83 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. @Charles Worringham

    Yes. Good chart. Serious policy though needs to be given to the costs that mining, due to the volatility of commodity prices, inflicts on the rest of the economy. At the moment, this cost is ignored. And we even have the ignoratti claiming that “mining saved us from the global financial crisis”, when as Ken Henry pointed out, if the rest of the economy went the way of mining unemployment would have shot up to 19 per cent. The current housing shortage and housing price boom which may eventually lead to a collapse, are all thanks to mining. If we let the mining lobby have the resources for almost nothing then we have nothing to show for mining’s impact on the rest of the economy.

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    Art Robinson Wins the Republican Congressional Nomination in Oregon District 4

    Republican voters of Oregon District 4 have chosen Dr. Art Robinson to represent them in the November 2010 Congressional race against Democrat Peter DeFazio. With 70% of votes counted as of 8:54 pm, Art currently has 80% of the total.


    Art is an expert on energy and widely known for his petition signed by more than 31,000 American scientists exposing human-caused global warming as a fraud. He worked on medical and defense issues during the Reagan Administration and energy issues during Clinton and Bush.

  3. Update, Update, Update, according to the lastest reports Tony Abbott is now offside with the Catholic Church teachings for according to Bishop Joe Grech “It has always been the view of the Catholic Church that human beings such as asylum seekers should be treated as human beings, not as political footballs”. Furthermore, many would agree with the Edmund Rice Centre in condemning the Coalition’s newly-announced asylum seeker policy as being ‘fundamentally flawed’ and ‘cruel’. Thumbs up ‘Your Excellency’.

  4. Freelander, in respect to the newly-announced asylum seeker policy, Tony Abbott & the rabble within the Shadow Cabinet are out of step with the Catholic Church’s position which is in tune with those on the left.

  5. At the Rio Tinto AGM, Hunter Valley coal miners asked a series of questions re safety, pay, management and something like the following

    “Why does Mt Thorley hire overseas workers when there are locals who on contract who want a permanent job?”

    The first thought that springs to mind is to reduce the power of the unions. Further consideration & Worthingham’s graph leads me to ask who is training up the electrical apprentices. In the good old days apprentices were trained by government organisations like electricity, railway, Telstra and large companies like BHP. Can sub contractors take up the training slack left by large organisations reducing their employee numbers.

    So the real costs of the mining boom are that mining pays high wages to absorb all available workers and mining doesn’t train apprentices for its future needs.

  6. Obama and Rudd both ar quite clearly committed Christians & said so publicly , as is Abbott , however i see no place for mixing there private religous faith with there roles responsibilities as public electd officials eg Obama on afghanistan and Mexican border refugees although some zealous athiests seek to do so

    Abbotts failure as was Howards , was not a religous issue , but a FA polisy failure to adhere to th UN 1951 Refugee Conventon we Australia were party to , yet disengenously not withdraw from that 1951 Conventon

  7. Charles, perhaps the mining sector simply turn staff over at a faster rate and need to advertise more often.

  8. @Crocodile

    Yes. Of course, they ship in electricians from far away, send them down the mine, and then, opps, forget to bring them back out and have to go shopping for replacements. That explains it.

  9. Maybe mining doesn’t hire electricians at all. They just enjoy advertising for them and interviewing them.

  10. “The evidence of lost positive spillovers from an expansion in Australia’s minerals sector is not obvious. Mining exploration and production in Australia is highly skilled. It generates its own positive spillovers. For example, there are Australian firms that develop software for geological exploration and the modelling of mine operations. Potentially, as the world’s mineral production is pushed towards more marginal deposits that are more costly or difficult to extract, Australia’s comparative advantage in mining services will become even more valuable.
    Even if there was hard evidence of relatively greater spillovers elsewhere, the appropriate policy response might be to target such spillovers directly, as governments do with assistance for research and development.”

  11. There are pluses and minuses from having the mining sector and from the endowment of resources Australia currently has. The objective is to maximise the net benefits from that endowment, to maximise for the benefit of all Australians. This objective would lead to different policies than those which might maximise the benefits flowing to some sub-sector of Australians. In part, this is what the clash between the government and the mining lobby is about. The mining lobby is quite clear about what is best for them. And the are quite happy to tell any lies that might help them achieve that end. Let’s hope the government can convince the voting public that this proposed tax is better for them than the outcome that lobby is after.
    The mining sector does impose costs on other sectors of the economy because of volatility both in terms of the prices and volumes of resources demanded. How best to ameliorate these impacts, in the interests of all Australians, requires serious thought. The levels of demand for those with the skills needed for the sector is something that probably doesn’t require long term policy as this is the type of problem that tends to solve itself, eventually. But volatility sourced in the sector, in the demands for all sorts of resources used, is a different matter. The volatility from the sector, also has impacts on the exchange rate and presents problems for macro policy.

