1. Hockey in a tangle over tampons
On Q&A Hockey was asked by a young woman why pads and tampons should carry a GST while “condoms, lubricants, sunscreen and nicotine patches are all tax-free”. Of course economic orthodoxy says they should all be taxed, but Hockey agreed with her and has undertaken to put the matter to the states.
Within hours he was slapped down by the Minister Representing Women, Tony Abbott.
Differences then emerged between the two over superannuation tax policy. Abbott says never ever, Hockey says retirement incomes policy is on the agenda.
Hockey has opened himself to ridicule. Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer at Crikey reckon Hockey is becoming a bit of a weather vane and colleagues are wondering whether he’s really up to the job. GDP numbers come out on Wednesday. A flat or negative number could cost him his job. They reckon that changing the GST on tampons might be all that comes out of a white paper on tax.
2. Ireland votes for gay marriage
The Washington Post says Ireland voted and everyone won as Ireland became the first country to vote for gay marriage.
The Vatican says the Ireland gay marriage vote is a ‘defeat for humanity’.
The Irish vote has renewed discussion of the question in Australia, and now with Labor’s proposed legislation we have at least three bills floating around the parliament.
Abbott sensibly says that the issue should be owned by the whole parliament rather than one party. The expectation now, as Phil Coorey told Patricia Karvelas, is that a cross-party bill would be brought into the parliament in August.
Abbott’s gay sister Christine Forster says same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia by the end of the year and that Abbott now accepts the inevitability of this. Coorey reckons it will pass the Reps but could be close in the Senate.
3. Indigenous groups oppose Carmichael mine
Some time ago traditional owners refused to grant a Land Use Agreement for the giant Carmichael mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Whether this refusal is just a legal road bump remains to be seen. Now they are urging international lenders not to fund the project.
Quiggin has more on the financing of the project.
4. Great Barrier Reef not to be placed on the World Heritage “in danger” list
Meanwhile UNESCO has recommended the Great Barrier Reef not be placed on the World Heritage “in danger” list.
- It is a significant reprieve for the Queensland and Federal governments, with an adverse listing being potentially disastrous for the tourism industry.
Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg says the real work starts now if Australia is to vindicate the decision.
The Dalai Lama has called on his fellow Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, to do more to help persecuted Rohingya Muslims in her country, Myanmar.
Her response so far?
She’s a politician now.
- since her release from house arrest in 2010, Suu Kyi’s role has been recast from a defiant human rights defender to a hard-nosed political actor preparing to lead her opposition party into elections later this year.
6. Fatal attraction, or sex until you drop
Researchers are concerned about the future of two new species which engage in suicidal sex, for the males. They live only about 11 months.
- QUT mammalogist Dr Andrew Baker said for a few weeks a year, the testosterone-fuelled male antechinus competed ferociously with one another to have sex with as many females as possible, in marathon sessions lasting up to 14 hours at a time.
Dr Baker likened the antechinus’ behaviour to that exhibited by characters on US television show Game of Thrones.
“It’s just this absolutely primal urge,” he said.
“There’s orgies of violence and sex and, in antechinus, it happens every year.”
After a few weeks of copulation, the rise in stress hormones causes the male’s immune system to collapse, with the result far from a happy ending.
“They’ll bleed internally, they have ulcers, their fur falls off in patches, sometimes they’re stumbling around blind and still trying to mate,” Dr Baker said.
Sounds horrible, not fun at all!
Introduction to Saturday salon
Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.
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.