 2004 accompanied by a shift in the trade balance of embedded emissions towards imports. This suggests “that the UK is increasingly exporting its more carbon intensive industries” (p.601) and confirms the trend that consumer products are increasingly imported and not produced within the UK. The authors stress the “severe policy implications” (p.602) in conjunction with any attempts to reduce emission.”

    Another related but slightly different problem, which an audience member pointed out to the ZCA Solar roadshow her in Sydney the other day is the tendency for efficiency savings to be subsequently spent on something else. There is a useful early analysis here “Sorrell S. The Rebound Effect: an assessment of the evidence for economy-wide energy savings from improved energy efficiency: Sussex Energy Group for the UK ENERGY RESEARCH CENTRE; 2007 October Report No.: ISBN 1-903144-0-35.”

    There is nothing surprising in these ‘rebound’ effects which work against carbon and energy impacts and footprints more generally. But they illustrate how, short of Kyoto 6 and a world which has all agreed to equitable sharing of carbon, energy and natural resources without degrading natural environments still further, economic drivers will likely make a farce of supposedly beneficial environmental trading as a credible solution to carbon energy sustainability and ecological footprint issues as long as it is enshrined as the primary tool for describing and managing human society – as is currently the case.

    What am I missing? Pithy one liners appreciated.

  3. Ken Fabian
    August 19th, 2013 at 10:32 | #3

    Is party politics – and the infiltration by climate science denial into it – the reason there is no clear majority support for climate action? If there were a Conscience vote on key climate legislation I think there would be a clear majority that do accept it’s validity and seriousness and that even within the LNP the out and out deniers are outnumbered by the accepters (but the denier minority has captured the party machine and swings the majority who don’t understand it and don’t really care).

    I think MP’s have the responsibility, personally, to be as well informed as possible about a problem of this importance – but they have been delegating the getting well informed part to unelected party machines, that have no obligation to be well informed or even to be truthful. That puts obligations to ideology, allied organisations and institutional supporters above the solemn and serious responsibility to be not just well informed but the best informed?

    Where are the LNP members and candidates that know the problem is real and serious and who deplore the gratuitous slandering of our scientists and who cringe inside at the sight of colleagues jumping to defend the “rights” of deniers like Monckton or Carter if they are denied access to a Community Hall to spruik BS? Why can’t they bring themselves to defend our scientists and our scientific institutions or even stand and dare be recognised as a supporter of climate action?

    Out of Nine candidates for the Reps my district only two appear to have any real commitment to addressing climate. One looks like he would support whichever makes himself look the best at the moment (and a free copy of his how to get rich books for every school. A pony with that?) One – Labor – is a rag in the media generated anti-green wind. The other five wanna be MP’s are hard core climate deniers and obstructors – starting with the irrepressible Barnaby Joyce. The Palmer United”s climate denial could be either loony conspiracism or just self interested cynicism – not a good look either way. Two more are completely loony climate deniers competing for the title of looniest – laRouchers vs One Nation. Last is climate denial with religious fundamentalism and a liberal… err… generous helping of bearing false witness against scientists – Nile’s CDP. Although they claim to be agnostic… err… unconvinced. And don’t wish to be otherwise.

    And with climate denial front and centre of a mainstream political party our MSM can’t bring themselves to make climate an issue; if Greens don’t show massive growth in support that is interpreted as lack of community concern. But mainstream politics has worked for 2 decades to frame the problem as fringe green in order to dodge having to recognise their own obligations to be atop the issue.

    Just take a look at ‘respectable’ Conservative thought on climate and you will find it is not far removed from those completely loony climate deniers. Appalling and it should be unacceptable.

    Start demanding CONSCIENCE VOTES ON CLIMATE. Because it’s party loyalties, not lack of numbers, that keeps our government from acting effectively.

  4. Newtownian
    August 19th, 2013 at 11:11 | #4

    @Ken Fabian

    “Is party politics – and the infiltration by climate science denial into it – the reason there is no clear majority support for climate action?”

    Great question. Some observations:
    - When campaigning in 2007 it was pointed out to Kevin07 that while he was promoting climate mitigation, he and his wife were tootling around in gargantuan Ford Explorers. Ooops he replied I’ll switch to hybrid Camrys??!!
    - For the past 35 years I have bored friends stupid talking about limits to growth stuff. Some got it better than I (especially hippies), but most would agree completely/sincerely then proceed as this had no relevance to their lives.
    - A few years ago support for climate change action was at about 65% – then it dropped to only about 40% – at a time the case has become more unassailable with such things as the summer melt of Artic sea ice.

