Weekly salon 11/8

1. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, PM

Martin Fletcher in the New Statesman says that Brits have given a con man the keys to the kingdom:

    Boris Johnson’s arrival in Downing Street as prime minister signals the end of the UK as a serious country.

Johnson is “a liar, an adulterer and a pedlar of fantasies who is so utterly lacking in principle and integrity that he is willing to sacrifice the nation’s future on the altar of his own ambition.”

    His row with his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, exposed the nastiness, aggression and sense of entitlement that lurk behind his clownish facade.

Fletcher says that 99.75 per cent of the electorate did not vote for Johnson, but were forced to watch impotently from the sidelines as:

    the tiny, anonymous cabal of 160,000 predominantly older, southern, white, wealthy, male right-wing Conservative Party members … chose the country’s new leader. And many of those 160,000 were recent Ukip infiltrators.

According to a YouGov survey:

    63 per cent of them would apparently prefer to lose Scotland from the Union than forego Brexit, and 59 per cent would prefer to jettison Northern Ireland than stay in the EU.

Plus his fellow Conservative pollies, who:

    detest the man. They know perfectly well what a serially disloyal, untrustworthy, indolent, disorganised and egotistical charlatan he is.

They voted for him:

    as the best chance of saving their seats by out-Faraging Nigel Farage in demagoguery, or because they craved ministerial jobs in his government, or both.

That image came from my friend in Erlangen, with scans of an article pay-walled and auf Deutsch. I’ve struggled with it with the help of my 30 year-old dictionary. For example, the dictionary did not help with the title Die Fesselungskünstler. I think it means ‘escape artist’.

I didn’t need to look up the “Profanisierung und Infantilisierung von Politik” which it attributes to Johnson and Trump. Trump with a thesaurus, is one way of summing him up.

The German “großmäulig, raufsüchtig, eitel und zaudernd” translates as “big-mouthed, conceited, spoiling for a fight and vacillating”. Jörg Schindler, the author, says Johnson has no plan, never had one for anything except self-aggrandisement. Cleverly, he effectively describes himself as “the emperor with no clothes” which passes for disarming honesty which allows people to vote for him.

Schindler says Johnson ran for London Mayor because his Eton and Oxford buddy David Cameron became leader, which Johnson found humiliating. As mayor he had some achievements, but all were initiatives begun by his predecessor Ken Livingstone.

So anything can happen.

Only 13% of Brits would buy a used car from Johnson.

After all that, the article is there now, in English translation.

The Irish Times has an article ‘The clown who wanted to be king’: What the papers say about Boris around Europe. Not flattering.

2. Australian Coalsheviks stand firm

In recent days we’ve had record ice melting in Greenland, the Arctic on fire, including Greenland with more fires this year than in the last 10 combined, and in July we have had the hottest month ever recorded by humans.

Now in Bhutan they are under existential threat from the melting of the “third pole” the Hindu Kush with implications “for nearly two billion people downstream from catastrophic flooding that would destroy land and livelihoods.”

Hot off the press we have a 1000-page report Climate Change and Land: An IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. See story at the ABC and Damien Carrington’s Climate crisis reducing land’s ability to sustain humanity, says IPCC, and how to fix the crisis, including a meat tax.

However, our red-blooded Coalshevik government won’t have a bar of it as the Australian Government Brushes Off UN’s Urgent Climate Warning.

Some Australian farmers who live with the consequences of climate change every day are committed to pursuing carbon neutrality for Australian agriculture by 2030.

Guy Debelle, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, knows we need to act on the economic impact of climate change and said as much in a speech earlier this year.

David Attenborough is going to give us another rocket on TV tonight in Climate Change: the facts, including how to prevent it.

3. A delicate balance

That’s David Rowe, of course, illustrating an AFR article Lost in translation: Morrison’s high-stakes China play.

The point made is that Washington and Canberra were speaking different languages on China policy.

Elsewhere Warwick McKibbin worries that Trump is tweeting the way to a world recession. There were genuine grievances around intellectual property, and the use of tariffs and currency manipulation. However, Trump doesn’t understand that the Chinese can’t and won’t lose face.

Enter Andrew Hastie.

Mathias Cormann has criticised as “clumsy and inappropriate” Andrew Hastie’s comments that compared the west’s response to China to inadequate defences against Nazi Germany.

Peter Dutton supported Hastie. Scott Morrison PM said he’s only a backbencher, meaning Hastie.

Problem is that Hastie heads Federal Parliament’s powerful security and intelligence committee.

Mark Dreyfus was quick to say that Hastie does not speak for the committee.

The Chinese Embassy in Australia, in a statement:

    described the remarks as “Cold War mentality” that was “detrimental” to the relationship between the countries.

    It called on politicians to view China’s growth as an opportunity, not a threat.

    “We strongly deplore the Australian federal MP Andrew Hastie’s rhetoric on ‘China threat’ which lays bare his Cold War mentality and ideological bias,” the statement reads.

I’m with Hugh White in broad terms. We need to take a long term view, when China will be stronger, and the Americans may decide to stay at home. It needs a whole new defence strategy, which will cost more, but we need to show seriously that we can sink ships.

    we will need to raise defence spending to at least 3.5% of GDP, quadruple the size of the submarine fleet, double the size of our fighter-aircraft force, sell three air warfare destroyers which we have only just built, cancel the $35 billion contract for nine new frigates, and turn the army into a light constabulary force. Also, we should study the acquisition of a fleet of submarines armed with long-range nuclear-tipped missiles, similar to those operated by France and the UK.

There’s about zero chance of that happening, but it may be the price of independence.

69 thoughts on “Weekly salon 11/8”

  1. I’ll be very interested in what Attenborough has to say about fixing climate change.

    In particular, whether he subscribes to the myth that we can avoid 1.5 degrees, and whether, like Hansen, he’ll see the need for drawing down atmospheric CO2.

  2. A technical point: in the Westminster system a person can become PM without winning an election as Party leader.

    I instance S. Morrison, M. Turnbull, K. Rudd 2.0, J. Gillard,
    P. Keating, W. McMahon, J. Gorton (after H. Holt drowned), etc.

    B. Johnson, T. May, J. Major, G. Brown, etc.

    It’s less common in the UK, it seems, yet legitimate.

  3. I saw an article, and then couldn’t find it again that suggested people in other countries were thinking differently of the Brits because of their situation and the election of Boris.

    The Irish said “We always thought they were dangerous”, the Dutch thought they were nuts, and for the French, I think it was a renewed distrust. Some business people apparently have been finding the going tougher now in France. Rules pop up that didn’t seem to be a problem before.

    They say the Germans will just look at a Brit with caution and want to know what they think about Brexit before they engage.

  4. On balance, Brian, leave it be.

    Just make sure the voters understand that when they support person C as their local MP in a general election, she may become PM even though she is not currently Opposition Leader.

    Which makes selection of good candidates just that bit more important for Parties: to have a breadth of e peri eence and talent in the House.

  5. You know, I was OK for the idea of being a republic until they start the dance of who would be president. It seemed like a rugby maul, so I gave my vote to the kids, telling them to work it out and I will vote as they direct. They all said “yes” so I voted for a republic. Still, there is enough bickering over who is PM, and I can’t see an adult debate coming over who should be the first president.

    I thought Attenborough was quite good – or really the doco was good – because it featured some of the leading climate scientists delivering first hand the causes and consequences of warming.

    Canavan was in Cairns last week – no idea why. Maybe something to do with power to the Daintree, or maybe he was trying to avoid the icy blast from the antarctic… He’s one of those who want to build a new coal-fired power station in NQ at whatever cost and consequence.

  6. New coal-fired power in Qld would be an atrocity. Apparently CS Energy looked at it years ago, and the numbers didn’t add up. That was what Jim Soorley (ex Bne lord mayor) who is on the board, said two years ago. Moreover, there is actually no need for it.

    The doco part of Attenborough was brilliant in showing the climate change is already dangerous. He wasn’t so good on how to fix it. I should do a post.

  7. I’m going to have to watch Q&A in a few minutes. Terri Butler is on . She is in Rudd’s old seat and now shadow for the environment. I’m a big fan of hers.

    Along with philosopher AC Grayling.

  8. I always get this irrational desire to grab arms and invade Sassanache land when ever I hear bagpipes.
    Looks like Brexit will result in Scotland and Nortern Ireland splitting from the English if they go ahead with Brexit.
    All I can say is “Go BREXIT>” while trying to hum like a bagpipe.

