Weekend Reading 25-26 February 2017

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Leith van Onselen
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  1. Penalty rate cuts could backfire…
    “This ignorance may well come back to bite, as lower wages mean more debt defaults for the banks, lower income tax receipts for the Government, less spending at shops and food outlets, and a general slowdown in the economy.”

    Money saved to the owner is income to the owner. So the owner may very well fill the breach in what the staff member did not purchase with that penalty rate foregone.

    Also, If incorporated, the owner pays tax on the money “saved” from not paying penalties, whereas the staff member, had they received the penalty, may not pay tax, or pay little tax depending on their taxable income.

      • If an employee pays little tax on a part-time job, then at least they are off the other side of the ledger – the social welfare payments. It seems that many Sunday workers are part-time, and use the money to top up household income. Some businesses may extend their hours (not likely, but possible) but that does not add to household income. The idea that business profits will be spent or taxed (the Government is currently proposing exactly the opposite with business tax cuts) does not seem to work out in real life. This is another serious step towards a tipping point in the economy.

    • What about the 10’s of thousands of workers at Woolworths, Coles, Bunnings etc that will now have a pay cut. Not sure a few small business owners with a bit of extra cash is not going to make up the difference. It will potentially hit the all important confidence measures…

    • In regard to this appalling decision, has anyone picked up the oxymoron?
      The institution is called the Fair Work Commission and the Commissioner made it clear in his summation that he understand that hardship would be cause by this decision, but gave no reason for ignoring that hardship, but instead put in place a phased approach which could be described as a creeping malignancy. Any way, the point I was making was can anyone tell me what is fair about this decision, since the Commissioner fessed up that it was going to cause hardship which is inherently unfair. So who does this Commission represent? Maybe they should change their name to something else but at least delete fair from the label. Seriously, who do they represent if they make unfair judgements against those they are there to protect.
      Expect a full court challenge to this one as the Commissioner in admitting hardship quite openly has left the barn door gaping. I would love to see that shit eating grin knocked of Cash’s face once and for all.

      • Being Fair works both ways. It’s now fairer for business. Not so fair for them over the years.

        If anyone is really upset, then by all means, slip them a tip.

        A court challenge. That will be interesting to say the least.

        Would fair work even defend their decision.

      • Not so fair for businesses over the years? Um, don’t think so. That last ten years have seen wages stall while productivity leaps ahead, so where does all this extra productivity go? Well, straight into the business skyrocket of course!
        I agree the FWC won’t bother to defend – I think they left the door open on purpose.

      • Malcolm

        I understand what you’re saying about productivity for large businesses. And If true (typically not true) for small business I would be ok with them pocketing gains.

        That’s because, the small business owners face massive risk and it takes guts to invest in plant and equipment or marketing (when sales are down).

        I’m ok with the owner being rewarded for risk.

        But, what happens in the short or medium term (depending on their leases), is that landlords extract that productive gain through rent rises….

        Also a lot of retailers have gone broke for various reasons (recently).

        The economic commentary revolves around rent, wages, regulation etc….

        But, I contend that demand would lift if consumers weren’t paying off high home loans.

        That is, demand for housing has taken away from demand for retail.

      • Nice point from Bowen.
        This decision did not come down on a Sunday
        The Commission does not sit on a Sunday

    • Contrary to what those in favour of this decision say, it is a fact that the slowest wages growth on record has been running simultaneous with quite weak employment outcomes for quite some time now. The argument that cutting workers wages will increase overall employment is not supported by the facts.

      Business invests in response to/anticipation of higher sustained demand for whatever it is they produce. If they can’t sell more of the goods and services they produce, they are unlikely to employ any more workers to produce more of what cannot be sold, no matter how cheap those workers may become.

      So it seems doubtful most of the savings made by this will go into investing in more labour and capital. It will most likely just be pocketed by the owner.

      Since the employees who will suffer cuts to their spending power vastly outnumber the owners who will benefit, the overall effect will probably just amount to a further drag on consumption, further reducing the need for jobs to created, if not actually destroying some.

      It is a conundrum that many capitalists have long been reluctant to recognise – one businesses employees are the next businesses customers and if wealth is not sufficiently spread and becomes too concentrated into too few hands, wealth overall becomes endangered and the economy is likely to flounder.

      This decision will not achieve any positive outcomes in the bigger picture.

      • Yes. Money will flow to the owner.

        But the smart operator will hire or use more hours, because customer service and experience is key to sustained growth.

        I also don’t understand how, if my and my colleagues wages were cut by half, we wouldn’t employ more people?

        An extreme example, yes. But logic should should apply at the margin.

        Besides, as stated before. The saving that flows to the owner is his income and can spend it creating demand (gdp) in items other than smashed avos.

      • I’m with you Lef-tee – the last ten years productivity has outstripped wages growth and yet we are in an economic vacuum, so the only way the profits from that extra productivity has gone is into the pockets of businesses. They haven’t even invested it in new technology or other productive assets because the capital consolidation (investment) over the last decade has been going backwards.
        A local group of businesses have just released on social media that they will still pay their Sunday workers the old rates because they consider it appropriate to do so – seems some have some ethics over greed.
        Escobar, I think you are kind of following the old what’s best for business is best for us all mantra. Just saying ……

      • @Escobar – it might seem logical on first blush that if wage costs were to fall by half then business would rush to employ more people. However, it isn’t likely to be the case in the broader picture. Capitalism runs on sales – will cutting an employees wages automatically increase sales? It may allow the business some latitude to compete more on price but just because something becomes a bit cheaper – and there is no necessary reason that it actually will, savings may be pocketed instead – it doesn’t automatically mean that there will be a rush of customers. And again remember that a large swathe of the customers out there will have just had their spending power reduced by wage cuts. A bit like pouring water into one end of a swimming pool after taking it from the other end of the same pool and then wondering why the water level refuses to rise.

        At this point in time, wage growth, employment growth and business investment are are stumbling along in poor shape together – wages are growing at their slowest rate on record but it clearly isn’t translating into solidly rising sales for many. Workers have all but stopped getting more expensive in general……and yet business is doing little in the way of hiring more workers or investing in other capital.

        The economy is suffering the classic malaise to which capitalism is prone – a lack of demand.

        And I agree with you that the craze for speculative investment in housing is one of the things stifling demand. An actual business borrows money with an eye to invest in producing things – money borrowed for housing investment has largely gone into simply recycling existing assets over and over for a higher and higher price without actually producing much more of anything.

        Had all the money banks have loaned for investment property been invested in real business instead, the economy would likely have a vastly more productive capacity.

        At the end of the day though, what we are seeing supports the chartalist-type understanding of the nature and mechanics of the thing we choose to call money. The sovereign source of the currency are locked into the ideological belief that the historically-abnormal phenomenon called the budget surplus is the Holy Grail of economic management and are doing what they can to squeeze off the creation and dissemination of sovereign fiat. The privately created fiat alternative (private debt) has reached a point where it’s hard for it to keep expanding rapidly since the private – particularly household – sector are hokked to the eyeballs and real interest rates seem unable to go much lower. And since we import so much of what we consume, growth is bleeding out through the external sector.

        There is no longer enough spending to keep things surging along nicely. The only sector that can alter this is the government sector – too bad they are obsessed by slashing spending.

        Cutting workers wages in this situation simply won’t of itself help ease the overall problem.

      • @drsmithy – “Why would an employer hire more people if there wasn’t any more work that needed doing ?”

        In a nutshell.

      • @Malcom – yep, just because something is good for business doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for all of us. It doesn’t even follow that because something is good for my business that it will be good for all businesses – that would be a fallacy of composition.

        Unless a business owner is an anatomical marvel, then he has only one dick and one stomach and there’s only so much he can do for them. Reducing ten workers incomes to increase one owners income by the same overall amount is a zero-sum game. Luxury car sales might increase a little but be offset by falls in sales of other things.

      • @drsmithy – and further, if some of them find they can justify a few more hours, why go to the trouble of employing another worker when you can just get an existing employee to work the additional hours for less money?

        There is a reason we are supposed to have a bare minimum set of wages and conditions that don’t keep getting pared back – to prevent the growth of a Dickensian style poverty-stricken underclass.

        If the capitalist’s business model cannot be profitable at the minimum wage and conditions set down by law then the answer is simple – we don’t want them operating in this country.

      • I think youre spot on with your thought process Lef-tee. Taking it further, workers on reduced penalty rates will likely adjust their attitudes/efforts accordingly, leading to fewer sales for the business.

        People may also choose not to miss weekend time with friends and family now as the incentive is less. On the flip side, the people who will work are the ones that need to, likely those with large mortgages. this is great tension to have if you’re an employer, desperate staff who will do anything to keep a job!

      • @J Bauer – exactly, it tips the power imbalance further in the employers favour.

        While many such workers at big chain stores may be on Enterprise Baragining Agreements, the conditions set by the FWC form the baseline upon which EBA’s are negotiated. Now that that baseline is to be reduced, the workers representatives will be going to the bargaining table with less chips to bargain with. The inevitable result will be a loss of renumeration in some form or other – they will be worse off than previous.

        So we’re talking about some significant number of consumers who will have their spending power dented when it has all taken effect.

      • More linear thinking from the economists. This idea that employees just expand and contract like turning on a tap into a bucket is wrong. Firstly, hiring a new worker in many cases means they will not be useful for some time – a month, a year, never. Next, there are lots of overheads that will cause inertia – office size, regulation compliance, etc. Thirdly, getting more employees might actually break the company model – the small lean business might not have any advantage if it needs twice the demand to survive.

        Maybe giant organisations like Australia Post or Telstra can operate like a tap and bucket, but even there maybe not. Sometimes Aust Post just delivers International mail back to the sender, so probably it doesn’t matter how many people they employ.

      • Well said Lef-tee. That was a neat summation of the use of fiat …………………….. or perhaps the non use of fiat capacity by sovereign governments in regard to the fiscal choices available to them. When I hear some idiot rabbitting on about the farking deficit or ballooning public debt, I’m just about apoplectic with frustration. Mrs Malcolm just turns the goggle box off now.
        When I think about the misery caused by successive governments pursuit of a surplus for no other reason than ideology, it fills me with despair. This fallacious pursuit has brought into play the nasty conservative psychopaths who practice the art of austerity with gusto. Their criminal actions against those in our society least able to defend themselves is the most reprehensible behaviour I have experienced from people elected to represent the citizenry. They live in a fantasy of groupthink which is supported by think tanks and global international institutions and completely ignore the groundswell of ordinary people who can see though all their bluster and bullshit.

        Keep up the good work.

      • Yes, the FWC’s logic and reasoning are faulty.

