Saturday salon 30/4

1. Cardinal Pell’s credibility is on the line

Cardinal Pell claimed to the royal commission that he wasn’t told about misbehaving priests. Now a number of former officers of the Melbourne Catholic Education Office have given evidence that Pell was in fact told about the somewhat unhinged priest Father Searson.

As David Marr relates:

    To recap: when Pell came to Melbourne as an auxiliary bishop in 1987 there was an erratic and violent priest called Peter Searson terrifying children at the parish school in Doveton.

    He hit them. They fled screaming from the presbytery. He packed a gun. He hung round the boys’ toilet. He sat little girls on his lap during confession. He took gruesome delight in showing kids a corpse in a coffin. He stole parish funds.

Marr says Pell:

    did nothing effective about this vicious priest despite receiving a delegation of teachers complaining about him in 1989 and another of parents in 1991.

In the end the royal commission will have to decide whether Pell’s testimony can be believed.

2. The Government’s asylum seeker policy is broken

The PNG Supreme Court has ruled the Manus Island detention centre illegal and has ordered its immediate closure. It infringes the human rights of the interns, which are secured by a human rights bill in the constitution. Their rights cannot be legislated away.

Malcolm Turnbull says the asylum seekers can’t come to Australia. Peter Dutton says it’s PNG’s problem, they say it’s ours.

Meanwhile the Australian government faces liability of more than $1 billion in compensation claims from from people illegally detained at the Manus Island detention centre.

Labor’s policy is different in that they plan to set up a regional processing centre. That, however, would require the cooperation of countries in the region, who tend to think it’s our problem.

3. Arthur Sinodinos in contempt of the Senate

When parliament was recalled, pollies not in the LNP thought is was a stunt.

Because they didn’t have anything else to do the senators started a couple of inquiries, including one into the Liberal Party’s fundraising stunt, the Free Enterprise Foundation and similar federal fundraising bodies.

The LNP thought this was a stunt, so when Senator Sinodinos was called to give witness by Senate order, he tried to set up a stunt of his own by visiting the primary school he attended, to lecture Year 6 kids on democratic procedures, or something, with the media in tow. But he didn’t go through the correct protocol, so the Liberal NSW Government refused him.

He still refused to show up to the senate committee, as did former Liberal fundraiser Paul Nicolaou, former NSW party director Mark Neeham, former federal director Brian Loughnane and NSW finance director Simon McInnes.

Kristina Keneally has written a devastating open letter to Sinodinos.

The Senate committee resolved to report Sinodinos to the Senate, which, I understand, has the power to put him in jail. That would be fun, but they probably won’t.

4. Submarines built in Adelaide to save Christopher Pyne’s job?

The French have won the $50 billion contract, which is said to provide 2800 jobs. That’s nearly $18 million per job. I think $500 million each year was what the kept the car industry afloat.

Terry Barnes reckons the real aim was to save politicians’ jobs.

I understand that the subs are to be delivered between 2030 and 2060, and the real reason you need 12 is that the first will be worn out when the last is delivered. Actually the first could be obsolete by 2030.

Barnes says the Navy struggles to keep half its current fleet of six in the water. People just don’t want to go there, so the Navy is offering inducements of up to $50,000 per annum.

Christopher Pyne said it was an exciting time to be a South Australian.

5. Dentists slam the Turnbull government’s new dental scheme

The Government has announced a new, you beaut dental scheme so that everyone can afford to get their teeth fixed. Happens though that the $425 million per annum scheme replaces the Labor $615 million scheme, so there’s a cut of nearly $200 million.

The Government says that only $312 million was spent because of low take-up rates.

The Labor scheme worked by vouchers to get the work done privately. In the new scheme people will have to join the queues of state services, which are from nine months to three years, and bad luck if you live in rural and remote areas.

At least we had a visiting dentist all those years ago in our one teacher school with his pedal-powered drill!

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.

119 thoughts on “Saturday salon 30/4”

  1. In addition to the topics above – which, no doubt, we will all chew over – came the news that Garrison Keilor, host of American Public Radio’s long-running “Prairie Home Companion”, plans to retire. Tried to find a link for you on the BBC’s site for “News Hour” but without success.

  2. Also another thing I’m sure everyone has noticed is the total lack of US Republicans disrupting Clinton or Sanders campaigns, yet almost every Trump event features unlawful and violent Democrats.

    Without knowing very much about US politics, I think the behaviour of the supporters is telling.

  3. …almost every Trump event features unlawful and violent Democrats.

    I admit I’ve not been taking notice, but how do you know they’re all Democrats? Is somebody checking their voter registration?

  4. Intrigued by Comrade Jumpy’s ability to discern people’s political affiliation without even seeing them I went looking, and found this first hand account of the demonstration which blocked Trump’s entrance to the Californian republican Convention.
    Among the groups who organised the protest were

    …Anti Police Terror Project, Black Lives Matter Bay Area, Black Youth Project 100, and BlackOUT Collective.
    Other groups there in solidarity were Asians for Black Lives, Queers for Black Lives, BASAT (Bay Area Solidarity Action Team), Diablo Rising Tide (a group I volunteer with), and Greenpeace.


    Many Latino protestors at the event led chants in Spanish and wore or waved Mexican flags, and overall there was a clear feeling of community support against racist rhetoric. And there was a lot of love, laughter, and dancing — yes love Trumps hate!


    Trump supporters were in attendance, however, and some tried to rile up the crowd, goading people on. Luckily, there wasn’t much violence, primarily some throwing of eggs and some quickly-dispersed tension.

