catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Author Archive

Is the National Press Club biased?

with 24 comments

It seems that the Press Club is happy to have the Trade Unionist Paul Howes as its first speaker of 2010, followed by a succession of lefties: Gareth Evans, Peter Coaldrake, Malcolm Fraser, Geoff Lake, Susan Greenfield (who recently lost her job at the Royal Institution), Andrew Pesce but refuses to allow Lord Christopher Monckton to speak on climate change (see report on page 5 of today’s Canberra Times – sorry no link). Surely the Press Club  – dedicated to free speech and debate – is mistaken to silence Monckton. Its aims include:

to provide a genuine national forum for the discussion of the issues of the day

If climate change is not an issue of the day, what is?

Written by Samuel J

January 19, 2010 at 7:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized


with 40 comments

It is very pleasing to see the Prime Minister now pushing for economic reforms to boost productivity growth. 

We should now expect the Government to wind back its labour market re-regulation and to bring back WorkChoices.

Written by Samuel J

January 19, 2010 at 7:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Public school funding

with 51 comments

The Australian Education Union has released new “research”  by Jim McMorrow (see also the report ) that purports to show that Government funding of public schools is less than Government funding of private schools. As usual, it looks once again only at Commonwealth Government direct funding – neglecting the fact that public schools are creatures of State and Territory governments and funded by State and Territory governments. Total government (taxpayer) funding of public schools is of course well above that of private schools.  

This is grossly misleading and reflects badly on the credibility of McMorrow who has at once written a hagiography of the Rudd Government while promoting this nonsense. McMorrow writes:  

From the standpoint of public schools, the substantial investment in national education agreements reported in the Budget has begun to turn around some of the funding neglect that characterised the Howard Government’s years.  

The Rudd Government deserves credit for this.  

And hasn’t the media promulgated this misleading report very effectively this morning – effectively acting as an agent of the AEU (listen to the reports on ABC news for example). Yet if (say) the Wine Federal sponsored research into the health benefits of wine consumption the ABC would be either ignoring the research or noting that the sponsor is biased.   

Written by Samuel J

January 18, 2010 at 7:22 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Are the greens greedy capitalists like the rest of us?

with 8 comments

The Canberra Times (sorry no link) has been running a story over the past couple of days about the “Leader” of the Greens in the ACT Legislative Assembly, Meredith Hunter, wanting a salary increase of $50,000 to “cover new Assembly workload”. She claimed that the increase was needed to compensate her for managing the three other Greens MLAs (the irony being that there are many people on a total salary of $50,000 who manage three or more people and the ACT assembly is just a sleepy local council).

Now we shouldn’t be too concerned about this normally – after all self-interest is a powerful motivator and she is clearly seeing an opportunity to increase her standards of living.

But, really, isn’t this a little hypocritical when the Greens have been banging on about excessive executive salaries and  corporate greed?

On the ACT Greens website, the biographical entry states

I will be working hard to better engage the electorate of Ginninderra, and all citizens of the ACT in the decisions Government makes. Throughout my life I have been a strong advocate on social justice issues and have worked in community organisations in Canberra for twenty years. I have extensive experience raising awareness and promoting issues of social justice in the public arena. I am also a skilled and experienced advocate, having served on a variety of committees and task forces.

I have worked to ensure that the interests and rights of the disadvantaged and vulnerable are taken into account. My career has given me a sound understanding of the importance of the community sector and the breadth of services delivered by small self-help groups through to larger community services. I am formerly the director of the Youth Coalition of the ACT. As a mother of three, I understand the importance of having an excellent public education system as well as the provision and upkeep of playgrounds and sporting venues. I have a deep appreciation of the unique urban/bush environment that we live in, the clean air and the bush corridors that provide important recreation places for many Canberrans.

This makes it seem that Ms Hunter is a philanthropist looking after the disadvantaged and vulnerable. But she clearly wants to be highly paid for that.

