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Victorian taxi reforms

I have often discussed the taxi industry on this blog and have not disguised my links with the Victorian Taxi Association, the VTA. My general attitude is that I think the industry does need to be reformed and that most of the proposals in the Fels review were sound – the proposal to cut the […]


I am currently based at a university in south central China and fairly absorbed in events going on around me. Posting will be slow for a while. The last few days I spent in the area around Zhangjiajae National Forest Park which is around 500 kms west of the city I am residing in, Changsha. […]

Cattle in national parks

Should government allow 25,000 cattle to starve or does it allow them to graze (until the next wet season) in protected nature reserves where they will certainly damage the natural environment? If this is an accurate way of posing the issues – I am unsure that the choices are as stark as this* – there […]

Tobacco in Australia

An excellent source of information on “Tobacco in Australia” is the website, with that title, that I have added to my blogroll under the heading “Science”. DP points out to me that one chapter deals with the “plain packaging” legislation – including a reference to a paper written by DP and myself. Worth a look […]

All the news that’s fit to print

Business groups oppose increased company taxes. Disabled citizens support the national disability scheme. Big miners oppose increased mining taxes. Unemployed demand an increase in work start benefits. Universities oppose cuts in university funding.Labor savages Coalition policies. Coalition targets Labor policies. Families oppose reduced childcare benefits. Schools support Gonski reforms. Graziers support grazing in native forests. […]

Reality check on the budget

The Commonwealth Budget to be presented tonight has been subject to more hysterical overreaction than any I can remember. The forecast deficit of $12b – $18b is around 1% of Australia’s GDP, Australian economic growth is forecast by the IMF to be around 3% in 2013 a slight slowdown from the previous year but forecast […]

Bob the Hunter: I want to kill, kill, kill,…….

A group of barbarian hunters went on a rampage over the last few days and wiped out close to 1000 birds in a Victorian wetland. They didn’t hunt for a feed but to gain pleasure from killing. 600 ducks killed were left where they were shot. The killers also shot raptors, black swans and other […]

Equity prices in Australia

Australian equity prices surged earlier this year, took a breather, then have recently surged again.

Greg Mankiw links to a (very comprehensive) survey suggesting US equity prices are cheap.

If that is so these RBA graphs suggest Australian equities remain cheap:

since 1995 Aussie share prices have increased slower than the S&P but generally followed […]

Plain packaging – take a look

One of the ludicrous complaints about the so called “plain packaging” rules on cigarettes it that they make it harder to select a sought-after brand in a shop. That can only be true if the shop-assistant is illiterate. The brand and brand variety is indicated clearly on the front as well as top and base […]

Why Keynes angers conservatives

Conservatives have long linked Keynes’ economic theories to his claimed homosexuality. But Keynes was was one these reasonable people who didn’t like to see people suffer unnecessarily.

Keynes endorsed love. Quote:

“John Maynard Keynes was the sexiest economist who ever lived. This might seem like half-hearted praise since in our mind’s eye the typical economist […]

End the live export trade

The images coming out of Egypt of Australian cattle being tortured by some* dehumanised cretins demand that the live export of animals for food to that country end. Why is it Animals Australia that always uncovers these hideous outcomes? Why not the official inspection agencies? How can anyone have confidence in Minister Ludwig’s claim that […]

Gambling on horse races – for the mugs

I’ll only be mildly interested in Racing NSW’s inquiry into the Waterhouse clan – Singleton spat. Racing isn’t the sport of kings. Its a business that seeks to fleece the pockets of working people who should know better. Apart from the profit margin that accrues to the bookies there are information rents that accrue to […]

Drought aid fiasco

Australia has recently experienced what is possibly the worst drought in its history – the so-called Millennium Drought from 1997-2009. This ended with record rainfall around the country but now, apparently, drought is occurring again across large parts of the country – primarily in the south of the country. The Gillard government has stepped in […]


What animals should be assigned moral status? Some (like Peter Singer) draw the lines at crustaceans and shrimp? What about octopuses (octopi?) These creatures have remarkable intelligences including the ability to change their colour to suit their environment. They also have remarkable straightforward reasoning power in anthropocentric terms.

I liked this piece in the NY […]