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Indigenous smoking yet again

I have been ridiculed at public fora for suggesting that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island (ATSI) smoking rates are an overwhelmingly important cause of the discrepancy between indigenous and non-indigenous mortality rates. The general response has been: ‘Harry you have a bee in your bonnet about smoking that ‘clouds’ your judgement’. It is true I […]

Australian drug use trends

The 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey has just been released (here). This is by far the most useful and accurate study of drug use trends in Australia.

Tobacco consumption continues to fall – less than 1 in 5 Australians smoked over the past 12 months. There is a very significant reduction in daily alcohol […]

Increased tax on alcopops

The Australian Government’s decision to increase the excise on so-called alcopops by 70% is excellent news. These sweet flavoured alcoholic concoctions are intended to create another generation of heavy drinkers in the face of a steady state decline in the demand for booze.

The industry is targeting kids who will suffer permanent brain damage from […]

Strange anonymous post

This deals with issues discussed in class.

Market failures

I’ve got a bit lax at posting at this website because the student response has not been very strong. I’ll try again in a different format in the future.

The last week we completed an introduction to the topic of ‘market failures’.

Free markets generally work well – they deliver efficiency – if competitive conditions […]

Howard Government destroyed our youth with user pays

It will take years – possibly decades – for the wickedness of the Howard Government to loosen its grip on Australian society. And it is our young brightest minds, our ‘future’ who are paying the highest price.

In today’s Sunday Pravda we learn that the La Trobe University women’s football team had to forgo trips […]

The ugly but understandable face of Chinese nationalism

That 10,000 Chinese citizens were organised by the Chinese embassy in Australia and other groups to go to Canberra on Thursday to overwhelm and attack a much smaller group of pro-Tibetan demonstrators says more about the Communist society origins of the Chinese counter-demonstrators than about the lack of any political morality by the demonstrators.

Tibet […]

Oil prices will fall substantially over the next 18 months

I have emphasised before that the effects of increased fuel prices will eventually come to reduce fuel demands and create incentives for new sources of supply – these reflect supply elasticity effects and cross price elasticity effects. In the US – which purchases one third of the world’s petroleum – this seems to have already […]

Radon & lung cancer

This is the first of several posts that I will make on lung cancer. They are related to my work on cigarette smoking.

I am interested in the fact that the incidence of lung cancer was very low prior to cigarette smoking but that, these days, around 10-15% of lung cancers seem to be unrelated […]

Clueless kids in Australia & America

As I have remarked before it seems to be overwhelmingly the children of migrants – particularly Asian migrants – in Australia who attend private schools and participate in such things as music performances. Long-term residents place a lower emphasis on the value of education and the value of developing difficult-to-acquire skills such as playing the […]

Climate-proofing the cities

While I have posted at length on adaptation policies for dealing with climate change impacts on agriculture and biodiversity resources (also here) I have said nothing about the cities where most Australians live. Indeed COAG have recently moved to establish a Climate Change Adaptation Framework which includes in its brief analysis of these issues. Climate […]

Fake Trojans

My PC had been running normally up until a couple of days ago when it suddenly started giving popup messages suggesting it’s operating system was about to collapse because it was infected with trojans and spyware. A very official-looking Windows-type message then urged a full system scan. Clicking on this connected me to an apparently […]

Australia 2020 Show

I waited for my invitation to the “Australia 2020 Summit” but it never came. I think someone spread the malicious rumour that I didn’t vote for Labor in the last election and that I think Kevin Rudd is a peanut. And I think I know who started that story.

Anyway the 1002 ‘brightest minds in […]

Middle class welfare as a strategy to help poor countries develop

I attended a seminar today given by Michael Carter on ‘Poverty Traps and Social Protection’ that is available in full online. Carter suggests that, because of poverty traps, ‘needs based’ targeting may lead to higher levels of long-term poverty than a modestly regressive targeting of those vulnerable to falling into poverty that is based on […]

William’s maths question

I have always enjoyed maths and used to try to solve elementary maths problems as a school kid. I can remember with joy finally solving a simple-to-state problem after hours of thinking about it. Often the solution popped out of my head almost involuntarily after I had spent a lot of time thinking about it* […]

Kevin misses Button funeral

Kevin Rudd couldn’t make it to the State funeral of Labor legend John Button yesterday. He was visiting Cate Blanchett and her newborn baby in hospital. Cate will make it to the ‘ideas summit’ just 6 days after giving birth to her third child even though Rudd told her not to attend if she ‘didn’t […]

No sovereign risk in Tabcorp/Tattslotto decision

Sovereign risk refers to the possibility that government can change legislation so that they can seize property without any possibility of adequate compensation.

Tony Harris in today’s AFR (subscription required) argues that no issue of sovereign risk arises because Tabcorp and Tattersall’s gaming licences were not renewed by the Victorian Government.

Gaming licences have a […]

Four Corners on Labor’s crooks & sharpies

The Four Corners show ‘Dirty Sexy Money’ screened tonight showed that the Labor Party includes more than a few schemers who have substituted making capital within their party for decent values and for the normal looney-tunes pursuits of Labor politicians. The show is well worth watching if you missed it –available online here. While mainly […]

Golf: The Masters at Augusta

I’ve been couch-potatoeing the last few days for long periods as I watched the US Masters Championship at Augusta on Foxtel. There is little doubt that Tiger Woods is a freakishly capable golfer. At 32 years of age he is still in the early phases of a career that may mark him as one of […]

Advice from the enemy

I have never been one of Brendon Nelson’s greatest fans and preferred Tony Abbott to lead the Federal Liberal Party when that decision had to be made. Abbott is an intelligent conservative who predictably does not appeal to a mass audience. In addition I thought Nelson was a rather poor Minister for Education who operated […]