The great industry moaner. Listen to the spokespeople for the tourism industry and you would think that the current high value of the Australian dollar was sending them all to rack and ruin. Look at the comprehensive summary of short term visitor arrivals released this morning by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and you will get a different impression.

In the year ended December 2011, 5.9 million short-term visitors arrived in Australia. This might have been 10,000 less than the figure for 2010 but ten years ago (2001), 4.9 million short-term visitors arrived in Australia. The trend estimates, which the ABS says provide the best approach to analyse the underlying direction of the short-term visitor arrivals series, show that from the end of 2006 to mid 2008, the series was relatively stable but has fluctuated since then due to a variety of events including: the Global Financial Crisis (GFC); continued economic uncertainty in Europe and the United States; outbreaks of the swine flu; the high Australian dollar; and natural disasters such as the recent tsunami in Japan.

The highest point in the series was in December 2011 (505,000 movements) while the lowest point over the last decade was in December 2001 (389,100 movements).

Yes, that’s right. As the Aussie dollar reaches new heights, so has international tourism.

Guess the profit margin. What do you think the profit margin is on a bit of Ferragamo leather? Well here’s a clue. The Italian fashion house has just agreed to pay $A1467 a square foot to rent some space in London’s Bond Street. The Financial Times of London describes it as a record high UK shop rent.

Obama moves further ahead. The two major opinion pollsters to publish this month are both showing President Barack Obama widening his lead over Mitt Romney as the potential Republican candidate. The ABC News/Washington Post poll puts the lead at six points while Rasmussen has it as seven. The Crikey Presidential Election Indicator puts a Democrat victory as a 58% chance, Republicans at 41% and all other possible candidates at 1%.

An appropriate reading. It is the 400th anniversary year so I hope they gave Tony Abbott the original 1611 King James version to read from. It would surely have gone down well with a House of Representatives Speaker planning, so the tabloids told us this morning, to don wig and gown to preside over the Parliament.

And what a wonderful choice John chapter 13 versus 1 to 11 was by the Rev Ken Perrin of the Church of Christ for the non-denominational service at St Paul’s Anglican church in Manuka, Canberra, to mark the start of the parliamentary year.

  1. Now before the feast of the Passeouer, when Iesus knew that his houre was come, that he should depart out of this world vnto the Father, hauing loued his owne which were in the world, he loued them vnto the end.
  2. And supper being ended (the deuill hauing now put into the heart of Iudas Iscariot Simons sonne to betray him.)
  3. Iesus knowing that the Father had giuen all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God:
  4. He riseth from supper, and layed aside his garments, and tooke a towell, and girded himselfe.
  5. After that, he powreth water into a bason, and beganne to wash the disciples feete, and to wipe them with the towell wherewith he was girded.
  6. Then commeth he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith vnto him, Lord, doest thou wash my feete?
  7. Iesus answered, and said vnto him, What I doe, thou knowest not now: but thou shalt know heereafter.
  8. Peter saith vnto him, Thou shalt neuer wash my feete. Iesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
  9. Simon Peter saith vnto him, Lord, not my feete only, but also my hands, and my head.
  10. Iesus saith to him, He that is washed, needeth not, saue to wash his feet, but is cleane euery whit: and ye are cleane, but not all.
  11. For he knew who should betray him, therefore said he, Ye are not all cleane.

Low self esteem? Keep away from Facebook. In theory, thought the psychologists, the social networking website Facebook could be great for people with low self-esteem. Sharing is important for improving friendships. But in practice, people with low self-esteem seem to behave counter-productively, bombarding their friends with negative tidbits about their lives and making themselves less likable, according to a new study which will be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Just thought you should be warned.

And for you Twitterers: Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Georgia Institute of Technology found that users say only a little more than a third of the tweets they receive are worthwhile. Other tweets are either so-so or, in one out of four cases, not worth reading at all.

Peter Fray

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