The futility of abolishing the mining tax. The reality behind the rhetoric to get rid of the mining tax is now becoming apparent — state governments still get the money. The reason Labor’s tax raised so little revenue was the deduction given to miners from their federal bill for the amount paid to state governments in royalties. The major mining states of Queensland and Western Australia took this opportunity to increase those royalties and have no intention of reducing them once the mining tax is gone. Hence the result will be virtually no change in what mining companies pay in those states although NSW is expected to rescind its royalty increase.

The casino boom. The addiction of state governments to gambling revenue continues. As a second casino development in Sydney moves closer to final approval, Queensland has a number of new casinos under consideration. They are being sold as a contribution to strengthening the tourist industry but in truth they are just a way for governments to disguise new tax revenue that has a high cost of collection via allowing profits for operators.

Tabloids move on. It was a politics-free morning on page one of the tabloids this morning if you are prepared to make the dubious distinction of the Fairfax pair being “compacts”. Prime Minister Tony Abbott will be pleased.

Russia for Russians. They might be coming overland rather than by sea but Russia has problems of its own with unauthorised migration. While there are some four million Tajiks, Uzbeks and Kyrgyz working legally in the country, at least the same number of immigrants are thought to be living there illegally. And resentment against the influx from central Asia is rising.

At the weekend violent anti-immigrant protests broke out in an outer-Moscow suburb following the death by stabbing of a Russian youth by a “non-Russian”. Der Spiegel reports:

An angry mob reportedly went after immigrants and their businesses there, breaking windows, setting fires and turning over cars and delivery trucks, chanting slogans such as “Russia for Russians.” Amid the violence, television broadcasters warned against attacks on police, saying that they “protect order in our city”.

Undermining wellbeing with Facebook. So you thought that Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. Well, an academic study published recently suggests just the opposite. Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults says that rather than enhancing well being, its findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it.

We addressed this issue by performing lagged analyses on experience sampled data, an approach that allowed us to take advantage of the relative timing of participants’ naturally occurring behaviors and psychological states to draw inferences about their likely causal sequence. These analyses indicated that Facebook use predicts declines in the two components of subjective well-being: how people feel moment to moment and how satisfied they are with their lives.

Critically, we found no evidence to support two plausible alternative interpretations of these results. First, interacting with other people “directly” did not predict declines in well-being. In fact, direct social network interactions led people to feel better over time.

News and views noted along the way.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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