Saturday salon 26/8

1. Finished with sex, it’s time for reason

There are articles at the SMH, at the ABC, but the best was in the AFR (pay-walled).

The Australian Sex Party is being closed down to make way for the new Reason Party, in good time for the next federal election.

    Sex Party leader and Victorian MP Fiona Patten says the new party will draw inspiration from recently elected French president and centrist Emmanuel Macron to seek to capitalise on disaffected voters through a broader sweep of policies.

Ms Patten is a former sex worker and lobbyist who founded the Sex Party in 2009, and was elected to the Victorian upper house in 2014.

    Reason, which Ms Patten describes as “relatively centrist” and civil libertarian, will continue to advocate for key Sex Party policies, such as legalisation of illicit drugs, assisted dying laws and same-sex marriage.

    But it will also expand into housing affordability, small business, mitigating climate change and an economic policy that privileges the private sector and minimising tax.

Sounds like a good idea, but not one whose time has come. ‘Reason’ just doesn’t sound sexy enough to get anywhere.

2. Australia a land of opportunity

Australia may be sliding towards worsening income and wealth inequality, but it has maintained its status as one of the world’s leading opportunity societies, according to a study by Miles Corak, an economics professor at the University of Ottawa. He looked at how much a son’s income depended on how he chose his father. In the graph below, if a son’s income depends entirely on his father’s then the relationship is “1”. The lower the score the more open the economy to opportunity, or intergenerational earnings elasticity, if you like:

So the theory goes.

    the report provides strong evidence that parental wealth matters less in Australia for the future income of children than in most other countries, with the exception of only Denmark, Norway, Finland, Canada and South Korea.

Once again, on the things that matter, the Scandinavian countries do well, and the US and UK not so well.

Canada would obviously be a good place to live if it were not for the weather!

3. The funny farm of politics continues

Last week Australian politics descended to the absurd and bizarre. Newspoll delivered Turnbull’s 18th consecutive TPP poll loss, if my counting is correct.The gap widened to 54-46 in favour of Labor, up from 53-47. The headline in the Oz was Voters deliver a brutal verdict on the Coalition.

Not sure why they would get so excited when it was all within the margin of error. If anyone cared to look Essential Report the next day went the other way, from 54-46 to 53-47.

Across both polls The Greens are tracking at about 9, struggling to get back to 10, and One Nation are 9, maybe 8, having peaked at 11 back in June.

So Lee Rhiannon and Pauline Hanson’s antics with the burqa are not making a big difference.

4. Same sex marriage

Newspoll has support for same-sex marriage at 62-32, and Essential at 57-32, so why we need to spend $122 million on an ABS survey that is not scientific is not clear. It’s not to find out what the people think, we already know that.

Newspoll also asked:

    Do you think parliament should provide guarantees in law for freedom of conscience, belief and religion if it legislates for same sex marriage?

Having been asked, 62% said “yes”, and only 18% said “no”.

David Marr says, you’ve got to be kidding, churches don’t need any further protection, and Paul Kelly in particular has got to be kidding:

    “This is the core point,” thundered Paul Kelly in the Australian this weekend. “Will [Malcolm] Turnbull before the next election face the prospect of believers in traditional marriage being penalised or intimidated because his government refused to provide legal protections?”

Well it’s not the core point. Some are trying to change the argument. If anything, we need a human rights bill, but Christopher Pyne, Minister for the defence industry, said:

    any questions about protections for religious freedom would be dealt with by legislation if a majority of Australians voted in support of marriage equality.

Not sure how that un-muddies the waters.

I think the LNP now want this one out of the way before the next election. However, if the High Court challenge against the validity of the postal survey is successful, there could be a damaging internal brawl within the Coalition. Also, as Charis Chang says, the issue may make young people politically active come the next election, which could rebound on the LNP.

Meanwhile Malcolm Turnbull calls for respect:

    “You cannot ask for respect from the No case if you’re not prepared to give respect to the No case,” he said.

And, he says:

    “99.9999%” of Australians will conduct public debate on same-sex marriage respectfully despite acknowledging that some campaign material already published has been “hurtful”.

Sorry, Malcolm, it only takes a few nutters to spoil the whole thing, you knew that before you unleashed this monster, and bile is bile. No-one should be asked to respect it.

