1. The sad case of Carolyn Flanagan
- Carolyn Flanagan was like any mum – all she wanted to do was to help her daughter with a loan to buy a business.
“I’d have signed anything for her, love,” she told counsel assisting the banking royal commission, Michael Hodge, QC. “If you can’t help your children, who can you help?”
That wasn’t exactly what Michael Hodge QC wanted to hear from the elderly lady who went guarantor for $165,000 for her daughter in 2010 to invest in a business that went bust. Westpac demanded her Sydney house with vacant possession, so they could get their money back. That was in 2014.
With Legal Aid she challenged the decision, but the Financial Services Ombudsman upheld the Westpac claim. Legal aid then escalated the case with the bank, who came to an arrangement where the bank has an stake in the house, the interest is paid and she is allowed to stay.
Here are some links:
- James Thompson, AFR – A parent’s pain exposed at the banking royal commission
- Stephanie Chalmers, ABC-Banking royal commission: Westpac sought to evict pensioner after daughter’s business failed
- Michael Pascoe, The New Daily – The new Nanny State, where your banker is your keeper
- Michael Janda, ABC – Banking royal commission: How do you protect parents who are going guarantor without killing small business?
- Frank Chung, new.com.au – ‘If you can’t help your children, who can you help?’: Elderly guarantor loses home to Westpac
- James Thompson, AFR – Banking royal commission lays bare messy worlds of small business and family
Seems small business is messy. Loans for $100,000 or so cannot receive the same due diligence as loans for $100 million. Westpac’s role was OK it seems, though more complete notes would have been helpful. However, to me the final decision could have been the default decision, rendering legal intervention unnecessary. There are concerns that the Westpac official would have been incentivised to approve loans, which are inherently safe as a house for the bank.
The case is complicated because Flanagan, even back in 2010 was legally blind. Now her health is significantly worse, and has a bad memory. However, if the bank had refused the loan it could have been accused of discrimination, ageism, or whatever.
I don’t know the loan rates, but $165,000 at 6% would cost about $10,000 in interest rates. If the Sydney house was worth say $750,000 in 2014, the interest would be about 1.5% of the capital. There seems every reason why Ms Flanagan and Westpac could have proceeded together in harmony.
2. Harvey Weinstein charged with rape, sex abuse
- Weinstein, 66, was charged with rape, criminal sex act, sexual abuse and sexual misconduct for cases involving two women. “This defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually,” the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Joan llluzzi, said as she read the charges in New York Criminal Court.
The charges are serious:
- Weinstein was charged with three felonies – rape in the first degree, rape in the third degree and a criminal sexual act in the first degree – “for forcible sexual acts against two women in 2013 and 2004, respectively,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.’s office said on Friday morning.
Problem is that it takes a brave woman to take on a case such as this. She can expect to have her reputation trashed by the defence lawyers.
One way or another though, he’s gone, he will never be the threat he was.
In many other cases, the matter is less clear. Staying away from local Australian cases before the courts, the case of Garrison Keillor, a radio star, is complex.
The complaint was made by a man, a close working associate, on behalf of a woman. Seems that the complaint can be like an assassination for the target. A complaint is made, the man’s career is gone.
Tarana Burke, who invented #Me Too all those years ago says celebrity cases were necessary for the issue to cut through. It has opened a moment for conversation and action. Sufferers of sexual trauma need support and practices all to common need to change.
There is much more to be said on this. Many have had to reconsider whether what they were doing was acceptable. And laws too. We learnt this week that in Queensland unless a woman overtly resists, consent may be assumed. Whether she is in fear of her life, or drunk can then be irrelevant. In Tasmania, by contrast, consent must be explicit.
Harvey W, however, will be consigned to the dustbin of history.
3. The soap opera continues in Trump-land
Last week the summit with North Korea was on, off, then perhaps on again.
Trump’s grammar skills have been graded an ‘F’ on social media, with users making fun of the letter he wrote to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Robert de Niro banned Trump from all his restaurants, including the one in Perth.
