It has rained in Marvellous Melbourne, or at least in Henry’s part. Steady soaking rain, which the ravaged gardens soaked up and demanded more.

Melbourne is about to endure level 4 water restrictions, which allow no watering of gardens at all. Trees and shrubs, indeed the very gardens that define Melbourne’s bucolic charms, tended lovingly for over 100 years, are destined to disappear.

Today’s rain event occurred after a debate between a team of 14-year-old boys, including Henry’s youngest, and a team of (naturally more sophisticated) girls.

The topic was “That water should have a much higher price” and the boys had the negative side of the debate, which was against their family traditions of economics at full throttle.

The girls produced the standard economists’ arguments, and the boys were forced to say that rationing was fairer and likely to be more efficient. They declined Henry’s suggestion to accuse the girls of saying of the poor, in effect, “Let them drink beer”. And they lost the debate.

By chance there is today a column in the Oz by Rick Wallace: “Bracks hosed for waste of water”.

Henry could find no link but the opening paragraph says it all: “Victoria’s environmental watchdog has condemned the Bracks government for increasing its water use by almost 20% while demanding householders and industry cut their consumption”.

This is the gummint that build the massive and expensive Southern Cross Station and made no provision to capture the run-off from rain. It seems no one noticed the omission.

And right beside Ric Wallace’s article is a NSW headline: “Vote for me and I’ll fix transport mess: Iemma”. Really!

Yesterday we reported another month of strong jobs growth. Today David Uren adds usefully to the story. “Rapid jobs growth is sustaining the momentum of the economy, but there is little sign of workers exploiting the tight labour market with industrial action.

“The number of industrial disputes has been falling for 20 years, but has dived since the WorkChoices legislation was introduced in March last year”.

US inflation again exceeded expectations overnight. Rate hikes remain on the agenda, there and here.

Read more at Henry Thornton.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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