5. Dual citizenship furore

Somewhere on my desk I have a cutting from the Courier Mail by one of their reliable people, like Dennis Atkins or Paul Syvret, which says that Labor gave Matt Canavan a pair in the senate while he sorted his citizenship eligibility thing out. Presumably on that basis they would have done the same for Barnaby Joyce, and subsequently for Fiona Nash, if they had stood aside.

Abbott set a standard on “pairing” when initially he would not grant the Gillard government pairs, except in exceptional circumstances. So Labor was inclined to play hardball with Turnbull when he claimed a “working” majority after the 2016 election.

Shorten has called for cautious government during this period, offering to consult on any urgent legislation that needed to be passed.

Of course, Turnbull thinks that would give Shorten undeserved credibility, so they pursued their default “kill Bill” default position, by accusing Bill of treason with New Zealand.

That went well!

However, Shorten does have a point, and is clearly mindful of the Section 64 issue where decisions made by officers who turn out to be bogus at the time are rendered invalid.

Any decisions made that upset environmentalists, for example a loan to help Adani build a rail line, could end up in the high court. No doubt there are other potentially litigious areas.

Anne Twomey thinks the High Court’s task is far from easy and is likely to take time. The court could actually be assisted if Tony Windsor puts the case against Joyce.

If Joyce goes down, they can expect no favours from Labor. Peter Hartcher got ahead of himself about the numbers in the lower house. I think only Katter has withdrawn the assurety of supply and confidence.

Phillip Coorey, however, says that war-gaming is happening within Labor. Without Joyce and electing a speaker, the numbers are 74 each on the floor of the house. Labor is said to be looking at forcing a banking royal commission, rescinding weekend penalty rates and other legislation where at least one LNP member is known to be likely to cross the floor.

But this is probably a beat up. To introduce legislation Labor need an absolute majority, that is 76 votes, which is unlikely to happen. On the other hand the government might also struggle to introduce legislation without the help of a couple on the crossbench.

Meanwhile Joyce has received the second most nominations as New Zealander of the Year, and the top nominee has withdrawn after admitting to welfare fraud. The committee will decide!

Seems Canavan has changed his story to one of ‘citizenship by descent’ because of an Italian law change when he was two, leaving his mum out of it. Roberts may be in bigger trouble, as it appears he did not take action to renounce his citizenship until after the election, having lied about it earlier.

6. Abbott blind drunk on the job

Presumably all the LNP members will stay sober, after Abbott was too drunk to show up for a vote back when Turnbull was leader of the opposition. Then he lied about it, so Wayne Swan had to withdraw the allegation in parliament. Now he’s fessed up to Annabel Crabb. What a dope!

One of the votes he missed was Swan’s big GFC stimulus package.

69 thoughts on “Saturday salon 26/8”

  1. Sorry about the length. I could have made three or four posts out of this, but that’s more work.

    I missed Trump this time.

    He’s had two speeches at what can only be called election rallies.

    In the first, according to Andrew Romano, was according to the script. In the second he started on-script, set it aside, and ranted about the fake media for over 10 minutes.

    This is Trump talking to his base. He seems to need the boost to his ego.

    It was all meant to be about healing- rifts in American society, not in trump’s ego.

    Romano said he was there, and when Trump got into the rant, the faithful got fidgetty and started to play with their phones.

    The generals appear to have gotten their way with Afghanistan, and Turnbull made an “All the way with LBJ” statement, reminiscent of Harold Holt, which he did not need to do.

    History may show the generals are right, but it’s a long road for the American people, the kind of thing Trump promised to avoid.

  2. Did they ignore the income mobility of Mothers and Daughters ?

    Apparently. They also ignored the income mobility of daughters and fathers, and mothers and sons.
    If you think it would have made any difference to the findings you can always contact the good professor.

  3. Thanks zoot, I don’t have a Fairfax subscription to read the AFR story.
    It’s good to know inequality of opportunity is very low comparatively in Australia, as I’ve said in the past [ Bills “War on Inequality ” looks largely like political class warfare, no surprise from him ].

    Here is a work by the same Dude that sort of has the Father/Son vibe but is more about Parent/Offspring.

