Monday, May 31, 2010

Short Memories

Dont you love it when the likes of Eric Abetz go on and on about this.

It doesn't matter what he says - the current Government will never ever get close to the seriously low standards that were set by the Howard government - and documented here.

These turkeys treat us like fools and then they wonder why we revolt - this guy is two thirds of a 3 ring circus all on his own.

PS - Funny isn't it how all the MSM links to Howard's $500 million advertising spend have *disappeared* - some to be replaced by more benign stories. Oh well it was 3 years ago that this was exposed and how can News Ltd re-write history if they don't get to erase some of it ;-)

But this one tells some of the same story.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fun and games in la la land

I have been away from base for the past couple of weeks - staying in hotels across the country. Now there must be a big pile of News Ltd newsprint stashed somewhere because Rupert's unread pile of giveaways seems to get bigger by the day. One hotel I was in had a stack of News Ltd rubbish that was about 4 foot high in the breakfast room - and that was one day's worth!

It is interesting to note that the guests are not even picking up the giveaways any more - preferring to go online with their ipads or iphones or notebooks. I sometimes rail against my fellow Australian's for lapping up Rupert's confected pap but that seems to be changing rather quickly now. At the traveller end of town (at least) they seem to have reacted to the crap in print by not bothering with the newspaper at all.

Eventually someone who counts the circulation numbers is going to have to deduct these unread giveaways - unless News Ltd can scam up some fresh new eyeballs from somewhere. Perhaps they can manufacture them in the same factory that manufactures their version of the news - hidden away out there in la la land?

And then the advertising dollars are going to disappear rather quickly and Rupert is going to have to decide whether he wants to be in the "real" News business or just the "make believe" News business. Because all the people that I know are voting against his current crop of confected crap.

Now I don't know where all these folks are going with their digital exploration but I doubt that it is to News Ltd websites. If they are anything like me they are being very selective with their news sources and are having them fed to Google Reader. Because that is the best way to ensure quality, relevance and timeliness. And it is untouched by News Ltd!

Roll on the digital revolution - because that is going to be the best way to get rid of the influence of this ultra right wing geriatric and his cronies. And then where will they go? Because there isn't a lot of demand in the real world for people who "make up" the news.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Self Interested So and So's

One of the tests that I like to apply when evaluating potential new friends, colleagues, jobs, projects and associated workplaces - is my personal little national interest test.

Call me dumb, naive and old fashioned but I want to make sure that the people with whom I am going to be associating have a similar perspective. I want them to be concerned enough about the future of the nation that they will always put the national interest before their own little and unimportant self interest.

Now I won't get deeply into why this is important - except to say that looking after the national interest is vital if we are concerned for the future of our children and grandchildren and their offspring. If we want a better future for our people then the best way - no the only way is to make sure that the nation is strong, fair and in the top quartile of equivalent nations - by any reasonable multi-faceted measure. And that it stays there for a long time.

Clearly there are many people who live here who have a different view and they are keen to look after and maximise their own little self interest. Mainly these people are the ones who value personal wealth and power above all else. Some aren't smart enough to know what to value and so they just follow their noses and Rupert's confected BS. It's not that I don't like oodles of personal wealth - it's just that I don't think it is an appropriate pathway to contentment ;-)

Now the only reason that I mention this is because as you will know Virginia - I am a small student of our media. And I am very disappointed to see the various campaigns that are underway by the self interested - all designed to influence the people of our nation - in the hope that they will support a small, greedy and rich subset of our population - over the majority.

These are designed to obfuscate, confuse, mislead and lie. From what I have seen and read in the current campaigns there is plenty to support their self interest but actually nothing by the miners or the opposition or their cheer squad in the right wing media to serve the national interest. And nothing even remotely fair and balanced about them. Period.

It's sad really but indicative of how these people are playing the game - and why the world is only going to become more dangerous and unfair if we let them have their way.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What we have here is a conspiracy

OK let’s not beat around the bush - someone needs to tell it like it is.

Clearly a deal has been done between Tony of the Abbotts and Rupert of the Murdoch’s - probably signed in blood at their little tryst back in February.

You can imagine how it went.

Rupert: Are you fair dinkum Tony - do you really want to be prime minister?