    This begs the question of whither this cognitive dissonance that precedes denialism. Perhaps economic theory on depreciation captures this story nicely – we live in the present, want our stuff now and really we don’t care about the future.

    If anything denialism seems a secondary driver reflecting vested interest like the Koch’s recognition that some strategic public relations can help them greatly in the short term. In this they are probably helped by the implications of ‘Limits to Growth’ of which climate change is one. LtG basically says we cant keep going like we are now but there is still not as yet no coherent solution that will work for 7 billion at a level of affluence of that in Australia. The numbers just don’t add up So people are forced to think about and self alone support the person who runs the fortress Australia line even though its not viable in the long term. In short denialism runs a lot deeper than the black propaganda campaigns.

    A great barometer for this at the moment is arguably Dick Smith. He is increasingly an LtG advocate. But go listen to him and you will find he – probably like Turnbull and Carr – is desperate to keep a form of growth capitalism probably because it is so much part of his personal belief system. His only solution on offer is the Nuclear panacea even thought its economics make no sense.

  5. Troy Prideaux
    August 19th, 2013 at 11:14 | #5

    @Ken Fabian
    I wouldn’t be surprised if most MPs relied on their respective electorates for the bulk of their “information” source (especially if the opinions aligned), so there’s likely a bit of chicken & egg to the educational process with these controversial issues.

  6. Troy Prideaux
    August 19th, 2013 at 11:36 | #6

    @Newtownian
    I’ve always been a bit of a Dick Smith fan :) Ok, yes I am a geek, but he has been banging on about limits to growth for quite some years now.

  7. Newtownian
    August 19th, 2013 at 11:48 | #7

    @Troy Prideaux
    I don’t think we should be surprised by his LtG awareness given his Australian Geographic inspired by National Geographic who have been banging on about environmental impacts for 45+ years that I remember. With Smith, which is pertinent to this blog is he is facing the question personally “Is Green Capitalism/Growth and Oxymoron”. Any idea how long he had admitted to this problem? – post GFC perhaps? certain many of the more thoughtful business/economics management community have been brought to question their logic by these events quite independently.

  8. Donald Oats
    August 19th, 2013 at 11:57 | #8

    The behaviour of Labor with respect to climate change policy started off with some potential, but flip-flopped since then. My reading of it is that there is some continuing internal conflict within the ALP concerning the extent, or even the necessity, of having policies that go to addressing the seriousness of climate change. If it weren’t for the Greens, I doubt that climate change policy would be even as strong as it is now; sure, the Greens refused to back the original Rudd policy—a political mistake, perhaps—but that was understandable, because they believed even bolder action was required—backed by the scientific evidence available at the time.

    Now the Rudd has made some breathtakingly inane and sycophantic promises of an economic zone for Capricornia, I’m feeling a deep sense of frustration with both major parties. They cannot seem to find a refugee policy that treats all asylum seekers humanely, irrespective of the method of arrival, and nor can they provide a scientifically credible climate change policy. As for economic policies, I’m underwhelmed by talk of yet more subsidies and rebates and bonuses for people doing what people will do anyway.

    One area that I’d like to see a major party consider ripe for change is the whole taxation system. Perhaps I’m an idiot, but I don’t actually object to paying tax. The problem is that the tax system is in many ways quite inequitable. The use of the taxation system to provide rebates and bonuses for select groups of “politically important” people is entrenched.

    My first question is why should people be “entitled” to work-related tax deductions? The more income people earn (PAYG in particular), typically the larger the pool of potential work deductions. Now, it isn’t morally wrong to use work deductions that are currently admissible and justifiable, and I’m not arguing that it is wrong; rather, I’m questioning why we have work deductions at all. Seems like a rather unnecessary complication of the tax system.

    A related question is why has there been such outrage at asking for log book evidence of work-related use of a car provided under a salary packaging arrangement? It’s like complaining about being pinged for speeding on a freeway with well marked speed limits: you know the rules, and yet believe that you are entitled to ignore them. Anyway, why do we even allow salary packaging at all? Why are we supporting high income earners who can so arrange their finances to get a cheap car, at the expense of other, not so fortunate, PAYG employees? After all, any loss of tax revenue in one section of population means a need to find it elsewhere.

