Category Archives: Politics & Government

Westpac’s woes

To senior people at Westpac the AUSTRAC charges seemed like a minor technical glitch. Instead they’d been handed a grenade which exploded in their faces. The media portrayal has been of greedy bankers who would engage in anything to make a profit. This SMH editorial begins:

    After the royal commission into the financial sector last year, many pundits said that trust in banks could not go any lower. Westpac has proven them wrong.

    Less than a year after Kenneth Hayne delivered his report about rip-offs and illegal sales tactics by Australia’s most profitable financial institutions, Australia’s second largest bank has been pinged for breaches of money laundering and anti-terrorism laws, including facilitating payments to paedophiles in the Philippines.

The actual is a little more prosaic, as the editorial goes on to tell:

    Westpac’s latest failures raise different issues to the Hayne inquiry. This is not a case of bank managers ordering their staff to act unconscionably or flawed incentive payments. Westpac’s crimes here are arguably more those of omission than commission. It failed to implement and check the IT systems required to properly detect and report suspicious transactions. (Emphasis added)

Continue reading Westpac’s woes

Weekly salon 26/11

1. Scott Morrison perfects the art of hiding in plain sight

That’s according to Paula Matthewson at the New Daily. She says he’s doing fewer TV interviews and holding fewer media conferences than we’ve come to expect from a prime minister, but is bursting out all over on social media, where, she says, it will be almost impossible to enforce ‘truth’ online.

    No matter how welcome and overdue, imposing truth in advertising restrictions on Facebook will do nothing to staunch the flood of misdirections, deflections, mistruths and porkies that can flow through the other direct-to-voter channels. Continue reading Weekly salon 26/11

WHERE HAS ALL THE MONEY GONE?

WHERE HAS THE MONEY GONE?

Productivity has grown enormously since I started work. In addition, participation of women in the workforce has also risen dramatically. In theory, these changes should have resulted in families being much better off financially assuming a reasonable share of the benefits of both these changes were shared with families.

Problem is that too many families with both parents working claim to be struggling financially as well as being stressed by the pressures associated from having both parents working long hours. Which begs the question: What has happened to all the extra money generated by the increases in productivity and working hours per family?

This post asks “where has all the money gone?” with particular reference to affordable accommodation.

Continue reading WHERE HAS ALL THE MONEY GONE?

Don Watson On Inspiring Support for Radical Change

 

Don Watson’s article in The Monthly poses a powerful message to all of us seeking the radical changes needed to give the world a future. The target was Labor supporters but the message is equally important to the Greens and other progressive parties.  In a sense the article supplements Greta Thunberg’s speech to the UN with its memorable bottom line of: “We are in the beginning of mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” (Given that the human plague has grown by over 22% (1.5 billion) since she was born and 3 times since 1950 perhaps she should have added eternal population growth to the fairy tales that require urgent action.)
The future desperately needs leadership that can inspire us to support the action required to minimize the damage being done by the human plague in a way that doesn’t make the people at the bottom of the pile even worse off than they are now.
Don Watson’s article was about the importance of speech writers like Labor’s Graham Freudenberg who have a clear vision on policy and ideas combined with the skills to turn these things into memorable, stirring speeches like Gough’s “It’s Time” speech.

Read and discuss.

Aged Care in Australia: A Shocking Tale of Neglect

Aboriginal Elder Mildred Numamurdirdi, with GP Meredith Hanson-Knarhol, had to travel 800 kilometres to receive care.
    A sad and shocking system that diminishes Australia as a nation.

The media release began as follows:

    The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s Interim Report has found the aged care system fails to meet the needs of its older, vulnerable, citizens. It does not deliver uniformly safe and quality care, is unkind and uncaring towards older people and, in too many instances, it neglects them.

    Commissioners Richard Tracey AM, RFD, QC and Lynelle Briggs’s AO investigation into Australia’s aged care system led them to describe the aged care system as “a shocking tale of neglect”. Continue reading Aged Care in Australia: A Shocking Tale of Neglect

Weekly salon 1/11

1. Sydney

The purpose of LEAN is to make concern for the environment and climate change an essential part of Labor’s DNA. I’d say with the roomful of awesomely talented people we had at Lane Cove, the prospects look bright. Certainly the ALP branches around and near the suburb I live in are already there. Mark Butler is held in very high regard by the people who know him.

Second comment, I’m from the Silent Generation, according to this listing. At the meeting there was a pleasing quota of Millennials, of Gen Y (born 1977-1995). I’d never encountered them in sizable groups before. I found that a cluster of Millennials talk very fast and laugh all the time. I saw an article recently (not this one) that said human speech varies culturally from just over four phonemes per second to just under six. That’s nearly 50% faster, and not what my brain is used to. Continue reading Weekly salon 1/11

Weekly salon 29/9

1. Can Richmond save Australia

Unless you were living under a rock, or in hospital in an induced coma, you would know that:

    Richmond has swept to victory in the AFL grand final, extinguishing GWS hopes of glory with a dominant 89-point win at the MCG for the club’s 12th flag.

    GWS was hoping to complete a fairytale finals turnaround to win the flag from sixth but after the Giants kicked the first goal of the day, they then conceded the next 11.

    Out-tackled, out-performed, out-scored — it was a dirty day for the Giants, as a terrific Tigers outfit made it two flags in three years with a 17.12 (114) to 3.7 (25) victory.

Continue reading Weekly salon 29/9

Weekly salon 7/9

1. Storms for Hansen’s grandchildren

(From Hurricane Dorian: devastation and destruction in the Bahamas – in pictures)

John Schwartz at the NYT (posted at Lethal Heating) asks How Has Climate Change Affected Hurricane Dorian?

Michael Mann and Andrew E Dessler respond in Global Heating Made Hurricane Dorian Bigger, Wetter – And More Deadly. With warm seas and more moisture in the atmosphere hurricanes can intensify faster, contain more moisture, more wind power and move slower. This means greater flooding and a increased possibility of coinciding with high tides. Continue reading Weekly salon 7/9

Weekly salon 1/9

1. Waiting for Godot

Part of my delay in completing this week’s edition was waiting for something that wasn’t ridiculous to happen. There is plenty like Boris Johnson suspending parliament, and Trump attacking Fox News, and Fox News hitting back.

To be honest, I’ve been knocked a bit askew by the David Spratt’s question At 4°C of warming, would a billion people survive? The answer according to some respected scientists is, in brief, probably not, something less than a billion, and 4°C seems to be where we are heading.

That would mean on average more than a million deaths from global warming each week for the next 90 years. Continue reading Weekly salon 1/9

Weekly salon 21/8

1. Adani’s problems mount

The IEEFA has issued a warning that Contracting with Adani Australia entails counterparty risks.

They say self funding is basically impossible, because Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL) does not have the capacity to fund it. Adani Mining is already carrying $1.8 billion of debt in Australia. The project would require the coal market to stay robust for decades. Tim Buckley:

    “In IEEFA’s view, Adani’s Carmichael thermal coal proposal is unviable and unbankable on any normal commercial evaluation, absent massive government subsidy support in both India and Australia,” says Buckley.

    “Adani’s suggestion it will self-fund this proposal is a clear acknowledgement of this.”

Continue reading Weekly salon 21/8

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.

Continue reading Weekly salon 11/8