The most important event, however, was that Trump ordered Justice Department to investigate FBI:
- In a series of tweets posted on Sunday, US President Donald Trump attacked the FBI’s Russia probe and announced that he would demand that the Justice Department investigate a possible FBI infiltration of his presidential campaign.
Trump also wants to know if the supposed infiltration was ordered by President Barack Obama’s administration.
Bruce Shapiro told Phillip Adams that the head of Justice, wanting to keep his job, complied, which was unprecedented and outrageous.
Vox asked eight law professors whether the move was legal. As such, possibly, although it appeared to constitute:
an unprecedented attack by a sitting president on the law enforcement apparatus of his own administration.
Every American school student now undergoes training drill on what to do if subjected to a hail of bullets from a mass murderer, now almost a weekly event in the USA. Shapiro reports that young people are lining up in droves signing up to vote.
Many of the potential Democrat candidates for the next presidential election are proposing economic measures based on the Scandinavian model. Measures that do something tangible for those on the fringe or left behind.
Trump may precipitate change that matters.
69 thoughts on “Saturday salon 26/5”
It is outrageous that Trump is trying to shut down the Mueller investigation.
It is equally outrageous to be challenging Trump’s right to eruest an investigation of the FBI’s actions.
We need checks and balances both ways. In the US and Aus.
Apparently part of the Justice Department’s core role is to monitor the FBI. For Trump to order a special investigation into an inquiry that is investigating him is tantamount to war.
‘Balance’, but of what kind?
I was going to do another segment on the local scene based on three explosions.
First, West Australian MP Andrew Hastie has thrown a stick of dynamite into the government’s efforts to improve its “tense” relationship with China, naming Australian-Chinese businessman Chau Chak Wing as an unindicted co-conspirator, “CC-3” in a US bribery case.
Hastie is no ordinary back-bencher, he heads the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS).
Second, Pauline Hanson blew up the government’s corporate tax cut plan:
Third, by selecting 28 July for the five bi-elections, the Speaker (hands up who thinks he acted independently) blew up the Labor Party conference. There were flight, accommodation and venue bookings for 2000 people.
There is a good chance now that it won’t occur before the next election.
What, a 22% corporate tax rate and 25% GST ?
No, revolutionary things like access to medical services and university education for all.
And a job for all, doing stuff that is useful to the public and paid for by the govt, if the can’t get a toe-hold in the private economy.
Putting a roof over people’s head and tucker on the table. Stuff like that.
Australia has that. Who is refused that access ?
Firstly, doing useful stuff for the public is paid for by the public, not the government. The government has no money.
Secondly, the Scandinavian Countries have no mandated minimum wage which is proven, time and again, to be a major barrier to getting a toe hold in the workforce.
Should we abolish the federal minimum wage laws like them ?
My 5 most direct neighbors are houseoes on wealfare, we have that too.
Other than the extreme income tax I’m beginning to see the upsides of the Scandinavian economic model of which you first mentioned but have now switched to social issues.
How is this relevant to your first comment? You quoted
Have we somehow joined the USA while I wasn’t looking?
Yeah, that may be my bad, sorry. :/
I was thinking Brian was spouting the Scandinavian model like John does for here.
Obviously he wasn’t so that whole discussion is nipped in the bud, thanks.
But I’m open to it if anyone else is. 🙂
Just for perspective though, the combined population of Denmark, Sweden and Norway is about the same as Florida. Just sayin…
Jump, I was just saying what Bruce Shapiro said, and he saw a mood for change.
One good indicator of how a society is going is whether they get enough to eat.
One in 6 Americans face hunger, that is they are “food insecure”.
For children it is 1 in 5, for African-Americans and Latinos, it’s 1 in 3.
In the wealthiest nation on the globe?
Very little correlation then, between Gross Domestic Product and general social well-being.
Why is it so???
Or are they in fact the most indebted nation in the world?
There are two very noticeable features of the US situation that come to mind. Large and growing inequality, and a broken safety net.
1 in 3 are obese too.
Must be no correlation between obesity and food.
Heard of “junk food” Jump?
It’s the food you’re having when you’re not getting nutrition.
zoot: you’re correct, a nation can be physically wealthy and very indebted.