Tony: Yes I do - I have always wanted that - apart from when I wanted to be pope that is.

Rupert: Well if you are serious then I will support you. What do you need?

Tony: Well you can start by getting Fox News with Words to discredit the government at every opportunity - and also have them tell their reader what a great guy I am.

Rupert: OK no worries. Now here is what I want after you get the gig...

It's here that the tape gets a little fuzzy and the static wipes out Rupert's words.

But never mind - king Rupert has just had a similar conversation with the new UK prime minister and some of the details are here and here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Right Wing Media

Here's the real problem. The 80/20 rule applies just about everywhere. It definitely applies to our voting population when any issue of substance arises and these folks are required to do some real thinking. And by that I mean that 80% of them are too stupid to work it all out in a way that gives the rest of us any confidence that they have a grasp of the issues.

How else to interpret today's Essential Report?

In response to this question.

"And which of the following would you say has been the main reason for your view of Kevin Rudd and the Labor Government becoming less favourable in recent weeks?"

Here is my cherry picked response.

Too much spending - 15%
Too soft on asylum seekers - 15%
Problems with insulation and school building programme - 13%
The 40% tax on mining companies - 12%

Jesus - all of these things are the main talking points of the "right wing media" and they are ALL confected. Not one of these is a real issue that the government should be criticized for. Every one of these issues has been "manufactured" by Rupert's media - because it doesn't like the government actions and response.

Since when did we elect News Ltd to run the place?

It just goes to show how BS baffles brains - or in this case how BS confuses half wits.

I don't like what Rupert and his cronies are up to - and if they manage to get the monk over the line then I will move elsewhere. And you lot will still be stuck with him in a couple of decades time - because "big business" usually gets what it wants from a compliant little coalition.

Mining, Claptrap and FUD

It's really quite amazing. The hundreds of thousands (possibly even millions) of words that have been produced about the resources rent tax - all by the usual suspects in the right wing media - who are running around and doing the bidding of the large mining companies.

This just goes to show how big business now dominates the policy settings in our nation (in our world?) - they have been nibbling away since the start of the Howard era and now finally they are able to determine most government policy. Everything from industrial relations to immigration to taxation is now largely dictated by big business - with a few token inputs from the Treasury. Big business that is domiciled elsewhere I might add.

It stinks - if you are in any doubt then read "The Australian", "The Age" and "The Financial Review" today to get a feel for the bias that is being pushed by News Limited and Fairfax. The "dumb-arses" on commercial television will follow with their insight this evening. That ain't no coincidence Virginia - these boys and girls have been told what to say.

But what smells the most is the absolute crap that is being pushed about the 40% mining tax. Believe it or not there is a salt mine and a quarry in South Australia that are both moaning about how their businesses will be decimated - duh? Andrew Forrest is talking about how his mining operations will disappear and both BHP and Rio are telling the world that this tax will kill their operations in this country.

It's BS - all of it.

Firstly the 40% super profits tax is NOT a business input - it is applied only to PROFITS after the investors return has reached the government bond rate. So the mining operation must be up and running and producing PROFITS at a rate of more than about 6% BEFORE this tax is applied. Please tell me again how that will impact a salt mine and a stone quarry? And if it does then there is something wrong with the operator's mathematics. Perhaps we need to revisit the price of salt and quarry stone?

I was going to write a few more paragraphs - but what's the point? The miners won't acknowledge the truth, the press have been told what to say - and it looks like the rest of us will be done over by greedy big business - yet again.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Change is good

The great thing about periods of change is that they create opportunities for open minded and astute people. The proposed new arrangements for mining are one of those once in a generation opportunities.

The reasons that the big mining companies don’t like it are;

* It level's the playing field a little bit - the big resource companies are now not the only ones who can "do" big and important projects. Small miners and maybe even new companies will be able to move up in scale and risk - now that they have a silent partner in the Australian government.

* The rest of the resource rich world will likely adopt similar schemes and the big companies will no longer be able to play one jurisdiction off against another - they will hate losing that market power.

* The mining feedstock will now be valued appropriately - and hopefully we will see the end of extreme low value royalty payments. Like < 1% on petroleum and 1% <> 3% on key minerals.

Now all this is good for the nation, the little guy and the smart guy.

I suspect that we will see a raft of new entrepreneurs enter the mining industry and bring with them the financial and organisational savvy from other complex industries.

Overnight this industry has moved up a notch in terms of its sophistication. The existing clique of "gut feel" miners will need to lift their game or be run over by this steamroller.

Where do I sign-up?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Village

Every now and then I travel to a small and remote village in Australia - one that is hidden well away and which the rest of the world bypassed some decades ago. I visit because I have family there and because it has rather beautiful and stunning scenery and looks like an idyllic little place. Plus the fishing is great - and there is a good coffee shop.

Those are the good things.

The other thing is that it is in a time warp and has been that way forever.

It is about 20 years and a half an hour behind the eastern states. And because it is so remote the locals have evolved differently. They have developed as Darwin hypothesised - the big fish own it and run it - the little fish are the slaves. And the rewards are similarly skewed with the big fish taking the biggest share and the little fish living on crumbs.

This is a place that not only time has bypassed - but also the state regulators seem not to have noticed. Because some of the work practices are atrocious. The place has more than its share of millionaires and more than its share of paupers - figure that out.

This is a place where there are a large number of working poor. These are the folks who have some sort of a job - usually not a very good one - and who also need welfare and other support systems to help them survive a bad week.

There are also a number of obscenely wealthy people who got that way for three reasons.

* Their families were granted licenses to exploit natural resources for zip back in the 1960's - by a seriously dumb state government that was looking to "develop the state".

* They have exploited those resources big time - it's made them rich but the resources are now worn out and on life support.

* They have also exploited their workers - paid them zip and they think the government will continue to ignore their bad behaviour.

There are a number of big fish who have put the money they scammed from their workforces and the free resources into *toys* - some of which float at the marina and others that are big and black and have 4 wheels. Not what you are thinking Virginia ;-)

This is the "wild west" folks - it exists today in Australia but is well hidden from the mainstream media - and the state regulators - and it is what phony Tony and his crew apparently want for the rest of us.

I don't think so.

Coalition Policies

Here is my take on two of the best coalition policies and their plans for the future.

Policy #1: Talk about cutting every last cent out of government spending - in an attempt to highlight government debt to create a confected view that "the blue team" are good economic managers - while completely ignoring the nation's real debt problem - which is private mortgages.

Effect #1: Every dumb-arsed bogan who contributed to the private debt problem will start to think they are financial geniuses and try to leverage into yet more debt - while simultaneously telling "youse lot" about that "terrible" government debt.

Policy #2: Do everything possible to dumb down the government's education programmes - get rid of those useless computers in schools, stop the school building programme, defund the trade training centres and stop any progress toward improving teacher skills, knowledge and capability. Oh and kill that completely useless national broadband network.

Effect #2: Revert back to Howard's plan of dumbing down the nation - designed to keep people supporting - "the mighty coalition". Keep Australian's in the dark while feeding them BS. Make sure they aren't educated enough to ask the difficult questions. Don't let the workers gain any more knowledge or information than their bosses and political masters. Keep them in their place while the blues get on with running the place - as they should.

And some people think that these dills are a serious alternative government?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why Ken Henry runs the Treasury

This is why Ken Henry runs the Treasury.

One of the problems that he has to deal with is the "gut feel" response and noise from the miners, their fellow travellers and the right wing commentariat.

This "gut feel" is often used to obfuscate and distort on big and important issues like the resource rent tax. But if you read and comprehend his speech yesterday to the Australian Business Economists - here then you should be able to sort the wheat from the chaff.

And realise why some of the miners, the Murdoch press and the Federal Opposition are against it - because they value their own power and profits above the national interest.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Projects and Project Managers

One of the reasons that Kevin and his crew have slumped in the polls is because of a perception amongst the *bogan* class - that they couldn't manage a "piss up in a brewery".

Now this is partially true but it's not as bad as the BS being put about by the Murdoch press and then picked up by every lazy media organisation in the nation - including the ABC.

Let me recap for just a moment. The government's response to the GFC was essentially to spend lots of money to ensure that the *bogan* class kept their jobs. And this spending meant that several large projects had to be initiated and managed - quickly and concurrently. The insulation and school building programmes were both quite massive in scale and scope.

And the good news is that they worked - I think we have all heard about the failures because these have been amplified by a grubby and self interested right wing media - but the successes were much bigger. And the nation has emerged from the GFC with little damage - except for Labor's political fortunes.

But for me a bigger issue is that while these programs were mostly successful they could have been hugely successful AND led to increased government popularity - if they had public sector implementation teams who knew how to run them.

Clearly the federal public sector don't have the skills, knowledge or capability to run programmes and projects of this nature - and the scary thing is that prior to this they didn't even know it.

As one of my colleagues is fond of saying "Compound ignorance is when you don't know that you don't know".

Meanwhile there are dozens of highly qualified and skilled project managers who have been sitting on the sidelines, twiddling their thumbs and watching with amusement as this little misadventure unfolds.

PS - But that's the thing about this nation when it comes to employment - the folks who can do the job aren't ever engaged - because the main engagement criteria are "to keep the costs down" when they should be "lets do the job properly". That's why we have the 457 Visa scam and why we will end up with WorkChoices Mark II when the monk gets the gig.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Those rational coalition voters

The total lack of any rational and long term thinking going on with 50% of our voting population simply astounds me. Actually it shouldn't because I have seen them present themselves at polling booths - it isn't pretty ;-)

Whatever their political allegiances you would have thought that our population would have some thought and concern for the environment, the nation and their own families.

Apparently not - because the polls show about 50% of our voting population are intending to support "The Coalition" at the next election.

This mob that they are supporting are in denial about climate change and intend to keep letting the big polluters emit as much CO2 as they want - no problem. According to the mad monk "climate change is crap" - his senate leader Nick Minchin says it is a plot to "de-industrialise the west". And these people are in the parliament?

So if you are a coalition voter you obviously don't believe in climate change and won't be interested in doing anything about it.

The miners are running a big campaign against the super profits tax and The Coalition are supporting them. It could even be a real issue if the miners actually employed people but they employ about 1% of our workforce. And then we discover that Australia's richest man - billionaire "Twiggy Forrest" is a miner - but 7 years ago he was just another opportunist walking the streets of Perth looking for a "get rich quick" deal. How many billions, Virginia have you made in the past 7 years?

But apparently if you are a coalition voter then you will be happy to let the miners keep shafting the rest of us while they dig up our national wealth and ship it off to China - no problem.

And the monk wants to resurrect WorkChoices and expand the reach of the 457 Visa. You remember these nasty little gems - all designed to put the maximum pressure on Australian workers while driving down their wages and removing their conditions. This campaign is underway already by the monk's mates in big business who are running around yelling "skills shortage". Snake oil salesmen the lot of them.

I suppose if you are a coalition voter then you won't have children or grandchildren who will be looking for a start in the jobs market - with reasonable pay and conditions anytime soon.

I could go on but you get the picture.

About 50% of our voters seem unable to connect the dots. They must know that a vote for "The Coalition" will be a vote against the environment, a vote against our national interest and a vote against the interests of their children.

But hey logic and facts and evidence don't seem to play much of a part in the thinking of these people - so they shouldn't be disappointed when their sweet little coalition actually turns out to be a rabid dog.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Newspapers in deep doo-doo

Had a little giggle to myself today when I saw the "Audit Bureau of Circulations" results for Australian newspapers.

Total sales were down 3.23% in the last quarter.

This is a minor disaster - especially for News Limited and for Fairfax. And probably a good thing for the rest of us - because there is less confected BS running around wrapped up in newsprint ;-)

Rupert's organ of quality content - "The Australian" shed 4.4% of its circulation in the 12 months to March, against a 4.2% fall in 2009. So it's not just me who thinks it has lost its way then.

The Weekend Australian saw a slump of 3.7% - the "Deal" was down 27.9% and "Wish" was off 26.7%. Both are obviously now history.

In my home town Adelaide - Rupert's little joke - "The Advertiser" saw sales drop 3.6% on Monday to Friday and 2.6% for the Saturday edition. The Sunday Mail shed 2.2%. So they obviously need to *make up* some more news.

As I mentioned in an earlier post John Hartigan has a lot more to worry about than the Melbourne Storm.

And the first thing he should do is get "The Australian" back on track by ditching the right wing rabble that runs it. Job number 2 will be to go through "The Advertiser" like a dose of salts.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Can I state the friggin obvious?

So even if we assume that the mining companies and their cheer squad in the Murdoch press are right - and some will move offshore - what is actually wrong with leaving our minerals in the ground?

Because the longer we leave them - the more they will be worth. The minerals - not the companies, Virginia.

Eventually, after all the third world countries have been raped and pillaged by these mining companies they will need access to more minerals. Minerals in Australia that they walked away from in 2010.

And if what they say is correct - that there are many better and cheaper opportunities elsewhere then let them go there and deal with the associated risks.

I will personally take up all their abandoned Australian leases. And when they come back in ten years time we will charge them even more for access.

Their position is just pure baloney.

Baloney that is driven by greed and stupidity and which is encouraged by the *numbnuts* in opposition who think they were "born to rule".

David Dunning and Justin Kruger

For anyone who is interested in the Dunning-Kruger effect - you will want to read their paper "Unskilled and Unaware of It - How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments" - here. Joe Hockey might be interested.

I will pinch a few words from it to set the scene.

"In 1995, McArthur Wheeler walked into two Pittsburgh banks and robbed them in broad daylight, with no visible attempt at disguise. He was arrested later that night, less than an hour after videotapes of him taken from surveillance cameras were broadcast on the 11 o'clock news. When police later showed him the surveillance tapes, Mr. Wheeler stared in incredulity. “But I wore the juice,” he mumbled. Apparently, Mr. Wheeler was under the impression that rubbing one's face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to videotape cameras".

Hopefully, this will set the scene for Tony Abbott's budget reply which is scheduled for this evening. I hope he is wearing the juice.

Two bob each way and the Dunning-Kruger effect

The really scary thing about the GFC is that the antics of our opposition and the stupidity of our citizens will determine the government response next time we get caught up in a "Global Financial Crisis".

Essentially that means that no government - of any colour or political persuasion - will be brave enough to rescue our economy in the future by spending money and increasing debt. Because if they did then they would be abused and accused by the opposition of the day who know full well that most voters are not capable of understanding why it is necessary.

I have heard some absolute crap over recent days about how our government should not have spent money to buffer the economy and this would have been a good thing because some "inefficient" companies would have failed and the "efficient" ones would have prospered and blah, blah, blah. The sort of nonsense that is being emitted by some of the people who received the biggest handouts simply astounds me.

Every bogan and numbnut has an opinion on this. But their opinions are often built on the Dunning–Kruger effect.

The sad thing about all this is that with such a future event, unemployment will go through the roof and lots of people will lose their jobs and their houses. And it will take years to get back to a normal position.

That’s the price they will pay for their stupidity. And then listen to them bleat about why the government didn't fix it like last time.

Combine a "two bob each way" attitude with the "Dunning–Kruger effect" and you have a pretty fair profile of the Australian swinging voter.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Too many newspapers - not enough news

Rupert's great organ of quality content - "The Adelaide Advertiser" has been at it again.

South Australia has a new "Thinker in Residence" and this time it is Fred Wegman - an international expert on road safety. At his introductory press conference last week he mentioned a few things that he wanted to look at - including the possibility of reducing speed limits to 30 km/h in SOME places. Big mistake Fred.

So "The Advertiser" ran an article inferring that Professor Wegman wanted to introduce a 30 km/h speed limit.

They did this because they knew it would generate outrage and fill their letters pages with bogan responses to Fred's *proposal*.

They wanted to generate a few more sales of their newspaper but might have ended up by cruelling the best opportunity in a generation to get the road safety programme back on track and into the 21st century.

This is what happens regularly in "The State of Excitement" and why the people of South Australia have a reputation for being anti change. Because on slow days their local newspaper *manufactures* the news.

All to add a few more dollars to Rupert's outrageous salary.

And you wonder why it is known as "Rupert's little joke on the people of Adelaide"?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Here's the real problem

Kevin, here is the real problem that you need to unpack and do something about.

The Howard "battler class" and their mates - you know the ones who left school at 15, drive 4wd's, pay too much for houses, call their kids Kyle and whose votes wander around based on who bribes them the most - don't believe that you have done anything for them and they are unhappy.

