Home > Regular Features > Monday Message Board

Monday Message Board

June 1st, 2015

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

Categories: Regular Features Tags:
  1. Sancho
    June 1st, 2015 at 11:15 | #1

    So last week I started a grr jar. It’s like a swear jar, except I put fifty cents in every time I’m tempted to get into a pointless fight on the internet.

    I reckon there’s about fifteen dollars in the jar, but I’m not sure where to spend it. Giving the cash to a political party seems trite, but I can’t immediately think of a wide-ranging and effective progressive organisation that would suit.

    Any suggestions?

  2. Ivor
    June 1st, 2015 at 11:15 | #2

    It is always fun to poke fun at capitalist economists, seeing as they have led the world’s population to the brink of disaster. Steve Keen and others flagged by Max Kieser have been enjoying themselves.

    Unfortunately this is a comic tragedy and we may be in the last Act.

    Central bankers have now given up – they realise that they can do nothing more to restore capitalism. They now call government action, for non-standard policy tools and for “alternative means to rekindle growth” [Aust. Fin. Rev. 25 May, p9].

    ECB honcho Draghi, realising that structural unemployment was heading for 10%, appealed for policy action from governments.

    Stanley Fisher, vice-captain of Federal Reserve says “we have to put in a lot more steam”.

    If they understood the economy in terms of prices based on value – instead of prices based on money – they would not be in such dire straits.

    has certainly enjoyed himself

  3. Ikonoclast
    June 1st, 2015 at 13:54 | #3

    @Ivor

    Max Keiser is funny and some of his satire of crony capitalism, market rigging and the “banksters” (bank gangsters) is hilarious and spot on.

    However, at any serious level Keiser has to be regarded as a crank. In particular he seems to be a precious metals crank ie. a gold bug and silver bug. He’s into bi-metalism. It does sound kinda kinky. 😉

  4. Ivor
    June 1st, 2015 at 14:59 | #4

    @Ikonoclast

    I agree – but I still listen to him, as midst all the rants he makes good points as does his wife stacy.

  5. Donald Oats
    June 1st, 2015 at 16:54 | #5

    I am so impressed with treasury, and with the RBA as well: together, they make a fine team. Having been repeatedly told for the past 18 months that Sydney and Melbourne real estate markets are not bubbles, blah blah blah, that foreign investment is a miniscule fraction of the market, that negative gearing isn’t fueling price growth, they now sense we are in bubble territory. In an economy with unemployment rate slithering about but ratchetting up, and record low interest rates. Where is the wonderful growth all this budget repair was promised to ensure? All this cutting of public servants and stuff?

    Bit grumpy today…

  6. Ikonoclast
    June 1st, 2015 at 17:15 | #6

    @Donald Oats

    You have every right to be grumpy. Indeed, you should “as mad as hell” and unwilling to take it anymore, as should we all. Of course, it can’t be the paranoiac, rabble-rousing anger of Howard Beale (Peter Finch in Network). 😉

  7. Megan
    June 1st, 2015 at 18:03 | #7

    I love the scene where the chairman of the board gives Beale a lecture:

    You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won’t have it! Is that clear?! Do you think you’ve merely stopped a business deal? That is not the case. The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and sub-atomic and galactic structure of things today! And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and You Will Atone!

    Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state – Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.

    There were some great satirical/dystopian US films in the 1970s and ’80s. Nothing much as good as those recently AKAIK.

  8. J-D
    June 1st, 2015 at 18:24 | #8

    @Megan

    You should see _Nightcrawler_. I came out of that film thinking it should have been called _The Business Plan_.

  9. June 1st, 2015 at 19:14 | #9

    Since the topic has been addressed in recent threads, I would like to make a modest proposal for how Australia should process people applying for refugee status without incurring the expense or opprobrium of maintaining and securing them in either onshore or offshore centres while their claims are assessed.

    Applicants should simply be given travel papers valid for travel to Svalbard, where Australia is entitled to carry out activities under international treaties and so can set up facilities to assess their claims (for a fee to cover costs). If the Norwegian or Russian joint authorities reject their arrival and free movement there as unsafe, that is evidence that they are ineligible for asylum and would lead to disallowing their claims automatically. Best of all, they would be responsible for their own travel to and from Svalbard and their own support while there, and it is not in any way an unsafe environment as long as they steer clear of polar bears (there is plenty of work available in the coal mines).

