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Jun 3, 2010

Drilling into Palmer's myths

Clive Palmer reckons everyone knows the RSPT will never happen, which is why miners are doing so well at the moment. But he forgot to tell everyone else.

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Yesterday’s debate at the National Press Club between Paul Howes and Clive Palmer over the RSPT wasn’t exactly a sell-out. Moreover, there was a curious absence of the many, many mining executives in town for ‘Minerals Week’, whom one would have thought would have been keen to support the most vociferous opponent of the RSPT.

I asked Palmer about the difference between the rhetoric of the miners and their supporters and what the industry is continuing to do on the ground. I noted that Australian-listed miners had outperformed the S&P/ASX 200 over the last month, had substantially outperformed overseas stock markets in the same period, and had seriously outperformed foreign miners.

Brazil’s Vale, for instance, supposedly poised to take advantage of our fiscal foolishness, lost 10.5% of its value in its New York listing in May. Anglo-American lost 13% on the NASDAQ. Freeport-McMoran lost 10%. Our miners only lost 6%.

Ah, replied Professor Palmer, that was because everyone knew the RSPT would never be implemented. Moreover, investment analysts were telling big investors exactly that. He named Credit Suisse.

It was the Peter Dutton defence, used by the member for Dickson to justify why he embarrassed his leader by buying BHP shares after the RSPT announcement, despite his party’s line that it was a disaster for the mining sector.

Unfortunately, the good professor’s claims are at odds with the views of a wide variety of commentators.

The chairman of Swiss outfit Xstrata, Mick Davis, chipped the Financial Times after it editorialised in favour of the tax.  “Australia’s reputation as a stable regime for foreign investment has already been damaged and investments in Australian resources are at risk of being delayed or cancelled,” Davis said. By the way, Xstrata is listed in London and derives less than 40% of its earnings from Australia, but its stock has tanked 10% in the last month, much more than local miners.

Clive’s statement was also at odds with the views of Citigroup, which complained “at the very least, the uncertainty over implementation could delay projects by 12 months.” Then again, Citigroup recommended local mining stocks as a BUY after the tax was announced, so who knows what the hell they think?

Andrew Forrest also seems to have a different view. “The uncertainty in the financial markets caused by the proposed tax” was blamed by Forrest on his decision to review FMG’s projects.

Then there’s reactionary economist ‘Henry Thornton’ who declared “Australia now is widely perceived as a high ‘sovereign risk’ place to do business” and there needs to be a law against politicians lying (a rich statement indeed in this debate).

For that matter, there’s Palmer himself, who was reported as saying when visiting Mackay two weeks ago that “with the threat of the RSPT on Mackay’s mining industry, many future developments could be put on hold”/

Then there are our colleagues at Business Spectator who have been calling for a capital strike in response to the RSPT.

Contrary to Palmer’s claim that everyone knows the tax will never be implemented so everything is sweet, the miners and their cheerleaders have been consistent in their claim that the RSPT proposal is already damaging their industry and for that matter Australia’s entire reputation.

Yet they’re outperforming the stockmarket and their foreign mining competitors.

And they’re outperforming them for a reason: they know the RSPT won’t have anything like the impact they claim.

That’s why development is going full throttle in the Pilbara.

That’s why some of the biggest names in the resources sector, including BHP and Xstrata, are happily paying over the odds to buy QR’s coal lines.

That’s why Perth mining magnate Tony Sage (who’s more of a miner than Clive will ever be) declared the tax was a killer but then bought a million shares in his own company when the price dipped.

Professor Palmer’s explanation for why the miners are doing so well at the moment is about as plausible as the analysis of Das Kapital he was offering yesterday.

Oh and there’s one other firm at odds with Palmer. I contacted Credit Suisse to find out if their analysts had been telling investors that the RSPT could be ignored as it would never pass through federal parliament, as Palmer claimed. They could only point to a research note produced on May 10 that discussed the tax.

It noted the opposition opposed the tax, and that it would need the support of an independent senator to block an RSPT bill, assuming the bill would be introduced before the 2010-elected Senate sits next year. Credit Suisse’s conclusion? “Will it get through the Senate? This is a difficult question to answer, but if we can draw one insight from the ETS experience, the bill that is put to the Senate is likely to look significantly different to this ‘first draft’.”

That’s not quite what Palmer said.  Perhaps he didn’t read Credit Suisse’s actual advice. It goes on to say:

“We have modelled a theoretical new iron ore project under the existing and proposed tax regimes. Using US$100/t installed capacity for capex and US$30/t of opex, our modelling suggests the economics are the same under both tax scenarios at a LT iron ore price of US$60/t. At prices below US$60/t, the new tax regime is actually more favourable and at prices up to US$70/t the impact on IRR in % change terms is less than 10%. Given the level of uncertainty around operating costs, capex, demand etc. we think it is safe to say that at a LT iron ore price of between US$55/t and US$70/t an investment decision is unlikely to be materially impacted by the RSPT.”

No wonder the miners stayed away from Clive yesterday.

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Bernard Keane is Crikey’s political editor. Before that he was Crikey’s Canberra press gallery correspondent, covering politics, national security and economics.

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126 comments

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126 thoughts on “Drilling into Palmer’s myths

  1. Bernard,
    You are more in favour of this tax than Ken Henry, and he is supposedly its father.
    At least wombat-man realises this tax is not his child.
    The mother of this tax is Wayne Swan.
    It is a bastardised version of Henry’s tax.

  2. ‘Henry Thornton’s’ comment that there should be a law against politicians lying has me in stitches. Who would legislate this law – politicians?!

  3. The message the government needs to sell seems simple enough to me: tax the value of minerals, not the volume … how hard to understand is that?

  4. The fact that exports went down and government spending is the only thing that stopped a massive backward economic step should have shut the whiners up, they contribute 6% to the nations GDP.

    Hands up all those people who would be destitute if we lost $6?

  5. Yes Bernard…we know…. ‘big cat miner’ Clive Palmer who you detest.

    Don’t for heaven’s sakes gives us an informed article on your beloved, his woeful superficial politics and capriciousness and don’t under any circumstances gives the punters an insight into the pros and cons of a rent tax and contrast that with krudd’s RSPT.

    [Moderator- this comment has been edited. Please no personal jibes against other commenters and article authors]

  6. A brilliant piece as usual. Clive Palmer does the mining industry no favours with his hyperbolic rhetoric day after day. I wonder if the industry will start to wise up and put him on a short leash. I’m now laughing at that mental image. Oh god.

    Anyway, the collective effort of The Daily Bludge & OzForums team has gone into building a mining tax facts site at http://www.miningtaxfacts.com.au All statements there are fully referenced with credible media sources. Hopefully this can serve as a good resource to anyone who wants to espouse the merits of the tax to anyone that will listen.

  7. “Brazil’s Vale, for instance, supposedly poised to take advantage of our fiscal foolishness, lost 10.5% of its value in its New York listing in May. Anglo-American lost 13% on the NASDAQ. Freeport-McMoran lost 10%. Our miners only lost 6%.”

    Bernard, your hysterical, predicatable and evidence-free attack on the miners has become stale. I know that you are aware of currency fluctuations, as I recall the incredible lapses in logic, non sequiturs and circular reasoning that distinguished your recent exchange rate arguments ( where you attempted to argue that the radical decline in the Australian dollar was not related to the RSPT ).

    Now, however you forget about exchange rates and claim that the 6% decline in $A share prices of local miners is further evidence of … whatever you are trying to argue. But certainly you must realise that comparing the decline in value of Australian miners in Australian dollars and other miners in $US is apples and oranges.

    Try some evidence, it helps. With 2 seconds thought I came up 4 Australian miners whose share prices (ADRs) are quoted in $US. Since the trading day before the RSPT announcement , BHP is down 16%, Newcrest is down 12.5%, Fortescue is down 23.8% and Oz Minerals is down 29.3%.

    Between you and Wayne Swan, you are doing your best to make Clive Palmer look reasonable.

  8. Would it be such a disaster if mining activity slowed down a bit, for a while?

    It might be better for our future economy if more of those clever engineers were available to design a green re-tooling of manufacturing, construction, transport and other industries. Currently, smart, mobile, highly skilled workers are drawn to mining by more money than other sectors can offer.

    And is it so terrible if some identified resources were left for another generation, in another economic cycle?

    Besides, this new tax policy won’t slow prospecting and development of resources anyway. It’s actually a break for those mining enterprises that are more ‘hard scrabble’ in nature. Miners who don’t make super profits do better out of this deal.

  9. Thanks JJ. The site seems unambiguous and unpolluted by vested interest, which is unusual in this debate. The likelihood of any of the protagonists who support the tax listening to the facts is slim. This campaign is more about attacking the Labor government than anything else, which is why it suits the opposition so well.

  10. AS a side note..

    http://www.news.com.au/world/climate-change-increases-island-size-scientists-say/story-e6frfkyi-1225874903902

    Climate change ‘increases island size’

    A NUMBER of Pacific islands previously thought to be losing ground to rising sea levels caused by climate change have actually grown larger, according to scientists.

    A study published in this week’s New Scientist magazine has revealed that despite long-held fears that islands in the Pacific Ocean would be washed away in coming decades due to rising sea levels from global warming, the islands are actually responding to the threat by growing larger.

    The study of 27 islands by the University of Auckland and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission in Fiji found that over the last 60 years only four of the islands had shrunk, with the others either remaining stable or growing.

    ..In the same period sea levels have risen by 120 millimetres, or 2 millimetres a year.

    The reason lies in the how the islands were formed over time, the study said, as weather patterns change the islands appeared to respond.

    Erosion of coral forms the foundation of Pacific islands and, as living coral provides a continuous supply of material, wind and wave action helps a constant build-up of debris to form on the islands.

    Major weather events like cyclones serve to further add to the islands foundations. When Hurricane Bebe swept past Tuvalu in 1972 debris washed up on the island caused a 10 per cent increase in the main islands size.

    Tuvalu is one of the first island groupings predicted to sink under rising sea levels caused by climate change with altitude of just 4.5 metres.

    However the study revealed that seven of its islands have grown by an average of 3 per cent since 1950.

    Similar findings were made in nearby Kiribati where three of the larger populated islands grew by between 10 and 30 per cent.

    However, the studywarned that rising sea levels would still be a threat in many parts of the world, and that factors such as erosion could not be discounted as threats to the islands.

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  11. Speaking of Vale: from business pages of The Australian Monday:

    “The expected increase will push prices for Vale’s iron ore fines, a basic product used in steelmaking, to about $US145 a tonne from $US110 in the second quarter, when prices doubled from 2009 levels.”

    So yes another 35% increase in spot prices of iron ore, on top of 100% increase over the previous year. (It is because of increased activity at the Chinese steel mills.) Of course royalties do not recover one extra cent of this windfall profit the miners make from selling our resources.

  12. Won’t be much left to tax soon. Good work Kev:

    Global miner Xstrata has suspended almost $1.2 billion in coal and copper mining projects in Australia, blaming Canberra’s new mining tax.

    Xstrata, which last month halted some copper exploration in the country’s north, said it was now suspending $586 million of spending on its Wandoan thermal coal project and also a $600 million project to expand its Ernest Henry copper mine.

  13. @ RL. Thanks for the report from Nature. What a piece of good luck that rising ocean levels are increasing the island size. Less likely we’ll have to deal with refugees from Tuvalu.

  14. If the Mining COMPANIES won’t pay up to the people of Australia and go on strike, let their leases expire and leave it in the ground for my children and their children.

  15. The KPMG report to the minerals council is a good example of why both parties are able to claim their argument (that the tax will be both a positive thing and a detrimental thing to the mining industry) is correct. Modelling is only as good as the assumptions behind it, and there is a bit difference between Macroeconomic modelling and Financial modelling.
    If you look at the rent tax from a long run, theoretical, whole of economy perspective (as Treasury has), it is a good thing. However in the short to medium run, industry specific, practical world of finance perspective (Minerals Council), it is a horror and will do a lot of damage. International investors aren’t in Australian mining because they like Australian rocks. They like money. Taxation is a disincentive for business and if the new tax it makes the investors rate of return less than mining projects in other countries (like Canada), they will quite happily move their money elsewhere. Australia is dependent on foreign capital to fund it’s projects (we don’t have enough savings to fund our own) so if the money moves, it means less new projects, less new investment in Australian mines. It’s not scare mongering, just a simple statement of fact.
    If you want to read the report, it is here http://www.minerals.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/MCA_News/RSPT%20Report%20FINAL.pdf
    A bit dry for the non-finance guys, but worth a look if you are interested in why the miners aren’t happy. (list of the assumptions is on p33 of the report)

  16. Rush is a single issue party.
    @ Scott. We do have quite a few $ in Super. The miners will go where the minerals are. I think it’s about time we stopped dancing to the tune of the multinational Investment Banks. Taxation is our only weapon in this game.

  17. I’m not much interested in reading about Clive Palmer or his views but picked up one of those touches that you so often use, BK, to tell us more about yourself than about others or any other subject. “Henry Thornton” is a “reactionary” economist you say. Interesting that he is a close friend of Ross Garnaut who helped invent the workable resource rent tax that we already have for the offshore oil industry. But it is that old-fashioned word “reactionary” that says so much – or were you satirising yourself? (BTW HT is so reactionary that he is still, on balance, a Keynesian…..).

    Has it occurred to you that there is quite a moral issue that confronts not only the Rudd government trying to find a way at others’ expense to have themselves re-elected but also to those of us, voters, who are being invited to have them steal for us and are going to be invited to sanctimoniously say that what the majority wants, even when taking other people’s property, is morally right to give effect to.

    Remember: the resources which are already being mined are only “ours” in the sense that a house we might have leased to someone for 50 years is still “ours”. If there is a right to change the royalty rules according to some formula or understood principles, e.g. when the price of the commodity changed, that would be one thing. But, in the case of the RSPT it is hard to distinguish what is being done from any tax change which altered the company tax rate for a particular industry or group of companies within it. What about “you Japanese bought all these shopping centres and commercial buildings when the AUD/Yen rate was ridiculously low so you are now making super profits. We will therefore raise the standard corporate tax rate on foreign owned property businesses to 35 per cent”?

    The government is perfectly entitled to do it constitutionally, just as it is perfectly entitled to levy a 30 per cent tax on all individual net worth over $2 million and spend it all in marginal seats needed to maintain its majority.

    The RSPT is contemptibly immoral as proposed and you should be able to see that. It is not as though it is wartime and Australia has run out of credit for buying armaments so needs to grab money where it can. BTW my family’s superannuation will benefit from the transfers from the RSPT according to Swan. Like Fagin, I do prefer to have others do my stealing for me.

  18. @Martin

    I am a currency trader myself and the decline in the Aussie dollars is due to the slow recovery of the global economy especially with problem in Europe which make speculators avoid risks currencies; and in the Aussie dollar case it is also a proxy for commodities and weak global recovery and the simultaneous drop in mining shares globally cause investors to turn elsewhere. Although there has been concerns about the RSPT in forex circle it was more about the uncertainty which all the hysteria and the fighting between the two camps have caused.

  19. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/future-projects-in-jeopardy/story-e6frg8zx-1225874736702

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSSYU01003120100603

    “Taxation is our only weapon in this game” says peerless wealth redistributionist DavidK no doubt akin to the inadvertent disclosure of Kerry Brien’s election night “swing to the ABC” lefty credo

    Well peerless is not quite right.

    There’s Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin but I don’t really think the people’s wellbeing figure strongly in their calculations…..

  20. Tom Uren once described Senator Robert Ray as “a garbage bag, physically and mentally”.

    I think of that quote every time I see Clive Palmer.

  21. As Kevvie said yesterday – the shrill bleatings of the miners is just bunkum. Mining in Australia is easy pickings – good infrastructure, good climate, unlike freezing cold Canada, stable goverment, unlike Africa or Sth America.
    Palmer is a goose. As Marilyn said, he has never mined a kilogram of product. He is a speculator who holds mining leases and will sell out to the highest bidder. This is the bloke who recently refused to pay the $2 train ticket subsidy to Qld Rail for his soccer team’s fans to get to a game. Apparently he wanted to reduce the size of the crowd attending – Doh!

