Saturday salon 25/2

1. Abbott’s full frontal attack

Tony Abbott obviously feels he has to save the nation from his successor Malcolm Turnbull, with a five point plan. Here’s four:

    The policy manifesto, which was splashed across the front page of Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph on Friday morning, included freezing the renewable energy target, slashing immigration numbers to improve housing affordability, cutting government spending and abolishing the Human Rights Commission.

Sorry, he wants to abolish the Renewable Energy Target and let the market do whatever it does. James Massola at the SMH has the fifth:

    He called to stop all new federal spending and reduce the power of the Senate crossbench and legislative “gridlock”, by altering section 57 of the constitution via a referendum. This will allow laws that have been twice rejected by the upper house to go directly to a joint sitting, without a double dissolution election.

Someone on the radio called it “premeditated, deliberate and desperate”.

Matthias Cormann called it “sad” and “self indulgent”.

    “I was flabbergasted by Tony Abbott’s interview last night,” Cormann told Sky News. “I was watching live from my office in Perth. There’s nothing good that comes from an interview like that.

    “It was deliberately destructive. It was completely unhelpful. It was not designed to be helpful. He was not trying to help our cause or help our country.”

Turnbull said “he knows exactly what he’s doing”.

Tony, it seems, really hates Malcolm and would regard it a success if both were destroyed, leaving us with someone else. Peter Dutton? I’m inclined to think Tones has just pointlessly blown himself up.

2. 18C should stay

Less than 10% of Australians believe people should have the freedom to “insult” and “offend” people on the basis of race, culture or religion. Around 80% are opposed.

That was the finding of Prof Andrew Jakubowicz and others at UTS through a poll conducted by Essential.

A Parliamentary Inquiry into Freedom of Speech in Australia is due to report on 28 February.

Jakubowicz et al also say this:

    In our other surveys over the past decade, we have found that about the same proportion of Australians (one in ten) hold negative views about diversity and “races”. For example, around 10-12% believe that some races are superior to others, and that groups should not intermarry. These are indicators of racial supremacism and racial separatism.

3. Netball fires up

As a sports nut I’ve always thought netball was one of the best spectator sports, with fierce contestability every second of the game. The Australian Diamonds vs the NZ Silver Ferns has been one of the great sporting rivalries, almost up there with State of Origin in rugby league. At a club level it was the Queensland Firebirds and the Sydney Swifts.

The sport has been re-organised, revamped, and Australia only, with new clubs sponsored by established football teams. The Lightning has now been set up on the Sunshine Coast under the aegis of the Melbourne Storm. Here’s Cameron Smith with Lightning goalie Caitlin Bassett, recruited from the Sydney Swifts:

Believe it or not, Smith is 6″ 1′ on the old scale. Bassett is 6 feet, 5 and a half, or 197cm. A monster!

Anyway, the Firebirds have lost a few stars, and the first outing yielded a 56-all draw, after the Lightning held a 7-point lead during the fourth quarter. A great new rivalry may have been born. It’s very watchable.

4. Donald Trump Is the Bizarro Noam Chomsky

    Trump and Chomsky are in basic agreement that the U.S. often does terrible things for amoral reasons. Both are skeptical of claims made by mainstream liberals and conservatives that America has any special moral status. The crucial difference is that Chomsky wants the U.S. to stop behaving in this manner, while Trump promises to be more effective in his brutality and looting. Trump, then, is a kind of Bizarro Chomsky—one bereft of a conscience, of any sense of right and wrong.

5. Penalty rates cut

Sunday and public holiday penalty rates will be reduced for full-time and part-time workers in the hospitality, retail and fast-food industries, the Fair Work Commission has ruled.

Some of the lowest paid workers will lose up to $6,000 per year. Proponents say workers will be offered more hours. Some workers say, they can shove it, they won’t give up their Sundays for less. Research done by Serena Yu and David Peetz found that increasing penalty rates had no significant effect on employment over a five-year period.

The issue has definitely started a political fight between Labor and the LNP, which will no doubt continue until the next election.

46 thoughts on “Saturday salon 25/2”

  1. White House bars several major news outlets from informal press briefings

    News organisations including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN and Politico were blocked from joining an informal, on-the-record White House press briefing.

    Key points:

    Press Secretary Sean Spicer restricts journalists from major outlets from an on-the-record briefing
    The briefings are normally open to all credentialed news organisations
    Video from December has surfaced on social media in which Mr Spicer says ‘barring media access is what a dictatorship does
    The Associated Press chose not to participate in the gaggle after White House press secretary Sean Spicer restricted the number of journalists present for the briefing.