    No Democratic Party violence at all. 🙂

  5. Jumpy: When the recent Republican house speaker John Boehner called Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the Flesh” and said about Cruz “I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch” who needs the Democrats to attack the Republicans?

  6. Here’s Labor’s policy on asylum seekers.

    Please note that the UNHCR is front and centre, it raises the humanitarian intake by roughly double, to 27,000 and will take refugees from our region. It is substantially different and more humane than the LNP’s policy.

  7. The Turnbull government is set to run national security adds during the election costing the taxpayer $8 million.

    And that’s not all:

    The campaign is the latest in a string of ads launched by the Abbott and Turnbull governments with a total price tag of about $100 million.

    The government is spending $28 million to sell its innovation agenda and launched an anti-domestic violence campaign in mid-April. It is also reportedly planning an advertising campaign to promote its budget savings plans in coming weeks.

    Yes, Labor has done similar in the past, but that doesn’t make it right.

  8. Look forward to seeing the film, “A Prairie Home Companion” (not sure how yet). Thanks a lot for the link, Brian.

    Cardinal pell’s troubles may yet have a beneficial effect: genuine soul-searching, real change and renewal within the Catholic Church. A lot of what has happened and has been allowed to happen failed the test of “What would Jesus have done?” and failed miserably, so much so that some devout Catholics are in a moral quandary – it is definitely not fair to them at all; yet nothing is said about the congregations of good people who have been hurt by the evil-doers and those who covered up the evil-doers’ crimes and sins.

    One worry in all of this is the likelihood of sheer, ruthless greed driving part of the outrage against clerical abuse of children. Whether by accident or by demographic changes, all of the Christian churches in Australia are sitting on exceedingly valuable real estate; real estate that would be snapped up if ever the owners were forced to put it onto the market.

    It beggars belief that the parents of some abused children had not “gone to the papers”. Defamation laws aside, the news media probably has a lot of explaining or excuse-making to do.

  9. Graham, it looks inevitable the the royal commission will make a negative finding against Pell, but in any case the searchlight shone will ensure cultural changes in the Catholic church and other institutions.

    I’d be looking for something similar from a RC on banks and financial institutions.

    Good point about the value of church real estate.

  10. Just had to look up who was Shadow Defence given the submarine thang, turns out it’s Conroy. Just letting y’all know.

  11. Hi all
    Would you please indulge me a tad?…
    I have just been called by iPrimus with the news that fibre to my home can be expected in June this year.

    I am already a customer of iPrimus so they know a lot about me – date of birth, bank details, address and of course my name.
    But to sign up to the new service they also want my drivers license number, my Medicare number or my passport number.
    That all sounds a bit much to me and has aggravated my Grumpy Old Man condition. Has anyone else been asked for this info for anything?
    I would appreciate any comments and apologise for bringing a somewhat personal issue here – although the privacy/need-to-know stuff is relevant to the forum.

  12. Goeff, as a ( very ) rough calculation the NBN costs around $50 Bill , Real Net Tax Payers number around 1 a mill or so.
    That comes to $50,000 per RNTP ( i think ), nothing for everyone else.
    If you’re a RNTP, explain that to them. If not, explain that to them.

    [ accurate numbers appreciated, this is a conservative BotE estimate ]

  13. Actually it’s an unfunded off budget item so the RNTPs that will pay for it may not be born yet.

  14. Geoff, all that seems excessive. I’ve not heard of anything like it.

    Jumpy, we’d need to start with definitions. I’ve got other stuff to do.

    Further up, John D is not just any kind of engineer, he’s a process engineer. That’s the sort we need!

    John, it seems possible to me that in adopting one of Malcolm’s formerly favoured ideas they might have expected bipartisanship. This year, though, Malcolm has been quite feral. He probably would have gone for negative gearing changes if Shorten hadn’t got there first.

  15. Jumpy tells us each RNTP is paying $50,000 for the NBN so they must be up for another $50,000 for the French submarines (another ‘$50 Bill’) and goodness knows how much for the F-35 lemons. On top of that they’ve got the Welfare bill, the Education bill the Defence bill and the Health bill, and let us not forget the cost of three levels of government (although Ms Bishop’s retirement will put a dent in that).
    Those RNTPs must be making a shedload of money.

  16. Brian: In my softer moments I think we need a variety of engineers to be heard, not just process engineers. Unfortunately Campbell Newman has given civil engineers a bad name but the rest of us should not be scorned because of what he has done.
    The civil engineering problem is made worse by the predilection of politicians to like great big civil engineering projects that are easy for pollies to think they understand.

  17. Geoff: I think the NDIS would be counted as a separate impost on those poor beleaguered RNTPs (my list was intended to be indicative, not exhaustive 🙂 )
    Jumpy’s thesis that roughly 4% of the population are paying all the bills is possibly accurate in whatever parallel universe the glibertarians inhabit, but out here in the real world it is arrant nonsense.

  18. Hey Mr Zoot

    We reckon we got the answer. The Bunyip Swamp Chinwag Club’s just had a bit of a chinwag… we reckon there’s

    * Real Net-Tax Payers, youse remember that tax on nets that Mr Costello brought in? So that’s paid by fishing boat owners, netball clubs, soccer clubs, recreational fishermen if they use a net, and Syd says it would have to include butterfly collectors and maybe the missus’s hair net. That’s gotta be at least a million people, so many sheilas playin’ netball. And that Septic game – basketball – is that still goin’?