  22. #
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Thursday, 3 June 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    “Actually Clive has never actually mined anything.”

    Yeah! Good for you Marilyn! I’m sick of the mis-use of the word “miners”? By the look of Clive, he’s never done a days work in his life, let alone be a “miner”? Never seen a fat bloke who worked down in a mine? Never! Look through all the archives etc! They usually ended up looking pretty old, skinny and sick!

    Now all the workers will have their turn won’t they? Go to Canberra and discuss their tax levels? Sounds good to me. Why do these morons get all the advantages? One of these greedy bastards reckoned that the mining industry ‘didn’t make any money last year’ and then we find out, that they made a miserly $3.8 BILLION! Tragic isn’t it?

    So we won’t ask them to write the legislation that will make lying a criminal offence, will we?

    Tonight we’ll have all the greedy bosses whining about the $26+cents weekly wage increase for the LOWEST paid! Damned cheek!

  23. Clive Palmer revealed his true character when he laughed that he was unable to pay for meals at restaurants because the restauranteurs “wouldn’t let” him pay, because they hoped that his patronage would be great for their popularity.
    If he had a decent bone in that bloated body he would insist on paying, and generously too!
    Like most of the greedy rich, Clive mistakes wealth and power for intellectual and ethical superiority.

  24. JAMESK – “There’s Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin but I don’t really think the people’s wellbeing figure strongly in their calculations”

    Well, I’m no fan of Putin, but once again your political ignorance is showing! Since Hugo Chavez was elected(has been, many times and increased his margins each time – no talk of illegality according to those who witnessed them, including Jimmy Carter?) the people have benefited greatly. It was only a relatively short time, that numeracy and literacy skills were at UN standard; education possibilities for the poor increased greatly, and people saw a doctor when they never had before – including pregnant women. The people have re-written their Constitution in a very involved and public manner – small meetings etc, and their new Constitution which includes the indigenous people(unlike their prior and ours?) and minorities – which ours doesn’t! The infant mortality rate has improved, and Cuba is training new doctors at this time – as they have with Haiti and other impoverished countries! Incomes have increased for the poorer people; supermarkets with cheaper costs for low income people etc.

    You obviously supported the pro-US minority non-indigenous people who allowed the peoples’ resources, including their labour to be exploited! Now why doesn’t that surprise me? You support the oppression and enforced poverty of the wealthy above the needy and neglected!

  25. Daniel, mate! This is off-topic obviously – I have the same question as Rush – uploaded the photo to Imgur.com – so this comment is just to see if it works. If so, thanks.

  26. What a doolalley Palmer is.

    A disgustingly rich doolalley with no conscience, and no sense of responsibility to his country.

    What about this:
    “Do you really believe,” Clive Palmer asked the Press Club, “that in the late 1800s Paddy Hannan would have walked 600 miles in the hot sun from Perth to Kalgoorlie to discover gold if he had to pay the Wayne Swan resource super tax?”

    Well, the answer to that is yes, yes, and yes again!
    Paddy obviously walked all that way in the hot sun with no guarantee of anything whatsoever!
    Paddy was a simple prospector.
    Paddy obviously had no idea that obscene riches beyond the dreams of Croesus (like those of Palmer) would accrue to others (certainly not him) from his discovery.
    And Paddy ended up a humble man on a modest government pension.

    Paddy and his family would surely have been more than happy to have been in a position to have to pay the resource super profits tax!! That is, the tax on super profits which uber-rich persons like Palmer have made from the Australian resources discovered by humble prospectors like Paddy Hannam.

  27. @Ron E Joggles: You need to post a link (URL) to the picture once it is stored on a hosting server. In that sense, it’s the same as posting a link to an article.

    However, be aware that Crikey posts which contain URLs are automatically suspended while they await moderation, and the moderators seem to work standard business hours.

  28. @SHEPHERDMARILYN

    Clive Palmer is no doubt an uninteresting (though fascinating to Bernard’s blog groupies it seems) embarrassment to real mining industry explorers and producers but your 6.47pm post is an embarrassment to clear thinkers, assuming you claim to be one as a justification to contributing to public discussion. You say

    “Does Clive really think anyone is going to stop digging up gold when it is worth 1200 per ounce?”

    Quite literally, until some new development expenditure is needed, mining gold from an established mine for which the variable costs per ounce are low enough to make 1200 an ounce profitable is not likely to be discontinued, but……

    It is a ridiculous thing to say without reference to exchange rates (and the RSPT is likely to be bad for the $AUS so good for Australian gold miners), to costs of extraction and the fact that the gold, including extensions to existing ore bodies, has to be found by expensive scientific prospecting. Then, when you take such factors into account you have to forecast profitability after tax from the prospective development and “digging up” (and selling) and compare that with the required return on investment, or on equity, which determines whether a project gets to go-ahead when all alternative uses for the money to be invested are considered. If a large rich, easily accessible, ore body yielding gold was estimated to be able to earn 15 per cent return on equity at current gold prices and the RSPT would reduce that after tax return to 12 per cent is it not obvious that future Australian gold production may be less because of the tax change?

  29. @Bernard Keane

    WHO’S THE NONG!!??

    You say

    “Dear Fewings

    The falls I quoted were in locally listed currencies. Nothing to do with forex fluctuations, you nong.”

    That was his point. The first three falls you cited were New York, therefore $US share prices. Xstrata presumably in GBP since it is London listed. The fall of the $AUS against the $US (and to a smaller extend from memory against the GBP) means that the falls of the Australian miners were substantially greater than the falls of the others when all measured in a constant currency. And that is what any rational institutional investor, and certainly foreign investors, would be concerned about.

    Caught again by your basic innumeracy?

  30. Oh for heaven’s sake, no-one is going to stop mining gold although they will try and blackmail the country into believing they will.

    Like Xtrata claim they have halted a mine that does not exist and the stupid OZ believe them.

  31. Bernard said:
    “Dear Fewings The falls I quoted were in locally listed currencies. Nothing to do with forex fluctuations, you nong.”

    That’s awesome. Way to go to miss the point, Bernard!

  32. ^ in an earlier post by JamesK the moderator wrote:

    “[Moderator- this comment has been edited. Please no personal jibes against other commenters and article authors]”

    I wonder if that moderator will now edit Bernard’s ‘nong’ post for the same reason? Hmmm?

  33. Lib MPs lathering themselves in Question Time today about 3000 people who’ve lost their jobs!

    Faux outrage! Some mining company claims they’ve shelved plans which might have involved 3000 jobs, someday, if they couldn’t ship in machines big enough perhaps…

    And our representatives twist that into outrage that 3000 people have lost their jobs!

    Confectionary. It rots your teeth.

  34. the tax won’t kill the mining industry but it will stifle growth as the big miners defer some projects to the following year so they can operate under the tax threshold.

    It is a typical left policy and people who can’t see the concerns of the right, obviously don’t get it. It isn’t about being left or right, if you can’t see the potential implications it puts on some of the biggest companies and largest employers in Australia, it is worrying.

    All around the world, sports people, actors and businesses move to tax friendly countries so they can get more bang for their buck. At the very least, this is a risk for the government.

    And if I hear another government spokesperson compare the tax with Norways similar tax, I’ll spew. Norway in population is about the same size as New Zealand and is a far more progressive country than our conservative boganville.

  35. @Ron E. Joggles

    An all you can eat for $5.95 restaurant perhaps? Probably looking for a poster (buoy) boy.

    P.S – A website called GRAVATAR does a good job with pics for free as well. It’s pretty simple to use, even I can do it.

  36. Oh please! For heaven’s sakes, the lot of you! Grow up and act your age! Can’t you see shepherdmarilyn is run ragged trying to shoulder the mantle of self-righteous common sense for Australia – AND change all your nappies, AND do the washing, AND put food on the table – while you pathetic little children bleat and moan about this stupid mining tax?!? Honest to goodness! Until you idiots are mature enough to wipe your own bottoms and get back to the real topic of murdered babies (or something), then we’re all doomed to be beaten with the stick of Mother Marilyn’s perpetual migraine for another year or two at least! Jesus!! Are you all just talking about these things just to make her upset?? For crying out loud! Give a condescending matriarch a break!! AAARGH!!!

  37. @LAQUER…your crude attempt at putting ShepherdMarilyn down is neither clever or amusing.
    When you are half the caring person she is, you will have done something. Until then keep your abuse to yourself.

  38. David:

    Foul-mouthed, indignant, belittling, self-righteous fuming cannot possibly be wrapped up as “caring”. Marilyn has been nothing but consistent in this for as long as I’ve been hanging around here. She gives at least as good as she gets.

  39. And further … what has she actually DONE or achieved, exactly, besides sit there with her hands on her hips an let everyone know how cross they’ve made her? We’ve had months on end of fed-up, condescending, ill-mannered, “caring” motherhood lectures … letting all and sundry know just how stupid she thinks we all are for failing to talk about the thimbleful of topics she deems worthy. So how exactly do you equate her rudely talking down to anyone who doesn’t agree with her … with caring?

  40. @Napoleon Dynamite

    You are right about the difference between Norway’s prudent attempt to ensure that the river of gold (so to speak) from North Sea Oil isn’t all squandered by the current generations and the Rudd-Swan RSPT grab to be able to bribe the necessary number of voters in marginal seats to vote them back into office. What a pity that Swan hasn’t any of that residual Baptist carefulness with money that Costello showed in setting up the Future Fund (and other measures, not excluding paying off debt). He let Howard get away with a lot (which Treasurer Howard would have been furious about if PM Fraser was doing the spend up) but had some good instincts and good reasons for giving effect to them.

    As to Norway being progressive, well, yes, if it is enough that it is doing what Malcolm Turnbull proposed (but didn’t get off the ground, or did he?) namely paying large sums to Indonesia to protect its rainforests for all the many good reasons for doing that. But its intellectual life is pretty stultified as recent reports of the TV comedian turned science reporter Harald Eia’s exposure of social scientists and gender researchers in an unflattering way in a TV series called “Brainwashed” indicate. Ideology rules a lot of pretty second rate academics.

    The next shoe to drop on Norway will surely be the long term result of coddling people cradle to grave. On the way many will count it as a plus that women are paid well enough at jobs which used to be traditionally female like nursing to be able to express what, contrary to social science PC doctrine, could be natural differences in their emotional preferences and tendencies compared with men (or at least culturally determined ones which have not been eliminated in late 20th century attempts to rectify the upbringing of little boys and girls to produce a unisex result). There was BTW much evidence of a similar kind from Israel decades ago where it seems that Zionist socialist ideology wasn’t a match for nature – or some strong Jewish mothers’ influence over the generations….

    There will be plenty to learn from the Scandinavians. Another lesson will be that diversity isn’t always a good thing. Happily Australia will probably be able to handle the likelihood that smart hardworking ethnic Chinese and educated Indians will be more prosperous than the average Australian on average, but the resentment of our own Aborigines amongst the sort of people who formed the support base for Pauline Hanson is a warning that we should look at those generous social democrat Scandinavians and learn that even a few highly visible outsiders who don’t pull their weight economically and aren’t regarded as law-abiding can be a costly irritant and disrupter of social harmony.

  41. #
    David
    Posted Friday, 4 June 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    “@LAQUER…your crude attempt at putting ShepherdMarilyn down is neither clever or amusing.
    When you are half the caring person she is, you will have done something. Until then keep your abuse to yourself.”

    I agree!

  42. @JULIUS – Costello did these allegedly ‘good things’ because the govt didn’t invest in infrastructure; health and education received inadequate funding, helping private schools at the expense of public education, roads etc. He also gave massive amounts to the already rich and middle income to high earners at the expense of the poor and low income people. Don’t make out they were some sort of wonderful money managers. Pensioners lived below the poverty line also.
    The country went backwards under them, and the lies current Libs are spuking re the ‘great big new tax’ etc is a nonsense. In his first term, Costello introduced 37 new taxes and increased a further 25 existing fees and taxes. (Herald Sun, Nov 2000).Look at the debacle that happened by making their mate filthy rich via child care centres – disgusting!
    $10 billion to the fossil fuel industry at the expense of research and development re renewable energy sources – total and absolute neglect and mis-management – now we’re all suffering, as is the planet! I’m sick of the bullshit nonsense about Howard and Costello! Now the filthy rich mining companies are bellyaching because they’ve been shown to be filthy liars and getting even more filthy rich at our expense! Disgusting also, and Palmer is one of the main ‘players’? Lying that is!

  43. @LIZ45

    I have actually read your latest though am not inclined to respond what seems like all the disgust you feel about the Howard-Costello years in one breath.

    However, I note your reference to the poverty level and “pensioners” (?some, all, those that drank heavily and smoked??) living below the poverty line. Can you elucidate this with facts and figures, especially in the light of the undoubted fact that the pension more than kept up with the cost of living from 1996 to 2007? I would be inclined to criticise Howard’s giving the pension to to many additional people without any offset such as increasing the age at which the pension could be claimed. Do you have any comment on this aspect of “middle class welfare”?

    As it happens I am in a good position to contradict your assertion as I looked after the affairs of a sole pensioner for many years, giving general non-financial assistance until she had a disabling stroke in her mid 80s and thereafter until her death when I saw that she had considerable savings without ever having owned her own home or invested in property or shares or earned an occupational pension. As she had looked after children for years she knew a lot about diet, wasn’t a bad cook and ate quite well. She felt the cold but never had a problem about the cost of heating or hot water. When I had to look into her finances for the purpose of getting her into a nursing home I found that she had been saving steadily over the years. One of her bank accounts was in the CBD meaning that she had to spend money on travelling to the CBD from time to time from her suburban home.

    There is a question you might consider if it doesn’t run too strongly into your preconceived ideas about the “filthy rich”**. What is the morality of the many taking from the few because there is a system set up which allows those who have the majority of votes to ignore morality of any kind and decided that what they want, with whatever rationalising justifications, they will have? What is the morality of politicians buying their way back into office by taking from those who have few votes to give benefits to people in marginal seats? How do you handle the fact that neither can readily be justified by moral argument once we have left simple tribal moralities to which everyone is more or less consensually bound (best illuminated perhaps by the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, and as a reminder, like the customs of PNG highland tribes, not an unequivocal endorsement of mores)? Isn’t a consensus in favour of small incremental change (with occasional good win-win departures like the GST in exchange for inefficient state taxes – with qualifications in that case) part of what keeps our community from outrage at what self-serving politicians might otherwise cook up?

    The chief vice of the RPST is, apart from its not having been negotiated and sold honestly and carefully, is that it would suddenly changes the rules and understandings that applied when billions were invested in developing Australian resources. It destroys trust and makes people who might not otherwise consider it decide to put their money offshore or spend up big time on tax avoidance advice. It can only tend to make some potential philanthropists less inclined to share their good fortune with fellow citizens who have supported taking what is theirs without any justification of war time emergency or a gradual change in consensus supporting a gradual change in policy.

    True, many of us who are reasonably prosperous or, a fortiori, rich, have little trouble assuming we deserve our good fortune in a way which is at least exaggerated. But those who think that equality in material wealth is the starting point for morality might like to consider the more realistic alternative that nature has not made us equally intelligent, energetic, calm, brave, disciplined etc. and it has given us instincts which have social value as well as value for the (top) individual to strive and compete for eminence, status and power. In communist societies we saw how those instincts resulted in competition to be top dogs in the Communist Party without any of the beneficial results of commercial competition which, happily, both Samuel Johnson and Adam Smith wisely commended in the English speaking world in the 18th century.

