Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Unfinished Business – Indeed

Have just finished reading David Love’s new book "Unfinished Business" – which is about Paul Keating’s superannuation revolution that he started in concert with Bill Kelty and others - and which ended abruptly in 1996.

It’s a fantastic and true story, one that any thinking person will recognize as being a great overview of the key drivers of Australia’s economic performance over the past 15 or so years.

Keating’s revolution was based on his insight that by encouraging every citizen to save for retirement and with the help of government, a huge pool of investment capital would be created that could be used to enrich the nation.

This is the capital vat that has been used to great effect by Macquarie Bank and others to develop a world class financial services industry – mostly based in Sydney.

The book also shows how the Howard government wasted the opportunity to continue the superannuation ratio trajectory as Keating had planned - beyond 9% toward 12% and eventually to 15% of income and the risk now to the Australian economy as a result. All because of conservative party ideology.

This is weird because the conservatives seem to have a problem with a savings system that will provide for worker’s retirement but they seem to ignore the fact that the same system provides a mammoth investment pool for Australia’s benefit.

The book also shows that there is reluctance within the new Rudd government to pursue Keating’s "Unfinished Business" because of the people who are currently in control of superannuation policy. Is this a different ideology at work?

Love’s story provides a tremendous explanation of the creativity and innovation that happened in the Australian financial services industry – starting in the 1990’s. For me personally it is a great story because I was in the middle of it at the time. It also shows why other states are not as developed from a financial services perspective – because most of the action didn’t filter through to them. Like a lot of things at the time, most state government’s didn’t *get* what was happening and were left behind.

This is a fantastic book – and David Love has done a terrific job – it is something that should be compulsory reading for all thinking Australian’s on all sides of the political spectrum.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Superstition parading as science?

I sent a letter to "The Australian" this morning in response to another climate change denier and his fanciful story on page 8 - this has become a pattern at the OZ and frankly, I am over it.

-- Start of Letter --

You really do this nation a disservice by continuing your campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt around climate change – as demonstrated by Arthur Herman’s article on Monday August 4th.

He starts off by quoting NASA as his source and then seriously misrepresents the data there. All your readers need to do is visit - this NASA page to see the true extent of the unfolding climate disaster. Australian’s don’t need this misrepresented through the filter of your bias.

The Australian and it’s editors might get their jollies by continuing to parade the world’s deniers as having credibility – but the poor and the ignorant will be the losers – is that your intent?

Most thinking Australians expect more from their national newspaper.

Its gone way beyond a joke – I only wish you would put as much effort into the rest of your newspaper as you do into the half truths and bias on the opinion pages which seem to have become someone’s personal vendetta against the nation.

You might consider adopting the motto of another large media organization – "Do no Evil" – because you will need to do something to resurrect your credibility.

-- End of Letter --

Of course The Australian won't print it - because their Editor, Chris Mitchell is running a campaign against anything to do with climate change - makes you wonder what he is scared of? Actually, the truth is that he is just another tired old right wing cultural warrior who thinks he is the only one able to take the fight to those dreaded lefties AND he has managed to con Rupert into thinking that he can do it. Makes me wonder why we tolerate their ignorance and stupidity - it's all so 1970's?