    As I see it, if France could route all Japanese car imports through a small customs post in the Pyrenees, Australia can do much the same with asylum applicants.

  10. Ikonoclast
    June 1st, 2015 at 20:11 | #10

    @P.M.Lawrence

    Is it P.M.Lawrence or Lawrence for PM? Are you making a tilt?

    “Svalbard the Boats!”

  11. June 1st, 2015 at 22:43 | #11

    Sancho, use the money to go see the latest Max Max movie. You don’t have to be a fan of action movies to appreciate how masterfully it was directed. Note however, there is a lot of violence, so it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. (Rated MA15+.)

  12. Megan
    June 1st, 2015 at 23:29 | #12

    How many boats have we turned “back” which have sunk without being fortunate enough to find decent human beings to take them in and how may thousands have drowned because of the ALP/LNP policy?

    “Kupang (Indonesia) (AFP) – Scores of asylum-seekers have come ashore in eastern Indonesia after their boat was intercepted by the Australian navy and pushed into Indonesian waters as they headed for New Zealand, police said Monday.

    The 65 migrants from Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka were spotted by the Australians, said Hidayat, an Indonesian police official on Rote Island in the east of the archipelago.

    “According to their testimony, they were pushed back by the Australian navy and immigration after they were interrogated,” said the official, who like many Indonesians goes by one name. “They said they were on their way to New Zealand.”

    He said they were spotted by local residents Sunday near a beach after their boat sank.

    Australia’s conservative government introduced tough immigration policies in 2013 to stop an influx of would-be refugees.

    Asylum-seekers arriving on vessels are sent to Pacific camps and vessels are turned back when it is safe to do so, or taken back to their country of origin.

    The new arrivals in Indonesia come as Southeast Asia is gripped by a human-trafficking crisis, which has seen thousands of migrants come ashore after a Thai crackdown threw the illicit trade into chaos.

    Around 1,800 Rohingya from Myanmar as well as Bangladeshis have landed in Indonesia’s Aceh province this month alone, and others have landed in Malaysia and Thailand.

    Hidayat did not say where the latest group, which included women and children, had started their journey, although asylum-seekers have in the past set off from Indonesia en route to Australia.

    The would-be refugees were being held at a police station and would be processed by immigration officials on Tuesday, the official said.

    After Australia introduced its military-led operation two years ago, the numbers attempting the route from Indonesia to Australia declined dramatically.

    An official said last week that Australia had prevented 18 boats carrying asylum-seekers from arriving in the country since its conservative government came to power in September 2013.

    New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key warned last year that people-smugglers were looking to target his country after the introduction of Australia’s tough border protection policies.

    While the voyage to New Zealand from places such as Indonesia and Sri Lanka is potentially far more perilous than trying to reach Australia, Key said people-smugglers and asylum-seekers were willing to take the risk in the wake of Canberra’s clampdown.”

    I’m at a loss trying to understand how gay people being allowed to legally marry is the most important issue this country must deal with.

  13. Megan
    June 2nd, 2015 at 00:14 | #13

    Svalbard? WTF?

    I see that the ultra-right fascist anti-Islam Norwegian libertarian “Progress Party” made a similar suggestion a week ago re Syrian refugees. So I’m guessing this isn’t a Poe(?).

    I suppose fascism and bigotry are pretty funny until you become a victim of them.

  14. Ikonoclast
    June 2nd, 2015 at 08:08 | #14

    @Megan

    Clearly, P.M. Lawrence was being satirical as was I in my reply to him. The satire was directed at the fascists.

  15. J-D
    June 2nd, 2015 at 18:13 | #15

    @Megan

    Nobody thinks that marriage equality is the most important issue this country must deal with — at least, none of the people who are in favour of it (now that I think about it, there’s a slight possibility that there are some people opposed to it who consider it the most important issue). Nobody has said that, nobody has written that, and nobody thinks that.

    Obviously at any one time it is only possible for one issue to rank as the most important issue this country must deal with, but that doesn’t mean every other issue is of no importance whatever.

