14 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. The extent to which rugby league players are receiving attention in the media over the last few weeks has been quite extraordinary.

    Does any one actually care about what they do on their off field antics? They are football players not diplomats. But I guess it rates well and pulls the audience in.

    Should we put a high standard on these professional athletes?

  2. Does anybody else want to comment on Sinclair Davidson reply to JQ, whom God preserve, in today’s Australian Financial Review?

    Apart from the obvious fact that he is making an unwarranted extrapolation and constructing a straw man, I only noticed one thing.

    Despite his personal acquaintance with Africa, he seems completely unaware that taxes did play a major role in making societies more prosperous under colonialism. Things like poll taxes and hut taxes mobilised the subsistence economies for the sake of the cash economy more humanely and efficiently than the forced labour methods of King Leopold or the Portuguese. The problems arising weren’t anything to do with the taxes but with how the gains were distributed; the use of taxes to divert resources into productive areas (not into tax and spend policies) did indeed increase the size of the cake. The injustice relates to who got the cake, “peaceful penetration” or no.

    If Mr. Davidson still doesn’t like that, and makes out that colonies were a special case, he should look at things like the commutation of tithes that happened in England in the 19th century, converting obligations in kind to cash payments. These too did an uncompensated wealth transfer but did indeed improve the economy. (The same thing happened to tithes in the Palestinian Mandate; so much for Zionist settlers who thought they were making unforced fair purchases of land, unaware that the locals had a sudden distress need for cash. Somehow I suspect the Zionist organisers knew, though.)


    While the Trish Draper brouhaha raises several issues, one is the place of single people in our society. Specifically, the foreshadowed “tightening” of MPs travel perks seems to imply that singles are less entitled to companionship than married people (or, at least, those in de facto relationships). If – and its clearly a big “if” – partnered MPs should be allowed to take a spouse with them at taxpayer expense, then on a simple non-discimination basis it could be argued that single MPs should equally be entitled be to a take a companion at taxpayer expense – whether a lover, a parent, a friend or even their pet pooch.

    Obviously, this comment raises the importance of the institution of marraige and whether it warrants state support (and discrimination) to differentiate it from other relationship forms. This issue has been raised most recently in the gay marraige debate. My point is that the benefits provided to married people discriminate against single people too. For example, a married friend of mine who got a posting to the OECD was provided with a large spousal allowance (and larger subsidised accomodation) than I was entitled to.

  4. In this era of technology, why do pollies need to got on study trips anyway? What about phones, faxes, email, internet, videos.

  5. I truly don’t understand why spouses (or pooches for that matter) should be allowed to travel with working people in their international travels. The rest of us don’t and in places like the Victorian government are subject to draconian rules – come back immediately! do not put holidays onto travel! – to prevent the slightest skerrick of rest and recreation in the whole experience.

    It makes me think that our politicians learnt their travel rules and desires from the IOC.

  6. I used to agree with you Tom N that singles were outrageously discriminated against when I too worked for an international organisation as a single. Now that I work for about 1/3 the salary in an Australian uni and am married with 3 kids my views have changed.

    I am not sure why given my fervent if hopelessly unrealistic resolve to separate my personal circumstances from my views on anything under the sun! Maybe I am guilty of hypocrisy, maybe getting ‘older but wiser’ and maybe just my preferences are being endogenously and neutrally determined by my circumstances.

  7. The Bouhaha over the travel stems from a number of perceived injustices.
    1. That most people have no overseas travel as part of their work conditions and if they do there is no possibility of having a companion as well except if the costs of that companion are met by the benefactor or said companion.
    2. That study tours are a rort in any case as they seem to produce little in the way of new ideas or initiatives. In this case the refugees who were to be studied were skipped on the day of the said companion’s birthday.
    3. That if a person has a relationship which needs to be maintained then that is one thing – a fling on the side at taxpayer’s expense is quite another.
    4. That this is yet another case of one rule for the rich and powerful and another for the poor down at Centrelink where they have to subject themselves to intrusive scrutiny for small sums whilst the pollies have no scrutiny at all.
    5. That there is a breathtaking level of hypocrisy in campaigning on family values whilst flouting the same.
    6. That other Liberals from SA who have been responsible for nuclear dumps and children in detention don’t believe that there is anything wrong with the behaviour.

