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David Jones directors make astute share purchases

David Jones needs to be explicit on what two of its directors knew about a merger offer from Myer that was made to the board of DJs the day before these two directors bought shares in DJs and before DJ’s had decided to reject the merger offer. DJs also announced an improved profitability outlook a […]

Awful beaches, good swimming pools

I have sympathies for Mark Lawson’s preference (in AFR but unfortunately paywalled) for hotel swimming pools over hot, sandy Australian beaches where the sand burns your feet, there is no shade (apart from wind-vulnerable beach umbrellas) and where cold (genuine) gin and tonics are hard to come by – unless you are prepared to accept […]

Muzzling the ABC

The Coalition-Newscorp campaign to muzzle the ABC seems to be gathering force with proposals to cut the ABC’s Asian news services. As a means of promoting Australia in Asia I think this news service is very good and not expensive – far better than the BBC. The premise that pursuing “soft diplomacy” by means of […]

Getting towards a sound asylum seeker policy

The major election concern at the last Federal election, after the economy, was the asylum seeker issue. It was the main reason Labor lost the election. The nonsensical view, propounded by social romantics who treat Australia as common property owned by the international community, was that relaxing the constraints on illegal entry that John Howard […]

Indonesian preciousness

Indonesia claims that once asylum seekers leave its territorial waters they become the business of other governments so that attempts to turn them back are inappropriate. This seems to be an attempt to thwart, or manipulate, attempts to resolve the asylum seeker/economic refugee/queue jumper problem. These illegal immigrants do not seek to reside in Indonesia […]

Housing prices & migration

House prices in Australia are expensive because we live in a highly urbanised society that is subject to high rates of immigration. In the year to 30 June population grew by 407,000 of which 244,000 was net migration and 162,000 natural population increase. Deaths over this period were 147,000. Without the migration the supply of […]

Privatising Australia Post

The cry has gone up from the BCA to privatize Australia Post. Its a weak argument from a posturing bunch of low-intellect phonies who are promoting self-interest, neo-con ideology and third-rate economics.

Australia Post is a natural monopoly. Its mail sorting and handling operations as well as its delivery and transport operations are characterised by […]

Pricing heavy vehicle use

I’ll give a plus to Tony Abbott if he seriously pursues the suggestion of charging heavy trucks for the damage they do to roads by using GPS technology that measures the mass of the truck, the distance it travels and the roads it travels on. There are transaction cost issues here but this “telematic” technology […]

Recreational maths

I have been getting into the puzzles section at the tail end of The Guardian newspaper which I get each week. Last week it asked you to prove that there are infinitely many different pairs of numbers (a,b) for which a+b=ab.

This is easy to prove but I admit I had to work at it […]

Holocaust memorabilia

German concentration camps at the end of WW2. I found this video valuable. It would be wrong to ever forget or to forgive. The incidence of disease and starvation and the revelation of its impacts on those German people who must have known what was happening – for the most part a guilty silence – […]

Warming & telling lies

2013 was the hottest year since records across Australia were begun. 9 of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past 12 years. That is what the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) states.

Of course it could be that Australia’s BOM are cooking the books to exaggerate the extent of warming. They could […]

Negative gearing

The old chestnut of negative gearing is being raised yet again. There is nothing at all wrong with allowing asset owners to claim interest payments as a tax deduction if capital gains are fully taxed. Similarly there is nothing wrong with exempting the family home from capital gains taxes if, as is the case, interest […]

Too much finance

I like this piece by Robert Shiller on the excessive allocation of resources to finance. About 7.4% of all US output goes here and between 25-50% of graduates from top business schools pursue finance careers – much of it pure rent-seeking activity that adds nothing net to national output. The same trends are evident in […]