    Typically, the daily briefing is televised and open to all news organisations credentialed to cover the White House.

    Does this mean that Trump is now openly admitting that he aspires to become a dictator?

  2. The penalty rates table shows just what a pigs breakfast penalty rates were and are. I can see no rational reason why retail will now get 150% and fast food 125%.
    Personally I think shift penalty rates should be retained while it makes sense to eliminate overtime and weekend penalty rates provided the changes are fully offset by increases in base rates.
    My reasoning for eliminating OT and weekend penalty rates in return for appropriate increases in base rate are:
    -The income of workers who don’t get penalty rates now will increase. This will help create jobs by increasing the amount of money in the hands of customers who spend almost all they earn. (You can’t grow the economy without increasing customer spending.) It also helps reduce the level of inequality in this country.
    – People receiving penalty rates will be at least no worse off.
    – The impact of reductions in hours worked during a downturn will be lower since what will be lost is hours at single time rather than hours at overtime rates.
    – It removes some of the disadvantages of worksharing since the hours workers have to give away is single time work, not penalty rate work.
    It is worth keeping in mind that many people prefer weekend work. It is attractive to parents who don’t have to pay for childcare at weekends and it is attractive to people who prefer to have their time off on days where recreational areas don’t have weekend crowds.

  3. John, I think Woolworths negotiated such a deal with the union, and as it happened the bloke Shorten used to highlight the issue wasn’t entitled to penalty rates.

    However, Yu and Peetz found that Sunday remained a day for family and civic activities, more so than Saturday or any weekday.

    It is said that not enough nurses will show up without penalty rates.

  4. Brian:

    It is said that not enough nurses will show up without penalty rates.

    Hard to say. My guess is that most of the people who currently do some weekend work will probably continue to do so as long as that they have not suffered an overall pay cut .
    There will always been some people who really want both weekend days off every weekend, some who really want at least one day off at weekends or some weekends off and others who may prefer weekend work anyway. The attractions I can see for weekend work may include:
    -Much less congestion going to and from work.
    -Recreation areas much less crowded on weekdays.
    – Gives you better access to things that can only be done during the working week.
    – Free baby sitting.
    When i started work a drillers mate got 1.25 times for OT. During my working life the unions often argued for and got higher and higher penalty rates. (It often suited employers because it made it easier to find someone willing to work OT and weekend work meant less workers required (= savings on fixed employment costs.)and easier to cut back working hours without the angst of laying people off.)
    The unions argued that penalty rates encouraged employers to employ more people, but, in reality the converse was true and their members opposed anything that might cut back on the precious OT.

  5. zoot

    Hadn’t you heard? Credence Clearwater Revival are under review.

    Or was it Whitewater??

    American politics can be so confusing, as can the English how-you-say? lengua… Me, OK pidgin, word fella sound same same OK wit me boss.

  6. Ambigulous you triggered happy memories of Lik-Lik Redpella Hat.
    As for penalty rates, I would have thought all of the defenders of our Judeo-Christian heritage would have been fighting tooth and nail to keep the sabbath (both of them?) holy.
    Apparently the inerrant and unchanging word of God doesn’t count for much these days, so I look forward to the time when every government office, bank and licensing authority is open seven days a week. (/sarc – my wife spent eons in retail and she is very vocal on the subject)

  7. Youpela tok tok dat?

    Sorry, I can’t compete……

    In breaking news, both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Victorian Lower House have resigned today.

    I believe the former claimed about $40,000 for living in Queenscliff (pleasant seaside town); the latter more than $100,000 for a house in Ocean Grove (another pleasant seaside town, close to the location for Sea Change)

    The allowance was meant to assist rural MPs forced to attend Parlt in the Big Smoke.

    They both asserted their claims were within the rules. But the Speaker admitted yesterday that his claim “didn’t meet the high standards the community….” {pass the sick bucket, Moira}

    These two ALP stalwarts both represent seats in the Western suburbs of Melbourne. Yuk!! Bogan territory. Why should ALP Royalty sully themselves by living near their own electors??


    The only positive aspect for Premier Andrews, is that this wasn’t drawn out for weeks, unlike the Bronwyn helicopter trip (also to a pleasant seaside town, southwest of Melbourne) saga with Mr Abbott.