  9. John, I heard someone on the radio the other day opining that smaller states were easier to govern. From memory I think he said 3 to 7 million. It made me think of Denmark, Singapore and New Zealand.

    It could be best for all of them.

    The EU was originally a project mainly between Germany and France to make sure they didn’t go to war with each other again. It got too big and included too many countries with different standards of living.

    I remember my history teacher in school said the Brits interest in Europe was to always balance the power, so they kept fighting each other and no-one really won.

    Maybe it will all be for the best 50 years down the track.

  10. This bloke’s skilled too:

    As for yourself,” continued the king, “who have spent the greatest part of your life in travelling, I am well disposed to hope you may hitherto have escaped many vices of your country. But by what I have gathered from your own relation, and the answers I have with much pains wrung and extorted from you, I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”

    – Jonathan Swift, A Voyage to Brobdingnag, 1726.

  11. Lest I be accused of quoting His Majesty out of context, this is what Gulliver reports just before the above….

    His majesty, in another audience, was at the pains to recapitulate the sum of all I had spoken; compared the questions he made with the answers I had given; then taking me into his hands, and stroking me gently, delivered himself in these words, which I shall never forget, nor the manner he spoke them in: “My little friend Grildrig, you have made a most admirable panegyric upon your country; you have clearly proved, that ignorance, idleness, and vice, are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator; that laws are best explained, interpreted, and applied, by those whose interest and abilities lie in perverting, confounding, and eluding them. I observe among you some lines of an institution, which, in its original, might have been tolerable, but these half erased, and the rest wholly blurred and blotted by corruptions. It does not appear, from all you have said, how any one perfection is required toward the procurement of any one station among you; much less, that men are ennobled on account of their virtue; that priests are advanced for their piety or learning; soldiers, for their conduct or valour; judges, for their integrity; senators, for the love of their country; or counsellors for their wisdom.

    – Jonathan Swift, A Voyage to Brobdingnag

    Dean Swift is a dead white male; all strength to his quill!

  12. One of the more shocking pieces ever published in English, Brian.

    These days people might call it “confronting”.
    The last section makes clear Swift’s white hot anger.

  13. A note on terminology.

    If it becomes necessary for units of the People’s Liberation Army to take firm and resolute action in Hong Kong against hooligans and terrorists, it should be understood that the role of the Army will be to liberate the people as is clear to anyone who can understand the English language.

    In some instances, it has been necessary to liberate the People from themselves.

    The Army is certainly up to that task and will put in the hard yards if need be.

    As you were.

  14. Yesterday I heard a HK lawyer and former MP, who helped negotiate the “one nation, two systems” agreement between China and the U.K., claim that Deng Hsiao Peng (sp?) actually wanted China, over the long term, (50 years or so) to slowly change and become as free and open as HK was in 1997.

    Remarkable if true.

    (BTW, the HK lawyer thinks the agreement has been abrogated by the PRC because the HK leader is not independent of Beijing.)

    Old Deng was certainly known as a pragmatist (apologies: a capitalist-roader enemy of the people, running dog of US imperialism, etc.)

  15. In further governance news, the Canadian Ethics Commissioner has released a report saying inter alia that PM Trudeau broke ethics laws (conflict of interest) by meeting with a large Canadian corporation and later pressuring his Attorney General over a prosecution of that company.

  16. Jumpy, according to the article converting to electric costs spend somewhere around $16,000-$25,000. I haven’t got that kind of money.

    Ambi, it looks as though Trudeau has been naughty. We’ll wait and see whether this costs him.

    Canada has had some seriously strange people in lower levels of government.

  17. Brian

    Jumpy, according to the article converting to electric costs spend somewhere around $16,000-$25,000. I haven’t got that kind of money.

    Well, let’s think about this logically.
    You have a very nice big home with a brand new kitchen. I’m sure you could sell it for a pretty penny and downsize for the sake of the Planet and future generations. Bit of a sacrifice perhaps but hey, what’s more important to you ?

    You do a bit of lawn care ( on the books declared I trust ), battery powered whipper shippers and mowers are available at Bunnings fairly cheap, Ryobi from memory.

    Must be a hell of a guilt trip going to the Servo constantly.