    ** (I note that you apply that description to mining companies which raises other questions given that it is hard to know how a publicly listed company can be “rich”. Big, yes; cashed-up, yes (for the time being presumably if it is net of debt), but what could “rich” mean, especially “filthy rich” as if you are making a judgment such as has more logically – if contentiously – made about an individual who has benefited from serial good fortune or light taxation so as to be able to accumulate a fortune out of all proportion to any objective contribution his creativity or entrepreneurial skills might have to extra GDP. I can understand you regarding Bill Gates as “filthy rich” though I would disagree and wonder at your lack of appreciation of his amazing success in building one of the great businesses of the world. But how can a company be “filthy rich” when owned by a million individual shareholders and twenty million more who have interests in superannuation and similar funds?)

  44. @VENISE – The train trip was 2 hours each way – the seminar was from 9am to 4.30pm, although I didn’t arrive until about 9.30am and left after 3pm. Didn’t want to get a train past 5pm from Central – less people on it, and women have been sexually assaulted on our trains!

    Your husband was indeed a thug and a bully. I’m only a very small person; my husband was at least 25+kgs heavier than me, and 30 cms taller – a real brave bastard! I have no time for violent men, and believe that unless and until they admit their crimes, they’ll probably never change. He still denies it, in fact, threatened me again about 6 yrs ago if I ‘told’, and his current partner supported him – she’s probably a victim too! So there you go. I told my sons when they were growing up(although they only actually saw him hit me once) that if they did likewise, not to worry about police, her father etc, just me? They never asked me what I’d do – I made sure they realised, that women weren’t put on earth for their use and benefit, and I’d be devastated if I learned that they were abusive – disgusted too! I’m 110% sure they’re not! Capable and ‘house trained’ as I’ve said before – thanks to me! I’m proud of that, and also that they’re compassionate and caring – certainly didn’t learn that from their father???

    I’m off to do some clearing up too! Like washing some dishes! Oh for a dish washer?

    @JULIUS – “However, I note your reference to the poverty level and “pensioners” (?some, all, those that drank heavily and smoked??) living below the poverty line. Can you elucidate this with facts and figures, especially in the light of the undoubted fact that the pension more than kept up with the cost of living from 1996 to 2007?”

    The was an inquiry into pensions set up by Rudd(I believe) which showed, that those pensioners who were living below the poverty line were single women of which I’m a member. The reasons were many; that superannuation was not available to these women as is now, that many therefore had the pension as their ONLY income, and that THE PENSION DID NOT KEEP UP WITH THE COST OF LIVING! This is why, in March, the Rudd govt used a different ‘formula’ to assess that increase(there’s another in October I believe – used to anyway). Under Howard, these twice yearly increases did not exceed $10, whereas under Rudd it was increased by $29 and some cents per fortnight! That means, since last Sept, pensioners like me have received increases of $100 (approx) per fortnight, but we’re still catching up. In the last 10 yrs, groceries have increased by 40%, but of course, low to moderate incomes, and definitely pensions, have not increased by this amount. People renting and those paying mortgages pay 19 and 20% of their incomes (ABC radio a few months ago – economist I believe) – my weekly rent via NSW dept of housing, is 25% of my income per week! Used to be 20% in 2000, but went up one% each yr for 5 yrs! I have no savings!

    Another relevant reason; that women who were divorced in previous years didn’t receive a just settlement. It’s still discriminatory in what is deemed a woman’s imput into home, family and children. Most of my income was spent on groceries, linen, children’s clothes, (either purchased or made by me) furnishings (again, either purchased or made by me) – items that cannot be pointed to as readily as paying the mortgage or electricity. I went to work for several reasons, the main one was my then husband’s lousy, mean, and spiteful attitude to providing for his kids. He was also against my going out to work, and thus I was in a ‘war like’ environment for almost 10 yrs – until my kids were almost young men – then I left. He said, “if you want to go out to work, you’ll have to work twice as hard at home” – and I did!

    These men then have records to show, and together with society’s attitudes to women and women’s work, too many women ended up with little money; the need to start all over again with vital goods, such as furniture etc, and a legal system that was also chauvinistic. There’s been books written about this, one was called, ‘Marriage, Property and the Money go-round’ (or words to that effect? – Josayln Scutt? (not sure of spelling) was one of the authors)

    Today, due to Howard’s support for those with money, many people who have millions in assets are still able to receive a pension, either full or part. I disagree with this, and believe that most of the assistance should go to those who, like me, don’t have assets and thousands in the bank – this would ensure, that our weekly pension could increase, and more assistance with the rising cost of utilities etc. It could also assist carers, who do an amazing job while exhausted and stressed, save the govt billions, but are not given a fair go. Money could also go to paying nurses in aged care facilities a decent income – most receive at least $100 LESS than their counterparts in general nursing. This is obscene! As an indication of Howard’s attitude to wealth, when the GST was introduced, people like me did NOT get the $1000+? or so dollars – neither did my friend, a single aged male without assets or savings! If you think that’s just, then your values are totally different to mine.

    The SMH had an article about the pension going to those with millions, but I can’t put my hand on it at the moment! You could research it though, and I’ll have a look for it.
    The whole Howard focus was not on those in the community who were doing it tough, his focus was only on being re-elected and providing for his wealthy mates. This was borne out in his taxation policies, asylum seeker policies, living standards of the aged, infirm and carers – the list goes on! The taxation policy was in line with his 1950’s view of womens’ roles, in that it made it almost worthless financially for women to re-enter the workforce – particularly if she had to organise child care and transport!

    I’m in favour of the super resources tax, and after listening to and, reading of many articles over the past weeks, I believe that the wealthy mining companies have not been paying their way, and as far as being generous to charities etc, this is a myth – Australia’s wealthy people are not generous in comparison to other countries(the US?) although there are exceptions, like Dick Smith, a man I admire for his honesty and his charity and compassion. Some, like Palmer, I find contemptible – the Packers, Murdoch etc!

    As for using words like “rich” etc. I’m not going to engage in semantics. A bigwig stated, that last yr the mining industry made no money – at the same time, there’s a record that in fact $3.9 BILLION in profits accrued. Now, regardless of what your personal financial position is, they’re big bickies – huge – rich! They’re all billionaires, while giving their workers a really hard time when they seek an increase after at least 2 yrs without one. Xstrata workers at Tahmoor, NSW, a case in point. BHP Billiton and Blue Scope Steel(in my local area) also. The owners are filthy rich greedy bastards who’d prefer to pay their workers nothing if they could get away with it!

    As for the GST? The Howard govt was the first in Australia’s history to harshly tax people on pensions and other small incomes. Maybe OK for those with good incomes, but as I have to pruchase my essentials at the same place as Murdoch, Rudd or Abbott or yourself, the GST only causes more impoverishment on those who can least afford it. This includes essentials like medicines, bandages and heaps of other vitals to help care for disabled children and adults. It’s a disgrace! People with chronic conditions are paying the way for those who are fit and healthy. Not right in a rich country like this one. I haven’t even referred to indigenous people yet!????????

    Washing up beckons. I don’t have live in ‘slaves’ to do it for me? I also have a disabling and chronic condition – but there’s heaps worse off than I am!

  45. @Liz45

    I take your word for it that there was no full COI increase in your pension (but I had the old age pension in mind and I don’t know if that is your one) under Howard. I am a bit out of date on the matter it seems. I was perhaps extrapolating from the evidence that it wasn’t just the relatively well off who became better off in real terms under Howard. Without attributing praise or blame for the causes, I understand that real wages increased. If increases in the pension (your pension) lagged your cost of living it may have been because the relevant index was weighted by goods and services which became cheaper such as airline travel but gave insufficient weight for your purposes to groceries, e.g. But haven’t pensions been linked to average wages rather than CPI for a long time?

    I couldn’t agree with you more in your revulsion at men who are violent against women. I can’t think of a stronger taboo. I am a lot larger and stronger than all but a few women so hurting women seems so obviously beneath one’s dignity apart from any other consideration, but the taboo is even stronger than the one learned early against picking on those smaller and weaker than oneself generally. I can understand, though not condone, some men losing it because their wives use their tongues to work them up, run them down and generally humiliate them. Women are generally more verbally adept than men and at a large number will be smarter than their partners as well, a deadly mix if a woman, with or without both of them having had too much to drink, decides to give a heavy tongue-lashing to a partner already stressed. The obvious response of the bigger stronger male partner of a good humoured and possibly exasperating “yes dear, I’m sure you’re right dear” followed by a grin and then prolonged silence may not get much of a chance to be tried. Of course, extending that picture one can see that some marriages may founder on the refusal of one party to engage in high emotion interaction and relapse into self-protective mutual isolation with resentments quietly building.

    As I understand it you might be able to get the pension even if you had a house worth millions because (I believe) it would not be counted in the means test. And, if they get the full pension, or maybe even part (I don’t so I am not sure) they get all sorts of health benefits which those who are entirely self-funded do not get. It is an aspect of Howard’s quite successful attempts to keep middle class voters happy, especially in NSW, but is also an aspect of one of the great distortions in our tax system and whole economy, namely the fiscal privileges accorded to home ownereship. No land tax, no capital gains tax and exemption from the pension means test adds up to a lot of reasons not to invest in the productive economy as your first priority. We don’t provide mortgage interest tax relief as in the US but that is about our only abstention from folly. It actually gets worse because state stamp duties at a high rate discourage the buying and selling of houses and therefore to some extent inhibit labour mobility.

    You express strong feelings about right and wrong so it seems that you might be trying to quell your conscience when you characterise miners as “billionaires” and on that basis (and their alleged meanness with workers) justify Robin Hood (i.e. bushranger) morality toward them. It is quite meaningless to count the billions of capital in a mining company when it is owned by thousands, or indirectly millions, of individuals who rely on investments in it and other companies to be profitable and to grow so they will not need the pension. If you fleece mining companies because you think they are benefiting from the good luck that demand from China has pushed up commodity prices (and I do mean fleece because you are deciding what to take from them well after you have offered them an environment in which they could count on the taxes and royalties they would have to pay before choosing to invest or to go elsewhere) you are taking from your fellow citizens and those of other countries at large, not from many billionaires. “The owners are filthy rich greedy bastards”. What absolute rubbish. The owners are millions of people, and of course taxpayers generally who take company tax at about 30 per cent. Althugh I have never worked in the industry I have known dozens of senior mining company people and they are a decidedly more moral and community minded lot than business people generally or most people in the community. While you are right to note that Australia’s wealthy individuals don’t have the record of charitable giving that those in the US do (for reasons which I partly, but only partly, understand: it isn’t I think just a matter of meanness) I have noticed a particularly high level of community involvement amongst mining company leaders.

    And, as to their treatment of the workers, in general you are completely wrong. Not surprisingly drivers of pieces of equipment which cost more than $500,0oo are treated v. well and likewise those whose carelessness could cause an underground mine closure and even deaths. Workers (not managers) in the mining industry who earn $100,000 a year is not uncommon. Bluescope is not a mining company so not an example to the contrary whatever its sins may be.

  46. @JULIUS – I was on a Disability Support Pension from 1996 until 2007? I applied for a DSP for several yrs due to my RSI(work related injury/diseases/tenosynovitis, epicondylitis, carpel tunnel syndrome, neck and shoulder injuries and upper spine. They refused me! In 1994 I fractured my coccyx(lowest point of spine – badly) and it was this that they finally agreed warranted a DSP – even though I was in constant and chronic pain and unable to work. Howard changed the age eligibility for aged pension(not OLD aged pension – thank you?) and so I had to wait. The DSP and aged pension are the same.

    I’m not advocating the “fleecing” of mining companies. I’m asserting, that when it comes to OUR resources, they should be paying a reasonable amount of tax, so that all Australians will benefit. From what I’ve read, listened to etc, I can’t see any problem with the proposed tax – not one! Just because I don’t have shares in BHP or whoever, doesn’t negate my right to benefit from the country’s resources. As for generous billionaires; as an aged pensioner, I’m one of the many like minded people in the country who contribute in a voluntary capacity. I’ve heard that in money terms, our contribution is worth many billions of dollars each yr to the economy! I’m not a taker, never have been; I’ve been contributing since I was a kid – first by my parents in pulling my weight and caring for younger siblings/house duties etc until the present time.

    Incidently, as far as I’m concerned, “miners” are the blokes(usually) who go under the ground and dig the stuff up – not the multinational “mining” companies. They’re not miners, in fact, one look at Palmer and it’s safe to assume, that he’s never done a full days work in his life. He’ll be a burden on the health system due to his over indulgent life style in the near future? Probably thinks ‘manual labour’ is a Mexican boxer?

    “You express strong feelings about right and wrong so it seems that you might be trying to quell your conscience when you characterise miners as “billionaires””

    What? What is that all about? I don’t have a bad or guilty or any other negative ‘conscience’ but there’s many others who should have a really guilty conscience. Employers allowing people to be injured when they could prevent it by using some of their money making sure that equipment is workable, safe and kept in good order, and ensuring ergonomic practices are engaged in, to make sure people go home safe and well. For that omission, the then NSW govt, to wit, the Dept of Education knew, that teachers aides were the 2nd highest group of workers being injured, and they did f**k all to prevent my body from being stuffed! I put them in the same category as a drunken driver, who knowlingly drives a car and causes grievous bodily harm to an innocent person. I have no guilt nor am I suffering from some kind of envy or whatever you’re trying to imply. My ‘sin’ was to work until my arms wouldn’t function any more, and that was nearly 27 yrs ago. Then, my moral employer used tax payers money to fight me in court. When it comes to morality, they exhibited none!

    I have no sympathy or empathy or whatever for the likes of BHP Billiton, or their other ‘arm’ BHP or any of the others. The resources in this country won’t last forever. These companies have a long reputation of exploitation and abuse of their workers, and disregard for their safety. Successive govts give them subsidies; cheap water and electricity(the Uranium mine in SA, a good example) and allow them to pollute and get away with it. BHP Billiton is involved in digging up resources in countries where the people are oppressed; poor wages are paid, and they leave their mess behind them. Only a couple of days ago, a ‘whistleblower’ stated, that harmful radioactive omissions, injurious to the miners are leaching from the uranium mine in SA. (forget its name? damn! Beverley?)They’re in Iraq doing god knows what? Waiting to steal the billions of oil from that traumatized country? Great global citizens????
    I live in the Illawarra – lived here for 56 yrs. I know all about BHP and the coal mining companies, and their shameful history in this region.
    I heard someone say the other day, that the resources in the country have a relatively short life left, with the exception of uranium which has about 125 yrs, depending on demand. Iron ore, 70 yrs; Black coal, 90 yrs; Gold, 30 yrs and gas 60 yrs. This depends on demand etc but I was shocked at the relatively short time left. I can remember when we sold oil from Bass St – all gone; as is Gas, virtually gone.

    I know of miners who were dusted; others reduced to very sick men, and my mate has asbestosis. These conditions were preventable. The Navy knew about the dangers of asbestos in the 1930’s and companies like James Hardie and Gilberts knew for at least 20 yrs prior to them being forced to admit it – they allowed people to work until they died. (recent Background Briefing, ABC Radio National – would still be on their website – only a few weeks ago). Another indication of govt’s disgraceful attitude, is the recent tornado and storms have caused asbestos in private homes to end up on their front lawn – NSW govt announced yesterday or today, people will have to remove it themselves. This is stuff that you only need a ‘sliver’ of to kill you in a horrible way, 30-40-50 yrs later. That plainly illustrates the attitude to us – the workers, the residents and their kids. A little child of 4 could die in 40 yrs time – they will have no idea if they’ve been affected until it’s too late!