There was a bloke hereabouts who used to decry the use of GDP as a measure of national production.
Whatever measure is used to class USA as “the most wealthy nation” must be flawed.
I reckon the flaws are many.
And plenty of folk are recognising the imperfections of “GDP”, “GNP”, “per capita income”, “trade deficit”, “interest rates”, “Stock exchange indices” as useful measures of wealth, let alone satisfaction and happiness.
“Most liveable cities” index has its crtics, but it’s an attempt to broaden out beyond GDP and straight $$.
And measures of dysfunction: youth unemployment, welfare dependency, the ‘poverty line’, welfare ‘poverty traps’, infant mortality, suicide rates…. have their flaws but are worth discussing.
Just a quick follow-up to 3.43pm.
It’s remarkable, Jump.
Apparently the synthetic “junk food” is made available to the general public, including growing kiddies, in main streets and shopping centres.
They’ve got it all worked out: the producers actually have arranged that people pay to eat the stuff. Yet it can do them harm. Amazing.
Capitalism at its most brilliant.
Apparently, they make it look, smell and taste just like real food (nutritious, healthy) and besides it’s delicious!!
Quite remarkable in its cunning, this.
And they employ thousands of teenagers in the shops, so their parents will be grateful for some extra family income and getting Bradlee or Skye-Jaye out of their hair for a few hours.
Then, they get the taxpayers (through Medicare, hospital funding) to pick up the tab when the malnourished customers come down with medical, dental problems.
You have to hand it to them*.
* your cash, I mean.
I’m told you can invest in this gold mine.
Buy Junk Bonds today, folks!!
It’s more of a cultural thing I’d say.
Oxfam has the US as being very affordable, good quality and abundant in food.
I’d save my concerns for African folk..
Geez Mr A, evil Capitalism must really dominate in Tonga ,Samoa, Nauru and Kuwait !!
Agreed that malnutrition is very, very severe and widespread in many parts of Africa.
Add Bangla Desh, Pakistan, Mongolia, parts of India and China; Cambodia, Tibet, Nepal, Myanmar, then swing across to Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, other parts of S. America; Central America, Mexico.
Indonesia, Thailand, some Pacific islands.
Helluva problem Jump!
Jump at 4.31pm.
OK, let’s not call it Capitalism.
We can call it “business” or “free enterprise”, or “the entrepreneurial spirit”.
And it’s not “evil“.
Not at all.
It’s bloody clever!!
(Personally, I reserve the term ‘genius’ for Mozart, Leonardo, Curie, Newton, Archimedes, Einstein, Shakespeare, et al.)
“Bloody clever” will do.
I think it’s plain old education from parents that’s culturally stuffing the US, here too.
The notion of the parents being the primary educators, with some help from schools, is on the endangered list.
Diet and exercise being just one of the areas.
and what about my little mate?
The starving African.
You raised her.
Not sure what the situation is in Mackay, but in Western Australia
Crunch&Sip was introduced into schools because parents weren’t holding up their end, specifically in regard to diet and exercise.
Well, not giving foreign aid in the form of cash would be one thing.
Just seems to boost the retirement fund of the dictator in charge and arm his mercenaries.
Getting and keeping the culture and living standards like Australia has is an absolute marvel that is very rare in human history. They’re living like almost all humans ever have. It’s not going to be easy for them but a least it’s now possible.
There government goes again, they see a deficiency by a small amount of people then institute a program that covers everyone. Pretty soon it’s “ Government responsibility to save us from ourselves “.
Government wants to parent our children more and more each day.
That can never end well.
“They’re living like almost all humans ever have….”
Oh, I misunderstood. I took your earlier comments to mean that you thought it was a poor show that they have too little to eat. Was I mistaken?
Agree entirely that greedy dictators are a blight.
Malaysia may be a case in point? Kleptocratic elected leader????Not officially a dictator.
Yes, it’s not going to be easy.
It already isn’t easy.
But life, for almost all humans, was not supposed to be easy.
Mr Malcolm Fraser.
Things are improving in Africa though.
I’d say things (some things) are improving in many parts of the globe.