    * Really Not-Tax-Payers, that’s all them big companies that ship their cash off to Panama or the Hayman Islands. Then there’s big shows like Giggle, where they move around the moolah to lower tax joints.

    * Real Net Tax-Players, this is a kinda GAME where ya see if YOUR lawyers can get smarter than yer mate’s lawyers, and whittle away yer taxable income faster than a sharp knife on a soft stick, til it’s practically disappeared.

    * Real Tax PRayers, folk who PRAY the ciggies ‘n beer ‘n spirits ‘n Lotto aren’t all goin’ up at the same time.

    That about covers it.

  19. Brian

    Jumpy, we’d need to start with definitions.

    Oh, ok,
    Taxpayer = anyone that has a portion of their income taken by any level of government at any time ( pretty much all of us ).

    Net Tax Payer = At the end of any financial year, the amount of income payed exceeds the amount of monies received.

    Real Net Tax Payer = At the end of any financial year, the amount of income payed exceeds the amount of monies received+ the accual cost of services used ( this includes 1/25,000,000th of defence budget, any education or medical the State provided to the individual or dependents of, 1/4,700,00th of police budget ( QLD ), individual % KMs traveled on roads as proportion of all KMs traveled/ all roads budgets etc,etc……)

    I’m not bashing any non-RNTPs, just stating that non-RNTP are in no moral position to criticise RNTPs.
    On the contrary, they should be thanking them.

    Who, after all, is paying their personal fair share ?

  20. Jumpy surely the definition of “Taxpayer” shouldn’t be restricted to just Income Tax.
    Or are you suggesting in your shy way that people who pay GST, Stamp Duty, Sales Tax and Excise (to name just a few) are somehow not paying tax?

  21. Here’s an interactive site from the OECD regarding tax revenue.
    I haven’t explored it properly yet, but it looks interesting.
    It shows that for Australia, tax on personal income in 2013 (latest figures) was 39.15% of the total tax revenue.

  22. Last first,
    Yes, and the top 10% pay 50% of it, but that’s net tax ( 2nd one)
    Multinationals pay 60% of all company tax, which in the 2nd biggest source.

    Jumpy surely the definition of “Taxpayer” shouldn’t be restricted to just Income Tax.

    My ” Taxpayer ” included everything, GST, Council Water Rates, Smokers tax, all of us as stated.

  23. Brian it dosn’t work, never has and never will.

    Zoot, from your link, highlight Australia.
    We’re higher than the OECD in all areas except GST.
    Taxes are punitive, they discourage any activity they’re applied to.

  24. Steady, Brian, steady there…

    Is it safe to quote Louis Blanc here?

  25. Hey, if your a Marxist and support his ideology like Moa and Lenin, Tito and Castro did then that’s fine.

    Better to have it out in the open.

  26. My ” Taxpayer ” included everything, GST, Council Water Rates, Smokers tax, all of us as stated.

    Apologies Jumpy, I misunderstood your comment and I was wrong. I stand corrected.
    Now for my back of the envelope calculations:
    The tax burden in Australia was 25.6% of GDP in 2013 (Wikipedia), and GDP in 2015 was estimated to be 1.489 trillion dollars in 2015 (CIA World Factbook).
    On those figures, in 2015 your 1 million RNTPs between them must have paid net tax of around $380 billion.
    This amounts to an average of $380,000 for each RNTP.
    Did you pay that much net tax last year?

  27. Zoot,
    I’ve stated many times I regard GDP as a BS number.
    How can tax to GDP be a thing when Government spending is part of GDP ?
    GDP = C + G + I + NX

    Consumer spending is Production in a bubble, we’re not in a bubble.

  28. Just to make that clearer
    GDP = C + G + I + NX
    Government can spent $500bill of borrowed money sending a rocket full of gold into the sun and the GDP goes up and Tax/GDP goes down.

  29. Jumpy I said it was a good principle, I didn’t say it would work.

    Of course it won’t work in a capitalist society that is structurally hierarchical, essentially predatory, and characterised by greed and expansionism.

    For your information, I’m not a Marxist, but if I were I wouldn’t regard Lenin, Tito et al as fellow travellers.

  30. To humour comrade Jumpy I’ve done some more research. (Warning, it involves trusting Scott Morrison and Treasury).

    According to the 2015-16 budget overview, total tax revenue is expected to be $405 billion in the year to June 2016.
    Since that amount is being completely paid by Jumpy’s 1 million RNTPs (the result of the rest of us getting more back than we pay in), each of them will contribute an average of $405,000 this financial year.

    I repeat – arrant nonsense.

  31. Ted Cruz has withdrawn from the presidential race.

    Clive Palmer won’t recontest his seat in the HoR.

  32. Zoot: The $405 million includes tax paid by those who get back more than they paid in tax.
    The discussion so far seems to assume the net contributors are rich people like jumpy. My guess is the real net contributors are PAYE taxpayers. The sort of people who have no access to the tax lurks available to those who aren’t PAYE

  33. Brian: Hallelujah! The United States is back from the brink if Ted Cruz is out of their Presidential auction.

  34. John D: you’re right of course (one more example of cloudy thinking on my part), once again I stand corrected.
    And I suspect you are correct that the RNTPs are PAYE taxpayers. I wonder who counted them (and how?) to arrive at that figure of 1 million.

  35. GB: The scary thing is that I agree with you when you say:

    Hallelujah! The United States is back from the brink

    when Trump now looks as though he will be the Republican candidate. Interesting thing is that the polls show Katesch as the only Republican candidate that could beat Sanders or Clinton.

