August 31, 2007 • 11:16 pm
Hey boss, polling is showing that people aren’t swallowing those Work Choices ads we got the business council to cough up for. They’re saying that even if half of what we’re telling them is true they’ll never be able to police it. What are we going to do?
Let’s show the people that we’re serious. Find some out of the way tourist place in a safe seat, do a sweep of the small-time cafes, take-aways and restaurants and rattle their cages. Bust a few bosses for underpaying their staff and abusing the immigrant workers. That’ll get the punters on side.
I got it, boss! Warrnambool! Lots of tourists and lots of Sudanese workers. I’ll get onto it.
Oh, before I forget, we need to up the intake of 457s with the skills shortage blowing out the way it is.
Unbelieveable. They’re virtually admitting to setting up today’s raid as Warrnambool’s hospitality industry was gearing up for a busy Friday night, doing exactly what’s going on under WorkChoices in small businesses all over the country. Make an example of them for the six o’clock TV news.
They eat their own, these people.
Filed under: Ass Hattery, Australian values, Economics, Federal Election 2007, Law, Politics
August 31, 2007 • 10:01 am
My reading of the entrails this week lead me to think that we have reached the electoral tipping point from which there can be no return for John Howard’s government. It remains to be seen what Ruddock and the AFP have up their sleeves for APEC, but otherwise events seem to be propelling Howard to electoral annihilation.
The most significant change this week is that Rudd has finally neutralised the ALP’s vulnerability on IR. In the finest tradition of conservative political strategy, you don’t have to win the debate, just neutralise it. Business is showing support for Rudd’s new IR policy and are prepared to accept the inevitable.
With the Gunn’s paper mill, Malcolm Turnbull has managed to turn a page 10 story into a frontpage major election issue which will cost the Coalition votes and possibly Turnbull his seat.
Rupert Murdoch casts an early vote with The Australian editorial condemning Howard and Costello for squandering 11 years of economic good times without the significant economic reform we saw under Fraser, Hawke and Keating. Rudd is also getting a good run in the Murdoch tabloids.
Foreign debt reaches new record highs, skill shortages continue to grow and undermine the productive capacity of the construction industry. 10% of Australians now live below the poverty line. The war on indigenous communities gets more bizarre by the day. APEC may bring George W Bush and remind everyone about our involvement in Iraq and the continuing disaster that is US foreign policy as it considers expanding the War on Terror to Iran.
Short of a terrorist attack at APEC – which I’m not sure would play entirely in Howard’s favour – it’s hard to see Howard retaining office. Now that Rudd has cleared the decks on IR, the PM will be pressured daily to bring on the election. Everyone has had enough.
A Labor majority in excess of 35 seats would not surprise me. Some years back the Canadian centre-right coalition government were left with less than 10 seats. Could the same happen here? Have we passed the point of no return?
Discussion at Blogotariat please.
Filed under: Federal Election 2007, Politics
August 31, 2007 • 7:37 am
The bold-face preposterousness of the man. Who does he think he’s kidding? Defence Minister Brendan Nelson is writing to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to warn him that the patience of the Australian people over the war should not be “excessively tested”.
Filed under: Ass Hattery, Iraq, Politics
August 29, 2007 • 6:22 pm
Crikey’s Darwin insider Henri Ivrey writes about Howard & Brough’s latest indigenous policy abomination – a plan to seize all community assets valued in excess of $400k and rent them back to their communities, regardless of how well-run and effective they are. They are enacting their final solution for Australian Aborgines by stealing their land, undermining their fragile communities, and offering only mainstream assimilation in return. Are there no limits to the bastardry and ineffectual policy making of this morally bereft parcel of rogues? Apparently not. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: Ass Hattery, Ideology, Indigenous, Politics, Wingnuttery
August 24, 2007 • 5:38 pm
Blogotariat is designed to be a useful and productive addition to the Australian blogosphere in the interests of advancing the growing volume of quality current affairs commentary in Ozblogistan. Collaborative web communities are a great source of information and ideas – the problem is accessing the wealth of material out there. It needs good design – both of data handling and web presentation. Blogotariat is an attempt to fill the gap.
For the moment, Blogotariat will be mostly news feed aggregation, but with intelligent taxonomic ordering. It will be easy to see what people have written over the last two weeks on Religion, Ass-hattery or Wingnuttery for example. In time, an editorial crew would be good, to value add with op-eds and a weekly round-up – a weekend edition if you like.
I have started Blogotariat as a platform to enhance the role of blog commentary and its growing influence on Mainstream Media and the political process – the great contest of ideas essential to a civil society. If it grows I’ll figure out how to fund it as needs arise.
Filed under: Blogging, Media
August 22, 2007 • 1:41 pm
The Age reports today that Americans earned a smaller average income in 2005 than in 2000, the fifth consecutive year that they had to make ends meet with less money. Robert S. McIntyre, the director of Citizens for Tax Justice, said the tax savings at the top, combined with lower average incomes after five years, “shows that trickle-down doesn’t work”.
Who would have thought? But then again the only true believers in the trickle-down effect are the suck-it-up beneficiaries of generous tax cuts and breaks for the wealthy.
AMERICANS earned a smaller average income in 2005 than in 2000, the fifth consecutive year that they had to make ends meet with less money, new government data shows.
While incomes have been on the rise since 2002, the average income in 2005 was $US55,238 ($A68,800), nearly 1 per cent less than the $US55,714 in 2000, after adjusting for inflation.
However, nearly half of Americans reported incomes of less than $US30,000, and two-thirds make less than $US50,000.
The combined income of all Americans in 2005 was slightly larger than in 2000, but because more people were dividing up the income pie, the average remained smaller.
The growth in total incomes was concentrated among those making more than $US1 million. The number of such taxpayers grew by more than 26 per cent from 2000 to 2005.
These individuals, who constitute less than a quarter of 1 per cent of all taxpayers, reaped almost 47 per cent of the total income gains in 2005, compared with 2000.
The fact that average incomes remained lower in 2005 than five years earlier helps explain why so many Americans report feeling economic stress despite overall growth in the economy. Many Americans are also paying a larger share of their health care costs and have had their retirement benefits reduced.
Filed under: Economics, Ideology
August 22, 2007 • 12:03 pm
With another $3.6 billion added to the budget surplus John Howard announced that this is for ‘the market’ – another windfall of taxpayers’ money going to private investment funds. The dividends will be used to invest in economic and social infrastructure, presumably after the market has helped itself to substantial profits.
This is Howard’s new model for investment in public infrastructure – we’ll give it private investors and use the profits for the public good. When did the Australian people decide that this is an appropriate use of our taxes? What happened to the old fashioned idea that the government spend our taxes directly for our benefit? Now we are effectively giving it to the market on the presumption that only the profits from this investment are to be used on our behalf. Anyone still remember the market shake down of last week when $186 billion was wiped from the value of the share market? Anyone still remember when Peter Costello lost more than a $1 billion on a dodgy currency trade?
Rather than have $18 billion of public money directly invested in public infrastructure the plan is to invest it and use the proceeds. In a good year presumably, the government will have about $1.8 billion to spend on our behalf while the investment companies take about the same in commissions and earnings. In a bad year, there will be losses, with nothing to spend on our behalf, while investment companies will still add their take on top of the losses.
This is appalling public policy – taking money which needs to be spent on investing in Australia now and gifting it to the market on the promise that we will have access to the future profits. Another illustration that the Howard government’s economic prowess consists of nothing more than the time-honoured Australian tradition of taking a percent of the action – coupon-clipping as an art-form. Brokers will be laughing all the way to the bank while taxpayers are taken for a ride.
Filed under: Ass Hattery, Economics, Politics
August 20, 2007 • 1:46 pm
Yet another savage indictment of the Howard government’s neglect of the Australian Information Technology industry (ooh.. they have the intertubes on computers now??) with claims by Leith Campbell, principal consultant in Australia for British telecommuunications analyst firm Ovum, that Australia has ll but lost the race to develop really fast broadband in the Asia-Pacific area.
Mr Campbell says that by the end of 2009 the world will have about 13.8 million households directly connected to the internet by optical fibre cables and the number will be accelerating.
Of that total, 82 per cent will be in the Asia-Pacific region, mainly Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, with similar development now under way in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
Speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and in some places more than 500 mbps will be general, he says.
The broadband speed available to Australian home owners can be as low as 256 kilobits per second although 1 mbps or so is becoming more common for users within a few kilometres of Telstra telephone exchanges.
“If we all want the line rates currently delivered to office desktops — namely, 100-1000 mbps, then a fibre to the home (FTTH) network will be required,” Mr Campbell says.
Meantime, while Asian countries are burning up the telecommunications roads, Australia appears to be fiddling.
Filed under: Economics, Politics, Technology
August 20, 2007 • 1:35 pm
Like a dog that never learns to stop chasing cars, Howard’s dirt unit is at it again and they still haven’t learnt that it doesn’t work. Every time the dirt unit kicks into action on Kevin Rudd, or Julia Gillard, it backfires with a swing of 1-2% towards Rudd and Labor in the 2pp polls. It simply reinforces the electorate’s perception that the Howard government is a bunch of dishonest hypocrites. But you can’t tell them.
I’ve said it before – when you’re deep inside a hole, the best thing to do is to stop digging. The whole thing is likely to cave in on you.
Filed under: Media, Politics
August 20, 2007 • 7:53 am
My earliest political memory was my father railing against Prime Minister Menzies. He often referred to him as Pig Iron Bob in honour of him providing Imperial Japan with iron and steel, even while knowing they were bent on military expansion. And now we have our very own Yellowcake Johnnie planning to sell uranium to nuclear rogue states. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
My father gave me the impression that the Liberal Party’s fundamental principle is looking after your business mates – everything else is secondary. Howard and Downer supported the invasion of Iraq on the merest suggestion that Hussein was planning to make nuclear weapons, and yet here they are planning to sell uranium to India and Russia, who both have form, under circumstances which make it likely that Aussie yellowcake will one day end in the hands of Rogue States and The Axis of Evil. But hey, no problem, we’re making a buck out of it in the finest of Menziean traditions. Or maybe it’s just Howard’s way of ensuring that we’ll always have terrorists to fight, say in ten years time when the Liberals are back in power. Nothing like long-term planning and forward thinking.
So what better timing in the news cycle to distract the punters’ concern for the latest of Howard’s shonky deals than the news that four years ago a journalist dined and wined Kevvy and lured him to a New York strip club. You gotta give it to the Liberal media machine – it’s a class act.
Meanwhile the world’s greatest Treasurer Peter Costello threatens that if the States can’t regulate the shonky practices of sub-prime lending he will take over. And do what, exactly? Sub-prime lending is a result of global private equity looking for a quick and easy buck. Since when has it been the business of a free-market Treasurer to propose regulating the affairs of bankers? As if he could anyway. Just like he can control interest rates, I suppose. Since when has Liberal Party had any interest in getting in the way of hucksters and their constitutional right to never give a sucker an even break? I would have thought sub-prime lending was the kind of entrepreneurial spirit much admired by the Liberals.
Fraudulent, morally corrupt shysters the lot of ‘em. Election now, please.
Filed under: Australian values, History, Politics