    Finally, things like baby bonuses, negative gearing, and the like. Wouldn’t it be better to have a no-deduction income tax system that is at a significantly lower rate than now, rather than a complex system which affects low income to middle income earners disproportionately? I realise that corporate entities are a different kettle of fish, but even so, PAYG tax is a pretty bloated and distorted system. If a big thicket of rebates and deductions could be removed, that would go a long way to improving things, IMO.

  9. August 19th, 2013 at 12:01 | #9

    Fran,

    Saw an interesting tweet exchange with the AEC about preferences.

    They say that as long as 90% of the boxes are numbered you can exhaust your chosen preferences without delivering preferences to parties you can’t stand.

    So, according to s 270 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (in answer to the query) they advise:

    If it was 1,2,3,4,4,4,5, etc with over 90% we only go to 3

    So you can still vote for the Greens without automatically giving preferences elsewhere.

    As an aside, did you see that the Wikileaks Party put the Greens below such parties as the Shooters which means they just might cost Ludlam his WA senate seat (and deliver it to the Nationals – most likely according to Antony Green).

    WTF? Ludlam and the Greens have been the only elected politicians to stand up for Assange, Wikileaks and against NSA etc… and to thank him they’re going to give control of the Senate to Abbott.

    Brilliant.

  10. J-D
    August 19th, 2013 at 12:34 | #10

    @Megan
    The provisions of section 270 apply only to the counting of votes for Senate elections, not to the counting of votes for House of Representatives elections.

  11. August 19th, 2013 at 13:02 | #11

    @J-D

    Yes, should have made that clearer.

  12. Fran Barlow
    August 19th, 2013 at 14:38 | #12

    @Megan

    They say that as long as 90% of the boxes are numbered you can exhaust your chosen preferences without delivering preferences to parties you can’t stand.

    Thanks for this Megan. I was aware of this but as I understand it, 90% must be marked correctly. That would mean that there would need to be 120 candidates on the ballot just so that I could exclude the last 12. There are quite a few uglies I’d like to exclude — “Smokers Rights”, “Shooters”, “Australia First”, “Stable Population Party” … doubtless there are others.

    If it’s the case that they don’t have to be numbered correctly, then that’s great because then I can misnumber them after The Greens and perhaps a few others who are defensible.

    As an aside, did you see that the Wikileaks Party put the Greens below such parties as the Shooters which means they just might cost Ludlam his WA senate seat (and deliver it to the Nationals – most likely according to Antony Green).

    It’s even worse than that. They are preferencing Australia First and Smokers Rights and Shooters and Fishers above us in some states. Australia First are not quite f@scists but they are nevertheless seriously nasty rightwing folk, who at Cronulla tried to start an ethnically based riot — which puts them within spitting distance of those I would call f@scist.

    I had been fairly sympathetic to Assange — and still believe his right not to be coercively rendered to the US should be protected. Bradley Manning too should not be in prison. But my respect for Assange has been greatly diminished over this. I wonder about his mental health.

    The Wikileaks Party claimed that these preferences were “an administrative error”. I want to see the correspondence, in the interests of transparency of course. And do they plan to publish an HTV now?

  13. August 19th, 2013 at 14:51 | #13

    @Fran Barlow

    The AEC were quite clear about it.

    It is even safer to mark 100% of the boxes just to sure, but say you wanted to vote ‘Green’ and were happy to pass preferences on to, say, two other parties – you vote:

    1 Green,
    2 Whoever,
    3 Other Party – and then just mark all remaining boxes with a “4″. After “3″ no other preferences flow anywhere.

    I’ve checked section 270 and they’re right.

  14. August 19th, 2013 at 14:56 | #14

    @Fran Barlow

    PS, on Assange – a lot of Wikileaks supporters are appalled but I suspect the rot is internal rather than coming from the top. There are some very aggressive libertarians in those circles and whilst Assange is mildly libertarian I just don’t think this action comes from him. I suspect some internal wreckers at work.

  15. Jordan
    August 19th, 2013 at 14:58 | #15

    @Donald Oats
    Donald, There are really good questions you pose there.
    What is the answer to all of them?
    The answer is Central Planning.

    I know that as leaning neoclasical economist, you would like not to have any type of central planning in capitalism, but wishing it it will not make it true.
    There is Central planning in capitalism too. Governments plan the economy in their respective states.
    There is no free “free market” as you dream of except in Somalia or in Amazon or African tribes regions.