  36. Zoot: The process that produces the 1 million claim is:
    Think of a figure that will support what you want people to believe.
    Remove the funding for ABC Factcheck.
    Keep on saying it until people believe it and the source of the data (if it ever existed) has become lost in the clouds of time.

  37. John: That sounds about right.
    It also occurred to me overnight that the vast majority of those Real Nett Tax Payers (however many of them there are) quite probably pay only a dollar or two each year in Nett Tax. There are very few people who don’t benefit substantially from government expenditure.

  38. It also occurred to me overnight that the vast majority of those Real Nett Tax Payers (however many of them there are) quite probably pay only a dollar or two each year in Nett Tax.

    So a penny didn’t drop at all I see.
    Ok, change tack; ( no need to print the answers )
    How much tax did you pay last year ( T ) ?
    How much tax do you estimate was spent on you* ( SP ) ?
    If T is less than SP = real net loss RNL
    If T is more than SP = RNTP
    What do you believe the RNTP-RNL ratio is ?
    Do you believe that low income people pay more of a share of the tax burden than the rich ?

    ( * share of Defence, Police, Universities, Politicians, Roads if you used them, Quarantine, Health , Foreign Aid, Unemployment pay, Pensions, Schools……….)

  39. So a penny didn’t drop at all I see.


    How much tax did you pay last year ( T ) ?

    I have no idea. How much did you pay?

    How much tax do you estimate was spent on you* ( SP ) ?

    Once again, I have no idea. How much was spent on you?

    Do you believe that low income people pay more of a share of the tax burden than the rich ?

    It’s quite possible unless you provide definitive numbers to prove otherwise.

  40. If you have any reading comprehension at all zoot then ( no need to print the answers ) make your last contribution void.

    You say ” cloudy thinking “, I say “There Are None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See”

    I’m done wasting time with your good self.

  41. Jumpy, I must say I can’t see the point in obsessing with this stuff about net tax payers. You’d need an army of PhD studies to work it out.

    At a rough guess I’d say draw a line at at the median. Tax payer median is almost bound to be around income median, except that there are some wealthy people who actually pay no or very little tax.

    Humans are by nature social beings, and we evolved to where we are by cooperating. We are on the planet to help each other, surely.

  42. “no need to print the answers” = DON’T answer???

    Who has the problem with comprehension?

  43. Jumpy: I have thought for a long time that it was unfair that someone like me who has had an interesting and sometimes satisfying working life got lots, lots more than some poor laborer working his guts out in the heat and the dirt and the dust.
    It is even more unfair if the laborer to be sneered at because the system doesn’t pay the laborer enough to pay the tax required to be a net tax payer.

  44. Sorry Brian, I must disagree. Identifying those paying their fair share is of vital importance to people like me and Jumpy.
    For instance, when I was a lad most people stopped being leeches on the body politic when they reached the age of 14 or 15 and they could leave school (a huge drain on the taxpayer), start working, paying taxes and contributing to this great country.
    Nowadays they’re kept in school until year 12. That’s two extra years where hard working, salt of the earth, downtrodden taxpayers like the Jumpster and me have to pay for these lazy indolent slackers who are contributing nothing, nothing I say, to the economy of Straya.
    If it was good enough for my Grandad to go down pit when he were 6 years old it’s good enough for them!

  45. Seriously, here’s an excerpt from a review of the documentary film The Divide, directed by Katherine Round in the New Scientist. They are talking about the residents of a gated community arguing the need for a second gate:

    Psychologist Paul Piff, one of the film’s talking heads, draws on studies by his team to explain this. They show people become less empathic as they grow richer. They prioritise their own interests and pay less attention to others, because they can afford to. As the rich become more self-interested, they don’t want to be bothered by riff-raff who might threaten their security or complacency. They can never have enough gates.

  46. Quite a few Marxists live behind gates too, must mean they have less empathy right ?

  47. Jumpy, I’m not a Marxist and actually I have no idea what you are talking about.

    Back here you said:

    I’m not bashing any non-RNTPs, just stating that non-RNTP are in no moral position to criticise RNTPs.
    On the contrary, they should be thanking them.

    Who, after all, is paying their personal fair share ?

    I think we can all talk about who has the capacity to pay and what all people need to live a dignified and satisfying life.

    The Film I referred to was reacting to a finding that in the US the richest 0.1% of people own roughly the same as the bottom 90% and in the UK the richest 1000 are wealthier than the poorest 40%. The film was documenting the real life experience of being rich and poor in those societies.

    Inequality is difficult to conceptualise and to measure, and difficult to get recent information on. This article makes a decent attempt.

    I would suggest that a decent society has good education, good health services readily accessible, equal access to justice and many other things I could mention, including encouragement of and access to the arts.

    Education is one of the main avenues to a more satisfying life and improving one’s economic and social standing. One party is adopting Gonski funding, the other has rejected it. One party is looking to cut university education, the other is seeking to restore funding cuts. One party has presided over a vocational train wreck.

    I suspect that across the board we are at the crossroads, where we need to choose whether we want to go down the USA road or choose another path.

  48. I’ve been watching Janet King yesterday on the TV (excellent Australian drama, paid for by our taxes) and the rugby league test (Australia always looked like winning a not so inspiring game). So I’m late with this weekend’s SS and tomorrow I probably work, helping an old guy who is 11 years my senior.

    So Saturday midnight at the earliest.

  49. Quite a few Marxists live behind gates too, must mean they have less empathy right ?

    If you have any reading comprehension at all Jumpy you would realise the piece Brian quoted said “people become less empathic as they grow richer” not “people become less empathic when they live behind a gate“.