    I suspect the Father/Son angle is clickbaitish, the humanities students love that sort of thing.

  4. Jumpy, unless you have qualifications in social science research methodology, you should have the humility to refrain from sneering at professionals in the field.

    In other words, you don’t seem to know what you don’t know.

  5. On nominating for parliament, Bernard Keane points out (no doubt pay-walled) that the AEC gives out a form with 7 questions on it. Nominees are asked to pay particular attention to Section 44, which is then quoted in full, with the exhortation that they should consult a lawyer if they need help.

    That’s for a $200,000 a year job in parliament.

    By contrast, Keane says, if you:

    want to claim the age pension (around $20,000 a year for a single person). That’s 94 questions plus declarations over 20 double-column pages, including acknowledging that giving false or misleading information is a serious offence. Plus supporting documentation, of course.

    It gets worse, a lot worse, if you want a Disability Support Pension ($22,000 for a single person).

  6. Brian
    I didn’t ‘ sneer’ at anyone.
    But by your reasoning, we shouldn’t voice opinion at politicians motives unless we have political qualifications.
    That’s just, with the greatest respect, crap.

  7. Here is a work by the same Dude that sort of has the Father/Son vibe but is more about Parent/Offspring.

    Jumpy, your link is to the report the AFR (and Brian) are quoting.

  8. Really ? cool, we’re on the same page.

    How much is Fairfax subscription compared to Murdoch ?
    I don’t have either.

  9. Another political scumbag bites the dust.

    Although I don’t have the same or better political qualifications I hope it’s ok to comment on it.

    Credential elitism be damned.

  10. How much is Fairfax subscription compared to Murdoch ?

    I don’t know. Why don’t you look it up?

    I don’t have either.

    Me too.

  11. Jumpy, the AFR costs me just under a grand a year. I know it’s expensive, but I find a lot of good information there.

    Jumpy, you can have your opinions, but they are not worth much if you are ill-informed.

    You might notice that I did not express an opinion on the worth/validity of the Corak article, in part because I couldn’t read the original paper, but partly because I don’t actually have research skills in sociology.

    You call the article “clickbaitish” which to me is a sneer, yet you adduce it to criticise Bill Shorten.

    I’d call that ‘running off at the mouth’.

  12. …sigh, it’s so tedious having to explain what I said all the time..
    I agreed and accepted the study, well done Corak.
    I ” assumed ” the AFR did what all commercial magazines do and highlight one graph of many to grab attention, so maybe that was sneerish but me not being a qualified journalist doesn’t mean I don’t have eyes can’t recognise common editorial tactics.
    I know you like Shorten but his ” War on Inequality ” is a political angle for votes, not an expression of this Country in some sort of crisis he can fix in any way. The study agreesI believe.

    Have a lovely day.

  13. Brian at 5.05pm

    (Sigh) …… the Pension form……
    Yep, been there, filled that one in.
    Unbelievable detail required.

    The one I remember most, was “If you were born overseas, give ##the date of arrival and the name of the vessel or flight number ”

    My arrival was in early 1950s, just 3 years old. Form filled in more than 50 years later. Just happened to stumble on the datum ## in some old papers my parents just happened to keep……

    A friend told us about a northern European migrant, who emigrated in the 50s or 60s, didn’t have that info, fretted about it for weeks; form nowhere said, “just fill in the bits you know”. Finally, the friend told the migrant he should just submit the form with that question left blank.

    It turned out, in a phone conversation with Canberra, that the Commonwealth records showed precisely, the date of disembarkation, the name of the ship, port of entry.

    That was all known by a govt agency, nonetheless Centrelink’s form demanded a level of personal archive keeping that not even the ATO asks for.

    On a positive note, Centrelink these days seems to have the citizen’s documents, once submitted, scanned and stored so that said citizen doesn’t have to keep showing a document over and over again (as was the case about 10 years ago).

    On a querulous note, their online portal seems to be inconsistent and inefficient.


  14. Mr J at 8.11am.

    I think amelioration is the name of the game, amongst democratic socialists.