    Your questions listed examples of how central planing works. It works trough incentives and on a long time scale. Comapre that to Soviet Block central planing that worked trough orders and in compressed time scale that is of 5-10 years.

    Why is there a need for central planing? Without CP, some industries would overwhelm other sectors in developement and importance, some will flourish while others will suffocate and vanish even tough all are an essence of prosperity if society.
    Central planning evens out plaing field for all necessary industries within a country and makes interaction to the highest utility for tthe whole society.

    The reasons that you are confused about those questions is that you desperatly seek to jetison the need for central planing in an economy, to refuse the reality and what it is telling you: You enjoy the benefits of central planing / ordered succesful society.

    Why economy works that way that it needs central planing?
    Try working your ideal from simple model of one corporation in one country with fixed money quantity and fixed population number. Then add another corporation and see what happens. Then another and you will find that economic equilibrium becomes so small covering only a percentage of people working while majority is barely surviving.

    Not to come to such small equilibrium in an economy you have to have loans and smart central planing. Fiat money makes those problems be solved easier.

    I described such a model in “We’re only ‘doing it tough’ out of envy”
    Central planing is essential to any economy, just as internal central planing is essential to any corporation. Then what is an CEO then a central planner?

  16. Fran Barlow
    August 19th, 2013 at 15:40 | #16

    @Megan

    They had him cosying up to Rand Paul and other anti-abortion senators in the US.

    I should say that I don’t think the mere fact that we took up his case means that he “owes” us. That’s not why we did it.

    OTOH, the fact that he has chosen appalling people to preference — people who are mere stalking horses for the Libs or worse simply doesn’t make any sense.

    Some other senate oddities in NSW

    1. The No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics party are preferencing the ALP above the Coalition in NSW and Victoria.
    2. Terje’s LDP is giving its first preference to One Nation — a party marked by its animus to globalisation, multiculturalism, free trade and so forth …
    3. Carers Alliance is giving its effective preferences to the Coalition
    4. The S&x Party is preferencing One Nation and the Shooters ahead of The Greens.
    5. Australian Republicans have the Coalition higher than the Greens or Labor.

    The hard right is spoilt for choice with 21 options. Some are probably bogus. There’s a “stop the Greens” party and “Australian Motoring enthusiasts”. Hmmm

  17. August 19th, 2013 at 16:30 | #17

    @Fran Barlow

    I don’t know if you watched it or read the full transcript, but there was a good deal of nuance around what Assange said about the Rand Paul crew. Excerpt:

    So now there’s an extreme center in the United States where the Democratic Administration and a large chunk of the Republican Party have come together and are pushing for, very fast, in a dangerous position which compromises the future of U.S. democracy.

    That is not a conservative movement. A conservative movement says hold onto what you’ve got, don’t change what’s working, be cautious about all changes in society.

    So, the Republican Party, insofar as it is coupled together with the U.S. War Industry is not a conservative party at all. And the Libertarian aspect of the Republican party is presently the only useful political voice, really, in the U.S. Congress. It will be the driver that shifts the United States around. It’s not going to come from the Democrats. it’s not going to come from Ralph Nader. It’s not going to come from the co-opted parts of the Republican Party. The only hope, as far as electoral politics are concerned in the United States, presently, is the Libertarian section of the Republican Party.

    The way I saw it was that the host of the forum was trying very hard to shoe-horn Assange into the “libertarian” box (he had two goes at it). On abortion, he simply observed the Rand position “produces interesting results”:

    That produces interesting results.

    So, non-violence: well, don’t go and invade a foreign country. Non-violence: don’t force people at the barrel of a gun to serve in the U.S. Army. Non-violence: doesn’t extort taxes from people to the federal Government with a policeman. Similarly, other aspects of non-violence in relation to abortion that they hold.

    I think some of these positions that are held by Rand Paul, while I can see how they come from the same underlying Libertarian principle, I think the world is often more complex and by taking a no-doubt principled, but sometimes simplistic position, you end up undermining the principle.

    There are short term vision and long term vision of the principle. It’s quite hard to meld these together.

    Anyway, as a party in Australia they lost me ages ago with some completely different things arising from some interactions with a few supporters (hence my opinion about internal wreckers being more likely responsible for the Senate preferences than it being directed by Assange).

