SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER 2011
Politics in the Pub (6th
October) had Professor
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
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
USA actually earn every year?
Here is a breakdown:
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.
• 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.
QANTAS. BRYCE PWND. GREEN LOGIC.
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
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
will ever really benefit from the repeal of "work choices" are the
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"
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
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
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
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
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
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".
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.