    Not the abolition of inequality.
    Reducing poverty and its harmful effects.
    Lowering homelessness and hunger.
    Reducing self-harm, e.g. reducing smoking rates, reducing alcohol dependency, reducing gambling addiction, lowering the number of car crashes, reducing the spread of contagious, harmful diseases, ….

    Note the terms: “reducing”, “lowering”. Not abolition, not elimination.

    Imperfect world, imperfect improvements.

    But improvements nonetheless.

    R. J. Hawke promised (famously) to “abolish child poverty by 1990” (date?). He failed. He was derided. It was an unrealistic promise.

    If he had pledged to reduce child poverty, good for him!!

    But then we must acknowledge that he was raised in a very religious home where (I suppose) idealism reigned above pragmatism.

    {Here endeth the sermon}

  15. Agree with all those objectives Mr A, it’s just the methodologies that differ.

    We both know abolition of self harm is futile and often counterproductive.

  16. Jumpy, so now you are commenting on the AFR’s editorial practice without actually reading it.

    I looked through the Weekend AFR, and there are at least 20 graphs and on most pages 2-4 images other than advertising. They have reduced their staff, like all papers, and buy in a lot of articles which they reprint. However, I think their overall aim, other than staying in business and turning a profit for the newspapers, is to keep subscribers abreast with what is going on in the world which may inform their business decisions.

    If they want to keep people engaged, they do have to present stuff that captures and maintains interest, and present it in an interesting way. I struggle to do the same.

    Anyway, I had intended to include an article on Australia’s international competitiveness, but I couldn’t find it on Friday night. So the Corak thing was second choice, as something to relieve from wall to wall Australian politics, which is hard to ignore.

  17. Jumpy, what does annoy me is providing you with a platform to mouth off about Bill Shorten whenever you feel like it, in a way that reminds of other blogs that trade in smart-arse one-liners.

    I have neither a strong like of dislike for Bill Shorten. It is one of the problems he has. I would have preferred Albo. However, I think Labor has its strongest front bench since the first Hawke government, and Bill has them working well together.

    I think Turnbull out-campaigned him last time until the ‘Mediscare’ which was not Labor’s finest hour, but it seems only one side are allowed to run scare campaigns.

    Turnbull and company seem to be obsessed with the fact that Shorten actually got on with Richard J. Pratt (born Ryszard Przecicki), where if he gets invited to dinner he’s self-evidently a sycophant, whereas Bill obviously has no place moving in Malcolm’s social circles. And that, somehow, disqualifies Bill from being considered a proper person, let alone a politician or even a prime minister.

    If you think inequallity is not a problem, I suggest you read Elisabeth Wynhausen’s Dirt Cheap: Life at the wrong end of the job market, review here, as well as Barbara Ehrenreich ‘s Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America as a change from social science research clickbait.

  18. Correlations with mothers income is more complicated because mothers in better off families can afford to choose whether they work or not while men have been much more inclined to work if they can.
    Correlations based on the education level of women may be far more useful.
    It would also be interesting to see what happens to this correlation as father’s income rises. The pattern might look like this:
    – Very low. Father’s income limits education and family may rarely talk about business or working outside of low income jobs.
    – Low. Family may aspire to get child educated and choose better paid jobs.
    – High. Kids may see downside of constant drive to make more money. May choose subjects that interest rather than providing a basis for good income. May also choose to travel etc. rather than getting on the promotion ladder.
    – Very high; Business conversations important part of growing up. (Think Murdochs and newspapers.) Money avaialable to help child get started in the business world. (Trump’s father chipped in a million $)
    Looks like the biggest influence may be at the very high and very low end of the father’s income scale.

  19. John, I think you are onto something in thinking the biggest influence may be at the very high and very low end of the father’s income scale.

    Barbara Ehrenreich found women living in their cars, working two jobs, still believing in the American dream. She felt, and research has subsequently shown that the bottom one or two per cent are effectively stuck there.

    Back in the 70s and 80s when I did a bit of sociology of education, schooling and the education system were seen as a conduit for social mobility. However, poor people following right through to graduate level was rare. Kids from poor backgrounds who did well in primary school tended to be influenced by their peer group in the teenage years, and often fell of the pace.

    Teaching as a profession can also provide for social mobility up and down. A parson from a poor background can, with application, aspire to become a teacher. Equally the progeny of doctors and lawyers can take up teaching with dignity.