It is notable that Ms Hunter did not put out a media release saying that the efficiency dividend should not apply to MLA salaries  MLA salaries.

Come on Hunter, just admit you’re in it for yourself like the rest of us.

Written by Samuel J

January 13, 2010 at 7:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Was the PM being honest about the Oceanic Viking?

with 18 comments

A report in today’s Australian states that the Government received advice that four illegal immigrants on board the Oceanic Viking were a threat to Australia’s national security before their removal to Christmas Island.

Recall that the Prime Minister slammed Wilson Tuckey for saying that there could be terrorists on board on 22 October

Interview 22 October 2009:

PM: I’ve seen some comments from Mr Tuckey this morning. The first point I’d make is that in Australia, for a long, long time, we have applied health checks and security checks to asylum seekers wherever they come from around the world. And these are prudent approaches, it’s the right approach, to ensure that folk who come to our country have met basic physical standards, but also met basic security standards as well. And this has been the case for a long, long time and it is the case today as well.

But when I look at these remarks today, they are of an entirely different character. You know, since World War II we’ve had nearly three quarters of a million refugees make their home in Australia. We’ve had about 150,000 come to make their home in Australia in the period of the Howard Government, 15,000 or so arrived by boat in the period of the Howard Government.

So what is Mr Tuckey actually saying about all those people? I think these are deeply divisive, disgusting remarks and they do not belong in any mainstream Australian political party. I think Mr Turnbull should show some leadership, and withdraw his support for Mr Tuckey’s preselection as a Liberal candidate for the next election.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, are you confident that there are no terrorists onboard these boats that are coming to Australia?

PM: Can I say that, throughout the period that I’ve been Prime Minister, and I’m sure the case before as well, when it comes to asylum seekers, whether by boat or by other means, necessary security checks are made to ensure that people pass security muster. That’s what they’re there for. Always have been, and will be into the future. Therefore, that’s the way in which you handle these things.
But to go out there and to smear asylum seekers in the way in which Mr Tuckey has done, I say again, is divisive, I think is disgusting, and I don’t believe belongs in a mainstream political party today.

Did the Government risk/compromise our national security for political convenience? Should Chris Evans resign as Immigration Minister for allowing these four to enter Australia in full knowledge that they were a national security risk?

Written by Samuel J

January 12, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


with 2 comments

I congratulate Bob Carr for eliminating NSW’s overseas trade posts. They were a waste of money. This article is humorous – we all like to take the piss out of those enjoying a taxpayer sojourn. There is certainly no case for the States to have overseas trade representatives. But the larger point is that we shouldn’t have any trade representation – it reflects a mercantalist viewpoint of exports being good, imports bad. This is an area where the grateful taxpayer is subsidising companies and often taking contingent risk (such as when EFIC is providing trade credit). Just because other countries have trade offices doesn’t mean Australia should. If businesses think that such an arrangement is worthwhile, what’s to stop them from setting up their own offices (which many do).

There may be an exception in some countries (certainly not the UK) where a government imprimatur is necessary to secure business. But, as the example of wheat exports to Iraq show, is it really in Australia’s interests to export to such countries?

But the first step is to get rid of those State trade offices.

Written by Samuel J

January 9, 2010 at 8:33 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Bob Brown – engaging in piracy?

with 17 comments

It has been reported that Senator Bob Brown wants the Australian taxpayer to provide $1.5 million to replace the anti-whaling ship Ady Gil which was recently sunk in a collision with a Japanese whaling ship.

This would be an outrageous waste of taxpayers’ resources – Australia bears no responsibility for the collision of two ships in territorial waters, unless it was an Australian Navy ship involved in a collision and due to the fault of the Navy.

The Sea Shepherd group is at worst a terrorist organisation, a best a bunch of pirates. It would be inappropriate for Australia to bail out such an organisation which would signal Australia’s acceptance of this irresponsible behaviour by Paul Watson and his group and further damage our relationship with Japan.

Bob Brown stands condemned.

Written by Samuel J

January 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized