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Road transport issues in urban Australia

I’ll talk on local road transport issues tonight in Heidelberg, Melbourne to the Friends of Banyule. It is a public meeting so anyone is welcome. Details at the link.

Notes for the talk are given over the fold.


Electoral slaughter in Queensland

The devastating defeat of the Labor Government in Queensland means that Federal Labor cannot win its forthcoming election. The Labor Party is in desperate straits having lost government in NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and now Queensland. But the scale of the Queensland massacre is unprecedented with nearly a 16% swing against Labor – about one […]

Bush waits

Cheney gets an invasive heart transplant while George Bush waits for a new brain.


Deloitte’s views on “plain packaging”

Deloitte were employed by the “big 3” in Australian legal carcinogen sales (Phillip Morris, BAT, Imperial Tobacco) to work out the transaction costs imposed on retailers and customers by the recently-passed “plain packaging” legislation for cigarettes. Their report suggests total annual costs of $460 million or $34,000 per retailer. This covers the costs of vendors […]

Margaret Whitlam RIP 1919 – 2012

An iconic Australia now departed. She had a fascinating life. A most likeable and interesting, down-to-earth person.

Eliminating the parking problem by pricing

They can do it in San Francisco. Why not here? A fascinating neglected urban problem that can (as I have stressed before) be easily solved.

George Mason “University”

John Mashey points me to this sordid tale at GMU. Some US universities, it seems, have become involved in the program of deceit fostered by climate denialists; the Koch brothers and their allies; the tobacco companies; thinktanks like Heartland, CEI, CATO, etc. They must teach courses in anti-science.


Financial heroes at Goldman Sachs

Sociopaths who act only to enrich themselves at the expense of their clients? Surely not. Who could believe a disgruntled former employee?

This is particularly so given Goldman Sach’s enviable track record. A reputation they are continuing to enrich, if you can excuse a dreadful pun.

This is the Borowitz report that provides a […]

Some informed climate science

The CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology’s State of the Climate 2012 provides a sober reminder of realities.


“…..the long-term warming trend has not changed, with each decade having been warmer than the previous decade since the 1950s. The warming trends observed around Australia are consistent with global-scale warming that has been measured during […]

The axe, squash court & a brief history of nuclear power

A great read from The Economist.



Yep, I ordered one for reasons set out here. My IPad1 is probably the best gadget I have ever owned. I use it to track my day’s appointments, buy stock on the ASX and, of course, to track email and browse the web. I skipped IPad2 because I don’t want to be identified […]

Defending the MRRT

This fact sheet on the new Mineral Resources Rent Tax is worth reading if only because disinformation campaigns are currently being launched by right wing ideologues such as Alan Moran.

Moran dismisses the notion of a tax that does not have disincentive effects. But most first-year economics students know of two such taxes – lump-sum […]

Carcinogen producers gain some developing country allies

My general attitude to the plain packaging legislation is that it can do no harm if your interest is in curtailing cigarette consumption. It might not be very effective but it might be somewhat effective. So I support the legislation. The carcinogen producers do not, of course, support it which makes me suspicious that it […]

Oil price increases to collapse the US economy?

I am intrigued by the WSJ’s concern that rising oil prices will destroy the US economy. Goodness gracious oil prices there are approaching $3-74 US per gallon. That’s about 98.8 US cents per litre or 40 per cent less than Australian prices. Of course these prices are, in turn, a dimension less than European prices. […]

Is the Australian carbon policy fair to emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries?

The answer that Robert Waschik and I give in this paper (using the GTAP data set and a computable general equilibrium model) is generally “yes” although there will be significant costs to the non-ferrous metals (primarily aluminium) sector without border tax protection or free carbon quotas of the type that are already given under the […]

Rejecting microeconomic reforms – views from the right

My political preferences lie on the right side of politics but I find myself increasingly repelled by what I see the right doing – the Australian political movement is paralleling the total madness of the US Republican right. Like most economists I favour a pervasive role for markets in the economy because these often better […]