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    • A Short History of Hezbollah
      In the previous post we covered the evolution of Hamas in Gaza. In this post we will cover the background of Hezbollah who are strongest in Lebanon and the West Bank. Lebanon To understand Hezbollah, first we must understand some of the history of Lebanon. Geographically, Lebanon is very mountainous. 81% is Mountains. Lebanon is… Read more: A Short History of Hezbollah
    • Hamas – A Short History
      A short history of Hamas
    • Israeli and Palestinian Conflicts
      In the last post I covered the background of what is now Israel and Palestine. This covers the period post 1945 after Israel declared independence. Once again, I rely heavily on Wikipedia and include some direct text from their site. Situation 1945 In 1945 Palestine was under British control or mandate. It had been agreed… Read more: Israeli and Palestinian Conflicts
    • A History of Palestine
      In a previous post I gave a thumbnail sketch of the countries in the Middle East. With the current war in Gaza, it is opportune to look more closely at the history of Palestine. To do that, we must go back to the Bronze Age when the first civilization appeared in the area. I tried… Read more: A History of Palestine
    • An interview with ChatGPT
      I thought for a change, I would do an article on Artificial Intelligence or AI. Rather than give my own views, I thought I would interview ChatGPT and see what it had to say. Q. For someone who is not familiar with AI, how would you describe it? A. Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the… Read more: An interview with ChatGPT
    • Australian Elections
      Like most people, I knew there was an Australian Electoral Commission, but had no idea how it worked. I had a vague idea that it set electoral boundaries and ran elections but not much more. I did some research and thought I would share it. History As most people know, the Federation occurred in 1900.… Read more: Australian Elections
    • Enough to Live On
      Everyone complains about “the cost of living”. Think about those words. “The cost of living”. It invokes images of just being able to survive. If the cost of living gets too high, we might perish. Is that what we really mean? More likely we mean the cost of buying all the things we believe we… Read more: Enough to Live On
    • Signs
      I read it for the third time and still was not sure if I could park for two hours in the spot. Sound familiar? Parking spaces with three or four signs hanging off a post can lead to confusion. There must be a better way. In fact, there is. I have seen proposals for a… Read more: Signs
    • The impact of EV Batteries – Part two – Lithium
      There is about 8 kg of lithium used in the average electric car battery. According to McKinsey lithium demand will rise from approximately 500,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) in 2021 to some three million to four million metric tons in 2030. That is a six or eight-fold increase in a decade. Mining… Read more: The impact of EV Batteries – Part two – Lithium
    • The Impact of EV Batteries – Part Three – Cobalt
      Just when you thought it could not get any worse, along came cobalt. Up to 15kg of cobalt is used in an EV. By far the biggest producer is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They account for 70% of the total cobalt mined. Looking at reserves, however, the picture is a bit different. Australia… Read more: The Impact of EV Batteries – Part Three – Cobalt
    • The impact of EV Batteries – Part one. Nickel
      EV batteries require mining for nickel. What are the impacts?
    • Referendums and plebiscites
      An alternative to plebiscites and referendums to have public input into political decisions.
    • Electric Cars – The real numbers
      While EVs are good for the environment are they a cheaper option than petrol and diesel cars? The answer is no.
    • USA – 2030
      A tongue in cheek look at the USA in 2030.
    • But what if we can’t
      What if we don’t solve global warming and climate change. What is Plan B.
    • Social empathy
      How social empathy is being squeezed out by polarization of views.
    • Negative Gearing
      Change is hard, particularly in government. There are two types of political forces in the world. One is to change and hopefully improve society, and the other is to maintain the status quo. In the last election, the Labor party went to the election with a policy to cancel negative gearing. No longer would people… Read more: Negative Gearing
    • Socialocracy
      Democracy is an evolving form of government. It has only been around for a few hundred years, but has changed over that period. What comes next? There have been three main forms of government. Autocracy is where a king, or president, or sole leader runs the country. This was the common form of government for… Read more: Socialocracy
    • Three constraints on democracy
      “Why doesn’t the government do something?” How many times have you heard, or said something like that. The answer is they don’t do something because it is called democracy. Democracy has constraints. Let me expand. One constraint is the number of people who need to agree. In Australia we have a federal government at the… Read more: Three constraints on democracy
    • The fax on vax
      Just when you thought there was nothing else to say on Covid, I found a few things worth commenting on. Some relate to the past, some the present and some the future. Why is there a vax shortage in Australia To understand why you need to roll back to mid 2000. Governments were faced with… Read more: The fax on vax
    • Is democracy becoming extinct?
      Winston Churchill said the following in 1947: “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have… Read more: Is democracy becoming extinct?
