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Jun 8, 2012

Deep in the heart of Texas with the Business Council

A new BCA report on poor productivity in Australia appears to be aimed at increasing the use of immigrant labour. It is, as John Cleese might say, "wafer thin".


I’ve seen some bad reports in my time, let there be no doubt. Minerals Council reports demonstrating that the world will end when a mining tax starts. “Independent modelling” showing with mathematical precision how a carbon price will obliterate entire industries. Copyright industry reports calculating that filesharing causes more economic damage than the entire gross world product.

The Business Council’s Pipelines or Pipedream (see what they did there?) report released yesterday isn’t the dumbest you’ll ever see. Nor the most biased. But it’s easily the most transparent. It is, as John Cleese might say, “wafer thin”.

To summarise: there is $960 billion worth of investment coming into Australia and it might all be endangered by high costs, low productivity and government-induced uncertainty unless we embrace what the BCA recommends — deregulating industrial relations to improve productivity, spend more taxpayer money building infrastructure for private companies and training more people to build stuff, and cut corporate taxes while raising taxes on consumption.

Those recommendations, as keen-eyed observers will spot, bear a strong resemblance to every other BCA recommendation for the past decade, but that’s a coincidence we’ll pass over. Indeed, in the interests of brevity, there is much passing over of this report to be done. It’ll feel like biblical Egypt by the time we’ve finished.

For example, let’s not dwell on how the $960 billion figure, conjured up by the best independent economists money can buy, Access Economics, is fictitious, lumps in government and private investment together and includes, on no basis whatsoever, a $60 billion high-speed rail project. Let us skip how more than a third of the money is for projects under construction now, so is hardly “under threat”. And let us ignore the BCA claim about low productivity issued the same day the ABS produced evidence of a significant lift in productivity. Emma Alberici did a wonderful job torturing Jennifer Westacott of the BCA on Lateline last night on these points. We must also pass over the point that the mining industry keeps complaining about labour and supply costs when its massive demand for labour and supply is driving those exact costs up.

The real issue for the BCA is cost and productivity. We’ve been hearing for months from business about how Australia is “an expensive place to do business”. Australian projects, the BCA avers, cost more to build and its construction sector has lower productivity than the United States.

On what basis? The BCA commissioned a US firm called Independent Project Analysis (actually, consultant Rob Young) to provide an eight-page analysis. Young had undertaken a comparison of what he believed were very similar construction projects in the Gulf Coast area of the US (Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama) and Australia in 2003, and concluded that Australia was much more expensive. Back then, the same projects took 1.3 times longer in Australia than in the US.

But wait, the basis of the BCA’s  claim is nearly 10 years old? Well not quite, because Young has “updated” the 2003 study, not by doing more recent comparisons but by talking to some clients:

“The Australian productivity adjustment factor has recently been increased to 1.35 based on feedback from clients that productivity in Australia is declining due to the dilution of construction skills, more onerous construction management processes, higher turnover, and other factors that are not as prevalent in the US.”

But when you go into Young’s explanations for the 1.35 figure, things get murky. It turns out much of the difference is due, unsurprisingly, to exchange rates.

“If we adjust for factors such as currency exchange rates and price escalation that are outside the project team’s control, the performance of Australian industrial projects varies from being equal to the world’s best for some of the recent small, sustaining capital projects to being amongst the most expensive.”

That only gets a passing mention in the BCA’s study.

But here’s the interesting thing: why is Young and the BCA comparing Australia to places such as Texas? As it turns out, the comparison is completely inapt. Let’s focus on the Texas example, since it’s the biggest of the Gulf Coast states. Texas has 25 million people in an area less than a tenth the size of Australia. Its construction sector — currently in dire straits because of the US recession — employed 560,000 people in 2010-11. That’s more than half the entire construction industry workforce in Australia. The Texan construction industry has market opportunities and economies of scale far in excess of those of the Australian construction sector.