        They appear to assume that workers wages are nothing more than a cost to business, ignoring the fact that one businesses wage costs are another businesses income. Until all work is performed by robots or slaves, most people are both wage-taking employees and money-spending customers – they are two sides of the same coin.

      • Dr Smithy

        “Why would an employer hire more people if there wasn’t any more work that needed doing ?”

        You’d do it to increase service levels and customer satisfaction.

        It creates value in the long run, because you can’t beat return customers.

        It’s a cost benefit balance thingy.

        Ever been to a bar that can’t serve you quickly. You drink less… and probably won’t go back in a hurry.

        If am owner saves money they can spend it on ambience, new decor, live music.

        All of these things are expenses to the business but are wages for others.

      • Cheers Malcom.

        Yes, I too keep despairing that the course of action chosen by policy makes doesn’t change, despite ongoing poor outcomes. Since becoming aware of the mechanics of the modern monetary economy about a decade ago, I have waited and waited for the penny to drop with the elites but it never seems to. Perhaps it’s because they themselves are unaffected by the bad results of their own decisions – they will never suffer among the ranks of the jobless and their fat welfare packages on retirement are not under attack the way they attack those scratching a living on a tiny fraction of the amount on Newstart etc.

        There would have been very few things I would ever have agreed with Margret Thatcher on but there is one statement attributed to her that I will wholeheartedly go along with – “there is nothing so insidious as a fashionable consensus”. I include in that the now-fashionable consensus of neo-liberalism to which she subscribed. The poor, floundering outcomes year after still never seem to call it into question, the elites all seem to agree that slashing government spending and returning the budget to surplus is the only course of action with no alternative. No matter that every attempt keeps failing as attempts to reduce spending starve the economy of money, causing tax revenue to fall and pushing up on the budget deficit – round and round they go, circling the toilet bowl in a downward spiral.

        It is blindingly obvious that the Chartalists were always right – government cannot dictate whether the budget is in surplus or deficit and trying to push a surplus when the private sector can’t fill the gap by borrowing any more is completely self-defeating, suppressing jobs and growth, even introducing a bias toward recession.

        One day they will concede that there is a very good reason that government budget deficits – not surpluses – are the norm. Until then, change unfortunately moves at a snails pace.

      • @Escobar – “Why would an employer hire more people if there wasn’t any more work that needed doing ?”

        You’d do it to increase service levels and customer satisfaction.

        Yes but you’d better hope that you somehow manage to snare customers from others who are doing the same thing at the same time – if you cannot sell the increased output created by hiring more workers even at reduced rates, then it is a money-losing proposition.

        I think we will see that overall employment levels at these places do not increase long term and existing staff will be compelled to work longer for less instead.

      • @Escobar – “If am owner saves money they can spend it on ambience, new decor, live music.

        All of these things are expenses to the business but are wages for others.”

        Erm….you simply made my point.

        It’s shuffling existing spending around to no net gain.

      • You’d do it to increase service levels and customer satisfaction.

        What reason would businesses have to believe they don’t already have adequate service levels and customer satisfaction ? Why would they employ someone new rather than asking existing (experienced, known quantity) employees to work more ?

        What businesses do you know who will increase costs rather than take profits, all else being equal ? I mean, if they were trying to aggressively grow the business then they might be looking to put on more staff, but where is growth going to come from when wages are stagnant (or decreasing) ?

        That “socialism doesn’t work because eventually you run out of other people’s money” applies equally to capitalism.

      • That is some crazy, crazy shit right there. It’ll be like a financial pandemic of mass destruction when the bubble pops.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Yeah, that’s going to work. Pretty sure we couldn’t even divide the smarties without suspicion where I grew up. Siblings plus parent guarantees.

        Entire families are going to be wiped out.

      • pyjamasbeforechristMEMBER

        Gotta love the Mirvac rep at the end. ‘Buy it from me quick! If I don’t shift this timebomb I’ll be anything but set.’

      • I haven’t heard about sibling mortgage application before but I do know that the bank of Mum and Dad is being raided to get a deposit together in the first place before even a mortgage application is filled out. Those nasty boomer parents are good for something I guess. 🙂
        Thequestion I have is when we have the next version of the GFC will these family banks be bailed out like the big banksters were? ………/s

      • Fwiw I was beaten at an auction last year by 2 sisters who went in on a loan together. Property sold close to 1.2M.

      • Families will be wiped out but not before they blow the bubble by another 50%. Unless unemployment turns..

    • arthritic kneeMEMBER

      That ‘set for life’ garbage is one of the more disgraceful statements by a politician in an admittedly competitive field. Shows the distance that the thought of Shelter / Home is in the thinking about property.

    • the “set for life” always bring reminescence of the joke about “build a man a fire…”

      (…and hell be warm for a day, set him on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life).

  2. Last time I looked, New York was still an “international city” whatever that means (located all over the world?). Here’s a price map of housing in New York and its surrounding metropolitan area. Run your mouse over it and you’ll be surprised at how much cheaper much of it is than the metropolitan areas of Sydney or Melbourne: While you check this map out, bear in mind that the greater New York city area has a population of about 20 million people:
    https://www.trulia.com/home_prices/New_York/New_York-heat_map/

    • Before I moved home I was looking at houses in Astoria, NY and in New Providence NJ, What you could get for you money (even with property taxes) is amazing compared to Sydney or Melbourne. The benefit of buying property in the US is the interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan and ARMs are regarded as mad for a lot of people.

      • Yeah,it’s the difference between a reasonably functional housing market and a completely distorted, epic bubble in which every government policy has been twisted to encourage and support at the expense of all else. btw, I just had another look at the map, and I noticed you can actually see Central Park, it’s that light green rectangle set on an angle, under the name Manhattan, just north of the name New York.

    • @ST Jacques thanks mate, an excellent resource. You can use the zoom function right down to street level, brilliant.

    • Wow! I thought the prices on those US programs were bs – I’m amazed at some of the beautiful homes that are sub US$300K (AUD400) in lovely leafy suburbs or by the lakes. Amazing, wonder if I can migrate?

      • Exactly Malcolm, and New York is one of the more expensive metropolitan areas in the US. Why the fire truck would you buy in Oz and be living hand to mouth for years, worried about job security, the economy, the bubble popping, grovelling to your bank manager, if you can go and buy yourself a decent place in the greatest city in the world, especially if you have a large deposit already saved or are young or have readily marketable skills?

      • Sadly no longer young but I do have the readies. Just floated the idea with my child bride who nixed the idea outright. Oh well.
        Thanks for the link but.

    • TailorTrashMEMBER

      Great post ………That map should be given to every young Australian before they sign up for a million dollar mortgage for a damp crumbling pile in Sydmelb .
      ……pleased my son is about to get his green card ……perhaps he can then pick up a few weekenders maybe around Newport RI for me to summer in .Would be cheaper than one fiberous cement skybox on lower north shore of Syd. Just throws into relief how stuffed housing is in Straya .

    • I’m originally from New York and I’ve known that it’s cheaper than Melbourne for years. Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck) is in a different league to Woolie’s and Cole’s and it’s still cheaper than buying food here.

      Moving to Australia (for a lifestyle change) is the single worst financial decision that I have made in my life on many fronts.

    • Good grief everyone….

      How can you compare a market of 300M to one of 22M just for starters…. groan….

      • I was going to say nothing because your comment is self evidently ridiculous skip, but it struck me as rather curious.

      • One has to reconcile all the factors relevant to an asset price and not just fixate on the price of it alone…. lets not forget that 5M people lost their home in the aftermath of the GFC, clouded title on vintage RE, suppressed or diminishing wages for most, increased cost of health care and other essential goods and services, et al….

        disheveled…. looking at the price of RE as a standalone metric in determining the overall well being of citizens, in a broad generalized manner is myopic in the extreme and not indicative of a more granular assessment…. its right up there with money cranks….

      • Skippy,
        I know this is your tender point…

        How would you reason the apparent absence of liveable homes under $300k within ballistic missile range from both Sydney and Melbourne?

      • RE is a symptom of a much more fundamental problem set hence focusing on it detracts from examining the core issues.

      • Well duh skippy. That’s the whole point of comparing little (greater) Sydney with greater New York, instead of comparing it with sub-continental USA – the point is to mock the imbecilic “international” city excuse for the epic bubble in Oz and particularly in it’s two main cities that contain nearly half the country’s population.

    • Excellent graphics but I’d like to also see a median price to median income overlay, obviously not so granular as this.

  3. “we’ll cut immigration to make housing more affordable; ”
    Lets reflect on those words for a moment and the significance of them coming out of the mouth of an ex Liberal Prime minister
    Tony Abbott attacking Turnbull is not a shock
    What is shocking is that Abbott has broken the first rule of the population ponzi
    You do not talk about the population ponzi

      • almost Proofreaders almost too late. Abbott no doubt needs circa 6 months to destabilise Turnbull further and then a month or so where he thinks he can topple him in the party room. That leaves only 15 months or so to actually be in the chair before a new election is due.

    • Desperate men make desperate statements.
      Let’s face reality Pat, do you believe anything that comes our of that guy’s gob? Remember the night b4 the election ……. we will not touch pensions etc etc ……. meh, I’m over that bloke with funny feet. Wish he would just fade into the woodwork.

      • You miss my point Malcolm.
        I’m not saying Abbott will deliver on a promise to reduce population growth
        God knows he is not in a position to promise or deliver anything
        What he has done though is reveal the big lie

      • There’s an element of “let’s light the place up” when all else fails and I reckon Abbott is at that point. Whether he actually believes what he’s saying – well, I would look at his track record to determine that.

      • “So did Hockey about negative gearing on his way out the door”
        +1 The two statements have a very similar “death bed confession” feel
        Freed from the bounds of their FIRE paymasters and nothing to lose, the truth is revealed
        Cormann looked horrified. He has to keep telling the lie

      • The other day, I was listening to ABC radio 774 – Jon Faine was discussing Abbott’s claim with a guest (can’t remember who) and they were aghast that anyone could make such a statement. Jon said something like, “How could Abbott say immigration has any effect on housing prices? Immigration has almost no effect on house prices at all.”

        I guess that ties in with the “don’t mention the population ponzi,” you know, like “don’t mention the war.”

      • Ha ha. Jockey’s parting comment was taking a dump in the boss’s top drawer on his last day.

        Kind of thunking that Abbott is urinating on Turnips shiny loafers b4 leaving right of stage.

      • As is becoming increasingly common the ABC completely missed the real story in Abbotts speech
        The FIRE sector like it that way

      • Tony Abbott thinks hes been deployed by Dawg to fix everything….

        disheveled…. once you wrap your head around that…..

