Saturday salon 2/9

1. Peter Dutton did something useful

He banned Kent Heckenlively, the world’s ‘No 1 anti-vaxxer’, from visiting Australia for a lecture tour in December.

He said “it’s not in our national interest that he should come here.”

Free speech advocates may complain, but seriously, people can die from this madness.

2. Barnaby Joyce on statues

Here’s Barnaby from the Oz (pay-walled):

“There were people living in Australia before Captain Cook turned up,” he said. “We have got to respect that, we have to respect their culture.”

Mr Joyce said we could not change what happened in terms of white settlement of Australia, and should be proud of what Australia has become.

“What happened happened,” he said. “Ultimately, Australia has turned into a good country, a decent country, we should be proud of the country we have got and not starting some sort of revisionist process of tearing down statues and changing days.

“We can expand how they are seen, celebrated. I don’t think anybody has a problem with that. “But if you say we are going to go on a social engineering exercise, all you’ll do is get everybody offside.

Some good sense there, except I haven’t heard anyone wanting to tear down statues. I’ve heard people wanting to add to the story. For example, here’s Robert Towns’ gravestone atop Castle Hill in Townsville:

Somewhere thereabouts you’d also want to know the full story of Robert Towns (c. 1794 – 11 April 1873) who:

    was a businessman, pastoralist, and founder of Townsville, Queensland. Much of his success came from blackbirding, the practise of coercing and kidnapping South Sea Islanders as slave labourers.[1]

All this started with a thoughtful piece by Stan Grant – Between catastrophe and survival: The real journey Captain Cook set us on. Grant sees three great movements of people in our history, the first wave possibly over 60,000 years ago, the second wave of the Brits from 1788, and the third wave from many lands, especially after WW2. He is challenging the notion of Cook’s “discovery” and the idea of terra nullius which he says is deeply embedded and still there.

One thing it has flushed out is a number of place names in Queensland’s north still using the N***** word.

3. Milking blood

The Four Corners episode Blood Business: the lucrative international trade in blood and plasma was just awful.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with blood being gathered in one country, made into specialised blood plasma products and used elsewhere in the world. Nor is there anything intrinsically wrong about paying donors compensation.

However, what we have here is a busted town (Cleveland Ohio) with citizens exposed to a busted welfare system, selling their blood twice a week so that they can stay alive with food, shelter, clothing and a TV.

The Australian company CSL, one of four major players in the business, has issued a statement saying parts of the documentary were false, irresponsible and disrespectful. CSL was not the company the program makers entered with hidden cameras, but CSL has a collection facility in Cleveland, and the implication was that they all do it the same way.

The Australian Department of Health has issued a statement assuring us of quality assurance in the blood products we use here.

There was a statement that donors could be lying about their health and what they’d been up to as it was only a screen form where they had to tick the boxes.

It still seems to me that to collect blood twice a week from people who are economically marginalised is problematic.

4. How the rich avoid tax

They say for the really wealthy paying tax is voluntary. My wife drew my attention to an article in the AFR recently, but I lost it. Googling yielded a host of articles, for example in The New Daily and the Business Insider.

One of the favourites is to use a family trust (or “discretionary” trust, in official lingo) if you run a small business or as a tradie. Earnings in the trust must be distributed to nominated beneficiaries, who then include the income in their own tax return. It’s an accounting technicality, money does not need to change hands.

Labor has cause a stir with a plan to impose a flat rate of 30%, which, apparently, will stop the economy dead in its tracks according to some. Huffpost headlined Labor’s ‘bold $17 billion plan’, the Guardian highlighted the LNP’s ‘tax grab’ line.

The $17 billion was over 10 years. $1.7 billion a year is hardly big and bold. The point of the AFR article was that it would take the tax accountants of the really rich about 10 minutes to find another way.

43 thoughts on “Saturday salon 2/9”

  1. Eloquent yes,
    Accurate ?

    He does realise the Government has the single biggest income in the Country right ?
    Or that ” In the absence of taxes and other government interventions” is anarchy with no property rights?
    Or the concept of incentive/ disincentive ?

    Looks like piffle to me but a good insight into ” trickle up ” thinkers.

    Thanks zoot.

  2. Brian

    The N***** word is shocking. Down here at Garfield North we have Mount Cannibal, and Cannibal Creek. There is a very pleasant flora and fauna reserve at Mount C*******.

    As far as I know, no cannibals have ever lived in the district.

    Perhaps a map-maker misheard the word “cannonball”?


  3. Why is cannibal offensive for a place name ?

    No idea.

    Would you invite a few over to your place and chuck yourself on the barbie?

  4. Oops!

    In case anyone was offended, in using the term “barbie” I was NOT referring to Klaus Barbie, “The Butcher of Lyon”.

  5. Jumpy, are you defending trickle down economics?

    I think Quiggin meant “Apart from taxes and other government interventions…”, rather than “In the absence of …”

    So what do you say to this?

    The empirical evidence, which was in dispute for a long time, is now clear-cut, at least for the United States. Decades of pro-rich policies have, unsurprisingly, made the rich much richer. Contrary to the predictions trickle down theory, the result has been to reduce, rather than increase, the productivity and dynamism of the economy. The combination of slower growth and increased inequality implies, as a matter of arithmetic, that the majority of the population must be worse off.

  6. I was going to include an item about Prof George Williams saying that the High Court, in his opinion, will most likely throw out the same sex marriage survey. In his view the government could only make an advance of $122 million without legislative approval in circumstances “where there is an urgent need for spending and the situation was unforeseen.

    We should know next week.

    Also he would be “surprised” if the High Court upheld Barnaby Joyce’s claim on citizenship.

  7. Here’s the SMH with Turnbull going bust on both issues according to Prof Williams.

    And here’s who supports same sex marriage:


    non-heterosexual (gay/lesbian, bisexual) people;

    younger people;

    people with degree-level or year 12 as their highest educational qualifications (compared to lower than year 12, or a professional qualification);

    non-religious people;

    people born in Australia or an English-speaking country (compared to people born in a non-English-speaking country);

    people with higher incomes; and

    people living in major cities (compared to those living in regional/remote areas).

  8. He does realise the Government has the single biggest income in the Country right ?
    Or that ” In the absence of taxes and other government interventions” is anarchy with no property rights?
    Or the concept of incentive/ disincentive ?

    Surely these are questions you should be addressing to Professor Quiggin.
    If, as you say, his post is piffle you have an intellectual obligation to set him straight. As an academic he will thank you for it.

  9. To continue the minor digression, I recommend the historical perspective on cannibalism provided by Professors Swann and Flanders, in their seminar “The Reluctant Cannibal”.

    An audio recording was made.
    Some undergraduate has added an inconsequential video of doubtful relevance; nonetheless the document is available for perusal through the international multidisciplinary journal You Tube [Acta Feliniae].

    Readers will perhaps forgive the typographical error which mars the article; it appears as “The Reluctant Cannibals”. The plural is entirely incorrect.

    The seminar provides valuable contextualisation of changing mores.

  10. The other, quite seminal work, is of course “A Modest Proposal” by Dean Swift.

    Of course, being a cleric meant that the Dean was not able to express himself quite as clearly as one might wish, but his arguments are still cogent.

    Note to self: ask the economists at the Think Tank to check and update the Dean’s data.

    My erstwhile colleague had urged me not to mention this particular policy paper, “lest it should give anyone ideas”.

    But we must be as open, transparent, accountable, innovative, and disruptive as possible these days, wouldn’t one agree?

    Ambiguous, B. Con.
    Director, Blue Sky Institute
    Finance and Abbatoir Division
    European Economic Transformation Partnership

  11. Thanks, Jumpy. My wife shouted me to a show yesterday, and have young son coming around tonight.

    Others out of town, as with many families these days.

  12. Thanks Jumpy, for your Fathers day wishes, I’ll extend my Best Wishes to all here as well.

    I confess to have been a bit obsessed with Trump, but find myself getting a bit bored. Perhaps widespread boredom/indifference will affect the fate of the very strange Mr. Trump.
    I did hear a comment yesterday however, that directed attention to the fact that since Trump has demonstrated that he won’t be changing his style or competence any time soon, it is time to look at the people who are allowing him to continue his very questionable presidency. I guess that means holding those people accountable for not placing Trump on a leash, or showing him the door.

  13. Geoff, I think they are finding that he simply will not be controlled, so he breaks out from the script and continues to tweet.

    But realistically, is there a case for impeachment?

  14. But realistically, is there a case for impeachment?

    You need a conviction by the HoR of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours ” and a two third conviction by Congress.
    Can’t see it yet.