    “I can understand, though not condone, some men losing it because their wives use their tongues to work them up, run them down and generally humiliate them. Women are generally more verbally adept than men and at a large number will be smarter than their partners as well, a deadly mix if a woman, with or without both of them having had too much to drink, decides to give a heavy tongue-lashing to a partner already stressed.”
    You agree that physical violence is horrible, cowardly etc, but then use the above paragraph to justify men behaving in a violent manner. There is and never will be any excuse for any form of violence. The men who bash their wives/partners don’t use violence towards their friends, workmates or anyone else – don’t these people ever ‘stir them up’? Some men(too many) think that they are biologically/naturally superior; that this is how you conduct personal relationships. I don’t give a s**t how they get that way any more, that’s their problem – they know it’s wrong, and so should get treatment/counselling/control themselves etc, not put the responsibility of their actions on their partner’s shoulders – they’re gutless and refuse to own their awful behaviour! One in 3 women will be physically abused in their lifetime, and one in 4 girls and/or women will be sexually abused by the aged of 16? One in 5 or 6 boys will be sexually abused by the same age? Great stats aren’t they? The greatest threat to the health and safety of women and girls is men – and men who profess to love them? A high percentage (17%)of women are abused for the first time when pregnant! Nice eh?

    There are many forms of domestic violence; physical is just one. In fact, experts now believe, that the emotional and psychological abuse is often more destructive than the physical. When it comes to a “heavy tongue lashing” my ex was a task master at it, and he particularly enjoyed doing it in front of my kids – he did that for 20 yrs? He’d lie and do anything to humiliate me, and he was so clever at it, that the more I’d defend myself the more guilty I’d look! For example, he threw a lamp at me(it had a china base) just a few weeks before I gave birth to his first child – it was at his parent’s house – we were house sitting. When they arrived home, he was rewiring it or something, and he told them that I did it! They believed him! When I made a shocked exclamation, he made out that I was embarrassed? How frustrating do you think that was? I remember that vividly over 46 yrs later! I remember my first ‘ball’? I’d crocheted a long dress, was very excited about it(had 2 little kids and not much of a social life) he got drunk and was so nasty and sarcastic, I spent 1 1/2 hrs sitting on a cane bench in the women’s loo! Some fun!

    When my 2 eldest boys were only 9 & 10, they could pick me up, chair and all, and move me across the room – they did it once, in fun. How strong do you think a grown man is? I’m not much bigger than 10 – 12 yr old kids! My boys had bigger wrists and hands than I did by the time they were 11 or so! They’re big men today – take after their father?

    And you ask if I have a guilty conscience? Don’t make me laugh! This is good old australia, where we look after our ‘mates’ and believe in a fair go, blah blah!
    I hope that you are a young man. I also hope that you’ll live the advice(one bit?) I gave to my sons – the best thing you can do for your children, is to love and respect their mother, and to love and respect each other – that’s how mature people conduct their personal relationships! Any form of violence, ridicule, harrassment etc is not on!

    I’m off to bed! I need to lie down! (too much typing?)

  47. @Liz45
    I am catching up (online) with this morning’s Insiders so haven’t finished reading your post. However I note your description of the resources that are being mined as “ours” and therefore we should be able to fix the price whenever we like to take what we think is a fair share (having regard to all the circumstances including past understandings? or having regard to just what our whim decides to deem relevant?) . Once they are leased or licensed to the miners it is no different from leasing a house for 50 years at a price or rent we later think was too low. And if one has some principle of taxing windfalls – which needs a lot of definition and discussion which hasn’t even begun – then what about, say, taking 40 per cent of all lottery winnings over $1 million that have been received in the last 5 years? What about a special tax on the gains in Perth housing values as a result of the resources boom?

    My appeal to your conscience and sense of right and wrong supposed, inter alia, that you might open your mind to the facts and arguments I have just noted.

  48. @JULIUS – There’s no tax on winnings in the lottery etc, but if you invest it or give some away, you pay tax on that including gift tax. In my view, winning money is a lot different to taking resources that belong to other people, making a huge profit(I’ve heard up to 400% in recent times) and not paying an adequate amount to those who own that resource? A big difference. When you purchase a lottery ticket, it’s with the knowledge, that your costs will go to another/others in the event that they win and you don’t? It’s an agreement – pretty clear in my view. There’s no such agreement with the Australian people and the mining companies on resources that belong to all of us; only via tax and royalties charged by govt/s? In my view, and that of others who are better informed than I, we’re not getting our share? That’s what I object to! I support the tax!

    As to leasing a house for 50 yrs? That house would be reduced in value due to wear and tear. I don’t think the homes built now would last in pristine condition as long as the older ones were – double brick for instance, instead of brick veneer – certainly not for 50 yrs? Resources on the other hand are more than likely to increase in value, and I’ve heard, that that is the situation now. As resources are reduced and if demand is higher, the price per tonne or whatever would increase. This increase could far outweigh the salaries and costs for example, thus making the profits even higher? For example; I’ve read that the invasion of Iraq pushed the price of oil up markedly, and this was one of the planned measures – that’s why Halliburton and big oil companies made such huge profits – they orchestrated (deliberately) the market, as Iraq’s production re barrels per day fell? The Bush Administration had at least 30 people with many interests in the oil industry as part of the decision making body. Their names etc have been listed on the Internet, and the monies made by them. Cheney and Rice had managerial roles in oil industry, and were in receipt of annual income from those companies – these are just 2 examples. Every Bush member has oil interests, from their father down! The oil industry has been setting up a ‘program’ re the rest of the oil in Iraq – public/private partnerships that make their profits higher and so the Iraqi people will lose on their major resource – I call it theft – on a huge scale! We did a terrible thing to East Timor in the agreement Downer & Co orchestrated, to do that impoverished country out of what they were due. There’s a documentary about that, put out by an Australian who was outraged. There’s also, http://www.handsoffiraqioil.org with the history and plans of the US and the huge oil companies!

    I heard Peter Martin(via ABC local radio last wednesday) state that the profits are up to 400% for some resources. He also said, that when mining companies invest $60 million in setting up etc, they can pay that money back in 6 months? Now, if there’s several yrs of resources in that place, they make huge profits. That’s why they can pay their CEO’s huge, obscene in my view, annual retainers. I don’t call them salaries, that’s just not a suitable word for these people. It’s worth noting, that under Howard/Costello, CEO’s incomes increased by up to 300%? I’ve already outlined the huge discrepancy between them and those whose labour mines the stuff! Good incomes might to several hundred thousand, chicken feed by comparison to the huge profits!

    I don’t watch Insiders, as I can’t stand Piers Ackerman and Andrew Bolt – right wing liars in my view! I’m not that keen to get a dose of racism and pure hatred on a sunday morning! I give it a miss! I chosse to watch Gardening Australia and/or Message Stick – far more educational and pleasureable!
    This morning, I helped my friend sort out her TV & DVD etc so she can watch a movie while she’s recuperating from her radiationtherapy for cancer! Too many remotes???I’m just getting the hang of it myself. I’d rather do it myself, as I find that’s the best way to learn how things work – after I’ve read and got advice of couse!
    haven’t even read Crikey yet!

  49. @ Liz45

    You are right in a sense about the difference between taxing a windfall on a lottery ticket and the RPST because the government (and you) pretend that the latter is not just a grab for a windfall gain that makes one envious. But it is.

    Your reference to 400 per cent profit is almost totally meaningless. The average returns on capital of the mining industry in Australia over any number of decades you choose to look at is of the order of 7 to 9 per cent. Most investments in mining have been failures or at best barely covering their costs. It has been an essential part of the development of mines that some people, with a high preference for risk, chance their money and often their lives, as in early gold rushes, for the possibility of making a really big killing. Even with the modern multi-nationals there have been an extraordinary number of huge disasters with hundreds of millions lost which anyone with a serious interest in the subject would remember well (just Google for BHP and WMC’s disastrous investments and add-in a good look at the history of Bougainville Copper, still out of business because of PNG’s own particular variety of sovereign risk).

    You think, and politicians wanting your vote who should know better say, that it is about getting a fair return on “our” resources. But we have already agreed on the fair return. The representatives of the owners, the state governments, have let the house so to speak on a royalty (cp. rent) agreement which satisfied all parties, dealing at arms length (that is the miners weren’t bribing the politicians and the politicians, unlike in Africa, weren’t threatening to expropriate some existing mine if the companies don’t pay up) so that each side was responsible for getting the deal right and had no right to complain later – unless perhaps something truly unforseen, such as a war or totally unprecedented tsunami – as it would be in Australia – were to occur.

    You make totally irrelevant points about 50 year leases. You miss the point that, if I, as owner (landlord) don’t make sure the lease allows for rent increases or transfer the obligation to pay for repairs to the tenant I shouldn’t expect the tenant to pay up because I failed to negotiate what will look like a fair deal to me in years to come. Of course a court might decide that it will impose a deal on both parties because the landlord in this case was under a disability and not capable of looking after his interests, but I mention that to show how ridiculous it is to say the Commonwealth government should step in to make up for some deficiency in the states negotiating deals with respect to state property (not “ours” in the eastern states as West Australians would point out with respect to Pilbara iron ore!).

    An alternative to royalties in dealing with state property is to auction the various rights involved, which may include exploration and mining separately. It is possible to insist on the state being cut in for a free carried share (or as full joint venturer) and there other ways for getting value. But few of them, if any, are likely to ensure that neither party seems later to have got the best of the bargain – i.e that the price seems perpetually to be the “right” one. A formula for adjustments could be included. But none of this justifies one party, let alone an outsider like the Commonwealth government changing the rules afterwards. That is a recipe for distrust which makes the cost of capital to that country greater in future (higher interest rates and higher profits demanded by businesses before they agree to invest). That is the essential meaning of “sovereign risk” in such cases.

  50. @JULIUS – I don’t agree with you. The ‘evidence’ speaks for itself. These companies are extremely wealthy, but like most powerful and wealthy people, they’re greedy. The tax on their profits should be reviewed from time to time, and that’s what is happening now. Pricewaterhouse coopers clearly shows, that Australia was paying the least amount of tax out of about 6 countries. You can dress it up in whatever words you wish. As far as I’m concerned, they’re not paying enough. The nonsense re them not making any money is rubbish. They wouldn’t go ahead after their initial investigation is there wasn’t money in it, and they wouldn’t be paying such huge amounts to CEO’s etc if they were doing it tough!

    We’ll just agree to disagree! I have no sympathy for the Palmers of this world, or Xstrata or BHP Billiton. Look at their hard luck on the stock exchange, and remember, that the ABC announces profits etc and it’s available on the net. I think the govt should start on the banks next! Ripping people off; charging obscene amts on frivolous ‘services’ and make amazingly obscene profits – our money! Well, not mine personally, as I’ve been a credit union member of my local CU since the late 70’s?
    I have a basic repugnance for rich people to get richer at the expense of those in the middle and at the ‘bottom’? I think it’s theft at best!

    Cheers

  51. @LIZ45

    I suppose it is possible for some people to thrive and be happy on anger, but that doesn’t seem to be you. You sound diffusely angry and indignant about such a large part of the world you perceive.

    If that were true and I could presume that you would want to hear it I would say….What about trying to cure your tendency to use inappropriate categories and concepts?

    Most obvious is your use of “wealthy” and “rich”. Even of individuals and families, of which it makes sense, I think you pluck your idea of them out of your imagination. I suppose I know quite a lot of people who could be called rich and I can’t think of any whom I have seen or spoken to in the last fifteen years or so that I would even suspect of getting richer at the expense of those who had middle or low incomes. Some have basically accumulated conservatively at a steady rate as one might do by putting aside regular savings from a good professional or salary income. The richer ones have usually had a bit of luck, combined with good judgment that helped them not to lose money through silly mistakes but providing some goods or services that others wanted to pay for has been the key to most of them whether in starting a newspaper that people wanted to read or being able to charge at a high rates for their rare skills which might be those of a QC or an artist like Jeffrey Smart or a number who’s widows are now rich. But that’s just your visceral reaction to a picture you have in your mind from god-knows-what source about rich people. Where you go off the rails into inappropriate categories and concepts is using “wealthy” about big listed companies like BHP or RIO in the same sense as you write of your imagined individual rich people.

    Sure most big companies can spend a lot of money on something they may properly (or improperly) choose to spend on. So can Greece or Portugal. General Motors made a lot of money and paid a lot of tax but is now totally broke. Ironically, you might say, the biggest single element in its insolvency is its commitment to pay its workers very generously, provide outstanding health care insurance and pay big pensions! But that is btw because what you centrally overlook is that even a solvent big company has tens of thousands or even millions of shareholders and many more, through superannuation fund membership, who benefit from the company making big profits. Many of such people will be not at all well off. So your idea of “wealthy” is totally irrelevant to the question. It is not a question of our disagreeing. We simply aren’t using the same language.

    To illustrate the point about “wealthy” companies, I invite you to consider the inappropriate use of “wealthy” to characterise schools with the implication that the children there and their parents should not be given any assistance. The so-called wealth of Australian private schools, with only one or two exceptions, is not the sort of wealth that makes life less expensive but quite the contrary. Practically none have large endowments as many US private schools do. On the contrary their wealth is playing fields and buildings which require expensive maintenance. Obviously they don’t have the kind of “wealth” that would allow them to subsidise the fees of student children of poor parents without assistance from the state. Failing to inquire about the wealth (or income) of the parents of children at the school is just the same fallacious approach as you take to “wealthy” companies which may not even be financially secure in a volatile economic world and are owned directly and indirectly by millions of poor and middle income people.

    You insist that BHP etc are profitable as if I had denied it. I merely point out that there is no justification for special high taxes on the mining industry as though it is always more profitable than the long term average for all industries. It is not. Don’t you remember the Poseidon boom of the late 60s and early 70s? Before the end of the 70s Poseidon was in receivership just like most new mining companies within ten years of being floated.

  52. @JULIUS – I have an ideological view re wealth; with capitalism itself. Capitalism only thrives when a minority gain the riches, but the work, the toil is not done by them, but by workers, who, if the owners, the wealthy etc had it their way, they’d pay little if any wages. Look at Nike in Indonesia and Malaysia etc. Or my friend from Chile who was an outworker among many in the 80’s, she received about $5.80 for a pair of jeans that retailed for well over $180 – they had over 30 pieces to them, and when she beceme very proficient, she could make about 4 pair a day. Her boss was a well known owner of male clothes stores in Australia. Women perform the majority of labour in the world, and yet own only 2% of the wealth; there are over 20 million slaves in the world, mostly women and children. Wars, poverty, civil unrest etc affect women and children the most. In 2010, the plight of women around the world is dire – by any assessment. I get angry when women, particularly young women think the struggle is over – it might be for them, today, but as we’ve seen by Abbott’s policy re WorstChoices, their quality of life can be removed overnight. Women in this country only receive 65% of male income(there’s a rally in Sydney on Thursday – a Day of Action to change this injustice.

    It’s OK for men to point out women’s anger or frustration, when their set of references are completely different, and they are the ones who’ve made the rules, the laws, society’s attitudes via legislation, and seem to feel OK for these injustices to remain. Men benefit via the oppression of women – if you’re a black woman, then it’s heaps worse. At my age, I don’t need anyone to lecture me on my perceived negative display of anger – when it’s done by a man, it’s paternalistic patriarchy.

    Capitalism goes bust from time to time, like a yr or so ago, and who has to pay to get the corporate wealth out of the s**t – ask the unemployed and homeless in the US? It’s an ideology, and a commitment to freedom and justice, and that’s what I’m striving for. I know people who have money – my own kids are very well paid, but they were raised with a social conscience. My son with his own business is very generous to me, and his family and employees, and he is also committed to workers being in a union. I’m sure he doesn’t leave his footprints in his workers shoulders!
    I do not uphold the right to be filthy rich at the expense of the planet or people. Sadly, the experiences in the world aren’t very hopeful. Look at BP’s disgusting mess, and time will tell how responsible they are, or have to be. Obama is still allowing drilling in the ocean, and also allowing companies to bypass safety standards. It will only be a matter of time. Blue Scope Steel made and still do make people on the coast very ill; people near coal mines on the central coast, around Newcastle are also being adversely affected by pollution. Wars are started over ‘things’ like Iraq & Afghanistan. Anyone with a sense of responsibility and respect for life and the environment are most concerned, and at times, very angry! Im angry about the plight of the Palestinians, who are suffering an awful form of apartheid and many believe, genocide! What’s not to be angry about if you’re aware and caring!

