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

Climate clippings 201

1. Australian fund managers short Tesla and Elon Musk

When Elon Musk dramatically promised to build a grid-scale battery in South Australia, the media was enthralled. Share traders and a string of Australian fund managers smirked. They’d seen it all before, and were shorting him in the market.

In that very week he was in the market with plans to raise $US1.15 billion in equity and convertible notes. I understand also that Tesla has gone strangely quiet about SA since then. Continue reading Climate clippings 201

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

SA power plan: intervention, not going alone

Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg have now added a second myth to the earlier one that South Australia had rushed madly and blindly into renewables without thought for the consequences. They say that South Australia is now “going it alone”. Unfortunately this meme was picked up in the media, so that Philip Clark on ABC Nightlife recently had SA “going it alone” as his topic of the day (most of the comment supported SA, but no-one, not a single one, had their facts right).

The fact is that the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) runs the market, calls bids for supply on a 30-minute basis, and balances supply and consumption. That is what it has done every day for years, since 1 July 2009, and will continue to do so into the future. Except that 30-minute time-slots are bound to be reviewed in the Finkel report and may end up at five. The Australian Energy Market Commission is currently considering a request for such a change. Continue reading SA power plan: intervention, not going alone

Climate clippings 200

1. Murdoch media continues the energy wars

The Murdoch media continues to lay the blame on renewables, a notion specifically rejected by AEMO, leading to a Twitter battle between SA minister Tom Koutsantonis and The Australian’s Adelaide bureau chief, Michael Owen.

2. AEMO embraces change in the SA blackouts report

Continue reading Climate clippings 200

Happiness: the universal goal

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The main goal is always to beat New Zealand, but this time they beat us, according to the World Happiness Report 2017, which tells us that increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. They say:

The results are yet another resounding endorsement of the ‘Nordic model’. The top four countries, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland are statistically a dead heat, while Finland is fifth, and Sweden ninth, tied with Australia to three decimal places, after The Netherlands, Canada and New Zealand. Continue reading Happiness: the universal goal

Saturday salon 25/3

1. Service interruption

I’ve been advised by the host of Climate Plus that they will be taking time out for maintenance for about two hours from 2pm PDT (whatever that means, they are based in the USA) on Saturday March 25. It’s about MySQL and they say connectivity could be affected during that time.

2. Who pays and who gets the loot?

Laura Tingle has an interesting graph about who pays the bills and who gets cash and kind from the government:

Continue reading Saturday salon 25/3

What the biffo between Weatherill and Frydenberg really means

“Ten years of brutal, opportunistic politics has left this nation with no credible energy policy.”

The money quote from Jay Weatherill’s outburst was this:

    “Josh Frydenberg was humiliated back in December. We were working with him to introduce an emissions intensity scheme. He knows that. It was well advanced. It was about to happen. Coal interests in the federal Coalition government basically cut him down before he even had a couple of hours explaining it.”

Continue reading What the biffo between Weatherill and Frydenberg really means

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff