ARCHIVES 1997-2007  --- ARCHIVES 2007 +



Politics in the Pub (6th October) had Professor David Goodman and some of his faculty along to advise the group of the latest news from China.

Snippets gleaned were that Chinese entrepreneurs need government patronage.  And that although the "great firewall of China" keeps out western facebook, that internal comment is lively and uncontrollable.  Also that women are no better off than in Australia, and that if you are a member of the elite you have a better chance of avoiding the "one child" policy.

After the talk I approached the professor and queried whether China would not, like Japan, come to a dead stop in the application of technology to society at a point just below the USA because the culture of China did not allow entrepreneurs full reign to develop their ideas.  (Much as, in Japan, MITI tilted the balance against lone wolf entrepreneurs.  Offhand, the major innovation from Japan is the Manga comics.).  Where, I asked will the Chinese Edisons, Henry Fords, Stan Lees, Rupert Murdochs, Warren Buffets, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Google twins (just to mention a few of the better known) come from?  Those US entrepreneurs were not mainstream, and obtained success by the patronage of their customers, not of some government official who quite likely obtained his position with family connections?

The good professor rejected my suggested criticism out of hand and quite brusquely, I thought, with the argument that anybody with a good innovative idea would find a government patron very quickly.

Which is pretty obviously, at least to me, (even if it were true) no incentive whatsoever to entrepreneurs such as those cited.  Witness Google in China.

But then, the professor's position can be forgiven.  Because he quite possibly obtained his position in society at least in part through political patronage.


There was an announcement that there was a proposed law that would increase a federal Australian politician's pay from  over $130,000 p/a to numbers that are estimated as approaching $250,000 p/a.  This increase would presumably precede the next election, so that retiring representatives and senators could carry their new payscale over into their pension.

For comparison do you know what federal politician and Cabinet members in the USA actually earn every year? Here is a breakdown:

• Congress Members (Representatives and Senators): $174,000
• Senate and House Majority/Minority Leaders: $193,400
• Cabinet Members: $199,700
• Speaker of the House: $223,500
• Vice President: $230,700
• President: $400,000.

Now of course everyone knows that our Australian representatives deserve more than US officials.  It is good to see that our representatives know it.  However could I suggest that the increase be dated one week after the next election?  In that way the Australian people will get the stated benefit of attracting better talent and also be spared the expense of paying increased pensions to the dead wood that has been pruned.


Shalit was apparently traded for more than 1,000 Palestinians.  Sounds like a fair trade, especially as Israel won't have to guard them in prison any more.

The Qantas unions are trying for security for their members.  I suppose the government could enact legislation compelling Australians to only fly on Qantas, but short of that, Qantas' options are controlled by the bottom line.  Qantas must either employ overseas labour & sack local employees, or cut local employees' wages, or go bust.  The only people who will ever really benefit from the repeal of "work choices" are the corporate union bosses.  Everyone else loses out.

All things considered, the Governor General should sack the government for dishonesty.  When a politician makes a promise to refrain from some action and thereby gets elected, that politician should lose their position if they break that promise.  However Bryce won't, because the Labour party learned from it's experience with Kerr.  No Prima Donnas for GG.

One of our green state legislators attended "Politics in the Pub" Friday 21st October as a last minute "ring in".  He explained how "Grid Parity" (grid parity is when the discounted cost of electricity from photocells is as cheap as power from the grid) would be reached within five years.  Some time later he explained why NSW should not sell it's power stations, so that it could close them.

I put my name down to ask a question, but questions closed before my turn came up.  (That does seem to be happening a lot lately at that venue:).   So I approached him after the event, and asked "since electricity will soon be cheaper from photocells, why we shouldn't sell the power stations to the greedy capitalists, since after grid parity they would be worthless in a few more years?  That way we could save the voters a large amount of money."

He spluttered around for a while, explaining that the cost of grid power included profits and labour and lots of other stuff.  He realized that was irrelevant so stated the "the new owners would find a way not to close them. "

How?  Bribe the government to enact protective legislation or give subsidies?  Because grid parity is not where it ends.  Before very long, PV (photo voltaic) electricity will be less than half the cost of Grid power.  I suggested that all we would need in a decade was a new technology storage battery and better PV cells and citizens could disconnect from the grid.  He did not think ordinary people were intelligent enough to do that.

Not like the NSW greenies who were intelligent enough to snaffle up taxpayer dollar subsidies for solar electricity at $0.60 KWH???


The movement by the 99%ers to occupy city financial districts around the world was stopped in Melbourne by the Mayor.  However Independent Mayor Clover Moore in Sydney was reluctant to order the clearing of the 50 or so demonstrators from the front of the Reserve Bank in Martin Place.  Somehow the police decided to act independently (The NSW State Government was not accepting responsibility) and cleared the streets supposedly based on City ordinances which are, according to Clover, no longer valid.

This movement is probably causing consternation in the halls of power around the world.  It is from this sort of dissatisfaction that revolutions are formed.  And since the governments of the Western Democracies are becoming such an obvious sham, people in those advanced nations are looking for non traditional ways to revise their governance.

Economist Professor Steve Keen (Of predicting the crash of '09 fame) is in the limelight and speaks to the movement's complaints about the rorting of our financial system. 


The most frightening thing is that Hillary &/or US Government can openly sabotage wikileaks by having financial institutions not process donations for wikileaks.   Is this part of what the 99%ers are complaining about?  I am re-reading John Twelve Hawkes and his "Virtual Panopticon".  His vision is beginning to look much closer to reality, with our only protection (God help us) being wikileaks and the 99%ers.


Those people running "Politics in the Pub" at the Gaelic Club are quite hard core radicals, and seem to quite resent an independent thinker invading their cave.  I suppose that is only human, but is not congruent with their stated principles.

On 28th October Julian Burnside was a speaker on "The Malaysian Solution".  An ad hoc question from the floor generated comments about pet hates at the Gaelic Club (Allan Jones, Tony Abbott, Rupert Murdoch).  Another floor comment suggested a challenge be issued to Allan Jones, which Julian, after a comment
(or words to the effect) that "an interview some years ago generated negative vibrations from Allan Jones" promised to follow up.

JB was of the opinion that imprisoning or offshore processing of refugees is wrong and immoral.  A detention period of up to around a month is permissible for reasons of quarantine or security, but beyond that is unacceptable.  Personally I found that to be a reasonable position.

Among other issues that JB addressed was the evil of TPV's (Temporary Protection Visas) which had caused the death of around 300 WAGS of refugees who had been attempting to rejoin their TPV granted loved ones circa 2002.  Apparently a TPV does not commute to family.  So to rejoin their loved ones, these WAGS and children boarded a leaky boat to come to Australia.

Somehow by oversight I was allowed a question in discussion time.  I began by stating that my question was about TPV's.  I continued that some historians have ascribed the greatness of Athens circa 500 BC to their open immigration policy, where visitors to Athens were granted (the equivalent of our) TPV's for as great a length of time as they wanted.   I then speculated that the boats carrying refugees to Australia were deliberately leaky because if they weren't, then our navy was instructed to turn them back.

My question was, "If the navy was not instructed to turn boats back, would he (JB) still object to TPV's".  His initial response was that it was an interesting idea, to run a "ferry service" for refugees.  Then he opined that we might then have several millions of refugees arriving on our shores.  Then he added to his reason for objecting to TPV's as "we must give them certainty, not have the threat of sending them home after three years hanging over their head".

Maybe Julian did not understand that I was suggesting that the grant of a TPV would not be time limited.

Personally, I have no problems with refugees being given a TPV for as long as they want to stay.  And if after a suitable period (say ten years) they have not committed some indictable offense, I would not object to them being granted citizenship.

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