    Look at how those on Wall St did after the people, via the govt gave them trillions to get out of trouble. Did they tighten up the laws etc? No! Why? They rule, that’s why? Wealthy corporations rule the US – not the President. To a lesser extent, the same happens here as well – that’s why there’s poverty etc. Schools with millions in the bank will receive even more millions this year – I find that obscene, when state schools run raffles to purchase library books etc! If I operated on the ‘jack system’ my life would be without the angst – but I don’t, and I’m proud of it! There’s enough wealth in the world to fix the problems, but while people are greedy and lust for even more wealth, the suffering will continue. It’s no accident, that many like the US, who boast of 80%+ christians, allow such things to continue! Amazing!

  53. @LIZ45

    I understand your eloquent denunciation as a lamentation about human nature which even invents gods that counsel genocide and doesn’t proceed uphill from there with anything much more than the occasional off cuts from the tables of the powerful and other immediate beneficiaries of the vigorous use of high cognitive ability by able energetic people.

    For those who can’t, for whatever reason, look after themselves in their own castle (as in “Englishman’s home”) with their own sources of income collective action is natural if not necessary but we know now that such collective action is likely to embody the xenophobia, greed, and other charming characteristics that the most feral an undomesticated new rich exploiter of cheap labour might be guilty of. The White Australia Policy was our own example of the former – no reason to blame the rich for that – and the guild like restrictions imposed by unions representing the skilled were our own example of the latter.

    I hope I don’t make life seem worse for you by telling you that I am a very happy person who acknowledges that, despite some shattering disasters on the way, I’ve been lucky. I can enjoy the luxury of finding most of my irritations in recalcitrantly bad arguments, with special disfavour for those from family members and others I think could do better.

  54. @ Julius to Liz45
    That first paragraph is a pisser, my apologies for not reading the rest of the post, (or whatever Liz wrote to disgorge it).
    Send it to The Plain English Foundation, they do a great job at slicing and dicing and are always looking for examples to use.

    P.S To all posters – you know if this applies to you, brevity please.
    There isn’t a minimum word count rule.

  55. @JULIUS – I’m very glad that you’re happy – I just hope, not at other peoples’ expense? I’ve just come home from a very productive meeting at my adjoining city’s Council Chambers – my local govt council is also involved! It was about DV, and Betty Green was the guest speaker. At the risk of getting into trouble – again, I’ll tell you what her topic was – the Review that the NSW govt is starting this year, to investigate all homicides of women to investigate the history etc as to whether the murder was DV related, and to learn from each situation in order to pre-empt and stop the horrific toll – one every 7-10 days??? I learnt a lot, and there were women from different areas, NGO and Gov – one bloke! Good man too! Only quite young, which I find very heartening and exciting! I think we’re on a very productive pathway now, and it’s good to be involved. So, I’m not a negative person, I do get excited about seeing things change for the better! I’ll probably get into trouble again? Oh well?

    Anyway, there are lots of people like me who don’t like the current mode of politics etc. We keep on doing the same things, and wonder why the results aren’t any different? Better! We hear politicians rave on about poverty blah blah, but they laud the World Bank and the IMF, which is a joke if not for the poverty they insist on – in order to repay the loans etc. I applaud the people of Venezuela, as the impoverished majority had had enough of the very small minority living like royalty on the backs of their labour. Life is looking up in many areas that we take for granted! I don’t believe the rubbish portrayed by the media – it’s crap!

    I’m tired and feel buggared!

  56. @GC51

    I think my attention was taken up partly by feeling the need not to sound patronising or otherwise rude or hostile when touching on another’s emotions. This might be clearer (given that I have to include all the ideas thrown together in that first par.)

    “I understand your eloquent denunciation(s) as a lamentation about human nature.

    “We would agree after all that it is a human nature which invents gods that counsel genocide and that our nature hasn’t improved its manifestations much in many millenia apart from giving us the occasional off cuts from the tables of the powerful and other immediate beneficiaries of the progress which has been achieved by able energetic people’s vigorous use of high cognitive ability.

    “Christians were taught to understand the limitations of our “fallen state”. Translate that as our evolved natural state with a small cultural overlay and it is hard to see why an atheist’s attitude should not be similarly calm and resigned.”

  57. @Julius
    O.K then.
    What I’m getting is:
    Christians and Atheists, Right and Left, etc, (Liz and yourself, figuratively speaking), should be united against exploitative forces no matter their belief system/s.
    As Liz’ and your ideals don’t conflict with your principles, when you drill down into it, it’s more a matter of definition and direction of thought/action.
    Did I get the flavour of your discussion?
    I haven’t read all your toing and froing so forgive me if I’ve placed any words in your collective mouths.

  58. @GC51

    I like your optimistic spirit. I think it fits with my determinedly naive attempts and theoretical hopes for something which is probably Sysiphean [?spelling] in its frustrating hopelessness: one of those triumphs of hope over experience.

    That is to say I like to think that we can by lengthy calm discussion get to some core premises that all (no, just a sufficient number of those one is able to converse with) might accept and then trust that logic can take the matter on from there. Well, you might say, it would keep you off the streets for a long time anyway. Even the logic bit is overoptimistic I realise without actually knowing many truly stupid people. La Condition Humaine no less.

  59. @ Julius
    If one can’t accept the, (initial), difference then one can’t celebrate the, (ideal), convergence perhaps?
    I’m going all philosophical here I know.

  60. GC51 – One major difference is the fact that my views have largely come about by either my own experiences over 60+ yrs; involvement in community organisations and people, mainly women who deal with many issues, and educating myself re influences, causes and effects of sadly too many policies and behaviours executed by men – being the major decision makers around the world, and also the people who gain the most by their decisions, and sadly contributing to the poverty and suffering of others, including children. I have gained my knowledge at the University of Life, rather than out of books and intellectual thinking. It’s been my experience, that while men do the talking, women are out there doing the ‘job’? The older I get, the more this applies!

    The GFC is a prime example of the entrenched attitudes to becoming wealthy at the hands of human suffering, and not caring about what happens to those most affected – women and children. Another example of the damage to the planet is BP – the bosses are more concerned with saving face and wealth, than a commitment to others particularly the planet. There’s heaps more! Those arguing the case for are mainly men, and those having to cope with the ‘fallout’ are mainly women! This is no hysterical whipping up of ‘male hatred’ it’s fact. The same with wars, poverty etc!

  61. @Liz45
    I am a firm believer in real world experiences playing an important role in a well rounded education.
    As for the role/s played by men and women in determining the directions we head, that’s a discussion all by itself. How about “Nurturers V Aggressors” as a title?
    True we live in what could be described as a patriarchal society when judged in terms of the majority of decisions made affecting the globe.
    There is light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t a train.
    I feel things are slowly changing, as your recent experience demonstrates.
    Like everything that requires one group to relinquish power, this is not a quick or easy process.
    Keep at it Liz, you may “convert,” (no pun intended), a few crusty blokes along the way.

  62. @GS51 – It’s imperative that the “crusty blokes” come on board, because until a lot more do, nothing will change! It’s not good enough for the ‘sisters’ to agree, because they’re not the ones who are scared of losing their power. Sadly, too many men believe, that by treating women as equals in every sense, they’ll lose something? What they don’t want is to lose that – if so, abuse of women would cease. That’s what it’s about, power! That’s why the Palmers of this world are so strident in their opposition to a fairer system of taxation – they don’t want to lose any power or wealth! It’s like a disease with some of them.

    If you’ve been following many of the topics on Crikey, you’ll have to agree, that the attitude displayed by some men to women who have strong views opposite to theirs is pretty gross and childish- they can’t just debate the issue, they become patronising, paternalistic and offensive, using childish girly language. Venise and I got jack of it, and I pointed out their abusive behaviours, only to be chastised for not sticking to the topic. What needs to be understood by those at Crikey, is that this behaviour must be stopped, otherwise it will continue! In almost every occurence, they started with the insults – just because of our gender. Enough I said!

  63. @Liz
    No need to apologise, I agree with you.
    When I said you may convert some crusty blokes I wasn’t being dismissive.
    In my opinion reverting to the same tactics allows those of a different view to engage you in ways that diminish your argument and label you as fanatical or bitter.
    If I were to advise you I would say don’t get sucked in, stay calm and to the point. Clarity will win out in the long run.
    Don’t underestimate the intelligence of others who read the posts but don’t contribute.
    Fair minded people see through the posts intended to rattle your cage. Closed minds don’t or can’t.
    Sometimes it is better to opt out and deny oxygen to your protagonist.
    The air is much fresher when standing on the moral high ground.
    Here endeth the sermon.
    Good luck!

  64. GC51 – Seeing this discussion started 8 days ago, and most people have moved on, I’m guessing that those at Crikey won’t accuse me of changing the topic etc. It’s just an avenue to continue discussion? I acknowledge the legitimacy of the comments you made, and a tendancy on my part to respond, when sometimes I should just let ‘the boys get on with being boys’ and move on. They’re so predictable and boring. Gee, it’s 2010, you’d think some things would’ve got through to them by now.

    Yesterday I went to the Sydney at the Town Hall for the Equal Pay – No more Lip Service Rally. The Town Hall holds about 2,500 and there were over 3,000 people there. It was awesome! There was a history of the long struggle for equal pay, dating from 1937 to the present day. The oldest woman ‘fighter’ was well in her 80’s who started work at either 15 or 16. The whole presentation will probably be released on a DVD soon; worthwhile keeping.

    I was shocked to learn, that a child care worker in a state govt Education Dept facility is paid $20,000 more than her counterpart in a community based child care centre! Women work an extra 63 days per yr(2 months?) to receive the same or similar pay to men. The recent pay increase to the lowest paid workers of about $26 will not go to the workers in the community based work places. Employers First(NSW) went to court and asked for and exemption and won! I’d love to know who the judge or officiator was? We marched around to Employers First offices, with police/horses/the riot squad??? and gave them a roudy rendition of our feelings – good stuff. I felt angry at first, and then saw the funny side! Terrible (mostly) women threatening the very fabric of our society? Some good blokes were there to support us, and more than a dozen Unions were represented! I took some good photos. The horses were gorgeous – but very big! I’m about as tall as today’s 11 yr olds?(In fact, my grand-daughter measures herself against me every time we meet – and there’s not much difference now – I’ll have the ‘invisible’ tape measure run up against me on Sunday?)

    I love going to rallies etc. It’s like getting a huge ‘injection’ of vitamins – energy needed to carry on – regardless of the chauvinists and those who choose to remain ignorant and unjust!

  65. GC51 – My eldest son is bringing me a new computer, complete with 22″ LCD Screen etc. Very exciting! This is the 3rd one he’s given me, but this is the first new one. I should be set for life now – heaps of memory, DVD burner etcWindows7 – all good! He pays my Broadband each month also – he’s a very kind and generous man to his mum. He has a beautiful wife and 3 gorgeous kids!

    I’m going to be busy before and after tidying up the area etc and will have to get my info on the hard drive transferred etc at a local computer business. But, then it will be plain sailing I hope?
    The weather is going to be sunny, so they should enjoy their trip further down the coast too! Fingers crossed for safe trip!

    When my 3 boys started ‘patting me on the head’ and saying ‘there there mum, it’ll be fine, I had two choices – I decided to laugh! Now the grandkids? Mind you, they do like it when they’re tall enough to reach that top shelf?
    ABC PM the other night had a new item, that short people are 50% more likely to have a heart attack? I didn’t like that much! Must start the walking again?)after I get over yesterday’s long walk?)

  66. @LIZ45

    It would be interesting to see how much disagreement there was between us on campaigns for supposedly fairer pay. As an economic rationalist (a term I heard used approvingly by Ted (?) Mansfield, sec. of the Telecommunications Union about 1982 when he said there was “no alternative”) I start with the proposition that efficiency requires paying people what their labour is worth in the market place. That means of course that men and women whose labour is equally valuable to others should prima facie be paid equally. I say “prima facie” because there are conceivable variations that it would be logical to accept.

    No one, with very unusual exceptions, lives in absolute poverty in Australia, but we may well decide that a decent life in a big modern city where most Australians live requires the ability to acquire various services that aren’t strictly necessary for a healthy life in adequate housing. But I strongly reject the idea that we provide the needed extra buying power by paying people more than their labour is worth to others who need or can use that labour. It is a moral or social judgment we are talking about so it should be a social responsibility t o provide what is necessary to top up low wages. It is even efficient because more people are employed that way and the costs of the business which it will attempt to recoup from its customers are minimised.

    Those who argue for people in what are customarily thought of as women’s occupations to be paid more possibly overlook the fact that there are all sorts of reasons for some people getting a non-monetary compensation or reward from their jobs. For example in the 1960s it became apparent that engineers were in many jobs, certainly those governed by awards, “underpaid” and one could only conclude that it was partly because engineers (Aspergerish or not) got a lot of job satisfaction from the sort of things that probably had appealed to them since they were little boys fiddling with toy trains. Likewise a lot of women, and only a very few men, will happily spend their time looking after children, and, more generally in nurturing occupations. Think too, of the people who make a very modest living running antique businesses – obviously happy to do something with all sorts of collateral satisactions. Once you see the point I am making you can see what a problem there is in saying what someone “ought” to be paid. (None of that detracts from the idea of a proper “social wage” being paid if we can agree on what that should be. It is strange that you don’t seem to remember the Kelty-Keating-Hawke “social wage” from the early days of the Accord under the Hawke government). Once we have a shortage of people in an occupation we regard as worth paying for then, naturally the wages go up if the labour market is allowed to work as a market. If there is no shortage then wages shouldn’t go up, apart from the “social wage”. From what you say above those who are paid more in the government sector than those in the community sector are possibly being paid too much!

    I said that that there could be exceptions to the equal pay for equal work principle. One which comes to mind is incentives or rewards needed to get some males into teaching young children which is often suggested as necessary for the proper education of boys who should have some adult male role models (as to which I offer no decided view). Equally, giving a place and a scholarship to a woman in a prestigious engineering course, like the place Barak Obama got in the Harvard Law School (or it may have been his undergraduate course: I forget) might be considered the equivalent based on arguably justified cases for affirmative action.

    If I haven’t impinged on your certainties at all, tell me why you wouldn’t agitate equally to allow hundreds of thousands of truly poor people who are willing to work hard to come to Australia and earn what to them are good wages doing all sorts of low paid jobs.

  67. @LIZ45

    I forgot to add an interesting piece from Norway. It is mostly about a comedian, Harald Eia, turned science reporter who has shown up Norwegian social scientists as soft-headed, PC and uninterested in the evidence. One of the passages made some interesting observations which reminded me of comparable evidence from Israeli kibbutzim several decades ago:

    “Norway has such a high living standard that you can live a
    > decent life also with «female» jobs such as nursing, the women now
    > choose careers that suit their psychological needs. “

  68. @JULIUS – You’re taking the p**s? Right?

    You have no bloody idea. It’s like talking to the brick wall! Truly! I haven’t read all of what you wrote, but I’ve got the drift. The last paragraph first – if we allow people in this country to be paid different to the rest of us, or single them out for ‘special treatment’ such as Gerry Harvey proposed prior to ’07 election, then the incomes of all would deteriorate, and there’d not be much difference between Australia & Indonesia for example. If you like such a huge gap between the rich and poor, go and live there.

    You’ve missed(conveniently) the whole arguement I put forward re equal pay. I said, that a Child Care Worker in a State Govt Pre-School, doing exactly the same job as another Child Care Worker in a Community Pre School Centre is paid $20,000 more per year. I said, that a woman has to work 63 days more per year(2 months???) than a male counterpart. Now, if you think that’s fair, you just support my argument of the injustice brought about by men to ensure they live more favourably than women. Rules, Laws, modes of justice, etc all made by men for men? If women now are able to purchase homes(not such a long occurence) most of sole parents are women, why shouldn’t it be assumed, that women need a ‘man’s wage’ in order to support their children. That $20,000 is probably a years mortgage or rent? That was the view that was used to bringing about a ‘just wage’ in the 1960’s? These women as sole parents are mostly women who were in what they thought were permanent relationships; and many had to leave due to DV? They are usually impoverished due to having to start again!

