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My agreement is to hold this back until Monday (from the Friday Fin Review). Just in case anyone missed it the other day:) RC
Many years ago, when I first started working as a veterinarian, I accepted there would be parts of my job I didn’t like. Vets, as everyone knows, are expected to put animals to sleep, some when they are perfectly healthy. It can become wearing. Obviously other vets have issues too; vets are four times more likely to commit suicide than members of the general population.
The reason you probably didn’t know that little factoid is because we vets are disinclined to complain about our lot. By contrast, it seems barely a day goes past without members of the medical profession telling everyone how hard they’ve got it.
Recently, in response to public criticism of Sydney’s ‘lockout’ laws, we had Professor Peter Miller telling all and sundry, “behind every number is a tragic story – you only need to ask the emergency department doctors, police, paramedics and surgeons who have to clean up the awful toll.”
Yes, violence causes injury and doctors are paid to treat the injuries. But their involvement is a matter of choice; they are not compelled “to clean up the awful toll”. Indeed, they don’t have to do trauma or emergency medicine, or even medicine itself, at all. Moreover, no-one is forced to join the police or ambulance service.
In fact, doctors demanding lockouts because they don’t like treating the victims of violence is equivalent to teachers demanding parents keep dumb kids at home. They should do their jobs, or find a job that they’d rather do.
Furthermore, there is something particularly unbecoming about upper middle-class professionals whining about their (well paid) jobs. There’s a part of me that wants to send the lot of them to the nearest Centrelink so they can see how the unemployed and disabled respond to their grumping.
This last point is relevant because job losses and ve...
The Liberals, Labor, and The Greens are conspiring to ensure that the 20% or so of Australians who don’t preference them in the Senate don’t elect anyone from the minor parties. While there are some cross-benchers who are annoying and/or not too smart to be sure; there are also Labor, Liberal, and Greens Senators who are also annoying and/or not too smart. Rather than restrict the choices of voters displeased with their efforts maybe Labor, Liberals, and The Greens should give some thought to why 20% or more of the population don’t want to vote for them.
Anyway, I suspect Senate Reform won’t be enacted before the next election – because the “reform” will be in the courts. Something of a long shot but here goes: Senator Mathias Cormann has admitted:
Senator Cormann acknowledged voters who voted above the line could see their vote exhausted and ultimately not counted towards any candidate.
The Constitution requires:
7. The Senate shall be composed of senators for each State, directly chosen by the people of the State, voting, until the Parliament otherwise provides, as one electorate.
If your vote can become exhausted, deliberately by design, before being counted can you have said to have voted? Not all of the people in the State will have voted.
The Government is playing small target politics while the Opposition is putting its policies on show, and a […]
I thought it would be mentioned before now, but we cannot let the day go by without pointing out that Newspoll: Deadlock as Coalition and ALP split 50/50, PM’s honeymoon ends. Not only are the numbers bad but so is the direction. This year’s election was unloseable until Malcolm bought in whatever those 54 may have thought before.
However, there is now this possibility on the horizon. From The AFR: Mandatory super comes under fire. One of the biggest fights of my life was to try to stop the introduction of compulsory super which has turned out just as bad as we predicted in 1986. So there is this suggestion, which sounds good to me although I haven’t thought about it very much:
The government’s financial system adviser, David Murray, has conceded that letting the most poorly paid opt out of compulsory superannuation might be the fairest fix, unless more radical changes are made to the system.
In a sign that one of the founding principles of the savings system is being openly challenged, Mr Murray said forcing the poorest to put income into super – which forces them to pay extra tax – wasn’t helping them a lot.
Anyway, Mr Articulate has turned out to be as bad as expected. I do not want the Libs to lose the next election. I am not of the kind that believes in punishing idiots in a way that makes me worse off with no compensation. Maybe this is the way to raise real earnings in a falling economy. But if they also do not cut spending in a serious way, nothing will ultimately save them, no matter what other gimmicks they decide to try.
And the only reason they still remain e...
UK police engaged in undercover spying on peaceful political
protesters. They used false names and led double lives,
established long-term relationships under false pretences,
fathered children and then disappeared from their lives. But
they didn't just ruin people's lives with their personal behaviour
and deceit - they also
spied on their critics,
encouraged crimes and
perverted the course of justice - fortunately, resulting in
The UK is (of course) holding an "independent" inquiry into this. But the police are demanding that all significant evidence be heard in secret and hidden from the public:
Police are to apply for sweeping legal orders to have large parts of a judge-led public inquiry into the controversial conduct of undercover officers held in private.
The Metropolitan police are arguing that significant portions of the inquiry must sit in secret in order to protect the undercover officers who have infiltrated hundreds of political groups since 1968.
But in a detailed legal submission last week, the Met said it wanted to be clear “at the outset” that it would be “applying for much of the detail of past or current deployments” to be considered in the absence of the general public and those who were spied upon....
Unfortunately Donald Trump is doing much better in the primaries than I’d hoped. I was hoping that sanity would prevail and Jeb Bush would win the nomination. Life is full of disappointments. If Trump wins the nomination and subsequent election (not according to the betting market) life will become very disappointing due to his economic illiteracy. Roger Lowenstein explains:
Donald Trump’s adolescent crassness, his slurs against women and immigrant groups, and his blatant disregard for the truth are reasons aplenty to vote against him. But South Carolina voters who find the bully charming should consider this: Trump would be very bad news for the American economy.
