Category Archives: Sundries

Posts on sundry matters of life the universe and everything: Culture, Environment, Life, Politics & Government, Science, Social Science and Society, Technology etc.

The Battle of Passchendaele

I think I ignored Anzac Day last year, on the blog, that is. I think I grew up as patriotic as the rest of the community, despite being embedded in a community of ‘German’ farmers, who were mostly third generation Australians. Anyway their services were definitely not required even in the Second World War. Indeed I understand that my father may have been involved in some Dad’s Army type exercises in case of a Japanese invasion. But when the authorities discovered there were Germans involved, that was the end of that.

However, apart from those of German origin very few Australian families escaped losing relatives on the battlefields of northern France and Flanders, our extended family by marriage amongst them.

The Australian War Memorial frames Passchendaele as an almost universal experience where in a concentrated area in three and a half months around a million and a half men experienced war. Total casualties are estimated at about 275,000 British and Commonwealth and about 200,000 German. All for a gain of 8 kilometres in the line, which was later given up. Continue reading The Battle of Passchendaele

Saturday salon 22/4

1. Theresa May’s brave gambit

She didn’t need to, so why did she, especially after promising absolutely definitely that she wouldn’t?

Given a lead of about 20% in the polls, she possibly sees a chance of decimating Labour and governing virtually as a one-party state for the next five years.

However, Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight warns that the British polls are basically not worth a cracker. Their abysmal performance translates into a margin of error of 13 to 15%. Continue reading Saturday salon 22/4

Should We Charge the GST on Exports?

Exporters often seem to be able to pay less tax than other businesses.  One of the key reasons for this is that exporters pay no GST on their exports despite benefiting from government expenditure on things things like education and various forms of assistance to industry including assistance that is specific to export industries.

This post asks whether it is about time to start charging the GST on at least some exports. Continue reading Should We Charge the GST on Exports?

Should We Get Rid of the Company Tax?

The Commonwealth government has just gained support for a tax cut for business’s earning less that $50m per yr. The benefits of this change are debatable. The only things we can be sure of is that badly needed government revenue has been sacrificed and if anything, the administration of this tax will become more complex.

It might be smarter to get rid of this complex and difficult to administer tax altogether and replace the lost revenue by either increasing the take from already existing taxes and/or some new and simpler tax.

This post looks at the implications of getting rid of company tax. Continue reading Should We Get Rid of the Company Tax?

Saturday salon 15/4

1. Older Coalition voters turning to One Nation

Newspoll finds that the demographic most supportive of One Nation is the 50-plus group and it appears that the LNP is the main loser in that sector.

Meanwhile, Pauline is calling for a boycott of easter eggs that are halal-certified, ie Cadbury, Matthias Cormann has stared down a demand that the ABC’s budget be cut by $600 million and the Young Nationals have supported carbon trading, having supported same-sex marriage in 2015. Continue reading Saturday salon 15/4

Fake news about company tax cuts

Ross Gittins says we have fake government rather than fake news, but it does appear that the political debate about company tax cuts has been inadequate and misleading, to say the least. In this post I take a look at what decent thinkers like Gittins, Craig Emerson, Ross Garnaut and others have had to say about the corporate tax cuts. Continue reading Fake news about company tax cuts

Class warfare needed to shake lazy neoliberalism

Neoliberalism has run its course, Paul Keating has spoken.

Sally McManus, the new Secretary of the ACTU announced the demise of neoliberalism as a useful economic force in her speech to the National Press Club National Press Club, as well as defending her comments that anti-strike laws were unjust and could be disobeyed, and setting out the union peak body’s case for a $45-a-week increase in the minimum wage.

McManus said that neoliberalism and trickle-down economics had caused inequality to reach a 70-year high in Australia and that “working people and ordinary Australians have been the victims”.

    “The Keating years created vast wealth for Australia, but has not been shared, and too much has ended up in offshore bank accounts or in CEO’s back pockets.

    “Working people are now missing out and this is making them angry.”

Continue reading Class warfare needed to shake lazy neoliberalism

Saturday salon 8/4

1. Trump’s Syria strike puts the world on notice

Trump’s launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles to smash a Syrian airfield has put the world on notice. As Trump enters talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, suddenly it is clear that Trump is not going to be isolationist, and no-one can be sure how far he will go, in Syria, the South China Sea, North Korea, or anywhere else..

The biggest question is what comes next? There are Russian troops on the ground. The Syrians and Russians have anti-aircraft weapons capable of bringing American planes down, which have been flying freely to strike ISIS targets. Continue reading Saturday salon 8/4

Climate clippings 202

1. State of the Environment 2016

The government has produced the latest State of the Environment Report 2016 which happens every five years. I’ve browsed the report and can say that it has some magnificent photographs.

According to the ABS Australia’s population will be between 36.8 million and 48.3 million in 2066 as against 24 million now. The report says that the key drivers of environmental change are population growth and economic activity.

The report says that it is possible to decouple these drivers from environmental harm, but it’s a possibility only. Sue Arnold, following Ted Trainer and Sustainable Australia suggests that we have already breached our carrying capacity. Continue reading Climate clippings 202

Malcolm’s malaise

Ray Hadley reckons that if Turnbull can’t lead Bill Shorten by 20 points he doesn’t deserve to be prime minister. According to the latest Newspoll in the ‘Better PM’ stakes Shorten has taken ground off Turnbull. Turnbull is now only 9 in front compared to 14 last time.

As to how well they are doing their job, 32% approve of Shorten compared to 30% for Turnbull. And it’s not new. Shorten was 2% ahead back in November, and has tended to shade him ever since (three times out of four). Of course both are in net negative territory.

In ‘Two Party’ terms it’s 53-47 to Labor, compared to 52-48 last time. Here are the individual party votes: Continue reading Malcolm’s malaise

Saturday salon 1/4

1. Blackmail, extortion and slavery at a restaurant near you

This is the story about an Indian couple in Melbourne, who desperately wanted to stay in Australia. They moved to Adelaide, where the wife was offered a three-year contract as a cook in an Indian restaurant for $52,500 pa under a 457 visa.

What happened is that she ended up working for years for nothing, and sums of $30,000 and then $20,000 were extorted on threat of ending 457 sponsorship. Then the authorities cancelled the company’s right to sponsor, so their visa was cancelled. Continue reading Saturday salon 1/4