Easter links March 25-28, 2016


Sydney Heads, 1865, Eugene von Guérard, Art Gallery of NSW

…more to come…








United Kingdom


United States




Terra Incognita




Capital Markets


Global Macro


…and furthermore…

Ritualised Forms
Latest posts by Ritualised Forms (see all)


  1. Good link to Montgomery’s “Can US house price falls happen here?” Wish he did the numbers of Sydney/Melbourne instead of the whole country.

    • I would have little faith in Sydney residential auction figures if last weekend is anything to go by.
      I took an interest in a house for sale in Sydney’s Cammeray which was scheduled for auction on Saturday (19th) and I looked at Domain’s published auction results on Sunday.

      There was no sign of the house at all.

      The results did not say it was ‘sold’, OR ‘sold prior’, OR ‘passed in’, Or ‘sold prior not disclosed’,
      Or ‘sold not disclosed’, Or ‘no bid’, Or ‘vendor bid’, Or ‘withdrawn prior to auction’,
      Or ‘sold after auction,’ Or ‘sold after auction – price not disclosed’, Or ‘price or highest bid not available’ .


      Not a thing.

      How widespread is this scam? A property scheduled for auction, not sold, not withdrawn – just….. vanished?
      Is this fraud?

      • Is the fraud?

        Yes it is. I’ve seen it time and time again. The disconnect between what is being reported and what I was personally seeing is what brought me to Macrobusiness in the first place.

        To get, what I believe, to be an accurate reflection of the stats, I take all the non-reported auction results as meaning not sold. This brings the reported sales stats down from 76% or thereabouts at present to the 40’s.

        Just call the agent directly and ask what the property sold for. If they say it didn’t sell, ask them what the top bid was and what the price being asked for the property is now. They have difficulty shying away from direct questions…Just don’t respond if they follow up your questions with “What is your budget?”

      • It’s widespread. We see it all the time as we have been looking for a while. The houses simply don’t appear in results. Take the “Super Saturday” a week or two ago. Over 900 houses for auction. 650 odd reported and 500 or so sold to give a clearance around 75%.
        Utter nonsense yet reported everywhere.

      • I prefer “Hammer Time” – which is what is actually sold at auction (or shortly afterwards) as a % of what was listed.

        That figure is rarely much above 30%

        See Table 2 for the Hammer Time results for the last 3 months. They speak for themselves – but are reasonably consistent.


        My other preferred metrics are “Pre-Auction Panic” which is what is sold before auction or is withdrawn as a % of listed and “Seller Sadness” which is what was passed in or received no bid or a vendors bid – again as a % of what what listed.

        % of what was listed seems a lot more reliable than % of what was reported by Saturday night.

      • Think everyone has become used to or conditioned to focus upon auctions, which agents and sellers benefit from, yet auctions at most represent only 5% of stock publicly listed for sale….. what about the other 95% by private sale or treaty?

      • Auction results are what they are – they do not tell a complete story but who claims they do?

        They are just one variety of tea leaves that people enjoy reading. Generally people quote whatever data fits their preferred narrative.

        If you want statistics for all the private treaty sales that data is available and MB talks about it as much as auction data.

        From recollection I think that data showed very modest price declines in December.

        Which is consistent with the RBA and APRA working to knock a bit of froth off their bubble but not consistent with any action by them to drive down prices or of an impending ‘crash’.

        The auction results reflect much the same.

  2. ceteris paribus

    I reckon we need someone of the transparency and stature of Authur Sinodinos to clean up the corruption in the building and construction industry.

    • @Ceteris paribus LOL I saw his name in the links and wondered why his opinion on anything is included. Sinodinos = synonym for corruption.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      I started to worry about Uncle Arthur’s state of mind the night they won the election. His description of the economy went from disastrous just before the polls closed to strong and healthy about three hours later. Very odd.

      Then we had ICAC where he couldn’t remember payments made and received, when records shows he both made them and received them. Very odd.

      Now this. From what I saw yesterday he might have some phobia to being outdoors. Or cameras maybe. He wasn’t outside long with St Mal the Spiv but when he noticed those cameras he ran to the ComCar. Very odd.

      I’m thinking he should be locked away. For his own good of course. Hey, does anyone think he could be another secret member of the CFMEU? Seems to be a few of those about lately.

      You can tell the ones who openly admit to being members. They’re the ones getting their ridiculous charges thrown out of court.

    • Golden Class tickets at a Free Enterprise Foundation dinner include a seven course meal with matching wines, a 1 hour masterclass with world renowned celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, twenty minutes face time with the Minister for Planning, and a 30 minute slave session with the female cabinet minister of your choice (State or Federal) including light bondage, golden showers (Receive only) and humiliation.

      The Golden Class tickets should appeal our most discerning business lobbyists, and are offered with the additional comfort of non-disclosure to statutory bodies to ensure maximum discretion.

    • The Idiot’s take on Artie is, like all of his pieces, worth the read

      “Saving money and living below your means offers choices. Into his 50’s it seemed Artie’s still hadn’t reached the point of having those choices. His ship still hadn’t come in, but I imagine if the average Joe had taken Artie’s lifetime income to this point, it would have equalled multiple ships docking. Yet Artie still hadn’t taken enough cargo off those ships to give him the freedom he needed, so to grab an extra $200,000 a year, he had to overlook the presence of a suspicious last name at the company he was joining.

      Fast forward to 2014 and there are now questions hanging over Artie’s judgement and what he knew and didn’t know, when director and chairman of AWH. The “I knew nothing” defence isn’t a good look for an Assistant Treasurer, but the real problem, which will be overlooked, was Artie’s inability to cut back and live less of a high life. Because it’s the one thing that made him vulnerable.

      And it’s given people like me the chance to dig around their arse crack and fling some poo at his shiny little egg, but maybe we should hold off on the judgement. It seems Artie is learning.
      He is now understood to be living with his in-laws.”

    • Sinodinos reminds me of “Arthur Daley” from Minder and the spiv brother, Robert, in Mother & Son

      Edit: he’s another “alan bond” of politics

    • Intriguing. I’ve always found the flat out hatred of ‘do gooders’ to be bizarre. Probably stems from feelings of guilt and inferiority.

      If more people would accept that they are in general flawed and mediocre and not special snowflakes, there would beless of this.

      Hopefully Australia’s coming economic depression instils more of this mindset. Australians could with a big piece of humble pie.

      • It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens in Australia going forward. Fear and inferiority are powerful behaviour motivators. You could argue the toss both ways, as there are powerful currents in Aussie society both for looking out for others less fortunate and for screwing them over.

      • LD, same here. I guess a number of people like to think they’re very giving and caring and when they see evidence that refutes that, they don’t like it.

    • Popcod, unfortunately I think “screwing them over” will win. Those on the lower rungs will be vilified as bludgers etc, or to use a more modern term, ‘leaners’.

      • @Dennis, thanks for explaining that term, like Lord D I’m outside of Australia and that new terminology had escaped me until now. As I’m not in Oz (but moving back next year) I’ll have to take your and footsore’s word above as being the most likely option. Part of my emotional preparation for a move back to Oz has been trying to figure out and then emotionally deal with the monumental changes to Australian society since I have been away (left in 99). Obviously it’s been easier to see the negative changes but it’d be nice to find some positive changes every now and then…

  3. stop the stoats

    All the bottle shops in Queensland are closed for good friday, don’t know how I will cope.

  4. Airports make up to 70% profit on car parking charges – report – Guardian…Monopolies: do they fleece you?…

    I made use of the free 30 min parking if I had to pick up people. I used flightradar app to get a precise time when the flight would land. If I am a bit early, I would circle the departure lanes and stick to the speed limit at 20kmph 🙂

    • I find a spot where I can park and wait for the passenger to call me when he is waiting outside the concourse. The trick here is to get off the road, because if you pull up on the side of the road you’ll be fined by some lowlife who is employed to fine people parked off the road anywhere within 500m of the terminal. ?

      • Ha ha ha ha ha! Australia sold off these natural monopolies so its spoiled oldies needn’t pay tax and can get the pension while being millionaires. Expect petty Stalins to encroach on more aspects of your life… Australians love rules and the imposition of authority on the unwashed; it provides the façade of order and stability while the asset rich breach laws with impunity and rort the country to death. Same thing with dumping refugees in concentration camps while running a huge immigration program.

        It’s going to be hilarious watching Australians eat each other as your living standards drop. Cops ticketing ‘jaywalkers’ (I.E. people crossing the street) is Australia’s growth industry, and don’t the authority loving boomers love it!

        As climate change bits harder (Australia is high on the list of countries who will fare badly), the demand for more order and for more stealing from the young and productive to cover the costs will increase.

        Basically, it’s going to get worse, so get used to doing what the person with the fake badge says, and get used to paying when they arbitrarily demand it. Ha ha ha ha ha!

      • The climate tragic sits on the side of the road with his engine running, in his air conditioning, because he doesn’t want to pay for parking, whilst picking his carbon junkie friend up after his carbon binge in the sky.


      • Jaybum, I sit with my engine off, waiting for my son, who only infrequently returns to this blighted land of climate deniers. I wish he didn’t have to use jets, but short of a 6 month trip by sailing boat ….

      • At least you realise its a choice, and you (and your family possibly, but I hope not) say one thing and do the other. If only there was this? if only that?….. your as reliant on it as everyone else. Just let it go Princess

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        At least you realise its a choice, and you (and your family possibly, but I hope not) say one thing and do the other. If only there was this? if only that?….. your as reliant on it as everyone else. Just let it go Princess

        I cannot even begin to fathom how debilitating it must be to view the world through a black and white lens.

    • I was picking someone up from Sydney Airport and they called me to say they could see me driving towards the car park. I went to stop so they could get in the car, and one of the parking “agents” came over and said if the passenger got in the car they would issue an on the spot fine.

      So, I had to exit the airport, drive around the loop and go in through the ticket clipping machine. The passenger had to drag her bags over the road to the designated spot in the car park. We then were able to exit (via the ticket clipping machine) for “free”.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Every swing flying home from WA on my 2 on 1 off roster I’d get the missus or one of my mates to pick me up from the McDonalds or Crispy Cream car park, easy for them to wait if i was more than 30mins late and avoids that queuing nightmare at the pick up Zone.

      Its only a 5 min walk from the taxi rank around that ring road (sydney domestic) to the Maccas.
      Always heaps of parking their.
      A total disgrace how there is No pedestrian signage to show people the way by foot.

  5. Fuck fuck fuck ……… fucccccccckkkkk !


    Among other things it reveals that 10 years after admission, the average annual income tax paid by millionaire migrants’ primary breadwinners was C$1,400. No, that isn’t missing a zero. The true average is even lower – since one third did not file tax returns.
    Compare that to the C$10,900 paid by skilled worker immigrants, or the C$7,500 paid by Canadians on average.

    Fuckin angry !

    • “Yet none of this changes the fundamental message ….. that once you are in (Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc) it just doesn’t matter how you behave economically.”
      And I have recounted many a time, I was told without embarrassment by recent arrival that “I have done nothing wrong, unless I am caught!”

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      It is more of a scheme to sell houses to Chinese rather than encouraging ‘investment’. The original program is full of loopholes : the investor just have to buy Canadian bond and hold it for a five years. Since the bond can also be used as collaterals for loans, they don’t even have to sacrifice cashflow.

    • That’s because they go straight back to China after getting a PR visa and use all sorts of dodgy tricks to meet residency requirements for citizenship. One migration agent got caught with hundreds of passports and fake entry stamps.

      Make paying tax above a part of citizenship eligibility..

    • The world is made for the rich. That’s why China/USA/Australia/Europe/Middle East are falling apart.

      The key point to our survival as a species is how we can systemically deal with inequality without killing our young and impoverished.

    • Ha ha ha ha ha! ‘Investors’. Australia is quite literally selling off the farm. I hope the clever Chinamen import all the labour needed to run agriculture, and ship the raw product straight to China. Then Australian oldies can feel rich with the money they got for selling said farm, while blaming youth for being unemployed and implementing huge bureaucracies that the youth must negotiate in order to punish them for being poor.

      • Many of the 30 employees of this enterprise are up the creek anyhow..broadacre automation cometh.

        Goodluck making it pay investors….comex wheat $4.65/bushell. 1 replacement harvester $650,000.00. 8 req’d
        And decreasing rainfall.

  6. For the people like the rba who think that price to income doesn’t matter because weekly repayments have stayed the same.

    Which loan would you rather have?? 30 years

    House – Loan – IR – Repayment p/m – years to save deposit @ 20K pa, then time to pay off loan @ extra $100 per week

    1,500,000 – 1,350,000 @ 1 % = $4342 p/m 7.5 years, 26 years
    1,000,000 – 900,000 @ 4% = $4296 p/m 5 years, 25 years
    500,000 – 450000 @ 11% = $4285 p/m 2.5 years 18 years

    Even though the loan repayments have stayed they same theres a massive diference in time it takes to save a deposit and how long it takes to pay off the loan when putting extra on the mortgage..

    • Total repayments are interesting

      $4242 26yr = $1.354m
      $4296 25yr = $1.288m
      $4285 18yr = $925k

      A jump to 11% in the analysis is dramatic.

      Better to see 7% analysed.

      1% to 4% no real difference.
      4% to 11% a massive difference.

      What of 4% to 7%? Would it show a 3 year difference? And a couple hundred thousand difference?

      • Yeah your right it is dramatic i was just playing around with the numbers on a mortgage calculator to get an overall picture. It is an eye opener looking at the overall repayments. In sydney million dollar mortgage most families will be fully stretched just to buy the house let alone pay off extra. Buy a house when your early 30″s and your looking at being late 50″s till your debt free. Throw in low wages growth and inflation if house prices dont keep rising your in big trouble

      • The average australian mortgage is around $350k to $400k.

        Meaning that some are over that amount. But surely those will be held by high income earners and property speculators that receive rent and (in their mind) capital gains as an exit.

        Ps. I’m not really sure about the average loan because what I read isn’t exactly qualified.

        That is to say… is it the average of new loans in that month or quarter? Or existing loans at a point in time.

      • Running numbers is well and truly good. Yet not many people intend to pay down the principal at all and so won’t make the calculation.
        What they are doing is taking interest only and waiting for the increase so that they can flip their way to prosperity.

        Those that can afford enough to pay for a 1 million dogbox and pay down, probably too lazy to look at more ethical ways to access property.

        Just as an exercise on opportunity cost – say that you can access a risk free 5% – what would your position be if you compounded all of your investment $$ at 5% and rented during that time, assuming you know how to get around interest income tax obligations.

        Say you start with a 200k cash deposit, and instead of paying interest and principal on your loan you allocate 40k into the account each year for 10 years, compounding your opp cost scenario at a risk free 5% and at the end of 10 years you will have 854000 in cash. You won’t have a property, yet you won’t have had the stress of having to be paying back a loan during that time. And your rent? Well at 20k a year you’re 200000 out of pocket. But you may have decided to rent somewhere with a good school for your kids in an area you may not have been able to buy into, or somewhere that is within 20 minutes of work, saving you 2 hours a day in commute.

        The mathematical integrity of the system fails when it doesn’t provide a nice life balance and is based on empty promises. All well and good for people who sell out after buying low, yet they never had to trust the system wouldn’t leave them high and dry.

      • keep in mind that a person who is paying 11% interest can expect income to grow at 6-7% pa, which means that fixed repayment of $4000 pm in first year being 50% of income would be 25% of income in 10 years and only 15% in 18 years. A person paying $4000 pm with interest rate 1% cannot expect any wage growth so he’ll be paying 50% of income for 26 years. So although it seems that with 11% IR person is paying more in interest in absolute terms reality is that he/she will pay much less in real terms – as percentage of his income.

        The best time to buy is when interest rates are high for many reasons, main two are lower prices and higher inflation that eats principal away like it did to most of boomers who bought in 80s.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Fran Kelly. Pfft.

      She’ll never question anything until she gets the ok from her Liberal Party heroes.

      Fairly sure she’d like a safe seat somewhere with them.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Yes, she is a weak as piss yes man, too dumb to know she has been totally indoctrinated.

        Probably thinks of herself as a Pragmatic centrist,… whereas instead she is a status quo apologist through and through.

      • Kelly is emblematic of the entire problem with the ABC. It’s not so much a case of bias, as much as the stable of tenured luvvies are just intellectual lightweights, fundamentally incapable of adequately interrogating and analysing an issue in a manner that justifies the public subsidy of a broadcaster in their privileged position. They are journalism-lite, a Current Affair for the smug, complacent, ineffectual chattering class.

        With a few exceptions, they would all segue quite seemlessly to roles on Better Homes and Gardens – Annabel Crabb on cooking duties, Leigh Sales renovates your bathroom for under $1,000, Fran gets out in the garden for some tips on maintaining your bulbs and growing oversize zucchini, and Barry builds a new deck.

        They should be compulsorily rotated into different roles every 12 months. Preferably, rotated back into the Adelaide lesbian pottery collectives from whence they all sprung.

      • ABC has lost the high ground on why taxpayer should fund them.
        They don’t provide the independent and required journalistic enviornment when it comes to politics, finance and economics that is required.
        I would rather see the funding pool divied up to entities that provide the most important journalistic outputs, rather than a monopoly funding round – as it would keep the ABC gatekeepers in line.

        Just remember that the journalists who are meant to be shining a torch on the problems de jure – which at the moment are affordability issues are on 350k plus and tenured. Doesn’t get much further from reality from that, and why would you go off party line (ie boomer audience) if you have that paycheck to protect?

      • The ABC is no different to any other government institution or government funded entity wrt neoliberalism…. as it slowly seeps in through every nook and cranny until the change just seems normal…

        Skippy…. as soon as the MBA’s take over…. stick a fork in it….

      • ceteris paribus

        Is Chris Ullmann a soft touch for Catholic ultra-right pollies? Or am I seeing things a little unfairly there?

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        No cp, you got it right. Uhlmann has the same background as our Tony. Think they might have even been at the same priest academy.

        For my money it was him reaching senior reporter level that saw Aunty take a severe turn towards Rupertland.

      • Sure, the quality of journalism at the ABC has gone down hill, probably for the reasons Skippy outlined, but there isn’t a lot of quality journalism in Australia in general. Maybe, the spotlight has to be put back on us, the consumers, and what we click on or read.

    • To all those ripping into Fran Kelly and the ABC, how often in the mainstream media do you hear young people getting a voice like this? Kelly gave these young people a lot of scope to express their concerns and counter some of the bs accusations thrown at young people. I’m sure just as many conservatives were sitting there saying she was too soft on these whiny young people. The ABC always copes it in the neck from all sides.

    • From Caixin:
      Especially the four-tier cities real estate tremendous pressure on the stock . Department of Housing experts have estimated that China has about 6.672 billion square meters stock , tying up funds of about 40 trillion yuan , of which more than two-thirds of the debt . According to IMF estimates, China’s real estate inventory to digest at least four to five years . Three or four lines of the ” ghost town ” , ” ghost town” digest inventory is nowhere in sight .

  7. Watch the house price drop in action.

    Been watching this 2 Bedroom house in Earlwood, Sydney.

    Bought for $1.4 Million in June 2015 (that’s about $62,000 in stamp duty)

    Renovated and was for sale for $1.375 Million in February.

    Now it’s for sale for $1.300 – $1.350 Million in March

    In the worst case, the owner is down $162,000.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Hopefully by the time it is sold they will have lost twice as much. These flippers need to be taught a lesson.

    • That house is no more than 100m away. It’s being rented for $650 a week I think.
      When you add in agents fees , advertising, legals etc they have burnt a big one!!!!!
      I might do a stamp duty search and investigate further….

      • $650 per week? That’s a gross rental yield of 2.4%.

        After insurance, council rates, land tax, etc. you would probably be looking at about 1.2-1.5%?

        What an amazing investment. No doubt, a “savvy investor”.

      • @ Stomper & overpriced at $650. It will be a joy to myself &numerous renters if/when rents fall in line / crash with house prices. Cant happen soon enough!

      • @Dennis What about the guy who bought for $46K in 1986 – bet he/she is gutted they didn’t hold out another 12 months from $46,000 to $ $1,400.000 in 29 years. I half feel sorry if they have adult children who just saw there inheritance halved. I finished HSC in 1986 & first fulltime retail job earning $160 per week. At 1986 prices I could afford to buy a few of them out of my savings but could not afford or want to rent it at 2016 price – ABSURD

      • Yeah, it’s crazy the amounts that have been flipped in the last few years.

        Perhaps a rule that you only get free CGT for your paid in equity component would work best.
        ie if you are geared at 20%, you get CGT free for 20% then pay full tax on the remaining leveraged portion of the uplift?

  8. And on this driest of days, why in Christ’s name should ‘religious’ organisations be tax-exempt ?


    Most erstwhile advocates of Christ’s mission on earth are now essentially just custodians of Heritage listed buildings, health care operators, private educational institutions, property developers, landlords, all under the guise of a religious organisation. As a proportion of their various business endeavours, there ain’t much charitable work going on.

      • I remember reading about that court case.

        “Mr Justice Murphy said, “The truth or falsity of religions is not the business of officials or the courts. If each purported religion had to show that its doctrines were true, then all might fail.”

        Administrators and judges must not discount groups because their practices seemed absurd, fraudulent, evil or novel.

        “In the eyes of the law, religions are equal,” he said. “The policy of the law is ‘one in, all in’.”

        There was no single acceptable criterion of what was a religion. It was better to isolate sufficient conditions rather than necessary conditions.

        He gave a very wide view as to what might be a religion.

        “Any body which claims to be religious, and offers a way to find meaning and purpose to life, is religious,” he said. “The list is not exhaustive; the categories of religion are not closed.”

        Justices Wilson and Deane isolated several characteristics: belief in supernatural, ideas on man’s nature and place in the universe, codes of conduct, adherents being an identifiable group and adherents seeing their group as a religion. Most of these were satisfied by most of the world’s main religions. The more of these that were satisfied, the more likely it was a religion. This was the case with Scientology.

        It was important to treat it as a question of arid characterisation without looking at the utility, worth or quality of the ideas.”

        High Court rules in favour of Scientology
        The question is ‘What is religion?’
        By CRISPIN HULL, Legal Correspondent

      • I don’t know how Scientology attracts any followers. For a religion made up by a science fiction author it doesn’t even have an interesting story line. There is no great moral lesson, no obvious insight into the nature of anything. If it was just a fiction novel it would be a dud.

      • I don’t know how Scientology attracts any followers. For a religion made up by a science fiction author it doesn’t even have an interesting story line. There is no great moral lesson, no obvious insight into the nature of anything. If it was just a fiction novel it would be a dud.

        I’ve somewhat looked into it, mainly because I wanted to know what was true and what was rhetoric or misunderstandings. I think the allure of scientology is about the auditing process. Uncovering your weakness with a view to self-improvement.

        They very much oppose any form of Psychology because that’s the anti-venom to their indoctrination. I am not sure if all followers believe all the nonsense in the religion so they may be part of the group for fear of being ostracized or because it’s easier to believe things when those around you believe them.

        Either way it serves as a great example how people can be swept up in an idea or religious faith…

      • Back in the 80’s I was in London and that is where I first encountered the Scientologists. They had a “shop” and spruikers out the front trawling for new recruits. Inside they administered their tests – which were psychology/personality tests followed by interviews etc.

        Basically, they were looking for weak minds, troubled and confused minds, and sociopaths. The approach started with a few probing questions, and if they got any resistance, they would get more aggressive – “you are probably gay”, “you don’t have many friends” “you’re bored with your job”. The interviewers were strong personalities that had techniques for bullying down pat.

        Back in Sydney, I actually went into their HQ to see what it was like. Same deal. The centerpiece was their E-meter – which they use as a prop. It is just a galvanic bridge (from the 50’s) that is very sensitive to changes in skin resistance (similar to lie detectors from that era). By adjusting the pressure on the hand grips you can actually make it do anything you want – (they didn’t like that). After making fun of their E-Meter, they called in a very nasty man who might have been a ex cop. I got the hell out of there asap.

        Who knows what Scientology is now, but it was a particularly evil thing back then. If you can find it, read “The Bare Faced Messiah” – written by someone who escaped.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        I was surprised to find some of the more crazier stuff came later in the Scientology story

        I originally thought the whole thing was sci fi writers piss take.

        From wiki
        “As Scientology faced increasingly negative media attention, the GO retaliated with hundreds of writs for libel and slander; it issued more than forty on a single day.[258] Hubbard ordered his staff to find “lurid, blood sex crime actual evidence [sic] on [Scientology’s] attackers”.[259]

        Finally, at the end of 1966, Hubbard acquired his own fleet of ships.[15] He established the “Hubbard Explorational Company Ltd” which purchased three ships—the Enchanter, a forty-ton schooner,[260] the Avon River, an old trawler,[261] and the Royal Scotman [sic], a former Irish Sea cattle ferry that he made his home and flagship.[262] The ships were crewed by the Sea Organization or Sea Org, a group of Scientologist volunteers, with the support of a couple of professional seamen.[15][263]

        Commodore of the Sea Org

        After Hubbard created the Sea Org “fleet” in early 1967 it began an eight-year voyage, sailing from port to port in the Mediterranean Sea and eastern North Atlantic. The fleet traveled as far as Corfu in the eastern Mediterranean and Dakar and the Azores in the Atlantic, but rarely stayed anywhere for longer than six weeks. Ken Urquhart, Hubbard’s personal assistant at the time, later recalled:

        [Hubbard] said we had to keep moving because there were so many people after him. If they caught up with him they would cause him so much trouble that he would be unable to continue his work, Scientology would not get into the world and there would be social and economic chaos, if not a nuclear holocaust.[264]

        When Hubbard established the Sea Org he publicly declared that he had relinquished his management responsibilities. According to Miller, this was not true. He received daily telex messages from Scientology organizations around the world reporting their statistics and income. The Church of Scientology sent him $15,000 a week and millions of dollars were transferred to his bank accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.[265] Couriers arrived regularly, conveying luxury food for Hubbard and his family[266] or cash that had been smuggled from England to avoid currency export restrictions.[267]

        Along the way, Hubbard sought to establish a safe haven in “a friendly little country where Scientology would be allowed to prosper”, as Miller puts it.[268] The fleet stayed at Corfu for several months in 1968–1969. Hubbard renamed the ships after Greek gods—the Royal Scotman was rechristened Apollo—and he praised the recently established military dictatorship.[267] The Sea Org was represented as “Professor Hubbard’s Philosophy School” in a telegram to the Greek government.[269] In March 1969, however, Hubbard and his ships were ordered to leave.[270] In mid-1972, Hubbard tried again in Morocco, establishing contacts with the country’s secret police and training senior policemen and intelligence agents in techniques for detecting subversives.[271] The program ended in failure when it became caught up in internal Moroccan politics, and Hubbard left the country hastily in December 1972.[272]

        At the same time, Hubbard was still developing Scientology’s doctrines. A Scientology biography states that “free of organizational duties and aided by the first Sea Org members, L. Ron Hubbard now had the time and facilities to confirm in the physical universe some of the events and places he had encountered in his journeys down the track of time.”[65] In 1965, he designated several existing Scientology courses as confidential, repackaging them as the first of the esoteric “OT levels”.[273] Two years later he announced the release of OT3, the “Wall of Fire”, revealing the secrets of an immense disaster that had occurred “on this planet, and on the other seventy-five planets which form this Confederacy, seventy-five million years ago”.[274] Scientologists were required to undertake the first two OT levels before learning how Xenu, the leader of the Galactic Confederacy, had shipped billions of people to Earth and blown them up with hydrogen bombs, following which their traumatized spirits were stuck together at “implant stations”, brainwashed with false memories and eventually became contained within human beings.[275] The discovery of OT3 was said to have taken a major physical toll on Hubbard, who announced that he had broken a knee, an arm, and his back during the course of his research.[276] A year later, in 1968, he unveiled OT levels 4 to 6 and began delivering OT training courses to Scientologists aboard the Royal Scotman.[277]”

        “From about 1970, Hubbard was attended aboard ship by the children of Sea Org members, organized as the Commodore’s Messenger Organization (CMO). They were mainly young girls dressed in hot pants and halter tops, who were responsible for running errands for Hubbard such as lighting his cigarettes, dressing him or relaying his verbal commands to other members of the crew.[283][284]”

        Last paragraph says it all really

      • An excellent film doc on the Scientologists is https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Going_Clear_(film)

        How many corporate, political and public sector organisations could also mirror similar cult management culture e.g. small core of senior management, carefully managed message/comms, intimidation and/or manipulation of both outsiders and insiders, pseudoscience, whacky beliefs etc.?

    • I read somewhere a few years back that religious charities in the US spent only 30% of their donations on the causes they support. This of course is probably skewed because of the televangelists spending their donations on Learjets and what not. There should be a limit on what is classified as a charity for tax purposes, based on the amount spent on actually charity.

      Edit: To be clear the main justification for giving religious organisations tax exemption is the same reason that charities are given tax exemption. Otherwise you’re just giving tax exemption to BS artists.

  9. http://www.smh.com.au/business/nsw-housing-shortage-at-unprecedented-level-20160325-gnr37f.html

    I am still puzzled at how they calculate a housing shortage in Australia given their definition of housing includes apartments and units. If they said a shortage of affordable houses, and affordable housing close to jobs then ok, but this blanket housing shortage is interesting. Could they mean there is a shortage based on the insatiable demand from foreign and domestic speculators for properties in our capital cities?

    • I still can’t understand how you can have a ‘housing shortage’ when half of all sales are to people who aren’t going to live in them?

      • There is very definitely a shortage of the right type of housing at an affordable level. You could say a one-bedroom dogbox is “affordable” but the fact that you can barely turn around in it yourself, let alone bring up a family in it, and the fact that every time a house gets pulled down, a whole lot of one and two-bedroom dogboxes are built, means there is a shortage of the type of accommodation people want to live in. Three bedroom apartments are rare, and if they have study or fourth bedroom they are even more rare. And they’re hardly affordable. Meanwhile, to buy a house, even a rundown dump within 15 kms of the city is often between $1m and $2m.

        There is no shortage of buyers, what with immigration levels as they are, rampant foreign buying, and locals upgrading after making a motza on their first or second home. So for those with money to spend, there is no shortage.

        It beggars belief that the current govt don’t even have any policy for affordable housing on their agenda in this housing bubble we live in, apart from keeping the bubble growing.

      • “There is very definitely a shortage of the right type of housing at an affordable level.”

        Doesn’t that mean (by definition) house prices should come down?

      • Exactly! There is a ‘shortage’ of property because current owners in aggregate do not sell them! It seem self evident, but if property prices didn’t rise, then owners wouldn’t keep them for capital gains purposes and would recycle them (most people can only live in one house at a time). Those at the first home stage would buy from the previous lot, who would recycle them to move to better/bigger/newer accommodation and so on up the proverbial ladder. The answer to the ‘shortage’ is… lower and/or falling prices…..

    • TailorTrashMEMBER

      This guy has become the face of everything wrong with the Sydney and Australian property obsession and the cultural and societal disintegration attendant on it ………thick as two short planks but with an ego that would be the square of them to the power of 10 + …………he will crash and burn and I hope he takes many of his ilk with him ………sad fellow my country ………….

      • Thick as shit the kind of guy nobody gets upset to see fall flat on his face. He is a signpost of shit to come. Dumb enough to stick his thick neck out.

      • haroldusMEMBER

        There must be something about him to keep the good burghers of Auburn voting for him…….

        It certainly is a vibrant community.

        I especially enjoy his open contempt of other councillors trying to put a brake on his (edit: alleged) corruption, to the point of personal abuse.

        I am also disappointed he hasn’t enrolled in law yet. From an advertorial in the Auburn review:

        ‘’I have always had a passion for law,’’ Salim Mehajer wrote in the Auburn Review advertorial. ‘’A concise understanding of the law is something that I believe each successful businessman must understand to keep the successful trend.’’ Mr Mehajer said he was motivated by his family to enrol in the course at the University of Technology, Sydney. ‘’I see many families who have either suffered from incompetent lawyers or have simply been ‘ripped off’ and prosecuted by the crown unjustly,’’

        Apologies for linking to the Rupert (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/investigations/the-house-of-salim-mehajer-rising-from-the-ashes/news-story/8fdb420895690c0732dc3b4a8a2e530e)

  10. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    About to head of to the yealy family Easter get together with the practicing Catholic mother and father in law and the pentecostal brother and sister in law.
    So I thought I’d better arm myself, for the dinner table with some splendid Blasphemous sophistry from my favorite and fellow Anti theist Christopher hitchens.