    • He he, you can always rely on the Economist to get some tripe out there. I notice the article made it clear there was no proof to the story but makes for a good click bait I suppose.
      Just unpacking that one a wee bit makes you understand how silly it is. Negative target rates set by Central Banks don’t erode the funds of depositors. They erode the reserves the commercial banks that are required to be held at the CB. The truth is that in a low inflation environment, you are better to keep your money in the bank and get some return rather then get nothing on overpaid tax. I think the author is trapped in the loanable funds principle of the gold reserve era.
      The other pearler is that these northerners pay lots of tax so they can enjoy better public services ……. huh! Last time I checked Sweden was not a member of the Eurozone Monetary Union so krona is still the currency issued by the Swedish CB and not the euro. Sweden is an EU member but is yet to qualify for the Eurozone – lucky for them!Put simply this means that Sweden is the currency issuer and it’s taxation is designed to destroy currency, it’s not saved and doesn’t fund anything. It’s fiat and not backed by anything other than that Swedes have to pay their taxes with the stuff. However, if they were a member of the monetary union then they would be like a state in Australia where they would not be the currency issuer and so would need to raise taxes to pay for public services. Makes you wonder why people find this hard to understand is why Greece is stuffed.

      I don’t mean to bust your chops, but this just stood out like the proverbials. So funny, but so often misunderstood. Use that edition of the tome in the outhouse for rear end duties. 🙂

  4. proofreadersMEMBER

    Thank goodness – Clarke & Dawe apparently starts for 2017 this Thursday on ABC at 6.56pm!!

  5. And so it begins: “Reporters from The Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer only allowed in reporters from a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed.

    Those organizations included Breitbart News, the One America News Network and The Washington Times, all with conservative leanings. Journalists from ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fox News also attended.”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/24/us/politics/white-house-sean-spicer-briefing.html

      • And who decides they are fake? You? Trump? Bannon? If you disagree with their perspective then don´t read/watch them. That is what normal people do. Banning/barring has no place in a democracy.

      • Hector, “:…were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary,…” is pretty much banning. Oh well, you say either and I say either,… I wonder how they swamp draining is going?

      • M,

        Several points from me:

        1) there are significant differences in magnitude between 1 organisation being left out of a single treasury briefing than excluding a number of organisations (all known to be critical of the President) from a direct briefing in the White House
        2) there is no moral equivalence argument. Just because the previous President did it once (and got pretty slapped down by the entire press for doing so) does not make it okay for the new President to do it.

      • @ JasonMNan

        “And who decides they are fake? You? Trump? Bannon? If you disagree with their perspective then don´t read/watch them. That is what normal people do. Banning/barring has no place in a democracy.”

        Whom decides if RT.com is fake?
        Obombama?
        Clintons?
        Bushes?
        MB editorial?
        Me?

        The story pedlers bunch that was ejeculated needs no explanation or as you aptly said: “If you can´t read and need everything chewed-up for you then…”
        But then Smithy got a valid point about FOX

        1. Market power and news amalgamation of the story peddlers bunch does not allow the “don´t read/watch them”
        2. No MSM oligopoly should be allowed to be peddling half truths as gospel and then going under mommy’s skirt of “democracy” and “the right of speech” when exposed.
        3. You do have a valid point but you present it from the perspective on the story peddlers virginic innocence.

        The next step Trumpf takes will tell more.

      • FiftiesFibroShack

        “Why should fake news peddlers should get special perks?”

        A perfect example of how easily manipulated a large section of the population is. All it takes is a dishonest narcissist constantly accusing any critical media outlet of being “fake news” and the cheerleaders do the rest.

      • C´mon Djenka: “No MSM oligopoly should be allowed to be peddling half truths as gospel and then going under mommy’s skirt of “democracy” and “the right of speech” when exposed.”

        With this statement you have said that the Prez decides. Either all or none, you can´t go in halfsies. The philosophical inconsistencies will tie you up in a bundle.

  6. Mining BoganMEMBER

    So, speaking of war…

    http://www.theage.com.au/interactive/2017/iraq-dossier/

    “The report concludes that Howard joined US president George W. Bush in invading Iraq solely to strengthen Australia’s alliance with the US. Howard’s – and later Kevin Rudd’s – claims of enforcing UN resolutions, stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction and global terrorism, even rebuilding Iraq after the invasion, are dismissed as “mandatory rhetoric”.”

    Mandatory rhetoric. There’s a lot of that about.

    • Maintaining the US alliance. Why is that not a valid reason at the time? We did underestimate the costs – in lives, injuries, duration and the changes in our own society including raised terrorism risks. Today we might make a different calculation, but at the time, was that not a reasonable calculus.

      • @alterbrain – the revisionist and policy in hindsight aspect is definitely at play. However, most of the “hard sell” was on one factor and that was the 45 minute readiness claim (outlined in the september dossier https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_Dossier). All it took from the allies was to benchmark 45 minutes against the time it took to convey messages of readiness in their own, much more supposedly efficient, organisations. That would have revealed the 45mins as total bullocks and should’ve provided more time to confirm or deny the WMDs.
        For Australia’s specific involvement it was only ever about maintaining the alliance, agreed on that point.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Anyone with any critical thinking ability always knew it was about Li’l Johnny ingratiating himself with School Bully. This report is no surprise. My gripe is they continued the lies to justify themselves for years later. Howard still does it.

      • “We did underestimate the costs”
        Alterbrain, who is this ‘we’ you speak of?
        Remember Australia’s largest protests since Vietnam? Howard ‘wouldn’t be swayed’.
        Andrew Wilkie (Independent MP for Denison, 2010 – present) was an Intelligence Analyst who resigned from the Office of National Assessments in 2003 in protest against Howard’s lies.
        Vale David Kelly (1944-2003) (‘suicide’)

      • Andrew Wilkie was a person of integrity. If it wasn’t obvious prior to his resignation that the WMD argument was total BS, it should have been afterwards. The reason was purely alignment with the US, and the Bush administration was feeding out garbage that we have all paid for one way or another. What the resignation told us was that Howard had been briefed that what he was saying was not credible. We knew it then, and we are rediscovering it now. The calculus at the time was that the US alignment was critical to Australia. I might not have held that opinion at the time, but it had some basis. Today our alignment is much more problematic, and some of that comes from disillusionment with the flow on from the Bush incompetence. Fortunately the US now has a real leader and those problems will be dealt with.

      • @alterbrain

        “Fortunately the US now has a real leader and those problems will be dealt with.”

        disheveled…. and here I thought you have had a sea change….

      • @Skippy, just as I believe that Sir Joh Bjelke Peterson was the greatest Statesman ever to bestride the Continent, so I believe Donald will make America great again. Don’t you worry about that!

      • @alterbrain….

        Alast when you use the quantifier – belief – in substantiating your perspective you lose gravitas points…. you really need to unpack how you arrive at conclusions from a comprehensive analytical perspective that incorporates all the information past and present… AND NOT PIN YOUR – HOPES – [BIAS] ON OTHERS….

        disheveled…. amends for the caps lock… your better than this mate….

  7. A couple of weeks ago, I went into a bank branch (st George) to get some admin done that I couldn’t do online. I have about 100k in there to deal with contingencies. The teller’s eyes lit up when she saw the balance and the first words out of her mouth were “do you want a mortgage?” I said “wouldn’t I need to buy a house for that”? She didn’t seem to care about that in her excitement.

    One week later, a different banker calls me from that branch wanting to talk about financial products and investing in property. She wanted to set up an appointment to discuss “options”.

    I’ve never experienced this kind of aggressive naked greed from a sleepy local branch before. I wonder if there are trailing commissions on loans.

    • I couldn’t help but notice that the girl with the $200K savings who can’t buy is of Asian appearance. I guess that’s the idea – so you don’t think that foreign (Chinese) buyers are the ones snapping up everything.
      Notice how the success stories always feature people who have profited hugely from the inflating bubble, always expecting to gain more and more equity from their properties enabling them to buy more as the years go on. Of course, this is the way it’s always been, but the housing bubble has never been as big as it is now. The thing is that the bubble continues to inflate just as they expect. She expects to grow her property portfolio to $5 million by the age of 30. There doesn’t seem to be any contingency for any bursting of the bubble, but then again, maybe it won’t burst, ever. Or at least for a long, long time to come. Whichever government is in power will make sure of that.

  8. Last week I went into my local St George branch to get some admin done that I couldn’t do online. I keep about 120k in there for contingencies. The teller’s eyes lit up when she saw the balance and the first words (literally no polite preamble) out of her mouth were “Do you want a mortgage?” I said “wouldn’t i need to buy a house for that?”. She didn’t seem to care too much in her excitement.

    Then yesterday, I get a call from another banker from the branch, and she wants me to come in to “discuss options for financing based on my account balance”. She was really disappointed when I wanted to discuss term deposits. I’ve never seen such naked greed from a sleepy local branch. I’m really curious as to what their commissions are if they bring in a mortgage.

      • Hey, travis .. how the hell are you, buddy ?

        Have responded @ 3:41 to your particular suggested inference as follows :

        travis : No, why do you even go to that sort of inference ????? It’s very very simple actually = overnight interest rates are less than anything else. The penalty for early withdrawal for contingencies from ‘anything else but overnight’ yet makes the ‘longer-than-overnight’ efficient.

        Just to emphasise, of course, cash as an asset class is universally recognised … why one would doubt that another doubts that was unimaginable, until now … thanks to you ?? … lol ….

        Enjoy the weekend, Mate

        Note : 1. Hey, check the last three letters of “class” … and the first three of “asset” 2. Check Cristian’s comment

    • So, you keep some money in the bank, idle.
      Perhaps they therefore reckoned this person does not know what he’s doing … can you blame them ?

      • can we infer from your comment you don’t agree spot cash is a stand alone investment class, as against equities/property/fixe d income?

      • They didn’t suggest higher interest savings, term deposits, index fund or managed fund. Went straight to mortgages and stayed there.

      • Agree. I remember in late 1980s my uncle getting very upset with the local branch for not speaking up about my grandfather have lots of cash in his bank account doing nothing.

      • travis : No, why do you even go to that sort of inference ????? It’s very very simple actually = overnight interest rates are less than anything else. The penalty for early withdrawal for contingencies from ‘anything else but overnight’ yet makes the ‘longer-than-overnight’ efficient.

        Just to emphasise, of course, cash as an asset class is universally recognised … why one would doubt that another doubts that was unimaginable, until now … thanks to you ?? … lol …. 🙂

        Enjoy the weekend, Mate

        Note : 1. Hey, check the last three letters of “class” … and the first three of “asset” 🙂 2. Check Cristian’s comment

      • You make a good point uptown, but they didn’t try to sell me higher interest cash, term deposit, managed or index fund. They went straight to mortgage and stayed there.

      • Adrian … yes, sorry .. you right – they had so many other options to have provided in terms of service – … I got ahead of myself. Be good. Cheers Mate.