  12. Freelander, you are correct about members of the Clergy siding with the left. And yes the Catholic Church does get upset when Tony Abbott goes ape on and announces inhumane and cruel policies.

  13. Freelander, I believe Anglican Bishop Michael Hough speaks for all Christians when he says, “The plight of all refugees should be a matter that occupies the hearts, prayers and resources of all Christians.” and a slap in the face of the Coalition’s new asylum seeker policy which can best be described as a work in regress.

  14. It amazes me how many persons are convinced that Tony Abbott passionately believes in Catholic teachings. He might well have done so once, but on the strength of what I have seen of his utterances in public during recent years (I don’t mean staged TV interviews etc), I’d assert that he’d spout any doctrine that he thought would get him into the Lodge.

    If he depended on the vegan vote he’d call for the banning of Kentucky Fried Chicken. If Jehovah’s Witnesses held the balance of political power he would furiously denounce blood transfusions. Put him in one of western Sydney’s Muslim-dominated electorates and he’d rain down curses on the habit of eating pork.

    This widespread notion of Abbott as some sort of theocrat is in my view nonsense. He most certainly was not agonising over Catholic doctrine’s political implications in parliament before Cardinal Pell became Australia’s best-known Catholic bishop (although his Bulletin account of seminary life suggests that he started out with genuine religious conviction).

    I am not accusing Abbott of conscious hypocrisy. I am accusing him of a desperate desire to be loved at all costs. Nobody, I am sure, was more astonished than Abbott when his “budgie smugglers” appearance was widely criticised.

  15. And how does this, do you think, make him differ from when he was thinking of entering the priesthood? And how, do you think, this makes him differ from the average priest, bishop or pope? Or many a ‘christian’? Often, very narcissistic types like to picture themselves as ‘saints’, as displaying moral leadership, and so on. They are not above preaching. And do as I say not as I do doesn’t come into it. They never see what they do because they have a great capacity to interpret whatever they do in a very special way. What do you think the devil was invented for? It is so ‘good’ people can do ‘bad’ things, not feel responsible for them, and still feel ‘good’ about themselves. The devil was the world’s greatest invention for facilitating evil. Bad people don’t feel they are doing good while they do bad. Only ‘good’, god fearing, people manage that.

    Haven’t you seen the typical American tele-evangelist?

  16. “Bad people don’t feel they are doing good while they do bad. ”

    obvious your ignoranse of criminal psychology knows no bounds

    PM’s Hawke (agnostic) and Rudd (christian) performed there PM roles irespective of there religion/non religon beliefs

    and Tony Abbott should be so judged also on his politcal efforts irespective of whatever religion if any he has whereas to use religion against Abbott is either a lame effort to attack religion OR a lame & for lazy effort to attack Tony Abbott I think tony Abbott should be given no “excuses” for his politcal views , he owns them personaly and should wear personal responsibility alone

  17. @Ron

    I didn’t say that they didn’t feel good. I said that they don’t feel they are doing good. [Some exceptions, like Robin Hood, for example, excluded.] Thought I would clarify that as I wonder whether you know the difference. Further, obviously christians who do bad things are bad people (to the extent that labelling individuals by their actions is appropriate). They do think they are good people, part of their delusion, and frequently not only feel good while they do bad things, but justify to themselves their actions by convincing themselves they are doing good. In other cases they are ‘possessed’ by demons. As far as doing bad things go, sometimes people (christian or not) do bad things because they are not are not feeling that good themselves. There are many reasons people do bad things and there isn’t really a separate psychology of the ‘criminal’ anyway.

    Notice, the word good is being used in various ways. Use of a dictionary, for the hard of thinking, is advisable.

    In relation to your claim that religious beliefs should be ignored in a potential prime minister…

    Both GW Bush and Poodle Blair had regular direction from ‘god’ while they were ‘leading’. We learned that before and during GW’s presidency. With Blair he only confessed after he left parliament.

    If someone is unashamedly chrisitian, I have to suspect they too believe they also hear voices. Comes with the territory.

    Finally, I do not excuse Abbott his christianity.