  18. Jumpy I think you are lowering the bar too much in your last post directed at Brian.
    And the jibe about how he treats his income tax-wise is a bit off. As a small business l expect that you would certainly do a little cash job from time to time. Feel free to deny that on the basis that it’s not my business – just like how Brian handles his tax arrangement. Or did I just misunderstand you?

  19. Geoff, I go on the philosophy that the first time I dodge the Law I’ll be made a harsh example of, no matter how much I disagree with that Law..
    I said explicitly that I trust Brian is acting legit.
    So yes, you are misunderstanding.

    Reconciling folks individual actions with their rhetoric is fundamental in my search for trustworthiness.

    Or put simply, do they ask others to do what they do not.

    I can’t think of another product, other than fossil fuels that some folk, with a hatred in their bones for, still buy and consume regularly with no apparent regret, remorse or pledge to boycott themselves.

    It’s almost as if some are waiting for Nanny Government to threaten them with jail before action.

  20. Troll alert!

    Thanks for the heads up you’re here, but we know that.

    Now, what’s zoots carbon footprint and what is zoot doing to reduce it ?

  21. Come to think of it, what’s the carbon footprint of a single blog comment ( as useless as zoots was ) ?

    That’s worth thinking about.

  22. Jumpy, you were needling a bit.

    I just want to make it clear that I’m not in the business of telling people what they should do.

    The general aim is to give people information so they can make the best decisions for themselves.

    I’d advise people, though, not to cheat the taxation office. I saw auditors at work when I worked for government. Sole traders often get targeted for a desk audit. There would be no chance of pulling the wool over their eyes.

    Whether we sell the house or not is off limits, Jumpy.

    Happens I do have a Stihl electric trimmer, and a Stihl electric brushcutter. They now have an electric mower, which the reckon can do a quarter of an acre on one charge. Happens I have two mowers and don’t need a new one.

    I’m trying to write a post on whether we should stop mining and selling gas and coal. Rationally and morally, we should stop tomorrow, but the real world doesn’t work like that.

  23. For the record, I lived off-grid for 13 years, and still used 1.3 “earths”, meaning I was just short of sustainable. But I had a hefty generator, electric bore and two cars.
    Around 2010 I was tasked with a hypothetical exercise to reduce energy by 40%, then 60% and then 80%. The first targets were fairly easy, but I was uneasy about getting to 80%. Turned out I gave up at 92% and I think I could have made 95%. Main elements were shedding a car, working from home, more solar panels and letting the grass grow, home food garden etc.

  24. Brian

    Whether we sell the house or not is off limits, Jumpy.

    Well to me it is, I’m not going to advocate the Government force you to downsize ( although some on the left are pushing hard for that ), it’s your individual choice.
    I’m for you living your best life according to your values.

    BilBs boat life is extremely attractive, and kudos to him for living his values. Hope he’s not using Copper based anti-fouling though, that’s very toxic to corals I’m told.

  25. Jumpy I haven’t heard anyone telling me to downsize. There is a growing rumble though to address excess packaging and to recycle packaging. Further the disposal of waste is supposedly being examined. What SA did years ago was put a deposit on certain take away containers. It was very successful. Finally, Queensland adopted the idea. Now you see adult people raiding rubbish bins for the ten cents per item.
    More concerning to is the garbage being washed up on our shores. Literally tonnes of (mostly plastic) garbage is collected from beaches in North Queensland each year. The haul is analysed, noting its type, origin and of course quantity. Much of it is from SE Asia. As a lad the baker delivered bread from a horse and cart and the milk and veggies were delivered of the back of a truck. Minimal packaging. As an aside, these practices had a profound social effect, but they were forced out by shopping centres and the rapid availability of cars.

    Extremely concerning are the great garbage gyres in the Pacific and elsewhere. See: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/

  26. It’s a greens policy.

    No it’s not.
    Only in your parallel universe does

    enabling “empty-nesters” to downsize to more appropriate housing without the additional cost of Stamp Duty;

    mean “telling people to downsize”.

  27. Jumpy to anyone even slightly informed and believing that Trump is the anti-Christ, reducing one’s carbon footprint is axiomatic. That the Greens support that idea is great but there are many people who reduce even without policy guidance.
    You seem to imply that you don’t think too much of top-down government, pointing at the greens. A macro example of top down action is our PM dealing with the Pacific nations and telling them to suck up our contribution towards their sea level rise. How come your region had a large part in retaining the LNP?
    IMHO, bottom-up policy has a better chance of success than top down. An example of that is the rise of renewable power despite government obstruction.