They aren't alert to the fact that they still have jobs because of what your government did to stave off the effects of the GFC. They don't even know what a GFC is (is it something to do with MasterChef?) and most didn't notice any change to their circumstances as the rest of the world went through a tumble dryer - and their jobs were shredded.

Your management of the crisis was so successful that these people didn't even notice that it happened - with not even a blip on their financial horizon. But they have noticed that there is now a government debt problem - as pointed out by the opposition - and they blame you for it.

Perhaps you shouldn't have given them all $900 to play with?

So they still have jobs because you threw billions at the construction industry and the motor vehicle industry and every other industry that employs bogans - and still they aren't smart enough to recognise that you saved their jobs and their mortgages ;-) It's hilarious.

The coalition would never have attempted something as courageous and ambitious as saving the nation from the effects of the GFC and apparently they will get the kudos for it at the next election - while you and your team will be blamed for excessive government debt. Figure that one out.

Julia's education revolution might have fixed this problem if it had started a generation ago - but there is no-way that it can save a one term government.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

More Fairy Tales at the OZ

The single most significant thing that this government can do to fix the standard and quality of our media is to subject them to the same standards of accuracy that are required by the stock exchange when dealing with the announcements of our listed companies.

And seriously penalise them when they are caught telling lies - like here and here and here.

News Corporation and their so called journalists at "The Australian" who currently have a wonderful time making up "fairy tales" would either have to report the facts or go broke.

The Murdoch press is a disgrace and the rest of our mainstream media is a joke for not exposing their antics.

Where is Media Watch when you need it ;-)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Gender is an issue for SA Thinkers

Now I am a great fan of the South Australian "Thinkers in Residence" program. It is a great programme that is designed to bring new ideas and best practice to the state across a range of disciplines. Basically, it seeks to bring international experts to Adelaide for short periods of time and tasks them with generating new ideas across a particular subject area.

The latest thinker is Professor Fred Wegman - a recognised expert on road safety - he will contribute to a new South Australian road safety strategy.

This is a fantastic appointment - finally we might get to inject some clever ideas into the road safety programme and add value to the current thinking that concentrates solely on a "speed kills" and "alcohol is evil" strategy. With any luck we will end up with a South Australian road safety strategy that is based on science and evidence and which actually works.

Or at least I hope so - because if South Australia can be encouraged to finally move to an "international best practice" model then there is some hope that the other states can be encouraged to also sign up.

Now while I admire the "Thinker" programme I am a little concerned with how it is administered. Of the eight jobs that are listed on the contacts page of their web site - here - 100% are filled by females. This is a bit rich. How can it be that there are no males in South Australia who are capable of performing these roles? What happened to the concept of gender balance?

It's actually a feature of the SA public sector - there are little enclaves scattered throughout the public service that are owned and operated by females - exclusively. Now I do like females but do you think there is a chance that this is a little bit out of control?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mining companies - confused or disingenuous?

Peter Martin nails it with his great story today - here.

Whose idea was the "super profits based tax" on the mining industry? None other than “The Minerals Council of Australia” - in 2008!

It says a lot about the games that are now being played by big business, the mining industry and the far right media - that when these ideas are taken up by the government of the day - the moguls just change their mind and want something else - while bagging the first idea and manufacturing more FUD.

This theme is happening across a range of policy areas. We saw it recently with the CPRS deferral. All of a sudden the *numbnuts* in opposition developed a confected concern for the environment - despite the fact that they have opposed taking any action with carbon.

Bill and Betty Bogan next door must be seriously confused about what the monk and his cronies actually stand for.

We urgently need to encourage and support an independent media in this country that is willing and able to expose these political shenanigans.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Those dastardly immigrants

I understand that a large number of Australians have expressed concern about both the high levels of immigration and the large numbers of boat people arriving.

Or that is the conventional wisdom based on the stories being put about by the right wing media. Vested interests? Truthful? Dunno - but I suspect that real and comprehensive analysis hasn't been done - it's more like a collection of opinions from people on the street or News limited staffers that are used to create these headlines.

I believe the real issue driving these concerns is somewhat different - and it comes from that dreaded 457 visa.

It's quite simple really, Australians have seen their jobs disappear at the same rate that the 457 visa and associated programmes expanded.

Using the pretext of a "skills shortage" the business community have pushed hard to expand these obnoxious programmes that have replaced Australians with imported workers - often at greatly reduced salaries.

The effect is to displace local workers and to set a lower standard of remuneration and conditions for similar roles. There is plenty of evidence of this across a range of industries - if one cares to look.

Just this morning on ABC radio there were more "vested interests" pushing this line across the agricultural industry?

Its just BS - has always been BS and will forever be BS.

My belief is that this is the reason we are seeing such high levels of concern amongst Australian's about immigrants and boat people - because they are fearful of losing their jobs and livelihood.

And it also shows how big business has almost total control over our parliaments, political parties and their processes.

Howard started the 457 visa scam, expanded it greatly and then introduced WorkChoices - all at the insistence of big business.

Rudd should have abolished it when be became Prime Minister. Instead it continues with minor amendments and now we find that business is trying to loosen it up again to satisfy their greed.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Memory Loss

The main thing that Kevin has forgotten - is how to communicate with the people.

He has made some big changes over the past few weeks - but what he hasn't done is sit down in front of a camera to explain to the people of the nation - why. He needs to.

Why he has deferred the CPRS? And why he isn't proceeding with the bulk of the recommendations of the Henry tax review? Why he has taken over the hospitals? And why he has introduced a big tobacco tax increase? And why he wants a new resources tax?

Those Australian's who are more engaged with MasterChef than politics need to hear what the government is up to - and preferably straight from the horse's mouth.

He also needs to reset expectations and tell the people what his new agenda is. It's fair enough that things change during the course of a parliamentary term - but let’s hear about it. And let’s hear about his plans for the future.

What does he intend with the CPRS? And how will he deal with a recalcitrant opposition and independents in the Senate? Why hasn't he used the opportunity of a double dissolution to clean out the rabble in the Senate and get his legislation through?

What is wrong with a bit of courage and risk taking?

The last thing we want is for Kevin to become Billy McMahon mark II - I would prefer that he become Paul Keating mark II.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The far far far right and an upstart

So Senator Eric Abetz has been elected by the liberal Senators as their Leader to take over from Nick Minchin and Senator George Brandis gets to be runner up - he becomes Deputy Leader.

This tells us a little about how the liberals expect to proceed as this year unfolds.

Abetz is leaning so far toward the right that he walks with a distinct limp. He finds it difficult to traverse the streets of Hobart because the streets are balanced, they go both left and right - and often he ends up walking clockwise around in circles trying to find his own office. He speaks with a lisp because he has trained his mouth to only speak out of the lower right portion. If he had his way he would introduce capital punishment and WorkChoices - both in the same bill. He thinks Nick Minchin is a radical leftie - so you get the idea.

And you will remember Brandis as the Queensland upstart who tagged little Johnny as that "lying little rodent". He got that part right but not much else since.

Just goes to show how relevant these geniuses have become.

Mining Profits Tax

My goodness this latest announcement by the Feds has unleashed a bit of a storm in a teacup.

All to be expected from the mining companies - because they have been getting a free ride for decades.

But the amazing thing is the bleating by the numbnuts in the coalition and the WA liberal state government. Whose interests are they looking after anyway? Obviously not yours or mine or our neighbours or our friends and family.

Fortunately Australians can see through this smokescreen - and understand that the mining companies have been making hay while the sun shines - at the expense of the rest of us.

Believe it or not, the resources of the nation belong to the nation - not the mining companies. Or even the state governments.

And those who mine and extract these resources need to pay a fair price for access - which is something they haven't been doing for a long while.

Kevin's new arrangements are both fair and equitable - but as usual all those mining bosses who have been lining their pockets with (almost) free money now will be required to pay a fair price to rape and pillage.

The best thing though is that the mining industry employs few people and so while they will bleat and threaten it won't amount to much because they have no leverage - employing only around 1% of the Australian workforce.

Now if they were manufacturing something then the government would be cowed. Just goes to show what happens when you try to exercise power without responsibility.

And someone please have a quiet word to the Libs about this. Tell them to do a bit of research and get some feedback from the people of the nation - who welcome it as being long overdue. Tell them that their incessent bleating only makes them look like the fools they obviously are.