  50. Thanks, Geoff, program has changed, but I’m still busy today.

    Yes, zoot, it was about rich people, not gates. There are exceptions some of whom become philanthropists. There may be Marxists who are rich, but it’s my impression that Marxists today are fairly rare, as indeed are ‘socialists’. A lot of people are happy to be known as democratic socialists, but most of them are centrists who accept the notion of private ownership of property and enterprise.

  51. I just love this

    “I’m not bashing any non-RNTPs, just stating that non-RNTP are in no moral position to criticise RNTPs.
    On the contrary, they should be thanking them.

    Who, after all, is paying their personal fair share ?”

    It is impossible to acquire and kind of wealth without a large body of people to exploit. This is fundamental Marxian stuff. The difference between the Marxian expectation of a revolution and our reality is, as Brian pointed out, embodied in the Gini coefficient or the measure of the distribution of wealth.

    However, the principle is solid. The only way to acquire great wealth is to have a large body of people to exploit in various ways. So Jumpy’s so called RNTP’s are those society exploiters who have not yet established wealth sinking offshore companies (we’ll call them “tax tweenies”).

    The fact is though that everyone is a Real Nett Tax Payer over their lifetime. From birth to work we are nett tax receivers (and that is everyone), from first job to retirement we are all significant net tax payers unless we become unemployed to the extent of needing social support. In the present and future most people are net taxpayers even in retirement as we spend down our assets (including superannuation) towards the time of our death. As nett tax payers during our working life we pay down the cost of our early life’s education cost and medical costs.

    In this calculation the cost of our children’s education does not go against our parental tax account it goes against the children’s own personal account. To do otherwise is to double count, and this is where the fallacy of Jumpy’s argument lies. Even non working parents are paying tax, at least 10% tax on the cost of their living.

    Yes, there are some who are lifetime nett tax consumers, but these are the few who for reasons of various inabilities or disabilities cannot contribute to the extent that others do, but this is a small number.

    The real fallacy in Jumpy’s argument is that we should all some how be grateful to those who over exploit the population and then reluctantly pay some of those “stolen funds” in tax.

    Next we will talk about the degree of hidden exploitation.

  52. “”” Half of Australia’s families pay no net tax. Any tax they do contribute is offset by the welfare — pensions, family tax benefits or childcare rebates — they receive.
    As many as 85 per cent of single-parent families contribute no tax, once welfare benefits are deducted.”””

    And thats just dollars in/dollars out, without factoring in all the other Government expenditure.

    As for

    It is impossible to acquire and kind of wealth without a large body of people to exploit.

    So Taylor Swift exploits people because they prefer her music ?Floyd Mayweather exploited who, Manny Pacquiao?
    Obviously Bill and Melinda Gates must be devoid of empathy being very rich.

    “people become less empathic as they grow richer”

    So poor Boko Haram fighters must have far more empathy than Doctors in the Netherlands.

    The theory that increased wealth = decreasing empathy is rubbish, made up by the envious and spread by the spiteful.

  53. Good on you, Jumpy, you leapt head first into the standard liberal lie based on double, triple and quadruple counting. Of course families with multiple children and a parent not working are consuming more than they contribute for a period. That is the family cycle. A person’s tax performance is judged over their own lifetime, which is most always positive unless they die early.

    And, again, “go you” for picking on minorities….

    “Child poverty in single-parent homes leapt almost 6 percentage points between 2005 and 2007, when Welfare-to-Work changes began moving some of the parents on to the lesser Newstart allowance.

    Single-parent homes make up 12 per cent of about 8 million households in Australia. Since the beginning of 2013 the single parenting payment is no longer available once the youngest child is eight.

    from the Libertarian Loathed SMH ”

    As for

    “Of single person households — mostly pensioners — 55 per cent pay no tax. About half of couples with no children pay no tax. For couples with children — with adults more likely to be working — one in four families pay no tax.”……

    This is demonstrably false. Only dead people pay no tax, the rest of us pay 10% minimum of everything we spend. And even before the GST we paid sales taxes of various kinds.


    And, yes, Taylor Swift is exploiting a large population, but the real exploitation is from the record companies who work these young talents to death so they can suck off 90% of their sales revenues. The only reason why the “stars” get any real wealth at all is due to the savvy of their managers (essentially their entertainment union representatives).

  54. The theory that increased wealth = decreasing empathy is rubbish, made up by the envious and spread by the spiteful.

    No it was the result of research which found the wealthy tend to prioritise their own interests and pay less attention to others, because they can afford to.
    When I was involved with fundraising it was an established fact that you raised more money in the poorer suburbs, where people tended to be more generous. The wealthiest suburbs were generally not worth the effort.
    This is not to discount individual examples like Rodney Adler, wealthy and a convicted criminal, who was (and may still be) the most generous philanthropist in Sydney.

  55. Bilb, learn about nett, gross and both sides of a balance sheet.
    No wonder the companies you’ve ” worked ” at went bust.

  56. Oh, you really are a laugh, Jumpy.

    Your Jo No is blatantly Libertarian. The guy has even exploited his daughter, taking her only money to make a “point???” about poverty.

    Get real!!

  57. I’m glad you brought up companies Jumpy.
    What proportion of companies currently operating in Australia are non-NRTPs?
    You can start the count with the Fortescue Metals Group, News Corpse, Google, Apple etc etc etc

    And we still have no indication if you’re a NRTP. I bet you’re not.