    • Getting Rid of Old Laws
      Are we over-regulated? Of course, we are. Everyone says so. Everywhere you look there are laws that restrict us from doing stuff. We can’t walk across the road without breaking some law. What about business. Are they regulated enough to stop white-collar crime? Obviously not. Look at any newspaper and see companies doing things that… Read more: Getting Rid of Old Laws
    • The Journey to Normality
      Stand back. Way back to where a year looks like a blade of grass. Back to where your front lawn looks like the history of man. What do you see? is it progress or recession? Has the social journey resulted in a better lot for mankind or a decline in civilisation? Is the grass growing… Read more: The Journey to Normality
    • Home Economics
      There is an old saying that if you put two economists in a room and ask a question, you will get three answers. I understand a bit about economics after reading for years, but there are some basics that seem to get lost. One of the favourites is the economics of house prices. Any slight… Read more: Home Economics
    • The WEIRD spectrum
      I learnt a new acronym recently. WEIRD. It stand for Western – Educated – Industrialised – Rich – Democratic. It refers to much of the western world today. Maybe we are a bit weird. It got me thinking. If the western world is weird, what is the opposite? The opposite would be low education, rural,… Read more: The WEIRD spectrum
    • The Good Old Days
      It is interesting to hear all the comments from Generation X, Millenials, and Gen Z about how we Baby Boomers had it so good. What is rarely mentioned is what we didn’t have so good. Maybe Gen X, Millenials or Gen Z would like to experience some of what we experienced then tell us if… Read more: The Good Old Days
    • Inconvenient Truths
      What are inconvenient truths? The things we kind of know but would rather we didn’t. We all know too much chocolate is bad for us, but we sort of bury that fact in the back of our mind when we see a bar of chocolate. Here are a few more that have a bit bigger… Read more: Inconvenient Truths
    • Things America could learn from Australia
      It seems more and more, the USA is broken. Aside from Trump, this year we have had a poor response to coronavirus, further withdrawal from the international scene by such actions as quitting the WHO, lack of support for Hong Kong, distancing from NATO, etc. and now the BLM protests. What more could go wrong?… Read more: Things America could learn from Australia
    • Socialism and Capitalism
      It worried me at the time. An uneasy feeling, I could not actually pin down. I overheard someone say, “If you’re not a capitalist, you must be a socialist.” Aside from the black or white view, something else nagged at me. Are capitalism and socialism the ends of the same line? Are they “soft” to… Read more: Socialism and Capitalism
    • Handling the unimaginable
      I heard Scot Morrison say a few weeks back that where we are today with Covid 19 is unimaginable from where we were a week previously. Really Prime Minister? Where is the contingency planning a nation should be doing to protect its population? Could we not afford that? Surely Covid 19 was not totally unforeseen.… Read more: Handling the unimaginable
    • Coronavirus and the future
      These days when I start reading the news, I wonder if anything is happening in the world other than coronavirus. Surely there is something else to write about. So I am going to write about something else …. sort of. What I want to look at is the past and the future. How did we… Read more: Coronavirus and the future
    • Environmentalism or just Virtue Signalling
      Does filling your recycling bin make you an environmentalist or is it just virtue signalling? Do you like people to think you are concerned about saving the environment or is it because you honestly believe you should be doing it? What makes an effective environmentalist? This post will explore a few areas. Recycling Although it… Read more: Environmentalism or just Virtue Signalling
    • A Brief History of the Middle East
      Foreword. I started out to write a brief history. I failed. It turned into a lengthy document which is still only a superficial history. I hope you can persevere and come to the end of the post with a better understanding of the web that is the Middle East. I should also acknowledge Some… Read more: A Brief History of the Middle East
    • Drought Relief
      What we in the city don’t know about the drought
    • Morality and Perspective
      This may sound like an esoteric subject but bear with me. I would like to start with a question. Is it morally OK to deceive people for your own advantage? Your initial response is probably to say “No”. To deceive someone for your own advantage is not morally justifiable. Keep that thought in mind. I… Read more: Morality and Perspective
    • Wadda’ yu want
      What do we want from our politicians? What forces drive them. Which of those do we want to be dominant?
    • The Big Issue
      Roll the roulette wheel! The time has come again to elect the government. Red or black? Place your chips and gamble away your future. What is important? “The economy.” shouts one side. “Health and education.” say the other. Who to believe? I have a problem. Nobody has mentioned what is important to me. I will… Read more: The Big Issue
    • Media. What you need or what you want
      Mick Jagger and I have a disagreement. He said: “You can’t always get what you want but you get what you need.” I say: “You can’t always get what you need but you get what you want.” I am talking about news and information. Do we get the facts we need or do we get… Read more: Media. What you need or what you want
    • Fighting the wrong fight
      I had an experience a few months back that got me thinking. Imagine this. American doctor. Plastic surgeon from down south. Strongly believes in God but not in man made climate change. Says we are being arrogant if we believe we can change God’s will regarding the climate. It seems climate change can not exist… Read more: Fighting the wrong fight
    • Anglicans not radical enough
      For those of you who do not live in Sydney, we have had a letter signed by the heads of 34 Anglican schools and published as an open letter in newspapers. It all relates to anti-discrimination laws being proposed. Current laws allow discrimination against LGBTI students and staff. The new laws would remove that discrimination.… Read more: Anglicans not radical enough
    • Rating the modern world
      One of the most sophisticated civilisations of the 1500’s, the Incas, managed to survive with only three rules.  “Ama Sua. Ama Llulla. Ama Quella” : Don’t lie Don’t steal Don’t be lazy In other cultures, the Christian religions came up with the ten commandments. There were expressed in two subsets. One subset is about how to live… Read more: Rating the modern world
    • Over budget and over time
      It seems the standard summary of every government infrastructure project. is “Over time and over budget”. How can they get it so wrong we ask? Well, this is an area I know about. Years of being a project manager have taught me a few things about budget creep and missed deadlines. To explain it I… Read more: Over budget and over time
    • Why no wage growth
      The headlines say it in different ways but it all boils down to the same thing. Wage growth has stopped. Wages are going backwards when compared to inflation. Wage growth is around 2% whereas inflation is running at 3.1% The government tells us jobs and growth are going ahead in leaps and bounds but wages?… Read more: Why no wage growth
    • Tariffs, Trump and Turmoil
      Trade is boring. We hear about G7 meetings discussing trade, Trump dumping trade agreements and glaze over. Maybe we should pay more attention. When Hawke and Keating came to power in Australia (1983) they completely revised our trading arrangements. What they did, and the reasons they did it are lost in the decades since. It… Read more: Tariffs, Trump and Turmoil
    • Freedom of speech
      For the last two weeks the local media has been full of Israel Folau’s comment on homosexuals. For people who are not aware, Israel Folau is probably the best rugby player in the world. He is also deeply religious. In the recent debate on gay marriage, he was firmly on the “no” side. He was… Read more: Freedom of speech
    • Business and Government – It’s in the BaG
      With those four words, Bill Clinton summed up the relationship between business and politics in the 21st century. Politics become focused on the economy. Politicians then started to assume the “economy” is a pseudo name for business. Somehow “It’s about Business stupid.” does not have the same ring. It was not always thus. There were… Read more: Business and Government – It’s in the BaG
    • The clock of democracy
      If I were to say that democracy was in danger of collapse, that dictators would emerge over the next few decades would you say I was deluded? Many would. Maybe I am. The niggling problem is that there are signs democracy is imploding. When a form of government implodes, it can happen very quickly. Here… Read more: The clock of democracy
    • Human resources or live assets?
      Let’s start with this premise. Businesses exist to make money for the shareholders. If anyone says anything other than to make money, get out your bullshitometer. The concept of companies goes back to the Dutch East India company in 1602. It was the first public company formed to make money for shareholders. For 400 years… Read more: Human resources or live assets?
    • Do we need countries
      This is an article that will reach no conclusions. It is a collection of thoughts someone smarter than me may be able to answer. If you want to be led nowhere, and end up with only a bunch of questions, read on. You have been warned. I was listening to a podcast about Cortez and… Read more: Do we need countries
    • Infrastructure – Be patient
      My favourite program on TV is Utopia. For those who have not seen it, Utopia is a comedy about a fictional government body responsible for Australia infrastructure. They are constantly hassled by politicians wanting to get their favourite infrastructure project approved regardless of the benefit to the country. Many of the projects are grand concepts… Read more: Infrastructure – Be patient
    • CBA Money Laundering Scandal
      The financial intelligence agency Austrac has alleged the Commonwealth Bank’s Intelligent Deposit Machines broke anti-money laundering laws on 53,700 occasions, and that the bank turned a blind eye to suspicious activities. The potential fines of almost a trillion dollars have already overshadowed a record $9.8 billion full-year dollar profit. The whole CBA money laundering scandal needs… Read more: CBA Money Laundering Scandal
    • Inside the Trump tent
      I have this image in my mind. A tent. Not the modern nylon and aluminium variety, but more the wooden pole and deerskin covered type. The ones you you see in movies about American Indians. That is how I see the Trump presidency. Nobody thought it would stand but sure enough, the teepee managed to… Read more: Inside the Trump tent
    • Creative Thinking in Politics
      Paul Keating hit the nail on the head. He has always had a way of doing that. He said recently that no recent government has had a ‘narrative’. In other words, governments – or oppositions for that matter – cannot sell a vision of what they want to achieve. They can’t do it at either… Read more: Creative Thinking in Politics
    • The case for government regulation
      A few years back, my understanding of farmers did a U turn. I had never considered a major decision farmers have to make. In one or two sentences on radio, a farmer explained it. He was asked why he was growing cotton which was such a water intensive crop. The implication was clear. No environmental conscience. Raping… Read more: The case for government regulation
    • Political Survival
      I heard a story decades ago. It was sort of a parable. Evidently a king long ago asked the wisest man in his kingdom to write down all human knowledge. The wise man went away and five years later returned with a book of knowledge. The king said “Well done. Now I want you to… Read more: Political Survival
    • Measuring the benefits of penalty rate reductions
      I was interested in the Fair Work Commission deciding to reduce some weekend rates. Obviously they gave this a lot of thought as did the Productivity Commission. According to Justice Ross evidence from business owners demonstrated that the present level of Sunday rates had led them to restrict trading hours, reduce staff levels and restrict the… Read more: Measuring the benefits of penalty rate reductions
    • Home Affordability
      We all know the gap between rich and poor is getting bigger. In this article I will try and highlight a few of the results that perhaps you have not thought about in relation to the rich/poor divide, and home affordability. Best start off with a graph courtesy of Econompic: So what does it tell… Read more: Home Affordability
    • Position Vacant: Leader of the Nation
      We all know what we don’t want in a political leader. What do we want? We rejected Howard, Rudd, Gillard, Abbott and now Turnbull but how would we describe the perfect leader of the nation? Here are some thoughts. Left or right? Probably neither. Take some values from the traditional left and some from the… Read more: Position Vacant: Leader of the Nation
    • ABC exclusive interview with 730 Report
      You can’t tell anyone. It is a secret. The ABC has a coup on their hands. Leigh Sales scored an interview with Donald Trump. It is to be broadcast soon but don’t tell anyone. has obtained an exclusive copy of the interview. You might have heard of Wickileaks. We have our own source. LickeWeaks.… Read more: ABC exclusive interview with 730 Report
    • A Royal Commission for Banks – 10 reasons
      Very occasionally someone puts up an argument against something that sounds like it was constructed by a three year old trying to explain away a broken plate. That “very occasionally” has surfaced. Objections to the royal commission on banking. If the banks don’t come up with “the dog ate my homework” the Liberals are saying… Read more: A Royal Commission for Banks – 10 reasons
    • Re-create the middle class
      A comment from Brexit seems to sum up the world of western politics today.  A woman was asked how she would vote. “If you have money you vote to remain. If you have no money you vote to leave.” This neatly sums up a problem that is cropping up in a number of countries.  People… Read more: Re-create the middle class
    • Labor’s Tampa Moment
      Labor needs a Tampa moment to win the election. Remember when John Howard turned around his campaign with the Tampa crisis? I hope Bill Shorten has one up his sleeve.  If not, here are some ideas. The Medicare scare campaign shows that Labor has learned a lot about campaigning from previous elections.  Medicare sucked the life… Read more: Labor’s Tampa Moment
    • Some quotes for the Labor Party
      One of my favorite authors is Hugh McKay the social researcher.  The reason I like reading his material as he often makes you look at something in a different way.  One memorable passage concerned a mother who has just washed the floor.  Her son walks right across the wet floor leaving footprints and mud everywhere.… Read more: Some quotes for the Labor Party
    • Labor and Unions. A bonus for democracy.
      They call it democracy. Government by the people. The original concept developed in Greece and the concept was that the people’s views would be represented by their elected representatives.  Just to make that clear, the elected representatives are there to funnel the views of those who elected them. Conceptually the idea is fine, but what happens… Read more: Labor and Unions. A bonus for democracy.
    • The role of minor parties
      A comment from a journalist got me thinking.  It was about the Nick Xenophon Party.  The comment was “If we don’t know your policies, how can we vote for you?” I started thinking about the reason for a minor party developing their own policies.  What is the purpose?  Their party will never have the numbers to… Read more: The role of minor parties
    • The Turnbull Experiment
      Turnbull arrived like a messiah. A rock star. The Dali Lama.  A year down the track he is just another PM struggling to win an election.  What happened? The answer is “lots”.  Let’s start with what people expected.  To say the general public is disillusioned with politicians is like saying if I stand in the… Read more: The Turnbull Experiment
    • Jobs and growth and other three word slogans
      The first few weeks of the election campaign were not going well.  No surge in the polls.  No capitulation by Labor.  No gaffs from the Shorten team.  Malcolm the Almighty was worried.  He gathered a few of the most creative minds in the Liberal party together in the Cabinet room to discuss the future plans.… Read more: Jobs and growth and other three word slogans
    • The Crumbling Blocks Royal Commission – 2046
      The year is 2046.  30 years from now.  The Crumbling Blocks Royal Commission has just completed and released it’t preliminary report. For those who are not aware of the Crumbling Blocks Royal Commission it was set up to investigate the massive problems currently showing up in blocks of apartments built between 2010 and 2020.  Most are… Read more: The Crumbling Blocks Royal Commission – 2046
    • The SCREEM Royal Commission into Banking
      So Labor want a royal commission on the banks.  The banks don’t seem to think it is needed.  Then again, asking the banks if they want a royal commission on banks is like asking the Catholic church if they want a royal commission on child abuse.  Nothing to see here folks.  Please move along. The… Read more: The SCREEM Royal Commission into Banking
    • Terrorists or “Intolerants”
      The people we label “terrorist” presumably bring terror to our lives.  Terror is defined as “extreme fear”.  So do we suffer extreme fear when we think about terrorists? I recently spent some time in Paris.  For a week I travelled every day to Saint-Denis where the terrorist attacks took place a few months back.  Soldiers… Read more: Terrorists or “Intolerants”
    • The NRA lobby
      “So you’re a lobbyist for the NRA?” “Sure am, but don’t get us mixed up with the National Rifle Association.  People get us confused.” “So which NRA are you?” We are the ‘Nother Reality Association.” “Can you explain what you do?” “We help people see things in another way.  A sort of ‘nother reality.  For… Read more: The NRA lobby
    • A sensible tax discussion
      To increase the GST.  To broaden the GST so that it applies to food, education and health.  Is Scott Morrison on a different path to Malcolm Turnbull?  How can we have a sensible discussion on tax when one tax sucks all the oxygen out of the debate?  The debate is flawed, but the GST is… Read more: A sensible tax discussion
    • Australia for Sale
      I am part of a tribe.  Several tribes in fact.  I am part of the Inner West Tribe, the Sydney Tribe, the New South Wales Tribe, the Australian Tribe.  Even the World Tribe.  All these “tribes” are defined by the lump of land we occupy.  The thing is, the bigger the lump of land, the… Read more: Australia for Sale
    • David Bowie and me
      Around Easter of 1946, my parents, and another couple by the name of Peggy and John Jones in Brixton UK, celebrated in a “matrimonial” manner.  About nine months later, on 8 January 1947, I was born.  One David Robert Jones were born on the same day.  That was all we would ever have in common.… Read more: David Bowie and me
    • Are borders moral
      An interesting question was posed to me a few months back. “If all men are created equal, are borders moral?”  If we are all equal regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, religion etc. why should we have countries?  Why should only my ‘tribe’ inhabit a piece of land defined by lines on a map?  I confess, I… Read more: Are borders moral
    • The Terrorist Club
      Imagine you belong to a club. I use the term “club” in a wide sense here.  The club you belong to may be a country, a religion, a sport, a multinational or even the bird watching community.  Belonging to a club gives you a sense of identity.  It enables you to meet and talk with… Read more: The Terrorist Club
    • The Australian Greens. How to become the major party in Australia.
      It would be fair to say both major parties are less than popular with most people.  What other choice do we have?  The Greens have some support.  They get into the low teens when it comes to percentage of votes, but that will not get them into power.  So how does a small party like… Read more: The Australian Greens. How to become the major party in Australia.
    • Seven refugee issues we have ignored
      You would think that everything that could be said, had been said about the refugee influx into Europe. I think there are a few topics that are new, or glossed over, so here we go. These are seven refugee issues we have ignored. Firstly, one raised by Gillian Triggs.  If we are taking Syrian refugees,… Read more: Seven refugee issues we have ignored
    • Cabinet discusses rorts
      “Is everyone here for the cabinet meeting?” asked the chief Abbott. “Still waiting for BB.” replied ‘Kauri’ Pyne. “Is BB King coming to provide some entertainment?” said Abbott. “Think he is dead PM.  I was talking about the other BB.  Bronwyn Bishop.  Although I think she would prefer to be known as BB Queen.  Sounds… Read more: Cabinet discusses rorts
    • A rational discussion about tax
      In an autocratic country, people are afraid to discuss ideas.  Every concept that doesn’t fit with the state view is a potential point of punishment.  Think North Korea or Russia.  In Australia, our governments are losing the ability to discuss concepts for much the same reason.  A concept is a potential point of punishment.  Not in… Read more: A rational discussion about tax
    • From Trog to Abbott – Ethics and Religion
      ‘Twas way, way back. About 2 million BC. We know about a man who lived then, through a recently discovered cassette tape.  His name was Trog Le Dite.  He was famous back then because he was the first to decide people should live together.  A community.  Up till then people lived on their own.  He… Read more: From Trog to Abbott – Ethics and Religion
    • Tony Abbott. A personality profile.