    Happy Easter, I hope the Easter Bunny is kind to yall.


    • Are you going to use this most holy of days to let them know that you are now a Pastafarian?

      Pastafarians believe in Heaven, an afterlife which contains beer volcanoes and a stripper factory. Their morals are guided by the eight Condiments, although two were lost and never recovered, which many see as a sign that Flying Spaghetti Monster won’t mind if you skim some of the rules. The traditional garb of Pastafarianism is full pirate regalia, which Pastafarians are required to wear at all times. They observe Ramendan, Pastover, and a vaguely defined holiday named “Holiday”. Midgets hold a special position in Pastafarian faith, as the first person created was a “midget”, and they carry extra amounts of the original divine spark. Pirates are revered as the ultimate goal of creation which every Pastafarian holds as a shining example. The mere existence of Pirates helps prevent natural disasters and global warming.”


      • I has me ship and I has pirate blood in me from a long line of knighted emissaries of QE 1 and I was born in a town made famous by rum, I thinks this be the religion for me. Off to the ship to unfurl the jolly roger and rape and pillage along the Pittwater foreshore for me (this might have been fun 30 years ago when the hags were a little younger and more gentle on the eyes).

    • haroldusMEMBER

      Happy easter from another grumpy antitheist. Do you mind if I ask how you explained to your daughter about the British? I am going to be in a similar situation in a couple years. No worries if you don’t want to mate.

  11. Have a safe long weekend all, and great reading list again Gunnamatta. Fantastic work from the MB team in Q1 this year. We are starting to see the business cycle swing to the MB prediction phase and not just a we told you so, we’re continuing to get some great and necessary insight.

    But will say this, stay safe, and positive. All it takes is a jump start from a passing stranger when you’re going nowhere fast to restore your faith in humanity. To the legend who got me going on Darwin Main St last night – you get my hero award this week , and taught me a powerful lesson in passing it forward when you can from the receiving end – glad that I was able to compensate you in kind with a cold beer, but it’s that spirit and comradery that will help Australia get through the next decade, not the bickering and spitefulness that we see everyday from our leaders.

  12. What’s peoples’ opinions on real estate prices in coastal towns like Batemans Bay, Port Macquarie, Balina, Coffs Harbour?

    You can buy 3 bed houses at the bottom end for $300 000. Rental return is about 6%.

    • ….and….have you ever been a landlord at ‘the bottom end’, Richard? That 6% (gross?) yield can turn into minus 50% without so much as the blink of a meth lab’s eye…..( NB: the cost of contamination clean-up can sometimes mean complete internal replacement – and it’s more common that you may think!). The ‘normal’ wear and tear on carpets; damage walls; the stove trashed etc + the months of attendance at the Tenancy Tribunal ( for no result!) pale into insignificance in such cases….(PS: I’ve been both (reluctant!) landlord and tenant in my time and have good and bad experience on both sides of the equation)

    • Do your sums. iMO, there is definitely an intrinsic cost to land which comes down the cost to develop it plus a bit for its productive worth as farmland. That’s the base then add a depreciated value for the improvements. So, if land costs $150k to develop (add services etc) then that is the base plus the value of the life left in the building. If $300k approaches that price then buy. If not hang back.

      • Land….cost an awful lot less to develop than you may think! We serviced a bare 10 acre block ($150k, 10 klms from the centre of a city) with power (25k) town water (15k) phone (2k) and 150 metres of sealed road and drainage (33k) = $75k, and that was a solo project. Developer Costs on a larger scale are far less than that!. Most of the ‘cost’ of developing land is the developer’s margin…..

      • Thanks for the comments. I guess it also comes down to whether rents will rise, interest rates stay low and inflation erodes some of the debt.

        It’s a frustrating time to be investing. Nothing seems normal.

    • There’s a reason why houses are cheap in Batemans Bay, lovely place but there’s not a lot of quality jobs about. A lot of young people tend to leave to seek better job or educational prospects and will likley not return. This is not to say these places are dying, far from it, there are a lot of retirees in these places and there are a few of the youngies returning in their late twenties as qualified tradies, accountants etc living a life most only dream about. We’re in Narooma at the moment, what a place, simply stunning. Can buy a nice 3-4 beddie house for $350-400k but the catch is having a job to service the mortgage. In 10 years time the house will only be worth marginally more, the growth rates are slower and honestly, that’s not a bad thing.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Narooma is a great place,… my brother inlaw is just north of Bermagui right on wallaga lake, if I didnt have kids I could sell up and move down there in a heart beat, but there is little opportunity for them in that part of the world and the Surf is a bit Sharkey down there too.?

      • Yeah I see what you mean.

        I guess what attracts me to them is the rents should rise with inflation albeit low inflation. The houses haven’t balooned in price like the cities have. So over time the debt will erode while rent rises on a fairly priced buy price. More cashed up oldies will move to these places too.

      • @ Richard – The cashed up oldies will buy before renting and most oldies will only move to these places to be closer to family. You only have to look at the size of the CentreLink offices in these towns (tend to be some of the bigger leases in the local mall) to see the quality of tennants you’ll potentially attract. Don’t be put off, just consideration points, it certainly worth investigating.

        @ erminngton, got some nice Tilba cheeses, home made chutney and we’re ready to go. Love Bermagui too, the whole coast from Ulladulla down to Eden is amazing. One of my favorites is the Bermagui Blue Pools. Simply stunning.


      • @ Richard, they’re all over it & WN nails it. Sea change towns run on a different meme. Plenty of cashed up oldies already here, but they don’t spend – they need to make it last well into their next life! Which affects the community as a whole making it an unbalanced economy. If the town was full of young productive & balanced spenders, these towns would thrive much more. Average age is roughly 20yrs older than the national average.

        You may well be disappointed with rental growth expectations as well since there has been 2 large pushes in the last 18 months – unjustifiable excepting for greed & maybe to try getting the attention of investors because they weren’t turning over. It’s now starting to squeeze another tranche of lowly paid locals into considering leaving for cheaper area’s or heading to the city so they can be paid a living wage. Things are tight on local wages.

        Just recently there’s been a lot of churn in the SE but so far it’s stock that’s been on market for years & no material increase in prices, in fact I can site holdouts that have dropped their price to sell (oldies don’t have time on their side). On the flipside there is an undercurrent of city refugees & looming retirees that put a false floor under prices – comparable to foreigners pricing out city dwellers. Except these seem to be mainly OO’s.

        Some towns are just an avoid. But in the same way as some suburbs in the city are a risk, the same goes for some towns where it can be limited to a few streets to avoid. You’d need to talk to locals with some sense of history, not the spivs, to find out just where to avoid!

        Current snapshot SE, Building had sputtered but is now going well & they’re paid well in local terms as are any PS positions. Aged Services growing – low pay. Industrial is patchy, dying, Retail is dead! Both low pay. Dairy farming currently going well. Anyone else is there for the lifestyle…….. meaning many things, retired, can’t hack the city pace, prefer surf, country lifestyle etc.

  13. Paddy Finucane


    You dogmatic bastard! I dont usually go anywhere but here for links on weekends and you dont do Uncle Rupert.

    A few minutes ago on a shitty London morning I was informed of this:-

    Have you guys done something to Kohler? He is running your line – He is running the MacroBusiness line!!!!

    ‘Why the election is a referendum on house prices’ – Alan Kohler – The Australian



    To a large extent the 2016 Federal is all about house prices, which is both good and bad.

    Put simply, to help the transition from the mining boom into new export industries, Australia needs either a currency devaluation or a big fall in its domestic cost structure, and therefore house prices.

    The Reserve Bank is out of ideas, since cutting interest rates to lower the dollar just sends house prices higher, so it’s the politicians’ turn to do something — and they are doing something, sort of.

    Typically, each political party has a different, perfectly valid, idea and is fiercely attacking the other side’s idea as an ideological disaster. Thus only one of the ideas will get up, when both would be better.

    The Labor Party wants to limit negative gearing to new construction, the Coalition wants to reintroduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

    One of the main blockages to establishing domestic industries that can replace mining construction as a generator of growth and jobs is the high cost of doing business in Australia, specifically high wages.

    Underlying Australia’s high wages is the high cost of accommodation: housing, both residential and commercial, is the most important input in the cost of living, and therefore the cost of doing business, and land in Australia is overpriced.

    Well, to be specific, land in Sydney and Melbourne is overpriced. The per square value of it in Sydney is higher than Paris, Los Angeles and Shanghai, and about the fourth highest in the world.

    The result is that workers have to be paid a lot to service their housing debt; without overpriced houses, Australian wages wouldn’t have to be so high.

    Without actually discussing this issue plainly and directly, the nation’s politicians have made this year’s election all about dealing with it.

    Labor has a tricky selling task selling its negative gearing policy because it is trying to argue that the change will make housing more affordable, but won’t result in house prices falling. That’s because the Liberal Party is shouting that the policy will produce a house price crash and economic disaster.

    So Labor leader Bill Shorten has to assert that it will merely lower the rate of increase in house prices — that they will become a little less unaffordable than they would have become, which is hardly a silver bullet.

    Such are the verbal gymnastics required during elections, but there’s no doubt that being able to deduct property investment losses from one’s salary as if they are a work-related expense, when they are plainly nothing of the sort, is an obvious distortion in the property market and helps drive up the price of land.

    So limiting deductions to new houses is a worthwhile attempt to turn it into a positive distortion by increasing housing supply.

    Similarly, the Coalition’s policy of cracking down on the construction union and bringing back that ABCC, which is the potential trigger for the double dissolution election and therefore its key reason, is an attempt to reduce the cost of building apartments and thereby reduce Australia’s high cost structure.

    In his interview with the ABC’s Leigh Sales on the 7.30 program on Monday, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in response to a question on the ABCC bill, said: “You see, Leigh, the real agenda here, the key agenda here is how do we successfully continue to manage our transition from an economy that was fuelled by a mining construction boom to a new and more diverse one?”

    It’s being discussed politically as an ideological anti-union crusade, which it is to some extent, but at a practical level it’s just an attempt to bring down Australia’s high cost of housing.

    The dividing point between union and non-union construction is three storeys: anything above that height must involve the CFMEU; anything below that can use non-union labour. Simply put, a house can be built using non-union labour, except — usually — if it’s done by a large company, but high-rise apartments (and offices) must work to CFMEU rules.

    Research commissioned by Master Builders Australia has found that the difference in labour cost between four storeys and two storeys is 24 per cent. That’s the extra cost of the union. In essence, the election is partly a referendum on reducing that difference.

    It is not actually about corruption, since the ABCC is not an anti-corruption body and existing laws and policing bodies can deal with it, even though there is plenty of political guff about corruption and the Senate crossbenchers are attempting to have the ABCC legislation turned into a national anti-corruption body.