    • Yeh, I’ve had the same experience with NAB tellers. And it happens every time, any branch. With some of the tellers you can see their heart isn’t really in it, they’re just running through a script. Others are true believers, astonished you’re not interested.

    • I don’t think it’s anything new. I avoid the branches, but any time I’ve been in there at a time that coincided with having anything substantial sitting in an account they were straight into me.

    • $120K for emergencies? Fark me – if you’ve got it you may as well flaunt it, but man, you must be one of these pillaging boomers we hear about in this place. Holy ghost, $120K for emergencies – I’m still spluttering. I must live at the wrong address – need a cuppa or sumpthink!

      • I know it seems like a lot, but in this housing market it’s not. I’m in my 30’s, and I don’t flaunt it, which might be why I’ve got it. I still rent.

      • I’m in my 30’s and I have it because I don’t flaunt it. It’s not as exciting as it sounds, I’m a dirty renter, and I dress like a bum. US equity valuations look full at the moment so I’m keeping more cash than normal.

      • @Mining Bogan. I think you know just as well as I do that 120k is small potatoes around here. I’ve lost count of the number of OJ’s stories that are set on a yacht somewhere. 🙂 Or involve selling ‘the old shed’ in Kirribilli.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Nah Adrian, they’re all fibbing to make up for the inadequacies of their lives. Except Reusa. He’s the real deal.

    • innocent bystanderMEMBER

      It’s not the size of their commissions but the size of their sales targets.
      They need to keep their jobs
      The ones I have met hate that their jobs have been turned into sales.

    • The Traveling Wilbur

      Banks have places where you can go and do transactions in person? I thought that was just a fairy story that parents told their children when they want them to grow up and get jobs doing time and motion studies.

      Anyone know where the closest BTC branch office is?

    • Hey Adrian, I didn’t mean to give offence, If you’ve got it then good and more power to you the way you got it. I was just saying – it tickled me, but I admit I can be juvenile at times. Apologies if I offended you, it was meant to be light hearted.

      • No offence taken. 🙂 I wouldn’t have mentioned it except that I think it’s about that amount that gets mortgage brokers going because it works out to about 20 percent on an apartment around here. Some of the previous comments might be right in that they are just trying to help me out with idle cash. I have an appointment in a couple of weeks about better cash rates, I think they might just be trying to get me in the door. I plan to feign interest in buying some OTP apartments to see what level sales pitch I get.

    • My usual response to that is “sounds great… but prices will need to fall a loooooonnnngggg way first… a long way” 🙂

  9. What Tingle wrote about Tones yesterday was on the mark, he was behind the rortsville system of job networks and did SFA in health, while Oakes finished him off this morning by pointing almost every grand promise he made was backflipped on when PM. Unfortunately we’re never reminded enough of what total failures these people have been. The media lets them off the hook by cartoon style reporting about onions and winks and budgie smugglers.

    In the real world they’d be sacked. Some businesses might put up with failure for a short period of time, but not two bloody decades of Tones’ total ineptitude. How is someone like Abetz even called on for comment? How many billions in wreckage did he leave behind as forestry minister with his MIS schemes?

      • In the HUN. It’s hilarious because underneath in the comments Abbott’s acolytes are going bananas having to read the truth.

      • Oaks writes
        ..”Asked for a response, Abbott asserted: “Look, I’m not in the business of taking potshots at my colleagues.””
        nah, mate. Your obsession is taking potshots at your colleages. Not a business. An obsession

    • Abbott needs help. The bloke is seriously unhinged, deluded, a pathological liar whatever but he needs professional help. Erica Betz; one of finest leaners this nation ever had the misfortune to produce.

  10. SPAMBOT is busted!

    http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2017/02/bigger-cities-engines-inequality/#comment-2818527

    After having a quite reasonable comment rejected, i did a sort of binary search on the text to find the problem. I thought it might be sentence length .. no. It is simply key words that trigger it. In this case, it was z_o_m_b_i_e. This a word you can use.

    The Oxford English Dictionary informs us that z[redacted] is a word of West African origin and that it was first recorded in English in 1819. … The term z[redacted]e or z[redacted] originally also referred to a snake-god in the voodoo religion of West Africa
    “The English word “z[redacted]” is first recorded in 1819″

    If Spambot has a list of words that are included in the Oxford dictionary, then it would be reasonable for MB to publish this list so we know that a comment will be rejected. Profane or offensive words are fair game for rejection, but not words from the Oxford dictionary.

      • That is not a proper test. SpamBot is case sensitive. Try it with the lower case and it will fail – well, it just did with me.

        Apparently, SpamBot has different rules for proper nouns that start with a capital. A Zombie (noun) is acceptable, but the use of it as an adjective (lower case) is not acceptable. I can’t find a dictionary reference to its meaning as an adjective, so perhaps that is not a correct usage. I am sure I have seen it used as an adjective, but as they say, english is a living language.

        What sort of rule set does SpamBot have? It doesn’t care about bad spelling or lack of capitals or funny words. Marsupials can get all sorts of dodgy stuff through the SpamBot. My guess is that it has a hit list of words that trigger it and this list has been constructed ad hoc over the years to deal with various spam outbreaks.

        The problem with this is that it can very easily give false positives which are frustrating. Maybe changing the list is not easy to do, but I can’t see why subscribers couldn’t get an email saying “your comment was rejected because of the word ‘zumbie’. ” Other than that, just do a binary search on the text until you find the bad word.

      • That is not a proper test. Spambot is case sensitive. Try it with the lower case and it will fail – well, it just did with me.

        Apparently, Spambot has different rules for proper nouns that start with a capital. A Z_ombie (noun) is acceptable, but the use of it as an adjective (lower case) is not acceptable. I can’t find a dictionary reference to its meaning as an adjective, so perhaps that is not a correct usage. I am sure I have seen it used as an adjective, but as they say, english is a living language.

        What sort of rule set does Spambot have? It doesn’t care about bad spelling or lack of capitals or funny words. Marsupials can get all sorts of dodgy stuff through the Spambot. My guess is that it has a hit list of words that trigger it and this list has been constructed ad hoc over the years to deal with various spam outbreaks.

        The problem with this is that it can very easily give false positives which are frustrating. Maybe changing the list is not easy to do, but I can’t see why subscribers couldn’t get an email saying “your comment was rejected because of the word ‘zumbie’. ” Other than that, just do a binary search on the text until you find the bad word.

        It doesn’t like being referred to as camel case either.

      • Good point! You do realize that Spambot is also #discriminating against people who can spell? I could write zoombie or zumbie all day and Spambot is as happy as a dog with two ducks. It is an unfair advantage to the illiterate! BOO! Also, it unfairly favours numerologists who deliberately enbiggen their words to gain advantage.

    • TailorTrashMEMBER

      Had similar experience last week….made reasonable comments and observations …but spambot would not let me post it …..rewrote it a few times but no go …..thought it might have something to do with mentioning Newtown that triggered it . Perhaps that’s a safe space that’s not allowed to be commented on . I was puzzled . First time ever in years spambot blocked anything I posted .

      • Let’s have a go with Structured Query Language:

        DECLARE @intellect_of_donkey INT;
        SET @intellect_of_donkey = 10;
        DECLARE @value_of_piece_of_dog_sh$t INT;
        SET @value_of_piece_of_dog_sh$t = 0;
        SELECT * FROM australian_politicians WHERE australian_politicians.iq > @intellect_of_donkey AND australian_politicians.usefulness > @value_of_piece_of_dog_sh$t ORDER BY australian_politicians.name;

        Works!!

    • This is ridiculous. S___B___ as camel case triggers it! A bot with a persecution complex? Whoever sold you guys the spam software should give you a refund. At least get the idiot programmer to provide you with a compliance guide for your subscribers to follow.

      • Well lowercase is still broken, so my guess is that someone patched the list to include the Uppercase version, but that left the lower case one still active. That would point to a basic problem with the underlying code that is case sensitive – patching it is hit and miss. (S)pam(B)ot triggers it, but other combinations don’t – which is hard to fathom. Ad hoc algorithms can get out of hand very quickly, and the more they are patched the harder it is to repair them.

    • How long is a piece of string?

      The sitting gov of the day will throw everything at it to not have it pop on their watch.

    • I can’t log in from an Android device. Check your account status. I think mobile devices might go through a different dialogue. Correction: I can log in but it thinks my paid sub has expired so I can’t get paid content on the mobile.

  11. More gloom on the displacement ahead via automation. I read the joint collaboration between Daniel Susskind and his father, Patrick re the future of the professions, gave it to the kid told him to think carefully, follow his dreams and I’d support him financially, whatever he chose. Not all will be so fortunate.

    That the consequences of this are so pessimistic for labour – a remorseless displacement of labour, a continual fall in absolute wages, and technological unemployment – suggests the literature may have already created a false sense of optimism about the prospects for labour. Note, however, that for the owners of capital this conclusion is far from pessimistic. All the returns to technological progress flow to them. From an equity standpoint, it follows that who owns and controls capital in this model becomes an increasingly important question over time.”

    http://www.danielsusskind.com/research

    • Watched The Drum last night (on an empty stomach) and my friend noticed that MSM coverage of technological unemployment or robotic advances SELDOM include images of listless unemployed people smoking down on a western suburbs mall or whatnot. Nor are images of military killer dog robots or drone swarms given much airtime either; just some Google car or happy faced pizza squirter and ‘look out Baristas, Boston Dynamics is coming for your flat white fern’ type comments.
      A lot of the reporting is as low impact as possible – don’t frighten the natives says Mr Elite.

      • It is all pervasive. Soma for the plebs. As long as they keep working and get massively taxed, capital can be untaxed and the users of various tax reduction techniques can go on there merry way being subsidised by those much poorer than they. If people come in from overseas in there early twenties and bid 3.5 million on a house in Armidale as what happened this morning, reflect that you should have gone that extra yard when you were doing you holiday job and burger flipping. had you done that you to could have been in the same situation as those two lucky bidders.

        As they said once in France: To the lampposts! Then the elites might listen.

      • Just out is our latest Taxcast, our monthly podcast featuring an interview with economist and financial crisis expert Professor Avinash Persaud on why so many economies are stagnating, and what we can do about it.
        Mentioned in that podcast is research from by Professor Gerald Epstein Overcharged: The High Cost of High Finance which is frankly, dynamite – if you haven’t read it yet, it’s well worth a look. He’s done some number crunching on the US financial system, and to give you a flavour, he writes:

        “we estimate that the financial system will impose an excess cost of as much as $22.7 trillion between 1990 and 2023, making finance in its current form a net drag on the American economy.”

        We’re pleased to tell you that there’s research underway on the City of London, the results of which may shed new light on the claims about the value it adds to the UK economy.