  18. Freelander, Abbott is a bigot for he ignores the basic teachings of Catholicism that of ‘Love (caritas)’. What Phoney Abbott is doing is unchristian for “Caritas in veritate” is the principle around which the Church’s social doctrine govern moral action. In otherwords, you cannot claim to be on the one hand a good Christian and then ignore the Church’s guiding principle of Caritas and introduce newly-announced asylum seeker policy that are ‘fundamentally flawed’ and ‘cruel’. Bloody drongo.

  19. There are no ‘basic’ teachings of Christianity or Catholicism. Both are confusing mish-mashes of myths and stolen ideas from elsewhere and ideas projected into meaningless babble over two thousand years. Love is an important part of both – self love.

  20. Christians can claim anything they like. That is part of the beauty and of the magic.

  21. I have a question. Does anybody know whether there has been a straw poll on the reaction of people to the hike in cigarette prices in relation to the drop in public approval ratings of the government? (Fran Barlows or anybody else, please don’t give me a lecture on how wrong it is for me to ask a question on the forbidden topic. I ask this question because things don’t seem to add up as if there were a missing variable)

  22. Ernestine Gross

    “I have a question. Does anybody know whether there has been a straw poll on the reaction of people to the hike in cigarette prices in relation to the drop in public approval ratings of the government? ”

    yes there was I recall reading one at time of its intro , although whilst it did not ask if it wuld change there vote , but it was done “by Party” with Labor suporters most against (prob working familys least abl;e to afford it)

    This Cigarette tax rise happened about time of Assylum seekers change & CPRS deferral and all three may be linked to public already “softened up” from MSN’s long scare campaign against both th ETS allegedly costing 000’s of jobs , ETS attacked from both ‘left; (Greens) & th “right’ (Libs with disinformaton , plus MSN’s long sensationalism of th 4 Insulaton deaths implying that th Govt was directly responsible for th 4 deaths & that whole Scheme was a total death trap

    It reminds me of reading of Whitlam’s similar experience , ‘war’ against Labor , denying its legitimasy to govern , and Public can not get there “news’ from any independent sources to counter this…a la MSN’s general treatment of Israli atttack on aid flotilla

  23. 1/ Freelander
    A/ “Bad people don’t feel they are doing good while they do bad. ”

    your later attempt to justify this bigoted coment defies pyschological expertise , and logic

    B/ “If someone is unashamedly chrisitian, I have to suspect they too believe they also hear voices. Comes with the territory.”

    Barrack Obama and Kevin Rudd will be pleased you think that of them
    I’d estimate less than 1% of population wuld share your stage view

    C/ I notice you picked on George W Bush to lamely attack religon , but disengenously not Obama

    Yet to follow your logic Obama being a firmly commited public Christan , should hav followed his own christian views and pulled out of iraq on day one , and nort increased troops to Afghansistan , and opened Mexican borders to millions of mexicans whoever wanted to come , and promised trillions and trilions in aid to th poor starving peioples of th World

    Truth is which you can not rebut is that Obama , and indeed any Western leeder will make decisions based on public polisy , national security interest and politcs considerations , irrespctive of whether they ar mainstream religous or athiest Not even UK Athiest Richard Dawkins wuld make your claims

    2/ Michael of Summer Hill
    You say Abbott lacks ‘caritas’ for his suport of an unhumane assylum agenda
    A/ What quality do th athiest Liberal MHR’s lack for also suporting that Lib unhumane assylum agenda ? and
    B/ whatever quality you think they lack , if Abbott had that quality would that change Abbot’s unhumane assylum agenda ?

  24. 1. F: “Bad people don’t feel they are doing good while they do bad. ”

    2. R: “your later attempt to justify this bigoted coment defies pyschological expertise , and logic”

    No, statement 1 does not defy logic. It could be said that statement 1 is an example where the said people are logical (rational) and they have rational expectations about how they are perceived by others (including psychologists) who categorise people by their actions according to their own value system. I think this was Freelander’s point.

  25. @Ron

    The only poll I have seen Ron is a poll that suggested most thought the cigarette impost was designed to divert attention away from discussuion about the dumping of the ETS.

    In general support for rises in cigarette excise has been strong, especially if the respondents are confident that the funds will go to cigarette consumption abatemwent and treatment.

  26. Thanks for the feedback on cigarette excise increase. It seems to me what one would like to have is cross-sectional data on personal income, number of cigarettes smoked, number of years the person has been a smoker, voting behaviour in 2007. One can then calculate the percentage of after tax income spent on smokes and the reduction of residual income. The smokers are now in a minority, hence general support and purpose are not sufficient to deduce anything much. Until proven otherwise, I hypothesise that this policy measure is a non-trivial factor in the poll results. A 30% price increase in a personal budget item that has a, say, 15% weight matters.