    Ditto with nursing.

    Not so much then, but tradies seem to me to do quite well if they are any good. We’ve just had a painter in, who does good work and works like a demon. His basic charge was $500 a day.

    When I was young, university lecturers were on 1.7 times the average wage, and were sent overseas one year out of seven on ‘furlough’. Now they would be lucky to get an average wage, and most of the work is done by casual staff who get paid by the hour.

  20. John, there is no doubt that parents decisions, both bad and good, have an effect on the outcomes of their children.
    What I don’t see are any legislative or institutional impediments to generational income mobility.
    Maybe there are if we think about employment quotas but that’s all I can think of.
    Brian,if any politician vows to fix things they can’t possibly fix I think they’re fair game if we’re paying for it. Unlike the spending growth that LNP can and said they would address but squibbed on.
    Unless I haven’t made it clear I view all politicians sceptically, even Leyonhjelm the Libertarian.

  21. Jumpy, I don’t see Shorten promising to fix anything completely, just to head in the right direction.

  22. What policies are propose by Shorten to address inequality of outcome or legislation that needs changing to reduce State imposed impediments ?

  23. Jumpy, just about everything on their agenda can go under the rubrik. Just ask Chris Bowen, I’m sure he won’t mind. Or Andrew Leigh, or even Wayne Swan, who wrote a book about it:

    he suggests the fight for a fair society must remain at the core of ALP values. Now, if only more of his Labor mates would see it that way.

    Perchance, now they do.

  24. Heading in the right direction is clearer by far than my word “amelioration”.

    Thank you Brian.

    Abolishing or reducing tax breaks used most commonly by high income earners or very wealthy families is likely to reduce inequality a tad, don’t you think, Mr J?

    Mr Shorten is not promising to abolish inequality. He is pointing out various types of inequality, and what he sees as their detrimental effects. Detrimental “outcomes” if you will.

    Why should he not, Mr J?

  25. In answer Mr A the same question;

    What policies are propose by Shorten to address inequality of outcome or legislation that needs changing to reduce State imposed impediments ?

    Reducing employer capital to give to the unemployed has SFA to do with income mobility.

  26. I misspoke, sorry.
    Reducing employer capital to give to the unemployed is detrimental to income mobility reduction.

  27. Reducing employer capital to give to the unemployed …

    When did employers start distributing their capital to unemployed people? I’m sure they only pay the people they employ (the workers).
    In Australia hasn’t it been the government’s job to pay the unemployed? (A role you seem to disapprove of).
    And while I’m here, why are you asking us about ALP policy? Do we look like the Caucus?
    If you are serious about wanting to know Shorten’s plans ask Shorten. We can’t speak for him.

  28. Apologies Jumpy, your English (even more tortured than mine) misled me. I now realise you meant Governments give employers’ capital to the unemployed. Please ignore my pedantry above.

  29. ‘Income mobility’ as you term it, is not the only way of reducing inequality.

    Case study (econometric, not sociological):

    C and D have their incomes rise from $40k to $80k p.a. Simultaneously, E and F both have their incomes drop from $70k to $30k p.a.

    Plenty of income mobility (the case study looks at ten individuals). Very little reduction in inequality in the group.

  30. Mr J

    Going back to my brief list this morning at 8.56am, I see that it is possible that Governments may be confiscating employers’ capital and using a little of it to provide vaccinations with the purpose of immunising the children of the unemployed.

    I now realise, with your guidance, that this practice is thoroughly unwarranted, socially misguided, and against your principles.

    I think I may have started to understand your world view more clearly.

  31. I think I may have started to understand your world view more clearly.

    Perhaps not, Government has a roll, I’m not an anarchist.

    Your ‘ immunise the poor babies ‘ angle lessens us both dude.
    Tax the rich at any rate you want won’t change vaccination rates.

  32. In fact vaccinations are paid for buy the rich to be provided to all babies [ the ones that dodge abortion death ] which is generally rejected by anti-vaxxers on the left.

    True or not true ?

  33. anti-vaxxers on the left

    address…legislation that needs changing to reduce State imposed impediments ?

