ARCHIVES 1997-2007  --- ARCHIVES 2007 +
JUNE 2014

Christopher Pyne, Australia's minister for education, has announced game changing alterations to the Federal Tertiary education budget.  At the moment government sets fees, and provides grants to each university, based on some obscure formula that supposedly takes account of the academic & research prestige of the university.

All that is to change.  Universities will set their own fees, and federal subsidies will not be guaranteed.  As now, students will be able to obtain federal loans.  However the interest rate on that loan will be at commercial rates rather than at the CPI.

Pyne has reasoned that if universities set their fees too high, then students will either attend a cheaper university, or find another way to qualify in their chosen profession, or some other option.

My own prediction was given in an IVETA paper in 1999.  This prediction is fast being borne out, as the children of today become more familiar with using computers as information sources.  I anticipate that the following options already do, or soon will exist.
Whatever the end result, I suspect that education will become de-politicised.  Whitlam made Tertiary education free, and look where it is now.  Health care was also made free, and that is fast going the way of Education.


The latest about China has the Chinese threatening war over resources in the South China Sea.

The internet sheet "Sinocism" expresses deep concern about the Chinese response, presuming that China underestimated the US response.  I am also concerned, but not for quite the same reasons.

There are multiple claimants to the resources in the seas around China.  Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam.  This situation needs resolution, and it is my opinion that the claim by China to total control of all resources in the region is nothing but an ambit claim, intended to open further negotiation.

A possible solution is for a neutral country, perhaps the USA, to suggest a bilateral/multilateral resolution.  It would work something like this.
  1. Each claimant to an intersecting region should appoint an expert/negotiator.  So Taiwan & China might have an area that would be subject to bilateral negotiation.
  2. These negotiators should form committees of three people, with the convener appointing a chairman.
  3. In some cases, there might be three countries, A, B & C.  There are then four possibilities, (AB,AC,BC,ABC) and so there would be six national delegates, since all delegates would double up in committee ABC.
  4. Thus there are three layers of decision making.  Bilateral, multilateral and full meeting of all delegates.
  5. An agreed starting point for negotiations should be determined.  So for any particular location the starting split of profits should be proportional to (say) the distance of the resource from population centres.  For example, it should start as a 50:50 split of profits from a resource if each country has population located equidistant from that resource.
  6. Decisions of committees would not be binding.
  7. When the proportion of ownership of potential resources is determined, competitive tenders should be sought to develop those resources, and any profits split in accordance with point 5.
  Hopefully an equitable division of resources could thus be found.


The media had a ball.  Especially Allan Jones and Andrew Bolt.  Malcolm said he "ran across Clive"
in a restaurant.  Clive Palmer later said it was by appointment.  A secretary from Treasury was noted slipping out the back door.  Andrew criticized Malcolm because Malcolm had not supported Tony's budget.  Malcolm is pictured as whiteanting Tony.  Tony says he would trust Malcolm before any journalist anytime.

My suspicion is that Malcolm was the only Liberal that Clive would talk to.  I suspect Tony asked Malcolm to quietly sound out Clive (who holds enormous power in the Senate) about his planned strategy when his Senators take their places in July.  Once uncovered, Malcolm went stum on everything.  Easier to take the flak than explain his delicate task.

Clive is obtaining huge support from the ABC and Fairfax.  I expect the ABC expects as a quid pro quo that Clive will save their Pippa's (and other) bacon.  By comparison, Murdoch seems quite against Clive.

According to one source (Grahame Richardson), Clive was Joh Bjelke Peterson's press agent.  That would explain the dab hand that Clive displays with the media.  He has called in Al Gore to help him delete the Carbon Tax, while at the same time keeping the green vote with support for an ETS (Emission Trading Scheme) proposal that provides for a tax "at the same rate as our major competitors".

(I never did understand why Joh fell.  Under his government Queensland prospered.  His management of health and education were the envy of all the other states.  He called his press conferences "feeding the chooks".  The reasons for his fall were more likely the ambition of his friends, rather than voter dissatisfaction.)

Clive for PM!


Uthman Badr has raised the issue of Honour killings as a subject suitable for the "Dangerous Ideas" forum.  The wimps who run that forum have bowed to peer pressure and cancelled that debate.

I would love to have heard that debate.  I cannot conceive any justification for killing a woman because she succumbed to the blandishments of a man.  If succumbing to desires is to be punishable by execution, then quite a few overweight people should prepare for the chop.

And while they are at it, why must former Muslims who have renounced their religion be executed?

As a solution to these problems could I suggest the creation (perhaps by concerned Muslims in Australia) of a charity thet would provide a protected shelter for those women?  And perhaps our Christian churches could provide a shelter for those converts who wish to renounce their Muslim religion?  I appreciate that this might mean the creation of protected shelters with armed guards.


ISIL = Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.  In case you wondered, "The Levant" is the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean.  So "The Levant" would be a state comprised of Syria, Lebanon and Israel.

ISIL wants to install a "Caliphate".  A caliphate is a form of government where the leader (aka "Caliph") has supreme religious and political power in the Ummah (aka the Moslem congregation including women, slaves and members of other religions), and governs in accordance with Sharia law.  Non Muslims are "protected" within the state, and pay a special tax for this protection.  Sunni Caliphates have elected leaders.  Shia Caliphs must be from "The Family of God" and be related to Muhammad.

Surrounding states view ISIL with varying degrees of alarm.  Syria, Hamas, Iran are quite anti ISIL.  The USA thinks ISIL is insupportable, but Iraq's current government is also unsupportable.  The Kurds are probably quite happy, as they have gained Kirkusk, and the Turks are allowing them to export oil.  The Turks are probably not too upset with ISIL, although they probably have reservation about the possibility of an independent Kurdistan.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not too happy with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is friendly with Turkey.

Israel is probably happiest while any arab states that are at war with or hostile towards Israel are also at war with or hostile towards each other.