And what Texas also has is cheap immigrant labor. Lots of it, and much of it illegal. Texas had 1.7 million illegal immigrants in 2010 and construction is a key industry for employing them: about a third of the Texan construction workforce are immigrants, legal and illegal. This in turn means safety standards are wretched: unions are weak and fragmented and much of the workforce wants to avoid any encounters with authorities of any kind for fear of deportation.

The result? The construction sector to which Young compares Australia is a slaughterhouse. It’s cheap expendable immigrant labour. In 2010, there were 89 deaths in the industry in Texas, or just under 16 fatalities per 100,000 employees. That compares to a national construction industry figure for the United States of 9.8 fatalities per 100,000 employees (over in Florida, the next biggest Gulf Coast state where the industry has now shrunk to about 308,000 people, the fatalities figure in 2010 was a little over 10).

In comparison, in Australia, despite the best efforts of the ABCC to persecute the CFMEU, construction industry fatalities were 3.9 per 100,000 workers in 2010. The Australian construction industry is four times safer than the one the BCA and its consultant compares us to and more than twice as safe as the whole US construction industry.

So, yes, a dangerous construction sector run on illegal immigrants and America’s underclass of working poor inevitably will be cheaper than our own.

Is a Texas-style industry what the Business Council wants? The council is all for a big expansion in immigrant labour — indeed, removing impediments to temporary migration is one of the report recommendations. The construction industry has long had a problem with the exploitation of foreign workers via sham contracting, with attendant safety problems as well as loss of tax revenue.

This is the flipside of the debate over immigrant workers. Employer groups are quick to level the charge of xenophobia at unions, and there’s no doubt unions are speaking up to protect the interests of their members. But the record of the construction industry shows that some employers will exploit foreign labour.

And if that’s not the BCA’s agenda, then why is it making the comparison?



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53 thoughts on “Deep in the heart of Texas with the Business Council

  1. susan winstanley

    Well done Bernard, this is why I subscribe to crikey

  2. john2066

    Great takedown Bernard. Does anyone on planet earth actually take Access Economics seriously any more. Their ‘reports’ are just laughable publicity flyers for whoever is paying the bill.

  3. john2066

    Access Economics are an open joke.

  4. john2066

    Also, Emma Alberici- wow, just wow. A journalist who actually researches facts and statistics, and doesn’t take any of Jennifer’s rubbish. Amazing job, unfortunately very rare for Australian journalists to ever do this.

  5. Jimmy

    Great article – On a sort of related point my brother used to work in the Bass strait oil fields for Hallyburton, the used to get safety reports through from Hallyburton worldwide and shock horror the Gulf of Mexico was always the worst for the same reason outlined here.

    I also wonder how loud the screaming from the minerals councila and the BCA would be if the economy was actuall y even close to the perilous state they suggest.

  6. The Pav

    I also saw the interview

    It was a good journalist doing a good job.

    Polite, informed persitant ,knowing and as a result I was better informed by the end of it.

    It also demonstrated that if industry groups want to help their mebers perhaps rather than falling in with the standard mantra if the actually did real research and came up with solutions they, their members & the country would be better off.

    I see a glimmer of hope for the debate in Australi improving

  7. paddy

    Cracking good piece today Bernard. Doubly enjoyable, after watching Emma Alberici embarrass Jennifer Westacott last night on Lateline.

  8. Jimmy

    Just read the transcript of the interview and the real standout for me was the claim “we absolutely do not want to cut wages” followed by the subsequent statement that there should be “employer only agreements” on “greenfield sites”.Are thise pesky unions stopping the companies paying they staff enough money?

  9. Mike

    Fabulous article, Bernard. Top shelf.

    Excruciating interview. Cuts right through the right-wing BS put about by the BCA and Mitch Hook’s mob.

  10. klewso

    I like the full/alternate title “Pipelines or Pipedream : Who pays The Piper …..”? Calls the tune?

  11. klewso

    Who’d have guessed – from the way that interview was conducted – that JenniferWestacott was a “Labor Minister”?
    Having watched Emma play a sort of cross between Geoffey Boycott and Dorothy Dix so often when it was a politician from the right, she was facing? Letting so many balls go through to the keeper.

  12. zut alors

    ‘Is a Texas-style industry what the Business Council wants? ‘

    No, it’s definitely not. You mentioned biblical Egypt but I suspect their ideal labour model is ancient Egypt. The BCA is thinking along the lines of hundreds of thousands of slave workers toiling to produce treasures and build colossal monuments to enrich the lives of the privileged and powerful. Texas-style has nothing on the labour force model of the Land of the Pharaohs.

    Excellent piece, Bernard.

  13. Suzanne Blake

    Access Economics is the one incompetent Swan quotes all the time, google it on Hansard.

    Laughable and more incompetent now

  14. Just Me

    Standard dishonest irresponsible extortionate economic thuggery from the capital class.

    Good article BK, and due credit to Ms Alberici.

  15. Jimmy

    SB – How do you google something on hansard? Surley you would have to google something on google?

    And how exactly is Swan incompetent? Growth to the March quarter of 4.3%, 39k jobs created in May, inflation low, interest rates low and all this when the rest of the world is struggling.

  16. Steve777

    The BCA purports to be “an association of chief executives of leading Australian corporations that aims to build a better and more prosperous Australian society”. Indeed. And it’s funny how a ‘better’ and ‘more prosperous’ Australian society is one that neatly accommodates the CEO’s other major objectives – maximising the profits of the corporations they head on a 3 to 5 year time horizon, along with their salaries and the value of their share options. What a happy coincidence.

    Of course in the interests of profitability they want to pay their employees as little as possible. They want current and potential employees to accept whatever salaries / wages and conditions they deign to provide. They certainly don’t want their employees to be able to negotiate their salaries and conditions from a position of strength. And they don’t want to spend any more time or money than they absolutely have to on nuisances such as fair trading rules, health & safety or environmental requirements. After all, we can depend upon the CEO’s to fairly balance these requirements with their desire for profits and be fair to all concerned, can’t we? And of course they want to pay as little tax as they can get away with.

    Of course higher rewards for employees, job security, bargaining power for employees and a cleaner and safer work environment don’t contribute to a ‘better’ and ‘more prosperous’ society in the way that higher profits do, do they.

    Good on Emma Alberici for her detailed probing of the BCA’s wish-list. Ms Westacott must have been assuming that Emma would, like most of the media, simply accept the BCA’s self-serving drivel as self-evident truth.

  17. oldskool

    @ Jimmy,
    He just is, because the numbers are the numbers unless they are good numbers- then, they obviously are not the number, they are made up numbers and Wayne Swan should be ashamed that he has lead Australia down this path and ruined the… Sorry what was the question?

    But remember, SB is not advocating for the liberals, oh noes, she dislikes them (almost) as much (she claims) as those horrible nasty Labor people. Since she is obviously not a Greens supporter, either she is Mad as a Katter supporter or possibly is of the opinion that Barnyards economic credentials add up. Or she is a Randian Anarchist and economics is just no place for a government to meddle!

    Great article Bernard!

  18. Harry1951

    Suzanne Blake: I am a recent Crikey reader who has been noting your comments for some time. May I say that you do yourself no favour by your off-topic biased comments. Are you a real person or a Coalition staffer who is paid to troll?

  19. fredex

    Kudos to the ABC [how strange to type that!] and Emma, kudos to Crikey and Bernard, for exposing this sham of a report.
    I hope people remember this crap when next the Business Council rasie their nasty silly heads in public.

  20. The Pav

    Dear Harry1951

    Regarding our dear friend Suzanne there has often been speculation about her. Given her lack of ability to mount a coherent argument, general abuse and lack of a moral compass some of us think “she” is really a nom de plum for Tony Abbot

    Dear Fredex

    Maybe just maybe this is a sign of real journalism reviving. The first shoots of spring

  21. Jimmy

    The PAv – DOn’t get to excited about the revival of journalism, there has still been a remarkable ability for journalists to try to find the negatives in the economic news this week.