I’d say one of the chief impediments to human betterment is dictatorship. That’s my prejudice. Elected govts have a few extra brakes on their more foolish plans…
So this heading in the linked article:
Governments Are Still Corrupt, Dictatorial, and Arbitrary
is worrying, Jump.
As an advocate of Strong Capitalism, would you say Capitalism is inherently anti-dictatorial, or is it neutral on types of governance?
Err. No. It was widespread, not a small number of kids.
If the parents had been competent primary educators regarding diet and exercise (the way your faith says they are) the program would have never come into existence.
But of course, in Mackay the parents are probably paragons of virtue.
Jump, going back to your Oxfam link, I’m sure people on average are doing well in the US. That leaves a lot of scope for a lot of people to be doing quite badly, which seems to be the case. Also, when they get stuck on the bottom in the US they tend to stay there.
The link I made said there is plenty of food in the US. Doesn’t mean everyone is getting it and doesn’t mean they are all eating healthy stuff when they do eat.
Smallsville has a population of 1,000.
One guy has an income of $1 million p.a.
Forty-nine others have an annual income of $50,000 each.
The other 950 each has an annual income of $200.
Average income? $3,640.
Median income? $200
Gini index? Not looking good.
Poverty level? Who cares!
But at least there are 50 people who have the satisfaction of complaining about the no-hopers in their town.
See A Modest Proposal
by (Dean) Jonathan Swift.
What we found in the US was that living costs in $US were about the same as Australian living costs in $aus. Problem was that the minimum wage was about 1/3 the Aus min wage. My son said that people living rough down in the park could have been there because that was all full time work could pay for. Third world countries often have the US conjunction of very poor and very rich.
Unlike Aus and Canada the US is definitely not a first world country.
Yesterday, I lodged 8 questions on the ABC Q&A website. This afternoon, the Q&A website posted the latest questions (till 29 May 2018 1:04:20pm), link here. Note these questions will scroll off the page in due course.
My questions can be found from 28 May 2018 11:37:19am to 28 May 2018 11:56:00am.
Nice caricature Mr A but let’s put some meat on Smallsvilles bones.
That one chap ( single ) made a motza with a game app and decided to move out of Silicon Valley to a remote ( but lovely part of California to build a renewable energy setup. It’s all sorts, wind, solar, geothermal, algae, ect and cost a cool $20 mil. He’s happy with the 5% return and knowing he’s fighting the good fight.
The next 49 folk work for him. 3 days a week only so the rest of the time they can peruse artistic endeavour or what not.
The remaining 950 are off grid hippy types that may or may not sell a little undeclared medicinal herb to interstate highway travelers going bye.
I’ll be back in a bit with some tax number for our lovely Smallsville……
Well for starters, useing US Federal tax calculator and a California State tax calculator, we can see our App dude payed $ 460,446 of his Million in tax.
So his take home is more like 2.5% return on investment.
But hey, $ 539 K is nothing to sniff at.
The 49 worker totaled $ 2,450,00 in wages and payed a total of $490,735 in taxes.
But hey, they take home $ 40K annually for 3 days a week so that’s not too shabby.
Sound pretty good till one day our App Dude got his top marginal rate put at 75% and he got sick of being call a capitalist pig exploiting workers, the Native Americans and the poor ( he’s a sensitive dude ) so he packed the lot up and moved to one of the Cayman Islands.
He’ll save the planet from there.
Jump, you have an extraordinary ability to miss the point.
Unless I’m sorely mistaken Mr A was not attacking the wealthy guy (so you’re wasting your time defending him) but instead was making an argument regarding the shortcomings of using “average” as a measure of anything.
But I could be wrong.
You’re correct Mr z.
Relax zoot, MrA was just making shit up and applying math.
I was just riffing with made up shit applying math building on his made up shit.
No need to wet blanket to adventure Bro, we’re all friends here.
If it helps, the 950 are fine, no better or worse off. 🙂
Woah Mr A, are you and zoot saying the story about 1 in 6 on average struggleing with hunger in the US is worthless information?
You’ll have to take that up with Brian.
I thought you were just playing.
But, but, the shortcomings of averages and all that.