    In itself it is a small amount of money but it is deeply symbolic and will be viewed with distaste by many in her electorate and elsewhere in SA

  8. “In itself it is a small amount of money but it is deeply symbolic and will be viewed with distaste by many in her electorate and elsewhere in SA”

    Which presumably is why Howard is making her repay the money even though it was all above board, strictly speaking.

  9. This might be a rule that satisfies everyone: politicians can take one person on overseas trips – anybody they nominate – provided they both fly economy class.

  10. I made the following comments in response to Rob Corr’s particular interest in Trish Draper’s accompanied trip at taxpayer’s expense;

    “Outraged taxpayers who feel ‘mugged’ again by pollies rorts are being whipped into a feeding frenzy, by the media. When they have finished publicly stoning the latest villain, they will have to quietly consider the following:

    Should Federal backbenchers get 1 overseas study trip, every three years, as they currently do? If we believe this is fair and desirable, should it be an open cheque trip, or consist of a set allowance for each member?

    If we agree they should, should members additionally be entitled to take a) Only a married spouse b) Married and defacto spouses and partners of any sex c)Only political office employees/advisors d) Any one person of their choosing.

    Historically this travel entitlement, would have been implemented to facilitate international idea exchange and education. Given the inordinate demands of politics on family life and since most politicians were married, spouses(usually wives) were included. As social mores changed, the rules were relaxed to include defacto partners(no poofters please, we’re missionary positionists!)
    Interestingly enough, although administrative arrangements have been relaxed somewhat, public opinion does not appear to have relaxed to include homosexual partners, as Rob points out. Curiouser and curiouser, the outrage over Trish Draper’s boyfriend/defacto going along, seems to include a strong element of his unworthiness in this role. Indeed, the electorate has not been in any uproar over the many politicians who have travelled with their spouses. Q. Are our pollies less conservative than their masters?”

    Now Jill has raised the valid point that much elector backlash, may well be due to, most not enjoying such ‘perks’. Nevertheless the furore also seemed to me, to contain a curious puritannical condemnation within it. This could simply be avoided by returning to the tradition of married spouses only. However, it might be wiser, to overcome the public perception of ‘hangers on’ getting a free ride on the gravy train and also an open ticket ride, by buying out the problem with a set travel allowance for all, irrespective of how it is consumed. A bit like pensioners and beneficiaries getting extra allowance for children, with no strings attached on its spending. This of course, would entail cutting into the current, more generous entitlement of couples.

    It would appear, from our society’s reaction to the morals of rugby/football players and politicians, that moral relativism and special treatment, are on the wane. The fundies are driving us to evaluate seriously, which of our traditional values are worth clinging to.

  11. It looks like Trish Draper didn’t take her boyfriend on the overseas trip. She cheated on her boyfriend by taking along a casual toy boy, who makes his living by taking photos of topless women.

    Not exactly in keeping with the professed objective of the Lyons Forum, which aims to promote “conservative family values”.

    Or is it? Maybe in the wild and wacky parallel universe inhabited by the Lyons Forum, cheating on your boyfriend is the mathematical equivalent of a monogamous relationship with your husband.

  12. I should have added that Mrs Draper, as she prefers to be known, is a member of the Lyons Forum.

    Let he who is without sin ….

  13. Rugby league players, like other professional athletes, have an obligation to act like professionals on and off the field. If they are going to be paid like professionals, then they should act like professionals (and play like professionals). If not, perhaps they should consider taking a pay cut – judging by some of their on-field performances, they’re not deserving of the kind of money they’re asking.

  14. I am assuming Trish is a christian given that she is a member of the Lyons Forum.

    ( You have to give it to Joe Lyons at 37 and Minister for Education in Tassy falling for a 15 year old and then waiting two years before marrying her. She had a misscarrage at first and then ten children. Then of course went onto fame as a federal parliamentarian. What a woman)

    Trish should publicly repent and ask for forgiveness. A little different I know but in keeping with King David who committe adultery and then sent the husband to his death in war.

    If she does this I will know she is a christian and the Lyons Forum is the Organisation I hope it is.

    I should add all christians who are politicians should does this when they publicly sin( ie probably every day). That this never happens confirms my opinion that christians cannot be politicians.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s