      Daily we are subjected to comment on the Liberal government.  They rang from propaganda to outright slander.  In this post, I will try and take a step back and look at the facts.  Analyse what we know of our Prime Minister Tony Abbott.  What sort of person is he?  Aside from the media performance, what does… Read more: Tony Abbott. A personality profile.
    • The ABC, Tony Abbott and flashing red lights
      Whenever Abbott attacks the ABC, red lights start to flash.  Abbott is ideologically, and fanatically, opposed to the ABC.  I am sure if you look long enough you will find something nice he said, but it was probably a back handed comment.  He would claim it was a mis-quote.  When he criticises Q&A for having… Read more: The ABC, Tony Abbott and flashing red lights
    • Drip, drip, drip
      Drip, drip, drip…. “Is that a leak?” asked Chairman Abbott during a quiet moment in the Cabinet room. “Wasn’t me.” was the response from all present.  Several shifted uncomfortably in their chairs.  All except one who cannot be named.  He fiddled under the table with the digital radio so kindly provided by a constituent.  First race… Read more: Drip, drip, drip
    • A slippery slope
      Imagine this.  A school teacher sees a child being molested in the school grounds.  The teacher reports it to the Principal.  What would you expect to happen next? If the Principal fails to report it to authorities, the Principal is subject to a $5,000 fine If the Principal does report it, the Principal is subject… Read more: A slippery slope
    • Refugee resettlement and refugee intake
      How many refugees should Australia take per year?  We are taking about 6,000 currently.  Is that too many, just right, or not enough?  Here are the current statistics on refugee intakes 1994- 1995 3,992 1995- 1996 4,643 1996- 1997 3,334 1997- 1998 4,010 1998- 1999 3,988 1999- 2000 3,802 2000- 2001 3,997 2001- 2002 4,160… Read more: Refugee resettlement and refugee intake
    • Success to Abbott is forgetting the budget
      The dull and boring federal budget is now with us.  Not much to report.  Didn’t do much.  Seems the whole purpose was to avoid any criticism.  There are a few points worth noting however. The $20k tax deductible amount is aimed at boosting small business.  If a small business is making a profit, and hence… Read more: Success to Abbott is forgetting the budget
    • Renewable energy and jobs, jobs, jobs.
      Kevin Rudd called it our greatest challenge.  At about the same time Tony Abbott called it “bullshit”. I am talking about climate change of course. The years have passed since then, so where are we now? We can start the inventory by looking at targets. Back then we had a renewable energy target (RET) of… Read more: Renewable energy and jobs, jobs, jobs.
    • What do we want of a government
      What is the role of government?  It is not a question you hear much unless it is in a very narrow context.  Government should do this or do that.  It is interesting though, to think in a much broader sense as to what we want governments to do for us. In order to get a… Read more: What do we want of a government
    • What they said.
      We all have opinions we truly believe at the time.  We also get things wrong from time to time.  Maybe we didn’t completely understand the situation, or maybe there were unforeseen circumstances.  Sometimes, what seems like a simple option, has layers of complexity we didn’t understand because we were not intimately involved in the area.  In forming… Read more: What they said.
    • Should education be a commercial operation
      What a great idea.  Bring the universities kicking and screaming into the real world of business.  Make them earn their living.  Why even some of the universities seem to think it is a good idea too.  What a brilliant government those Liberals run. There is one silly, philosophical question though: “Should education be a commercial… Read more: Should education be a commercial operation
    • Tax avoiding multinationals
      Having laws is the problem.  It has changed how we see things. Let’s start with the first group of humans to ever try living together.  Way back in the distant past, there must have been some driver to bring individuals together into a village of sorts.  Maybe it was for companionship.  Maybe it was to… Read more: Tax avoiding multinationals
    • A fairy tale. Tony Abbott and the backbenchers.
      Tony Abbott gathered together those who had failed to make the exalted rank of Cabinet Ministers.  It was just like Jesus gathering the disciples at the last supper. “I have gathered all you backbenchers together today to get some feedback as to how ‘good government’ is going.  The public seen to think I should talk to… Read more: A fairy tale. Tony Abbott and the backbenchers.
    • Why government grants to first home buyers are a waste of time.
      Imagine if you will, a company that sells gizmos.  They charge $1,000 for each gizmo and sell 50,000 a year.  It is a stable business and each year rolls past with the same price and the same volume.  Now the government decides more people should buy gizmos.  They decide to pay each person who buys… Read more: Why government grants to first home buyers are a waste of time.
    • My Budget
      I am going to be brave.  Really brave.  I am going to propose what should be in the next budget.  Now I don’t have access to the Government Budget Office or Treasury so I will have to give some general comments rather than quoting figures. Let’s start with some issues and principles: What we receive… Read more: My Budget
    • Chan and Sukumaran – Another approach
      The sheer incompetence of the Abbott government in negotiating the removal of the death penalty on the two Australians in Indonesia is embarrassing.  Veiled threats are hardly a way forward.  I saw a quote from a book which said “If you want someone to give you something, find a way for them to hand it… Read more: Chan and Sukumaran – Another approach
    • Penalty Rates on Sunday
      I have just spent about 10 days in Vienna.  Aside from catching the flu, and the freezing temperature it was an interesting visit.  One thing I found is worth talking about.  On Sundays, no shops open other than cafes and restaurants and the odd tourist place.  To my surprise, shops being closed on Sunday did… Read more: Penalty Rates on Sunday
    • Peta and the PM
      “Peta, Peta pumpkin eater.  Where are you?” “I swear if he says that again he is going to find barbed wire in his budgie smugglers.  Let’s see how prickly he is then.  Over here Prime Minister.” “Been up to a few things since you have been away Peta.  Got rid of the whip.  I think… Read more: Peta and the PM
    • Benellong and Asylum Seekers
      By all accounts Bennelong was a decent sort of person.  He became a link between black and white Australia in the early days of settlement.  A recently discovered secret journal sheds new light on his early days and some issues he had with the first fleet under Governor Phillip. It seems in those days the… Read more: Benellong and Asylum Seekers
    • No changes to Medicare
      Which part of “No changes to Medicare.” did I not understand?  It must be me because when Tony Abbott made this statement before the election, I thought he meant he was not going to make any changes to Medicare. Perhaps it is the word ‘changes’.  Maybe ‘changes’is different to ‘adjustments’ or ‘modifications’ or ‘tweaks’.  If… Read more: No changes to Medicare
    • Business and Mining Environmental Society
      Letter from the Business Leaders and Mining Executives Leading Environmental Salvation Society (BLAMELESS) to Prime Minister Abbott. Dear Tony, Thankyou for attending our Environmental Awards night recently.  Your generous contribution to our fighting fund is very much appreciated.  In particular, we would like to thank you for approving our status as a tax exempt charity.… Read more: Business and Mining Environmental Society
    • Farmers and the Banks
      As far back as I can remember, and for decades before that, the issue of banks and farmers has been a sore point.  Banks are bastards who take the farms off drought ravaged farmers.  The family may have had the farm for generations but now it is being taken away for reasons outside their control.  Now… Read more: Farmers and the Banks
    • Scott Morrison – Custodian of the Australian Social Conscience
      And the Chief Abbott spoke words of wisdom to the assembled masses. “It will come to pass that Scott, the son of a Morris Dancer, will be appointed custodian of the Australian social conscience.”     Not since the appointment of Cardinal George ‘for whom the Pell tolls’ to be God’s banker had such an… Read more: Scott Morrison – Custodian of the Australian Social Conscience
    • How stupid are we
      How stupid are we?  Every four years we go through a political dance.  They tell us one thing and we half believe it.  We elect them.  They break their promises and we sound outraged.  What is going on? Lets start with promises.  How can a political party promise a budgetary result?  There are so many things… Read more: How stupid are we
    • An insult to doctors
      Back in the 90’s, I was working in a management role for a financial organisation.  There was a lot of excitement about a new scheme to set salaries.  The HR department wanted to use criteria such as number of people reporting to you, dollar accountability and budget under your control.  All related to your empire, and money.… Read more: An insult to doctors
    • Cap’n. There be barnacles.
      “Cap’n.  There be barnacles.” said galley cook Julie B. “Get back to the kitchen Julie.  A woman’s role is not to tell the Captain his bottom needs cleaning.  It’s to work in the kitchen and have babies.” “Sorry Cap’n.  Just ran into pirate Andrew the Robber.  He told me we have had barnacles for years… Read more: Cap’n. There be barnacles.
    • The problem is the unfairness of the proposed solution
      Its not as though there isn’t a problem. There is. We are spending more than we are collecting in tax. Neither party has denied the problem, but the problem is part one. Where differences occur is in part two. What do we do about the problem? The reason for the general rejection of the budget… Read more: The problem is the unfairness of the proposed solution
    • ABC – Abbott’s Broken Commitments
      You have to feel sorry for Malcolm Turnbull.  Watching him squirm as he talked about cuts to the ABC was like watching a man in barbed wire underpants.  The pain was excruciating.  You could see he knew that we knew it was a fine load of bovine excreta, but he had to say it.  Tony… Read more: ABC – Abbott’s Broken Commitments
    • Outsourcing Responsibility
      It is becoming more embarrassing to call ourselves Australians.  This week we reached a new low.  Outsourcing treatment of Ebola.  Does the government believe there is nothing money can’t buy? So this is how it works.  The government are prepared to throw a couple of million at fighting Ebola to keep people off their back,… Read more: Outsourcing Responsibility
    • The Political History lesson in 2064
      How would a political history lesson in 2064, about the Australia of 50 years ago sound?   Here is how it might go. Welcome students to the 2064 class on Australian Political history.  Today we look back 50 years to 2014.  Some of the goings on then may seem fantastic, delusional and downright ancient, but it is… Read more: The Political History lesson in 2064
    • Make foreign investors sell homes to first home buyers.
      It is obvious that we have a housing affordability problem in many markets.  Sydney and Melbourne are the two outstanding examples.  So what are the facts? Prices are growing at an undesirable rate First home buyers are declining Foreign investment is increasing Based on auction clearance rates, demand is exceeding supply The government has a… Read more: Make foreign investors sell homes to first home buyers.
    • Abbot Government Principles – what are they?
      So what does Tony Abbott stand for?  What are the principles that guide his government?  The best way to understand the Abbott government principles is to look at what he has said and done.  Here are a few of the self evident principles that guide the Liberal government. Principles regarding the Australian Voters Principle 1.  Truth is… Read more: Abbot Government Principles – what are they?
    • Sydney by Bullet Train
      I am just back from a trip to Japan.  One thing that struck me as relevant to Sydney were bullet trains, or as they are called there, Shinkansen.  Maybe they could help with the housing problems we face in the Sydney basin. I was in Kyoto.  Kyoto is 363 km from Tokyo.  It takes the train… Read more: Sydney by Bullet Train
    • Leadership in Government
      The fog of terrorism is descending on Australia.  We are all safe, but …… Of course you can trust the government.  The government is showing leadership aren’t they.  They are fighting the evil ISIS.  Just keep answering “Tony Abbott” when the survey company asks “Preferred PM”. There are a number of issues, and I will… Read more: Leadership in Government
    • Share decision making with the people.
