12 March 2001.

 -  WORLD  -

From the world press, the USA is sending out mixed signals.  Is the USA economy booming, or is it busting?

According to SPIN, it continues to boom at an accelerating rate.  Trouble is, this is the dawning of the age of communications.  The boom is in a direction that the stock exchange does not see.   Capitalism is expiring.  There is no place to put capital except land, and that is only a temporary haven.  Very soon now (1 - 2 decades) governments will realize that the only non-regressive taxable resource is land.


John Howard's claim to be a "low tax government" rang hollow after he enacted the GST.  Giving back petrol excise is a good start, as is the mooted reduction of income tax.  However these do not compensate the self funded retirees whose income is too low to pay income tax, and whom the GST has hit very hard.  GST hurts the poorest members of society.  Rollback is not good enough.  Somebody must offer repeal.

Gun control lobby groups must now explain why gun violence has risen so rapidly in Australia since the gun control laws were enacted.  Apologists claim that Australian ethnic "drugs" gangs are the cause of the violence.   If that is so, then SPIN wonders if perhaps the 1/3 of US citizens who belong to minority groups is the reason for the USA being a "violent" culture, not the fact that the US has liberal gun ownership laws?

Pauline Hanson has lost the attention of the press.  She should ration herself.  The Ryan by-election is not just a test of John Howard.  It tests Pauline's effect on the election.   What would it do to the coalition if Ryan was won with Pauline's preferences?  When is Pauline going to stress GST repeal?


Australian animal quarantine procedures are not as perfect as the chief veterinary officer would have us believe.  It is not sufficient guarantee that a non-stock-owning veterinary scientist should look up a few research papers and pronounce that our quarantine procedures are secure.

Due diligence is not sufficient.  It did not stop OJD.  It did not stop fire ants.  It did not stop serrated tussock.  If the Federal government wants to allow what professional agriculturists (i.e. farmers) consider to be unsafe quarantine procedures, then it should guarantee it's veterinary opinions.  If another disease like OJD slips through the quarantine net, or another pest like fire ants or serrated tussock arrives, then the federal government (or some insurer) should pay the full cost of eradication.

Rightfully speaking the insurance costs should be borne by the importer.  So let the New Zealanders send apples to Australia, but find some insurer who will bear the risk that fireblight arrives, and add the cost of those insurance premiums to the price of New Zealand apples.  Let the Canadians bring fish to Tasmania, but add on to the selling price of those fish the cost of insurance premiums for an insurance policy to eradicate and/or compensate farmers if the fish disease does arrive.

There is a commercial cost to the protection of Australian flora and fauna.  If commercial enterprises desire to import agricultural produce from infected areas, then they should provide a guarantee paid from their profits that they do not import any pest or disease.  If the insurance premiums are so high that it is not viable to import, then perhaps the risk is too high for us to allow the product into Australia.


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