I spent yesterday at bobfest a conference and dinner in honour of Bob Gregory, Australia’s leading labour economists, and one of the great figures of the Australian economics professsion. Just about everyone in the profession was there (or so it seemed) and a number of papers were given, some learned, some amusing and some a bit of both. My contribution to proceedings was limited to a song, which is over the fold. This was part of a double act, as Geoff Brennan also sang, (he’s much better than me).

Update The event gave real meaning to “singing for my supper”. Owing to disorganisation, I didn’t get around to paying in advance, and when I asked afterwards, the organiser Bruce Chapman said the song was more than enough. Actually, this isn’t an entirely new experience. There’s a general practice of paying in wine for (otherwise uncompensated) presentations at industry conferences and so on: an echo of the days when rum was Australia’s main unit of account, perhaps.

I’ll sing about Bob Gregory, and his years at ANU
The things he’s done and the things he’s said and the things he’s yet to do
He’s worked on this, he’s worked on that, he’s worked on everything
With his trusty staff and a couple of graphs he can make the data sing

It was thirty years and more ago when we first got equal pay
And the bosses said we’d all be rooned if the feminists got their way
But Bob he ran the numbers and he shot their story down
It didn’t make him popular at the upper end of town

And then he got a thesis and it magnified his fame
And every day in the papers you were sure to read his name
The pollies they were all agog about the mineral boom
But the dollar went up, manufacturing flopped and all was plunged in gloom

And now he is retiring, yes, he’s reached the statutory age
But I’m happy to bet, he’s not ready yet to shuffle off the stage
While there’s still a labour market, he won’t be short of a job
So let’s raise a beer and give a cheer, it’s hip hooray for Bob

Tune Mick McGuire

9 thoughts on “Bobfest

  1. Come gather ’round people
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown … in part, thanks to the antipodean bobster

  2. What is it about bearded Professors and breaking into song? My honours supervisor, Griffith’s David Peetz, is in the Trade Union Choir and delights conference dinners with witty academic tunes. So I’m told – I’ve avoided those particular conference dinners.

  3. “And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown … in part, thanks to the antipodean bobster”

    Are you blaming Dr John for global warming leading to the melting of the polar ice caps soon to engulf our island?

  4. I don’t wish to labour the point but is bob still suffering from the dutch disease. this wasa rare commodity which I though was being revalued.

    Perhaps the participation rate has fallen because of the gregorian chant!

  5. How would one sing through a hedge anyway? The amazing thing is that it can be done at all, not that it should be done at all (apologies to Dr. Johnson but not to anybody else).

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