Anyway, I, for one liked your Smallsville caricature foundations and hoped you’d build on my wall set out.
That’d be fun.
Jump, what do you mean by about 1 in 6 on average?
Brian didn’t use that wording.
Just to be crystal clear. Brian wrote
By adding “on average” to this statement Jump has been extremely dishonest in attempting to win a hollow blog point.
How on Earth was that ratio reached without useing the average methodology ( with all its shortcomings) ?
Or is it only considered an average if it’s display in a percentage format.
The survey itself stated it as an average for goodness sake !
I grant you it’s not remotely a mult varied analysis, far from it.
You’re saying silly things right now.
Ok, what do you think the results of that survey would be ( I assume you took the time to at least look at it before standing so stridently) in a country like Venezuela or any other non Capitalist country?
Well, I would count the total population and the the number of people within that population who met the criteria.
That would give the ratio (1 in 6 in this case) without ever having anything to do with averages, or means, or medians, or logarithms or whatever else floats your boat.
How would you do it using the average methodology?
Stop trying to change the subject. I’m addressing your mendacity.
Ok, you know my integrity is what I hold most value in so you attack it, fine.
I changed slightly to give you a get out.
But since you insist, in a modal average distribution, why are you trying to blow wind up my arse.
( refer to Mr A for definitions of modal and blowing wind up arses )
Jump it’s pretty simple.
1 in 6 is a ratio. There are 325, 719,178 people in the USA (2017) according to Wikipedia. So about 54 million people are food insecure.
I’m sure they worked it out with a survey rather than asking everyone.
Nothing to do with averages, except that the average GDP per person is around $59,500, the 11th on the planet, and ahead of us. There should be enough to go around if they organised themselves in a humane and compassionate manner.
I guess some would call it chutzpah, but Jump, when caught in an untruth doubles down.
For the record, the statement on the page Brian linked to is
NOT 1 in 6 on average as claimed by Mr J.
In fact, the word “average only appears once on the page, in the statement
One could envisage some ways an average might be used, e.g. an average over the States, or an average over several years for one city or one State.
But if it is a national total of hungry or food-insecure folks, then the “methodology ” of averaging is unnecessary.
Too much envisioning can harm a fellow.
Yes zoot, the survey, not the story about the survey that Brian linked too.
Many uses of the term average to describe the rate or ratio or percentage or whatever else you want to call it.
In future perhaps read what I say, your repeated breaches of the comments policy toward me may as well be accurate for a change.
Jump, you still haven’t explained what you mean by 1 in 6 on average.
Hint – the report you are clinging to so desperately doesn’t use the term.
It does use the phrase “on average” just twice. In each case it is referring to the number of months households met the criteria for different levels of food insecurity. i.e. the “average” referred to a time period, not a ratio.
Your attempt at a gotcha was dishonest.
Ok, I thought you zoot were just being stubbornly incorrect.
Now you’ve proven differently.
I’ll not entertain your indulgence any further.
All the evidence is there for those willing to read it.
You said, “My 5 most direct neighbors are houseoes on wealfare.”
That may well be – but are they also victims of :
(1) Fussy Employers? The sort of employers we long-suffering taxpayers are subsidizing just so that they can fulfil their fantasies of having 19-year-olds with big boobs or MBAs decorating their businesses – and to hell with any job-seekers who have business-appropriate skills or potential. (Defamation laws prevent me from naming the firms and the imitation businessmen).
(2) The Job Market Training Racket? Examples abound. I know of a thirty-year-old, no Rhodes Scholar but a hard worker, who has managed – by his own efforts, not by any of the “employment(??)” contractor – to find a day or two here and there of casual work since his former full-time major employer in a regional town downsized and then miraculously upsized with 457 imports a few years back. (For several legitimate reasons, moving to Brisbane or interstate is NOT an option for him). Anyway, this poor devil has gone from one taxpayer funded pre-employment course to another without scoring a permanent job; the training provider gets rich, he gets the dole, the employment statistics look beautiful and everyone is happy, aren’t they? So far, he hasn’t done the Lion Tamers’ Employment Preparation Course but that must be getting near to top of their list by now.