  22. The Pav


    Can’t help it. I’m a glass half full type of guy & tend to think the best of people.

    Although Suzanne Blake is clearly an exception.

    I mean she claims to be a forensic accountant which means her stuff has to stand up in court. I’d love to come up against her. I mean on issues of credibility, logic & substance she would be dismissed out of hand as an “expert” witness.

  23. mick j

    I didn’t even get to the end of the story as the crap this extremely wealthy group of individuals comes up with is sick. I mean they get a heap of subsidies and tax breaks, expect government to put in roads and other infrastructure at the expense of the nation and then expect to keep it all for themselves and throw the owners of the asset a few crumbs, which they should be happy with. We know that the mining industry exports 80% of profits from Australia. The response to getting a fairer share is an expensive media campaign and an unrelenting attack from the Liberal Party, which it owns with Abbott having already made the promise to “give back the mining tax” when elected.

    God help us. Are average Australians so stupid or is the pope a catholic.

  24. Frank Campbell

    I worked for a while in the construction industry in Texas, and every point Keane makes here is correct. Understated in fact.

    Alberici did indeed skewer Westacott- not difficult, given the report was so pathetic.

    Projects still in the pipeline will glug to a halt because of falling Chinese demand. Not to mention the inevitable meltdown in Europe. The carbon tax will have some effect, and the exchange rate is of course a real burden. The rest is piffle- “productivity”, imported labour, planning controls…extractive ideology masquerading as economics.

    This mentality is linked to Hockey’s neo-con speech in London in which the Minister for Lunch proclaimed the end of the “age of entitlement”.


  25. khtagh

    BCA’s agenda
    1 All Lieberal supporting business to have their far quota of slaves, an extra couple if you keep the old buggers on for a few more decades in case a few inconveniently die on you (how dare they have temerity to die on company time).

    2 Overseas slaves preferred as they have less chance of having pesky dependents to complain.

    3 Only Lieberal members allowed to vote so as to keep the Lieberal top team of muck bucket incorporated (mad monk, andrew robber, hockey the hysterical hippo, & the whining poodle) in power for ever.

    I’m heartened by the overall positive belief of the people on this site that we CAN stop the Lieberals from stealing the next election thru basic brain washing from the MSM. Fingers crossed good people.

    Pssstt SB there is a dribble of something running down your chin.

  26. Harry Rogers

    Isn’t it refreshing to see and read where journalist have done their homework Emma on the ABC made the BCA woman look an absolute dill and Bernard’s assessment is to be commended.

    Is it just me or why do all the business leaders these days look so greedy and stupid. That South African purveyor of draconian work practices Ivan Glassberg and suspect criminal practices has the stupidity to make comments about the certainty of investment ins Australia. This si gobsmacking stuff ! Then there’s Jack Nassar , remember him? he went to the US and screwed the Ford company now he’s back in Australia mouthing off.

    Of course there’s the ex NAB chairman and ex BHP director and the current Rio directors all with a litany of disasters costings million…but they know all the answers???

  27. william gibbons


    they’re business leaders. the proles (us) don’t know anything, just take their word for it. whatever they say is correct, i mean, they run companies, right? why would they commission self interested “modelling” if they didn’t know that “australia is an expensive place to do business”. right?


  28. william gibbons

    what? the CEO of BHP wants to pay less tax and deregulate the labor force?
    what a surprise? better give in to his every whim, …..

  29. william gibbons

    suzanne blake: proving accountants need skill naught but to add numbers in excel since……

  30. Gocomsys

    Whilst all this is going on, may I suggest we take some time to reflect on a fundamental issue examined here:

  31. Gocomsys

    My previous comment is in moderation (the usual weekend ‘link’ delay). I’ll rephrase it.
    Talking about real cost savings I recommend this article published in
    “The Conversation”, entitled:
    > “Closing the gap between rich and poor could save billions in health-care costs”.
    PS.: It might not transpire under this progressive but hamstrung government but be assured it will NEVER occur under CONSERVATIVE rule.

  32. Ian

    MICK J,

    You say, “God help us. Are average Australians so stupid or is the pope a catholic.”

    Judging by the polls the answer to the first part of your question is clearly yes. Some 50% would vote for Abbot and his madmen and another about 40% for the only slightly less stupid Labor lot. To me that as as good an indicator of stupidity as you can get.

  33. Hamis Hill

    Political Thought from Plato to Nato, probably on the banned book list decribes Adam Smith, Moral
    Philosopher, As having written The Wealth of Nations in order to “understand commercial society and better it”.
    Not exactly the same objective as The BCA outlined by STEVE777 posted above.ie The BCA aims to build a better and more prosperous Australian society.
    Not quite but pretty close to a direct steal from Smith who, by clear contrast was investigating the BCA types, not propagandising for them. .As someone who gave us the term “The Idle Rich” could hardly be accused of doing.
    The above book accompanies a series of BBC radio Reith lectures on politics. Reith will be remembered as the man who insured that the powerful new medium of public radio broadcasting in the UK did not turnout like the propaganda organ it became in Deutschland between the wars.
    All these “banned”, (read suppressed” books are part of the ammunition of democracy, with these lockers now being broken open and the contents distributed care of the internet.
    Will this overcome the glaring deficiencies in the underfunded and curiculum manipulated Australian
    education system?
    Is this sort of adult education necessary to save Australian democracy from its enemies, its
    brainwashing enemies? Who don’t want you to know the truth in the same way that the medieval
    control freaks notoriously did not want anyone to read the Bible?
    I remember reading about the Scots missionnaries from the Celtic Church in Northern Ireland who, in the first millenium taught Dark Age Europe how to read and write and who would typically set-up in the marketplaces touting “We are here to sell wisdom”. Not quite the same church as Rome is it?

  34. AR

    Meanwhile that other Great Humanitarian Benefactor, Glencore’s Ivan Glasenberg (no jokes traducing the comparatively benign Tzar), “our” 2nd richest citizen (barely scraping by on $6B), said in London – “… carbon & MRRT tax had undermined (sic!?) Oz’s traditional advantages over riskier investment destinations in the Third World.”! The shock, the horror, the humanity!
    But wait, there’s more – “… Australia was no longer seen as a stable investment environment and major international mining firms had the further (?!?) disadvantage of not enjoying the same leverage in Australia they held when dealing with poorer countries. At least in the Congo they need you, they want you there and if they start changing the rules on you, you may not continue investing.”
    He has a solution/suggestion – “It is a first World country but is doing things that are making people more cautious of (sic!) investing, so Australia is becoming another country where you have to make sure that the rules aren’t going to change on you”.
    At least they have experience dealing with uppity governments wot think they have rights to impose iniquitous taxation, safety & environmental regulations.
    The funny fing is that this was reported in the OO without the slightest hint of irony.

  35. Liz45

    Great article Bernard, thank you!

    @JIMMY – Looks like SB has lost her tongue? Fingers? A factual response and she goes to water – every time!

    I heard the initial interview I think it was ABC’s AM and was amazed by the receptivity of the assertions made. They won’t be happy until workers in this country are paid like those in Texas or Indonesia or?? And then they won’t have the money to buy a house or any of the other ‘requirements’ of modern life. Just amazing!

    When it comes to productivity, funny how the BCA and others always blame the workers. Why won’t they spend more money on finding ways of making production etc more efficient. No, it’s easier to blame the workers, and as you pointed out Bernard, use bodies like the ABCC to bash workers with.

    I’ll now watch the interview on Lateline!

  36. Brady


    “Will this overcome the glaring deficiencies in the underfunded and curiculum manipulated Australian education system?”


    I’m a primary school teacher (and sometimes high school) and if the parents of Australia could truly look into the state of education, I believe they would be horrified. Some of the stand out problems I have seen:

    1. Behaviour: Shockingly bad. Gone are the days when students can be expelled, as, and I quote the DET, ‘To do so would remove the opportunity’s for this child to receive an education’ (Never mind the fact that ‘this’ child’s behaviour is ensuring that their 29 classmates education is being severely compromised.) I regularly (when teaching high school) get swore at, and physically intimidated with little consequences to the students.

    2. Ready made consumers: I look at horror when Coles/Woolies/NAB and Co run their school programs to ‘help’ Aussie kids. While its true, there must be some benefit, what much more apparent is the short term goal of getting people to use their business, and, the long turn goal of brainwashing our dear children to become ready made consumers. I would forgo any help these companies offer, for the chance that students not be treated as commodities.

    3. With the advent of state liberal governments in N.S.W, Vic and Qld, education is taking a particular bashing. Sections of America have recently tried the ‘pay for performance’ technique, and it was, and always will be a dismal failure. What is more frustrating is that there are countries out there who we could model out system on, who’s academic achievement of students is going from strength to strength (South Korea, Finland) while Australia’s is in sharp decline. Governments in general (but epecially the Lib’s), despite there assertions to the contrary, see education reform in only one way. How can we spend less money on it.

    4. My aim in any class that I have, is too teach the students to be critical observers. Ie, to examine what is presented to them, to look for hidden agenda’s and to be mindful that what MSM says to be true, and what actual is true, are two very different things. What I find is that basically 100% of who they are, what they believe, and how they interact with society is formulated by television. Its actually frightening how drone like they have become, and we, as Australian parents have to take full responsibility for this.

    Can it be fixed. Sure. More money for public school and less for the private schools (though that third swimming pool is a tad worn looking) would be a start. But more import then money, is addressing the behaviour issues, and protecting them form the corporate sector, (this really is a whole society problem) and let them once again be children, not consumers.

  37. william gibbons

    hah, in the last employment figures it was a bad thing that full time work was down because people were obviously looking for full time work and it’s bad that they only have part time work and everyones doing it tough and besides it’s all a l ie anyway.

    this time the rise in full time employment is a bad thing because it means people have to work full time to make ends meet and it means mums have less time with their kids an obviously everyones doing it tough cos they need a job and its all l ie s anyway.

    of course, when the coalitions in a rise in unemployment is a good thing because it means more jobs are being created and we can now open the way for de-unionised foreign employment and now people get to spend more time with their family and everyones obviously happy because the three people the hun interviewed said everything’s awesome so it must be.

  38. Suzanne Blake

    @ william gibbons

    There is a few percentages points of people unemployed at least, cause they don’t register.

  39. klewso

    The previous week’s 4 Corners, about FIFO workers and their effect on small booming mining communities, interviewed the “ex-deputy mayor(?)” who owns a local motel. With what sort of pressures the mines, paying what they do, have on local rents and jobs (people heading to the mines rather than the lower paid jobs in the small local businesses) he was interviewing overseas, for workers, willing to take the wages he was willing to pay.
    It seemed a pity – and a lost opportunity – he wasn’t asked where those “lower paid immigrant workers” were going to live and pay rent, working on his wages, having to find somewhere to rent? I wondered if that hardship was going to create more “whinging foreign workers” that could be exploited for some current affairs show?
    As for “executive priorities” – “bottom lines/profits/share holders/their own executive remuneration vs workers”? Four to one? The same sort of odds “customer service” is hard pressed, up against.
    “The environment (too often)” etc. Each mugged in turn by their priorities putsch.