      When the budget crisis that the Liberals invented is reduced to it’s most basic, there are two questions to answer: Do we need to address an increasing gap between income and expenditure If so, how do we do it The first question has a high degree of consensus.  Yes, we have a shift in the… Read more: Share decision making with the people.
    • The Australian philosophy
      Like a coffin being carried around a cemetery, we seem to have lost the plot.  Australian politics today has become a killing field of petty arguments.  When the front page of newspapers over several days feature a stupid comment on whether poorer people have less cars, you have to wonder if our view of the… Read more: The Australian philosophy
    • Metadata. Happy to have a record kept of every person you met?
      If you do not want your browsing/email history tracked, you must have something to hide.  This is the new government line.  We must all be secure.  That means giving up a little bit of freedom so everyone feels safer.  I guess it is the same logic that says if we cut all the speed limits… Read more: Metadata. Happy to have a record kept of every person you met?
    • Gaza = Three times MH17
      MH17 is front page around the world.  A group of innocent people killed by someone who had little regard for their lives.  People who may have mistaken them for “the enemy” but even so, didn’t have the right to slaughter almost 300 people.  Individuals and countries are outraged and condemn the pro-Russian separatists and Russia… Read more: Gaza = Three times MH17
    • What is wrong with opposition politics today
      The shadow treasurer, Chris Bowen, made a comment that made me think.  He said “The role of opposition is not to put forward alternate policy.  The role of opposition is to review what the government puts forward and support or oppose it.”  And I guess that is a lot of what is wrong with opposition… Read more: What is wrong with opposition politics today
    • Gray Power
      There may be 50 shades of grey, but in years to come, they will remember only one shade.  Gray power. Full cycle.  Roll back the decades or even a few centuries, to the earlier days of democracy.  A political career was not a “school to retirement” undertaking.  Politicians were typically successful people in society who… Read more: Gray Power
    • HECS for Kindergarten Students
      Life is full of contradictions.  Life under Tony Abbott seems chock full of contradictions. If you listen to the government’s views on business, productivity is king, queen and possibly the court jester.  The focus of productivity is the humble worker.  Everyone seems to agree that an educated worker is a more productive worker hence the… Read more: HECS for Kindergarten Students
    • Interviewers putting politicians on the spot
      What is it about TV interviews that stops interviewers putting politicians on the spot?  Is it fear that they will never agree to an interview again?  I like Sarah Ferguson, and think she is probably the best interviewer around at the moment.  Her nailing of Joe Hockey after the budget was a classic.  I just wish they… Read more: Interviewers putting politicians on the spot
    • Labor Strategy
      Bill Shorten is coping some criticism at the moment for being too quiet.  Let’s step back for a minute and think about what he should do.  What should be the Labor strategy? Labor has four basic options open to them. 1. Attack the government and deny support for anything they propose.  This was the Abbott approach… Read more: Labor Strategy
    • Between Gordon Gecko and Mother Theresa
      In Australian politics there are two ideologies at play. The Liberal ideology is one of a market driven society.  If government just gets out of the way, the market will ensure we are all prosperous and happy.  Plenty of jobs and plenty of goods to buy.  They believe government stifles free enterprise.  Too much government… Read more: Between Gordon Gecko and Mother Theresa
    • Looking at taxation from the wrong direction
      There is a long term need in Australia to raise more tax revenue.  If we want to maintain a compassionate society that looks after those who need looking after we need more money to do it.  The sick, children, older Australians, people with disabilities and those having difficulty looking after themselves.  It is not a… Read more: Looking at taxation from the wrong direction
    • Pay them nothing because they are too young
      Imagine this.  You are a 30 year old working for the CSIRO.  Maybe you are a scientist with a degree or perhaps an electrician with a trade qualification.  The Liberal government has cut the 2014 budget to the CSIRO and 400 jobs go.  You get some redundancy pay but you have a mortgage, young family and all… Read more: Pay them nothing because they are too young
    • Public Private Partnerships
      There is one area in political discussion that excels in bovine excreta.  That is PPP or Public Private Investment.  Things like toll roads and airports.   Just to be different, let’s look at some of the facts. Governments should provide infrastructure, but what infrastructure?  In Australia, most rail is government owned.  In America is is privately… Read more: Public Private Partnerships
    • Best Interest of the Client
      A little parable. My brother is a lawyer and I am a doctor.  We both needed a new car but being very busy professionals did not have the time to find a suitable model.  We engaged the services of Joe the car broker.  Joe would find out what we were after and choose a car… Read more: Best Interest of the Client
    • Qantas – How we got to this
      A little history might show why Qantas is where it is now, and what could happen.  How did we get to this? Qantas was distracted in 2006 by a takeover attempt. A consortium called Airline Partners offered $5.45 per share.  The board endorsed the offer but shareholders rejected it.  Today the shares are trading at… Read more: Qantas – How we got to this
    • Nothing is what it Seems
      It is a bit like a spy novel.  Nothing is what it seems.  We are promised no surprises.  We naively expect no surprises.  What we didn’t see coming is that if you have no information, you cannot be surprised.  No broken promises, just a different path to the same end. Turn back the boats seemed… Read more: Nothing is what it Seems
    • Reform the Unions
      Here we go again.  The season for union bashing is upon us.  Corruption in the CFMEU.  Craig Thompson before the court.  A royal commission to take place.  When the government is turning on unions, maybe it is time to take a step back and look at the situation in a broader context. Are unions still… Read more: Reform the Unions
    • ABC Bias – Bias: “an opinion different to mine”
      One definition of bias is ” an opinion that is different to mine”.  Obviously “your ABC” as opposed to “our ABC” is showing signs of bias.  How dare they say things that are un-Australian.  How dare they criticise government.  Who do they think they are – News Limited during the dark days of the Labor… Read more: ABC Bias – Bias: “an opinion different to mine”
    • Health Funds and Medicare
      It is hard to know where to start with the Federal Government’s thought bubble about allowing health funds to run medical practices.  The reason put forward to support the idea assume an ant has more intelligence than a person.  But I will come to that. Let’s look at the differences between a government funded enterprise… Read more: Health Funds and Medicare
    • Thank you Cory Bernardi
      Thank you Cory Bernardi for opening my eyes.  Until I heard about your book I was sadly disillusioned.  My revelation started when I read this about abortion. “The political pressure from the left has ushered us into a morbid new world.” So the left is responsible for abortions?  At least we don’t have conservatives having… Read more: Thank you Cory Bernardi
    • Supply and Demand for Housing
      Houses are too expensive. Right?  They are if you are trying to buy one, but not necessarily if you are an owner.  As an owner you just want to see them go up in value.  So what, if anything, can governments do? Let’s start by thinking about supply and demand. On the supply side, we… Read more: Supply and Demand for Housing
    • Scott the Gravedigger
      I feel sorry for him.  Who you might ask?  Scott, the son of a Morris Dancer.  The media make his life hell.  If he talks to them they misrepresent all the good things he is doing.  If he says he will only talk to them once a week, they complain even more.  Avoid questions and… Read more: Scott the Gravedigger
    • When the Government is talking up their own storm.
