Weekly salon 1/2

1. How does ScoMo intend to face up to parliament?

You will recall that back in December ScoMo closed parliament and scarpered rather than face up to a bill promoted by Kerryn Phelps on setting some rules which would see doctors’ assessments of health matters being taken seriously in relation to medical evacuations from Nauru and Manus Island.

Guess what, Kerryn Phelps is still there and still sees the same urgency in passing the bill. It is reckoned that if PM Scott Morrison had intended to go to an early election we would have heard about it last week. ScoMo must have a strategy of returning to parliament without being embarrassed. I look forward to seeing what it is.

Meanwhile, the election campaign itself, which started before Christmas, has now been resumed in earnest.

Newspoll narrowed a bit, within the margin or error, from 55-45 to Labor TPP to 53-47. Some people may have forgotten just how deranged they looked late last year.

Here’s the longer term primary vote:

It’s hard to see the massive disaffection for the major parties. There has been recent volatility, but since the people woke up in fright after the last election, nothing much has changed.

What has changed is the number of Liberals not recontesting, or jumping ship to run as independents, to be joined by high-profile independents having a crack. They are all claiming to be from the “sensible centre”, that is liberal/conservative, but not wanting to get into bed with the crazies currently attempting to govern the country.

Most are saying they want to do something about climate change. On Julia Banks having a crack at Greg Hunt’s seat, Paddy Manning asks, A challenging climate: Can independents force action on climate change?

If that is what they really want to do, the answer is simple. Vote for Labor, or if they prefer, The Greens.

As it is, come election, there will be multiple individual seat battles of interest. There is yet another sideshow created by ScoMO, parachuting Warren Mundine into Gilmore, against the wishes of the locals. This reminds Laura Tingle of the attempt to resurrect Peter Beattie magic in the Federal sphere in 2013 in the seat of Forde, a spectacular failure.

Update:

Here is the archived TPP for 2016, showing Labor ahead during the election period to 23 May, but then the situation flipped to become 51-49 in favour of the LNP by June 27. Mediscare arguably prevented a comfortable win. However, we have to conclude that Turnbull out-campaigned Shorten:

This one shows the world of pain the LNP has been in since dumping Turnbull, when at 51-49 behind they were within striking distance:

I think ScoMo and the Libs think they are back in the hunt if they get to 52-48 behind.

2. Brexit bumbles on

The British House of Commons can agree it hates no deal – but not on a way to prevent it. Parliament has now decided:

    (a) not to seek an extension of Article 50
    (b) to renegotiate the deal with the EU
    (c) to have a deal.

The EU within minutes said the negotiated deal stands, the only alternative is no deal. Realistically the three options now are:

    1. Slide into a ‘no deal’ Brexit
    2. Revoke Article 50 and stay, to take a longer run at Brexit later.

    3. The EU will decide that at the death it doesn’t want a ‘no deal’ Brexit, because it’s not in their interest either, and re-open negotiations.

Yanis Varoufakis has said that to negotiate with the EU with a deadline hanging over you is foolish. It advantages the big gorilla which is already advantaged because of size. However, he says now that to revoke Article 50 now would be an abnegation of democracy. Now:

    If Brexit has an upside, it is that it has revealed the need for a “People’s Debate”, not only regarding the UK-EU relationship, but also the festering wounds that the British establishment has kept out of sight: the disenfranchisement of rural England, an archaic electoral system, the UK’s ailing economic model, and the Irish and Scottish questions. Crashing out of, or back into, the EU would negate this opportunity by thwarting such a People’s Debate.

So Brexit and fixit.

Jeremy Corbyn in all this seems to be straddling the barbed wire fence. His party is not united on the issue either. Moreover, he’s no doubt aware that the EU is basically neoliberal in its policies, and that his social-economic vision may be easier to achieve outside the EU framework.

3. It’s not fun to be old and poor

However, that is the fate of many Australians:

There is some discussion here, if you are allowed in. It’s true that the percentages above appear to be based on income. Owning the roof over your head makes a massive difference, and a more accurate index would take this into account. However, I’d agree with Max Chandler-Mather, Greens candidate for Griffith:

    We desperately need an increase to the aged pension and a major overhaul of how our society cares for an ageing population, including rapidly expanding a public aged care system that guarantees everyone a meaningful and enjoyable later life.