    Whatever are you talking about, Jumpy?

  34. Of interest, the Irish have a Minister of State for Equality, Aodhan O Riordain. They must think it’s an issue that the government can do something about.

    Ireland is run by Fine Gael ( English: Family or Tribe of the Irish) which is a liberal-conservative and Christian democratic. Hardly a bunch of socialists.

    Jumpy, Labor wants to keep in place the deficit levy that the Coalition itself brought in, making the highest tax rate 49.5%, compared to the 49% that was in place under the Abbott government.

    The LNP accuses labor of wanting to make the deficit levy permanent. Seems they themselves have no credible plan to bring the budget back into surplus.

  35. Mr J

    It does not demean me to point out that immunisation is both an individual and a social good. That was one of the points of the brief list I wrote out.

    Alcohol addiction can have detrimental health effects for the individual addict; but beyond those, family members can suffer, and in an extreme case the drunk driver can injure or slay a few random strangers. The latter I would class as a social development detriment.

    Many medical costs are carried by the community.

    Society is fairly complicated, all in all.

    Mr Shorten is not promising a utopian fantasy. He is not saying he can “fix” (abolish?) inequality. He seems to believe that govt policies can work to reduce some of its detrimental effects on individuals, families, and groups.

    I am aware that some extreme rulers, self-styled “socialists” claiming to aim for a utopia called “pure communism”, murdered and starved their way to infamy. Basic freedoms were abolished, which meant that genuine observations and criticisms were silenced: a sure path to poor policies, social ills and general tyranny.

    I really can’t see how those disgusting regimes bear any resemblance to the plans and remedies Mr Shorten and his shadow Ministers have been proposing.

    Would you care to explain, Mr Corman?? How does the ALP plan resemble the policies of the long-gone Deutsches Demokratisch Republik??

    (The regime which Bertolt Brecht’s stunning poem of 1953 skewered forever as a fraud.)

  36. Road deaths are, in my view, a social detriment…..

    not sure how “development” slipped in

    Bloody iPad.

  37. On same sex marriage, how is this for logic from Mr Abbott?

    “The best way for standing up for traditional values, [if you], don’t like the direction our country is headed right now is to get that ballot paper out and vote no,” Abbott, apparently thriving on the chaos he has wrought, told radio 2GB.

  38. BTW

    I can’t agree that anti-vaccination parents are “left wing”.

    Idiocy transcends political colouration.


    But seeing the world in left/right terms also constricts the intellect, leading to strange judgements and inaccuracy, I suggest.


  39. Lawyers for asylum seekers are “un-Australian” says Mr Dutton.

    I bet some of them have NZ dual nationality too, eh?

    And a fair few would have reffo parents.

    The House Unaustralian Activities Committee will meet soon but proceedings will be in camera, dealing as it does with operational and off shore matters.

    P. Dutton
    Senior Sergeant
    Canberra Coppers

    “Always on the Beat”

  40. Down in the polls?
    Had a bad week?
    High Court taking its bloody time?

    Kick a reffo!!!

  41. That’s about the size of it, Ambi.

    Shorten was flushed out, showing some compassion, so Dutton “pounced” according to the ABC.

    So Dutton gets two at once, kick a reffo and kill Bill at the same time.

  42. I can’t agree that anti-vaccination parents are “left wing”.

    Idiocy transcends political colouration.

    Just match immunisation rates with elected representatives, Local, State and Federal.

  43. In case Jumpy’s narcissism is triggered, that comment was adding to Brian’s at 8:13 pm.

  44. Actually,
    AUGUST 28, 2017 AT 6:13 PM not 8:13 pm.
    I’ll ignore the narcissism insult.

  45. Just match immunisation rates with elected representatives, Local, State and Federal.

    I must be thick, I have no idea what you are on about, but I’m noit going to do as you ask, because I can’t see how one relates to the other in any significant way.

  46. Just match immunisation rates with elected representatives,

    The interactive map in this report seems to indicate that Tony Abbott was elected largely by people who are vaccine averse.
    Is that what Jumpy was getting at?

  47. Some of my friends in Victoria are completely uninterested in Australian Rules Football. Yet I have never considered them to be “un-Australian”.

    Am I foolish?
    Please advise, Senator McCarthy.

    Vaccination is an interesting medical and scientific topic. We do well to understand the concept of “herd immunity”: the larger the proportion of a population that is vaccinated, the lower the chance of an infection spreading. Basically, the infection agents keep hitting “brick walls” as they encounter individuals who don’t transmit.

    Vaccination: an individual and social good.
    Brought to you by Society (TM)*

    * helping folk for millennia
    * and happy to do so

  48. Hi Brian, sorry for being off topic in this thread, but have you seen this article by Michael Mann about Tropical Storm Harvey and climate change

    I can’t remember if you’ve written about this before but it seems climate scientists are getting ever better about understanding how extreme weather events are linked to climate change.

    Reminiscent of the big Queensland floods a few years back, isn’t it, especially for all you in Qld. Not as large an area of Texas I think (?), but a very large population.

  49. Mr Mark Kenny in Fairfax agrees with Brian.

    Any deport in a storm: Malcolm Turnbull’s search for a distraction.

  50. Val, thanks, I hadn’t seen that one yet. I’m dragging the chain on climate stuff beyond electricity/renewables here in Oz, but the comment is apposite. I think it was around 2011 when we had giant floods in SW Qld, sufficient along with some in Brazil to affect sea level. Cyclone Debbie last year dumped a metre of rain over an extensive area.

    From memory.

    However, I think you’ll find that Qld is significantly larger than Texas, but the population of Texas is larger than Australia’s. On the radio I heard 13 million affected by floods.

  51. Sorry Brian, I can’t reply for a while.
    The Stasi just visited and I’ll be off to re-education camp this afternoon.
    Last message from Viktoriein Demokratisches Republik, under the heel of Erich Honecker Daniel Andrews.

    Ost Viktoria
    Immer Freiheit Mit Onkel Karl Marx

  52. Quote
    “The violent actions of people calling themselves antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.”

    Nancy Pelosi 2017

  53. Quote
    “The violent actions of people calling themselves antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.”

    Nancy Pelosi 2017

    And … ?

  54. Yep, the High Court ruled against Wee Willy Wilke.
    Haven’t seen the question to be asked though.
    If it’s ” Should Government be able to discriminate on marriage based on gender ? “, then I’m a NO.
    If it’s ” Should Government treat all relationships equal ?, then I’m a YES.

    Funny thing is a lot of folk have decided either yes or no without knowing the question, perhaps on political partisanship.

    My question would be ” Is marriage any of Governments bloody business ?

  55. Closer to the decision point, I was thinking it might go the way it did.

    I think the Government made a reasonable case that at the time of the budget the expenditure was unforeseen.

    On the matter of urgency, I think there is a reluctance on the part of the court to intervene in the government process. So if the government says it’s urgent who are they to disagree, even if the government is being stupid?

    Jumpy, in a marriage important rights and responsibilities are formalised, which in law take precedence over the wishes of the rest of the family. Too many times same sex partners have been excluded from the hospital room of a dying partner by a hostile family, then excluded from funerals etc.

    There are all sorts of other examples I could quote. However, the nuclear family is an established legal entity, and last time I checked, laws are made by governments.

  56. If the LNP right believes that marriage is all about raising children properly they should take this idea to its logical conclusion and ban all marriages that will not produce children. Perhaps the child has to be born and the child tested for paternity before the marriage is allowed?

  57. Congratulations to Mrs Connie Johnson on receiving the Medal of the Order of Australia in Canberra from the Governor-General.

    One so brave and joyful can inspire awe and save the lives of others.


  58. Jumpy, in a marriage important rights and responsibilities are formalised, which in law take precedence over the wishes of the rest of the family.

    Family Law already confers parallel rights to de facto relationships be they same gender or not.

    Too many times same sex partners have been excluded from the hospital room of a dying partner by a hostile family, then excluded from funerals etc.

    That is terribly but obviously we can’t legislate people not have hostile attitudes.

  59. obviously we can’t legislate people not have hostile attitudes.

    Obviously not, Jumpy, but we have a case where in a civilised society a good government should legislate to protect the rights of a minority group. It means that people can have hostile attitudes but the cannot turn these attitudes into harmful actions without penalty.

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