  8. Youpela tok tok dat?

    I wish. Some time ago, about the time Adam was a lad, local ABC radio featured a pidgin version of Red Riding Hood. I remember it as spread over a few instalments, and I was pleasantly surprised that I understood it without any real problems. Of course, already knowing the story must have been a huge advantage 😀

  9. lol ambi, you make me crackin up sometimes.

    CNN, a banned or just about to be banned lefty fake news source just spun this up
    The Sinclair Lewis novel “It Can’t Happen Here,” about a gradual fascist takeover of the United States, has joined George Orwell’s “1984” on Amazon’s list of its best-selling books.

    The spike in sales is, at least in part, a reaction to the Trump presidency.
    Lower down on the book seller’s list are the dystopian classics “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, and “Animal Farm,” also by Orwell. Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” is also on the list, at #12 on Saturday afternoon.
    “It Can’t Happen Here” broke into the top 100 on Amazon’s updated-every-hour list of sales several days ago. On Saturday it surged into the top 10.

    It makes me wonder is Amazon a fake lefty organisation and on the out too then … ?

    “Truth” is such a cheap and easy distraction for the punters lose themselves in and distracted like a victim of pocket thieves. So I suggest we better watch our valuables in the widest sense while being absorbed by this MAKE AMERICA GREAT trumped up ‘revolution’.

    It kind of reminds on a ballad by a popular Swiss band ZÜRI WEST about 20 years ago called “Amerika git’s nid” – America does not exist. A history lesson in the broadest Swiss brogue tracing a fable started by Columbus turning into a popular con where everybody sees it the same. The song ends roughly translated

    (A fable, trick) … where everybody says they see the same.
    Is that not somewhat suspicious, and has the smell of a script from Hollywood.

  10. I wondered why Jumpy appears to be MIA and then I saw this pronouncement from President Bannon:

    If you look at these Cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is the deconstruction … (of the administrative state).

    No more government regulations!
    The USA will be a Randian paradise – no doubt our erstwhile colleague is flat out, arranging to move there as soon as possible.

  11. Exactly Zoot, as I said before, alt right populists in the US and here are by definition anarchists. Because freedom by itself, without accepting obligations is anarchy. A freedom from reason, logic and morals, by supplanting it with Truth and God bless America, which in themselves are all fables, tricks, ideologies, cons, dreams contained in a form of egoism. An egoism that has the smell of Ayn Rand’s objectivism. A self justified epistemology, where ones beliefs or opinions become a law onto itself, but are in reality just a corporate fable of ‘making your Self – God – America great’. A kind of black (left, wrong false) and white (right, truth) world where one can park one’s consciousness to obtain the Randian nirvana where:

    Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.

    In other words, never mind what fables those values are base on, just striving for them will make you happy and a virtue of stupidity.

  12. zoot, i’m sorry you seem to view everything through anti-Jumps eyes, a little creepy but that’s ok.
    Please link to the Bannon statement for my opinion if you want it. Youtube preferably.
    Libertarians are not Anarchist folks, look it up.

    ( busy B’day I’m having )

  13. Oh, and ” credence ” + ” under ” + ” review ” ( referring to MSM )
    Just look up each words definition, then look at context.
    Oxford is our friend.

  14. Fairfax press turns on Victorian Labor Govt:

    It’s a truism of politics that arrogance kills governments

    The Age online, Sunday 26/2

  15. Belated Happy Birthday, Jumpy!

    Thanks Mate. The best gift was from the Indian Cricket team, just beautiful in its ugliness.

  16. A newly declassified report obtained by Fairfax Media reveals Australia’s role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was undertaken solely to enhance our alliance with the US: The secret Iraq Dossier

    a 572-page, declassified internal report on the Iraq War obtained by Fairfax Media under freedom of information laws. Written between 2008 and 2011 by Dr Albert Palazzo from Defence’s Directorate of Army Research and Analysis, it is by far the most comprehensive assessment of our involvement in the war. Originally classified “Secret”, it was finally released last week after more than 500 redactions.

    The report concludes that Howard joined US president George W. Bush in invading Iraq solely to strengthen Australia’s alliance with the US. Howard’s – and later Kevin Rudd’s – claims of enforcing UN resolutions, stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction and global terrorism, even rebuilding Iraq after the invasion, are dismissed as “mandatory rhetoric”.