Indeed we do, especially because large segments of the population are being locked out of the housing market.

4. Australia loses gloss in corruptions index

Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018 released on Tuesday showed more than two-thirds of countries scoring below 50, on its scale where 100 is very clean and zero is very corrupt. Here’s the order for the first 22:

The AFR has the story.

Denmark is on 88 and New Zealand on 87. Germany and the UK are equal on 80. Back in 2012 we used to be on 85, and firmly in the top 10. We have now firmed our position in the second tier at 77.

I can’t blame John Howard for this one, but I do blame Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull. They trashed the perception of decency in our politics and public institutions by being negative and routinely using lies in sloganeering and scare campaigns. Kill Bill and $200 billion in taxes (it’s over 10 years and maybe a few percentage points, leaving us one of the lowest taxing countries) are current faves. Craig Emerson offers a succinct account as to why we need the steady hand that Labor offers in troubled times.

Trump’s America has taken a hit, sinking into the quicksand:

    With a score of 71, the US lost four points over 2017 and dropped out of the top 20 nations for the first time since 2011.

They don’t just make these numbers up:

    The index is calculated using 13 different data sources that provide perceptions of public sector corruption from business people and country experts.

Increasingly we are justified in being less proud to be Australian.

56 thoughts on “Weekly salon 1/2”

  1. Highly dubious that Corbyn’s agenda would be more easily pursued outside the EU. Certainly the Brexiteers think that there deconstruction of the social safety net will proceed more quickly & more radically outside the EU – that’s the whole point of the exercise for them

  2. Mr John Brumby, former Premier of Her Majesty’s Very Own State of Victoria Regina, has departed from the board of Huawei, which is some kind of mercantile association with headquarters in Peiping.

    News via bush telegraph.

    No donkeys involved.

    As yet….

  3. Alex Bhathal, former Greens Party candidate in Batman, will quit the Party. She says, “I feel the (Victorian) Greens have grown another culture which is just as brutal [as that in the ALP] but also sanctimonious.”

    Will the Press jump all over this like they have with Julia Banks, Julie Bishop, ….. “the Liberal Party Problem With Women” being assumed as a fact by, for example, ABC News?

    In my view, every major Party has its own kind of “problem with women” and the best way to avoid such problems is to run as an independent: Cathy McGowan, Kerryn Phelps, Jacquie Lambie, Julia Banks, ….. golly, the ladies are popping up all over the shop!

  4. Or these Female Politicians that think the other parties all “ have a Problem with Women “ could form their own Party, that’s an option.

    If the make up of Candidates representing that Party are gender 50/50 then they may be taken seriously.

    Then we can look at the other stances on the hundreds of other important policy areas.

  5. The Voices of Indi ginger group selected Cathy McGowan as their candidate in 2013.

    I think it was her track record and habit of listening fearlessly to others that got her nominated, rather than her female gender.

    It’s cruel and heartless, I admit, but I do enjoy seeing the fear in the eyes of a Party yes-person, when faced with a strong, independent opponent at election time.

  6. Over in Qld, a Mr Jason Costigan MP has been expelled from his Party but intends to stay in Parliament.

    He Cares Not a Whit.

    Does his Party “have a problem with men”??

  7. The Guardian believes Michaelia Cash will give evidence in a Federal Court case over the “AWU offices raid”.

    So my question is: will the court ask
    Cash For Comment?

    Barrister assisting: John Laws, retd.

  8. Indeed, my learned friend.

    And assisted by solicitors from the esteemed firm: Sue, Grabbit and Runne.

    (Thanks to the Law courts correspondent of Private Eye.)

    ****
    Judge: “Before I pronounce sentence, prisoner in the dock, do you have anything yo say?”
    Prisoner (mutters): “B*gger all.”
    Judge: “Clerk, what did he say?”
    Clerk: ” ‘B*gger all’, your Honour.”
    Judge: “Oh, I could have sworn I saw his lips move.”

  9. It so happens my Wife was in the same classes at school as MP Costigan.
    She says of the allegations, “ he always gave off sleazy vibe but that was just him, but I really doubt he is “

    Just another uninformed, not present, guess for what that’s worth.
    So nothing really.
    Carry on.

  10. Doug, I thought the big thing with Brexiteers was control of their borders, and strange peeps coming to take their jobs.

    Re Costigan, in the absence of information, I have no idea, but it will be interesting if he pursues defamation in the courts.

  11. Here’s John Brumby quitting the Huawei board.

    He says he’d originally notified Huawei in late 2017 that he intended to quit, but the company asked him to stay on for another year. He will take up the position of chancellor at La Trobe University on March 29. I’d take that at face value.

    Talking to Linda Mottram, Brumby reckons the company is clean, and it would be a company killer to be caught stealing secrets. Hence, the reasoning goes, they would not encourage of reward that sort of behaviour.

    He also said the other companies had been ticked off by the US authorities. The notion of charging someone before the courts is a step up with no precedent.

    I do think the Chinese will dig in over this one, and retaliate. We can all worry about the result.

  12. I’ve posted an update to item 1:

    Update:

    Here is the archived TPP for 2016, showing Labor ahead during the election period to 23 May, but then the situation flipped to become 51-49 in favour of the LNP by June 27. Mediscare arguably prevented a comfortable win. However, we have to conclude that Turnbull out-campaigned Shorten:

    This one shows the world of pain the LNP has been in since dumping Turnbull, when at 51-49 behind they were within striking distance:

    I think ScoMo and the Libs think they are back in the hunt if they get to 52-48 behind.

  13. Last night we watched Goldeneye, a Bond film made in 1995 with Piers Brosnan. This was the first since Licence to Kill in 1989, and I think restored a bit of credibility to the franchise.

    It was excellent, with a complex plot, in marked contrast to Licence to Kill.

  14. I thought I’d mention here that parts of NQ which have had a metre of rain are expecting another two metres (yes, two metres) over the next five days. Hope Hendo, Ootz and even Jumpy (he’s a bit further south) are safe and surviving.

    Meanwhile in Brisbane we’ve had the driest January ever in many rain guages. We are having trouble keeping some plants alive. Some will have to go and be replaced by more robust species.

    Just about everyone in the media is talking about a step change in the climate, but some of the information is amazingly wrong.

  15. Brian everything ok here in Mareeba, which is located in the rain shadow behind the escarpment and probably one of the driest part of the Wet Tropics region. Although it is one of the strongest monsoon events I experienced in my 35 years here in FNQ. The rain has been relentless for over a week, our creek has been up for the longest (not highest) since we moved here 10 yrs ago, and everything is thoroughly soaked. So we had in 9 days (since 25. Jan) about 250mm (BoM figures) and being rural most people are old hands when it comes to The Wet.

    Cairns received even before Jan 25 some good showers and soil was already saturated when the monsoon trough started to impact. they had over the last 9 days 805mm, with last Sunday 277mm and yesterday and today already 170mm. The tides are also fairly high so some lower parts of town get inundated also last week access to some beaches were impassable, some bridges built up with lots of debris and there were some landslides.

    From memory the coast between Cairns and Cape Tribulation got the most rainfall a week ago with the Daintree river breaking previous records. There was some damage, but again for old hands no problem, part of the deal of living here. Problem is often young guys being silly or people that moved here and never had experienced a good Wet. So for us in FNQ the risk is when the trough returns or, heaven forbids, we get a cyclone in these waterlogged conditions.

    Now Townsville, which has been declared a disaster zone, is where monsoon really hit hard. Partly because they are a rather drier zone between FNQ and NQ and they received since last Sunday 800mm(BoM) in the past 8 days with yesterday and today already clocking 360mm. Keep an eye out for the ross river dam which is currently at 204% capacity and emergency release has been ordered and between 90 and 100 homes downstream from the dam were being evacuated. It’s bedlam down there with major flooding just to the north where some areas received over 1m rain, but they are well resourced and have big army contingencies there.

  16. Brian thanks for your concerns. I’m in Cairns and we have had some serious rains, likewise on the Tablelands too. But we are fine thanks. Jumpy might see some action but he will let us know I guess.
    I have some concern at the possibility of a cyclone forming in the next couple of weeks but nobody is predcting that yet. There seems to be many of the necessary ingredients for a cyclone.

