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Athens visit

I have made my first ever visit to Greece by attending an economics conference in Athens over the past 5 days. It’s been a whirlwind visit but my impressions thus far have been, in the main, pleasant. Like every first-time tourist visitor to Greece I made an immediate B-line to the Acropolis the first morning. […]

Henry Ergas on Ken Henry on the RSPT

This piece in The Australian today is unfortunately behind a pay wall. If you insert the title of Henry Ergas’s piece in a Google search you will get the whole article. Henry Ergas is a professional economist who has some very sensible things to say on other issues but who evidently he doesn’t understand the […]

Congestion pricing again (& again, again,….)

Its back in the news with Ken Henry endorsing it at an ANU meeting yesterday and NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell predictably opposing it on the grounds that public transport is not adequate to cope with induced increases in demand rather than the more truthful grounds that he is a lazy hypocrite whose conservatism basically involves […]

Bank fees on foreign exchange purchases

The Commonwealth Bank sell a Travel Card as a “low fee” way of managing your overseas purchases. They charge $15 for the card, $3-50 per cash withdrawal and the difference between the official exchange rate for Euros today of $1Aust=0.834446Euro and the rate offered by the CBA ($1Aust = 0.7890Euro) is 5.76%. Suppose I took […]


I have been a recreational birdwatcher for 20 years although these days I am a bit too lazy to be considered a serious participant. I keep my eyes open but try to avoid the excesses. Nevertheless I have an admiration for those who have devoted their lives to this hobby. People like Mike Carter and […]

University of Queensland, St Lucia

I am visiting UQ and attending the 2012 World Conference on Natural Resource Modeling to present a paper on desalination technology choices. UQ is a top international university in academic terms but I also want to say it is one of the most beautiful campuses I have seen anywhere. A tropical feel about its native […]

Promoting reasonably good inefficient climate policy

It now seems certain that when Tony Abbott is elected Prime Minister of Australia next year that we will not have a carbon tax. The forces of darkness and stupidity have won with their lies and misrepresentations on climate change. At best we will have an inefficient “direct action plan” than puts massively increased costs […]

Scientology & Catholicism

I am definitely no fan of Scientology but the ruckus this week over the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes separation on the alleged role of Scientology in the upbringing of their daughter strikes me as pure hypocrisy. BTW I am unsure this is in fact the basis for the separation but it is the issue being focused […]

Taxi licences

I gave a talk to (in the main) taxi licence holders at the Dallas Brookes Hall this afternoon. It drew on my recent blog post – indeed I was introduced as the author of then post. It was a tricky situation for me as I do support reform of the taxi industry but I am […]


My visit to the National Gallery of Victoria’s Napoleon: Revolution to Empire exhibition was enjoyable. Spectacular artwork – often propagandist* – beautiful women, heroic fighters, jewellery, French clocks, furniture, clothing – a great experience. It provides an artistic account of life in post-revolutionary France. The excesses in the early Republic gave Napoleon the basis for […]

Pessimistic views on possibilities for US economic recovery

In Melbourne last night Nobel Laureate Dale Mortensen gave a talk “After the Great Recession: Recovery or Stagnation”. After discussing his flow model of unemployment which essentially links levels of employment to numbers of job offers he moved to more familiar grounds. Mortensen argued that job mismatches (unemployed construction workers trying to get jobs in […]

Secondary tobacco smoke on university campuses

Walking across the LaTrobe University campus is a health hazard – particularly in the central Agora area* – because smokers inflict damaging consequences of their nicotine addiction habit on non-smokers by breathing cigarette smoke over them. It is not being prissy or faking an excessive concern – the US Surgeon General showed that no level […]