    Re my previous post on Ayn Rand, please don’t get me wrong. On one hand I admire her idealism and observations and on the other I am very wary of her well meaning but fraught intellectual bootstrapping. My thinking on her represents what she would term as “evil”, as in

    One side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

    Hence, I can relate to or agree with aspects of her sharp observations and statements, while rigorously debunk her epistemological conclusion at the same time.
    Take for example her views on Libertarianism which highlight the fracture lines of the political right, if such a thing actually exists in itself.

    All kinds of people today call themselves “libertarians,” especially something calling itself the New Right, which consists of hippies who are anarchists instead of leftist collectivists; but anarchists are collectivists. Capitalism is the one system that requires absolute objective law, yet libertarians combine capitalism and anarchism. That’s worse than anything the New Left has proposed. It’s a mockery of philosophy and ideology. They sling slogans and try to ride on two bandwagons. They want to be hippies, but don’t want to preach collectivism because those jobs are already taken. But anarchism is a logical outgrowth of the anti-intellectual side of collectivism. I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. Anarchists are the scum of the intellectual world of the Left, which has given them up. So the Right picks up another leftist discard. That’s the libertarian movement.

    Ayn Rand – Objective Communication, Ford Hall Forum

  17. Indian cricket team?
    Aussie commentators kept telling us the pitch was prepared to help Indian spinners.

    Did Australia have a spinner in its team? Apparently so!

  18. Ambi, Australia went in with two spinners, giving Steve O’Keefe a go, selecting allrounder Mitch Marsh to provide the third quick. In the first innings O’Keefe was 0/30 then took 6/5 to end up with figures of 6/35. India was all out for 105.

    I said to my wife, that will never happen again.

    Well in the second innings O’Keefe took 6/35 again, and Nathan Lyon 4/53. India out for 107, and the quicks only bowled four overs.

    O’Keefe’s match figures were 12/70, compared to Shane Warne’s best Test figures of 12-128.

    Read about it here, including the full scorecard.

    The Indians are notorious for preparing pitches to favour their team. This will have them scratching their heads.

  19. Yes, Brian. The music of that era was pretty special, the good bits.

    I was having a musical day yesterday. One advantage of owning a factory is that when there is no one around I can turn up the music a lot. A very, very , very,…very…lot. And break out the booze too, as one should when the whole world has mad.

    Yesterday was dedicated to Tom Collins.

  20. Brian,

    I always said that Shane bloke was a bit of a dud.
    Good to see we’ve found a genuine spin bowler at last.

    The fast bowlers will be resting easy after a short match and very little work. Good captaincy by Steve, or just very fine bowling and fielding?

  21. Jumpy, happy birfday from me too.

    Personally I try to ignore my own, but others seem to make a thing of them, and good luck to them.

    Ootz, I never got into Ayn Rand. I think I knew enough of her philosophy not to want to spend time on her. Looking at the summary on Wikipedia she seems coherent in a way, but I’d have some differences on fundamentals.

  22. Ambigulous, we had a bit of luck too. Steve Smith I think was out five times on the way to his 109 in the second dig. One of the umps developed temporary eyesight failure, and the Indians had wasted their referrals.

  23. Just quickly, the big thing that was going to happen with my wife tomorrow has been deferred. She’s in rude good health, but failed her pre-op med on something of a technicality. Too much to explain, and she wouldn’t want me to.

    Now we have a new thing in our lives. My wife has found white ants in one rafter in the shed. Moreover, it had been only partially restumped, and now it’s obvious that the stumps will have to be replaced.

    There’s a lot of stuff in the shed that needs to be hauled into the spare room downstairs – yes we’ll be careful not to transport the little monsters. Anyway I need to tog up and get busy, right now.

  24. Cricket followers,

    There must surely be strong psychological factors at play in batting collapses?

    I was a very very ordinary spin bowler at school. On one occasion, I got a wicket against all odds, and the other bats boys became very wary and many fell quickly. I finished up with six wickets, and the game was over way early. I think after I took a wicket the others were like rabbits in the headlights, troubled by imaginary difficulties.

    Because of the quick innings, our teacher umpire suggested the other side bat again just for practice. With nothing resting on it now, the bats boys relaxed and my very ordinary balls got belted all over the ground. Situation normal.

  25. Brian essentially that is my assessment of her too, except she is a widely accepted important cornerstone of many on the US ‘right’ and in Trumps cabinet, while at the same time fracturing ‘the right’ along the lines of naive evangelical populism and capitalist materialistic egoism .

    So I think she is far more relevant than Chomsky in understanding what goes on within the Trump administration and the GOP and where it’s unhinging and crumbling will eventuate from. To give you a clue Rex Tillerson names one of her book as top influential, while Steve Bannon warned against “the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism,” by which he meant “a capitalism that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people.” Capitalism, he said, ought to rest on a “Judeo-Christian” foundation.

  26. No thanks to you, zoot. Urhhhh. I followed that happy birthday to Jumpy link and I wound in the sticky gooey mess of some kind of libertarian conspiracy economy psuedo-babble Bannonistic twisted reality.

    I feel unclean and need to go wash, all over and my mind too.

    It only takes a few google seconds to debunk Bannon #facts. For starters he goes to immense effort to claim some massive economic rescue demand from the US treasury (I presume) (to cover for a global financial disaster set up by conservatives), then he attempts to make that seem astronomical by derating all US from 290 trillion down to 50 trillion. That is the new US presidential puppet master who it turns out is an ex investment banker come Hollywood script writer with a fascination for warfare.

    zoot, next time you have a link like that please mark it “for Jumpy eyes only”. Its all too horrible, nightmarish like,.. phallis in blunderland surreal stuff.

  27. “India all out for 105; I said to my wife, that will never happen again……India all out for 107.”

    You were right, they didn’t score 105, second time around


  28. From my knowledge of Libertarians, almost all agree the State has a roll to play where private entities should not.
    Sovereignty defence, diplomacy and quarantine are some
    The Police and Judiciary to protect property rights and defend individual Liberty are what they could do better without the distraction of ” Nanny social engineering ”
    I disagree with Rand equating Libertarians with Anachists.

    I often hear from certain quarters that Capitalism results in a less engaged and less empathetic society but Socialism makes us pay a tithe to the State to abrigate responsibility.
    Pay another 5% and Nanny will babysit your infants, pay another 5% and Nanny will do all their education and set their moral compass, another 5% and they don’t need to look for work, 5% more any no need to save for retirement, 5% to live as unhealthy as they want coz free medical, don’t be philanthropic that 5% more.
    Socialism, to my mind, misjudges human incentive and initiative, Capitalism gets much closer.

  29. zoot, next time you have a link like that please mark it “for Jumpy eyes only”. Its all too horrible, nightmarish like,.. phallis in blunderland surreal stuff.

    ” WARNING, snowflakes don’t click !!”
    Something like that ?

  30. Ive an urge to do a version of Rickrolling like Trumprolling. 🙂
    I will resist for the time being.

  31. Jumpy: I spent my working life working for private organizations, mostly very big private like BHP but a few much smaller. My wife worked most of the time for the public service in education and social services although she has owned small scale businesses and edited a .
    All I can really say is that working conditions, independence and empathy depended largely on the people we were working for and working group size rather than whether the organizations were public or private. Ditto efficiency.

  32. Ootz, I can’t say I’ve been a student of American politics. The Chomsky thing was second choice when a Washington Post pulled that trick, you obviously like our journalism, so now it’s time to pay. Chomsky is an analogy, but a case of ‘opposites yoked by force together’. That’s a literary reference I won’t pursue.

    The stuff you linked to about Ayn Rand is apposite, and scary.

    Jumpy, I don’t see capitalism and socialism as excluding each other. We need to civilise capitalism for the social good.

  33. Visiting the Latrobe Valley today, Minister Noonan has announced that the Vic Govt has had Simon Crean negotiate a deal allowing workers at Loy Yang A to apply for a retirement package, and make way for a retrenched Hazelwood workers.

    As I see it, there are several advantages:

    1. Younger workers at Hazelwood were not due to receive large packages, because they had fewer years of service.

    2. Transferred workers should have suitable skills and experience.

    3. Less family disruption, by avoiding emigration to other cities or regions.

    4. Some workers at Loy Yang A may jump at the opportunity, e.g. the older or the disenchanted.

    5. Through multiplier effect, helps other businesses in Latrobe Valley and Gippsland.

    6. Only small numbers of workers were to be needed for mine rehabilitation, covering the coal with layers of soil; this broadens the opportunities to stay in the coal-fired power station industry.


    Lessens the Hazelwood closure impact, on the Latrobe Valley, allowing the brown coal industry to stagger along.

    Maintains “handout mentality” that has dogged the Valley for decades.

    Loy Yang A (AGL) doesn’t get “the best person for the job”, they get a person from Hazelwood.


  34. Liked this one from the link on Bannon: “socialism for the wealthy but capitalism for everybody else.” Someone must have done a study on the National party.

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