    My late sister was extremely good at her clerical/management job. She was asked to train a young man which she did admirably for several weeks – no extra pay, nor extra person to help her with her already heavy work load. Upon completion of the training period, he got a higher salary than hers, a company car and a better ‘title’? She left shortly after in disgust! I’d never seen her so angry – she said, ‘now I know what you’ve been talking about re equal pay, attitudes to women etc’. Find an excuse for this lot Julius? You’re an apologist for the status quo, which is unfair, unjust and cruel, and causes hardship!

    YOU MUST THINK IT’s OK FOR WOMEN TO LIVE IN POVERTY RAISING KIDS! Sure you’re not Garry Brack of Employers First?

    PS – The comments re Norway? You’re still committing the same ‘crime’? You’re assuming, like that article does, that women are only suitable for certain jobs that suit their ‘psychological needs’? If we still had that view, there’d be no Prop Fiona? the wonderful surgeon, who invented synthetic skin for burns patients, or the Nobel Prize for Medicine recipient for her wonderful work in that field. There are many women who are scientists, researchers, engineers etc and many men who are great nurses and teachers.

    How old are you? What is your job? You need to start doing some reading. Hopefully, women are waking up, and hopefully, they’ll stand up to biased sexist attitudes like yours!

    AS MANY WOMEN SAID YESTERDAY, “I love my job and I work damned hard, but that doesn’t buy my food – money does?”)

  69. @LIZ45…Liz Gerry Harvey is past his used by date. He is supporting the mining bosses in their whinging about paying a fair share for this countries mineral wealth. Well what a surprise!!!! The rich supporting the rich. Harvey does nothing that doesn’t add to his personal wealth. The older he gets, the more he moans, silly decrpid goat.

  70. @DAVID – Gerry Harvey has always seemed like a sleaze to me – he doesn’t pass my baromenter’s test, nor does Abbott or Minchin or Brandis or Pell or there’s more????He’s probably down to his last couple of billion, poor soul? I have some respect for the aged as I’m slowly approaching?????Hope I never get to be a “silly decripid goat”?

  71. @LIZ45

    ” I haven’t read all of what you wrote, but I’ve got the drift.” First part obviously correct, latter part obviously wrong.

    I wonder what you think about the way the market rewards celebrities for sometimes not even much talent but having currently fashionable looks and a good agent. And sports people who can fill TV screens and attract viewers. It interests me that you resent people like Gerry Harvey who have cut the price of many ordinary purchases for a lot of people and, in doing it well, made a fortune.

    @DAVID

    I don’t know Gerry Harvey but do remember an ABC program about a chap who was doing extraordinarily innovative environmentally friendly things with the water ways on his property (which was nonetheless going broke) and Gerry Harvey was featured as a generous benefactor supporting his work without monetary reward.

    I find it sad that so many people expose their own inadequacies and inner meannesses and sorrows by virulence against those (some of those – usually the more productive kinds as I noted above) who have done well financially.

    PS. I trust LIXZ45 that you are not one of those who won’t even believe that evolution has produced major neurologically based differences in men and women ON AVERAGE. If so, I wonder what you make of the Victorian Chief Justice, Marilyn Warren’s view that the differences between men and women require both to be on the bench of judges? I suppose you could argue (speciously but logically) that she must have been talking about the purely conventional cultural or environmentally produced differences between the sexes, but it would remain a problem for me that she seemed to be saying that you might get a different brand of justice according to whether your case was decided by a man or a woman judge! You may remember the fuss over Larry Summers statements (in a private gathering) about the possible reasons why there are so many fewer women than men in the higher reaches of maths and the “hard” sciences. Before you side with those who meretriciously condemned him (mostly people who wanted to get him because he had made himself unpopular with the Harvard professors generally for other reasons) you might want to consider why men are much more likely, by orders of magnitude, to suffer Asperger’s Syndrome than are women.

  72. @JULIUS…you say about Harvey…and Gerry Harvey was featured as a generous benefactor supporting his work without monetary reward.
    What work of his? The only work you mention is innovative environmentally friendly things with the water ways on his property. That sounds very personal. Incidently what does he do productively that does not benefit his personal millions?
    Apart from your flowery language accusing others of exposing their own inadequacies and inner meannesses and sorrows by virulence, duhhhh try again, you say nothing.

  73. @JULIUS…re Harvey may I suggest you read Item 15. todays Crikey…And the Wankley goes to … Gerry Harvey, the master salesman ……and the associated comments. I rest my case.

  74. @JULIUS – There’s been many discussions about ‘natural’ versus ‘environmental’ and ‘nature’ v/s ‘nurture’ and the arguments will probably continue after I’m gone? I don’t have time to waste on the so-called ‘intellectual’ aspects, as I’m too busy trying to correct or overcome injustices that are real now, have been for yonks and will probably continue too, after I’m gone. I take it you’ve not read any or much history on women in our society, and how attitudes were formed – and thankfully changed – these also included education. For too many years, it was deemed, that girls only needed to be educated so they’d make ‘good wives and mothers’? And after many years of action, protest etc, the education system changed to embrace girls and women in all spheres of endeavours. This change has brought about many women who’ve achieved amazing things, and although today’s young women have far more options than I did, we have to stay vigilant to those who still think that us women should remain in our place? I will, after I’ve decided what ‘place’ I want to be in?

    As for male and female judges? I’ll make a decision when there’s so many female judges as to do a proper investigation of cases, evidence and decisions. I’d like to think that perhaps a female judge would not allow a form of defence in a rape case like one presided over by a male judge last month.(SMH May1-2 ’10) The jury asked the judge to rule or for an opinion, whether a young woman weighing 42 kilos and wearing ‘skinny jeans’ could be raped???The inference being, that the wearer of skinny jeans size 6 would have to assist in their removal? (i kid you not!) So a very skinny young woman has to assist in the removal of her (skinny)jeans, but a woman wearing size 12 could have hers ripped off? Weighing only 42 kilos, she wouldn’t have a hope in hell of resisting him – unless he was only 13, and even then it would be difficult when I think of how strong my boys were at 13?
    This reminded me of the 1960’s when a woman being on the street at night; in an isolated place (could be going home from work) or being affected by alcohol was frequently chastised from the bench for ‘contributing to her own situation’? Another case, the male judge said, that as the woman was affected by alcohol, it was only a “technical rape” as she was unable to give her consent. In NSW the law has been strengthened thankfully, and unless and until the male has a clear message of consent, he should desist – at any stage!
    As I haven’t heard of any cases where a female judge has presided over, I’ll wait until I have more information to form a view! I’d hope that the sort of sexist, judgemental and horrible attitudes wouldn’t colour a female judge’s view. Abusers of women cover all ages, cultures, education and occupations. The overwhelming number are men, so there’s a legitimate chance of one of them being ‘on the bench’! The fact that these cases have been recent is most disturbing, so we still have a long way to go! From my perspective, I wish there were more female judges, hoping that they would be able to educate the population by their non-sexist judgemental views?

    I suggest you read Anne Summers book called, ‘The End of Equality’? I was able to borrow it from my local library; you may be able to afford to buy it. there’s also ‘Damned Whores and God’s Police’ as a background to the attitudes women have had to put up with and overcome.
    A friend of mine once advised me to read, ‘The Natural Superiority of Women’ which clearly sets out all the areas of genetics, health etc of the ‘conditions’ of men versus women. Then there’s ‘Why Men Hate Women’ or ‘The War on Women’I”m not sure which, but it delves into the motivations etc of the violence of men towards women.

    I once read that there’s a suggestion, that ADHD could be caused during pregnancy if the mother is abused. The theory being, that when the ‘flight of fight juices’ are released into the mother’s body and into the foetus, this influences the foetus after birth. It’s worthy of further study I believe. Aspergers Syndrome is just another ‘version’ of ADHD isn’t it? I’ve also heard via a documentary a few yrs ago now, that the state of a pregnant woman’s teeth could be the reason why she goes into premature labour. Whatever the ‘juices’ are due to bad teeth, it’s the same or similar to the hormone that prompts labour. This specialist dentist was quite certain of a connection – I’ve not heard it mentioned since, and to be honest, I haven’t researched it either. But it’s interesting! Given what we know about the country’s dental health, there could be something in it!

  75. @ DAVID

    Fascinating. Nothing illegal, nothing but making a bit of a fool of himself like Uncle George at Christmas with the silly nose and hat on. But bl**dy smart and a delight for his shareholders (of which I am not one directly or indirectly). You said

    “Harvey does nothing that doesn’t add to his personal wealth. The older he gets, the more he moans, silly decrpid goat.”

    I can’t see how that is born out by Item 15 in today’s Crikey at all. No moaning. Nothing decrepit or silly (given that he was getting a lot of free advertising for the listed public company he leads). It should add to his personal wealth or stop it declining fast, and also the financial position of every other shareholder pro tanto but it certainly goes nowhere near proving or even suggesting that he only does things to add to his personal wealth. Cf. that ABC program I cited.

  76. @DAVID

    I didn’t say Gery Harvey was doing environmentally friendly things on his (meaning Gerry Harvey’s) property. Unless you know something about him that I didn’t get from the ABC program about the chap who was doing those things and Gerry Harvey’s support of him I draw your attention to what I said, which, read with reasonable care, makes it clear that it was Gerry Harvey helping someone else who was going broke doing good environmentally friendly things on his property.

    I only know what I saw on that ABC program. It seems you know even less about Gerry Harvey. Reason perhaps for me to say that the only interesting thing in what is said against Harvey on this blog, truth being absent, is what it says about the chips on the shoulder.

  77. @JULIUS – One event does not make him a ‘community service leader’? I watched that documentary too, I think it was on Australian Story, ABC. I didn’t get the impression that Gerry Harvey put any money in – he just supported it. What else has he done in the community in the 40+ years that he’s been making his billions? Not a lot I suggest, unless there’s something in it for him! He supported WorstChoices and promoted paying overseas people only half the wages of citizens of the country – a type of apartheid in my view! Very racist indeed!

    You obviously don’t have a problem with that! I suggest, that if the lowest income earners wages went down, yours may too, or your quality of life or your kids may. If that happened, the emphasis on education would diminish except for the rich and powerful and this country would not be recognised as it is today. Perhaps you think that as a person of a high income, you don’t really care what happens to the ‘great unwashed’! Many of your opinions come across as supporting a distinct two class society in this country! There’s a big enough gap as it is – look at the lives of indigenous people for example!
    I don’t have any chips on my shoulder, I just have an abhorrence of people who make their money by leaving footprints in other peoples’ shoulders?

  78. @JULIUS..ever tried writing in clear English? The gookey stuff you write is like a whirlpool….and the author going round and round like a jerk. Check out all you have written in response to everyone…and some have the gall to criticise Liz for writing in length. You read into Harvey as suits your bias ole chap, he is a user for personal gain…read the article again slowly and thoughtfully with an open mind.

  79. @DAVID
    While I don’t do the editing that I once did for prize essays or more recently for paid articles I do write in the hope that some who read are willing to use their brains on it and get something out of it, even if remaining hostile. That presupposes adequate IQ, no crippling ADHD and a degree of modesty and patience. LIZ45 perhaps, but not you. I am not going back to read something which clearly doesn’t bear out your own careless overstatements which you do not even apologise for in the course of making somewhat coarse offhand criticisms of another’s writing .

    To wit, you say “Harvey does nothing that doesn’t add to his personal wealth. The older he gets, the more he moans, silly decrpid goat.”

    Let me put it plainly. Can you, without simply rehearsing your peremptory arrogance, give any convincing detail to prove that any part of that is justified?
    1. He does [practically – I won’t hold you to a literal 0%] nothing that doesn’t add to his personal wealth [but I will hold you to the clear meaning of what you imply, namely, that he never does anything altruistically or generously];
    2. He moans a lot and more as he gets older [not acceptable that it applies to you and you extrapolate it to all people older than yoursel];
    3. He is decrepit [we all make careless spelling mistakes but as you make two in the one word I presume the use of the word is an unfamiliar extension to a rather limited vocabulary and you may need to reconsider the choice of word] which, to be relevant, means his mental processes are decrepit. Time for Stephen Mayne to go along to the AGM and suggest it is time for him to move on?

    You have some gall in presuming a capacity to comment with authority on English expression. You write what, on the face of it, seems like total rubbish and you can’t see it.

  80. @JULIUS – I don’t know how old you are, and I’m certainly not intending to be ageist, but I’ve lived in NSW for over 60 yrs, and even in my adult awareness years?(over 40) I’ve never heard of one good thing Gerry Harvey has contributed to the human condition – not one – oh, apart from supporting that bloke with, in my humble opinion, a very plausible and positive means of assisting with agricultural practices – I was impressed.

    I’ve seen the name Harvey Norman on the McGrath Breast Cancer Foundation website, of which I support and applaud, and that’s it! Full stop! Zilch! He comes across as a ‘ditherer’ to me, with not a clear understanding of issues, only protesting as he is at present re the tax on mining profits – large profits at that! I abhor his attitude to wages for non-citizens as I’ve already pointed out, and this tells me enough about the person in order for me to form an opinon – I don’t like him or his ilk! They’re bludgers of the worst kind. He wiles away his time with his expensive horses that probably live a better life than those humans he’d like to exploit. I’m not aware of his wages policy, but I strongly suggest that he’d vote for a return to Howard’s WorstChoices? What more do I need to know? Or David too for that matter? Probably nothing!

  81. @LLIZ45

    Quite a contrast to David. I may not accept your emotional response as appropriate or your judgment based on the evidence you give but I appreciate an intelligently literate and logical exposition, in contrast to David’s mentally lazy offhand jibes.

    I acknowledge that my instinctive reaction to Gerry Harvey of whom, as of his business, I know little, might be adverse (instead of neutral) if I heard him say something I strongly disagreed with or deplored about something I didn’t think he had any considered carefully thought out interest in and knowledge of. But his remark about the government’s amateurishness in its presentattion of the RSPT struck me as precisely the kind of thing he knows about. Indeed his getting his business advertised on what purports to be a news or current affairs program is exactly what PR professionals, not least politicians, rate as smart and on the ball. S0, I rated the Wankley business as a compliment to him in the terms that he and 99% of politicians would apply on top of the fact that I was pleased by an attack on the government over its RSPT.

  82. @LIZ 45

    I like your “He wiles [sic] away his time with his expensive horses” which suggests you think a bit Machiavellian even if now an old buffer (on which last point I think you are probably quite wrong: a well used well preserved brain often works these days well into the 80s and not rarely well beyond for that matter. Harvey would only be 70ish I guess). I would agree that an expensive antique collection would be more acceptable – after someone has to own the antiques even if looked after in a public museum – but it does occur to me that he has probably put in a great many more hours of productive work than most of us and very likely still does. So whiling away his time is not something I suspect him of.

    That passage leads to your statement of distaste about his presumed support for Work Choices. am sure you are right about his supporting it up to a point. But as the “social wage” offsets were always a theoretical answer to basic criticisms of the principles behind Work Choices and as its supporters nearly all acknowledged that it had faults that needed correcting I am not sure why hie wouldn’t be one who would support it with changes.

    “I abhor his attitude to wages for non-citizens as I’ve already pointed out, and this tells me enough about the person in order for me to form an opinon.” I have searched using “wage” as search word but can’t find what you said previously. What has he said about wages for non-citiznes? Surely he wouldn’t have been one of those capitalists who, around 1900 would have abhorred the union supported White Australia Policy because it denied employers the chance of paying only internationally competitive wages!

  83. @LIZ45

    I don’t know where the quotes about Gerry Harvey as “community service leader” come from. I didn’t say it and would agree that one episode such as the ABC featured doesn’t justify such a description. But do you have any idea what he actually does, personally (which is best), or through Harvey Norman, to support charitable causes? There are some remarkably generous people who do most of their giving anonymously. Rupert Murdoch’s mother, for example, has been one of the great givers for eighty years, hands on, with thousands of people remembering too her personally signed thank you letters when they had given five pounds to the Royal Children’s Hospital. But, as well as the publicly known donations, hostings and presidings there are many anonymous donations as well which are not publicised beyond the boards and management of the recipients.

    You seem to have overlooked the reality of Maslow’s “need hierarchy” which is a pretty universal truth about human nature. At the top of the hierarchy is altruistic behaviour which rewards the altruist in either or both of two ways. One is what makes a person a Big Man in pre-modern societies, such as being able to slaughter fifty pigs for the tribal feast. The other is simply that, after we have satisfied our lower needs we like to be able to think well of ourselves for our generosity, compassion etc. The latter may be more cultural than natural but certainly goes back to the teaching of the Torah in the tradition of the Abrahamic religions and to Buddha amongst other great teachers. Why wouldn’t one expect Gerry Harvey to get satisaction from quiet generosity? Even Kerry Packer made all sorts of privately generous, if somewhat eccentric and even egotistic, gifts and gestures.

    As for his attitude to wages generally, whatever it may be, you haven’t come to grips with my and Hawke-Keating-Kelty’s “social wage” concept. What problem do you have with the logic of allowing business to be as efficient as possible by paying people only what the market says their time, talents and skills are worth but then society making up for that with wage subsidies, subsidised health care and all the other ways that poor people can be looked after in a modern society where money is pretty well indispensable?

    As to lower wages for non-citizens which you report him as advocating I don’t know what that has got to do with “racism” whatever that much abused word may be taken to mean. (And it is always most unlikely to find racism in rich people who are actually busy making money because they tend to be very practical and have no reason to discriminate on the basis of race. By contrast, workers with limited skills or market scarcity do have reason to limit competition. That’s why the White Australia Policy was a Labor policy rather than a policy of the capitalists).

    On the other hand, I can easily imagine him offering a simple solution to the lack of humanity with which many non-citizens were being treated, even if they had some kind of visas. They were not entitled to work or to receive social security benefits. You might interpret what you report him as saying as being pushing his own interests. He may have just tossed it off as a mixture of common sense and a provocation and rebuke to the humbug of those who were maintaining the cruel status quo. Do you have any reason to believe the contrary? The reason for paying half the full wage would be to answer the objection that the full wage would encourage the people smugglers and their customers.

    One of the ways in which a lot of services are made cheaper than they otherwise would be is the employment of relatively low paid foreign students. Taxi driving at night and staffing supermarkets are the occupations I observe most but I also note that my rare visits to Harvey Norman stores do not show them staffed in the same low cost way.

  84. @LIZ45

    I’m again (as I was in the last post) replying to one of yours which has turned up amongst my emails but not on the Crikey blog pages. I’ll repeat all of yours below for reference.

    My brief response is that I have in fact done a lot of feminist reading dating back to Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer’s “Female Eunuch”. As a result of a close relative teaching Women’s Studies and a female colleague introducing me to Fay Weldon’s novels, Colette Dowling’s “The Cinderella Complex” and sitting on a number of policy committees to do with equal opportunity in mostly female oriented ways I overcame the intellectual formation of my upbringing to the extent that it was needed in the light of all my closest female relatives being very bright indeed, and no more retiring than Beatrice Webb or Mary Wollstonecroft or Florence Nightingale.

    On another subject you touch on, no mother of boys that I have met will believe for a moment that nature hasn’t made males and females different in important lasting ways that are resistant to moulding by upbringing. They will even note that a puppy or kitten is clearly a “boy”. I remain agnostic and detached enough to believe that we may find that there really are important differences in the way that baby boys and girls are treasted in their first months before differences in behaviour become settled. However I think the evidence so far is that those phenomena will turn out to be peripheral and exceptional. After all common sense points to the likelihood that males and females whose average body size is about 3 to 2 and muscular strength 2 to 1 have evolved to have neurologically mediated behavioural and attitudinal differences. Being the childbearers and breast feeders could be thought to be evolutionarily important features too.

    There is controversy over whether female and male brains really do have significant differences in structure. For example there seems to be an issue as to whether the female brain has the extra white matter which improves the communications between hemispheres, and generally. When first asserted as important I think quite a few people said “Aha” that explains why women are better at multi-tasking including being able to listen for the child’s cry while tending the vegetable garden and keeping an eye on the cooking pot. Not so certain now I understand.

    Your association of Asperger’s Syndrome with ADHD is not right as I understand it. It is closer to autism which is inconsistent, Ithink, with ADHD. It has been suggested, for example, that Bill Gates has a touch of Asperger’s. It seems unlikely but the point is that it goes with the understanding of Asperger’s as typical of the little boy who is impervious to what people round him are thinking but is concentrating hard on his mechanical construction or mathematics.

    One of the things said by Larry Summers when he got into trouble with his remarks about possible reasons for women not often being professors of maths or physics was that it seemed likely that the standard deviation for the distribution of male and female cognitive abilities differed. And indeed it seems plausible. If you assume that male and females have similar average cognitive ability (intelligence, or just IQ scores, whatever description you prefer) then a lower standard deviation for women would make sense. After all it matters much more if women are seriously stupid because they aren’t capable of rearing their children reliably and nature always punishes that in a Darwinian way. So, more men can be seriously stupid without it having disastrous effects for breeding the future generations. They will be largely weeded out by sensible women not breeding with them. The higher standard deviation would, by definition, mean that there were more mathematical geniuses at the right hand end of the Bell Curve amongst men just as there would be (are) more really stupid men. None of these things are either simple or certain. Females, notoriously, are more verbally capable than males, and earlier, though that could be a case of higher average but lower standard deviation since women don’t obviously outnumber men at the top end of verbal ability. That females should be more verbally gifted on average also makes sense because using words when you aren’t as muscular or fast on your feet makes sense.

    Finally, as to your points about female judges. I think on reflection you may find that you have made reflexive debating points rather than really answered what I said. To start with trying sexual offences, or marital disputes for that matter, is only a minute part of any judge’s judicial business. Thus my point remains that it was silly of the Vic CJ to applaud the differences that made it important to have women judges because it remains a valid observation that you don’t want there to be any relevant differences between judges in your likelihood of getting justice in your (probably civil) case. Of course lawyers know that there are some judges you would prefer to be hearing certain types of cases (or all cases!) but to know that there would be systematic differences because of their sex which no amount of professional education and experience could eradicate would be alarming. Fortunately I think the Equality Feminists rather than the Difference Feminists are the ones to follow when it comes to women in the law or politics. Marilyn Warren’s words were unwise.

    BTW you seem to think that women would deal better with rape cases. That would contradict the general belief, at least in the not-to-distant past, that a defendant in many rape cases should hope for plenty of middle-aged women on the jury. Men can be remarkably naive and women much more likely to suspect (rightly or wrongly but we are dealing with reasonable doubt) women of behaving badly in all sorts of ways. A judge told me of being informed by a female prosecutor that she had found out after the case in which the defendant or defendants had been acquitted that the accusations had been cooked up by some girls at a night club with a view to being able to get a few thousand dollars by way of Criminal Injuries Compensation. I have absolutely no reason to disbelieve that story from a most reliable source. It is of course a case – one of that limited number – where a female judge might be better with or without a jury. Who is more likely to have an instinctive feeling that someone is lying, a man or a woman? Who is more likely to be right – a separate question and less important in a criminal case where reasonable doubt is important?

    Author: Liz45
    Comment:
    @JULIUS – There’s been many discussions about ‘natural’ versus ‘environmental’ and ‘nature’ v/s ‘nurture’ and the arguments will probably continue after I’m gone? I don’t have time to waste on the so-called ‘intellectual’ aspects, as I’m too busy trying to correct or overcome injustices that are real now, have been for yonks and will probably continue too, after I’m gone. I take it you’ve not read any or much history on women in our society, and how attitudes were formed – and thankfully changed – these also included education. For too many years, it was deemed, that girls only needed to be educated so they’d make ‘good wives and mothers’? And after many years of action, protest etc, the education system changed to embrace girls and women in all spheres of endeavours. This change has brought about many women who’ve achieved amazing things, and although today’s young women have far more options than I did, we have to stay vigilant to those who still think that us women should
    remain in our place? I will, after I’ve decided what ‘place’ I want to be in?

    As for male and female judges? I’ll make a decision when there’s so many female judges as to do a proper investigation of cases, evidence and decisions. I’d like to think that perhaps a female judge would not allow a form of defence in a rape case like one presided over by a male judge last month.(SMH May1-2 ’10) The jury asked the judge to rule or for an opinion, whether a young woman weighing 42 kilos and wearing ‘skinny jeans’ could be raped???The inference being, that the wearer of skinny jeans size 6 would have to assist in their removal? (i kid you not!) So a very skinny young woman has to assist in the removal of her (skinny)jeans, but a woman wearing size 12 could have hers ripped off? Weighing only 42 kilos, she wouldn’t have a hope in hell of resisting him – unless he was only 13, and even then it would be difficult when I think of how strong my boys were at 13?
    This reminded me of the 1960’s when a woman being on the street at night; in an isolated place (could be going home from work) or being affected by alcohol was frequently chastised from the bench for ‘contributing to her own situation’? Another case, the male judge said, that as the woman was affected by alcohol, it was only a “technical rape” as she was unable to give her consent. In NSW the law has been strengthened thankfully, and unless and until the male has a clear message of consent, he should desist – at any stage!
    As I haven’t heard of any cases where a female judge has presided over, I’ll wait until I have more information to form a view! I’d hope that the sort of sexist, judgemental and horrible attitudes wouldn’t colour a female judge’s view. Abusers of women cover all ages, cultures, education and occupations. The overwhelming number are men, so there’s a legitimate chance of one of them being ‘on the bench’! The fact that these cases have been recent is most disturbing, so we still have a long way to go! From my perspective, I wish there were more female judges, hoping that they would be able to educate the population by their non-sexist judgemental views?

    I suggest you read Anne Summers book called, ‘The End of Equality’? I was able to borrow it from my local library; you may be able to afford to buy it. there’s also ‘Damned Whores and God’s Police’ as a background to the attitudes women have had to put up with and overcome.
    A friend of mine once advised me to read, ‘The Natural Superiority of Women’ which clearly sets out all the areas of genetics, health etc of the ‘conditions’ of men versus women. Then there’s ‘Why Men Hate Women’ or ‘The War on Women’I”m not sure which, but it delves into the motivations etc of the violence of men towards women.

    I once read that there’s a suggestion, that ADHD could be caused during pregnancy if the mother is abused. The theory being, that when the ‘flight of fight juices’ are released into the mother’s body and into the foetus, this influences the foetus after birth. It’s worthy of further study I believe. Aspergers Syndrome is just another ‘version’ of ADHD isn’t it? I’ve also heard via a documentary a few yrs ago now, that the state of a pregnant woman’s teeth could be the reason why she goes into premature labour. Whatever the ‘juices’ are due to bad teeth, it’s the same or similar to the hormone that prompts labour. This specialist dentist was quite certain of a connection – I’ve not heard it mentioned since, and to be honest, I haven’t researched it either. But it’s interesting! Given what we know about the country’s dental health, there could be something in it!
    END OF YOUR POST

  85. @julius..your arrogance and pompous superior attitude requires nothing in response except up yours, preferably with something very long, large and bulbous. Something you would no doubt enjoy.

  86. @DAVID

    You are only partly right. I don’t have a superior attitude but I do have a profound conviction of my superiority to you. By contrast LIZ45, and most other bloggers, seem worthy of respect. You don’t even write as if you have self-respect.

    ******************************
    @ Moderator

    Where have LIZ45’s two most recent posts gone? That is the one I quoted in full and the one before that. As I noted it is odd that they appeared by email but not on this blog page.

  87. @Julius…the mod is on to you big noter, whose droppings don’t odour, sort of makes you alienated, an odd bod, peculiar, wierdo, from another planet. Never mind one can only hope your condition worsens old soak.

  88. David! David!

    Stop playing the schoolyard game with Julius. He’s playing you like a silly thrashing trout and you bite every time.

    Take some lessons from Liz. Or you could try a tranquilliser.

  89. @LIZ45

    You may find this of interest from The Sunday Age

    “In government, Howard spent heavily and regulated heavily, but he did come good on some of the neo-liberal agenda. …………….
    Howard was a neo-liberal on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and a big government conservative on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.”

    but especially this:

    “Howard was much more like a progressive leftie than anybody gives him credit for.

    Under Howard, the rich got taxed more, and the poor got taxed less. In 1996, the top 25 per cent of income earners paid 60 per cent of the Commonwealth’s total tax revenue. By 2007, they were paying 67 per cent. That’s a big increase.

    On the other side of the city, the bottom 25 per cent of earners were paying 3.4 per cent of the total revenue in 1996. Eleven years later, that number had dropped to 2.5 per cent.”

    It doesn’t seem to fit with your reported memories and perceptions.

  90. @Felicity…I have never tolerated bullies and this twot is an excellent example of the verbal variety….I will respond as I see it. Thankyou for your comment

  91. @JULIUS -Howard rejcted the majority of wage increases for the lowest paid workes – from memory about 2? Real wages decreased while CEO”S increased in some cases by up to 150-300%. Married/partnered women were discriminated against via taxation policy that made it diffcult for them. Money was either reduced or stopped in many areas that affected low income earners particularly women. Howard removed the emphasis on the Office of the status of women, downgrading it to just a part of the PM’s dept. Equal pay for women now is the same as it was in 1994 – he did nothing! Money set aside for domestic violence education was spent on frig magnets?

    There’s been several investigations/studies into the effects of Workchoices on women and young people. Howard also forced women on sole parent benefit into the workforce when their youngest child turned 8?Originally it was 6 but there was such an outcry that he increased it to 8. Not having transport or child care didn’t matter, and women could lose their income for up to 8 weeks(you may remember that the churches refused to participate in this part of the policy) –
    A woman called Barbara Popock did one of the investigations into the effects of worstchoices on women workers.

    The stats you’ve used only show a miniscule insight into the whole picture of the negative effects of the Howard years. You also need to include such things as the superannuation surcharge on high incomes – that’s incomes of $100,000 or more. That’s $2.3 billion for 600,000 workers.

    PS. Please excuse typing. I have a new keyboard with my you beautnew computer, and it’s much diferent to use than my ergonomic ‘old’ one. Some letters don’t type – sometimes I end up with 3 or 10???Capitals have to be ‘thumped’? When I press ‘backspace’ it undoes words – 3 or 6 of them.HELP?
    I’m going to connect my old keyboard as my armssss/neck are hurting after just a short time!!!!

  92. Dear Liz45,

    If you are trying to convince Julius of anything by reasoned argument, you are wasting your time.

    Trying to reason with Julius is akin to trying to reason with flat-earthers, creationists, believers in any religion/cult, etc, etc.

    I fear that you might as well ‘keep your breath to cool your porridge’ as the old adage has it.

  93. @LIZ45

    I realise your perspective is that of someone with particular interest in policy affecting women, especially those with relatively low incomes, and I wouldn’t seek to contradict you. However, you are just plain wrong in your general statement “Real wages decreased” (which seems to contradict the figures I quoted from the Sunday Age, which you didn’t dispute as far as they went). In the USA it seems to be true that average real wages haven’t increased in over 15 years but that isn’t true of Australia.

    I understand that your real point may be that the salaries of CEOs went up much more which is almost certainly true. It doesn’t worry me and am not sure why it should. I don’t mind people who have built businesses being billionaires [partly because of the way the Maslow Need Hierarchy takes over] and I don’t mind those who have reached the top in big business, with huge investments and large workforces depending on them being good at their jobs, being very well paid. Obviously when I say “I don’t mind” I am not only reporting on my emotional or attitudinal condition, which is of limited interest, but in my broad acceptance of the system which produces the state of affairs in issue. But let me elaborate a bit on this dry economist’s point of view…..
    1. For a long time we were more like the Germany, Japan and other countries which contrasted with the high salary paying US but, as management talent became more global and mobile that changed and I am in two minds about whether it has been a bad thing though I am sure it has gone further than is needed to sort out the talent and motivate it.