    I would go further and bet that if you asked anybody who is in favour of marriage equality whether they thought it was a more important issue than boat arrivals they would say ‘No’. But just because it’s less important than the issue of boat arrivals, that still doesn’t make it of no importance whatever.

    Marriage equality is an important issue (even if not as important as boat arrivals), and people are right to work for it. Using that to accuse them of not being concerned about other issues is unfair.

    You could have criticised the priorities of the ALP (I’m guessing that was your intention, or something along those lines) without casting more unpleasant aspersions.

  16. Megan
    June 2nd, 2015 at 22:01 | #16

    That’s a strawman. I didn’t say it was of no importance.

    Over the last week or so it has dominated the establishment media, mainstream social media and to a great extent the political discourse.

    It’s the sort of thing that should just be done – end of story. Turning it into a circus belittles us as a society and serves as a useful, but pointless, distraction from so many other important issues.

  17. JKUU
    June 2nd, 2015 at 23:46 | #17

    Re: Stripping Australians of citizenship

    More than 200 years ago James Madison wrote:
    “In framing a government …, the greatest difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

    The Australian government (along with other Westminster systems of the Anglosphere) has long failed to control its lust for power. We, the people, now realize we are vulnerable to ty**nny of the executive government. Stripping citizenship by ministerial fiat is but one symptom of this rot.

  18. Ikonoclast
    June 3rd, 2015 at 07:24 | #18

    @Megan

    I agree. Gay rights is in essence a very simple thing. I mean from the legislation point of view. You simply remove all discrimination in legislation and give equal rights. The issue is used by the powers that be as a distraction from other issues.

    Aboriginal rights and living standards for example are a far more important issue. Our aboriginals are arguably the worst treated indigenous people in the world.

    “AUSTRALIA’S Aborigines have the worst life expectancy rates of any indigenous population in the world, a United Nations report (in 2010) has revealed.

    Of the 90 countries examined by the report, indigenous people in Australia and Nepal fared the worst, dying 20 years earlier than their non-indigenous counterparts.

    In Guatemala, the life expectancy gap is 13 years and in New Zealand it is 11.

    The UN report, State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which was released late yesterday, showed how indigenous populations across the world faced violence, continuing assimilation policies, marginalisation, forced removal, relocation and were denied land rights on a daily basis.” – Herald Sun 2010.

    I don’t think anything has changed in the last 5 years.

  19. J-D
    June 3rd, 2015 at 07:40 | #19

    @Megan

    The _effect_ of your words is to convey a belittling of campaigners for marriage equality. That was true of your earlier comment and it’s even more emphatically true of your later one, when you write about ‘turning it into a circus’. It looks as if you are blaming campaigners for marriage equality for distracting attention from more important issues, which is cruelly unfair.

    If your _intention_ is different from the effect your words actually have, then you should change your words.

  20. Troy Prideaux
    June 3rd, 2015 at 08:50 | #20

    Donald Oats :
    I am so impressed with treasury, and with the RBA as well: together, they make a fine team. Having been repeatedly told for the past 18 months that Sydney and Melbourne real estate markets are not bubbles, blah blah blah, that foreign investment is a miniscule fraction of the market, that negative gearing isn’t fueling price growth, they now sense we are in bubble territory. In an economy with unemployment rate slithering about but ratchetting up, and record low interest rates. Where is the wonderful growth all this budget repair was promised to ensure? All this cutting of public servants and stuff?
    Bit grumpy today…

    It’s ridiculous, it’s very scary and it surely is close to a bubble? It’s bringing a stack of $$$ into the country (albeit much of it dirty). House prices in my area over the last 6 months have gone completely nuts. The Chinese are everywhere willing to pay whatever it takes to get a nice size block within close proximity to shopping centers and railway stations and if the zone isn’t allocated as green (ie. you can chop down any trees you like) that just adds to the attraction.
    I can’t see any government doing anything to suppress it. It’s bringing in stacks of money into the country, states are relying on the stamp duties and the banks love it and anything the banks like must be a good thing as governments see it.

  21. Ikonoclast
    June 3rd, 2015 at 09:31 | #21

    @Troy Prideaux

    “The Chinese are everywhere willing to pay whatever it takes…”

    I wonder, who are these Chinese? Are they citizens of Australia? Are they (or their student children) residents? Are non-citizens permitted to buy our housing? Are they purchasing for occupation, renting or capital gains?

    I don’t know the answers to these questions. I don’t ask them with any prejudgements in mind. I just wonder what is happening with that and how much it contributes to the housing bubble. Remember, excess credit, low interest rates and government subsidies (First Home Owners Scheme etc.) also contribute to the housing bubble. High land prices I think are driven by the same things, not by genuine scarcity. And has anyone considered that high new house prices might be partly driven by the high incomes of builders? Vehicles and tools must be at or near an all-time low in price. Are material prices high? Are builders making higher profits?

  22. tony lynch
    June 3rd, 2015 at 09:37 | #22

    That issues of “identity politics” pose no challenge at all to the behmoths of a rapaciously oligarchic neoliberalism and its security apparatus is, however, true. Megan’s point. You have misread. href=”#comment-257909″>@J-D

  23. Troy Prideaux
    June 3rd, 2015 at 09:50 | #23

    @Ikonoclast
    Iko, I think some of it is local residents, some is dirty (corrupt) money coming out of China, some of it is genuine investment (IIRC the Chinese can only purchase long term (99 year?) leases in China where in Australia you can genuinely own the property. There’s also a significant proportion of Chinese purchasing dwellings that are unoccupied – particularly with new city apartments. I’m assuming these are being used for holiday places?

  24. Ikonoclast
    June 3rd, 2015 at 10:20 | #24

    @tony lynch

    I agree. It is clear (at least to me) that oligarchic neoliberalism has partially subverted female liberation in the economic sphere. It has been used by oligarchic neoliberalism as one tool to inhibit or drive down overall real wages (by underpaying the women finally permitted to enter the workforce). It has also been used (I believe) to drive up house prices. The existence of the dual income family played a role in enabling house prices to be driven up beyond what one living wage can manage to pay for.

    Please do not misconstrue me. None of this is an argument for barring women from the workforce. It is simply an argument that oligarchic capitalism can and does subvert identity politics for its own purposes. This is where advocates from the various strands of identity politics need to be careful that their genuine and justified demands and programs for liberation are not subverted and co-opted to oligarchic capitalist ends. The way to do this is push harder for full liberation and equality but at the same time to form coalitions of minority and oppressed groups to ensure they are working together against the common enemy, the oppressive elite who oppress all minorities and powerless groups who in total and taken together actually comprise a large majority.

  25. Tim Macknay
    June 3rd, 2015 at 10:49 | #25

    Tsk, tsk. The fossil fuel industry is fighting amongst itself as Big Oil breaks ranks with coal

  26. Ikonoclast
    June 3rd, 2015 at 11:19 | #26

    @Tim Macknay

    That is a hopeful sign. There are many hopeful signs now. However, in my opinion, these hopeful signs are happening at least 25 years later than they should have happened. Can we still prevent dangerous climate change? Twenty-five years of market failure and political failure have made it a very close call now, again IMO.

    We should have started getting serious from about 1990. To me, 1990 does not seem all that long ago. It’s a shock to realise it’s 25 years ago and it represents 25 wasted years so far as climate action goes.* Let us hope we can make of the ground of 1/4 of a century of lamentable inaction.

    * Note: At least the years were not wasted in terms of technical advances in solar power and wind power. This might help save us yet.

  27. Robertito
    June 3rd, 2015 at 12:22 | #27

    I think one of the of the most important things to note about marriage equality is that it only needs to be done once. You legislate marriage equality (I have been told off for calling it same sex marriage, as that excludes transgender and intersex people) and then it’s legal. Decisions to help refugees, indigenous Australians and others need to be made over and over again, with uncertain results. Apart from the (very minor) risk of bringing forward the end of days, the consequences of marriage equality are crystal clear. And if we do it today, it need never be a distraction again.

  28. Donald Oats
    June 3rd, 2015 at 14:34 | #28

    If the ALP had done something about negative gearing, and/or the current mob in the last budget, the bubble could have been contained to mere above-CPI growth. Instead, it is borrowed money chasing borrowed money in a game of musical chairs. No-one wants to admit it, bar one treasury guy who has most likely been quietly reprimanded.