  18. Newtownian
    August 19th, 2013 at 17:28 | #18

    Something new and yet familiar: a news story today in the Guardian saying the end is Nye for Oz prompted in part by the cricket.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/economics-blog/2013/aug/18/ashes-economy-australia-facing-new-collapse

    Its bothered me for some time this might be about to happen. Overseas seem now to be asking about us having ‘the Dutch Disease’. Labor might end up being happy to lose the election if this pans out.

  19. Hermit
    August 19th, 2013 at 17:48 | #19

    @Newtownian
    A blunt instrument for dealing with carbon leakage to Chindia is the carbon tariff, recently championed by Dieter Helm of Oxford and several years ago by Paul Krugman in the US. If the rebound effect is bank robbers returning for more then carbon tariffs are the posse heading them off at the pass. Carbon tariffs or border adjustments were supposed to be a plank of the phase three revision of the EU ETS. Trouble is they turn to jelly before they can be implemented or Chindia pulls the guilt trip ‘surely it’s our turn to get rich’. I think that means we’ll get a buggered climate then effectively run out of cheap coal, oil and gas by 2050 anyway.

    A carbon tariff may not be enough to save Australia’s beleaguered steel and aluminium industries if it was just say $50/t on top of ~$700/t for imported steel. If the industry was deemed a national treasure like Holden it could get extra cash that we could all see. I think we’ll have to try everything post-Abbott.

  20. Jim Rose
    August 19th, 2013 at 18:05 | #20

    @Fran Barlow the senate deposit is $2000. Parrties need 550 members. How somevget this is a puzzle

  21. August 19th, 2013 at 18:20 | #21

    @Fran Barlow

    At the risk of ending up in eternal moderation:

    http://michaelrowsthorne.uberflip.com/i/137918/4

    The writer of that article is the Wikileaks lead Senate candidate for WA and apparently responsible for the decision to preference the Nationals before the Greens. The subject of the story is the Nationals candidate for the Senate.

    Apparently the Wikileaks candidate is ex-Greens (hates ALP – who can blame him) and has an axe to grind. So maybe this is much more about local WA players. It would still be disastrous if, as is very possible, it puts Ludlam out of the Senate and delivers control to LNP.

  22. Newtownian
    August 19th, 2013 at 18:28 | #22

    @Hermit

    Tks for that – have you got a quick reference to the EU/India/china thing?

    Regarding tarrifs as the solution, I’ll believe full international trading will work when I see it.

    Nevertheless I hope you are about 2050. Maybe one of the economic bubbles will burst before then and a new economic paradigm will emerge in response.

  23. Hermit
    August 19th, 2013 at 19:01 | #23

    @Newtownian
    Fearing moderation I’ll give a link to a short paper
    http://www.carbontax.org/issues/border-adjustments/
    At some point we will have to get nasty with China. India, Russia and the USA. As in, we’re making an effort, why aren’t you? They might fairly reply they are babes in the wood compared to us.

  24. August 19th, 2013 at 20:00 | #24

    @Fran Barlow

    At the risk of ending up in eternal moderation:

    I’ve tried again without the proper link: michaelrowsthorne DOT uberflip DOT com/i/137918/4 (Anyway, it is an article in the Indigenous Times about the WA Nationals candidate)

    The writer of that article is the Wikileaks lead Senate candidate for WA and apparently responsible for the decision to preference the Nationals before the Greens. The subject of the story is the Nationals candidate for the Senate.

    Apparently the Wikileaks candidate is ex-Greens (hates ALP – who can blame him) and has an axe to grind. So maybe this is much more about local WA players. It would still be disastrous if, as is very possible, it puts Ludlam out of the Senate and delivers control to LNP.

  25. Kevin
    August 19th, 2013 at 21:23 | #25

    @Donald Oats
    No. Rudd has been consistent. He has always wanted an ETS, he has never opposed an ETS. He did everything he could to get an ETS. Sure, he temporarily shelved the ETS. But that was, as he said, temporary. A delayed of couple of years until there was enough support to pass the ETS (it failed to pass twice). And how is an ETS not scientifically creditable?

    And when we get the joke that is “Direct Action”, a.k.a. corporate welfare for polluters, we will have no one to blame but The Greens.

    In fact, The Greens opposition to the ETS is what directly led to Abbott becoming opposition leader and (unfortunately) Prime Minster.

    So how are you all preparing for the seemingly inevitable and highly depressing reality of an Abbott Prime Ministership?

    It’s very very depressing.