    It seems that the weather system we are experiencing is a bit unique and complex. There is a group called Oz Cyclone Chasers. They are a zany mob, but both entertaining and informative. Here is a link to the explanation of the current weather up here, some insights into what is going to happen over the next week and general info into how these predictions are generated. Fair warning, the delivery is enthusiastic but don’t let that put you off. See: https://www.facebook.com/ozcyclonechasers/videos/236789487233459/

    If you have time, explore their site, it is full of info.

  17. Brian – Brexiteers are a diverse bunch – but some of the leading figures apparently have an agenda to take up where Thatcher left off and for that getting out from EU regulations & human rights structure apparently will be helpful.

    From another angle Fintan O’Toole an Irish journalist has written an insightful book Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain which casts fresh light on the fact that the exercise is about English nationalism & its complex relationship with an imperial past.

  18. About the MDB stuff. A senior council comes out with findings, MDB deny it all, and politicians see no problem. Talk about muddy waters.
    I don’t know the truth of it except 18 yera ago I paddled 100 km along the mid section of the Murray. Within minutes salt crystals formed on my clothes. Dead river gums everywhere and just so many pipes into the water drawing off their “share”.

    The MDB in one form or another has been in dispute for over 100 years. A potted history can be found here: https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook44p/MurryDarlingBasin
    It’s clearly a pretty complex issue, highly parochial and political with powerful interests at work. I heard on the ABC that the Aboriginals were not gien a voice in the management of the MDB.

    Whatever the flaws that have been uncovered, I think the present Agreement may be the most wide-ranging effort yet, and should remain in place albeit with some sensible changes.

  19. Sorry Geoff, on the current plan the MDB is stuffed. Science says so and the recent RC too. Here you can get it from the horse’s mouth, senior counsel assisting Richard Beasley does not mince his words.

    He heard witnesses give evidence of a “fix”. Whereas the MDBA said the environment needed between 4000 and 7000 billion litres of water a year returned to it in 2010, within a year that figure was down to 2750.

    … the commissioner was told that when the CSIRO analysed what could be environmentally achieved from returning 2800GL a year to the environment in 2011, the MDBA forced the CSIRO to change its report, in material ways, to make those predicted achievements appear better. This caused such a loss of morale at the CSIRO, a mediator had to be called in.

    The witnesses who told these stories made a really good fist of sounding like they were telling the truth. I’d put my house on it. If the MDBA, or the CSIRO, or the Commonwealth government wanted to suggest this didn’t happen, they could have sent counsel to the commission to cross-examine. They could have called their own witnesses. They did neither. Safe to assume these things happened. With your tax dollars. The commissioner described it as “maladministration”. Why are lawyers so polite?

    Thus he finishes off with:

    And with that in mind, based on the evidence of the wonderful scientists who assisted the commission, I might have the correct volume of water the environment needs tattoed on my backside. The figure starts with a “4”. Anytime the MDBA wants to act in accordance with the Water Act, they can come and give that number a kiss.

  20. Brian
    Been sunny and fine in Mackay lately, nice and cool with the clouds and breeze.
    Mowed today.

    The media are hyping it up as usual.
    Couple of weeks ago the local 7 news were showing footage of Yasi as if it was current.

    Good to see the Isa and Curry mob getting a soak, hope it gets down Emerald way, Fairbairn was really low.

  21. So Richard Beasley thinks the Commission is in breach of the Water Act? Could an interested party bring a private prosecution? Or sue?

    Likely the ACF would not have “standing”.

  22. Rain: Here in this part of Central Queensland we have gone from drought to No Wet Season. If we are hit by torrential rain a lot of exposed topsoil will be washed away – with permanent consequences.
    Astonished at TV views of what happened at Bluewater Creek.

    Brexit: Yanis Varoufakis was right on the money when he commented, ” …. also the festering wounds that the British establishment has kept out of sight: the disenfranchisement of rural England, an archaic electoral system, the UK’s ailing economic model, and the Irish and Scottish questions. Crashing out of, or back into, the EU would negate this opportunity by thwarting such a People’s Debate. ..”
    That the European Union continues to deny, ignore, and deflect any responsibility whatsoever for any of the Brexit mess is damned near Trumpish. When Brexit does happen – as it surely will now – the EU’s leaders will be surprised at the severe harm they will have inflicted on themselves: the inevitable outcome of decades of really petty administrative bullying they have inflicted on various member countries, not just on Britain. I honestly think the EU will go they way of the Carolingian Empire because of Brexit. As for the former United Kingdom, I hope it goes the way of Czechoslovakia rather than that of Yugoslavia.