  40. Hamis Hill

    Just look at the history of mining in the New World under Imperial Spain and you will see where the present crew get their model. and that model goes back the the slave society of Ancient Rome. Que??
    That is right, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. To emphasise the point the miners would prefer an Imperial Spain model then a banana republic one and would be quite happy to support an anti-democratic government of the roman as opposed to Christian type. What do you think these cretins just dreamt it up overnight? They follow a well established, centuries long model
    against which the forces of democracy have struggled for centuries. Getting people to forget this history is part of their modus operandi, while deluding their little lambs they set them up for slaughter. And this pattern of “Herding” human beings g,oes back millenia to the first domestication of animals. History, it is really hard for some. and arming themselves for the defence of democracy?
    Easier to bleat on about the unfairness of it all. Had a look at the history of Latin America lately and compared it to the history of Christian America( protestant America). Noticed any difference?
    Noticed any change in the cultural direction of formerly, democratic and protestant Australia and the change of the Liberal party to the DLP? All too confronting? Wake up before it is too late.
    As Tammy Wynette sang “They’re sanctified and they’re ancient and they drive an ice cream van”
    Meaning thy’ve been around for a while and worship a child-abusing God? Go on, go back to sleep.
    Wu Sun Tsu”The Art of Strategy”, “Know your ememy, Know yourself, One hundred battles, One hundred victories”. Self-indulgent whining losers, look in the mirror, drop the crap and get organisedbefore it is too late. All along the watchtower indeed, you clueless clods.

  41. Hamis Hill

    And lest SB lack self awareness, once upon a time Liberal had some connection with liberty.
    Now it means feckles dupes ofThe DLP branch stackers. History? Relevant? Remeber the Alamo?
    Deep in the Heart of Texas!

  42. Gocomsys

    NOTICE: Be aware.
    MISSION: Replacing the Government.
    OBJECTIVE: Implementing unchecked ultra conservative rule
    AGENT: Abbott (aka the Wrecker)
    SIGNED OFF BY: Big Business, Big Mining, Big Media
    CAMPAIGN: Disinformation, destabilisation, undermining, brainwashing.
    The economy, international standing, public confidence, personal reputations, government institutions and the list goes on.
    ACTION REQUIRED: Raise your voice! Stop the harm done to our democracy.

    Note: Suzanne Blake, recipient of this site’s “inane” award, actively supports the above process.

  43. Liz45

    I’ve recently read the submission the ABC made to the NSW INquiry into Workers Compensation. Funny how almost 29 years after I went off work with severe, disabling and acutely painful RSI
    disease, nothing much has changed. Those whose only interest is profits are still whining about the costs, while Govts don’t have enough strict rules, punishments etc for those employers who put workers health and safety at risk! Still screaming! Amazing!

    Before SB or anyone else queries my use of the term ‘disease’ I suggest they do some research. It is now recognised that chronic long term pain is a disease in itself. Also, during 29 years my symptoms, damage has evolved to the extent that my spine for example is “full of disease”. Spines play a vital role in injuries to neck, shoulders, arms, hands etc.

    I’m yet to hear O’Farrell assert that he’s going to curb the obscene amounts so called doctors are allowed to charge for their services – usually involves consultations followed by lengthy reports. If they’re required to give evidence in Court, they almost name their own fee? I saw about 20 of them (for and against my case/s) some more than once, and it wasn’t unusual for the ones for the Insurance Co not laying a hand on my body at all! They’re the bludgers in my view!

    Is SB spreading her joy elsewhere? She dropped off pretty quickly this time didn’t she?

  44. khtagh


    Is SB spreading her joy elsewhere? She dropped off pretty quickly this time didn’t she?

    She can’t handle facts & figures when they are not her corrupted version.

    She is only a lieberal staffer (paid to spin their crap) but screams blue murder if someone sticks up for the current government. You have heard of brain washing, well she is brain dripping, has not made the grade yet, that’s why she cut & pastes her views from other sites & never comes back.

    But she is SO successful, just ask her, she will tell you. She is twiggies right hand man, left hand when she wants a rest, arms muscles get tired after the same repetitive movement.

  45. The Pav

    Hi All

    Sorry for being a bit off topic but questions came to me over the weekend.

    After the RBA dropped rates both Abbott & Hockey were quick to say this was a result of economic weakness, how bad things were and we were all ruined.

    Now , please correct me if I am wrong, but don’t the Liberal claim that rates will always be lower under them?

