Monday Message Board

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.

15 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. I have a solution to the Australia Day problem. Rebadge January 26 as First Fleet Day* and find another day to be called Australia Day.

    This way, the traditionalists can be left to commemorate their special day but stripped of the implication that it is a day of compulsory giving thanks and, most important, we all get another public holiday. It’s win win.

    * True, the First Fleet didn’t land on January 26, but if it comes to that, Jesus wasn’t born on December 25, and the queen’s birthday is in April not June. Not to mention the anniversary of Jesus’ death, which varies from late March to late April, depending on the lunar cycle.

  2. rog,

    “These locations, are they pedestrian malls? If so, they are a legacy of poor planning decisions in the 1980s, where Councils spent $Ms closing off main streets to traffic and paving the surface from one side to the other.
    Invariably these have been disastrous with shoppers heading to the big name centres, which provide parking, climate control and security”

    In Bendigo some of the closed shops are in and around the pedestrian mall. But it’s only a recent phenomenon to have so many shops shut in that area. There’s been an enclosed shopping centre in Bendigo for ages and until recently the shops in the mall functioned still.

    People from Bendigo I talked to about it, attribute the closed shops to a youth gang problem, as young people who can’t find work congregate around the pedestrian mall.

    But that’s the youth gang crisis that the Victorian government says doesn’t exist, while Peter Dutton says people are afraid to go to restaurants. In Bendigo it’s not the restaurants that are affected it’s small business retail.

    I’m not sure how the closed shops are spatially located in Ballarat because someone just told me about that, I didn’t see it myself.

    In Chapel St and Richmond the closed shops are on just normal streets, that both used to be huge retail precincts. Chapel St was particularly popular for fashion, and you also read of Australian fashion designers closing as well as fashion shops.

    The media coverage doesn’t accurately reflect the situation on the ground in terms of the closed shops, and the rush on throwing money at infrastructure projects reminds me of the Rudd-era stimulus on school halls etc, making me think the State economy is in a slow down that’s not being reported.

  3. I find the whole issue of what works and doesn’t work in retail spaces kind of interesting.

    In Brisbane, my impression is that the Queen Street Mall has long done pretty well, yet move away only one or two streets and they look hopeless for retail. But even on the Mall, the Myer Centre has a particularly cramped, cave-like interior that now feels very dated and speaks poorly of the original architects. (That said, I don’t really mind its “facadism” – I think it looks better than the shiny metal tangle facade down the other half of the mall.) But overall, perhaps because of the popular eating and drinking spaces within it, the mall does feel pretty lively whenever I get there, and I don’t notice much empty retail.

    As for Fortitude Valley – you would think it should work as a centre for artist or quirky retail, but it has solidly resisted all attempts at revival of any retail for decades, and the old McWhirter’s centre looked particularly sad and derelict when I last ventured there probably 6 months ago.

    Apart from the usual suspects – the increase in online buying, greedy corporate landlords who try to get returns increasing way above inflation and think that shopping centres can just keep expanding forever and people will come – I think the reasons why some attempts at retail development fail are sometimes a bit mysterious. To me, anyway.

    I shoulda been an architect or urban planner. Next life, perhaps.

  4. So TPP is back (Australia-Japan trade deal). The Brisbane Times has an article about it by Latika Bourke – with comments switched off – and also links to an article about it from November – comments also switched off.

    Usually, if I notice that comments are switched off, it’s because it’s an op-ed and I want to attack or question the opinions expressed. On this occasion I just wanted to ask, is this a good thing or not? That comments are switched off might suggest it’s a bad thing. That TPP was revived because governments got back to business as usual, namely preparing vast trade deals without much public scrutiny, might suggest it’s a bad thing. If you’re pro-Trump, that Trump tore it up on day one might suggest it’s a bad thing.

    Of course, I don’t expect people here to be pro-Trump. But Sanders was against TPP too. So what I am looking for here, is some reasoned evaluation of TPP 2.0 from a lefty perspective. Is it still bad? Why is it bad? Is there anything good about it? Etc.

  5. It’s hard to evaluate in detail but on the public statements the new version includes the (unequivocally bad) investor-state dispute rules.

    Overall, the TPP has the obvious problems we always knew: it is not a free trade agreement; and it is limited to only some trading countries. The overall analysis on agreements of this kind is that their theoretical potential maximum gains are small, and smaller even than the gains from unilaterally easing Australian trade restrictions. It is because this framework analysis is well established that no specific modelling of any agreement like this is done or provided publicly while there is any chance to stay out of, or improve, the agreement.

  6. @steve from brisbane

    Yes there’s lots of factors that affect retail, you’re absolutely right.