  58. Bilb, he exploited his daughter ?
    Even in this crowd you making a fool of yourself.

    Zoot, I’m against rent seeking subsidy whores that leach of the taxpayers.
    I’ll start with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and work down from there….

  59. Tell me zoot, should an Australian company that exports goods to China pay tax on their profits to the Chinese Government or the Australian Government ?

    Bill might know to whom his company pay taxs to on exports, or probably not.

  60. Brian and Jumpey: Human nature being what it is: most elites, regardless of their religion or ideology, feel compelled to isolate themselves from the awful smelly ordinary folk who keep them in power and in luxury. European aristocrats; Soviet nomenklatura and Russian oligarchs; Saudi royal family; Yank plunderers in gated communities and “nice” neighbourhoods; high-ranking cadres in China; the family and friends of Third World dictators; Australia’s “A” List and fake celebrities …. they are all the same. There are a few elites around the world who are not like this but they are few-and-far between.

  61. Yes, Jumpy, exploiting his daughter. He had her total wealth in a cup and clearly had no intention of giving it back to her, he was even arguing for making the rich richer. Too bad for those 2 billion people with nothing as nothing will help them, and that is a problem, but….Oh well.

    The sad thing, Jumpy, is that you don’t even see how pathetic that is. I can’t believe that you thought that it was somehow smart and clever to post it.

  62. Graham
    Governments have tried and succeed in squashing almost all private philanthropy through taxation to make them look generous in a clever plan to get reelected, grow themselves and keep their snouts in the trough for longer.
    All the while producing less than private enterprise at a higher cost.

  63. clearly had no intention of giving it back to her,

    We have a clairvoyant in the room peoples…..
    ( not really, just a denialist )

  64. My tax, Jumpy? Well we have a 40 thousand tax bill at the moment to somehow pay the ATO, the largest so far of a steady stream. So it is highly likely I am covering for your tax shortfall at the moment. Don’t worry though, I don’t expect your gratitude because I work on a “pass it forward” approach to good deeds.

  65. Bilb, I remember you said your company exported goods to 5 or 6 other countries. How much of your companies profits ( if there are any ) do you pay to those countries Governments ?

    Zoot would love to know too.

  66. Bilb, clarification please.

    Your tax ?, was that a BAS instalment, end of year company tax, personal income, payroll, are there licence fees, any subsidies ?

    Are you a Director of this Pty Ltd ?

  67. We don’t pay anything to those countries, Jumpy. Our distributors in those countries who buy from us and sell our product at 200% mark up pay the tax on that turnover in those countries. Why? How did you think international trade worked?

  68. This ” pass it forward ” is interesting.
    How about sending 140K ?
    You’ll be poorer so more empathy and the good karma will see your company thrive.

    Hang on, better idea, send it to Chad they need it more, pity its only 1c each but they’ll be grateful.

  69. Oh, Bilb, you don’t pay tax on turnover, only profit silly.

    Don’t worry, even Dastyari and Wong get that wrong

  70. See, this is why schools should focus on math and commerce rather than arty farty, touchy feely rubbish. We would have better voters in the future.
    Things like the difference between turnover and profit, nett and gross, expenditure and revenue, reducing a tax is not a subsidy….that sort of thing.

  71. See, this is why schools should focus on math…

    If they had in the past, you might have gained a better understanding of the concept “average”.

  72. Gee zoot, i’d have thought you’d be over being wrong on that, obviously not.

  73. Not sure if it’s synchronicity but this popped up on my FB feed (yeah, I know it’s arguing from authority, so sue me):
    “If you’re in trouble, or hurt or need help.
    Go to the poor.
    They’re the only ones that’ll help,
    the only ones”

    — John Steinbeck

  74. Jumpey: Sorry. Have to disagree with you. One thing the past three decades have taught us is that privatization and so-called free enterprise system are about as efficient as was Soviet Communism in the Brezhnev era or Christendom in the 11th Century. Then again, Brezhnev’s USSR might pull ahead of The West when more details come out of the Panama Papers.

    We do need an economic system that rewards diligence, wisdom, hard-work, innovation and foresight; a system that punishes stupid cruelty, corruption, fraud, waste, laziness and inattention.

    Sadly, the system we have right now doesn’t cut the mustard on any of those aspects.

    But what the heck, we can show the whole world how to run a grossly inefficient corporate bureaucracy and a grossly inefficient government bureaucracy at one and the same time. Can we get a gold medal for being world champions at that?

  75. Just as a matter of interest Denmark has become the happiest country again. The really interesting thing is that they have this attitude to their high taxes:

    Denmark has been ranked as the EU’s most expensive country to live in. Taxes are “cripplingly high” and yet people pay them “with pleasure”. How do high taxes result in high levels of happiness?

    Most people don’t mind paying 50 per cent + taxes because there’s a trust that the government will spend the money wisely – and trust that everyone else will also contribute their fair share.

    Stop complaining about tax Jumpy and you could become a happier man!!!

  76. BilB et al
    Very interesting discussion. It highlights for me
    a Never generalise!
    b The value of the Gini coefficient
    c Progressive versus regressive taxes
    d The limitations of $ as a measure

  77. Ambigulous, I beg to differ about generalising. Generalising can yield insights, but seldom “truth” without exception.

    Jumpy errs here when he cites Bill and Melinda Gates to disprove a generalisation. They are exceptions and leave the generalisation untouched.

    As with Boko Haram fighters. They are mad ideological nutters and don’t prove anything about the rest of us .

    John, we degrade our public services and then say they are hopeless, because then in fact they are. Not very intelligent, really.

    Graham Bell, I liked your roundup of elites. Ever since we moved from hunting and gathering we’ve had property-owning elites. This Wikipedia article says:

    The egalitarianism typical of human hunters and gatherers is never total, but is striking when viewed in an evolutionary context. One of humanity’s two closest primate relatives, chimpanzees, are anything but egalitarian, forming themselves into hierarchies that are often dominated by an alpha male. So great is the contrast with human hunter-gatherers that it is widely argued by palaeoanthropologists that resistance to being dominated was a key factor driving the evolutionary emergence of human consciousness, language, kinship and social organization.

    (Emphasis added)

    Interesting generalisation!

  78. Zoot: Interesting observation:

    When I was involved with fundraising it was an established fact that you raised more money in the poorer suburbs, where people tended to be more generous. The wealthiest suburbs were generally not worth the effort.

    However, what you may be looking at is a difference in the way the more affluent donate. Perhaps they give in a more systematic manner in the sense that they work out who they want to give money to each year (and make large donations?) rather than respond to the emotional appeal of phone calls and doorknocks.
    What sort of fund raising did you do?

  79. What sort of fund raising did you do?

    Presumably he settled on rattling a tin cup outside Centrelink and St Vinnies.

  80. Jumpy, it must suck to be you.
    John, you make a valid point and I can’t confirm or refute it. My participation in fundraising consisted only of selling raffle tickets (usually with a car as first prize) in shopping centres.
    The source of my information was my father, a founder member of the Australian Institute of Fundraisers (if I’ve got the name right) and organiser of one of the first (if not the first) direct phone campaigns in Perth , as well as those car raffles.
    Before Jumpy demands clarification, my father died in 2008 so I can’t expand on his rule of thumb.

  81. Thanks Brian, that’s an interesting view of human evolution
    (my knowledge of primate evolution is ages out of date).

    The biggest contrast I can think of in homo sapiens is that between traditional Melanesian social behaviour and traditional Polynesian social behaviour – the one possibly closer to what we might have been like “straight out of Africa”; the other possibly influenced by the long sojourn in East Asia and the journeying around the Pacific.

  82. Graham, I don’t know much really, just keep an eye out for interesting bits. In particular I don’t know much about Polynesian and Melanesian societies. I did own and read Bengt Danielsson’s Love in the South Seas as a young bloke, but someone stole it. I suspect it was influenced by Margaret Mead whose research was later found to basically be a load of cobblers.

  83. Off the main thrust of topics from Saturday – which I thought was supposed to be stoush-free…

    I have an on-going interest in battery storage and have been watching three things – lithium ion, flow batteries and the various newcomers.
    It seems that new concepts are announced every week. It is hard to keep up. One of the problems with all the new options is that it has the power to inhibit “here and now” research because the “new” research is so promising. Long lead times to commercialisation are not often mentioned. Anyway here are two more advances. Both have been around for a while but each has taken a step closer to the holy grail of batteries. and

  84. Geoff, you are right about SS being a stoush-free zone. The end of each post says:

    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.

    I’m not very good at moderation and tend to let things go. People have been somewhat disrespectful at times.

    I may include one or both of your items in a future Climate clippings as part of an item on batteries. It’s not an area I know much about or have much of a feel for.

    Climate clippings is also supposed to be an open thread for sharing ideas, but I’ve noticed that people seem to prefer SS. I don’t want to begin every CC with a note about it being an open thread, and if I put it at the end people tend not to read it.

    Anyway, I thank you for your civil participation.

  85. Thanks Brian
    I see batteries (power storage) as important because they can smooth out the the day time limitations of solar power by making solar energy available at night. Even modest levels of storage adoption will be game-changing for society but especially for climate change (CC) by undermining (no pun or irony intended) the need for fossil fuels. Many folks agree that climate change is “something”, but few people want to discuss it at depth and even fewer act upon it or many of the contributors to climate change. But I find that if you want to talk about the cost of electricity a lot of people will readily engage. It follows that if you successfully attack the nexus between coal (incl. gas) and electricity then you are acting in a real way to beat CC generated by fossil fuels without even mentioning CC. Commercial scale storage may precede or parallel domestic progress.
    If home batteries can become economically viable we can save the planet by a home economic tide without having to change the minds of the millions who remain in denial.
    Importantly too, the opposing political forces are weakened and those who hold long-term custodial philosophies will be strengthened.

  86. Here are some figures regarding Jumpy’s assertion that there are only 1 million real nett taxpayers in Australia.

    Spoiler Alert: The figures don’t support Jumpy’s assertion.

  87. Thanks zoot,

    an excellent article. Well done, Greg Jericho!

    I had been searching around for that kind of information, without much luck. The ABS is still doing good work.

    As to our very jumpy confrere, why let facts get in the way of an opinion?

    Has he been jumping at shadows I wonder?

  88. Good one, thankyou zoot.

    Here’s Jericho’s bottom line for those who don’t follow links:

    We don’t have an issue in Australia of too many working people paying no tax or no net tax.

    Our tax system and welfare systems are both highly progressive and talk of churn through middle-class welfare is massively overstated.

    We are an ageing population. More people are moving into retirement – and that is where the fall in “net tax payers” is coming from.

    Someone who pays less tax than they receive in benefits isn’t bludging on the system. In Australia it almost certainly means they are earning less than the median wage, and they are part of one of the most efficient welfare systems in the world. And their views on what is fair in the system certainly deserve to be heard.

  89. Haha, nice try Mr Guardian, trying to limit social Government expenditure to payments, health and education.

    Have a play with the 2016-17 Budget with particular focus on the ” COST PER AUSTRALIAN PERSON ( everyone )” for every line item.
    And keep in mind other State expenditure ( tricky including GST on one side of the ledger but not State expenditure …hmm.). Law enforcement anyone ?

    Lastly, a net tax payer is anyone that pays $1 more they receive per annum, under Jerichos fantasy that $1 only pays for 12.5 Australians to watch your ABC for a day.

    By all means use this ” analysis ” in a debate on a conservative leaning blog , and a link when your done please.

  90. Ive been off line working away so just found out about Q&A hero Duncan’s extensive criminal past. I’ll link to it if anyone asks.

  91. Ive been off line working away so just found out about Q&A hero Duncan’s extensive criminal past. I’ll link to it if anyone asks.

    Argumentum ad hominem ( a logical fallacy).

  92. No idea about these blog latin nonsense, does that mean Duncan isn’t a criminal ? Hasn’t threatened to murder a woman and went to jail ?

  93. Strictly zoot is right. If you get into trouble with the law it doesn’t invalidate everything you say for the rest of your life.

    For those who want to follow the link, Newscorp has been digging up stuff to paint Storrar as the undeserving poor.

    He has a wife and two young girls. In a just society it should not matter to your opportunities as to how you choose your parents.

    Still, I’d be more comfortable if the loot raised to help him went to a charity.

  94. jumpy, when you’ve done you time you are not a criminal. But even criminals have a right to speak, and we should listen.

  95. As far as I know, only prisoners are prevented from voting.

    Ex-prisoners are citizens.

    An election (especially) should be a time for free speech. If not now, when?

  96. As to Greg Jericho’s article, I was interested in this bit:

    Indeed, the Productivity Commission has noted research that found “Australia had the lowest level of churn among 19 OECD countries for which data were available”.

    If you want to have have low corporate and personal taxes you inevitably have to have high regressive taxes on consumption, which seems to lead to compensation for the poor and churning.

    People on conservative-leaning blogs have different values, which makes it a waste of time, by and large, in trying to convince them otherwise. I can’t see any real point in obsessing about net tax payers.

  97. argumentum ad hominem

    yes, Latin.

    A rough translation into Australian English might be: playing the man, not the ball .

    [But come to think of it, if you were brought up on Thugby League, that phrase might seem puzzling, effete even.]

    I’ll quit while I’m behind, then.

  98. “…when you’ve done you time you are not a criminal.”
    I think that brush is a bit broad Brian. Many are released on parole before their time as a guest is done. What is their status?
    And you can be a criminal before you serve any time.

    “…criminals have a right to speak, and we should listen.”
    Depends what they are saying and doing.

    I see criminals as people who have broken social trust. Doing time is the punitive side of crime. Re-establishing social trust is another thing and is not an automatic function of being released.

  99. Geoff I agree with:

    “…criminals have a right to speak, and we should listen.”
    Depends what they are saying and doing.

    What Storrar said had meaning irrespective of his record.

    Yesterday Malcolm met Melinda who told him single mums were hurting and their kids were suffering, specifically in educational opportunities.

    So far no-one’s digging up shit on her, but if they did it wouldn’t alter the validity or not of what she said.

  100. Some time ago a QandA audience member praised panellist Minister Andrew Robb for his success in dealing with depression, and for discussing that experience in public.

    Did journalists wonder if the questioner might have had to deal with similar problems? Perhaps. But as far as I know he wasn’t hounded, his medical records and family circumstances weren’t pored over and publicised. Fair’s fair after all.

    Isn’t it?

  101. I heard the clip. She was excellent and politely persistent. Very convincing too. I thought Turnbull came second in the exchange to state the obvious.

  102. What Storrar said had meaning irrespective of his record.

    But the position he finds himself in is due in no small part to the decisions and actions that got him his record.

    A family member of his claims he’s a regular pot smoker, which is fine by me if true, but don’t complain you can’t buy your daughters movie tickets if choose to buy weed.

    I have worked with criminals both past and present and if they try the ” boo hoo, poor me, I deserve better ” I simply challenge them to prove its not their own fault in any way. None can.

  103. Geoff, Kelly O’Dwyer probably came in second too. I don’t watch the program, so I don’t have a final opinion on that, except that the ‘economic plan’ is given out as the answer to just about everything.

    Michael Bradley reckons it’s a con, using discredited trickle-down economics. Australian National University analysis shows lowest 20% of income earners lose 1.5% of disposable income and the highest 20% lose 0.2% , The Grattan Institute says the economic effects of $48bn 10-year program of company tax cuts could be negative in short term, and add a maximum of 0.6% to national income after 20 years.


  104. Jumpy, Storrar’s character and worthiness is a separate issue, as you seem to accept.

    the position he finds himself in is due in no small part to the decisions and actions that got him his record.

    That’s as it should be if the criminal justice system is working properly – banging up people who are responsible for illegal actions, and not those who aren’t. And it’s no surprise that choices and decisions in other parts of his life may be suboptimal.

    You use the phrase “in no small part’. It leaves open the possibility that a significantly large part of the causation may lie elsewhere. I’m not a criminologist, nor indeed a sociologist, so I’m not going to expound on how disadvantaged groups and those on the edge are differentially criminalised.

    The same sort of issue arises with addictions. Generally people are held responsible for what they ingest, but other factors come into play. The state has a care for kids that are subject to neglect, abuse, or just poor parenting, but there are obvious limitations as to what can be done.

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