    Apart from reining in negative gearing (and getting rid of FHOG, a Howard and Costello loan-inflator measure), the issue of high immigration into established cities needs some careful thinking done, for it is one of the drivers of rapid price growth (outside of bubble and the bubble-logic of chasing short term capital growth instead of being content to consider long term). I don’t know how we convince people to settle into other smaller towns and cities—apart from providing a supply of jobs and services—but something of substance and of a permanent nature needs doing. Piling on infrastructure development in the densely populated CBDs and inner suburbs is not good investment, as it provides a short term improvement in conditions, followed by a longer term exacerbation of the problems the investment was meant to address. Putting in bigger arterial pathways to a city CBD is a standard example of such mis-placed investment. No doubt that’s what the LNP will do, of course.

  29. Donald Oats
    June 3rd, 2015 at 14:44 | #29

    @Robertito
    Exactly. Marriage between two people at or above the age of consent. What could be simpler, and yet we have taken all this time and argument over something that is trivially solved. I feel I have no business dictating to any other couple how they live, so long as it is lawful; if it makes a couple happier to be married, then again, I really have no business butting in and saying, “Hang on a minute, you aren’t a man and a woman, so nick off.” As far as I’m concerned, if two people find love and want to express it through the public act of marriage, I say go for it. In fact, I couldn’t care less if marriage is simply defined as being among people at or above the age of consent”; I’m perfectly comfortable with that as well (not with me personally, to be clear 🙂 )

    We seem keener to go to war than to let people be happy together, in marriage. Odd value system, that.

  30. Troy Prideaux
    June 3rd, 2015 at 15:15 | #30

    @Donald Oats
    Don, they won’t do anything about negative gearing even despite the myriad of evidence to suggest it doesn’t serve its purpose. Too much of the electorate engage in it so there’s some serious political capital at stake. What’s more, too many members of parliament engage in it. IIRC the current treasurer has 3 properties negative geared?
    I really don’t know what can be done about property prices. There are many contributing factors at play. It’s substantially increasing the wealth of many Australians, but it’s also probably adding more to societal inequality than any other factor right now. The wealthier areas generally appear to be rising at a faster rate and first home buyers are being pushed further and further out from CBDs with travel times increasing and public transport becoming more loaded.
    It would be nice if someone had the political capital and will to seriously look at land taxes perhaps?

  31. Ikonoclast
    June 3rd, 2015 at 16:45 | #31

    @Troy Prideaux

    When the housing bubble collapses it will seriously destroy wealth or perhaps I should call it “wealth”. Once the bubble collapses, the cycle can be seen for what it is; a wealth transfer cycle not a wealth creation cycle.

  32. Donald Oats
    June 3rd, 2015 at 19:27 | #32

    @Troy Prideaux
    Three properties, hmm. A disinterested politician—not.

  33. plaasmatron
    June 3rd, 2015 at 23:09 | #33

    @Troy Prideaux
    “The Chinese are everywhere willing to pay whatever it takes…”

    How about the Americans and the English? Just because they are a white banker doesn’t mean that the money is not being laundered. I would suggest we look past the exterior here. I would much rather have an artistic, creative, hard working, Chinese neighbour, than a boring banker next door, no matter where they hail from.

  34. Megan
    June 3rd, 2015 at 23:39 | #34

    A snippet from an article seen on “charteredaccountants.com.au” about real estate:

    What is certain is that house prices have recently been falling. At the start of this year, house prices weakened. According to the Australian Property Monitors, house prices fell 0.6 per cent in the March quarter, with falls in most capital cities. Melbourne was flat and Canberra rose just 0.2 per cent. But even those who argue our houses are signifi cantly overvalued and in bubble territory are reluctant to say the falls signal an imminent crash.

    Christopher says he is looking at the current falls as a correction rather than a crash. But he says the question is not whether we are in a bubble, but what would trigger a signifi cant housing price crash in this country. Christopher says it could be triggered by a number of factors including a signifi cant increase in the cost of debt, banks rationing access to debt, a slump in employment triggered by weakness in China and commodities and building oversupply (he says we don’t have that except for pockets of south-east Queensland).

