21st April 2006
Objective analysis.  That's what's done here.


- PLASTIC - (Identity cards, smart cards, debit cards, the whole schmeer.)

The Australian federal government is (again) floating for public approval the idea of issuing a smart card for those who wish to claim medicare or social security.  As a libertarian, I have no objection to issuance of a smart identity card, if it has appropriate and transparent conditions on access by authorized Australian government departments.  As stated last January, it is probably a pointless exercise that will be superseded by personal recognition technology.

I would even suggest that the card be tied in with other functions.  It might also serve as a driver's license, gun license, debit card on a government issued interest paying debit account, (into which pensions or payments could be transacted - management of that account could be contracted out to a financial institution) voter identification card, passport and any other uses that might arise.

My attitude to privacy is best explained by the acid comments of age pensioner John Pritchard in "The Australian" letters section.

It is not, for me, a question of privacy; I have no problem with people knowing I am poor. It is the rich that desire privacy lest someone should question their right to their wealth and the methods they employ to obtain it.....(the government) could do worse than dish out smart cards to the affluent. The Australian Taxation Office would surely welcome the move,

One suspects that the snivel libertarians (apologies to John Laws) obtain at least some of their funding from those who might have something to hide.

- H5N1 -

During the SARS crisis that started in March 2003 I posted frequent warnings.  The reason that I am not posting warnings for bird flu is that there are several extremely knowledgeable people already posting on the subject,  Chief (and to my mind sufficient) among those is the website "effect measure" which seems to be a site run by an (to my poor assessment) anonymous but erudite group of teachers from east coast universities.

For those laymen like myself who accept that H5N1 may eventually be extremely hazardous to their health, and want advice on what precautions to take, and how to treat an infected person, I recommend the Woodson Home Care Guide which appears on the web site


The Australian press is behaving more and more like galahs, and headless ones at that.  (they better not report on bird flu).  They put on a huge fuss about Corby, then the Bali Nine, virtually harassing our PM to pressure the Indonesians to let those convicted criminals off scott free.  Now the Indonesians have taken a leaf from our book.  If we think it is OK for them to suborn their judicial system, then perhaps we can suborn ours to give them back their Papuan terrorists?