1. Will they ever learn?
ABC’s 7.30 Report on Monday looked at Centrelink still operating it’s robo debt scam, where taxation records are matched with Centrelink payments. The program starts with an example where a citizen in Hobart received a demand from a debt collector for $7,000 to be paid immediately. Her wages would be garnisheed if she didn’t pay, they said.
The process then is that the victim has to prove her innocence by showing pay slips etc, bank records etc. In this case more than 7 years had passed, so the bank no longer kept records.
The claim is that the system had been humanised.
In the program Professor Terry Carney said:
- There’s half a million Australian citizens whose rights are being traduced and compromised by a scheme which is not lawful.
Under social security law, the onus to prove a debt lies exclusively, entirely with Centrelink, and this system operates by shifting all of that onus on to the alleged debtor.
I know that some people try to avoid going on welfare to avoid the risk of this kind of thing. Perhaps that is the purpose.
2. Swimming Australia shoots itself in the foot
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have heard that our Aussie swimmer, Mack Horton, refused to share the podium with Chinese swimmer, Sun Yang, who had just beaten him in a race.
If you have an opinion about it, and have not read Tracey Holmes article, then you should. It looked as though some people were trying to set Sun Yang up. Two of the three in the drug testing team were unauthorised, and one was taking a video, which is against the rules. The event concluded with a minder destroying the blood sample with a hammer.
FINA accepted this. WADA is contesting it, but meanwhile Sun Yang is free to swim.
Even better, listen to Tracey Holmes talking to Patricia Karvelas about the issue.
In an earlier incident in 2014, Sun Yang was pinged for taking a substance to alleviate a heart condition he suffers. The substance had been approved, then banned, but his doctor had not kept up to date. He then applied and gained approval to take the substance under the ‘therapeutic use exemption’ clause. Sun Yang copped a token three months ban. However, ever since that time Horton thinks he should be banned for life.
Hordes of swimmers and Swimming Australia have backed Horton. Denis Cotterell, who has coached Sun Yang, has lashed the “hypcrites” for vilifying the world champion, when some of their mates had been caught doing the wrong thing.
I have a clear view. Horton is there to swim, not to judge other competitors adherence to the doping rules. The Chinese authorities would see what happened as dishonouring the nation. I gather they are not saying anything but Sun Yang’s fans are, with some death threats thrown in.
3. Shayna Jack steps in a hole
Horton did not know that Shayna Jack had been sent home because she tested positive
Again, read Tracy Holmes:
- Right now, Jack and Swimming Australia must hope other nations show a more respectful and measured response than we have shown them.
I heard a sports lawyer say that all Jack had to do was show the supplements she took, and that ligandrol was not on the ingredients list. Jack hasn’t said she does or doesn’t take supplements. Her manager says she doesn’t.
What she does say is that she has no idea how it got into her system. However, she will be held guilty unless she can show she is innocent, and could be banned for four years.
4. Quiggin on Adani
John Quiggin is closely monitoring Adani, and reports that the project is not springing into life, creating all those jobs it promised:
- Despite the company’s upbeat announcements, the project still seems to consist entirely of tree-clearing and road-building. Photos published recently show the same small group of vehicles that has been on the site since January.
To get past this stage, and lacking significant in-house experience of major projects, Adani needs partners, not least engineering design firms and construction contractors. And even if no external funds were needed, the project would need insurance, which is getting harder to come by.
Firms previously involved in insurance, engineering design and construction in the coal industry are increasingly reluctant to get involved. The Indonesian coal industry if finding the same.
In my view, any new coal mind should expect to become a stranded asset, probably during the next decade.
Matthew Stevens in the AFR reports that Adani could collapse before it begins. Forensic accountant Professor Sandra van der Laan:
- “It looks to me like a corporate collapse waiting to happen,” she told the ABC. “It has all the hallmarks of the big corporate failures we’ve seen over the last 20 to 30 years.”
“Effectively on paper, they are insolvent,” van der Laan said. “I wouldn’t be trading with them, as simple as that. I wouldn’t have anything to do with them.”
Meanwhile, Kenneth Rogoff says that new coal-fired power stations are being built in Asia at the rate of one a week, and the average age is 11 years.
Matthew Stevens wrote in a recent article that the amount of coal burned had peaked in 2013, however in recent times had been increasing again, though not to 2013 levels.
This graph from James Hansen I posted recently causes concern, because people are realising that over the life cycle gas could be just as bad.