Still confused by Gonski. Perhaps I needed the better education that the Prime Minister keeps promising, but I still have no idea what these Gonski reforms actually are apart from a promise to spend many more millions. And I doubt that I am Robinson Crusoe. I’ll be staggered if education is an election winner.

What will the verdict be? The most influential factor in Labor leadership contests always seems to be what the pollsters say. Newspoll, Nielsen and our very own favourite Essential will be hard at it over the weekend to deliver a verdict. What will they report? Once again I am relying on the wisdom of the Crikey crowd to provide an early clue by taking part in the Chunky Bits survey of what the pollsters will find.

For what it is worth — and I am sure it will be less accurate than the accumulated views of Crikey readers — here are my predictions:

A report tomorrow on what you predict. Make your predictions here.

PS — The requirement of an email address is designed to stop silly multiple predictions, and they will be wiped come Sunday and not used for any other purpose.

The glories of federalism. It’s not just here in Australia that absurdities arise because of the division of powers between state and federal governments. In Canada soccer mums of Quebec are caught up in a wonderful dispute about turbans.

The provincial soccer association, you see, for some reason determined that it was not right and proper for Sikh children to play the game with their turbans on. Gave the little eight- and nine-year-olds an unfair advantage when heading the ball was the argument. Not so, said the national soccer body. The international soccer federation had made no such decree, and turban-wearing kiddies were welcome to play the game. Quite right, agreed the Canadian government.

A breach of state rights, said the governing party of the province, which argued its state soccer body had the right to set its own rules. A penalty shoot-out in the national courts is surely coming.

That declining labour share of the economic pie. I wrote yesterday of the ILO reporting on the worldwide decline in labour’s share of gross domestic product, and my attention has now been drawn to a persuasive description of how Australia fits into the international pattern. In a Working Australia Paper published by the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Matt Cowgill, the organisation’s economic policy officer, comprehensively debunks the idea that Australian wages growth is unsustainable, or threatens to become unsustainable.

“This paper shows that Australia has experienced the opposite of a ‘wages breakout’ since 2000. Over this period Australian real wages have not kept pace with productivity growth. This means that labour’s share of total income has fallen and capital’s share has risen.

“We would now need a period in which real wages rose faster than productivity growth merely to restore the labour income share of the 1990s.”

News and views noted along the way.

  • Monster mosquitoes emerge in central Florida — Weighing up to 20 times more than a typical mosquito and even more aggressive.
  • Short-run and long-run effects of broadband internet on political participation — “… new evidence from Italy and the formation of Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement. Largely through social media, broadband internet has enabled a fledgling political movement to reach a large number of people, overcoming the costly barriers to entry usually associated with new political parties.”
  • What is a Warhol? The buried evidence — “The controversy over the artist’s foundation and the authentication of his work.”
  • Nuclear advocacy lands Abe in hot water with wife — “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be pushing to sell Japan’s atomic plants abroad, but his wife, Akie, doesn’t seem to be on the same page, saying her ‘heart aches’ to see him being pronuclear. ‘I’m opposed to nuclear power,’ she said in a June 6 speech in Tokyo. ‘My heart aches to see him selling nuclear power overseas.’ “
  • A moral theory’s immoral outcome — “Many philosophical defenders of the Roman Catholic natural-law tradition argue that there are no exceptions to the prohibition on killing an innocent human being. But the ongoing case of a 22-year-old El Salvadorian woman, identified in the media only as Beatriz, makes the absoluteness of that view difficult to defend.”
  • The world is heading for an oil production glut — “The world is heading for a glut of refined products as new Asian and Middle East refineries increase oil processing in a move likely to force less advanced competitors in developed countries to close.”
  • Milan’s heated gelato dDebate — Ban as council juggles fun-seeking and public order — “A by-law issued by the city council bans ‘the sale of take-away food and drinks’ in the Navigli, Ticinese, Arco dell Pace and Corso Como districts after midnight for ‘bars, restaurants and vendors’ including ‘craft ice cream vendors’.”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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