    2. A point you won’t find made elsewhere but true I think is this. In a society which is much richer each generation and much easier for even the moderately prosperous to live in comfortably, how do you motivate people to work the long hours of high concentration on running businesses efficiently to the benefit of both customers and owners? (You will see that I have brought in the facts not fully represented in the GDP such as the vastly superior technology which gives us radio and TV from all round the world, the huge variety of fine foods, sporting opportunities etc.).

    50 years ago it would have been almost unheard of that someone with a partnership in reach in a leading firm of corporate solicitors would opt to head off for work in an NGO or environmental activist organisation. Today they can, and do. (I suspect that this is made possible for both male and female partly by technology: effective contraception and the back up of readily available abortion). So, if your main means for motivating people is money, it seems to follow that you are likely to have to pay a lot more these days.

    In case this point doesn’t strike you as obviously having some weight I draw your attention to the number of judges who retire well before the statutory retiring age. Again, 50 years ago this was almost unheard of and it had nothing to do with the pension entitlements which have hardly changed.

    What is my point? In the present context it is to suggest that Howard had very little to do with what may well be what you may find most objectionable, namely the high pay of CEOs. In case you think I am a totally indifferent agnostic about such matters I make two points. One is that the behaviour centred on and spreading out from Wall Street was scandalously amoral at best and certainly damaging to the overall American economy. The second I forget but remember to add another which is that I have long thought and said that the design of remuneration packages is almost scandalously stupid. If an executive is going to get some of the rewards of the successful entrepreneur then, prima facie, he should share in the chance of losing if the shareholders do.

  94. @JUDYS

    While LIZ45 may be kind enough to think you are on her side, she is someone who clearly enjoys going into serious argument mode and not just getting it off my chest with a rant mode.

    You, by contrast, have yet to prove that you have any credentials for being listened to or taken seriously. Forcefully expressed opinion, yes, and, I grant you, a fair riposte, at some length, to Clive Palmer’s rhetoric, but what can you say for yourself to justify what the following said by you implies
    of me [is like]”trying to reason with flat-earthers, creationists, believers in any religion/cult, etc, etc.”

    It implies (and I apologise if you are unfamiliar with the disciplines which underpin these words) that you able to demonstrate the truth of your assertion by convincing analysis of what I have said (without extensive misquoting or failure to see the point) and also that you could articulate the arguments which show that each of flat-earthers. creationists, religious believers are plainly wrong and deluded.

    So far we have easy assertion. Let’s see you put up or shut up. Just to start with, you should identify what it is that you think I believe with the unreasoned faith of a flat-earther, creationist or religious believer. I suspect that you are indulging in, or even a witless victim of the primitive philosophical fallacy of mistaking a set of values or preferences with assertion of supposed empirical facts. Still, if you are not, be brave and expose yourself.

  95. @LIZ45

    What was the point you were making about the superannuation surcharge? My recollection is that for a few years contributions to superannuation made by or for people with more than a certain taxable income had to pay a good deal more than the standard 15 per cent on contributions (actually the fund had to deduct the tax from the contribution). I would have thought you would have approved of that.

  96. @JULIUS-Howard removed the surcharge that applied to those people on incomes over $100,000 or more, to the tune of $2.3 BILLION! That was the total budget amount for aboriginal share of the Budget a few years ago.

    The whole system of capitalism requires, encourages a small number off very wealthy and a large number of poor, and it is reinforced by such bodies as the World Bank and the IMF – ask Argentina for example. There are about 27 million slaves in the world, most are women. Women contribute about 80% of fthe world’s work but own only 2% of the wealth. I am not only interested in women, but children as well!

    When the GFC happened the US found $7???? TRILLION dollars helping out the bastards who caused it, but can’t find the money to raise their infant mortality rate that is higher than Cuba’s? Watch tonight’s 4 Corners. My whole attitude to humanity is totally different to yours -totally! The world has enough money to feed the poor and make them self sufficient, but instead, the wealthy want more wealth at their expense. That probably sits OK with you, but not me -the same applies to climate change.We can help out the banks etc, but not the planet? that doesn’t sit well with me either? A few yrs ago we’d spent a billion killing Iraqis, how much now? War ships and fighter planes? Not enough for an adequate dental scheme? Priorities of capitalism are full of greed and selfishnes; criminal neglect I call it!
    You are self focused – selfish in other words! Money and position is your religion.

    As for the “fine foods”? I’m most concerned about the high incidence of cancer, and I suspect that the cause may be as simple as how food is grown ———–the fertilisers etc plus other pollutants – so much for the 21st century?

    The removal of the super surcharge was in 2004 or 05? Look it up!

    my neck and shoulders killing me. (new keyboard) I’m off to bed!

  97. @JULIUS – I carried a newspaper article around with me re the super surcharge for ages, but I lost it. If you read ‘End of Equality’ by Anne Summers, it will give a very clear picture of how negative the Howard years were for women. If women are adversely affected this also affects children and then of course, all of the community! That is what happened, regardlless of any of your ‘grabs’? Ask the people in the NGO organisations how Howard affected them? In fact, if they opposed Howard they had their funding cut short or cut off – full stop!!!!

    Several Universities did studies re the workplace during WorstChoices – they wrote papers! As did the ACTU!!!!!!!!!!! Do some investigating!

    As a resident of the Illawarra, I’ve experienced first hand when workers employed by BHP and then later bhpbilliton and BlueScope Steel have had to struggle for every wage increase, as didd miners, wharfies and most other employees. We’ve had the highest youth unemploymet stats for over 20 yrs, since the downturn in the steel industry. Howard did litttle to nothing for this area except make life more difficult for most people!

  98. @LIZ45

    Interesting. And I was about to lament your lapsing after last night’s rant. (Imagine accusing me of having religion! And money and position too. I’ve got quite enough and am very happy with my position. You may mistake my interest in economics, economic history, evolutionary psychology etc for some personal values. And there were other leaps to conclusions I won’t now go back to).

    Apart from continuing issues affectiing women (but not so much men directly) I have long held children to be in a separate category whenever liberal or libertarian principles look as though they are being taken into silly territory I have been willing to point out the special case of protection of children. I don’t claim to cover the field as you seem to.

    I have barely entered your Illawarra territory. It is a name I am most often reminded of when watching Media Watch. What you say reminds me of what happens to safe Labor or Liberal seats under all governments. You obviously know too what an appalling record the ALP has in your area on a broad front. I imagine Howard didn’t think it was worth the effort to win marginal votes there unlike some parts of the western suburbs of Sydney where he appears to have forged his majority.

    Some of my most intense recent association with well known NGOs was during the efforts to repair the damage from the 26/12/2004 tsunami. It confirmed my previous experience that they are a very mixed bag and house a lot of self-interested, egotistic and hypocritical behaviour as well as, quite often, doing quite a lot of good. I also came across some high-minded types using the tax deductibility of a special interest NGO to raise money for election campaigning – a case of people of status believing themselves to high-minded and morally correct that anything was justified. So I don’t automatically accept that there is something wrong about cutting the amount of taxpayers’ money that goes to bodies which are privately constituted and pushing lines which are contrary to the elected government’s policy. Obviously a murky area – a bit like government advertising. (Have you noticed how ridiculously useless the Health and NBN ads are? Is there ANYONE that needs to be told that stuff even if free?).

    While in mood to recommend others to study things, how about you read up enough economics and recent economic history to get over the idea that rich countries or people make money by taking money from or further impoverishing the poor or seek to. How do you think East Asia, and even India, have brought so many millions from poverty to prosperity? What a change after Deng Xiaoping said, about 1978 something like “It is glorious to become rich” which even a Yorkshire millowner of the early 19th century would have regarded as vulgar and unChristian. And isn’t it a very odd idea of people’s psychology that they would be happy to think of themselves as taking from the poor.

    A few rich and a lot of poor is another inaccurate perception I suggest, except in the very undeveloped world. The very structure of voting in modern democracies means that people who think of themselves as middle class, and, for much of their lives can expect to live pretty well in a material sense are the majority – in fact close to 80 per cent. Why do we have “middle class welfare”?! Because they [we?] have so many votes.

    I draw your attention to another feature of life that shows marked progress over recent decades. That is the amazing continued extension of longevity. The changes from about 1900 to the 1960s seemed remarkable but it has continued and seems to be still continuing. I had only met one person over 90 when I was 25 but now I know dozens who are living independently 0r with some minor support and mostly with all their marbles. I know that is only tenuously what we have been discussing but is part of my subsidiary point that the good material life has become so generally available that greater incentives may now be needed to motivate smart energetic people to make a career in the major businesses we have to have.

  99. @LIZ45

    “As a resident of the Illawarra, I’ve experienced first hand when workers employed by BHP and then later bhpbilliton and BlueScope Steel have had to struggle for every wage increase, as didd miners, wharfies and most other employees. We’ve had the highest youth unemploymet stats for over 20 yrs, since the downturn in the steel industry. ”

    Hawke, Keating, Kelty (Crean – father and son) and lots of other level-headed or smart ALP politicians would have pointed out to you that there tends to be a positive relationship between unemployment and wage rises. Such facts of economic life in a changing world (new foreign competitors, changing exchange rates, fluctuating demand for the product etc. etc.) are hardly something to blame Howard for, or any politician except those deluded enough to think that they can sit on the shore and command the seas to recede. To be like that you have to be a Green, though Bob Brown, I (along with a lot of ALP people) suspect of being merely cunning and opportunistic on top of a small substratum of principled or personal interest in some environmental matters.

  100. @JULIUS -The Illawarra has been neglected by both major parties it’s true. Howard wasn’t the least bit interested either. Jennie George and Sharon Bird are great women who work hard.I ‘ve had a lot of respect for Bob Brown since the Franklin River fight. I usually put the Greens first, depending who else is standing. I always put the Libs last. – stone motherless last!

    I stopped giving the ALP first when bob Hawke gave the OK to another uranium mine. ALP women worked for years to get a great policy and Hawke said ‘stuff you lot’? My response was, ‘you too’? I haven’t worked on a polling booth since – I used to work on each election day – getting my inlaws to mind my boys. Their father and i both worked hard.

    Bob Brown is not opportunistic person at all. He is a man of integrity who speaks out on many issues close to my heart, such as being anti-war, pro human rights, for renewable energy sources -the list goes on! I admire the other Greens members, State & Federal. Lee Riannon is a tireless worker and the another woman has done great things exposing how both major parties are ‘in bed’ with developers etc.
    We’re on different planets. Your life journey has been totally different to mine – apart from gender. I know many men who are aware of the struggles women have been taking on, and they have no problem understanding – they still want an even better understanding.
    There’s a great documentary called ‘Beneath the Black Skies’ or similar. Local documentary, tells the story of miner’s fights and tragedies.There’s a new one called ‘CENSORED’ coming out soon – you can see a 5 minute ‘sneak preview’ of 5 minutes. It’s about the wharfies strike re PIG IRON BOB’ they refused to send iron to Japan – good for them. My mate was a wharfie and now he has asbestosis as do too many others. The dangers were known in the 1930’s at least -the Navy was aware of the health risks, as were many bosses in the 1960’s or less -they did nothing until they were forced to – that’s why my mate could have an awful bloody death!

    These are just some of the things that coloured my world, and formed my perspective re politics. The oil spill of BP is another. It goes on and on.

  101. @LIZ45

    I have some sympathy with the anti-navel gazing, and anti-regurgitation of childhood, attitudes of my father’s generation but it is helpful sometimes to set out the influences on one’s thinking as you have. Helpful usually to listerner/reader and one self. After all, we can’t pretend these days to perfect objectivity any more than to know everything relevant that is to be known so, if only to give ourselves a chance of engaging in more than a dialogue of he deaf (another useful metaphor I think is ships passing in the night) it is helpul to do the analysis which may lay bare what matters for agreement or disagreement.

    As an aside my maternal grandfather used to send food parcels to my father who was a POW but it was discovered that the wharfies here had pinched much of the contents, especially cigarettes. I wasn’t brought up on anti-union views and, indeed, I didn’t hear about that until my mother told me much later. When I learned about the iniquitous lead bonus that grossly inflated Broken Hill miners’ pay beyond that of any other skilled workers in the country the point being made was much more an economist’s anti-protectionist and pro-competition point that criticised the management of the mining companies as much as anyone. Eventually I learned to see the history of the union movement as part unfortunate necessity because the power of employers weren’t adequately counterbalanced without collective action, partly an organisation to extort economic “rents” – like the medieval guilds, by restrictive practices and, be it noted, restrictive entry to the trades, then, naturally, as partly corrupted vehicles for individuals’ ambitions which, by the logic of numbers, meant that they had to advocate policies which would appeal to a high proportion of the poor – even if some of those policies were inimical to the interests of many of the poor; typically because they underemphasised the “social wage” and went for the superficially attractive high minimum wage which raised unemployment levels. (I understand that there have been cases made for raising minimum wages to force the whole of industry into a higher tech stream – Singapore is often cited – but a policy that might work when fine tuned in Singapore can’t necessarily work everywhere else at once).

    A completely different thread elsewhere which has prompted me to look at the causes off California’s disastrous plunge in the last 25 years into producer capture by the public sector reminds me of Robert Michels great book of about 1911 “Political Parties”. Google for his name and “the iron law of oligarchy”. I’m sure you get the point if you aren’t already familiar with it.

    As to Bob Brown, he strikes me as intelligent enough not to believe in some of the Greens policy positions that would be equally anathema to the IPA and Lindsay Tanner or Paul Keating. So I have been inclined to accept the opinion of former federal president of the ALP and former senior minister in the Tasmanian government who said he had a lot of dealings with Brown and regarded him as quite untrustworthy. As I am not going to vote Green and wouldn’t even follow the Liberal ticket to preference then against Tanner or Plibersek if I were voting Liberal it is something I can remain happily uncertain about.

  102. @JULIUS – Your allegation about one incident re wharfies hardly colours the whole workforce. For every one of those stories, I can tell you at least 5 of the good wharfies did in their local communities. For instance, putting a young aboriginal woman through school and Uni. There was never a time when anyone would go to the wharfies in trouble and be knocked back! They had frequent times of raising money for worthy causes – nobody ever said ‘no’?I wonder where your mother got the story from? Did you know that many wharfies also went to war, and I think 1 in 5 did not come home! (Paul McAleer in a recent letter to SMH, in response to Paul Sheehan’s article). I think you should tell your mother that fact.
    Because of the refusal of the Port Kembla wharfies to send pig iron to Japan, they probably saved many Australian lives, perhaps even the country. Tell thewhole story, not just gossip re one facet!

    As for the alleged large incomes? My mate is now probably going to die horribly from the Asbetosis while he worked as a wharfie. As I pointed out before, the bosses knew of the dangers to health, but their profits came first. How much do you think each life is worth? Coal miners put their lives at risk every shift. How much are/were their lives worth so that you and I could turn on the lights etc, and go about how safe and comfortable job/s? Every miner and wharfie didn’t get hand outs, they had to fight for every cent and also for their health. Do you?

    As Isaid, Ilike Bob Brown. I don’t expect to hear him being praised by anyone in the ALP, particularlyas they think it’s OK to sell uranium to China for example, when there’s no adequate safeguards! Bob Brown doesn’t support selling uranium to any country, and nor do I.

    How much money do you receive each week or fortnight? I’m most amused at first and then annoyed at criticism by some to the incomes of manual workers for instance, by those who feel they’re superior somehow, and therefore of a different ‘class’ and more deserving of a higher income? Worse than snobbery in my view! It’s as though they buy their food and other essentials from a different outlet than low income people?

    You continue to convince me, that you don’t have a philosphy or idealogy re working class people, and how they’re deliberately discriminated against for profit and greed. I have a very clear sense of the injustice of this attitude, and how our labours are abused and used!