  23. GB: I am Scottish nationalist enough to still want to rush off to invade England whenever I hear bagpipes. So yes:

    As for the former United Kingdom, I hope it goes the way of Czechoslovakia rather than that of Yugoslavia.

    Czechoslovakia managed a civilized split and I hope that Scotland is able to escape from the stupidity of England and either stay with the EU or move to an arrangement with the the EU that suits Scotland’s needs.
    Other parts of the UK may want to split away from the parts of England that voted for Brexit.
    Agree too that

    That the European Union continues to deny, ignore, and deflect any responsibility whatsoever for any of the Brexit mess is damned near Trumpish. When Brexit does happen – as it surely will now – the EU’s leaders will be surprised at the severe harm they will have inflicted on themselves: the inevitable outcome of decades of really petty administrative bullying they have inflicted on various member countries, not just on Britain.

    Perhaps Brexit should be put on hold until the EU has a hard look at itself and perhaps the UK negotiated a stay agreement as well as a leave agreement before a decision is put to a new referendum?

  24. The UK has had Two referendums already for Sovereignty and Independence.
    If there’s a problem with their Democratic process it’s that it’s politicians are more concerned about themselves than their constituents.

    The Conservatives got em in and Labour wanted a complete out once apon a time.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brexit

    And that some folk want these clowns to have ever increasing power over the average Jumpy is incredulous it me.

  25. Jumpy: I thought brexit was supported by the old Jumpies of Northern England, opposed by the more logical Scottish nationals as well as the younger voters in general.
    I guess you old fogies have memories of ancient glories and couldn’t give a stuff about how it stuffs up the lives of the young and hip.
    Hardly the governments fault unless you think it was stupid of Cameron to think that a referendum would succeed.

  26. If there’s a problem with their Democratic process it’s that it’s politicians are more concerned about themselves than their constituents.

    That’s a potential problem with any democratic process.
    Keeping in mind that self interest underpins capitalism and “free” markets (your particular hobby horses), how do you suggest we ensure that politicians in a democracy put their constituents before themselves?

  27. JB; Tend towards Scottish nationalism myself. If there is a Canada and a United States, or an Australia and a New Zealand; why not a Scotland and an England? Same language, very similar cultures, etc. but sometimes quite different needs. One of the many causes of the actual Brexit vote going the way it did was the lack of compulsory voting (as in Australia).

    A major problem with the EU is that, despite the end of empires after the First World War, many in the top echelons of politics, public administration and private corporations in the EU are still either old-fashioned aristocrats or else have the arrogant aristocratic mindset; they may well utter republican slogans if their homeland is a republic at present but deep in their hearts they are, and behave as, aristocrats or quasi-aristocrats. As you said, “Perhaps Brexit should be put on hold until the EU has a hard look at itself “; totally agree but good luck with the massive cultural change needed to make that happen.

    Jumpy: Agree with you about selfish British pollies.

  28. I’ve been humping furniture on the weekend as older son moved out and young son moved back in while he scours the property market.

    I’ve just done a long comment on Menindee Lakes on the Murray-Darling thread. Please do any further MDBA comment there. I’ve nearly finished and MD update post, (any important links appreciated) but have to go to the dentist again today so that he can do further damage to my bank account.

  29. “Lifting, shifting and carrying furniture” at the weekend.

    Your lads are lucky to have a fit, active father, Brian.

  30. ASIC goes nuclear on CBA ahead of commission report

    – Fairfax headline, this afternoon.

    So, it’s come to WMD now, has it?

  31. There are women who are in prison for years because they scammed a few thousand dollars from Centrelink (and I’m not arguing they shouldn’t be there). I wonder how many banking bigwigs will see the inside of a cell for anything like a commensurate period.

  32. There are women who are in prison for years because they scammed a few thousand dollars from Centrelink (and I’m not arguing they shouldn’t be there).

    Really, how many ?
    And why single out women ?

  33. And why single out women ?

    Because I don’t know if there are any men in the same situation, but I’m related to someone who works in the women’s prisons.
    However, I do know Alan Bond did around twelve months minimum security for illegally obtaining close to a billion dollars.

