Saturday salon 14/3


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. Away next week

This week the Simpson Desert crossing fellowship is meeting for a reunion at Glen Alpin near Stanthorpe, where two of the couples live, I gather in idyllic circumstances.

A splendid time is assured, but it will take three days out of my blogging life. I promise I’ll think of you all!

2. Queensland Alzheimer’s breakthrough

Queensland scientists have discovered a new treatment that could help restore the memory of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

The process uses ultrasound technology to help clear a plaque that builds up in the brain of Alzheimer’s sufferers.

They’ve successfully trialled the plaque-removal technology on mice. Human trials are about two years away.

About 250,000 Australians suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

3. Gender pay gap hits a two-decade high

The gender pay-gap is getting worse, not better, with new figures out yesterday showing the wage disparity between men and women has blown out to a two-decade high of 18.8 per cent.

The figures show that full time workers, when averaged across all industries, will earn $298 less per week if they happen to be a woman.

At the same time that lovely man, Employment Minister Eric Abetz, watered down business gender reporting requirements.

4. Abbott at it again

Every week we have at least one backflip, broken promise or gaffe. This week there were several but the prize goes to Abbott’s description of living in remote communities as a “lifestyle choice”, slammed by his own key indigenous advisers as “hopeless”, “disrespectful” and simplistic.

People are starting to make lists. The SMH reminds us of 10.

The AFR cartoonist David Rowe showed Abbott with foot firmly planted in mouth while advisers bemoan that “it’s a lifestyle choice.”


Guy Rundle says Tony Abbott genuinely believes non-Christian societies are inferior.

Now I’d like to bring to your attention a poem by Graeme Henchel Why is Abbott a Dead Man Walking? It begins:

Was it justice, was it Karma?
Was it Murdoch, was it Palmer?
Was it lying and conceit?
Was it backbenchers fear of defeat?
Was it Mathias and Joe’s cigars?
Was it because we’ve stopped making cars?
Was it climate change denial?
Was it putting Julia on trial?
Was it the daughter’s scholarship prize?
Was it debt and deficit lies?

It goes on and on, ending with:

Was it the hubris and the swagger?
Was it Malcolm and Julie’s dagger?
Why will Abbott get the shove?
The answer is, ALL OF THE ABOVE.

5. Puzzling polls

Adrian Beaumont at The Conversation peers into the tea leaves, trying to make sense of the polls. Amongst the confusion is a cross-over between Morgan and Newspoll:

image-20150311-20517-eryfu1_march 11_600

Newspoll is said to be the one pollies watch. I reckon that if 8 days earlier we’d had Newspoll on 45-55, deteriorating from 47-53, instead of Fairfax-Ipsos on 49-51, we’d now have a new prime minister.

6. Fairfax axes rural staff

Some 80 positions are being cut from Fairfax media staff in regional Victoria. Reporters will file, sub-edit and edit their own work, plus do their own photography.

Fairfax said it was “building a modern, stronger rural and regional network”.

Let’s face it – Fairfax owns a large slice of the rural press in Australia, and it’s being gutted.

23 thoughts on “Saturday salon 14/3”

  1. Any news on the number of Senior Public Servants that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has sacked or threatened to sack this week?

    The ABC’s got nothin, they only seem interested when the LNP do it.

  2. How many times did you beat your wife this week, Jumpy? Are we talking the same language here?

  3. BilB

    How many times did you beat your wife this week, Jumpy? Are we talking the same language here?

    Zero and it seems not.
    You do appear to have the first and second ALP wise monkeys covered, the third may be out of reach, for you, at this time, however.

  4. Jumpy, do you still depend on that collective of tired old Marxists for your information? I trust only completely unbiased sources like the Courier Mail; I’m surprised you don’t.

  5. zoot

    I trust only completely unbiased sources like the Courier Mail

    And what are they saying of ” The Palaszczuk Purge ” ?

  6. What Abbott did in his “lifestyle” comment simply makes it harder to talk about a serious issue that I find personally difficult because I have two potentially opinions.
    On one hand I want to say something like “Aborigines be in a position, both collectively and individually, where they are able to decide to what extent they want to become involved with the broader Australian community.”
    The problem here is that it takes a lot of western education to be in a position where they can live a good life in our society. The time required to get this education may make it very difficult to get the learning to live something like the traditional life.
    On the other hand, I understand how foreign traditional Aboriginal culture is, and, in particular, how their priorities can be so very different. Part of me wants to say their priorities should be respected even if the result is that Aboriginal children don’t get the education required to give them the freedom to decide that they want to live most of their life in the broader community.

