A strategy for Malcolm. Malcolm Turnbull must be hoping that the New South Wales Labor Government does not totally disintegrate to the point where it cannot remain in office for the whole of its four year fixed term. Having a federal election before the NSW one will suit him just fine. Labor’s state team are giving the whole image of Labor a dreadful battering and there are few signs that things will get better.

Another year of maladministration and there will surely be some people who just want to punish the first person with Labor alongside his or her name that they come across in a polling booth. A swing of a half to one per cent from this cause would not seem out of the question to me. and with the right kind of campaigning it could well end up much more.

The Liberal objective should be to stress — make up if necessary — the strong links between Federal NSW Labor and State Labor. Keep talking about there being only one NSW Labor Party Branch, one state conference, one state executive with the selection of both lots of candidates dominated by exactly the same factional bosses. Say it loud and say it often — all Labor Party MPs, state and federal, are birds of a feather.

Find every picture, every film clip of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd mixing with these NSW Party controllers. Keep pointing out how many of the key advisers to Rudd and his ministers have graduated to Canberra after working for the discredited state administration.

Muddy the waters by throwing as much mud at them as possible. Do it well enough and there will be federal seats to be won.

A good report card. Australia basically gets a good report card from the OECD in its first ever study of child well-being in its 30 member countries. The OECD believes Australian child policies are getting solid value for money from spending just below the OECD average.

Australia does well for children in terms of good outcomes in both housing and environment (where it comes top of the class) and educational well‐being.

Notwithstanding these successes, says the report called “Doing Better for Children”, more could be done for Australia’s children in terms of both material and health outcomes.

As is common across the OECD, Australia spends considerably more on older than on younger children. For every Australian dollar spent on a child under 6, around $1.50 is spent on a child aged 6 to 17. Like the rest of the OECD, Australia could benefit from spending relatively more on young, disadvantaged children.

Reflecting patterns of spending, material conditions for Australian children are solid rather than spectacular. Family incomes and child poverty rates are around the OECD average. However the number of Australian children who lack a key set of educational possessions is slightly above the middle of the OECD.

Australia does well in terms of housing and the local environment in which children grow up. One in five Australian children lives in crowded conditions compared to just under one in three on average across the OECD. And only one in ten Australian children endures poor local environmental conditions, compared to one in four on average across the OECD.

Australian children also do well at school. Average educational performance in Australia compares well to other countries (6th best in the OECD). Moreover, the gap between the high and low performing children is smaller than in most OECD countries (the 6th best in the OECD).

Solution for long queues at the women’s loo? They should, of course, just build more of them at places of public entertainment but at least temporary relief may soon be at hand for those emergency moments. A German company says it has designed the world’s first pocket urinal for women — a disposable is a plastic bag fitted with absorbent polymers that turn urine into a gel that is sold under the brand name Ladybag.

It’s the size of a chocolate bar when folded, has a wide opening and can be used squatting, sitting or standing. Its gel can absorb half a liter — enough to process the average amount of urine per sitting — but the bag itself can hold a whole liter in an emergency.

Its designer, Eva Tinter, told Der Spiegel: “It can be used in cars, or to avoid dirty toilets or at open-air festivals when you don’t want to queue. You can just nip round the back of the toilet and use this.”

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW