Australian DIARY


ARCHIVES 1997-2007  --- ARCHIVES 2007 +
JULY 2015

As predicted in April, Abbot appears to be getting support from Rupert.


I suspect that the bloated government payroll (overpaid Government "workers" and pensioners) is what kept the government in power.  And the only way to get money to keep paying is deal.  And the price appears to be government owned heritage. Meanwhile small business (who cannot move profits offshore) will continue to be ground into early graves.

My current belief is that the lure of retaining government will force a deal that will not significantly reduce the government payroll, will not be able to significantly increase taxes, but will manage to sell national assets.

(How much would you pay for the Acropolis?) 


A government enquiry has been set up to promote the use of the E10 (10% ethanol) mix of petrol.  Apparently Australians are avoiding the E10 fuel in large numbers.

Barvennon was trained as a Mechanical Engineer.  I remember the bomb calorimeter test.  A small amount of a fuel (a few grams of diesel) was placed in a small pressurized steel container (the "bomb") with sufficient air/oxygen for combustion.  The whole was placed in an insulated bucket (about 5-10 litres) of water with a mechanical stirrer and a thermometer reading hundredths of a degree.  Temperatures were taken every few minutes, until there was no change for 10 minutes.  Then the fuel was exploded by an electric spark.  Temperatures continued to be read until the temperature stabilized at a higher temperature (due to the heat from the burnt fuel).  It was then possible to calculate how much heat was released from the fuel.

Typical CV (calorific value) for ethanol is 30 MJ/Kg.

Typical CV for petrol is 46MJ/Kg.

So a 10% mix of ethanol in petrol would have a CV of 0.1 x 30 + 0.9 x 46 ~ 44.4MJ/Kg

So E10 has only 44.4/46 the CV of petrol., ~ 96.5%  That means there is 3.5% less bang for your litre (or gallon or whatever) of petrol.

Therefore E10 should cost ~ 3.5 cents in the dollar less than petrol.  Or the discount should be more than 5c/litre when the price of ULP is $1.50/litre.

Typically E10 costs 3c/L less than petrol.  The government would need to subsidize E10 to make it value.

Not to mention but that we Australian motorists have a sneaking suspicion that E10 drives up the price of food grain, so starving uncounted millions of children in third world countries.

To some of us, no sacrifice is too great if it stops global warming.


The recent escape of Mexican criminal Gruzman from a supposedly secure facility has been ascribed to corruption.

It is interesting to speculate as to whether GDP per capita in a nation has an inverse relationship to some measure of corruption in that nation.

It is also an interesting question as to how corruption should be defined and measured.

And that question leads to such further questions as to what correlations might exist between corruption and religion, language and culture..


The debate in Australia in anticipation of the State's COAG meeting is about taxes.  Raising the GST from 10% to 15% is the hot topic.

Alan Jones has called for suggestions on alternatives.  Well here is my 2 cents contribution.

Let's start with Henry George.  Henry proposed property taxes.

Property Taxes have the dual purpose of shifting the tax burden in such way that citizens can choose the level of tax they pay by choosing their residence.  Let me give a real life example.  Dallas-Fort Worth is a megacity larger than Sydney.  It has high property taxes.  San Francisco is also a megacity.  It has low property taxes.
2014 top ten Dallas suburbs to buy a home
rank city/town median home price Above STARR
violent crimes 2 property crimes 2 owner occupied homes population density 3 annual home value appreciation property taxes
1 Southlake $606,500 95.9 0.5 16.2 93.8% 1,259 4.8% 2.50%
2 Highland Village $316,500 94.4 0.5 7.1 94.8% 2,449 4.8% 2.31%
3 Flower Mound $298,300 93.5 0.6 7.1 90.3% 1,543 5.3% 2.19%
4 Colleyville $482,400 91.8 0.4 7.2 95.8% 1,853 6.1% 2.32%
5 Trophy Club $332,800 90.9 0.9 10.7 93.7% 2,421 8.4% 2.41%
6 Keller $328,000 91.3 0.6 9.1 84.7% 2,323 5.6% 2.62%
7 Frisco $304,200 92.2 0.8 19.0 75.5% 2,221 8.5% 2.25%
8 University Park $1,250,000 97.0 0.3 12.3 75.8% 6,502 0.4% 2.06%
9 Allen $247,800 93.3 0.7 13.2 78.0% 3,491 8.3% 2.55%
10 Murphy $300,000 89.0 0.2 6.3 95.1% 3,454 8.5% 2.27%
2 Offenses reported per 1,000 residents.
3 Residents per square mile.

Dallas FW TAX RATE ~ 2.3%

Note that the prices above in DFW are for the top 10 suburbs.  Believe it or not, but the median price for houses in some suburbs of DFW is less than $80k.   The median price for houses in San Francisco is $748k, while that in DFW is $193k.   I have saved a copy here.

Taxes in SF are as follows. 


The 1.14% tax rate collected in taxes is distributed as follows:

14.41% - Public Protection
12.26% - Schools
3.38% - Culture & Recreation
6.88% - General Administration and Finance
17.84% - Health
10.96% - Human Welfare and Neighborhood Development
34.27% - Public Works, Transportation and Commerce

100% Total

As a lawyer might say "Res Ipsi loquitur" = the facts speak for themselves.

If you want to have affordable housing and solve the tax revenue issue at the same time, tax real estate!!

Which brings up another issue.  In the US, local government is largely independent.  Unlike Australia, State governments in the USA cannot redraw boundaries so that party members can rule the city of New York or Chicago etc, (like the Wran government tried on for the City of Sydney in 1981.  Neither can they amalgamate councils  to make it more likely that big rich party machines are more likely to gain office at the municipal level like the Baird government is trying now.).

So my solution to the tax problem is, state governments should legislate away their control of local government. Then let local government take over some of the costs of government, such as topping up school subsidies.

So you can see, my solution is quite impossible to achieve.

But admit it, it does look good for we the not so rich people, doesn't it?


I suggested last April "A feast of conspiracies" that ISIS might not be quite as bad as it was being painted.  I also suggested a reason.   Since then Anooshe Mushtaq a Canberra based adviser on Islamic radicalisation has written a piece in The Australian of 27-28 June.

She makes some interesting points.

1. ISIS is an outgrowth of Wahhabi sect of Saudi Arabia.
2.  ISIS is not anti Muslim. It is mainstream.