catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Archive for September 2004

Libertarian Independents

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The Libertarian Independents’ campaign site is now live and is accessible here

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Written by Admin

September 27, 2004 at 2:54 pm

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The fiscal case for 4-year terms

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I took my annual trip to H&R Block this morning, and the bad news is that I will be contributing another $1,633.86 to such worthy government spending projects as other people’s domestic staff – the rebate for nannies announced in yesterday’s spendathon (Tuesday update: The government is denying reports yesterday that there will be rebates for nannies). According to The Australian‘s spend-o-meter the PM spent at the rate of $94 million a minute. The Australian Financial Review more cruelly started its clock with the first spending promise and stopped with the last, to come up with $200 million a minute.

The PM is only following the incentives the political system appears to create – though Michael Warby in the latest issue of Policy casts doubt on whether buying votes really works, especially for the Liberals – that buying off various constituencies is the way to win elections.

One possible way to alleviate this problem is have fewer elections. If we had 4 rather than 3 year federal terms that would reduce the number of elections in a 20 year cycle from probably 7 to probably 5 (allowing for variations in actual terms). That could save us billions in avoided pork-barrelling. It would have other advantages too, such as increasing the number of years in which governments are comfortable about radical policy changes (governments effectively go into election, don’t offend anyone you don’t asbolutely have to, mode at least a year before polling). Also, it would allow more time for the positives from policy reform to show.

Four year terms have their disadvantages, too, such as creating 8 year terms for Senators and delaying the opportunity to get rid of truly dreadful governments. But they’ve worked ok in the states, and extending them to the feds would be a good change.

Written by Admin

September 27, 2004 at 1:45 pm

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Tanner set to survive

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Not all Sunday Age stories this morning were a waste of newsprint. There was also a report on polling in my seat of Melbourne, in which incumbent Lindsay Tanner faces a challenge from the Greens. He’s certainly outcampaigning the Greens. There are lot more Tanner posters up than Green posters, and I have received three things from him and one from Gemma Pinnell, his Green rival.

With a forecast 49% of the primary vote Tanner will win easily on preferences. Another interesting aspect of the story is that despite the Liberals officially preferencing the Greens above Labor, a small majority of Liberal voters say they will preference Labor over the Greens. I certainly will. While I understand the partisan reasons for putting Labor last, I think a much better outcome for Australia as a whole would be a government of either side with a clear working majority in the House of Representatives, and for the Greens parliamentary presence to be minimised. I see my second preference to Tanner as weed killer on the Greens.

Written by Admin

September 26, 2004 at 12:11 pm

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Wife supports husband, Left-wing academics say don't vote Liberal

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These are headlines from non-newsworthy stories. Yet in the strange world of The Sunday Age they are both front-page news.

In one story, Janette Howard, well-known for her devotion to husband and PM John Howard, declares him to be “trustworthy and honest”. What a surprise.

In the other story, Michelle Grattan reports 400 “senior” (no matter how junior you are, newspapers will usually make you ‘senior'”) academics producing another worthies letter condemning the government for – wait for it – “duplicity” and “dishonesty”. The spokesman for this group seems to be Stuart Rees, who has been a left-wing activist for decades.

Michelle seems to be the journalist-of-choice for these worthies letters – I think she did the doctors for Labor story a few weeks back. But she, and her editors, should ask why this is news. The substance of the worthies’ claim – at least as reported, I cannot find the full text yet – is entirely unoriginal. We have heard countless times about children overboard and no WMD in Iraq. I don’t think either tells us much about the Howard government’s approach to “truth”, but in any case the worthies add nothing new to this debate. Their view that the Iraq war has increased rather than decreased terrorism can again be found almost every day from some other source, and these worthies add nothing new to it.

The academics try to justify their participation in these debates by pompously claiming that :
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Written by Admin

September 26, 2004 at 11:50 am

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Back from the Blogging Wilderness Part 3: The Nikon D-70

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As discussed in “Part 1: Iraq”, my absence from Catallaxy Files has been in part due to some reflection on the situation in Iraq. An increased workload in my day job has also left me with less spare time on my hands. Now throw into that mix a new Nikon D-70 digital SLR – and there isn’t much time left in the week, let alone any individual day.
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Written by Admin

September 25, 2004 at 11:43 pm

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Back from the blogging wilderness Part 2: The Election

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In about 2 weeks time, I’ll be joining the rest of Australia’s voting age population in deciding who I don’t want to run the country. “Who I don’t want to run the country?” you say. Yes – you did read that right. You see, the best thing that either of the major parties could do right now to win my vote is to say nothing and let their opponents continue to give more reasons not to vote for them.
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Written by Admin

September 25, 2004 at 6:57 pm

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Back from the blogging wilderness Part 1: Iraq.

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Like Jack – the disaster of the Iraq war has been the source of much personal reflection. I supported the war on the basis of ridding Iraq of it’s WMD capability. Now we are learning that not only did Iraq have no WMD capability, there was no credible intelligence to support the WMD claims . Despite this, Bush, Blair & Howard chose to invade Iraq on the pretext of ridding Iraq of it’s WMD capacity. Only when the WMD claim began to falter, and the war started to become messier, did we hear more about the other justifications for war – like freeing the people of Iraq.

The liberation of the Iraqi people from the regime of Saddam would probably have been a convincing defence of the decision to invade and remain in Iraq, had the US and it’s allies (including Australia) been better able to manage the “post-war” security situation. Whilst the people of Iraq are now free from the tyranny of Saddam, the recurring terrorist bombings, intermittent skirmishes with militia and occasional full blown battle – must leave many folks on the street with little net improvement in their personal security situation.
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Written by Admin

September 25, 2004 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized