Saturday salon 9/8

1. Cardinal Pell

Kristina Keneally talks about the power of the Catholic church for good and its ability to inspire young people.

During World Youth day in Sydney in 2008, Cardinal Pell walked freely among the young people. He couldn’t do that now, as direct allegations of sexual abuse by Pell have been aired on the 7.30 Report.

The Victorian police have a long list of allegations, being considered by the public prosecutor.

From what we saw, it’s very possible they won’t proceed. It would be hard to make anything stick.

The allegations are mild, relative to the endless horrific evidence we’ve heard in the royal commission. The Pope is right in saying we can’t have trial by media, and the presumption of innocence must be maintained. Yet these allegations go to the top, and it is understandable that Kristina Keneally asks:

    How long can I keep cognitive dissonance going between my relatively positive experience of faith in Jesus Christ, and the mounting evidence that the institution that has transmitted and supported that faith is tragically flawed?

    And how do I raise my kids in the Catholic faith, helping them to grasp the good in the gospel despite the bad in the church that transmits it?

2. Firebirds break the Swifts heart

There are great rivalries in sport, such as State of Origin in rugby league, equalled hereabouts only by the netball rivalry between the Australian Diamonds and the NZ Silver Ferns. In the last few years at the club level the rivalry between the Queensland Firebirds and the Sydney Swifts has been ferocious.

Last year the Firebirds stole the championship in the last seconds, after the Swifts had led for the whole game, and by four with two minutes to go. This year they were level after four 12-minute quarters, level again after two 7-minute extra time periods, with the Firebirds finally edging two in front in extra extra time. They were never far apart and the lead changed 15 times.

In the game a goal is scored on average in less than 30 seconds. Turnovers are critical. Here’s Laura Geitz pinching one from Swifts goalie Caitlin Thwaites:

Firebirds 2016_7676006-3x2-940x627_600

I believe netball is the largest participation sport in Australia, but the elite competition is not professional and only available on Foxtel. It’s great to watch and next year we’ll be able to see the new 8-team competition backed by Nine Network and Telstra.

There hasn’t been an image as good as the one I posted last year:


3. Bank interest rate kerfuffle

I have to declare an interest – I’m a direct investor in bank shares, but support Labor’s call for a royal commission.

The Reserve Bank dropped interest rates by 25 basis points, but the banks have chosen to only pass part of the decrease on to customers.

Scott Morrison was at first frank and no doubt truthful when he said it was simply a commercial decision, but quickly fell into line when Turnbull started the totally predictable political venting. In calling for banks to front a parliamentary committee once a year, Turnbull said there was “no commercial basis… other than to improve their profitability,” for the banks not to pass on the full rate cut.

It’s not a mystery, Malcolm. Money is becoming expensive to import, the banks need to encourage depositors, and yes, they do have to look after shareholders. More explanation here. The bottom line is that it goes to the stability of the financial system.

I’m sure Turnbull knows all this, and that the big banks pay about $10 billion in taxation every year. The new accountability will not change bank behaviour and distracts from the need for a royal commission into their wealth management practices.

Michael Janda worries that the Reserve bank knows what it’s doing and whether Stevens might go down as the governor who fuelled the housing bubble that broke the economy.

4. What. Is. Trump. Doing?

Many Republicans thought that Trump, once he won the nomination, would act more presidential. No chance, apparently. Zoe Daniels reports how incredibly hard he is working to kill his own campaign.

He refused to endorse Speaker Paul Ryan, leading to worries his antics would lose the HoR for the Republicans. He may try to repair the rift, but to some extent the damage is done.

Then he attacked the grieving mother of fallen Muslim soldier Ghazala Khan.

Zoe Daniels list is as long as your arm. Some think it’s a watershed moment. Let’s hope so. His polls are so bad that his supporters are making them up.

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.

