- Tony Abbott’s announcement that Australia will send more troops to Iraq was made in front of no fewer than eight flags, bringing the flag-count-in-announcement index to an all-time high.
That was actually back in March.
- The Federal Government and Labor have struck a deal that will increase tax on petrol twice every year, with the next hike coming in August.
Last year Labor refused to support the tax, saying that it was a broken election promise. Nevertheless, the Government introduced the tax by regulation in October. If the regulation is not confirmed by legislation within 12 months it lapses and the funds are returned to the oil companies.
Cynics say Labor wanted to gazump The Greens who may have come to the party under Richard Di Natale.
The tax will raise about $23 billion over the next decade, and will be spent on roads.
- Australia Post has announced major job cuts as the decline in its traditional letter delivery service continues to accelerate.
The ABC understands 1,900 voluntary redundancies will be offered over the next three years from metropolitan centres.
Australia Post has confirmed losses in its mail delivery business are approaching $500 million this financial year.
With the volume of ordinary mail expected to plunge by more than 10 per cent, Australia Post has warned it will report its first company-wide financial loss in more than 30 years.
Managing Director Ahmed Fahour:
- “We have reached the tipping point that we have been warning about where, without reform, the business becomes unsustainable.”
The problem, of course, is that Australia Post is considered a business rather than a service. For the moment five day deliveries will continue.
4. Bill Shorten declared politically dead
As the two weeks known a ‘the killing season’ on the political calendar come to a close, Lenore Taylor examines how the poll frontrunner became the hollow man.
Follow the link if you want to be depressed!
- Welfare groups are demanding that authorities strengthen Australia’s social safety net in order to prevent widening inequality from becoming the new norm.
A report to be released by the Australian Council of Social Service on Monday found that Australia’s level of income inequality is above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average.
But the good news is that Australia is doing much better than the United States and the United Kingdom because of the minimum wage and tax systems.
“While inequality is not extreme in Australia by international comparison, we are trending in the wrong direction,” ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie said.
Australians in the top 20 per cent of income earners had a staggering 70 times as much wealth as those in the bottom 20 per cent, the report says.
The Queensland Firebirds won the trans-Tasman netball championship last Sunday after defeating the Sydney Swifts in one of the most amazing finishes ever.
The Swifts established an early lead, led the whole match and two minutes from home had everything under control with a 56-52 lead. Three quick goals to the Firebirds and suddenly with 51 seconds to go the lead was 56-55. With a mere 14 seconds on the clock Gretel Tippett’s shot rimmed and went through. The Firebirds were ahead for the first time in the match.
The Swifts tried a quick move from the centre pass, but fell prey to a Firebirds intercept. The match was over!
Elsewhere, the Matildas, having drawn with the 5th ranked Swedes and beaten Brazil, ranked 7th, now take on the 4th ranked Japanese.
Time women’s team sports were better paid and received better media coverage.
7. Fixit or Grexit
Only a couple of days to go and the Greeek financial crisis has still not been fixed. Alan Kohler reckons it will be fixed – the Germans need the Greeks on the inside. Otherwise the euro would shyrocket and make German industry uncompetitive.
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.