  15. By Fathers Day next year I’ll be a Grandad [ exclamation point button not working, please insert three 🙂 ]

  16. Case for impeachment? Not yet but Mueller may reveal one. Then the question is if it will actually happen.
    I think it is possible but more unlikely than likely.

    It should dawn upon the GOP that their chances of re-election may be diminished if they allow Trump to continue his rampage. Sadly, there seems to be elements in the elected people and in the population at large that believe Trump is good for the world.
    Here are a few of Trumps quotes:

  17. Jumpy “By Fathers Day next year I’ll be a Grandad “. Good for you but it’s 12 months to the next Fathers Day and only nine months for human gestation. That suggests that conception has yet to occur. One study looked at couples who had intercourse when they considered themselves most fertile, and,
    38 percent were pregnant after 1 month.
    68 percent were pregnant after 3 months.
    81 percent were pregnant after 6 months.
    92 percent were pregnant after 12 months.

    Maybe I just misunderstood, but there seems to be room for uncertainty in those figures. Or baby is already on the way and is expected before Sept3 2018.

  18. Geoff, there’s a little person in a belly right now.
    My wife has of course gone nuts with presents for the little tacker.
    I can also see a very noticeable maturing of my Son and my Daughter [ not in Law but in family ]
    February is the expected time of birth.

  19. Selective recording of history can be just as bad, if not worse than eliminating historical records or pulling down statures.
    When I asked my American son what his take on the removal of the Confederation statues, while he is not in favour of their removal, he pointed out that that the monuments were erected decades after the end of the Civil War as

    testimonies to white supremacy in all its various manifestations: segregation, disenfranchisement, lynching, peonage, and second-class citizenship across the board.

    He also pointed out that

    the monuments were not merely commemorative. They were designed to conceal a past that their designers wanted to suppress. That past was the period after Reconstruction and before Jim Crow, years in which African Americans in the former Confederacy exercised political power, ran for public office, published newspapers, marched as militias, ran businesses, organized voluntary associations, built schools and churches: a time, in other words, when they participated as full members of society.

    These statues were installed many years after the civil war and were part of a campaign by the very racist Democrat party to help people forget that.
    In particular these statures were part of a campaign to eliminate the memory of General Mahone, A genral who was one of Robert E Lee’s most capable of deputies. The campaign included things like leaving him out of pictures of “Lee and his Generals.”

    Senator William Mahone was one of the most maligned political leaders in post-Civil War America. He was also one of the most capable. Compared to the Roman traitor Cataline (by Virginia Democrats), to Moses (by African American congressman John Mercer Langston), and to Napoleon (by himself), Mahone organized and led the most successful interracial political alliance in the post-emancipation South. Mahone’s Readjuster Party, an independent coalition of black and white Republicans and white Democrats that was named for its policy of downwardly “readjusting” Virginia’s state debt, governed the state from 1879 to 1883.
    During this period, a Readjuster governor occupied the statehouse, two Readjusters represented Virginia in the United States Senate, and Readjusters represented six of Virginia’s ten congressional districts. Under Mahone’s leadership, his coalition controlled the state legislature and the courts, and held and distributed the state’s many coveted federal offices. A black-majority party, the Readjusters legitimated and promoted African American citizenship and political power by supporting black suffrage, office-holding, and jury service. To a degree previously unseen in Virginia, and unmatched anywhere else in the nineteenth-century South, the Readjusters became an institutional force for the protection and advancement of black rights and interests.

    At the state level, the Readjusters separated payment of the school tax from the suffrage, thereby enfranchising thousands of Virginia’s poorest voters. They restored and reinvigorated public education in the state, and they lowered real estate and personal property taxes. They banned the chain gang and the whipping post. At the municipal level, Readjuster governments paved streets, added sidewalks, and modernized water systems.

    The Readjusters lost power in 1883 through a Democratic campaign of violence, electoral fraud, and appeals to white solidarity. While Democrats suppressed progressive politics in the state, other groups of elite white Virginians worked fast to eradicate the memory of Virginia’s experiment in interracial democracy. These were mutually reinforcing projects. Convinced that black enfranchisement was “the greatest curse that ever befell this country,” members of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA), founded in 1889, equated the Readjuster’ rule with “mobocracy” and called for radical pruning of the electorate. After 1900, William Mahone was characterized by whites in Virginia as a demagogic race traitor with autocratic tendencies. This representation was so powerful that as late as the 1940s the worst charge that could be brought against an anti-Democratic opposition candidate was that he had been associated with Mahone and the Readjusters.