    “If all those variables turned negative it would create a significant and sizeable crash in this country,” Christopher says. “At the moment we don’t have all factors working against us. A number are working for us. At the moment it’s a correction, we don’t see it as a big housing price crash.”

    That was written in 2011.

    I’ve been completely wrong for 11 years in a row calling the Australian housing bubble unsustainable and ‘about to suffer a serious correction’.

    Now I tend to the idea that rather than a “crash” there will be a looooong flat period where people are spending more to buy than they would to rent and are getting nothing in return apart from a feeling of smug superiority.

  35. Ikonoclast
    June 4th, 2015 at 07:43 | #35

    @Megan

    There is such a thing as fundamentals. When the market is higher than fundamentals then it can’t stay up there indefinitely. However, our housing bubble shows it can stay up there a long time, even for decades.

    The fundamentals for housing must be income to service the debt or income to service the rent. I found a graph at wealthfoundations which show Aust and the US shared a dwelling price to (annual) income ratio of 2 to 1 in 1986. USA peaked at about 2.5 to 1 before the GFC and then went down below 2 to 1 by 2011 where this graph ends. Australia however went up to 4.5 to 1 until the GFC brought it back down to a little under 4 to 1.

    The latest data shows Sydney house prices running at about 6.5 to 1 (price to annual income ratio). Melbourne is at about 5.6 to 1 (reading off a slighly fuzzy graph.)

    The historical data before 1980 shows a ratio of about 2 to 1 is the “historical norm”. What’s changed since 1980? Well, the monetarist-neoliberal method of managing the economy has taken hold. Also households went from having maybe about 1 income earner per household to about 1.65 income earners per household today.

    Overall, I think we have a house price bubble but I too have given up predicting the crash. Personally, I hope it crashes badly, crashes soon and crushes all the negative gearers. Negative gearers are rentiers and morally deserve to suffer for their greed and the way they make the poor and the young suffer high prices and high rents.

  36. Troy Prideaux
    June 4th, 2015 at 08:31 | #36

    @plaasmatron
    Yeah, fair point. I do know a lot of Chinese people who all tell me this, but it probably does happen to some extent everywhere.

  37. Tim Macknay
    June 4th, 2015 at 13:26 | #37

    Here’s one for Megan – even the piece of jelly-rubber tubing that serves Shorten as a substitute for a spine has now completed eroded away.
    I am truly disgusted.

  38. Tim Macknay
    June 4th, 2015 at 13:27 | #38

    That should be ‘completely’ eroded away. Don’t type while angry..

  39. J-D
    June 4th, 2015 at 14:11 | #39

    @Ikonoclast

    ‘Markets can remain irrational a lot longer than you and I can remain solvent.’

  40. David Irving (no relation)
    June 4th, 2015 at 14:22 | #40

    @Tim Macknay
    That almost takes away the point of voting the current mob out, if Shorten isn’t going to differentiate himself in some meaningful way.

  41. Megan
    June 4th, 2015 at 14:45 | #41

    @Tim Macknay

    What David said, except without the word “almost”.

    Margaret Kimberley has a good piece on ‘Black Agenda Report’ – in the US context – equally applicable to our ALP/LNP:

    …Why then do millions of people who think of themselves as progressives or left wing end up giving money, time and votes to people and organizations who continually flunk the litmus test? Some fear the status of “spoiler” even as the Democrats do less and less for their constituents. Some are opportunists who want to get a piece of the action. Others engage in fantasy and live in hope that the scoundrels will suddenly become ethical.

    There is another very dangerous dynamic at work. Many people don’t want to find themselves outside of the popular narratives about America. They want to be included in the myth of a good and great country. They pin their hopes on someone they find acceptable standing atop a heap that is inherently corrupt.

    How many people who start out opposing the system really want to get rid of it and how many just want to be a part of it? There is always someone advising the resister to be “reasonable,” “pragmatic” or “realistic” and cling to the Democrats no matter what they do.

    If people loudly refuse to stop unconditionally backing the faux opposition it will not just force them to fix their broken policies, it will also drag the LNP back toward something more closely resembling the “centre”. But only if there is a real political incentive to do so.