That’s his campaign’s economic theme. America has been “losing” by letting in immigrants and allowing free trade. Trump would reclaim our tradition of “winning.” But Trump has an outmoded view of economics that was never true and is particularly false now.
Read the whole thing – the Trumpkins especially should do so.
The bottom line is this:
Far from bringing America back, Trump, with his disdain for facts and readiness to stir up xenophobia, represents everything that is un-American. But if that’s not enough, there is this: Donald Trump has as much chance of reviving the economy as you do of drawing a jackpot on a slot machine. Not unlike his politics, his economics are based on fear and lies. His way leads to impoverishment not just spiritually, but materially too.
The government is currently
cutting health spending. Meanwhile, it
plans to spend $11 billion over the next ten years on new toys for
the defence force:
Simultaneously, a government that’s willing to slash the health system is planning to spend $11 billion dollars in the next ten years on new gear for our Defence Forces. That’s not a misprint. The scale of the Defence spend-up over the next decade is truly stupendous. As yet, it simply has not sunk in with the general public just how much they stand to lose in order to keep the military in the manner to which they have become accustomed.And most of these toys are absolutely irrelevant to our real defence needs, let alone the NZDF's stated priorities of "cyber threats and terrorism". It is, by any measure, a complete and absolute waste of money. And to do it while slashing health spending is simply monstrous.
The money will be spent on new frigates, new cargo planes to replace the C-130 Hercules and new surveillance aircraft to replace the Orions. That cost by 2025 will be three and a half times more than the most fanciful MFAT estimates of what the TPP will deliver us by 2030. How on earth can John Key be talking about tax cuts in 2017 when this country is facing a state spending programme of this magnitude?
Almost everything the mass media and the Coalition Government say about employment in Australia is wrong, writes Alan Austin. Here are the facts. read now...
So last week we reported on Senator David Leyonhjelm’s questioning of the Health Department, today we report back on his questioning of the Treasury.
Senator LEYONHJELM: I have some questions about estimates of tobacco clearance data and the use of that data by the health department. At the estimates in October last year I asked for some calculations based on publicly available tobacco clearance data. I only received your response this morning, which worries me a bit. When had anyone in the Treasury done the calculations?
Mr Heferen : I might need some assistance there from my colleague Ms Horvat.
Mr Horvat : I would have to take on notice the date that we actually did those calculations.
Senator LEYONHJELM: All right. You may have to take this on notice too, but maybe not. Between then and now—from October to February—what were the stages that took up so much time? What were the steps that you had to go through that occupied so much time?
Mr Heferen : In doing a question on notice?
Senator LEYONHJELM: No, I am coming to the question on notice, because that also only got answered this morning and I am not going to ask the same questions about it. I am interested in knowing why it took until this morning to get an answer and what was involved in it.
Mr Heferen : There are essentially two ports of call. One is that, when we take the question on notice, given that we are here—no...
Since coming into office, pillaging our rivers has been a major
focus for National. They turned Canterbury into a dictatorship so
they could give its fresh water to farmers, established
deliberately weak "national bottom lines" of
rivers that will make you sick so they could keep on polluting,
even tried to let Regional Councils trash one river provided they
improved another until the Environment Court stopped them. And now
they're back for another go, with a package of
Next steps for freshwater released over the weekend.
The Herald has seized on the proposal to fine farmers who let their stock intrude into waterways. But while its good to have the principle established, the fines are paltry: $100 per head with a $2000 maximum will not provide a real incentive for a multi-million dollar business to improve its behaviour. And given the general lack of enforcement on this issue, farmers are likely to think they can dodge the fine anyway. In other words, its just a pure PR exercise.
Meanwhile, while they're pretending to crack down, they're really doing the opposite. There's a proposal to "clarify" what it means to "maintain or improve water quality", which is simply an attempt to overturn the Environment Court's ruling outlawing offsets. And they're trying to stack the process on Water Conservation Orders to allow the Minister to just ignore applications and to make them subject to regional plans (which of course are set by and for farmers). The net result will be to...
Watching this exchange between David Marr and Gerard Henderson on ABC TV Insiders yesterday, I was struck by how Henderson, at first a rather uneasy, black-clad fidgeting figure, suddenly discovered strength and energy in contemptuously accusing Marr of “emoting.” Marr is vocalising his anger at the Turnbull government’s refusal to allow refugees in […]
Not good enough! say Iluka residents over at ILUKA DA...Have Your Say - and with good reason.
This is a notice that Clarence Valley Council "erected" to notify Iluka village that a development application ha been lodged for a 162 lot subdivision:
There is a myth in the press gallery that Tony Abbott had a deep
and abiding concern about Indigenous people. There was never any
evidence of it, but it has become the stuff of unshakeable press
Another myth in the press gallery is that Malcolm Turnbull might be more moderate and accommodating than Abbott.
It's worth examining this to work out how these myths form, what effects they have, and how impervious they are to proof and reason - which goes to the question of what the press gallery is for, and what its members mean when they insist that they respect their audience.
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