  27. Ernestine,
    The thing I found interesting is that, if I read the papers correctly, the government is not forecasting any substantial increase in revenue from that tax increase. Have we reached the peak of the Laffer curve in terms of tax revenue?

  28. @Andrew Reynolds

    if I read the papers correctly, the government is not forecasting any substantial increase in revenue from that tax increase.

    If that proves to be so, then the government can claim that it worked. Assuming no contraband, fewer cigarettes are being sold.

  29. I dont know about anyone else but I feel that this is the most uninteresting period of AUS political history in living memory. Rudd makes Fraser’s promise to keep politics off the front pages seem like an invitation to a Roman orgy by comparison.

    Under Rudd we have entered the Era of Universal Boredom where most political issues are either inherently dull (federal-state responsibilities on health, gimme a break!). Or, if they offer a glimmer of hope (such as climate change), have been drained of all possible interest.

    It does not help that the most prominent ministers, such as Swan and Wong, seem to have been designed by a consortium of mid-century bank managers and insurance acturaries to lower our pulse rate to the bare minimum necessary to sustain life. Swan is relentlessly on-message, never showing a moments doubt or hesitation. Wong drones on about carbon credits, clean mechanisms, rebates…oh dear God, may the Earth swallow me up.

    Rudd himself is the quintessential master of the sleep-inducing, mind-numbing, spirit-dampening rhetorical arts. As Humphries said, its like being ruled by ones dentist. Prattling on endlessly with his inanities whilst gouging deeper into ones skull with various instruments of torture.

    Blogging through his premiership is like swimming through an ocean of rice pudding. [Feel strength waning, slipping below the surface now, only a few popping bubbles to mark one’s final resting place…] I think this explains why so many of the blogs have turned in-ward, getting bogged down in essentially sterile debates about who is really to blame for the woes of the world. Bored people tend to get cranky.

    History Ends not with a bang, but with a whimper.

  30. Fran

    I’ve checked Morgan , Essential , AC Neilsen & Roy Morgon ,and donr believe there was any poll sugesting cigarette rise was to avoid talk on CPRS deferal You may well be thinkin of Comentariat who constantly pushed that story line

    Fact is cigarette rise was a typical pre Budget rise , make it public before being submerged by actual budget measures It was needed money wise by Govt to reduce forcast Debt , and ADDS about a billion net in income

    Good news is there is normal some reducton in smoking from rises , and given it was a huge 25% , likely more than usual drop off (but still a net $ gain to Fed Govt)

    As said , a poll did say Labor voters most against it , not surprise as it hits working familys who least able to afford and some lost votes wuld therefore arise , (although total Labor voters as with othr Partys voters by large majority suport th cigs rise)

    Ernestine Gross
    Essential point was there is NO evidense whatsoever that Barack Obama decisions (a comitted public christian) on Iraq , Afghanistan , Mexican border , trillions for overseas aid…ar affected one iota by whether he was christian or an athiest…ditto George Bush ..ditto Kevin Rudd…ditto th agnostic Bob Hawke …which makes th basis of Freelander’s anti religous claims linked to politcans polisys positions absolute nonsense

    As for th further Freelandr general claim of such publicley commited Christians “hearing voices” , which by extension includes Obama and Rudd , I’m sure 99% of people would back Obama and Rudd for inteligense and sanity VS a Freelander silly enough to make such unqualified absurd claims against Obama & Rudd

    all it is is an Athiests lame attempt to make such linkage …to attack religion
    Whereas whethr there is merit in religion itself (where 80% of oz peoples per latest poll declare they ar culturally Christian) is a diferent issue to argue

  31. @Ron

    Non standard use of the word ‘bigot’. No quite sure what you meant. Not quite sure you know what you meant, except that ‘bigot’, to many people, has negative connotations.

  32. Ron, until Tony Abbott comes to his senses I’m afraid the newly-announced and cruel asylum seeker policy will be his undoing for Labor is trying to seize the moral high ground after the Coalition last week signalled a return to Pacific Solution-style processing.

  33. @Ron

    Ron, Obama is more your closet christian, which makes him so much more acceptable. And I doubt very much he will confess the way Blair did, after he relinquished the prime ministership. Obama might even be one of these people who goes to church to avoid persecution by christians. Good policy if one wishes to be US president. Hallelujah!

    You don’t really think many high up in any of the christian theocracies, honestly still believe? Even if they once did? I doubt the hierarchy would promote someone to bishop if they suspected the whiff of belief. Be far too dangerous.