    The above is a fascinating piece of US history that I had heard nothing about before because of the effectiveness of the memory suppression.
    It is a reminder that we need to look carefully to the distortions of the past and, where appropriate, erect monuments etc to balance memories of the past.
    Perhaps we should erect a monument of Bennalong, the discoverer of England next to Cook to put the labeling of Cook as a “discoverer” in context.

  20. Some of my missionary friends reported that the aborigines they knew tended to report that neither they of their immediate neighbours were cannibals but that cannibalism was practiced by people who lived much further away.

  21. Certainly a good story to tell the younger kids in the hope they might not wander off, John.

  22. N Korea tests H bomb? Early reports say it was 5 to 6 times more powerful than their last N bomb test.

    I don’t want to sound like Pollyanna, but that doesn’t seem powerful enough to have been thermonuclear.

    A bomb kilotons.
    H bomb megatons.

    At least that was the rule of thumb back in the good old 60s.

    Happy Fathers’ Day to all dads.
    Hope your son’s pregnancy goes well Mr J.

  23. Perhaps we should erect a monument of Bennalong, the discoverer of England next to Cook to put the labeling of Cook as a “discoverer” in context.

    I’d be down with a Bennelong Monument next to Cook.
    The ” discover ” thang is different, Cook was tasked with more a scientific exploration, Venus transit, mapping, botany , theory of a great southern continent bla bla.
    Bennelong was given a guided tour of England and was probably the first Australian to read and write the English language.
    A Monument to Woollarawarre Bennelong as the first close the gapper is long overdue.

  24. Thanks, John, I didn’t know any of that stuff either.

    There are a few things named after Bennelong already. I’d be happy to leave it to the locals as to what to do, but I think there is general agreement that we need to do more, and there are more people who should be recognised.

    I think it was my wife’s great grandmother on her father’s side who was a Dangar, as in Henry Dangar, who was famous for his efforts to pervert the course of justice in the Myall Creek massacre trial, amongst other things. We have him remembered by Dangar Island and other place names.

    We could have a bit less of him and a bit more of John Plunkett:

    Later in 1836 Plunkett was associated with Governor Richard Bourke in bringing about a new church and schools act.[3] He was determined to establish equality before the law, first by extending jury rights to emancipists and he then extended legal protections to convicts and assigned servants. Finally Plunkett attempted to legally protect aboriginals, and twice charged the perpetrators of the Myall Creek massacre with murder. The first trial resulted in acquittal on a technical point; however the second resulted in a conviction.[1] Plunkett’s Church Act of 1836 disestablished the Church of England and established legal equality between Anglicans, Catholics, Presbyterians and later Methodists.[1]

  25. Guardian UK story on N Korea test estimates explosive force at 100 kilotons.

    Hiroshima, Nagasaki fission explosions 15, 20 kilotons approximately.

    H bomb?
    Too early to say. Telltale emissions of neon isotopes might not be detected if no leakage from an underground test.

  26. The USA reaction will be interesting to understate a tad. NK has not blinked notwithstanding the world condemnation and threats from the US.
    The POTUS has a lot of pots on the stove and has demonstrated that his talent for managing the kitchen is flawed. He also seems to be drifting towards a very awkward moment when Mueller reports. How then, given the pressure on Trump and concerned Republicans will the US react? It makes me uncomfortable.

    Perhaps China will take a firm stand and prevail over NK’s ambitions. Or the US could just admit defeat in this round and set NK a new limen that if exceeded would attract very dire consequences. If there was meaningful world authority to support that concept it might be a good option. It also lightens the US image of big bully.
    That may seem to offer a path forward for other nuclear aspirants but hopefully that could be managed – although tactics to curtail proliferation have not met with total success.

  27. An idle thought: what if NK allowed China to take it over? ‘Not sure how that would happen but it would certainly change the geopolitical landscape.

  28. I’ve just heard a quote that rather than give up his ‘republic’ he would “destroy the world” which includes China.

  29. Hmmm what next then? Any detail on that Brian?

    The divine dear leader might be inviting Mossard into his realm if he keeps up that rhetoric.