  7. Peter Hartcher in the SMH says Abbott can be the unifying leader when he wants to be, but his assaults on minority groups are scripted and intentional. They are designed to appeal to the right wing base in his party room.

    Upon which it seems four Corners is going to dwell on Monday night on the box.

  8. Jumpy, you appear to be asserting that there has been a ”Palaszczuk Purge”. Do you have any evidence of that? We know that public service heads will have to reapply for their jobs, but there is nothing remarkable about that.

  9. BTW a couple of weeks ago perhaps I deleted a phrase Jumpy used in reference to BilB. It is possible neither of you noticed.

    At this point I would ask that we keep the dialogue respectful in tone.

  10. Brian @9 and 10

    Just Maynard and Grayson, before reapplication, at this stage.
    But eh, she’s only just getting started after the unexpected and unplanned for win.
    My disappointment is not so much what the ABC publishes, but rather what they don’t.
    DanDo sacked plenty and it was extensively covered, Anna ( mk II ) hears crickets.

    On the tone thing, your correct, I took the bait HL&S, I apologise.

    On the Inter Gen Report comparison query I posed the other week I found a brief one here

  11. I didn’t find Abbott eating a raw onion that extraordinary. It was eating the onion with the skin still on it that was worrying.
    Its a bit of a worry to think Abbott might be really losing it. And the onion is only the last of many occasions.

  12. PB, yes, that was weird, really weird.

    Jumpy @ 11, nothing to write home about on the ”Palaszczuk Purge” front then. Actually I think we get pretty good coverage of political matters on ABC “Mornings” on local radio, if you can put up with all the conservative oldies ringing in and sounding off.

    Thanks for the IGR comparison link. I’ll put it as an update at the end of the post. I find the demographics quite unscary!

  13. I find the demographics quite unscary!

    Particularly the life expectancy gender gap ( little biased, I have 3 sons )

    On the gender pay gap thing, can someone link me to an employment agency the can provide 3 females of equal output as my maleTradesmen please.
    Being a capitalist pig ( all bossed right? ) I’d love to swap and have another Grand a week to throw on the pile.

    How has this cheap labour escaped my ( and other exploiters ) attention all this time ?

  14. Jumpy: My experience is that women doing jobs that were traditionally done by men do a good job because they only move into these areas because they really want to do the job.
    What sort of work do your tradies do?

  15. John

    What sort of work do your tradies do?

    At the moment ( thing here are at the bottom of the tide, so to speak, activity wise ) Painting, Tiling, Plastering and Carpentry/Joinery.
    I have 3 of those.
    I’m considering adding post-nominals to my moniker 🙂

    I have met exactly 7 females in those trades and exactly 1 of them would cut the mustard, on the tools, in our team. Alas, she chose the noble Trade of Motherhood at that time.

    And a brilliant Mother she was too. There should be post-nominals for “Outstanding Results in the field of Child Rearing ” also.

  16. I had an unusual burst of posting tonight, putting out stuff I’ve been working on over the last few days.

    I’ve been largely house-bound because last Friday I had two titanium implants removed together with restorative dental surgery. The result was a fat upper lip and half my face swollen.

    Not nice, but a few days rest were mandated. I’ll be out of town now until Thursday.

  17. My daughter topped welding at school (and was pleased about it.). My rugby playing son topped sewing. (To his dismay.)
    Just goes to show that it is not all about gender.

    When you say:

    I have met exactly 7 females in those trades and exactly 1 of them would cut the mustard

    I thought that this might have been telling me more about you that how good trades women are.

  18. John

    When you say:
    I have met exactly 7 females in those TRADES and exactly 1 of them would cut the mustard
    I thought that this might have been telling me more about you that how good TRADES women are.

    And that would be ??

    On tools work in my industry is physically demanding.
    If your suggesting men don’t have a natural physical advantage over women then make that case if you dare. Good luck.

    I’m not suggesting women don’t have a natural advantage over men a few areas but none of those require physical strength.

  19. Jumpy: The OHS laws limit the weight that workers are allowed to lift. Lots of women are able to handle these weights without too much trouble.

  20. John

    Jumpy: The OHS laws limit the weight that workers are allowed to lift

    Not any more. Unions found it a loophole employers could use to defend themselves against dodgy compo claims, and we can’t have that.

  21. Jumpy: It is a long time since I was responsible for workplace safety. I assumed the weight limit laws would have stayed despite the practical problems of knowing how heavy something is before being lifted.

  22. John

    All good.
    In a fast changing world it’s easy to become out of touch in some areas.
    Hard to know what our controllers will come up with next.

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