19 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. I have been reading Hansard on Michaelia Cash and the AFP raid on the AWU and the dubious “tip-off” by her staffer of which she and Malcolm had no idea. I think that is BS.

    Parliament is back next week sans Georgie Brandis. Goody !

    Who would believe a Liberal/ idealogue staffer would not fess up to the PM and Michaelia that he told the media of the AFP impending raid to benefit the Coalition but make the confession at dinner time the same day after Question Time and Michaelia’s pleading her, his ignorance and that of her staffers.

    Whenever I need a refresher I Google “Trainwreck interview” and go to David Speer’s interview of Michaelia on the Vic. CFA dispute and each time think how could Malcolm keep this woman in her job and claim any credibility. I prefer to see her stay as like people in Abbott, Brandis, Qld’s Bleijie et al the longer they are exposed the better is the case against them and their party.

  2. I must not have been paying sufficient attention to the news last week, but I see that a New Zealand (!) start up launched a small rocket from the North Island that put some small satellites into orbit:
    Last year was the 50th anniversary of Australia launching a satellite from Woomera, (making us only the third country in the world to do so) but I don’t think we’ve got anything into orbit since.
    It’s perhaps just my lingering boyhood feeling that all rockets are cool (my guilty secret is I actually kind of enjoy seeing the multiple missile launch video from North Korea), but I would like Australia to be launching rockets again. (And we will soon, it seems, as the first link notes:

    “There are similar plans afoot in Australia, with a launch site allocated in the Northern Territory and tests expected in a year.”

  3. Well, seems that the UK government now sees Brexit as harmful to the economy no matter which way it is attempted:

    “The government’s new analysis of the impact of Brexit says the UK would be worse off outside the European Union under every scenario modelled, BuzzFeed News can reveal.

    The assessment, which is titled “EU Exit Analysis – Cross Whitehall Briefing” and dated January 2018, looked at three of the most plausible Brexit scenarios based on existing EU arrangements.

    Under a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU, UK growth would be 5% lower over the next 15 years compared to current forecasts, according to the analysis.

    The “no deal” scenario, which would see the UK revert to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, would reduce growth by 8% over that period. The softest Brexit option of continued single-market access through membership of the European Economic Area would, in the longer term, still lower growth by 2%.

    These calculations do not take into account any short-term hits to the economy from Brexit, such as the cost of adjusting the economy to new customs arrangements.”


    It’s a remarkably strange situation that it seems that neither side of politics is willing to take the right step and tell the public that the populists – who never understood what Brexit would involve – have led the country into a huge mistake and they need to abandon it.

  4. @Steve from Brisbane

    I see that a New Zealand (!) start up launched a small rocket from the North Island

    That first article is kind of hilarious – an Australia v NZ space race, with Australia ‘not far behind’. LOL.

  5. @Steve from Brisbane
    A small correction: Australia was the 4th country to put a satellite into orbit – not the 3rd (as is commonly wrongly claimed). What’s more, it was aboard a US surplus rocket. We pretty much supplied the satellite and maybe the adaptor, but that’s about it.
    The NZ launch was a private venture – NZ startup with Silicone Valley venture capital. The NZ gov probably helped a bit with a bit of regulatory support for the land and low alt clearance but that’s about it I think. I too think rockets are cool 🙂

  6. @Troy Prideaux
    I see now that Wikipedia’s entry (if it is to be trusted) on the Wresat launch says that Australia was the seventh country to launch a satellite (later than even Canada and Italy!) but the third to launch from its own territory.

    By the way, this is all a bit Facebook, but does anyone else remember a series of kid’s science fiction novels written in the 1960’s about a planetary space program that launched from Woomera, written by a British author, I think. I read several, from the public library at Nundah, in Brisbane. Children’s science fiction was a very big thing in the 60’s (perhaps started in the late 50’s with Heinlein’s juveniles), but there were many authors doing it, most now largely forgotten now, I’m sure.

    Oh, never mind. Google knows everything, and I bow before its mighty knowledge.