    And it’s not really about productivity. As Productivity Commission research has shown, the ABCC made little difference to productivity, mainly because CFMEU workers are quite productive — no less than non-union workers. They all work hard.

    It’s about cost — union construction is much more expensive than non-union because of higher wages and conditions, including costly safety rules.

    Neither political party is being plain that their policy is designed to bring down the cost of housing because the ALP doesn’t want to admit that it wants to reduce house prices, and the Coalition doesn’t want to admit that that it’s trying to reduce wages and conditions. It is, to an extent, “look at the hand” politics, where attention is distracted from what’s really going on.

    But if Australia is to achieve a successful economic transition out of the mining construction boom to a new economic foundation in a globalised world, then both of these things — the removal of the negative gearing distortion and lower construction costs — need to happen.

    The only alternative is a big currency devaluation that would lower living standards across the board, and in many ways that would be more desirable, since devaluations don’t really discriminate between types of workers or house-owners and renters.

    But that’s proving very elusive, frustratingly so for the Reserve Bank. Commodity prices are rising, inconveniently, because the Chinese currency is devaluing and rekindling its export industries, and the US dollar is falling, not rising as it should do with interest rates finally starting to go up.

    In the absence of an external devaluation, a high-cost country must undergo an internal devaluation in order to succeed in a world of free (ish) trade and globalisation.

    That means lower domestic costs, which in turn means lower wages; but that’s hard in Australia while houses cost so much.

    So Australia either needs a big currency devaluation or a big house price fall, or both, which would be doubly effective, but doubly hard.

    Gunna – You have always said that Australia could have the house prices or the economy. I always thought you were right in some ways, but that the message would never get home. Have a drink this weekend…

    • Interesting to see the ABCC affecting housing affordability angle. So it just becomes a game of lowest cost developer wins (with much greater scope to now cut costs). Much like iron ore the last few years I suppose. Still doesn’t really help the argument of the right type of housing being created…

      But it is just a story of two sides with Labor pouring cold water on demand and LNP wanting lower cost supply.

    • Lower wages in construction – ????? – wages have been flat for yonks w/ additional overheads plus the whole subbie thingy….

      Skippy…. yet admin remuneration has gone parabolic…. shezzzzzzzzz…. what duplicitous framing…

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      “So it just becomes a game of lowest cost developer wins”

      Thats BS Quentin. The Developers sell for the full price the market can bear. Cutting construction labor cost wouldn’t bring down prices for “consumers” one iota,…it would however mean more construction workers priced out of the ponzi/market and additional profits for greasy developers, selling ever poorer quality housing.

      • Exactly. It’s a bit like penalty rates, anyone who thinks prices will drop needs to let go of their todger.

    • What Uncle Kohler forgot to mention is that nearly all newly constructed dog boxes are sold to overseas Chinese by the likes of His Master’s Voice, High Rise Harry Triguboff. So any reduction in construction costs at the expense of unionized labour, will be passed on to foreigners.

      • Developers will just pocket the diff, only declining demand would crimp prices for these shoddily built dogboxes.. As more and more of the developers are foreign, that means shifting an ever greater proportion of the development earnings offshore, but we’re cool with that, declining wages and sending profits o/s is what Oz is all about these days.

    • Cheers P

      Kohlers piece misses the fact that most of the cost of Australian RE is in the price of land. Although I dont particularly like the CFMEU he acknowledges they are quite productive and that ‘safety rules’ are a key part of what the Tories are trying to ditch. Well if safety (something which should be taken ultra seriously on all building sites) is the cost for cheaper abodes above three stories then we should be quantifying that in terms of lives, not dollars.

    • In the clear light of day, this Guy’s got to go. Issue is he likely has something on Malcolm and hence the liberal party ethos continues. Well done libs, I’m voting independent for the first time ever, or the shooters party,

      • Arthur has been around long enough that he’d have something over everybody.
        One of the reasons that he hasn’t been dropped is that the Coalition is so short of talent.
        If you lost an Abetz or a Bernardi another one would pop up in their place.
        Sinodinos seems to be one of the few who can think further than two steps ahead.

    • How Arfur Spivodinis survived AWH is truely remarkable – His posistion was untenable and tarnished beyond reproach – yet here he is standing up lecturing us on the advantages of reducing corporate taxation.

      The spiv represents everything that is wrong with politics.

    • ..and it keeps coming. Has the Royal Commission smell about it but only under Labor.

      “Liberal-linked Free Enterprise Foundation failed to declare $1m in donations”

      The fundraising body that has embroiled cabinet secretary Arthur Sinodinos in a campaign finance scandal did not tell NSW authorities it received almost $1 million in donations – including from property developers – the year it gave $693,000 to the Liberal party for the 2011 state election.

      Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/liberallinked-free-enterprise-foundation-failed-to-declare-1m-in-donations-20160327-gnrs1m.html#ixzz448jL6wPZ

    • Understandable for investors (positive cash flow, inflation-level CG targets), but not for speculators (negative cash flow, double every 7-10 year CG targets). It’s been a loooooong time since an investor has bought in Australia – probably late 90’s… No shortage of speculators though.

  14. Here’s a decent podcast with Edward Chancellor of GMO (and author of ‘Devil take the hindmost’ amongst other books) talking about the need to understand the capital cycle in investing:
    Should be familiar stuff to those here, but good to hear nevertheless.

    • I can think of a house for Arfur, full board and accommodation provided, re-skilling programme, cell mates, sorry room mates are to share life, and sexual, experiences with.

  15. Has Peter Hatcher been taken on by MT to write puff pieces for him? This is a good example of why I’ve never thought much of him.

    “And it’s a challenge to a querulous Senate crossbench. Because, if the Senate refuses, Turnbull promised a double dissolution election on July 2 to clean out an obstructive upper house and to force his will on the parliament.
    This was widely hailed as decisive and bold. And it was.”

    Someone get me a bucket.


    • I lmao. I can just imagine what went through their minds as the “taste” registered in their brain compared to what they were expecting. 🙂

  16. http://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/fears-moves-to-set-minimum-size-for-apartments-could-leave-city-centres-only-for-the-rich/news-story/d0ad55601fc9b55ef936e5651e877dc7

    Tiny overpriced apartments to perpetuate the ponzi and entomb social dysfunction for future generations? news.com.au looks at whether it is a good thing or a bad thing.

    Craig Yelland, of Plus Architecture, says Victoria should not have a minimum apartment size. – Yes, it’s all about giving people freedom of choice. Who else thinks Craig should be our next Australian of the Year?

      • I know someone who’s motherinlaw moved into one of those tiny 84 x 28 x 23cm residences. It was so small they could locate it on a shelf in the laundry. I believe the old girl is soon to go on a sea voyage as well.

    • Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

      Min size but more importantly minimum quality. They have to bring back government inspections – none of this bogus self reporting. The quality of most apartments now in Aus is terrible. I was on the hook for about $10k worth of building levies for a new apartment in a building that was not quite finished and the building company was Phoenixed so we couldn’t chase them. I managed to get out with some capital gain but that was the rising market not my cleverness. That was 10 years ago too the recent issues with cladding on high rise is very scary.

      • i live in a place that is 25 years old and the quality is crap. ever since they started aerating bricks. then not bothering with bricks… sheesh.

    • Affordable housing is not an issue in the eyes and minds of our current govt. Malcolm Turnbull’s scare campaign in response to Labor’s suggestion of modifying neg gearing is all about instilling terror into people that property prices might (would) fall, and that this would be a calamitous thing. In other words – embrace the housing bubble and embrace the ponzi scheme. Amidst this situation, families will increasingly find themselves squashed into tiny “affordable” dogboxes.

      And all this in a land, despite our massive immigration policy, where we are one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. It’s just that everyone wants to crowd into our overpriced cities, and with not much being done about setting up industry or employment in the country towns, this situation is only going to get worse.

      Those who cannot afford housing are largely invisible. They are a fairly quiet lot and seemingly accepting of their plight. Until there is a groundswell of unhappiness, and until those locked out of suitable housing become more vocal, we’re going to have more of the same, at least for another generation.

    • Having the misfortune of having to deal with anti money laundering nonsense I simply cannot fathom how someone could have an account of such scope?

      I also cannot fathom how stupid the owners of this money are for accumulating such an obvious target.

      The guys behind this dude are not going to be pleased. Expensive lesson. Not sure this dude is going to be buying green bananas.

  17. stop the stoats

    So sky News Business covers real estate on saturday, they even show house auctions. It’s as vomit inducing as it sounds.

    • How the f&%% does a brickie accumulate hundreds of millions and perhaps billions without any of the authorities twigging? Are they really that utterly useless or are they totally corrupt or is this story BS? Not April yet.

    • Mind blowing – I’ll be writing to Austrac to see how this wasnt reported and action taken.
      At least the budget bottom line might be impoved with the confiscation of the illgotten moolah!

      • His bank manager and the AML/KYC analyst may want to get their heads together for an alibi.

        Having slept on it though – this has to be a gee up. An account of that size would be well known all the way to the top echelon of whatever bank it is meant to be with.

        It would represent a maturity risk to the treasury department at that size.

        I want it to be real though. Let’s see a light focused on how much black money can be accumulated in property while other business is choked by AML

    • Failed Baby BoomerMEMBER

      Thanks Skippy,
      The papers on the reconstruction of the history of the Asian monsoon through proxies is very interesting.
      It shows incredible variation and possible natural cycles over 10,000 years or more.
      The Asian monsoon is also very important because millions of people rely on the monsoon for food.
      In particular, a multi-year failure of the monsoon is a horrible event, causing mega-famine with widespread misery.
      Aussie astro-physicist Ian Wilson has examined past weather cycles and made a contestable prediction of a low risk of a mega-famine in 2018-20.
      Before you rush in to sneer and mock Ian Wilson’s work, you should look carefully at some of his papers and contestable predictions.
      Using natural cycles he has established one of the most reliable prediction records of El Ninos, including the current one.

    • As expected Bernadi has completely misread the reasons behind the popularity of Trump.

      It’s globalisation. It’s trade deals. It’s corporate masters. It’s foreign buying and control of our country. It’s falling quality of life. It’s dwindling services. It’s political lies. It’s corruption.


      What a joke the entire LNP are.

      • “It’s globalisation. It’s trade deals. It’s corporate masters. It’s foreign buying and control of our country. It’s falling quality of life. It’s dwindling services. It’s political lies. It’s corruption.”

        I would never vote for someone like Trump, but I understand the anger of those most affected by globalisation and so-called “free trade”. Let’s face it, male, unskilled, sh1t kickers like me have been the biggest losers over the past few decades. Nobody represents us. Meanwhile big business (facilitated by their political butt puppets) have methodically set out to undermine pay and conditions across the developed world. That’s fine with most people, but wait until they come for your job! And they will! Hell, all the people I clean with are either overseas students or recent immigrants. Great guys, but they’re willing to work for bugger all and highly unlikely to complain about it (unlike me). I suspect the only reason I still have a job is because I’m well liked where I clean. Otherwise I would have been replaced long ago.

  18. Here’s an irony. The artist for the links page – Eugene von Guérard – was very successful in his Australian career but wiki says “[in 1893] he lost his investments in the Australian bank crash and he lived in poverty until his death in Chelsea, London, on 17 April 1901.

  19. “In a letter to The Times, a lawyer for the league said, “The N.F.L. is not the tobacco industry; it had no connection to the tobacco industry,” which he called “perhaps the most odious industry in American history.”

    Still, the records show that the two businesses shared lobbyists, lawyers and consultants. Personal correspondence underscored their friendships, including dinner invitations and a request for lobbying advice.”….

    “Neil Austrian, a former N.F.L. president, had previously run an advertising agency that under his leadership reversed its ban on taking tobacco clients. He called Philip Morris “an honorable company that sets high standards.” It was during his tenure at the N.F.L. that the concussion committee was created.”


  20. The Republican Convention could be quite exciting this year if this gets up:


    Can we imagine….tens of thousands of attendees, packed in together, armed to the teeth, watching Donald explain his platform….

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      “The petition to allow open carry of guns at the Republican Convention in Cleveland is up to 21.8k names”

      I wonder how many people signed in the hope of witnessing fucktard republicans shooting each other?
      It’d be a ratings winner for all the big networks.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Republican Convention.

        The new Tarantino production

        Michael Madsen as Donald Trump

      • I have decided after careful thought to support the petition for guns at the Republican Convention on the condition that assault rifles are included allowable weapons. I also requested that a 200 m perimeter be established around the venue and only card carrying, gun toting delegates be allowed to enter. At the end of the evening, only one person will be allowed to leave. Having proven their skills and survivability in the arena, this person will be best person to lead the US into the next war they will start.

      • Ben Carson better steer clear of that convention.
        Or make sure that his hands can be seen at all times.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        I can hear the rhetorical response from the NRA and Fox news now,

        Guns Don’t Kill People!

        Republican People, Kill people!


        “The one person of color at the rally was shot a total of 3347 times.”

        He died at the seen.

  21. Easter Egg Money, Ant it is not the 1st of April. This is for real.
    Economic guardians are increasingly uneasy about policy choices being made offshore. Since the global financial crisis, quantitative easing has pumped trillions of dollars into major economies with limited success. Recently central banks in Europe and Japan have opted for negative interest rates in a bid to kick-start growth. On Tuesday the Treasury Secretary, John Fraser, pointed out that we’ve now been in an “experimental stage” with monetary policy for more than 7 years.
    Some have warned the abnormal monetary policies being adopted in some countries were “a complication for Straya because they put upward pressure on exchange rate.

    Now,, banks plan to deliver Easter Egg Money, “helicopter drops” of cash directly to citizens’ bank accounts in the hope they will spend it and revive growth. Even more radical is a proposal for governments to mandate an across-the-board pay rise for workers. And in Australia, to spend more on (useless) infrastructure.

    In a modern economy, there is good moral reason to have low to no unemployed labour or capital. Unemployment is a great evil and its daily, human cost dwarfs other economic challenges.
    So there’s plenty of scope for governments to print and spend money without causing inflation or triggering a financial crisis. A currency issuing government can keep printing and spending money but never go broke, so long as it doesn’t borrow in a foreign currency.
    The Australian Commonwealth, for example, will never run out of Australian dollars because it is a monopoly issuer of that currency. It can always create the money it needs and, therefore, will always be able to service debts.

    But should our Gub-mint suddenly start churning out Australian dollars the money markets – filled with people of the old faith – would run wild,” he said. ”
    It’s likely that access to real wealth would shift around in very unpredictable ways ie, the wealthy would come up with other schemes to Hoover the money back into their vaults, and the poor would stay poor.

    So why work, just hang out and collect handouts!
    Interesting times

    • Well WW one could ask the question if GDP is the result of individuals or society… hell lots of corporations have sharing options…

      Skippy…. Yet we have hard data on the mid 70s and where productivity went, so the next question is was it earned or stolen…

      • Hard data from the 70s?

        Explosion in inflation, unemployment, recession leading to 15% plus bond yields and widespread economic pain

        That is seriously a plan again?

        Once the sugar hit of printed money washes over the economy – then what? How do you again chase the dream of ‘economic growth’ after pulling that move?


        When do we emerge from the bullshit and accept the potential for the economy as it actually is?

      • Printing money to give to people is hardly a solution to the productivity vs wages question.

        Hard asset owners are the beneficiaries of debasement. The unintended consequences of magic money will further the advantages of the wealthy class while the money drop recipients are busy buying new Korean made TVs.

      • Well aware of debasement issues wrt to a collapse or bust tho that is what were trying to avoid 8~…

        Broad reform is what is required and not just expanding the M supply, corporations, board rooms, environmental, financial – banking, its a long list 8~ to undo the damage the wing nut ideologues have done over some decades.

        Skippy… Most important is the changes in views expressed in the Philip Mirowski link I gave you…

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      “There’s plenty of scope for governments to print and spend money without causing inflation or triggering a financial crisis. A currency issuing government can keep printing and spending money but never go broke,”

      But but the moral hazard Wiley!

      If trillions can be printed to pump asset prices, why can’t our printing presses be employed to supply the Australian people with “Free” Health, Education and Aged care?
      That would create a 1000x more jobs than the neoliberal financial sector sucking on QE and if it did dramaticly lower our dollar, then what a nice leg up thatd give our exporters,..eh?
      We might even be able to keep making our own roofing steel and police cars.

      Whats the opposite of moral hazard?

      Only problem is,… upsetting the Dons of the global Plutocracy can get your Country bombed.! or “targeted assassinations”,….really the promis of Career assassination is enough to keep our pollies working against us.

    • This is a comment on Zerohedge today. One I entirely agree with:
      ” Money is a proxy for human labor, something that “Professor” Krugman is obviously not familiar with. He blithely talks about stoking inflation, a phenomenon that is always due to currency debasement, thereby destroying the People’s lifetime of labor.”

      I made this point some months ago on this site – If I expend x hours of energy to provide a service the state gives me an alternative to barter. It’s a medium of exchange I can use to purchase goods equal to my previous effort.

      What happens when that effort is devalued by creating that medium of exchange – that effort – out of thin air?

      • Sociology does not support that proposition…. humans have used credit, tally sticks et al for much longer than hard money, also inflation is not always about currency….

      • EP – You’re missing my point – I know where it comes from.

        Skip – For me it’s still that store of value issue no matter what the history. Unfortunately we are where we are and it doesn’t look good.

      • Ian your subjective views don’t change the historical record, also, the use of – store of – in this context is agonizingly simplistic.

      • I’m a simplistic guy skip – engineer. Real bits go in get transformed and a product pops out. Not used to stuff created from nothing. Anyway my arguments won’t hold in fantasy land and that’s where we appear to be.

      • Engineering is not applicable to subject matter, your environmental bias does not refute know history…

        Accounting is another thing as well as sovereignty, try – http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/05/mmt-postcard.html

        In addition… – the MMT Primer[1] at New Economic Perspectives – http://neweconomicperspectives.org/modern-monetary-theory-primer.html

        Skippy…. as an engineer you should be aware of the drama with learning things all over again… because some – prefer – systems to run a certain way….

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        I’m a simplistic guy skip – engineer. Real bits go in get transformed and a product pops out. Not used to stuff created from nothing.

        Huh ? As an engineer, “stuff created from nothing” is your bread and butter. The “stuff” in your case is the knowledge of how to turn the “real bits” into “product”.

        What do you think invention and innovation is, if not “stuff created from nothing” ?

      • You are spot on Ian

        The 95% devaluation of the Reserve currency, USD over the last century shows this at work. The latest crew of money printing magic pudding believers are no different from the past.

        $29 trillion of debt that is never going to be repaid isn’t enough – they propose we go further into make believe and you will all be happy substituting your labour for coupons.

        There is no escape from the inevitability that the currency will continue to be devalued. Hard money is not coming back.

        The solution is to ensure you move your surplus of cash into hard assets and cash generating businesses.

        Something only wealthy people can achieve / benefit from – which is obviously lost on the people’s QE crowd who can only see the initial sugar hit and not the inevitable consequences of stolen savings and debased buying power.

        What year will Australia pay off the $900 Rudd cheques?

        Gerry Harvey expresses his deepest gratitude.

      • 8~

        You equivocate hard money attributes to fiat, that in its self speaks volumes about your knowlage level and entrenched bias. If you improve your understanding of the last 50 years in sociopolitical – economic terms rather than rely on over simpleminded reductive suppositions about what – is – [people, money, markets et al], you might find that a number of things happened which resulted in the GFC and currant dramas….. but…. fiat is not the lunch pin to all of it.

        Skippy…. we were quite good at constantly blowing up markets and society no matter what form of exchange tokens we used just in the last 200 years….

      • Inflation–total inflation–as calculated by the Federal Government–is low. Asset prices are high due to the low inflation. Sounds stupid but hear me out. Investors, the people awash in extra money as I mentioned, need to put that money somewhere. They already spend as much as they want, so they are not going to increase their spending per se.

        Thus, they want to either
        1) invest
        2) get bling

        Investments are really difficult during low inflation–you don’t get much of a return. However, some bling can be used as a pseudo-investment. Buy land, houses, paintings, gold bars–all these may increase in value faster than the rate of inflation. If enough wealthy people think this way (and they do) then the price of such items will go up faster than the prices of bread, water, clothing and other such necessities.

        So, in conclusion, yes, inflation (particularly of oil products, food, clothing) is very low. Asset prices are high–but asset prices are not the only figure when calculating inflation.


        The dramas with the wealthy can be sorted 8~ as 007 has pointed out by not subsidizing them and progressive taxation where applicable. The unwashed with a JG or mix of JG and BIG sorted at a local – regional level, its not like there is not a ton of stuff than need doing, waiting for the private sector or paying the private sector to engage the neoliberal way has not worked.

        Skippy…. It seems only the fundamentalist free market mob want to blow everything up to effect change and that definitely favors the wealthiest…

  22. Well guys you can read this site till you are blue in the face. Look at charts and graphs and statements from bankers on how well Straya is going, economically, but you can’t beat the lack of tourists in Straya’s No1 holiday destination for a real eye opener.
    No one is here, at best maybe a third of the usual no of tourists have turned up.
    And :

    Its going to be interesting times

    • I was lead to believe the services industry (tourism) was slowly improving (in part to the lower AUD).

    • “People need to realise that it is an offence if you don’t dispose of these needles adequately and we have persecuted a number of people for this”

      So the actual drug taking is fine as long as the needle is disposed of correctly? On the other hand, maybe the user gets hounded for taking the drugs as well!

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Getting high harms nobody (in and of itself) except the person getting high.

        Leaving needles around the place harms the people who step on them.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Don’t forget those dam, lazy diabetics and their needles!

        It might be time to ban insulin from the Gold Coast.

        Added bonus of reduced number of fatties,…good for beach goers.