    Well if we take these two items I guess what the Liberals are really saying is that under them the economy will always be worse. Is their a flaw in my thinking?

    Next Abbott keeps pushing the illogical and untrue line that the Govt is not legitimate. If he holds this to be true does he have the same opinion of the current Conservative Govt in the UK? Currently they hold 305 of 650 seats so they are not in majority & govern with the support of a minor party

    If so should he become PM at the next election with whom will he deal with as the legitmate British Govt?

    Or is he proposing not to have relations with the UK? Or will he deal with a Govt that he has defined as illigitmate?

    Just asking

  46. Michael de Angelos

    Let’s just tell these mine owners then to p*ss orf and nationalize the lot so we Aussies can have a 100% of the profits to build hospitals and so on.

    Except Gina that is as she probably thinks this report is hogwash as well seeing she has done a gigantic deal with the Chinese.

  47. Peter Ormonde

    Nice piece Bernard… and good comments too folks.

    One doesn’t have to have much of an imagination to conjure up what business wants for breakfast lunch and dinner … lower costs (wages and taxes) and increased productivity (do what we tell you – now).

    Where is business demanding a better training and education system, increased living standards, improved consumer information and choice and increased competition?

    Sadly they just trudge out the time-worn lowest common denominator yet again… same as it ever was – ever will be. No vision beyond their own self interest.

    I wonder if Australia will ever develop an actual real live capitalist class instead of this honking gaggle of special pleaders and mendicants.

  48. Michael de Angelos

    These dishonest reports never work. Just like the ones I’ve been hearing for decades about that say higher wages will destroy the economy which for some reason is the best in the world today.

    If business groups would tell the truth they might have workers and unions on their side. They never do.

  49. Theo Reinier

    Yes Michael, and the game continues, play one against the other and keep them at logger-heads as ” they ” divide and conquer, or if you like divide and plunder.

    [ It’ll feel like biblical Egypt by the time we’ve finished. ]

    It’ll BE like biblical Egypt by the time they’re finished. Hope you are enjoying your long weekend as much I am 😉

  50. Hamis Hill

    Perhaps it all gets back to the sovereignty issue raised by Adam Smith who, in his attempt to understand commercial society and better it, pointed out that the interests of the separate industry
    groups’ shareholderholders do not correspond with the interests of the “nation” and its citizens.
    Now the shareholders are multi-national and nations are up against it to maintain sovereingty.
    Study what the English East Inda Company ( the domestcic ancestors of the Liberal Party of Australia) did to our present near neighbour, just across the ocean, Bengal, ( Bangla Desh), once the richest country in Asia. According to Smith, the ports were captured and controlled, a low wage regime
    was imposed( just enough to avoid starvation for a single day) and the resulting scarcity od money raised interest rates to 48% and in that manner beggared the richest nation in Asia.
    The precursors of the Liberals had their charter revoked by the Imperial Parliament, yes they ruled Australian colonies at the time, this is all relevant.
    Just a short example of why certain commercial interests do not want Australians to read Adam Smith. are they succeeding? You can bet that the resurgent nations of Asia do not share Australians’ revulsion to Smith’s economic wisdom. Barrelling down the Bengal path with no lessons from history to shed any light on proceedings?
    Just asking!

  51. Theo Reinier

    With Globalism, Sovereignty is a dirty word just the same as Nationalism conjures up images of Hill -Billies and right-wing fruit-loops. The East India Company devised plans, isms and protocols to eradicate sovereingnty, borders and any source of nationalism to steal the assets, goods and services of the host nations while enslaving it’s people. A microcosm.

  52. banistersmind

    These corporations need to be dragged kicking and screaming to table and forced to invest in the infrastructure they so greedily demand from the taxpayer purse and they should be forced to invest in the education and training of our children so that they can have an opportunity and a stake in our country’s future.

    If they won’t then they should be regulated. Those corporations will soon leave our country sure, but I am sure there would be plenty of others more than willing to step into the breech. That is the paradigm shift that we so desperately need un Australia.

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