  26. Jim Rose
    August 19th, 2013 at 21:42 | #26

    @Kevin why not go for a double dissolution as a way of passing the bill?

  27. August 19th, 2013 at 21:56 | #27

    Just listening to an interview on Perth indy radio RTRFM with Assange.

    They were obviously very peeved about the WA Wikileaks senate preferences.

    Assange said that preferences were arranged by the Australian executives of the party, he said that in NSW it was an “error” and that in WA it was “symbolic” because he had “been advised that there was no way that the Nationals could win” and that therefore to preference indigenous footballer (West Coast Eagles) AFL player David Wirrpanda before Scott Ludlam was an important gesture but the preferences would definitely flow to the Greens.

    Assange has been sadly misinformed/lied to/misled.

    As little as a 1% swing against ALP and Greens in the Senate in WA will ensure that the Nationals get Ludlam’s seat and LNP has control of the Senate.

  28. sunshine
    August 19th, 2013 at 22:01 | #28

    Todays shocking statistic —– the percentage of total home loans taken by first home buyers last year in Victoria is 4%

  29. Ken Fabian
    August 19th, 2013 at 22:14 | #29

    Troy @5 I think that at it’s core climate science denial in politics, as well as the broader community, is a consequence of a couple of decades of the clever use of marketing and lobbying by strongly affected business interests to influence the political system- and swing a large part of less affected business as well as a mainstream political party – in their favour. Sad to say that Australian business can collectively be persuaded to forgo doing what’s essential to address climate at some cost by simply being offered a go slow, least effort option at lower cost. Climate denial offers MP’s a way to justify ceding to Commerce and Industry’s pressure; if climate isn’t a problem then it’s not a profound betrayal of trust to not do anything about it. If climate isn’t a problem then actively preventing others doing anything is justified too. But if our MP’s can’t tell science from scam (that science comes from institutions of science ought to be a clue) they are incompetent. The problem is hard enough without climate deniers and obstructors having captured the LNP and the LNP winning Government on the back of decades of framing the problem as green fringe and bad for the economy.

  30. Kevin
    August 19th, 2013 at 23:01 | #30

    @Jim Rose
    Double dissolution? That’s exactly how the carbon tax will be repealed. Abbott has said it.

    In hindsight, Rudd should have went with a double dissolution. But that’s a highly risky play, which is probably why he didn’t.

  31. Newtownian
    August 20th, 2013 at 13:05 | #31

    Something that might interest/bemuse – : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_complexity_index
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_economic_complexity

    The basic trend seems to be the more complex a country the more promising its future presumably because it can make unique contributions to global economic advance. The index is also supposed to be a great predictor of economic growth.

    Thus “the ECI is an attempt to synthesize the collective knowledge of a society”

    Germany Japan Australia Singapore and Switzerland top this ‘imagination’ metric. There are no countries which are poor with high complexity – presumably because the locals are scrambling for the basics. However there are a bunch of countries with low complexity and lots of money – presumably indicating they are wasting their resources.

    Stand outs are Kuwait, the Emirates and Qatar (improving) – no surprises there.

    and guess who – Australia with a negative index the only OECD country to have one it looks like.

    Even NZ, Saudi and Greece are still doing better. And of course Canada.

    Conclusion – so much for the clever country.

  32. Jim Rose
    August 20th, 2013 at 16:14 | #32

    under the 90% rule, the way to casting a valid vote safely is to number all the senate boxes except the third senate candidates for labor and the liberals.

    only the third candidate for labor will be the candidate needing minor party preferences to get over the line.

    numbering the 1 and 2 candidates of the major parties will not matter because they are already elected on full quotas of their own before preferences are distributed so your preferences will be exhaust with them. there will be three full senate quotas for liberals and two full quotas for labor in each state.

    In Qld, katter will be competing with the greens for the last seat. number all of his candidates but katter’s number 1 candidates so your preferences do not flow to their one senate electable candidate. katter may get a quota on his own perhaps with a little help from Labor

  33. August 20th, 2013 at 17:28 | #33

    On reflection, all you need to do – if you only want to vote for 3 candidates, but still validly exhaust the rest, you would put: 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7….etc.

    The “4, 4, 4,” is sufficient to stop allocating after 3 but continuing numerically afterwards safely keeps the vote “valid” per section 270.