  28. Geoff, I don’t know what Trump or Morrison have to do with this.
    On the subject of Pacific Islands though, Ellice Island ( Tuvalu ) has a population of 1000 per square mile. Everything other than coconuts and fish are shipped in from 1000s of miles away. Don’t try and tell me they don’t have a huge percapita carbon dioxide footprint.

    You want renewable power then inventing one that most folk see more value in is the only way.
    Mandating or prohibition from on high doesn’t work.

    And make no mistake, if the greenies say “ enable “ they mean “ force”.

  29. Also, if the Pacific Nations want to piss on our $500,000,000 gift then Morrison should withdraw it.
    Let them get it from China and feel some Hong Kong treatment.

  30. And make no mistake, if the greenies say “ enable “ they mean “ force”.

    So the South Australian Greens policy on Affordable Housing includes

    Replace State Stamp Duty with a fairer broad-based Land Tax calculated on the unimproved value of the land, with concessions for low income households. This will reduce the upfront cost of buying a house for young South Australians and will also free up larger family homes for growing families by enabling forcing “empty-nesters” to downsize to more appropriate housing without the additional cost of Stamp Duty

    Do you have even a nodding acquaintance with the English language?

  31. Geoff, when we moved into our house in the back yard there were gates in the fences to neighbours on both sides, and small door at the side of the top of the back stairs for the purpose of delivering bread and milk.

    I think milk was still delivered to the front door back then in the early 1980s.

  32. Jumpy:

    Jumpy I haven’t heard anyone telling me to downsize.
    It’s a greens policy.

    I followed the link to the SA affordable housing policy and found nothing that could be interpreted as “telling me to downsize”.
    I do think that, for a large number of people affordable housing is a real problem and that this problem is not just a young people problem. Things that might help include:
    1. Removing stamp duty on sales of property to people who don’t own accommodation.
    2. Taxes on unoccupied houses.
    3. Building of specialist rental properties targeted at low income people.
    4. Creation of rental co-operatives that seem to work in places like Germany.
    6. Incentives for people who live in a bigger house than they need to downsize.
    7. Tax on unoccupied housing in areas where there is a demand for housing.
    8. Supporting “universal house” designs that allow houses to be split into more than one unit when family size contracts. (Insist all new houses/units are designed to make this possible.)
    9. Prevent councils and developers insisting that new houses are larger than what is needed by a single person.
    Any other suggestions?

  33. John
    1) Remove all stamp duty, in an attempt to tax the seller it just taxes the buyer. ( common Keynesian error)
    2) What’s the economically scientific measure of unoccupiedness or will it be an arbitrarily chosen time limit plucked from a politicians arse that property owners can get around using Airbnb?
    3) already done on a State level with mixed results.

    4 ) Totally ignorant of that I’m afraid, perhaps it can help, I don’t know.
    5) N/A
    6) Downsizing for some is apparently out of the question as has been illustrated. How small are you atm, could you be “ incentivised “ smaller ?
    7) see 2 and add the ever moving “ demand “ metric. What arbitrary measure down to street by street will be used. There are multimillion dollar homes within walking distance of me and my direct neighbour is Housing Commission.
    8) That’d be a Local Council issue. For existing properties the hugely expensive process of splitting a large block is deterrent enough. Try renting a downstairs on the books with all the bullshit to get a taste of selling it would be.
    9) Your going to need to explain how that would work for me to start understanding. Is it something to do with covenants or reverse covenants or something?

    My suggestion if the Governments ( Fed,State or Local ) want cheaper house prices would be remove most of the $Billions of taxes on creating them and most of the ridiculous regulatory horseshit.

  34. Down here in Quill Land, bulk builders of new houses attend most carefully to their “energy star rating”” see ridiculous regulatory horse excrement above.

    My questions to the builder:

    Does the star measure, in fact provide the buyers with homes that are more energy efficient?

    Or does it fail to reduce emissions per family because they choose larger area homes anyway?

    Can the star system be ahem, got around?

    Do the buyers care?

    Does it take just one extra air con thumping away to remove the supposed gain made by building to a higher star?

    Is it true some builders get the stars by puttiing in tiny windows – reminiscent of the gloomy, darker houses built around 1930 to 1950 in Quill Land?

    How does a classic “Queenslander” designed to use natural breezes and elevation and broad rooves fare, when it comes to star rating?

    Has the fashion for almost non-existent roof eaves (around 2000 AD in Quill Land) reduced? Apparently it lowered roofing capital cost, but seemed to me would mess up house insulation on very hot sunny summer days – these we get occasionally in Quill Land: see Black Saturday, Ash Wednesday, Black Friday; Houses, ignition of.


    Yours Sincerely in Passive Solar Heating, and Emissions Reduction per Per Person.

  35. Ambi, the classic “Queenslander” designed to use natural breezes and elevation and broad rooves is becoming more rare in these parts. I believe if your house was built in 1948 or earlier it has to stay. Otherwise developers are going through these older suburbs and replacing older houses with air-conditioned boxes, and where the block size allows, cramming two onto one block, so there is one narrow path connecting front and back yards.

    The designs look as though they were created in Melbourne, or somewhere completely ignorant about local conditions.

    I talked to one bloke who was just finishing up the job. Five bedrooms, three bathrooms, aircon, I think 18 Kw system from memory, which he described a “light industrial”, with individual settings for every room.

  36. Ambi: The classic Q’lander uses low thermal inertia so the house can cool down quickly at night, good flow of air through the house to cool people in the humid air, elevation to provide a place for people to retreat to under the house and overhead fans and verandas or broad eves to keep the sun off walls and windows. Not much good at keeping you warm in cold places like Brisbane.
    By contrast good design for hot dry has high thermal inertia and insulation to take advantage of the large difference between day and night temperatures as well as verandas to keep the sun off windows. Fans are not much use at high temperatures because you become hotter when the breeze blows and the temperature is high. (I used to reckon that it was cooler out of the wind above 43 deg C.)
    Lived on Groote Eylandt without air conditioning in a Q’lander type house on stilts. The houses on stilts made the place very sociable. People would sit under the houses in the evening and talk to the passers by.
    By contrast we found Melbourne far less sociable because the people cowered inside their small windowed houses. The Melb obsession with which school you came from and a tendency to call you Mrs and Mr ….. didn’t help.

  37. Block sizes have shrunk. The post war dream was a quarter acre block, about 1012 square metres. Blocks are now approved for around 250 square metres. To get more house on the block, eves were deleted to allow compliance with set back (from boundary) rules.
    The appetite for McMansions has slowed I think but just the same the houses are extravagant by comparison to the olden days. Three or more large bedrooms, two large living areas, 2+ bathrooms, study, walk-in robes and air con. Then there is the landscaping which may be a loan condition to aid resale price in the case of default.
    Statutory charges can add hugely to costs – 25% 0r maybe more. State charges include stamp duty and form a large slice of State revenue and some local government charges can be high too. Regulations such as underground power add significantly. Maybe Jumpy could add the the list? Anyway the costs just keep on rising.

  38. Last night Four Corners looked at the issues plaguing building owners where there are serious structural faults emerging. Whilst it was informative I don’t think it covered the complexity of factors that have brought us to the current position. However, it seems that enough oversight, government or non-government has been withdrawn over recent decades to allow serious compromises in building design, materials and construction choices. I was amazed to hear that guarantees on some building were just five years. After that the builder is home free. I don’t know if the builder can join all the other actors in the project such as the certifier, council, subcontractors and so on. Remedy can be seriously expensive, so can legal relief.
    I think we will hear a lot more about this in the coming two years, and a lot of political shite too.

  39. “After that the builder is home free”

    and the owners, possibly stuck with a house whose basic defects are beginning to reveal themselves, could in the worst case be “free home”….

    worth close to $0

    Still, the land would have to be saleable? (Except for the notorious “Mr Fluffy” homes in Canberra. House removed. Prohibition on building on that plot, I think.)

    Still can’t fathom why James Hardie Pty Ltd moved to Astbestoudam Amsterdam…..

  40. Ambi less than $0 – the owner may have been plunged deep into negative equity. Further, the cost of demolishing the site would be horrendous, and possibly the site itself would be blighted because it may be perceived as unstable or the like.

    Nedermind your poor spelling…

  41. This report gives details on Australian house and apartment sizes for 2018. (Houses 231 m2, apartments 125 m2. (Vic Houses are the largest at 245 m2 because they need room for their high drays and bales of quills.)
    The conversation says that,

    over the past 60 years Australian homes have more than doubled in size, going from an average of around 100 square metres in 1950 to about 240 square metres today. This makes them the largest in the world, ahead of Canada and the United States.
    At the same time, the average number of people living in each household has been declining. This means that the average floor area per person has skyrocketed from 30 square metres to around 87 square metres.

    By contrast, my donga at one place I worked was only 6m2. (Decandent would have kicked in at something less than 20 m2.
    There is plenty of scope for reducing housing footprint .

  42. Groetjes!

    Please mister, waat is donga?
    Waat is decandent??


    6 m^2 is less than a prisoner gets in Quill Province, unless of course he was caught stealing more than 5 bushels of quills in a stolen high dray. Then he receives a well-merited thrashing followed by a diet of Rockhampton water and non-artisan bread for three weeks.

    Usually he will then confess and be sent down to Van Diemensland.

    Really, the high dray owners and quill producers must be protected from these marauding thieves, some of whom come here from interstate, it is said.


    May I just correct an apparent misconception? (No, sir. I do not refer to my own.)

    High drays are generally housed in dray stables, of the out buildings type. Quinceland folk might call these “garages” or “hovels”. These do not count in the house’s acreage.

    However, internal rooms devoted to quillcraft most definitely are included: the plucking room, a drying area, the trimming room, storage spaces, and in the house of a Quill Merchant: the display and sales emporium.

  43. Geoff,

    However, it seems that enough oversight, government or non-government has been withdrawn over recent decades to allow serious compromises in building design, materials and construction choices.

    That has certainly not been my observations. From my little perspective in it “ oversight “ has increased big league. Pretty soon you’ll need a permit and a licensed installer to change a light bulb.

    No, the general public ( in the main ) has been fooled into abrogating responsibility for their home construction to the Government because Government relentlessly promises to make it universally better so they don’t scrutinise the builders reputation and history and think because Government is “ overseeing “ then every dwelling standard must be homogeneous in level.

    If you want, and I can manage with my seriously limited computer skill, I can show you Official Specifications from Fed, State and Local Governments mandating the use of Lead Based Paint and Asbestos in schools and hospitals as well as homes.

  44. 6m2 doesn’t include the shower, laundry, wet mess or food mess.
    One doesn’t live in a donga, one sleeps.

  45. For the record I want to downsize to a 2 bed cabin type structure but my lovely Taipan is a sentimental sort that sees the need be ready to host any of our Sons that happen to fuck their lives up in the future.

    ( in back door conversations I’ve made it crystal clear to them that that’s not happening!! )

  46. Jumpy I ought to have mentioned that oversight in Qld is very much better than other states – this was made clear in the four corners program.

  47. OK, mister!!

    “One sleeps in a donga”

    So is a donga a types of beds room? For singles person? No sleeps companion? No need for window?


  48. Oversight by whom is the crux of it.
    All of these defective issues were ultimately signed off by Government so the prols drone “ must be perfect, no need to be my own scrutineer, must..trust..Big.. Brother….”

  49. Down in Quill Province, some 14 years ago we needed a building permit for our modest outdoor shed: 6 by 12, pre-fab metal, concrete floor.

    Council permit? Well, sort of. It was a private contractor who scrutinised the plan and signed off. I was surprised: not being a builder, hadn’t been aware that the approval service was privatised.

    Shed still stands.
    All satisfactory.
    As you were.

    But Jumps old bean, if the building surveyors are private and insured, how is it the Govt “ultimately signs off”? Because the Govt wrote the laws and set up the framework of approvals?

    That’s a bit of a stretch, ain’t it???

    I mean, they set up ATSIC and Prudential regulations, but the lady in the street reckons theft by a Bank is courtesy of the Bank (an employee, a policy) not the Govt.

    Just like I suppose you would say a shooting murder is down to the trigger-puller, not the manufacturer or gun retailer, eh?

    Tricky business, trying to assign blame……

  50. Jumpy:

    6m2 doesn’t include the shower, laundry, wet mess or food mess.
    One doesn’t live in a donga, one sleeps.

    That 6m2 was the smallest donga I ever used but it was big enough to include room for a single bed, desk, chair and wardrobe with room under the bed for more storage. If I start with the 6m2 donga and add a 4 m2 ensuite and another 5 m2 to make room for cooking, fridge and a bit more storage that comes to 15 m2. Some of the smarts one sees in tiny home designs can make very good use of available space. Think beds and other stuff that fold away. Beds that are higher off the floor to provide more storage. (Think double deck beds with bottom deck replaced by storage, desk or….) I think a 20 m2 donga on stilts to allow for car parking or storage with access to the rooftop area where people can have a quiet meal under the solar panels and you have a pretty good setup on a very small footprint. (Use your imagination Mr J instead of blaming the government.)
    Ambi: Dongas were where I have lived from time to time to time mainly in the hallowed Central Qld that Jumpy harangues from. The main trouble with the 6m2 donga was that coal trains stopped and started in the middle of the night about 30 m from where I lived. (Found i could sleep through it after a while.)

  51. For the record I want to downsize to a 2 bed cabin type structure but my lovely Taipan is a sentimental sort that sees the need be ready to host any of our Sons that happen to fuck their lives up in the future.

    So it would be to your benefit if the Greens formed government and forced you to downsize. For once you would be accurate when you told your better half that it was the government’s fault.

  52. My elder bro has a donga in his front yard at Graceville, near Rockhampton. My wife and I have stayed there in aircon luxury.

    I think dongas were designed as movable accommodation for fly-in fly-out workers, where they work 12 hours on 12 hours off, so there would be a mess for them to eat, I imagine.

  53. How good is time?
    We’ll read the new Salon in a canter!!

    Quiet Australians Appreciation Society

  54. How good is the human brain???
    Blotting out the noise of a heavy train that’s passing within 30m in the night….. to get a good night’s sleep.

  55. Brian:

    I think dongas were designed as movable accommodation for fly-in fly-out workers, where they work 12 hours on 12 hours off, so there would be a mess for them to eat, I imagine.

    All the dongas I have lived in were part of a camp that provided a mess, washing machines and dryers. The dongas were air conditioned.
    Most of these dongas included ensuite, small fridge and coffee making facilities and were much bigger than 6m2. Some of them were high quality but some were pretty bad.
    What i am talking about here is what is necessary for a single person to live independently somewhere other than a mining camp. This means something that has at least room for a single bed, ensuite, small desk and chair, basic cooking, fridge and some storage. Room for washing machine and dryer is also desirable. That would come out at something under 3x5m without being very creative. Towable tiny houses have the following restrictions in Aus:

    From the ground to the roof, you can’t go any higher than 4.3 metres and no wider than 2.5 metres. As for length, tiny homes can go up to 12.5 metres, but chances are you won’t want it that long anyway. “The reason being to legally tow it on Australian roads, you need to keep it under 4.5 tonnes,” Darren said.Apr 13, 2018

    Non-towable would not face these restrictions but council regulations will often be hostile to very small affordable homes. In terms of fitting very small homes typical blocks, long narrow homes set up as terrace houses would seem the way to go.

  56. Cardinal Pell’s appeal dismissed by 2-1 majority on Victorian Court of Appeal.

    Dissenting – Justice Bromberg.
    Majority – Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal.

  57. In terms of fitting very small homes typical blocks, long narrow homes set up as terrace houses would seem the way to go.

    As happened in the 19th century.

    John, my sister in Miles used to be in an independent living aged care facility. She’s now in Carinya Hostel standard unit @ 13.72 sq m. It has a room with a bed and a lounge chair, quite large and specially designed for people of reduced mobility to get in and out, with your own TV and a small table. Shower and toilet are designed so that wheel chair bound people can be assisted if need be.

    before that she was in an ‘independent living facility, which I never measured, but I’d say was a bout 5m x 5m with four parts.

    First kitchen with fridge, cooker, sink dishwasher etc. Second a lounge and a small table in between that could seat about four.

    The bedroom had robes and drawers, plus enough room for a queen sized single bed, with room to decamp into a wheel chair. Then fourth was laundry and toilet.

    All set on slab on ground with lawn with sprinklers and smallish garden beds where some of the more able residents plied their skills.

    The facility is in the same town block as the Carinya Hostel and the hospital.

    There may have been units designed for a couple but I think most people were single.

  58. Terrace houses are damn good for insulation on the long sides where the house has close neighbours on each side.

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