    Blind support for the ALP and parroting the “least bad” meme is worse for this country than having the LNP in its current incarnation running the place.

  42. Ikonoclast
    June 4th, 2015 at 14:55 | #42

    @Megan

    I agree. We have to vote Green or Socialist. After all, if 51% vote Green on a two party preferred basis we pretty soon will have a Green government. If we keep electing LNP and ALP governments in flip-flop fashion NOTHING substantial will EVER change. They are both totally wedded to neoliberal ideology and complete sellouts to their capitalist masters.

  43. Ikonoclast
    June 4th, 2015 at 14:58 | #43

    @J-D

    For sure, but I would argue they can’t remain irrational forever compared to fundamentals except perhaps with perverse incentives and subsidies.

  44. Donald Oats
    June 4th, 2015 at 15:05 | #44

    The cuts to science, education, and health which the Abbott government said it wouldn’t do if it were elected were clear broken promises, a metaphorical two-finger salute to Australians.

    The argument about revocation of citizenship is another level altogether. It reveals the PM Tony Abbott as someone who wants more power and wants it now: he wants the freedom to determine who he deems a non-citizen, with scarce restraint, on the hearsay of intelligence agencies. The notion of proof, presumption of innocence, and a judicial process to determine guilt or innocence, has been cast aside.

    It is tyrannical.

  45. Megan
    June 6th, 2015 at 14:07 | #45

    Just read a good piece about the subtle (?) erosion of academic freedom on “CounterPunch“.

    Short extract:

    In 2008, Frank Donoghue, an English professor at Ohio State University, published The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities. Donoghue says, and I agree, that being a professor is still a great job—it affords status, decent pay, autonomy, control over one’s work, and a measure of democratic control over one’s workplace—but today the job is being degraded by the drive for greater managerial control of the university. Professors, especially at the middle and lower tiers of academia, are thus ceasing to be the self-directed, curiosity-driven intellectual workers they once were, or could have been. Despite the undeniable corporatization of the university, when I first read Donoghue’s book I thought he was being alarmist. Now I think he was too cautious.

  46. Megan
    June 6th, 2015 at 14:32 | #46

    Good old reliable ALP!

    Australians will miss out on a modest tax cut next month after Labor agreed to support the Abbott government in scrapping it, saving the budget $3 billion.

    The Coalition has been trying to dump the legislated tax cut – a remnant of Labor’s carbon tax compensation package – since the 2014 budget, arguing it was unaffordable.

    “This wasn’t an easy decision for the Labor Party,” Mr Bowen told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

    The cuts would have increased the tax-free threshold from $18,200 to $19,400, saving low-income earners about $91 a year and high-income earners about $13 a year.

    Screwing the poor. Classy.

  47. Ikonoclast
    June 6th, 2015 at 14:40 | #47

    @Megan

    I call them “The Betrayal Party”.

  48. Donald Oats
    June 6th, 2015 at 17:17 | #48

    @Megan
    Yeah, this is insane. My comment in The Guardian on it is here. Colour me cynical, but I am afraid that since Abbott won on an irredeemably negative campaign and resolutely dissembling throughout, we now have a democrazy, where being honest and fair-minded is a recipe for being permanently the opposition party.

    So far, the ALP have been tools of the LNP, passing morally repugnant bills with barely a whisper, while debating or blocking the odd budget measure that the LNP could not care less about. The ALP need to hire in some campaign specialists if they want a shot at the next election—or the one after that.

  49. Donald Oats
    June 6th, 2015 at 17:30 | #49

    Good to see Gillian Triggs has decided to go down fighting. Both major parties have participated in seriously eroding the rule of law, and the rights of humans to freely do lawful things. I’ve already expressed my objections to these Draconian “laws” which are not laws in the judicial sense: they cede that to the capricious whims of little Ceasars with idle minds.

  50. Collin Street
    June 7th, 2015 at 09:36 | #50

    Is anyone else waiting with bated breath to see who else Tony can convince to accept knighthoods?

    Chief justices are a traditional choice and there’s one in queensland who’ll be retiring soon.

Comments are closed.