  34. Salient Green
    August 21st, 2013 at 10:12 | #34

    @Fran Barlow
    “There are quite a few uglies I’d like to exclude — …. “Stable Population Party” …”

    This comment represents an ugly political ideology which is insidiously overtaking the Greens and completely disregards the first and most important of our core beliefs, Ecological Sustainability. Advocating population growth is an abrogation of reason for an environmental party and shows how much the loony left has gained control of policy making.
    I see nothing so ugly in the Stable Population Party.
    http://www.populationparty.org.au/Philosophy-Objectives-Core-Values

  35. Newtownian
    August 22nd, 2013 at 12:58 | #35

    @Salient Green

    For my information could you elaborate a bit more on your perception of what is happening here within the Greens assuming you are talking from inside the ‘our’ party?

    Why I’m curious is I’m slightly associated with a CASSE group http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steady_state_economy and have numerous ‘green’ colleagues and friends so am very interested in this philosophical conundrum and have seen supporting indications.

    Media bull aside one thing which seems to be emerging is a split in green thinking brought on by a failure in my opinion to face what the sums are telling us at least in principle at green policy level i.e.:
    - if we are to maintain 7 billion decreasing to maybe 5 billion equitably the global standard of living aspired to must drop dramatically – implying a change in society that makes achieving Marx’s idea of socialism a walk in the park.
    - this flies in the face of social progressives in the greens and labor’s reasonable desire to bring the poorer parts of Australia up to a median standard of living.

    From what I’ve seen it seems to be partly associated with ‘Green’ becoming and ideology first, ecofeminism, partly FOE policy, partly opposition to paternalistic neo-colonial policies regarding population control, and part maybe socialist workers messing with left politics as they always have.

    That said I don’t think this is an easy problem to solve or find a ‘sweet spot’ with so please understand this is not meant to be a damnation of the greens but rather a deep interest in whether they can find a solution to “live simpler so others can do likewise and all can enjoy a Good Life.

    As to the Stable Population Party – after a look at their web site and policies and the Wiki entry I am not seriously bothered by them either way – as there is even less of substance in their policies than there is substance in Tony Abbot’s utterings which are for the most part content free (and where there is content it doesn’t add up). Apart from motherhood statements the majority of which are unexceptionable in fact – as to the annoying one – SPP seems to be more obsessed with Kiwis than any big picture population policy to judge by its details and some other ad hoc unrealistic numerical targets.

  36. Jim Rose
    August 22nd, 2013 at 14:05 | #36

    what future a Stable Population Party in a world of below replacement fertility? subsidies to increase fertility the replacment level of 2.1?

    Ecologists are terrible oracles.

  37. Jim Rose
    August 24th, 2013 at 21:13 | #37

    The syrian rebals were never going to win other than as a prop for a palace coup.

    The media says nothing on why the rulers of the other middle east countries are backing the rebels,

    None other than turkey are democratic or want democracy in their own country.

  38. Jim Rose
    September 1st, 2013 at 12:15 | #38

    see http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/abbott-faces-chaos-in-senate-20130831-2sxqz.html for rubbish how abbot will not have a good show in the senate

    Pauline Hanson has a serious chance of defeating Senator Arthur Sinodinos, for one of the two final seats in NSW.

    Family First, which won a Senate seat in Victoria in 2004 with 1.9 per cent of the vote, could do it again, rated a 50/50 chance of unseating Liberal senator Helen Kroger.

    The Coalition is odds on to lose a further seat in Queensland, probably to country singer James Blundell of Way Out West fame, running for Bob Katter’s Australia Party, but possibly to the Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party, One Nation or the Australian Christians.

    In South Australia, the No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics are given a strong chance of unseating prominent Green Sarah Hanson-Young, even if they get as little as 0.15 per cent of the vote.

    The liberals will win three quotas in each state so that will take them to 36. The WA Nats are a good chance to win the 4th seat in WA.

    The exception is SA where nick no pokies will get well over a quota but half his preferences will go to the liberals to keep the greens out and elect a third liberal. Still 36 plus nick, DLP and Katter. Katter will stop a green senator in QLD.

    The greens have more to worry about because labour will win 2 quotas in every state but not much more to be able to lend preference the greens.

    The greens will be fighting Hanson for the last seat in NSW. The greens will fight family first or the DLP for the last seat in Vic.

    once nick no pokies preferences are distributed, the last seat be decided in SA. The minor party preferences will not even be distributed because sic have been elected already.

    will any green senators be elected?

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