    It was Hugh Walters UNEXA series, starting with “Blast Off From Woomera”:


  7. As it happens my father worked on the WRESat launches and later in the space tracking stations at Tidbinbilla and Honeysuckle Creek.

  8. Anecdatum: the Chinese market for all-electric and plug-in-hybrid cars rose to 600,000 in 2017, +71% YOY. The electric market share is 2.1% for the year, 3.3% in December. Source:

    If they keep up this rate, China will hit a million new electric cars in 2018. I don’t have the split between BEVs and PHEVs, but China is not an outlier in this. IMHO it doesn’t matter much. PHEVs with an electric range over say 25 miles are doing most of their urban mileage without emitting C02 and other pollutants; and the technology is surely transitional, as cheaper and better batteries will shrink and kill off the range extender gasoline engine.

  9. Lower taxes mean increase in debt ceiling is already coming around faster:

    “Congress came under increased pressure to raise the nation’s debt ceiling following two reports forecasting that the federal government will run out of cash within a matter of weeks.

    That could throw another wrench into already complicated budget and immigration talks seeking to avoid a repeat of this month’s government shutdown.”

    The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday that the Treasury Department will exhaust accounting moves to prevent default in the first half of March. CBO had previously said a debt default could be held off until late March or early April. A key reason for the change is the implementation of December’s tax overhaul through new withholding tables in February, CBO said.”


  10. It is not credible that the UK government only keep citizenship renunciation documentation for ten years. I believe this statement to be a lie.

  11. @Collin Street
    Agree Collin,

    As I understand it in the High Court case of Canavan, Joyce,Nash, Roberts etc. if the evidence is that the Member/Senator is a foreign citizen then the onus reverts to that person to prove either that is not correct or there have been reasonable steps in the circumstances taken to renounce. Good luck if the evidence does not exist.

    Like with Feeney apparently the UK record of its acceptance and registration of the Declaration of Abbott’s Renunciation is not held by the UK Government. He has only produced a letter addressed to the UK Consul in Aus. evidencing he had renounced his citizenship not that the UK government accepted it and issued a declaration as required by section 12 of the British Nationality Act.

    I can only assume the ALP think he is of greater value to it if he is in parliament.

  12. @Steve from Brisbane . The US economy was already recovering strongly. The tax cuts will not achieve much in terms of increasing real activity but will impose inflationary pressures. In my view the pressure will be to accelerate the move to reverse QE so bond yields will rise more rapidly than expected, not fall. In terms of stabilization policies the tax cuts were mistimed.

  13. Re the increase in coal consumption in China in 2017, an informed piece at Brookings arguing that the real increase was only 1%:
    The higher estimate comes from a trade association of large mining companies, leaving out the small ones the government has been busy closing by the hundreds.

    This means that the tracking organisations relying on a higher coal growth figure to calculate a global increase in emissions are seriously out, as China accounts for so much of the world. I suspect we will end up with yet another plateau. Of course, that’s not good enough, we need actual cuts to start soon.

  14. This is interesting from The Spectator beginning with a quote from Marx


    “The Protective system in these days is conservative, while the Free Trade system works destructively. It breaks up old nationalities and carries antagonism of proletariat and bourgeoisie to the uttermost point. In a word, the Free Trade system hastens the Social Revolution. In this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, I am in favour of Free Trade.” Karl Marx, 1848.

  15. I’ll put this here so I can’t be accused of trying to make all Monday threads about rocketry.

    Japan has just launched some tiny satellites from a relatively tiny, solid fuel, rocket, too:

    The overall vehicle is 9.54 meters (31.3 feet) long, with a diameter of 52 centimeters (1.71 feet) and a total mass of about 2,600 kilograms (5,700 lb) at launch. If it completes its mission successfully, SS-520 will become the smallest rocket ever to deliver a payload to orbit.


    Seems to be quite the business developing for small scale launchers.

    OK, I’ll leave rocketry alone now…

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