    Anyway, always amuses me that christians get upset and feel the need to defend their mythical omniscient, omnipotent, vengeful diety. After all, in the olden days, or at least in the myths, he was smiting the non-believers left, right and centre. Why not leave it to it? Or has he run out of puff? Was he operating on software that couldn’t handle Y2K? Is it now in some as yet undiscovered sector of the multiverse, in some Y2K inspired infinite loop?

  34. Freelander, like Antonio Gramsci you hold strong views in respect to peoples religion but who would have thought that in 1937, at the age of 46, Antonio Gramsci accepted Christianity in death. Have to go.

  35. Ron,

    It seems you have mixed up people and topics @38 because I had nothing to say on religion or President Obama or any other public figure.


    Thank you for the link. The poll results shed no light on my question though. Paranthetically, the actual price increase is higher than 25% because GST is added.

  36. @Jack Strocchi
    says “Under Rudd we have entered the Era of Universal Boredom ”

    Wait and see Jack – I cant think of anything more boring than voting the hardline Coalition back in…

    hmm – maybe thats why those watermelons vote in the Greens is rising eh? It couldnt have anything to do with boring Abbott and maybe boring Rudd and more of the same old neoliberalism could it?

    The world is changing under your nose Jack and for a political commentator, you cant see it changing.

    But hey wait…according to Abetz – a vote for the Greens is a vote for Labor and if we vote enough Greens in – we get rid of right wing Labor – whats to whinge about with that (seeing as the rampant right in the Coalition and the rampant right in Labor have stuffed up so badly and its not what the people want).

  37. @Michael of Summer Hill

    I don’t care if the inventor of the Gramophone accepted christianity after he died. I might too. Or might even before. I don’t know what calamities the future may hold. Madness or Alzheimer’s with or without voices, and with or without some deity, belief in magic, or Hogwarts, fairies at the bottom of the garden, crop circles or alien probing. Some mental ailment prior to death certainly cannot be ruled out. And I know, sadly, it has happened to others.

  38. In reply to 4 posters

    1/ Fran #38

    “It was IPA commissioned though …”
    thanks for info , but IPA says it all Fran !!

    (a consevative think tank can comission any Poll & design queston to get “there’ answer ,
    am afraid cig tax was ‘boringly” simply Budget related , bilion $’s money needed for Debt , but with a pro health bonus)

    2/ Ernestine Gross
    I thought your #32 was intended to suport th Freelander nonsense linking religous thinking politcans like Obama , Abbott or Rudd to how they stand on public polisys , and thanks for clarification (Hope cigarette tax info assisted re voting effect & less tobacco use & th contradictory but natural postive Budget effect , also smokers vote about 2TPP 60/40 to Labor so expect some lost votes in tax rise)

    3/ Michael of Summer Hill #41
    “Ron, until Tony Abbott comes to his senses I’m afraid the newly-announced and cruel asylum seeker policy will be his undoing…”

    Agree Michael , it is an indecent polisy , and effective contradicts 1951 Convention we oz a Party to However my #31 post point 2/ more addressed querys to you A/ that if Abbott lacked ‘caritas’ then what quality did th Athiest Lib MHR’s lack seeing they ALSO suport that unhumane Lib polisy ? , and B/ if Abbott actualy had that quality (that th Athiest Lib MHR’s lack) then wuld Abbott’s polisy be assylum different ?

    4/ Freelander #42
    “Ron, Obama is more your closet christian…”

    I guess that red hering & inaccurate coment is one way to avoid th damaging rebutal of your lame claims that I listed in #38 (addressed in th 2nd part to Ernistine instead of to you

    EXCEPT Obama is NOT a closet christian whatsoever , but has been repeatedly & PUBLICLY overt on th issue of his firm comitted Christian faith , month after month since his election !

    (and as an aside , also gave 2 hour speech on National US TV to oiver 100 million solely on his faith as well) , so your argument colapses Suggest you forget your hatred of religion , put it ‘in th closet’ , when talking politcs and politcal polisys

  39. Ron, God didn’t tell Obama to invade Iraq, like what ‘e told GW and Blair. (Apparently, he forgot to warn them that the WMDs weren’t there.) In fact, I may be wrong, but I haven’t hear that Obama is on speaking terms with ‘im in the sky, like what GW and Blair think they are.

  40. Ron, I am only querying Tony Abbott’s convictions and not those of others.

  41. Freelander, your point is taken but you fail to understand the good work being done by religious organisations in helping those in need.

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