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.

Weekly salon16/3

1. Unforgivable atrocities

Words fail me, so I’ll borrow some from Ambigulous on the last Salon thread:

    Horrific, murderous attack(s) in Christchurch; to add to the horror, apparently live streamed by a gunman. An Aussie in custody. And three other people? A long “manifesto” written by one of the murderers.

    Police armed all over Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud.

    Cry, the beloved country.

Continue reading Weekly salon16/3

Weekly salon 10/5

1. Coalition chaos

On another thread Geoff Miell pointed to an article by Phillip Coorey’s comments in the AFR headlined Coalition chaos: Abbott backflips, Turnbull attacks, Barnaby Joyce sharpens knife, beginning with:

    Chaos is rife in the Coalition with Tony Abbott performing another climate change backflip, Malcolm Turnbull launching a fresh attack on those who dumped him, and Barnaby Joyce signalling he is ready to roll Nationals Leader Michael McCormack on the cusp of the election campaign.

    As Scott Morrison dismissed the eruptions of past animosities as “history”, discipline in and around the Coalition was unravelling.

Continue reading Weekly salon 10/5

The Pell case breaks new ground


In his sermon last Sunday the Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, urged parishioners don’t be ‘too quick to judge’ Pell. I found what the Archbishop said appropriate, except that Pell has been judged and found guilty. That is his present status. He is guilty as charged on five counts of sexual abuse. For the third most senior Catholic official on the planet, that is breathtaking. Continue reading The Pell case breaks new ground

Weekly salon 2/3

1. Politics and the mood of the people

Mark David cartoon

To me the Morrison government has brought politics to a new low in Australia. Angela Merkel’s flipping through her briefing notes to see who is PM in Australia this week spoke volumes. Continue reading Weekly salon 2/3

Serena cartoon judged not racist

Last September in Australia’s The Herald Sun published a cartoon by Mark Knight following Serena Williams’ US Open loss to Naomi Osaka of Japan, with Williams in mid-tantrum and stamping on her tennis racket. The umpire is shown asking Osaka, “Can you just let her win?” There is a dummy on the ground nearby. Here’s the cartoon:

The Press Council has issued its adjudication, published in the Herald Sun: Continue reading Serena cartoon judged not racist

Dividend imputation reform vs a dishonest scare campaign

The Coalition government is calling Labor’s proposals to end cash payments by the taxation office for excess share dividend imputation credits a “retiree tax” and an attack on pensioners. In fact:

  • No pensioners or part pensioners will be affected at all.
  • Exemptions include individuals receiving the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Parenting Payment, Newstart and Sickness Allowance.
  • Self managed super funds (SMSFs) can have up to six members. Where one of a couple is receiving a part pension the exemption will apply to the fund.
  • Martin also pointed out that it is possible to receive a part pension with an income of up to $78,000 pa.
  • Currently under the existing rules it would be theoretically possible to receive a superannuation income of $80,000 pa, and then in addition receive a cash cheque from the taxation office of about $34,000.
  • These benefits flow to one in every 25 Australians, the rest of us in effect pay for them.
  • When cash payments were introduced in 2001 the rule change cost the budget $550 million. The current cost is about $5 billion, $8 billion next year. It is simply unsustainable. Peter Martin says the current scheme is as Australian as the echidna. No other country in the world does it.

Continue reading Dividend imputation reform vs a dishonest scare campaign

Weekly salon 25/2

1. Political follies

Phillip Coorey in the AFR had it about right when he said four days of Parliament this week felt like standing in a wind tunnel.

    Scandals, failures and blow-ups, each of which, in isolation, would have once occupied a week or more of the Parliament’s and the public’s attention, and possibly ended in someone losing their job, all came and went in a rush.

Labor won and lost on asylum seekers, Matthias Cormann and Joe Hockey (remember him?) became implicated in the HelloWorld travelgate affair, then there was:

    a $423 million contract for Paladin to run Manus Island and confirmation that Small Business Minister Michaelia Cash declined to be interviewed by the Australian Federal Police who were investigating the bungled raid on AWU offices in 2017.

    The police also told Senate Estimates they believed evidence may have been destroyed. Mere bagatelle.

Continue reading Weekly salon 25/2

Climate clippings 230

1. NSW Labor pledges state-owned renewable energy company to power three million homes

    A New South Wales Labor government would establish a state-owned renewable energy company to support the rollout of enough renewable energy to power more than three million homes across the state in the next decade.

    On Monday the NSW opposition leader, Michael Daley, announced that if elected on 23 March, Labor would deliver seven gigawatts of extra renewable energy by 2030.

Continue reading Climate clippings 230

Weekly salon 16/2

1. Political follies

To me the most staggering political event of the past week was PM Scott Morrison’s announcement that he had ordered the re-opening of the Christmas Island detention facility. What for? Does he expect that suddenly the navy will be unable to intercept and turn back boats? The facility is quite large:

Christmas Island Shire CEO Gordon Thomson told Patricia Karvelas the announcement was stunning and made no practical sense. The centre was already on 72-hour standby. Continue reading Weekly salon 16/2

Cashing in on refugees at Manus Island

As the crossbench celebrated passing a vote to medivac refugees from offshore detention camps at doctors discretion:

Scott Morrison did not seem to be unduly perturbed:

I am sure he likes having refugees mired at Manus and Nauru, so he can scare Australian voters about the danger of letting Bill Shorten anywhere near The Lodge and the treasury benches. There are some other people who also cash in big time – for example Paladin Group, one of the biggest government contractors in Australia, having won tenders worth $423 million for its 22 months work on Manus. Continue reading Cashing in on refugees at Manus Island

Weekly salon 9/2

1. Judge rejects coal mine

Here’s an image of a cow paddock that was going to be dug up for coal mining at Gloucester in the mid north coast of NSW::

The very picture of rural tranquility, this Gloucester paddock will remain safe for cows – not home to earth-gouging machines. Photo: ABC

Perhaps the most important thing that happened in Australia in the last week was that Chief Judge Brian Preston of the NSW Land Court rejected Rocky Hill mine near Gloucester, NSW, because of its impact on the town and ‘dire consequences’ of increasing emissions: Continue reading Weekly salon 9/2