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Labor skidmarks

Kevin Rudd’s resolve to rid the Labor Party of the thuggish Dean Mighell and to retain the building industry regulator, the Australian Business and Construction Commission, are sensiblefirst steps.

The greatest difficulty facing Australia with a Rudd Labor election victory is that imposed by trade union control of Labor Party IR policies. The more effort […]

High petrol prices & worsening congestion increase use of public transport

Critics of public transport pricing claim in The Age that public transport fares in Melbourne are ‘too high’ compared to other States – the State-by-State fare comparisons are here.

Indeed this claim at might be true in a comparative sense and from the viewpoint of efficiently pricing such services at social marginal cost – the […]

Does the country change when the government changes?

Tim Dunlop has asked me to be part of a blogging ‘conversation’ experiment he is co-ordinating from his Blogocracy blog. Each person in a group of commentators, posts a question in turn. Each member of the group then responds to the question on their own blog and links to the responses of the others. So […]

Rudd clan’s hypocrisy on IR

I thought the Labor Party preached that collective workplace agreements worked better than individual contracts. Collective agreements, it is claimed, are fairer and provide higher productivity.

Not so for Party leader Kevin Rudd’s wife, Therese Rein who has all of the 800 Australian workers in her own business on individual contracts. They traded their […]

Fame conveys authority in Labor’s ranks

I enjoyed The Age article by Theodore Dalrymple on a world that has become trivialized by the ‘cult of authority’. Bono has the authority, if not the knowledge, to ‘save’ Africa and we listen to him because he is a celebrity. The philanthropic millionaire with his IPOD and his rose-tinted sunglasses is determined to save […]

Pointers on monitors

How does the pointer on your monitor work when you move the mouse? Haven’t you wondered? Through the miracle of high technology, we can see how it is done. With the aid of a screen magnifying lens (supplied online), the mechanism becomes apparent.

Click on the link below and you’ll find out. The image may […]

1991 St Huberts Cabernet

Occasionally I think we all forget how good aged Australian cabernet can be. Shiraz is so often promoted as the Australian red wine with cellaring potential. Most of the red wine in my cellar is shiraz.

The exceptions are the wonderful Wynns cabernets, the Penfolds Bin 707s, which often disappoint me, and a collection […]

Groundwater & Australia’s rivers

I posted a week ago on the controversy surrounding the possible double counting on water supplies by ignoring the role groundwater plays in generating stream flow. I have just come across a report by hydrologist, Dr Richard Evans, which sets out the issues accurately in clear, non-technical language with easy-to-follow diagrams. He sets out what […]

State Government funding of ‘special events’

Billionaire Bernie Ecclestone threatens to take the Formula 1 Grand Prix away from Melbourne unless it runs the races at night. This is apparently because Ecclestone wants to see the live TV coverage in Europe. The current contract runs out in 2010.

It has never been made clear what Victorian taxpayers contribute to Ecclestone […]

Farmers kill endangered species & destroy wetlands of international significance

Two firms producing almonds and two almond plantation workers were charged over the shooting of more than 40 rare Regent parrots in Victoria’s northwest late last year. The birds were shot near Robinvale, on the Murray River 470km northwest of Melbourne. The regent parrot is a nationally-threatened species. The Eastern subspecies killed by these workers […]

A bigot on private education

Catherine Deveny is more than usually prejudiced in today’s Age. Her claim: It is wrong for government to provide any funding for private schools . Parents wanting to give their children a private education should pay for it 100% themselves. Moreover, Deveny claims it should be compulsory for politicians to send their children to public […]

E. coli conservatives

Paul Krugman blames Milton Friedman for promulgating the foolish libertarian precept that nothing should be regulated – not even the quality of the foods we eat. Why regulate food quality asked Friedman – firms will have sufficient incentives based on self-interest not to poison their customers.

That is generally a false claim – the incentives […]

Advertising booze to kids today discusses industry self-regulation of restrictions on advertising alcohol to kids. They claim this self-regulation is a farce – a proposition I agree with.

‘You need look no further than this ad for Tooheys New to see why Australia has a nasty drinking problem. The ad features a street party with giant inflatable […]

State governments act foolishly on climate change

The NSW Government’s deal with BlueScope Steel undermines Australia’s ability to come up with a carbon tax which significantly cuts into CO2 emissions. Premier Iemma’s deal exempts BlueScope from any future carbon tax for 25 years.

According to the Greens the Premier has been conned by the promise of creating 6000 jobs at Port […]

Greed drives disaster?

Matthew Denholm in The Australian this morning records claims, from trapped miners and others, that the Beaconsfield mining disaster was driven by the goldminer’s rush to repay its debts to Macquarie Bank. Recall that Allstate Explorations, in administration, owned 55% of the mine but, in a 2002 deal, Macquarie Bank bought the $77 million debt […]

Accounting for groundwater use

According to Bill Heffernan about 40% of the inflow into the Murray-Darling Basin comes from groundwater. Therefore accounting for groundwater and stream flows separately will overstate the availability of water supplies in the MDB by 40%. Indeed, in some river valleys, up to 90% of the river comes from groundwater. If the groundwater is pumped […]

Meeting the Dalai Lama

The hypocritical Mr Rudd as well as Mr Howard should both meet with the Dalai Lama. The DL is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people regardless of what the Chinese invaders of Tibet say. The DL is also a decent person who receives and deserves respect.

Howard has met the DL but Rudd […]

Restoration ecology & the ‘field of dreams’

Several restoration ecologists I have met recently have referred to the ‘Field of Dreams’ hypothesis* in relation to biodiversity conservation.

This is the notion that you can rebuild or reestablish a natural ecosystem replanting trees and so on whence the natural system will reestablish itself as organisms naturally re-colonize leading to ‘normal’ community structure […]

Indigenous involvement in crime

Via Andrew Leigh I got a link to this useful data base on ATSI involvement in crime. It is old (2002, why?) but as up-to-date as anything else available. It is a grim picture.

A quarter of ATSI had been subject to violent attack in the past 12 months. There are high rates of […]

More drivers test for drugs than for alcohol

Testing for drink driving has helped slash the number of fatal accidents involving alcohol from 40% of the total to 19%. The road toll has fallen overall also. But in an interesting twist of 1600 drivers tested in NSW one in 46 was found to have consumed illicit drugs – amphetamines, ecstasy and cannabis are […]