      Why say anything when the other person is talking up their own storm.  Labor is unusually quiet for an opposition.  I don’t know if this is because they want to be, or because they are not getting reported.  In any case it is working.  The polls are showing they are going ahead in leaps and… Read more: When the Government is talking up their own storm.
    • The Mad Santa
      The problem with focusing on the big issues with the Liberal Government – e.g. Gonski or NBN – is that you miss the small things.  At the end of the day, many small changes can make a big difference.  Did anyone notice these two? Number one.  The changes to financial planning put in place by… Read more: The Mad Santa
    • MAC – Men Against Cushions
      This is a call to arms.  We men need to take a stand against cushions.  Hence the launch of MAC – Men Against Cushions.  Here is our manifesto. MAC Manifesto Cushions are an evil invention of women.  They have been lurking for years and are now arising to take over out homes.  The following are… Read more: MAC – Men Against Cushions
    • The Demise of the Auto Industry
      There is a lot of angst about the demise of the auto industry in Australia.  It predominantly comes from people who have not bought an Australian car in decades.  Let’s look at it from a marketing/manufacturing perspective. I hear people say “Why don’t they build a car people want?” Typically this means a small to… Read more: The Demise of the Auto Industry
    • Abbott Cabinet Reshuffle
      We need Tony Abbott (aka The Man who Rewrote History) to do a Cabinet Reshuffle; Christopher Pyne to Communication Minister.  He will bring his considerable media presence to the role.  His ability to answer a question he has not been asked is unique.  In addition he is the most experienced minister in doing backflips.  We definitely… Read more: Abbott Cabinet Reshuffle
    • Facts about Gonski
      There is so much anger and passion in the Government’s rejection of Gonski that it is worth while pausing and considering some facts about Gonski. Fact: The Liberals said they would implement Gonski only three months ago.  They now say they will not. Reason:  A number of suggestions have been made but they fall into… Read more: Facts about Gonski
    • Middle Class Welfare. Who are the middle class?
      So who are the middle class in Australia?  Are families on $250k the new middle class as someone (who shall remain nameless) said?  Maybe it is time to get some facts. This is a graph of household income in 2009-10 from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.  It tells you that if you are earning over… Read more: Middle Class Welfare. Who are the middle class?
    • I Don’t Understand
      Our brains have two hemispheres.  If we face north, the western hemisphere is the logical rational one.  The eastern hemisphere is the creative fantasy area.  I must definitely be living in the fantasy eastern hemisphere after reading the latest polls.  46% think Tony Abbott is doing a good job!  Is it just me? Let’s look… Read more: I Don’t Understand
    • Exquisite Karma
      I try not to gloat but such exquisite karma is rare.  Tony Abbott.  The self announced international statesman up to his armpits in political excreta.  Should I throw him a snorkel as he slowly submerges so I can enjoy the spectacle longer, or just bash him down with a bicycle pump?  Such philosophical questions. He… Read more: Exquisite Karma
    • The First Hockey Budget
      The press interview might go something like this. “So Mr Hockey, in a few months you will deliver the first Hockey budget.  I believe there will be some changes as to how the next budget is delivered.” “That’s right.” “Can you explain what those changes might be?” “Well, we won’t be releasing the full document… Read more: The First Hockey Budget
    • NSA and News of the World Phone Tapping
      Is it just me?  We have two parallel international stories running at the moment that are linked. NSA spying on world leaders News of the World spying on celebrities In one, the government says sorry, but it is how the world works.  Can we now move on please. In the other case, the UK Court… Read more: NSA and News of the World Phone Tapping
    • We have a mandate
      Tony Abbott says Labor should support the Liberals on repealing carbon tax because he won the election, and he has a mandate.  Labor says they will still support carbon trading.  Who is right? Let’s think about it.  Assuming a large part of why people voted Liberal was to repeal the carbon tax – which was… Read more: We have a mandate
    • Politicians and Sloppy Interviews
      I am seeing a trend that I don’t like.  Journalists are letting politicians get away with avoiding topics.  Not all journalists, but there seem to be more every day.  Take this example.  Liberal senator Michael Keenan was asked if it changing eligibility rules for bushfire relief, and depriving some people of payment, was a cruel… Read more: Politicians and Sloppy Interviews
    • Rob a Bank – The new Moral Code
      Just a warning to everyone not to panic if they see me in a bank.  I am going to rob the bank.  If I get caught I won’t go to jail.  I will just give the money back and all will be forgiven. It works for politicians so why not me? Seems there is a… Read more: Rob a Bank – The new Moral Code