  34. Bond was a “ banking bigwig “ now ?

    Ok, now I remember why I can hold a constant line of conversation with ya.

    Bye again.

  35. Bond was a “ banking bigwig “ now ?

    No. And I didn’t say or imply he was.
    My reference to the banking bigwigs is about their possible future incarceration. Since Bond is dead his future cannot include imprisonment.
    BTW have you made any progress on letting us know which particular government regulations forbid people utilising donkeys for transport?

  36. It has occurred to me that I really have to spell it out for Jumpy or he’ll come up with another halfarsed attempt at a gotcha!
    To everybody else my apologies for being tedious; feel free to stop reading this comment now.

    Jumpy, you asked why I singled out women and I explained that I know about women but I don’t know about men in similar circumstances.
    Then, to support my hypothesis that poor women are probably treated more harshly than wealthy people I added the example of Alan Bond. He received a trifling punishment for a crime that netted him a huge sum of money, most of which to the best of my knowledge was never recovered. You can bet those incarcerated women reimburse Centrelink.
    And I still wonder how many banking bigwigs will see the inside of a cell for anything like a period commensurate with their crime.

  37. So 35.5% of Australians over 65 are living in poverty; gee, I don’t feel so lonely now.. Let me guess: over 50% of those older people are living in poverty through no fault of their own, unless believing government officials or trusting our fabulously equitable laws are considered a ‘fault’.

    zoot and Jumpy: You have both missed the point that Financial Felons are rarely ever charged with anything – and, more often than not, rewarded and awarded for their crimes, (that’s one of the reasons I gave up reading through New Year and Queen’s Birthday DIShonour Lists). If a corporate criminal or banking robber is unlucky enough to be dragged into court at all and actually convicted, you can bet your sweet Nellie that he will be given a short sentence in comfort, well-protected from all those vicious crims in the prison population who just might do nasty things to him – though what happens to ordinary folk imprisoned for things like diddling Centrelink is of no concern whatsoever.

    One unintended implication of the Banking Royal Commission is that everyone now has an open licence to commit whatever felonies they like. See you later, I’m racing off to dodge a few head of cattle, lift a truckload of fertilizer and knock off someone else’s tractor before the rush starts.

  38. Graham,

    I just heard some chappie on ABC RN suggest that some cash held by the banks could be confiscated under “proceeds of crime” laws.

    Outrageous!!

    All the money held by banks is “proceeds of time-honoured and widely respected banking practices”, see margins, fees, interest rates, inter-bank arrangements, loan portfolio, non-performing loans, overseas borrowing, Great Financial Caper, Automatic Tellers, online banking, incentives, trailing commissions, expansion of servicing to cemeteries, fees, fixed charges, flexibility, regulatory bodies, Parliamentary oversight; oh it must have been a tiny oversight, the others were worse; Four Pillars of Wisdom, competition, cartel, mortgagee auctions, extortion, fraud, theft, bank robbers, robbers from banks, fees, nice little earner, shareholder value,

    Watch out for coppers, Graham.
    They decry theft.

  39. Thanks for the warning, Ambigulous; henceforward I shall leave a receipt and pay GST for all my pelf and plunder.

    Speaking of coppers. I do wonder how many lower-level sworn officers, over the years, have tried to respond to complaints about what are clearly felonies, that were committed by financial institutions against members of the public, and then were compelled to abandon their enquiries? And by whom?

    It beggars belief that nobody who had financial felonies committed against them had gone to the police.

    These unlawful activities by financial institutions were not misdeeds or bad behaviour, they were clearly crimes; crimes that are well defined in law; crimes for which arrest warrants should have been written out and served then and there – so why didn’t this happen?.

    And, to add insult to injury, this Festival Of Felonies has distracted public attention away from the vital issues of responding well to climate change and to rectifying the misallocation of scarce water resources.

  40. Got to the stage where you have to ask “who was robbed?” when people talk about bank robbery these days. (Was the bank robbed or was it the bank that did the robbing?)

  41. Sigh … Some of us “of mature age” might recall that there were seven (7) free enterprise banks, and the Commonwealth. I recall watching them amalgamate or coalesce into the present format. I had hoped that the emergence of Building Societies and their path into bankhood might make a difference but it appears not.

    We have been bent over forwards it seems…

  42. Geoff H

    When I were a lad, there were them seven banks, and also building societies and all sorts of “credit unions”. We belonged to a credit union. Local branch for local people. A member could build up a savings record over a couple of years, apply for a modest loan: no worries.

    At that stage, most major banks wouldn’t lend to a young couple if the lady was the main breadwinner, for fear of a pregnancy. (No paid maternity leave then.)

    Credit unions, co-ops, building societies were all over the place.
    Fact.

    This was in Her Majesty’s State of Victoria, City of Melbourne, early 1970s.

    No, not the 1870s

    😉

    My, how things have changed, eh???

    PS: early 1980s: there was a small co-op bank in our medium sized regional town, and a pub some 20km away was being run by a community co-op formed primarily to prevent its closure.

    And none of it seemed unusual or uncalled-for.

  43. The Reserve Bank started in 1960, that may have had some influence on the situation we now find ourselves in.

    Out of interest, would Ken Henry be subordinate to other banking bigwig Anna Bligh ?

  44. Anna Bligh is a spokesperson; she has no authority over Dr Henry.

    He has no reason to lead a revolt, like the crew of HMS Bounty.

  45. The Reserve Bank started in 1960, that may have had some influence on the situation we now find ourselves in.

    In 1960 the central bank functions of the Commonwealth Bank were transferred to the Reserve Bank. I can’t see how that would be an influence on our contemporary robber barons.

  46. Privatization of the Commonwealth bank by Keating reduced the government’s ability to set banking standards.
    It is sad that the Commonwealth was one of the leaders in banks behaving badly.

  47. OTOH

    I reckon, on balance, it’s better to have the Reserve Bank independent of day-to-day political control.

    Governments manipulating interest rates or gambling on foreign reserves, is a poor idea I think.

  48. Farewell then, Ken Henry.

    Thank you for being the co-saviour of the Nation during the Great Fried Chicken (GFC) with PM Kevin Rudd.

    It seems so long ago now.

  49. Ambi: There were times when the Reserves obsession with avoiding a repeat of stagflation has led to interest rate decisions that contributed to stagnation and high unemployment. The problem was made worse by the reserves powers being limited to setting interest rates.
    Some checks and balances are needed that don’t allow governments to create unsustainable growth in time for elections.

  50. Naughty man talks about increasing taxes on the rich at DAVOS

    When Dutch historian Rutger Bregman suggested wealthy people should pay more tax at last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, his speech went viral.
    But he says his comments did not go down well with those in the room at the event, which was attended by world leaders and heads of business.
    “After I’d given my short speech, the response in the room from the audience was quite aggressive, and no-one really came up to me to say, ‘Hey, that was a good speech’. So I went home with a bit of a bad feeling, to be honest,” Mr Bregman told 7.30.
    “The ‘T’ word is really the forbidden word in places like Davos. You can talk about anything — about education, about feminism, about climate change — as long as you don’t talk about higher taxes on the rich.”
    ‘No-one talks about the elephant in the room’

  51. Ambi, Ken Henry did not understand that grovelling was the mandatory expected behaviour. It was clearly something he’d had no practice in.

    It seems that when he said “I already answered that”, in fact he had, and the answer was “We should have acted sooner”.

    But he was rude and arrogant, no doubt about it, the body language said it all, and if you are in those circumstances you don’t get a second chance.

  52. JD: Watched an interview with Rutger Bregman on ABC_TV “7:30” tonight. He was just like the little boy in the fable about The Emperor’s New Clothes. Naturally, he will be crucified for merely stating the obvious and telling the truth – for we do live in a democratic society that welcomes diversity of opinion. Don’t we?

    The banking royal commission was content with talking about only one leg of the tripod of evil: that of the Colossal Frauds against the public. The other two legs of this tripod didn’t even get mentioned: Stifling Innovation – and – Social Effects.
    Perhaps they were too frightened to say anything about “banking behaviour” becoming a licence to one-all-all in the general public to commit whatever crimes they liked, without fear of punishment. Perhaps they were ashamed to admit that “banking behaviour” may well have resurrected “dead, buried and cremated” Communism in Australia – such unintended consequences are scattered throughout history. .

    Brian: Aren’t arrogant stupidity and hubris among key selection criteria for board membership in any major Australian entity?

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