Just have a chat with your housoe neighbours, Jump, they may give you some interesting insights into the employment situation in today’s free-market, subsidized-employer Soviet Australia.
GB/Jump: You might like Is Harassing the Unemployed Justified?
I was out of work for over a year at one stage. Good track record etc. etc. Part of the problem was that I had specialized over the years and this had reduced the number of jobs where I was really a good fit to 3 in Aus and none of the three people holding those jobs left during the period I was unemployed.
Then there was the problem of people who didn’t want someone who had been as senior as I had in a lower ranking job, companies that wanted a perfect fit instead of someone who would need a few weeks of training to catch up etc.
You can get to thinking you will never work again and just get on with living.
You should meet my crew sometime.
At the moment we are hell busy so we’re hireing.
Saturday we’re giveing a 25 yo female a try to see if she likes it. She’s been working in child care but wants an apprenticeship.
And Monday a Tradesman for at least 2 weeks till he gets his next cancer treatment and we’ll see together what he wants to do.
That’s what we have to deal with so fine, but the $2,000 in advertising for workers looks wasted, those welcomed applicants were from word of mouth.
I’ve approached the neighbors, bad backs apparently.
It’s fairly broad the story my cul de sac, if you give me a number from 1 to 5 I’ll give a brief summery.
The most recent next door neighbor is a keeper,60s, house proud, nice but a bit rough around the edges ( my favourite) and for some reason the Nanna to about 15 little ones all weekend.
Through the week it’s just her and her autistic daughter.
She’s a pearla this one is.
Jump: My experience is that a lot of construction jobs are given on the basis of word of mouth. The challenge for an outsider is to get the opportunity to do something that will get that word of mouth support. What got me back into the workforce was a short term job that ran into a brick wall that I was able to invent a solution to.
I am not sure what it is like now but the WA workers comp worked in WA made employing someone with a history of back injuries increased the risk of facing increases in compensation insurance rates because of the increased vulnerability to back injuries.
Our workers comp is rated on total wages.
The last time I can remember paying a sick day was one on my Foreman had to get a new prosthetic leg fitting around 4 months ago.
Before that would have been about 6 months for a funeral.
My crew are an honest lot.
Sick days dollars accrue toward piss ups 🙂
Thanks for your reply and your comments. There must be a Nobel Prize waiting for whoever can harness word-of-mouth for the benefit of the wider community of work-seekers and potential employers.
Suggest reading John Davidson’s http://pragmatusj.blogspot.com/2016/08/is-harassing-unemployed-justified.html
It’s worth the side-trip.
One of the reasons I keep raging against bloated prices for dreary, jerry-built mansions is that it forces people to become “work-hogs” and to work excessively long hours (almost certainly at lower efficiency) simply to keep a roof over their heads – and with the serious effect of often depriving others of the opportunity to do paid and meaningful work themselves. I guess it’s not so much that they are driven by ambition or greed as by dread and desperation.
That’s a very long funeral Mr J.
Jump: BHP Iron Ore had over 4000 employees. At the time, companies as large as this got discounts for low compensation claims. . A small one like yours would not have had statistically significant results unless it was really really bad.
GB: My observation at one stage was that the workforce was divided into those who would have preferred less work for less pay and those who wanted a job or more paid hours. I preferred being paid by the hour (instead of being on a salary) because it allowed me to go home early when the job was done without feeling guilty. The self imposed pressure to be a work hog was often about job insecurity.
I think that a fair sharing of the work would solve quite a few of Australia’s current and future social problems.
Companies that are working people over X hrs per shift cycle should be forced to pay a Newstart levy that is large enough to cover the total cost of Newstart. Might focus a few minds. (Salaried workers should be assumed to be working 70 hr weeks)
John D, I worked around 60 hours a week for over 20 years in the QLD public service as a salaried officer, for not one cent of overtime. If I’d kept going that way it would have killed me.
I cleared out after Goss took over.
Brian: I got to the stage of insisting that jobs I took on would be no more than 10 hrs per day and would provide transport to get me back to camp at the end of the 10 hrs because I found that beyond that I could not work efficiently.
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