  30. Hi again.

    I hope the planners are looking at a whole lot of non-nuclear options.
    e.g. coup in Pyongyang
    Kim offered asylum in Antarctica, UN Trust Territory administered by China with massive food lift to all N Koreans who stay put,
    selective bomb targeting Kim’s bunker only
    selective shock and awe levelling of ten prominent govt buildings in Pyongyang.
    Hacking NKorea State TV and showing 24 hour SKorean pop music for 7 days; total surrender of DPRK plus a whole generation of uppity scowling teenagers created in N Korea.
    Send AFL team on goodwill visit to Pyongyang; reader may nominate preferred team.

    I’m assuming the US and S Korea can shoot down any N Korean missiles deemed threatening.

    That can’t prevent N Korea sending conventional artillery barrage across border.

    I think Kim is cornered. A dangerous moment for all. But Israel destroyed a nuclear reactor (Iraq?) with conventional bombs.

    A nuclear threat does NOT need to be met by a nuclear explosion. That’s just old-fashioned Cold War thinking.


    PS may we all live to see another Fathers Day

  31. That can’t prevent N Korea sending conventional artillery barrage across border.

    Which in the long run is the ace up the sleeve. Seoul is the world’s 16th largest city:

    The Seoul Capital Area houses about half of the country’s population of 51.44 million people with 678,102 international residents.

  32. On the citizenship thing, Bill Shorten has tabled his renunciation of British citizenship in parliament, so the Turnbull should be liberated to talk about something else.

    Guy Rundle has uncovered a new one in Crikey.

    Seems Mark Dreyfus, Josh Frydenberg and Michael Danby are all Jews, who as such have a right to become Israeli citizens should they so choose. “Eligibility” is the issue.

    Rundle reckons it would be politically difficult for any of the three to renounce this right, given the ethnic composition of their constituencies.

  33. I’ll leave the Jewish angle [ religious or/and racial ] alone for now.
    But I will note that Bills renouncement was accepted on the twenty sixth of June 2006, he was preselected twenty eighth of February 2006.
    He was ineligible to be preselected, despite ALPs claims their vetting is infallible [ no need to look here BS ], and should refer himself to the High Court in the interest of clarity.

  34. Jumpy, you are showing your anti-Bill prejudice. No-one gives a flying f**** when he was preselected, it’s when he was elected that counts. Was there an election in 2006 between February and June?

  35. Here’s a piece from George Williams on the High Court case about the same-sex ‘survey’.

    Looks open and shut to me, but then I have a simplistic view that words should mean what they say, especially in law that matters, constitutions and such. Otherwise why bother making laws if they can be interpreted any old way as a matter of convenience.

  36. He was ineligible to run at the time of preselection bringing ALPs vetting into question.
    Section 44 doesn’t specify ” Election Day “.
    Best to let The High Court sort it out.

    And your pro-Bill prejudice is showing Brian by assigning motives on others that scrutinise him.

  37. Jumpy, that’s weaker than your usual standard.

    Section 44 concerns:

    Any person who –

    (i.) Is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power: or…

    shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

    The election was not held until 2007. The ALP was vetting candidates who were preselected, well ahead of time, not wasting their effort on any possible person who may be up for preselection.

    The campaign about Bill was part of their ‘kill Bill’ strategy, and was more pathetic than usual.

  38. A hopeful sign: US rep at Security Council says NKorea is “begging for war”.

    The inference I draw is that S Korea, US, Japan may hold back and deny Mr Kim that which he begs for.

    (Analogy: desperate, unbalanced man appears in a public place with a weapon, threatens…… is shot by police who are responding to the threats…… sometimes seen as “suicide by police shooting”. How much better to call an ambulance and somehow get the bloke humanely treated?)

    Mr Kim is different of course.
    Holed up with plenty of bodyguards, bunkers, etc.

    But he has been rather indiscriminate in his elimination of real or imagined internal “enemies”. At what point do his esteemed colleagues decide that enough, really dear chap, is enough?

    To stand back, not give him the war he wants, stand firm against his threats but not follow tit by tat, would be a nerve-wracking and difficult course. But I can’t see any fundamental reason it shouldn’t work.

    Assuming of course he doesn’t start shelling Seoul.
    Assuming his missiles can ALL be shot down if required.

    If I may be permitted a moment of humour….
    [old joke warning]

    Masochist to Sadist: “Hit me!”
    Sadist replies, “No!”


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