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Chinese climate change policies

An intelligent, straightforward statement of climate change problems facing Australia and China was provided by Professor Ross Garnaut at the East Asia Form blog. It is very much a summary of the main argument of the Garnaut Review – nothing wrong with that – the core proposal of (i) a […]

Road taxes & charges

Here is a seminar I gave at La Trobe University on road tax reform. Comments, questions, outrageously over-the-top praise and emphatic disagreements very welcome.

Telematics and transport

Mobile phones have revolutionised our lives. Analogous communication devices in vehicles can change and improve the way we travel. Economy-wide efficiencies can result from adopting these technologies.


Tobacco tax proposal deserves support

Here is an opinion piece I wrote for ABC News online.

Idiot Australians abroad

Alexander Downer sorts them out.

Yes, and the evidence was that Annice Smoel was drunk, did steal an expensive beermat, did make a run for it and did abuse arresting officers. What did she expect?

Economic disasters drive increased demands for valium

94.6% of Australian workers retain their jobs a year after the world experiences the worst financial crisis for 80 years. This compares with 95.8% prior to the crisis when the economic ravages of the Howard Coalition Government were still bearing on the down-trodden Australian working class.

This disasterous state of affairs has led the reformist […]

The uneasy case for deregulating taxis

Increased user charges on vehicles and increases in carbon-based fuel prices might have long-term effects of reducing private car ownership and use – there are tentative signs that this has already happened in the US in response to the recent oil price boom. This might encourage […]

Fuel standards

Following the Obama reforms, Australian states and commonwealth governments are today considering introducing compulsory fuel standards on Australian cars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Heroic, smart GP

The story of the country-based GP who drilled a hole in the side of a young boy’s head using a household drill moved me. The boy had a head injury accident that led to internal bleeding that put pressure on the boy’s brain. The boy faced a near certain short-term death if the pressure was […]

Good poll news for Coalition

The Herald /Neilson poll shows promising news for the Coalition.

The Coalition is – as it should be – making significant inroads against Rudd and Labor. A 5% swing to The Coalition since March and back to the narrow margin of the 2007 poll. Labor leads the Coalition by 53% to 47%, down from the […]

Electronic road pricing for heavy vehicles: The German model

As much as 35 per cent of truck kilometres travelled on Germany’s motorways (autobahn) is generated by foreign trucks. These trucks impose considerable maintenance and other costs on Germany (Wikipedia, 2009). The scheme is of interest to Australia because of the range of technologies used and because regional issues in […]

Rudd Labor migration policy

One of the worst policies of the Hawke/Keating era in Australia was its migration policy. Bob Hawke was a garrulous cry-baby with his eye keenly on the ethnic vote. Hence he, as with many former governments, promoted ‘family-based’ rather than ‘skilled-migration’ to Australia on […]

Access to superannuation & retirement age

The Tax Review report on the retirement income system recommends retaining a means-tested Age Pension, retaining compulsory savings for retirement at 9% and allowing (!) voluntary savings for retirement. It however recommends increasing the age of eligibility for the ‘Age Pension’ pension to 67 years and moving the age of eligibility for superannuation (the ‘preservation […]

Budget 2009 – response by Turnbull

Malcolm Turnbull’s budget response was very political. The main practical point was to emphasise retaining the health insurance subsidy and substitute a 3 cent extra tax per cigarette to raise the same income. This is probably sensible in my view but small potatoes. Otherwise the attack was primarily on the size of the $57 billion […]

Budget 2009

This Budget is based on forecasts that unemployment would have grown considerably without future strong fiscal stimuli but that the economy will, in fact, turn around rapidly in 2011 and then grow at 4.5%. The debt that does stem from the Budget is significant but not overwhelming and probably unavoidable if one accepts the budget […]

Grange 1983

I enjoyed a small family-based ‘Mother’s Day’ celebration this year at the Golden Dragon Palace in Lower Templestowe, Melbourne. The highlight for me, in terms of wine consumed, was a monumental 1983 Grange Hermitage. Along with the 1955, the 1962, the 1971 and the 1990 this is one of the great Granges […]

More on Plimer

I have read Ian Plimer’s, Heaven and Earth and cannot recommend it on any basis. It is a rant – not a piece of scientific writing. According to Plimer almost all climate science is wrong and compiled by greenie environmentalists at the IPCC seeking research funds. The media according to Plimer have collaborated in this […]

Stupid government getting away with it

So Rudd will now deny those he sees as wealthy a subsidy on their private health insurance but will honour his income tax cut proposals for these same people. Both moves are foolish but he will get away with them both because of populist confusions.


Credibility & climate change policy

An important effect of the recent Rudd backtrack on climate change policy is that it has reduced the credibility of government climate change policy. As Laura Tinkle remarks today ‘One thing that is certain is that the changes this week have not helped rebuild any solid and noisy base of support for the government’s emissions […]

Rudd on climate change

Kevin Rudd has further delayed the start of the emissions trading scheme to 2011 (after the next election), reduced the initial price of carbon to be charged from $20 per tonne to $10 per tonne (that is now about equivalent to a massive 2.4 cent per litre charge on unleaded petrol) and increased assistance to […]