    But what I’m noticing is a trend, not just one shop or even one retail precinct, so far I’ve counted 4 retail precincts. I don’t drive and am limited to public transport, plus I don’t have much money, to go around seeing if it’s happening in other places too.

    People tell me up North near the Murray isn’t doing too well either, in a good year the farmers do well up there, but they’ve started employing foreign workers and underpaying them these days, locals are unemployed or underemployed in many cases, drugs are having a negative impact especially ice and synthetic marijuana which is the same in Bendigo too. I volunteer at St Vincent’s op shop, and apparently the op shops are doing well up there, which is good for St Vincent’s but means people are in need. But it’s too far for me to go and see myself unless I went for a day trip on the train.

    But the Victorian newspapers aren’t following the story, and also don’t do any interesting reporting on why the State government is suddenly investing in infrastructure projects.

    The State government is also not telling the story of the rationale behind the infrastructure projects, they just announce one project after another, without giving us any rationale of the strategy and how the infrastructure will transform Melbourne.I’ve been studying urban planning, and the projects aren’t what experts recommend.

    The shop closures also don’t fit into the State planning strategy, Bendigo and Ballarat are supposed to be regional growth areas due to their size and the rail infrastructure connecting them to Melbourne, and inner Melbourne is supposed to be a key retail precinct as well.

  7. @ Mitchell Porter

    I am opposed to all multinational free trade deals. My main objection is theoretical. Free trade deals are supported by David Ricardo’s Principle of Comparative Advantage. This relies on opportunity cost analysis to distinguish optimal trade deals from non optimal trade deals. When more than two countries are involved such calculations lose a lots of their validity.
    Only bi-lateral free trade deals can be properly assessed using Oportunity Cost analysis. For example the Australia-New Zealand free trade agreement can be constantly assessed.

    My non-theoretical objection to free trade deals is the complexity of the exclusion clauses that
    corral certain industries away from any trade concessions. This can lead to free trade deals like the TPP overstating the long term benefits of lowering trade protection barriers.

    Hope that answers your question.

    Trump may not be right often but he was right to withdraw the USA from the TPP.

    As for Australia we have a volatile exchange rate that warps any long term benefits of lowering trade protection for large trading partners like Japan and South Korea.

  8. I read that Trump has placed a 30% tariff on imported solar panels. If true, it is wrong on so many levels:

    A big step in the breakdown of the WTO;
    A massive support for existing global warming energy producers at the expense of the renewables industry.

    Both of these outcomes are massively regressive.

  9. Humanity in a state of nature is hostage to nature. Humanity in a state of technology is hostage to technology. Humanity is never free.

  10. Vale Ursula K. Le Guin. Thanks also to John for putting me onto her many, many years ago, with one of his posts.

  11. In 1788 down Sydney Cove
    The first boat-people land
    And they said sorry boys our gain’s your loss
    We gonna steal your land
    And if you break our new British laws
    For sure you’re gonna hang
    Or work your life like convicts
    With chains on your neck and hands

    And They taught us
    Oh Oh Black woman thou shalt not steal
    Oh Oh Black man thou shalt not steal
    We’re gonna civilize
    Your Black barbaric lives
    And teach you how to kneel
    But your history couldn’t hide
    The genocide
    The hypocrisy to us was real
    ’cause your Jesus said
    You’re supposed to give the oppressed
    A better deal
    We say to you yes whiteman thou shalt not steal
    Oh ya our land you’d better heal

    Your science and technology Hey you can make a nuclear bomb
    Development has increased the size to three million megatons
    If you think that’s progress
    I suggest your reasoning is unsound
    You shoulda found out long ago
    You best keep it in the ground

    They taught us
    Oh Oh Black woman thou shalt not steal
    Oh Oh Black man thou shalt not steal
    We’re gonna civilize
    Your Black barbaric lives
    And teach you how to kneel
    But your history couldn’t hide
    The genocide
    The hypocrisy to us was real
    ’cause your Jesus said
    You’re supposed to give the oppressed
    A better deal
    We say to you yes whiteman thou shalt not steal
    Oh ya our land you’d better heal

    Job and me and Jesus sittin’
    Underneath the Indooroopilly bridge
    Watchin’ that blazin’ sun go down
    Behind the tall tree’d mountain ridge
    The land’s our heritage and spirit
    Here the rightful culture’s Black
    And we sittin’ here just wonderin’
    When we get the land back

    They taught us
    Oh Oh Black woman thou shalt not steal
    Oh Oh Black man thou shalt not steal
    We’re gonna civilize
    Your Black barbaric lives
    And teach you how to kneel
    But your history couldn’t hide
    The genocide
    The hypocrisy to us was real
    ’cause your Jesus said
    You’re supposed to give the oppressed
    A better deal
    We say to you yes whiteman thou shalt not steal
    Oh ya our land you’d better heal

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