12 thoughts on “Saturday salon 9/8”

  1. I have read David Marr’s Quarterly Essay (QE51). “The Prince, Faith, Abuse and George Pell”. It is well researched and referenced.
    Pell does not look a winner. Marr seemed to suggest that Pell might have fondled some children early on but those suggestions were not carried further on. What was emphasised was his absolute denial of the problem and failure to act notwithstanding absolute evidence. Marr concludes that the Church is Pell’s ONLY (my emphasis) priority and that all other issues are peripheral.
    I surmised that Pell was/is squalid, mostly because of his cold-hearted treatment – directly and indirectly – of the many victims. His efforts, according to Marr, was to save the Church millions of dollars in compensation, not seek relief for the victims, nor stop continuing abuse.
    It’s possible, as Brian says that Pell will escape being prosecuted. The thrust of Marr’s paper chronicles Pell’s failure to act rather than show him as a pedophile; not that pedophilia was the only abuse. Personally I think it a very weak argument to suggest that Pell should get off because his part was one of omission.
    Apparently it is very difficult to sue the church. Somehow it holds a special brand of entity that defies prosecution. Further, the the Church has infinitely more funds than any litigant can match, and Church responses cited by Marr have been no less than ferocious.
    Perhaps the best we can hope for is that ultimately Pell will be shamed well into the next world and the Church will reform itself out of the awful presence it currently fills.

  2. Geoff, that’s a useful report on Marr’s essay. Marr is always rigorous and logical.

    I think institutions will come to treat victims and whistleblowers with more respect and take steps to introduce more accountability and transparency. I hope so at least. Yvette D’Ath in talking to Steve Austin on local radio outlines multiple ways of raising concerns/making complaints, and several lines of supervision in relation to the youth justice system in Queensland. It sounded impressive.

  3. My daughter in law is not the only one who thinks that Trump’s behavior reflects his desire to lose the election.
    BTW Trump is being criticized for not supporting Ryan in the primaries, not the actual election. doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

  4. I heard Trump on the radio saying Paul Rand was “a good guy”.

    This article reckons Clinton will win by a country mile, barring a terrorist attack or a recession or something.

    Much will depend on the Democrat vote actually voting. It’s hard for the working poor on a work day and Republican state governors have ways of making it harder.

  5. The Derats get the welfare vote hands down, work commitments won’t be a problem for Shillery.

  6. Paul Syvret in the CM explains the bank interest problem in simple language.

    Banks used to have, in 2000, an average net interest margin of 3.5%. Now:

    banks are trying to attract (and retain) deposits with interest rates around 3 per cent, while at the same time offering variable rate mortgages as low as 3.7 per cent, leaving them far from a fat margin.

    They’ve maintained profits through expanded real estate lending, but that party might stop any time now. Bad loans are up.

    ANZ reduced their dividend by a smidgeon last half year. We might get more of that.

  7. The Derats get the welfare vote hands down, work commitments won’t be a problem for Shillery.

    Got something to back that up? (You know … data? As opposed to “everybody knows”.)
    As I recall, “What’s the Matter with Kansas” made a good case that many of the working poor vote Republican.

  8. What really annoys me with all the child molestation, inside the churches, is that all the talk has been about what happened and the terrible impact on victims but to the exclusion of any discussion about prevention of similar abuses in the future.

    Of course the victims must be heard and the perpetrators dragged in to account for their crimes – but, please, let’s have robust and practical debate on prevention too.

  9. It’s going to take a lot longer yet.
    They’ve only targeted christians, jews, christians, scouts, swimming schools and christians so far.
    Many more institutions yet to be interrogated, including christians.

  10. Really cheesed off. Had nearly a month of problems with computer and with internet connection. The technical problems are solvable or potentially so – but the communications problems with technical and sales people are annoying. For example, I had to buy a new piece of equipment and the instructions for its use were excellent examples of English Literature for the written stuff and of Rhetoric for the verbal stuff. The only problem was that almost all of it was devoid of simple “do this to make that happen” instruction; it seemed to have more in common with cult litany that with instructions for use. In talking with others, this being talked at or written to without useful content seems to be a growing problem right across today’s society. If this is so, why?

  11. Graham, if the thing you bought was imported, then the language problem in the instructions is legendary. I knew a bloke once who lived in Japan for a year or two and wrote stuff like that for them in English, to find that they ‘corrected’ it to make it almost unintelligible.

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