      • EP when Cpt Cook landed here, he was not very impressed with the local Blackfellahs as a people.
        But >> if he came ashore at say Broadbeach, today, he would recon he was in some sort of asylum.
        By any measure the people have let them selves go, as in, couldn’t give a rats arse about living or quality of life. It is now a distinct social barrier between those who look after their bodies and mind, and those who are just along for the ride. Hitchhikers are about to get booted.. methinks.

  23. Cracking Down on Debt Vultures

    “The Turnbull government is under growing pressure to crack down on “debt vultures” that fleece money from vulnerable people by falsely promising to provide solutions to their financial distress.”

    I wonder what percentage of people that are turning to this service are in distress due to taking out a mortgage that they really couldn’t afford?


    • He won a bunch of states he was expected to win. He is still trailing by about 230 delegates and 2-2.5 million votes.

      Hillary is going to win not because it’s her “right” but because she got more votes.

      • I don’t disagree with what you say about collecting more votes, thems the rules, it is just I always enjoy it when the supposed natural order gets shaken up a bit. Like if a cricketing minnow, say an Afghanistan, defeats a smug and complacent India or Australia.

    • “Does the FIRB investigate fraudulent purchases involving overseas governments?’

      I think it would be safe to say the FIRB treats everybody equally – i.e. they don’t investigate anyone. That’s why, after years of not investigating anyone and certainly not enforcing any of the rules in place, the job has been handed to the ATO.

    • Was doing some numbers on the moon, as you do when it is Easter and in full view. Apparently the moon is moving away from the earth and thus causing the Moon-Earth couple to lose angular momentum, IE the rotation of the earth is slowing. Could be what you tragics mistake as man made climate change.

    • Well here it is Easter, I’ll bet that if you ran a survey on how many people believe in God, you would come up with a majority consensus as well. You guys are in for a big let down
      Climate change is not even mentioned in any electioneering, apart from the 230 CSIRO mob soon to be on the dole.. No Econo,. Its all a hoax. Up there with Easter Eggs.

      • WW…. its not a consensus on ones – beliefs – as in your gawd case….

        Skippy…. that’s with noting the whole denier camps roots with industry and good folks like the Kochs et al… Easter bunny people indeed…

      • Easter Bunny people?

        “”God always forgives, but the earth does not. Take care of the earth so it does not respond with destruction,”

        — Pope Francis, at a UN conference in Rome, Nov. 19, 2014″

        “The melt-off from the world’s ice sheets, ice caps and glaciers over eight years of the past decade would have been enough to cover the United States in about 18 inches of water, according to new data” from Nasa Satellites.

        — The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 8, 2012″

        ..And finally, the mother of all bunnies:

    • Good link. some take away quotes:
      You will never get back what we take from you.
      The bankers cant stop themselves it is in their DNA.
      Every time history repeats itself the price goes up.
      WW About 2400 years ago, the Greek wise man Socrates, (Google him and his story, it is worth it ) noted “You can’t teach anybody anything, you can only ask (show them ) them how to think”.
      Not all that long ago, say up the 1980’s ours and the Nations prosperity relied on a strong middle class growing from the bottom up. Workers were rewarded for their efforts with fair wages and advancement opportunities. The economy was strong, stable and growing.
      However over the past 25 years prior to 2013, and especially the last 10 years we have moved away from this plateau.
      Current business and investment culture emphasises and rewards speculative short term profits and what is good for the public and the nation, is being pushed aside.
      Times seem certainly more flexible and uneasy, or are they?.
      Niccolò Machiavelli wrote the following in his book “The Prince” in about 1515, (498 years ago as of 2013). This is from chapter XXV.

      “Many have the opinion that the affairs of the world are governed by fortune and by God.
      So that men with their wisdom cannot direct them nor even help them; and because of this they would have us believe that it is not necessary to labour much in their affairs but to let chance govern them.
      This opinion has been more credited in our times because of the great changes in affairs which have been seen, and may still be seen, every day, beyond all human conjecture. (remember this was 1515!)
      Sometimes pondering this, I am in some degree inclined to their opinion.
      Nevertheless, not to extinguish our free will, I hold it to be true that Fortune is the arbiter of one-half of our actions, but she still leaves us to direct the other half, or perhaps a little less. Frederick the Great was accustomed to say: “The older one gets, the more convinced one becomes, that his Majesty King Chance does three-quarters of the business of this miserable universe.

    • It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the same thing happened here – it’s the perfect way to keep prices rising and enabling greater fools to buy into the Ponzi scheme for generations to come. The housing bubble need never pop.

  24. Released Wednesday……


    ‘A country that makes no room for the young is a country that will forfeit a fair future. This must not become Australia.’

    Today’s young Australians are the first generation since the Great Depression to be worse off than their parents. And so, just as we have seen the gap between rich and poor widen over recent decades, we’re beginning to see young and old pull apart in ways that will wear at our common bonds.

    It’s time to decide what kind of future we want for this country. Will it be one where young Australians enjoy the same opportunities to build stable, secure lives as their parents and grandparents had? And can we do right by the elderly without making second-class citizens of the young?

    Urgent and convincing, Generation Less investigates the life prospects of young Australians. It looks at their emotional life, their access to credit, education and fulfilling jobs, and considers whether they will ever be able to buy a house. A wake-up call for young and old alike, Generation Less is a smart, funny and ground-breaking blueprint for a fairer future.

    ‘A passionate and incisive case for rewriting the generational compact.’ Lindsay Tanner

    • Coupled with Grattan Institute event on 12 April

      Generation less? Exploring the economic challenge for young Australians

      Register now

      We’ve come to expect that each generation will be better off than their parents. But the world is changing.

      Over the last decade, older households captured most of the growth in Australia’s wealth. Jobs have become less secure. And government spending on older people increased but their tax contributions decreased, leaving a growing tab for future taxpayers.

      It’s time to decide what kind of future we want for this country, writes Jennifer Rayner in her forthcoming book, Generation Less: How Australia is Cheating the Young. Will young Australians enjoy the same opportunities to build stable, secure lives that their parents and grandparents had? Can we do right by the elderly without making second-class citizens of the young? As Grattan Institute’s Wealth of Generations report showed, there are policy changes that could make a difference.

      In this Policy Pitch event at State Library Victoria, Jennifer Rayner, Professor Rod Maddock from Victoria University and Grattan Fellow Danielle Wood explore the emerging political and economic concerns around intergenerational inequality and what we should do about it.


      Jennifer Rayner is the author of Generation Less: How Australia is Cheating the Young. She has worked as a federal political adviser, an international youth ambassador in Indonesia and a private sector consultant. Jennifer holds a PhD from the Australian National University.

      Rodney Maddock is a curmudgeonly baby-boomer. His is also is an economist who has worked for the private sector, government and universities; and in a range of developed and developing countries. Most relevant to this event is his work as an economic historian including The Australian Economy in the Long Run (Cambridge University Press, 1987), his various papers on topics in Australian history (including on living standards and on distribution), and his involvement in the recent Cambridge Economic History of Australia (CUP 2014).

      Danielle Wood is the Australian Perspectives Fellow at Grattan Institute. She has also worked at the ACCC, NERA Economic Consulting and the Productivity Commission. Danielle has a Bachelor degree in Economics from the University of Adelaide and a Masters Degrees in Economics and Competition Law from the University of Melbourne.

      Register now

      Date: Tuesday 12 April 2016

      Time: 6:00-7:15pm

      Location: State Library of Victoria, 179 La Trobe St, Melbourne

      • Grattan Institute is an Australian public policy think tank, established in 2008. The Melbourne-based institute is non-aligned, however it defines itself as contributing “to public policy in Australia as a liberal democracy in a globalised economy.” It is partly funded by a $34 million endowment, with major contributions from the Australian Federal Government, the State Government of Victoria, the University of Melbourne and BHP Billiton.[1]

        n April 2008, Commonwealth and Victorian Governments announced matching funding, along with support in kind from the University of Melbourne. Commitments followed soon after from BHP Billiton and National Australia Bank. Grattan receives money from its affiliates, which have included Google, Origin Foundation, EY, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Stockland, The Scanlon Foundation, Wesfarmers, Jacobs, Mercy Health, Ashurst, Corrs, Deloitte, Urbis and Westpac. The Higher Education Program is funded by the Myer Foundation.[4]

        Skippy….. ahhh….. evidence based neoliberalism…. chortle….

      • Skippy +1

        My double degree from Melbourne Uni may have given me a huge ego for a couple of years, but then had a volcanic implosion effect when I realised i’d just paid them to indoctrinate me into neoliberal stupidity.

        Grattan is the same mind control by bullshit osmosis.

        They have one function, and that is to waylay the intelligent youngsters into respecting their bullshit. Hence there are very few intelligent and switched on young people these days who are actively engaged in policy, politics or change.

      • “My double degree from Melbourne Uni may have given me a huge ego for a couple of years, but then had a volcanic implosion effect when I realised i’d just paid them to indoctrinate me into neoliberal stupidity.”

        I started a social work degree at RMIT back in 2008 and as I progressed it got increasingly conservative. I should have known something was wrong when all my favourite lecturers started leaving. In the end the focus was mostly on building resilience in clients. Don’t get me wrong, that’s hugely important, but if the structures remain grossly unfair and corrupt what’s the point?

      • Rob – it’s all a racket.

        I rejoice in the fact that the internet is saving some young, independent elite thinkers (for now).

        You still get the brainfed militia who will protect the dogma of the institution.

        Yet today, there is more freedom to excel than ever before, in the face of stupidity.

        If more professions were akin to engineering in transparency (ie it’s obvious they are wrong when builldings fall down) we’d be in a better place. Yet buildings do still fall down. For elite thinkers, in whatever field, it’s so important to have systems thinking skills, for there is nothing worse than seeing an individual who wants to make a difference/be great be working diligently at the wrong level of the problem.

        Just keep in mind, most education systems are generally 50 years behind where they need to be… pretty hard to accept when you are paying for that. So don’t if you don’t need to.

      • YO…

        I have posted before but like to ref it when people are talking about tertiary education.

        Science-Mart: Privatizing American Science

        This trenchant study analyzes the rise and decline in the quality and format of science in America since World War II.

        During the Cold War, the U.S. government amply funded basic research in science and medicine. Starting in the 1980s, however, this support began to decline and for-profit corporations became the largest funders of research. Philip Mirowski argues that a powerful neoliberal ideology promoted a radically different view of knowledge and discovery: the fruits of scientific investigation are not a public good that should be freely available to all, but are commodities that could be monetized.

        Consequently, patent and intellectual property laws were greatly strengthened, universities demanded patents on the discoveries of their faculty, information sharing among researchers was impeded, and the line between universities and corporations began to blur. At the same time, corporations shed their in-house research laboratories, contracting with independent firms both in the States and abroad to supply new products. Among such firms were AT&T and IBM, whose outstanding research laboratories during much of the twentieth century produced Nobel Prize winning work in chemistry and physics, ranging from the transistor to superconductivity.

        “Science-Mart” offers a provocative, learned, and timely critique, of interest to anyone concerned that American science once the envy of the world must be more than just another way to make money.”


        Skippy…. the knowlage leap associated with WWII and just after was directly due to government spending and support, that was increasingly privatized during the 70s onward. In addition to the militarization of – everything – police, corporations, politics, etc… even society…

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        @ Skip

        Didn’t you also recommend the Philip Mirowski book,
        Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown

    • “Senior figures in the military said they believed some inside the Federal Government were pushing to privatise DHA, which manages a real estate portfolio worth more than $10 billion”

      Sounds like asset stripping to fill those big holes in the budget while giving the more efficient ? public sector the chance to make some dosh.

      • No doubt some of Arfur Sinodios’s property mates and donors would love to get their hands on DHA, net profit after tax is approx $100m a year, nice little earner for managing houses.

    • 33 and finances still controlled by her parents, what is she a soudi, or just an idiot?

      • She is journalist. ha ha, Another mob who have debased the value of their “profession”
        I see Al Jazerrah is laying off another 500 journalists this week. Looks like a bleak future for journalists, up against news creating AI.
        She should have chosen a real job such as engineering,

    • So long as they have their Galaxies and iPhones ahumming she’ll be right. I’d wager that many of them would sleep in the gutter rather than give those up.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Has anyone else noticed that in these articles the word frugality looks kinda like ugly?

    • Typical self-serving click-bait from DomainFax – further re-inforcing the stereotypical view that “the young ones need to suck boomer c*ck more, and here’s an example of a reformed one!”. Just keep reinforcing that view – the young ones are worthless, and wouldn’t know how to save if their life would depend on it, it takes a couple of leadership-infused boomers to pull that one back from the brink of bankruptcy and onto the straight and narrow! Huzzah – Job well done boys! Let’s go and have a moderately priced beer followed by a night of efficient german sex!

      Because, don’t you know that some profligate little bastard *is* the poster-child for an entire generation!


      Bunch of self-entitled arrogant mother-fuckers.

      • What is a store – of – these days… when assets get pumped and dumped… trading has more in common with fashion…. equities inflated wildly beyond meaning… geopolitics could vaporize it all tomorrow…

        Skippy… and some still crack a fat about Fiat…. maybe rules do matter after all….

    • I’d assume with no income, they can’t claim the tax lose you would think Mr ATO.
      All the Gov needs to do is set some mandates/boundaries and let private equity run the ATO and take 5% of the net revenue. I have a suspition we would all be better off as these revenue centres, need incentive.

  25. A new report by Dider Jacobs at the Center for Popular Economics offers a breathtaking estimate of how the rich have gotten richer in recent years. According to Jacobs’analysis, 74% of billionaire wealth in America was gained through rent-seeking, or socially useless activity.

    There has always been a tension between America’s meritocratic mythology and the blatant evidence of a thoroughly rigged economy. After the 2008 financial crisis where bankers brought the economy to its knees through reckless and criminal behavior only to end up richer after a taxpayer funded bailout, the contradictions between the myth and the reality became harder to ignore.

    Even mainstream establishment publications like The New Yorker started asking, “What Good Is Wall Street?” Why is a sector of the economy that creates nothing running the real economy and taking home such a large portion of national income?

    What Jacobs reveals is that most of the wealth that has propelled people into the top 1% and beyond was gained not through the creation economic benefit, but through rent-seeking. Economic rents are obtained when someone is able to extract wealth or excessive returns despite no additional contribution to productivity, or what could be called socially useless activity.

    Jacobs then identifies the industries in which rent-seeking is most significant: those heavily reliant on the state, like oil, gas and mining, gambling, or forestry, and industries that involve a lot of imperfect information and market failures, like finance, IT, and the music and fashion industry. – snip


    Skippy…. rent seeking should also be viewed as a condition associated with endemic corruption and fraud in a network matrix….

    • Exactly. try this for perspective.
      From say 1500 to 1800, exploration of the world to add new colonies to provide wealth.
      From 1800 to 2000 adaptation of industry to exploit wealth from the earth.
      From say 2000, exploitation of the populace to transfer their wealth away from them (well underway)
      From say 2020, exploitation of the wealthy by AI (trading algo’s) to again transfer the wealth to a select few.(just getting a head of steam)
      Notice the periods are rapidly decreasing. What is next.??

    • Now for something completely different…

      It’s frustrating to see a group that is dedicated to good causes, and has chosen a deserving target, go off the rails in trying to make its case. Worse, like minded individuals who are hunger for backup for the beliefs who cite half-baked studies play into a stereotype that the Powers That Be are keen to promote: “Those who deny that we are living in the best of all possible worlds don’t know what they are talking about.”

      Today’s object lesson is a report by Oxfam, Extreme Wealth is Not Merited” by Oxfam. Author Didier Jacobs works through some assumptions (more on that shortly) and comes to the implausibly precise estimate that 74% of American billionaires’ wealth comes from rent seeking (oddly, the chart from which you can compute that result is in the webpage summarizing the paper but not the paper proper). And mind you, there are good efforts on this front. Later this week, we’ll discuss a recent paper on inequality that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves that is much more careful and more important, points to concrete policy measures.

      This isn’t the first report by Oxfam on wealth that has been criticized for simplistic-to-the-point-of-being-misleading statistics.


      The article exhibits a limited understanding of how commerce works. So as to avoid taxing reader patience, here is one illustration:

      Economies of scale are a technological reality in all industries: division of labor increases productivity. Some of the lower cost is passed on to consumers; the rest is kept by the company’s owners.

      Sweeping and inaccurate generalizations further undermine the credibility of this work. There are plenty of cases where economies of scale do not operate because the increased supervision/coordination costs more than offset whatever benefit is derived from narrowing job tasks. Banking is a classic. Studies have consistently found that banking exhibits an slightly increasing cost curve (as in it shows diseconomies of scale) once a certain size threshold is achieved; the research differs only on where that size level sits.

      I wish this discussion were tidier, in that flawed research provides useful grist for critical thinking. But this paper’s weaknesses are so fundamental that it’s hard to talk about them in as crisp a manner as I’d like. The flip side is there is a good deal of solid thinking being done in this area and so there’s no dearth of research that makes a powerful case that we’d all be better served, including the rich*, if their wealth was reined in.


      Skippy….. sorta like reducing cosmology to creation mythos… whilst both share basic similarities… the devil is always in the details… yet some wonder why policy formation is such hard yacka these days…

  26. Lovely clip on the stoopidity* of the generational meme…

    ” Adam “Ruins Everything” Conover was asked to give a keynote to a conference on marketing to millennials, and he brought the house down with an amazing speech about the absurdity of generalizations about generations, and about how all of the generalizations hurled at millennials have been slimed over every other generation, too.

    Moreover, all the things that people say about millennials’ relationship to social media have been said about other media.

    Remember: in 1790, novels had “poisoned the mind and corrupted the morals of many a promising youth; and prevented others from improving their minds in useful knowledge.”

    Remember: in 1816, the waltz was “obscene display” only fit for “prostitutes and adulteresses” and it was “a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion.”


    Skippy….. Kinda what happens when the MBA’s [worthless degree imo] and sales marketing shape reality for an entire planet….

    • “MBA’s [worthless degree imo] ”

      Worth a lot to the institutions that issue them 😉 Plus MBA has changed a lot in 30 odd years. Now it is just a course in More Bucks After, no analytical skills or strategic interplay. Just bloody porter and case studies, this model and that. If the model doesn’t fit, forget examining the relevance of the model, just change the assumptions to make it fit. Such a joke now……

      • As someone doing a dual degree back in the late 70’s I always thought the “scientific approaches to management” was a bit self awarded without substantiation e.g. “scientific” becomes just a brand marketing tool to burnish the image…

        Skippy… sorta like opening dialogue with asking what one – believes – rather than what one – thinks – and why…

  27. Here’s a thought:
    What’s the difference between the MB weekend and SMH weekend?
    Answer: Absolutely nothing they’re both all about Real Estate Porn.

    Seriously guys the world’s a much more interesting place if you just forget about Houses. The fixation you guys have with anything RE is beyond an Obsessive compulsive disorder, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you guys are charting new territory in the DSM-IV codes, maybe they should invent a brand new category of on-line Community wide RE- OCD with an NG fixation, honestly guys most Sunday’s it’s worse here than at a Sydney BBQ.

    I never cared much for the RE obsession but now I’m just over it, I can’t stand to read another RE bitch or brag session.

    • My relaxing cruising Sunday BBQ yesterday was all on sourcing $50million in funding for an Agri-business with Import quota into China, processing facilities in Jiangsu, confirmed offtake orders for first 12 month production and a solid supply chain out of Australia. Only time property gets mentioned is around dumb quotes from real estate agents trying to sell us the farms: farmland in Australia is a great investment for capital gains, this is why the farmers keep the properties….. LOL. You must go to some pretty boring BBQ’s CB, need to find some better people to associate with 🙂

    • MB could do no harm by providing a real estate NPV net present value calculator, i.e. cost in present day money to buy and hold a property for x no. of years, taking into account all (incremental) costs.

      One’s own house is a home, but the mugs going out buying investment properties for an effective -ve gain, helped along by negative gearing, may get thinking there are better investment opportunities.

      A significant capital gain is not so impressive when discounted by opportunity costs, inflation, expenses etc. over the long term horizon.

    • My fixation is bourne from the fact that this bubble is chewing up the best years of my life. Sorry if my frustration at wanting a home for myself and my family annoys you.

    • the technical terms is,….a dodgy f k.
      If the ATO doesn’t jump on this, they are incompetent.

      • They’ll get to it later. There might be someone on the link who is doing some cash in hand work to make ends meet. Now that is someone who deserves the full wrath of the ATO.

      • This begs the question, why did the Tasmanian Government not arrange itself for the rezoning in conjunction with the developer, so as to benefit the people of Tasmania rather than a well-connected Senator?

        Let’s give it its proper name. It’s corruption. In saner times, all involved would have been expunged from society.

      • Unless I read it’s already happened, I’ll report this to the Labor party and ATO tomorrow.

        edit: just seen it was in the SMH. I’ll report it anyway.

    • Wellie after this last round it does seem that Bernie is getting some MSM air time, albeit the talking heads are attempting to shape the narrative w/ over use of facial expressions…

      Bernie’s non aggressive retorts seem to vex the heads a wee bit imo….


      Skippy…. the bit about the super delegates is just par for course in front running the narrative… not even journalism…. its like watching someone do a cold reading…

      • A company in the UK who were developing an algo, to lip read what videoed people were saying, uprated the software to monitor peoples facial expressions and then compare that output to what was being said, as a measure of sincerity. Apparently it is as good as the old polygraph.(for videoed police statements)
        Going to be a lot of fun hooking it up to the “worm” for our political debates
        What headings would one use for its scales.

    • This must be what Malcolm Turnbull mean’t when he said negative gearing needs to be maintained otherwise people “couldn’t buy a shop”.