        We published a white paper last week entitled What Do They Pay? which sets out a roadmap for the creation of a global public database on the tax contributions and economic activities of multinational companies. Once again, it falls to campaigners, concerned citizens and open data wonks to go where governments fear to tread and lead the way in the public interest. We’re pushing as hard as we can to achieve tangible policy results and human progress with our partners on this open data project and we’ll keep you up to date on how that’s going.

        http://www.taxjustice.net/2017/02/23/financial-transaction-taxes-protect-us-finance-sectors-plus-february-2017-podcast/

  12. TailorTrashMEMBER

    My daughter moved to an uber trendy Inner city area so I visited her to catch up over lunch . She said she would like to ” give her north shore white man daddy the full Inner city alternative experience “. She took me to a lentil eating establishment where you decide what you pay for the meal. The food was excellent …very veggie ( and lentil ).

    The place was packed with a collection of the most exotic creatures I have seen since I spent time in a Kathmandu fleapit in the 70’s .

    The customers consisted entirely of trainee earth mothers and dreadlocked males of mysterious occupation (I’m sure they were successful novelists,creative directors of digital advertising companies or did the occasional gig at a market stall selling healing crystals ).

    My daughter said her friends say she is too conservative for such a place .
    Her answer to them was ” no ,no you don’t get it …..me in my straight blue dress and beige ballet flats is the really alternative person here “……….have to say she is spot on !

    My daughter paid the bill and was generous as I would expect.

    This is a community initiative that is run as a not for profit operation and provides training and employment guidance for refugees and asylum seekers
    (and probably does more good than all the billions of taxpayer dollars syphoned off to the VET schemes)

    I left feeling quite uplifted that there are pockets of an older, kinder more generous Australia hidden among the “in your face” property obsessed place Sydney has become .

    I did wonder if the landlord had donated the property for the eating establishment rent free ……..we can only live in hope ……..
    Sent from my iPad

    • Bizarre bit of reporting. What next, every legitimate deduction for any business is a case of “taxpayer paying”. What a nonsense. Expect little else from The Guardian.

      • 3d,
        The ethics of environmental vandalism being classed as a business expense aside, the fact that it can become a credit that increases in value over time is disgusting. They end up profiting off their mistakes, at the expense of the rest of society. Classic rent seeking by an industry of leaners.

  13. http://www.smh.com.au/comment/the-way-we-teach-our-children-is-truly-crazy-20170223-gujyh1.html
    Interesting article in SMH on NSW school system by Elizabeth Farrelly I can definitely understand her displeasure with the system and I’d even agree with most of the points she makes but for some reason my fixes are not her fixes, Maybe the difference is that’s I put a higher value on a high school education that delivers a through and in depth understanding of Science and Math especially the fundamentals while Elizabeth seems more interested in the Humanities. IMHO our NSW Science and Math curriculum is complete shite, it’s beyond me how anyone could develop an understanding of or passion for the Sciences given the course structure and HSC’s requirements.
    I know a science teacher that worked at James Ruse and I remember talking to him about what it was like to teach some of the brightest kids in the state. His first comment was that they’re not necessarily the brightest in the state, but they’re definitely the most diligent, every task you set gets done and done on time. However it was his second comment that I found most intriguing, basically he stated that it was normally not his brightest students that achieved the highest Science scores rather it was those students that simply regurgitated the answers from the 30 plus year old text book. He told me a story about one of the best Physics students he ever taught and about how his most difficult task was convincing the guy to simply write the textbook answer that the examiner was looking for rather than launching into a rant about the correct answer. Apparently the guy typically lost at least 2 marks on every question for not including precisely the words that were required. As the marking rubric was explained to me, any answer that just includes the five relevant keyword/points from the textbook will get 100% of the points available however if the guy grading the exam has to look for the information or think for one second about your answer, than in his own mind he’ll be deducting points it doesn’t matter how perfect your understanding of the subject matter, what’s really important is getting all 5 points from the textbook and putting them in the first sentence so that the marker doesn’t need to search through a wordy answer for the textbook “facts”.
    I’m only left wondering who really benefits from this system? it’s certainly not the students and it’s definitely not the parents, nor does our broader society benefit from creating/delivering a poor education, so who benefits?

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      The State selective School system was supposed to provide Naturally gifted students from low and middling socioeconomic backgrounds, access to a top flight education.

      Now this admirable system has been courpted by culture of obsessive rote learning and expensive tutoring, shutting out access to many bright, young, disadvantaged individuals worthy of a place there.

      “In NSW we are entrenching advantage within one particular ethnic group. If the NSW government was serious about equal opportunity, it would put some geographical boundaries to ensure better access to [top] schools.”

      http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/top-schools-secret-weapon-95-of-students-of-migrant-heritage-20100912-156zd.html

      http://www.standard.net.au/story/4458348/15-million-to-send-your-child-to-one-of-the-states-top-public-schools/?cs=24

      Doesn’t seem a very efficent way to identify, support and Utilize our “Best and Brightest”.

      • @EP last time I checked Education was the responsibility of the individual States. IF NSW educators deliberately create a system that delivers advantage to Rote learning there must be a reason for this, someone somewhere must profit from this stupidity. It’s not natural nor is it the only solution, for me it’s a true form of homegrown stupidity. If the Education System was ours to create, than it’s ours to destroy, rebuild or recreate, we simply need to acknowledge that this is our responsibility and than get on with the task.

      • LOL – i would love to see the true demographic of those that manage to get into these “Selective Schools”

      • I suspect from previous comments that you don’t understand what it’s like to be an above average student trapped in a below average school.
        Have you ever finished the an hour long exam with 30mins to spare and than gone through the exam deciding which correct answers you would intentionally turn into wrong answers? Have you ever pondered what the pattern should be for the wrong answers? you could do something obvious like make every fourth question wrong, or should the pattern of the wrong answers convey a message? maybe you should make the pattern three wrong , three right and three wrong again, but that might be a bit obvious, my favorite pattern was to start the test with 6 right, 1 wrong, 3 right, 2 wrong , 1 right and 2 wrong with the rest correct. Since the early questions are often the easiest it gave the others a chance to point at me and gloat, weird thing is that only one teacher ever decoded the message so I added a simple cypher and was back in business. Curiously from the rest of the teachers I got a lecture about being more careful and rechecking my work thoroughly.
        Do you know what it’s like to never put your hand up, not because you don’t know the answer but rather because you do?
        Schools are not friendly places for many kids and these kids often develop subconscious coping mechanisms that prevent them from developing their true potential. As a society we pay a hefty price when the main thing our best and brightest learn in school is to dumb it down.

    • I think you are correct in the short and to some extent mid length questions but extended response questions demand you can show understanding of the topic.

      Legal / Economics / Business not the current syllabus the ones phased out around 2007

    • New stem courses are being rolled out now and are (apparently) very challenging.

      My challenge is to direct them to appropriate tertiary study and hope they can get a good paying job that is interesting. The teacher of the higher math in our schools always suggests becoming an actuary to the students. FFS that would be the crapest job surely ! Most end up doing engineering or mecatronics at Newcastle.

      • Interesting, I’ve heard good things about the Mechatronics course at Newcastle, apparently as a course it attracts lots of Merewether students through some sort of hookup between the school and the University, it looks like a case of back-to-the-future wrt education, because strong ties between the best regional schools and the local Universities was, in the past, the rule rather than the exception
        IMHO we need to move away from the concept of Atar as this sorting point and simply look for better fit’s between Tertiary education course requirements and expand High school as a true education experience.
        As I told my kids it’s pointless getting a high Atar (or GPA in US) if you don’t really learn the subject. There will be plenty of opportunities to profit from your knowledge, if you can learn the material and learn to love the subject. Conversely if all you learn are the most simplistic of answers than you’re wasting your time and wasting a valuable opportunity to develop solid foundations for the subject.

    • Our son goes to one of the top selective high schools in Sydney. He tested into both Year 5 Opportunity Class and Selective High School. Most of the students in his school are Asians. It’s obvious that they are intellectual kids who highly value education. They are dedicated, diligent students who love to learn and come from families who value education. They are also very competitive. We have invested a lot of time in educating our son since he was a baby – violin lessons, chess, reading, mathematics, etc. but he also is a very intelligent kid. The fact is, education starts with parenting, and Asians often do that part of parenting better.

      While there may be many gifted and talented Australian-born (white) students, most of them don’t have the work ethic, love of education, family support, and dedication to get into Selective schools. I think you would find most of the talented, hard working, high IQ kids come from families that would have enough wealth to put them into private schools. (The parents are smart, hard working people, and have high paying jobs).

      While the kids in his school have mostly Asian faces, it’s important to recognise they are all Australian citizens / residents.
      I believe if you look at the history of selective schools you will find they have always been full of immigrants who viewed education as a means to improve their lot in life. It’s the ultimate “fair go”. Believe it or not, many of the students are highly creative with excellent critical thinking skills and they actually do not like rote learning. This is an unfair stereotype applied to Asians. I believe our son has received a great education on par with the best private schools in Australia.

      What amazes me about Australia is that so much tax money goes to incredibly wealthy private schools! If all of that money stayed in the public schools, all kids would have access to an excellent education.

      • I’m not sure why you’d think that I’m not supporting Select Schools regardless of the individuals Race. If I’ve said anything to imply that Asians are unwelcome in Select Schools than I can assure you it was done in jest. That said I do think the selection system needs to be regularly changed, but that’s mostly to prevent the Gaming of the system by learning the tests. IMHO the students that belong their will quickly adjust to the change while those that are simply learning the right answers will be much slower to adjust. It might also help to maintain some racial diversity, all Asian environments can be very Racist breeding grounds, my son (Caucasian) can tell you all about being regularly called a Cracker, The Korean and Chinese kids thought it was funny to find their Black roots (like WTF) and use some very racist language.

    • Sorry – no offense intended. My comment was just in general response to the thread, not to anything in particular you said. I though you made some interesting observations.

      BTW, one area that could be improved in Selective Schools is pronunciation. For example, a lot of these kids can’t even properly pronounce “Cracka” It just doesn’t sound right…

  14. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-25/mem-fox-detained-at-los-angeles-airport-by-us-officials/8303366
    That’ll learn her! Seriously surely everyone that fly’s regularly already knows that they should avoid LAX whenever possible. Much better idea to fly SYD=>DFW direct, totally different experience guards are always polite always welcoming. SFO is always a better experience than LAX just a pity they’re not a big hub for American Airlines.
    I used to fly real regularly TPE=>NRT=>ORG or DFW rather than the shorter/quicker TPE=>LAX=>DFW I did this mainly to avoid the stupidity (and uncertainty) of LAX. One of the main problems was connections, if you missed the 3PM LAX=>DFW flight than they usually couldn’t squeeze you on the 6:30pm so you got stuck with waiting around LAX till 10:30pm and than suffering a Redeye into DFW, and all because some jumped up little bureaucrat didn’t like your face, or some answer, and god help you if they thought that you were giving them attitude. I remember twice being questioned at length about why I had practically no baggage despite being a green-card holder, I’d simply answer that I had an apartment in Taipei and a House in Dallas so I really didn’t need to take clothes back and forth. Apparently this logic simply did not compute. It didn’t help that my boarding card had the dreaded 4S’s (SSSS) on it.
    However I regularly flew into DFW, ORD, ATL and IAD without ever having a problem, the boarder guards are always polite it really just LAX that you need to avoid.

    • A single traveller with no luggage is what those stooges are told to ‘watch out for’ as likely drug traffickers. I found this out at MEL when I turned the table on the interrogation, hahaha 6 of them and one of me and I found out all their ‘secrets’.

      • innocent bystanderMEMBER

        they also don’t like travellers with no return ticket – my preferred mode of travel, cause, like, who knows?
        because of that I got the full interview and “full medical” at Heathrow once. came out about 5 or 6 hours later to find my backpack going solo on the baggage carousel.

  15. TailorTrashMEMBER

    My daughter moved to an uber trendy Inner city area so I visited her to catch up over lunch . She said she would like to ” give her north shore white man daddy the full Inner city alternative experience “. She took me to an interesting establishment that serves food largely based on lentils and where you decide what you pay for the meal. The tucker was excellent …very veggie ( and lentil ).

    The place was packed with a collection of the most exotic creatures I have seen since I spent time in a Kathmandu doss house in the 70’s .

    The customers consisted entirely of trainee earth mothers and dreadlocked males of mysterious occupation (I’m sure they were successful novelists,creative directors of digital advertising companies or did the occasional gig at a market stall selling healing crystals ).

    My daughter said her friends say she is too conservative for such a place .
    Her answer to them was ” no ,no you don’t get it …..me in my straight blue dress and beige ballet flats is the really alternative person here “……….have to say she is spot on !

    My daughter paid the bill and was generous as I would expect.

    This is a community initiative that is run as a not for profit operation and provides training and employment guidance for refugees and asylum seekers
    (and probably does more good than all the billions of taxpayer dollars syphoned off to the VET schemes)

    I left feeling quite uplifted that there are pockets of an older, kinder more generous Australia hidden among the “in your face” property obsessed place Sydney has become .

    I did wonder if the landlord had donated the property for the eating establishment rent free ……..we can only live in hope …..

  16. Just learned DeNatali attacked Hanson over her questioning Australia Posts CEO’s outrageous salary of over $5m.

    DeNatali called Hanson racist. This was about a salary that’s way outside community expectations. Why did DeNatali obfuscate and waste the time of Parliament with that?

    Australia’s ready to give Hanson more power to smash the disgraceful left. We’re sick to death of them. I’m hearing it more and more and more.

    • The stupidness of left-wing politics is doing my head in. Voters are screaming for a reversion of neoliberalism, and all left wing politicians are capable of is playing identity politics and driving voters further to the right.

      • skippy, do you believe anyone criticising the $5.6m tax-payer-funded salary of Australia Post CEO is a racist?

        Do you believe anyone who associates increased traffic congestion, overflowing schools, house prices, with population growth is a racist or fascist?

      • Freddy…

        Do you comprehend the English language – much – a direct question was asked… are you’re cognitive abilities enough to respond – ?????

        disheveled…. pettifoggery and redirection in re-framing the question is crap logic and rhetoric…

        PS. taxes don’t pay his remuneration…

      • skippy, there is some irony in your insult of my English comprehension.

        I have implicitly answered your question. Greens’ politicians have accused as racist those who have questioned the Australia Post CEO salary. Jenny Leong previously labelled as fascist anyone who associates traffic congestion with immigration.

        Now you answer my question. Do you support their views?

      • Sorry Freddy….

        “Name all these left wing apparatchiks and how you arrive at that perspective…..”

        Still awaiting answer and how you arrive at it….

      • @skippy

        “Name all these left wing apparatchiks and how you arrive at that perspective…..”

        All of them. We’re sick of all of them. They don’t represent Australians. They have to be voted against until the left learn to never go as far as they have again.

        Australia’s entire left need to learn a lesson and we going to give it to them. I think you know it too.

      • @ric, I wouldn’t go that far. In terms of neoliberalism, that saying about not solving problems using the same people that created them comes to mind. Don’t ever forget than Pauline Hanson also has a neoliberal mindset and will continue the path of poverty for the masses by abolishing minimum wages, welfare safety net, etc.

        IMO the only thing we want from One Nation is what you mentioned about “representing australia”. Force the major parties to respect democracy and listen to the voters.

      • I agree Freddy. At least Hanson’s stopping population growth will reduce attacks on minimum wage and we know she’s anti asset sales. Hanson’s pro business but with LNP, Labor and Greens we’re all doomed. She can only do good and the more power we give her the better. Neoliberal big Australia has to stop or our kids Australia is finished.

      • skippy the nasty kangaroo attacking people based on intellectual inferiority and inability to communicate. I am a white male though so you are still abiding by the Greens’ version of egalitarian society.

      • @Fred

        There’s no superior intellect going on here. Just guys thinking because their views fit the elite socialists they must have a higher level of intelligence. My life experience tells me it’s the exact opposite. They can’t in any way justify their views with logic. Ever.

        Guys like Skippy think we’re impressed with that ridiculous cryptic way he writes. WTF is that “dishevelled marsupial” about?

      • @above…

        The drama is when people just use the term left arbitrarily [strawman] in order to couch their views. This thing you call the left does not exist and has not for decades because the dominate economics of neoliberalism [Washington consensus – Third Way] is a far right wing agenda.

        If you two ninnies cant even get the basics right, what does that say about everything extenuated from it. Perfection of an inaccurate argument is a classic case not unlike what underpins most of main stream economics and ideological wing nuttery….

        Disheveled… sorry chaps but…. economically and politically the march has been to the right since the 70s, neoliberalisms dominance in marketizing everything precludes such strawmen of lefties having screwed things up. BTW social libertarians are not a left wing anything and for the most part are economic libertarians also….

      • Left, right, socialist, neoliberal whatever. Why do you need to be so literal Skippy?

        Australia is sick to death of politics LNP, Labor and Greens style and desperately want something new to vote for. Hanson provides that and will shake the hell out of them and believe it or not an enormous number of votes will bleed from Labor and Greens.

      • If you don’t understand the history leading up to this state of affairs…. then everything you say is based on erroneous conclusions e.g. the endless banging on about ev’bal lefties….

        disheveled…. Agnotology

      • I give up with you Skippy.

        “ev’bal” WTF are you talking about?

        Actually don’t answer. I don’t care.

      • skippy, I am well aware of “Third Way” and have referred to it many times as to why the (centre) “left” have failed the us by adopting neoliberalism. Bill Clinton destablising the banking system by abolishing Glass Steagal, selling out on working with NAFTA, Obama the do-nothing president bailing out the rich criminals and imprisoning the poor. Similar things in Australia with Hawke Keating introducing HECS, privatising CBA, setting up many of the free trade deals, Bubble O’Rudd and his tripling of First Home Owners Grants, opening up the flood gates to foreigners buying property, and it goes on an on.

        I know that the right side of politics are a bunch of pr*cks that are the main perpetrators of poverty and misery around the world. The point is the left are not acknowledging their role and not offering any real solutions. When someone like Hanson comes along and promises to revert some of the neoliberal policies voters have associated with their misery then of course a lot of angry people are going to vote for her.

        Attempting to shoot down all of One Nation policies as racist is by association then labelling all One Nation voters as racist which is not helpful, and further confirmation that left parties still not accepting any accountability and still not offering any solutions.

        If you wish to continue this discussion then bring back the old skippy and quit with the personal insults.

      • Ric….

        Your just a collection of ideological hot button – trigger words without any attachment to reality…. pointing it out is met with spray and pray of the same – socialist et al….

        disheveled…. you just can’t seem to wrap your head around when everything is a market where rational people maximize their potential…. everything is for sale…. too include your elected officials… hence the political problem is a derivative of a much more fundamental problem…

      • @Freddy….

        When you can stop with the endless leftie [non existent] memes…. your creating a false narrative out of whole cloth….

        disheveled…. one nation is just as corrupt as all the rest… its an environmental problem…

      • skippy, when policy is broken down by category such as social and fiscal the left and right still exists. e.g. Third Way is socially “left” and fiscally “right”.

        It is unfortunate that when we generally discuss points of difference that we create a perception of being different. When you dig a little deeper and see that I am anti-neoliberalism and used to vote Greens then maybe we are not so different. Greens made a point of dropping and condemning policies which were similar in nature to One Nation which effective alienated people like myself. If Lee Rhiannon and her ilk want to call me names then only fair that I can return serve in calling them “leftie”.

        I know that One Nation is as “corrupt” as everyone else. As I alluded to earlier, I see One Nation (and Trump for that matter) as a necessary evil to force left/progressive/whatever parties to respect democracy and the concerns of voters. It is only then we will get the unity required to move away from neoliberalism. Unfortunately, looking at what is happening in the US with Dems digging their heels and protesting against voters rather than listening to them, this is going to be a very lengthy process which may see us shift much further to the “right” before jumping back to the “left”.

      • As I alluded to earlier, I see One Nation (and Trump for that matter) as a necessary evil to force left/progressive/whatever parties to respect democracy and the concerns of voters.

        How are they not respecting “democracy and the concerns of voters” ? It’s the political right who get a hard-on for disenfranchisement, with their obsession about “electoral fraud” and “voter ID”.

        About 2/3 of voters cast a primary vote for either the far-right neoliberalism party, or the centre-right neoliberalism party at the last election. About 10% voted for the centre-left neoliberals-on-bikes party and the remainder voted for the “anyone but those guys” and “oh noes muslims” parties and independents.

      • Skippy.. I witness you have this argument with someone every week… at what point will you ever concede? Everyone generally know’s what is being described when throwing out labels like left wing and right wing… The general consensus on roughly what is being indicated is more or less globally (in the West) the same..

        So sure its a simplification … and perhaps historically inaccurate – does it even matter? Meanings can change anyway can they not?

        Why don’t you start a blog and post your explanations that are historically accurate, then you can link to that if you like instead of having this pointless debate every few days.

      • @caeos…

        If your in favor of agnotology, dumbing down, and wonky ideological narrative spinning just say so….

        disheveled…. or are you some kind of socialist……

      • @smithy, young families living week-to-week do not have racism at the top of their priority. The social injustice they really want solved is wealth inequality, and more specifically Globalisation being misused to widen the wealth gap via rising house prices, wage suppression, underemployment, etc.

        Greens don’t want to touch Globalisation with a ten-foot pole, and the other major parties are complicit in the wealth inequality. That is what I mean by not respecting democracy. Governing for the people, not the minorities, not the unions, not the corporate sponsors. Perhaps I am being too harsh on the Greens who are truly representing their minority constituents and quite happy to perpetually remain a minor party.

      • That is what I mean by not respecting democracy. Governing for the people, not the minorities, not the unions, not the corporate sponsors.

        Let’s be clear, here. I’ve said it a few times but it seems to not be getting through.

        Something in the ballpark of 2/3 of the population votes FIRST AND FOREMOST for Labor or the Coalition. Not even as a second or third preference. VOTE “1”.

        So that right there is the overwhelming “democratic” will of the people. Don’t try any of this “I know what the people REALLY want” bullshit. The people are speaking and their will is known; it’s one of the best aspects of a compulsory voting system – nobody has to wonder about the “silent majority”.

        About 10% vote for Greens, who are far and away the party most focused on addressing inequality, corruption, corporate influence, workers rights, unemployment, healthcare, education, strategically investing in the future, “the Australian dream”, etc. The Coalition aren’t interested. Labor are only interested if it’s helping Unions. Hanson is no different to the Liberals with her “dole bludgers” mindset, she won’t help.

        The Greens are the only vaguely mainstream party interested in addressing the concerns you argue are important, today and for the last 10-15 years. If you don’t like that they ALSO argue against racism and sexism, take notice of minority issues, and that somehow negates all the work done to try and improve the lot of all Australians, then, to be blunt, get fucked. My mind is boggled that someone claiming to care about “inequality, wealth gaps, unemployment, wage suppression, etc” would be turned away because a party also fights against racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination.

        Perhaps I am being too harsh on the Greens who are truly representing their minority constituents and quite happy to perpetually remain a minor party.

        You’re not being harsh, you’re being ignorant, stupid and biased.

      • Their not thick drsmithy…. its intentional pettifoggery not unlike the AGW denier camp or Merchants of Doubt ploy…

        disheveled…. don’t know about labour and unions anymore after Gillard clearly stated to a symposium of national and international corporations and industry insiders that she was in – their camp – and would resist any populism…

      • smithy, I have put up with racist and bigoted comments my entire life, and have also been cornered and threatened by a group of neo-nazis as well as a group of Aborigines. I don’t need you to explain racial vilification to me, and I certainly don’t need the constant chorus of righteous lefties telling me that you can’t be racist or bigoted against white people. Now pay attention, despite all of that, racism is not my primary concern, nor is it the concern of the many friends and relatives who have similarly had to put up with racism/bigotry. That does not mean I don’t want racism addressed, just not front and centre of every effing discussion, nor the Greens’ answer of financially ruining people for saying the wrong thing.

        The Greens constantly shut down the population growth debate by conflating it with racism. Don’t insult my intelligence that a party that aren’t even prepared to have the discussion as being the one to provide all the answers.

        The world has changed since the last election. Next election will be a minority govt with parties like One Nation and hopefully SAP (I can dream) deciding who will govern.

      • Now pay attention, despite all of that, racism is not my primary concern, nor is it the concern of the many friends and relatives who have similarly had to put up with racism/bigotry.

        Well, apparently it is a big concern, in a perverse kind of way, since you’re not supporting the party 90% aligned with your views because it’s 10% arguing against racism.

        That does not mean I don’t want racism addressed, just not front and centre of every effing discussion, nor the Greens’ answer of financially ruining people for saying the wrong thing.

        Your dishonesty is one of the biggest reasons it’s impossible to have a rational discussion. Nobody is trying to financially ruin anyone for “saying the wrong thing”.

        The Greens constantly shut down the population growth debate by conflating it with racism.

        Here’s the problem. 99% of the “population growth debate” *is* about racism. It’s people like Hanson or Australia First getting aereated about asians and muslims “destroying our culture” then trying to cover it with a “population growth” fig leaf.

        “Don’t insult my intelligence” trying to argue otherwise. You know it as well as I do.

        So when people like Dick Smith tragically lie down with those dogs, they wake up with fleas.

        Don’t insult my intelligence that a party that aren’t even prepared to have the discussion as being the one to provide all the answers.

        I have never, ever, said the Greens had all the answers.

        I will argue they are the mainstream party who has consistently upheld the largest proportion of the values you claim to care about, with the policy to match. Yet you’d rather get behind someone like Hanson, who aligns – barely, kind of – with one of them, immigration.

        So, again that makes it rather hard to believe you really do give a shit about the things you claim to.

        The world has changed since the last election. Next election will be a minority govt with parties like One Nation and hopefully SAP (I can dream) deciding who will govern.

        If the Greens can’t get more than 10% of the vote, then SAP – whose policy platform is probably 99% identical – is unlikely to have much more luck, even though they don’t have the same kind of media machine working against them that the Greens do. Unfortunate, but true.

        This “oh, I really care about inequality, corruption in politics, unemployment, public services, et al, but I couldn’t possibly vote for the one party with any power who fights for these things – the Greens – because they aren’t opposed enough to immigration” bullshit gets really old after a while.

      • drsmithy…..

        Seems like their afraid of a bit of cultural competition…. because markets – !!!!!

        disheveled…. their internal logic is inconsistent and incoherent… quite a feat imo…

    • Just learned DeNatali attacked Hanson over her questioning Australia Posts CEO’s outrageous salary of over $5m.

      What did he say ?

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        I think he’s getting Di Natale confused with rising star Peter Whish-Wilson

        “Senator Hanson has brought on debate in the Senate on Wednesday calling for the board of Australia Post to be sacked over the “disgusting” remuneration paid to its chief executive and directors.

        Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson launched a scathing attack against the One Nation leader, insisting her pursuit of executive pay at Australia Post was about Mr Fahour being a high-profile and successful Lebanese-born Muslim.

        “Don’t think you can use this chamber for racist witch-hunts and get away with it,” Senator Whish-Wilson told parliament”

        Mmm,… any blow struck against ongoing Neoliberalism, is a victory in my mind, even if delivered by someone of a dubious background.

        Senator Peter Whish-Wilsons for example, talks a lot of Economic sence with an apperent anti-neoliberal bent,… and yet his “Wall Street guy” “background” is a cause of some suspicion to me.

        “After graduation, he worked for Merrill Lynch in New York and Melbourne, serving as Vice-President from 1994 to 1998.”

        Not as weighty as being a Sachs man I know,…but in the same fucking club.

        Can we really be sure of the sincerity of any “Proven” salesman,

        “He then worked in international sales for Deutsche Bank from 1998 to 2004,”

        The way this story has been conveniently diverted away from being a catalysts for a conversation around Coporate Governance and Remuneration and turned into a Identity Politics issue, is typical of the Echo chamber our failing “Leftwing” leadership.
        They are just as infected with Carreeism and entitlement to rule mentalities as the Conservatives are.
        Their contempt for direct Democracy maybe even greater.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Whish-Wilson

      • Ermington

        I’ve said it for a decade. The Greens are the very worst thing that’s happened to Australia’s environment since the rabbit. Like the rabbit, they need to be wiped out. Vote Hanson.

        I didn’t confuse DeNatale. That’s what Hanson has said.

      • Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson launched a scathing attack against the One Nation leader, insisting her pursuit of executive pay at Australia Post was about Mr Fahour being a high-profile and successful Lebanese-born Muslim.

        Goodness me that’s a monumentally stupid thing to say.

        This would appear to be a good example of what happens when you stop defining your goals as being for things and start defining them as being against things. It drives rationality out the window.

      • Let me guess. Inner city high wage earner?

        Leaned nothing from Trump and Brexit?

        Here’s a hint. It’s not all about you. Other people have different opinions, circumstances and options.

    • @RicFebruary 26, 2017 at 8:42 am I didn’t confuse DeNatale. That’s what Hanson has said.

      There is no quote that. So either Hanson is a wrong or you are. And try to spell Di Natale. I

  17. TailorTrashMEMBER

    A modern day strayan love story .

    Some young acquaintances I know that were living the Australian dream ….her and her husband both young professionals …..big house ( big mortgage ) ……nice lifestyle ………..plenty of coffee, smashed avo brekies and yoga…..so cool !

    Then …….economic reality …..he loses his job as a manager with a big strayan public company ……no income ……..looks for comparable job ……very hard to find ….ego won’t accept a lessor position …….sits at home loses direction and motivation …………..she picks up extra shifts to feed the mortgage …..comes homes tired……he wants to talk …..she doesn’t ……..CONFLICT !
    …relationship turns sour …….so she goes home to mum …….mortgage in arrears and mounting ………..life becomes very uncool ………house put on the market for sale ………and arguments about share of proceeds gets more acrimonious.

    One wonders how many similar stories are brewing across this wide brown land while dickhead politicians like the NSW housing minister work with Mirvac and other developers to steer innocent young first home buyers into a grossly inflated “market ” and on the “property ladder “. ( seriously ? )

    The first politician that starts to define housing as HOMES and as Menzies did as “homes material, homes human, and homes spiritual.” might be worth listening to .

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      These are the stories that matter. I used to see them all the time when living in a boom-bust area. You know, like a proper economy.

      Job loss->money problems->banks a’callin’-> stress->family breakup->fire sale->depression->house sold->suicide.

      It’s awful to watch but that is how it’s going to be. All because of the greed that grips this country’s psyche. Pathetic.

    • Unfortunately, ‘for me’ I have experienced 3 nasty recessions in my life, and I keep a look out for changes that might conform to a pattern I saw in earlier recessionary episodes.

      First to go is the ‘loan shark’ car yard providing expensive credit for cheap shitbox cars to ultra subprime customers.

      Next on the list are those 3rd and 4th tier bricks and mortar retail businesses, local fruit shop, kids stuffed toy ‘specialist’ etc.

      But this one is a surprise to me …… in 2443 bank closures Westpac is packing up and NAB is down to 4 hours a day.

      The connection to your anecdote is that each and every one of those incidents has a personal and relationship consequence. and individually contribute to what will one day be a tipping point.

    • TailorTrashMEMBER

      OJ ….could you offer a 3 sentence synopsis of your SCMP posts as I and I’m sure many more cannot easily access the paywalled link …
      Thanks a bunch ……..

      • The Chinese businessman disappeared from China with a loan and this is common. They’re saying this case could “open the floodgates” for the recovery of loans from Canada. From the article: “China’s Citic Bank has won a landmark ruling in a Canadian court, which ordered a mainland national to comply with a Chinese judgment and repay the bank RMB50 million (US$ 7.3 million), plus interest, that the bank says was spent in part on real estate in Vancouver.
        The rare ruling could open the “floodgates” for the pursuit of illicit Chinese funds in Canada on the basis on mainland rulings, according to a money-laundering expert involved in the case on Citic’s behalf.
        But the defendant, Yan Shibiao, could still profit even if he complies with the judgment, since the interest component of the ruling could be exceeded by the increased value of his property in Vancouver, where prices have soared in recent years.”

      • China’s Citic Bank has won a landmark ruling in a Canadian court, which ordered a mainland national to comply with a Chinese judgment and repay the bank RMB50 million (US$ 7.3 million), plus interest, that the bank says was spent in part on real estate in Vancouver.

        The rare ruling could open the “floodgates” for the pursuit of illicit Chinese funds in Canada on the basis on mainland rulings, according to a money-laundering expert involved in the case on Citic’s behalf.

      • TT – when SCMP was bought by the Chinese dude he removed the paywall. For me at least their website is open and free.

      • TailorTrashMEMBER

        Thanks st J ….that’s helpful ……maybe he has to pay back $7.3 mill plus intrest…..and depending on his initial investment he might be lucky to profit from the bubble ……….but imagine all the poor Chinese who thought they could seek refuge under Canadian or ( sooner or later ) Australian law for their Chinese “earned “money and find that the motherland is better versed in the legal systems of their refuges than they or the local silly bought politicians ever imagined. ……..

      • With all of the hard work done (prep for the civil hearing) a criminal case would appear a shoe in for the DPP (perhaps). If that were the case any RE windfall would be hoovered up by ”profits of crime” clauses in the criminal codes

    • TailorTrashMEMBER

      Mr triage …..how ( in simple terms ) can I access this on an IPad ? …………I’m a simple fellow that struggles with this interconnected 365/24/7 globallised international city interconnected world ………

    • Kiwis are a step ahead, prosecuting money launderers & making good coin in the process:
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/83450345/Court-orders-forfeiture-of-42-85-million-in-alleged-money-laundering-case (2016)
      Now if we could just get ATO & FIRB onboard and do a forensic audit of all house purchases in high value public school zones in Sydney over the last 5 years and flag those most likely to be involved in sneaking funds out of China illegally, then . . .

  18. A small extract below. Mr “I hope the mining companies give my mate a job” Abbott all of a sudden becomes the moral compass for political corruption by lobbyists.

    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/michael-photios-resigns-as-the-leader-of-nsw-liberals-dominant-left-faction-20170225-gulctv.html

    Mr Photios and his firm, Premier State, which enjoys large, $20,000-plus monthly retainers from major corporate clients including Telstra, the Hotels Association and The Star casino.

    Former prime minister Tony Abbott told the ABC last year that lobbyists had too much control.

    “If you are making money out of the people whose preselections you control or influence, there is obviously a potential for corruption,” Mr Abbott said.

  19. Ruh-roh! Cloudflare has been spraying their customers’ confidential data into web caches (public and private) for 4-5 months now: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13718752

    HTTPS is no protection either, for anyone who’s been using cloudflare as a CDN for HTTPS delivered content. Going off HTTP headers, it looks like macrobusiness uses cloudflare. You guys should invalidate any long running admin auth tokens and change admin passwords ASAP (if your admin login pages are similarly behind cloudflare’s CDN). I can’t actually think of a worse security disaster in the history of the internet…

    Original source: https://bugs.chromium.org/p/project-zero/issues/detail?id=1139

      • I’ll attempt a (simplified) explanation, apologies for the length…

        Cloudflare (CF) is probably one of the world’s top 3 largest content distribution networks (CDNs). Basically, they have lots of fast webservers located all over the world. So when Macrobusiness signs up with CF, CF will grab copies of Macrobusiness’ webpages, images etc. and distribute copies to all of its servers. This means that if someone in, say, the US browses to this site, it loads much faster because they’re actually getting it from a CF server located in their country (most likely their State). They also offer a bunch of different services that mean they have to ‘process’ the webpages that they mirror (more accurately, page HTML and HTTP request data).

        One of these processing programs had a subtle mistake in it: it didn’t properly check that the ‘bucket’ of memory that it was dumping the HTML and HTTP stuff into was large enough. This meant that, in some cases, some of the data overflowed into the next bucket. This is bad because the data that overflowed might have been me logging in to Macrobusiness (so it contains my username and password in cleartext), and the bucket it overflowed into could have been some random public website. Search engines (like google, baidu and yandex) periodically download a copy of every page on most websites (in order to index it for its search engine). They hold on to this copy (i.e. they cache it), and this cached copy can be accessed by anyone.

        So if someone accesses the cached copy of this random public website, they might find my username and password randomly mixed in with the rest of the content. Worse still, there are a number of long-term internet archiving projects that might keep a copy of a webpage (at some point in time) indefinitely (e.g. web.archive.org, the common crawl etc.). And random private parties can (and do) also crawl websites and archive them. Also, some of these caching search engines might have a rather close relationship with their host government (e.g. the three I mentioned before).

        Here’s me logging out of Macrobusiness: http://i.imgur.com/Q346S8F.png

        As you can see, the page is actually being sent to me by a CF server: http://tools.tracemyip.org/lookup/104.18.56.221

        And here’s me logging back in (i.e. I’m sending my username and password to Macrobusiness, this picture shows the response from the server): http://i.imgur.com/IHEZF0W.png

        Again, as you can see, I’ve actually sent this information to a cloudflare server (judging by the response headers). They’ve fixed the ‘overflow’ bug now, but when I logged in last week it’s entirely possible my username and password actually ended up in some other website’s “bucket”, which then got published on the web, and was then downloaded and stored by a dozen different search engines and god knows who else.

  20. Mining BoganMEMBER

    There’s just been an advertorial on St Mal’s ABC news about Perth’s new microhome idea. It was an ad. Nothing more. Why can’t just one journo ask how paying more for less solves affordability.

    Meh, it’s all going to burn anyway. Cheer it on. Do it for Australia.

  21. Mining BoganMEMBER

    Developers eh? Mate told me the other day this guy is back building…

    http://www.hillbillywatch.com/2017/02/townsville-cairns-post-editor-julian.html

    Couldn’t believe it. I think the last bankruptcy was his third. Could be wrong though. His second at least. But people won’t learn. They were warned last time when he floated on the ASX but no, off they went with their greedy little minds. They will again with support from the local Rupes rag. And get burnt.

    In saying that though, it’s guys like Hedley that ensured Cairns always went through boom-bust cycles. He’s destroyed lots of businesses, families and lives and nobody ever got bailed out by the government.

    Perhaps there’s something in that for all of us.

  22. “Have you heard? A tiny bug in Cloudfare’s code has led an unknown quantity of data — including passwords, personal information, messages, cookies, and more — to leak all over the internet. If you haven’t heard of the so-called Cloudbleed vulnerability, keep reading. This is a scary big deal.”

    https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2017/02/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloudbleed-the-latest-internet-security-disaster/

    Oops just saw this was already posted above… amends…

  23. Woman with $200,000 in savings can’t buy Sydney home | Daily Mail Online

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4258658/Woman-200-000-savings-t-buy-Sydney-home.html

    • Successful entrepreneur with $200,000 in savings can’t afford Sydney home

    • Wenee Yap, 30, currently spends $460-a-week in rent for inner-city studio

    • Despite a good income and savings she is unable to buy ‘the smallest shoebox’

    • Sydney is the second most expensive city to buy property in the world,

    • The median house price is a severely unaffordable’ $1.1 million dollars

    • proofreadersMEMBER

      Median price will probably soon be $2m. Maybe Lowe at the RBA or Roberts, NSW Planning Minister, could give her some advice on how to get in to the never been a better investment Sydney home owners’ market?

      • With that $200,000 ish she should be able to buy the median price house in Sydney … mortgage free !

        Check Houston Association of Realtors latest Monthly Report …

        https://www.har.com/content/mls

        Single family median house price … $US210,000

        Townhouse / condominium median price … $US138,000

        Isn’t it well past time we stopped being cowering idiots … taking this garbage from the idiot political and commercial elites ?

        Denying people access to affordable housing happens to be a serious breach of basic human rights.

    • proofreadersMEMBER

      Absolutely agree with you, but what we are relying on is a morally bankrupt class to fix a problem of their making?

    • boomengineeringMEMBER

      My sister went to Europe late sixties and came back with weird stories of people in Holland spending all their time in cafe’s, the beaches sandhills being fenced off for restoration and buying water in bottles, what a strange lot.

      • boomengineeringMEMBER

        Also heard the gov’t were paying Surinamese permanent pension’s to leave The Netherlands a few years ago. Unlikely we would follow suit on that one?

    • I listened to the Harry interview after this one – amazing that both sets of interviews (your link and the following link) highlight the need for foreign buying with our banks lending to them to keep this going with a subtle inference that we are so dependent on housing and debt growth in our economy that any slow down will drive us to depression. Still expect the kitchen sink but China constraints are biting – who knows how much longer this can go

      • Reckon things’ll get interesting with the mass sackings after the upcoming car industry closure.

      • Yes, the whole shemozle is predicated on exogenous money, and endogenous credit to chase subsequent engorged house prices. It either keeps going at this ridiculous pace (lol), or collapses into a mammoth depression (ticktock). There wont be a stable ‘happily ever after’ period. We’ve crossed over the event horizon.

    • Yes, the whole shemozle is predicated on exogenous money, and endogenous credit to chase subsequent engorged house prices. It either keeps going at this ridiculous pace (lol), or collapses into a mammoth depression (ticktock). There wont be a stable ‘happily ever after’ period. We’ve crossed over the event horizon.

  24. Our son goes to one of the top selective high schools in Sydney. He tested into both Year 5 Opportunity Class and Selective High School. Most of the students in his school are Asians. It’s obvious that they are intellectual kids who highly value education. They are dedicated, diligent students who love to learn and come from families who value education. They are also very competitive. We have invested a lot of time in educating our son since he was a baby – violin lessons, chess, reading, mathematics, etc. but he also is a very intelligent kid. The fact is, education starts with parenting, and Asians often do that part of parenting better.

    While there may be many gifted and talented Australian-born (white) students, most of them don’t have the work ethic, love of education, family support, and dedication to get into Selective schools. I think you would find most of the talented, hard working, high IQ kids come from families that would have enough wealth to put them into private schools. (The parents are smart, hard working people, and have high paying jobs).

    While the kids in his school have mostly Asian faces, it’s important to recognise they are all Australian citizens / residents.
    I believe if you look at the history of selective schools you will find they have always been full of immigrants who viewed education as a means to improve their lot in life. It’s the ultimate “fair go”. Believe it or not, many of the students are highly creative with excellent critical thinking skills and they actually do not like rote learning. This is an unfair stereotype applied to Asians. I believe our son has received a great education on par with the best private schools in Australia.

    What amazes me about Australia is that so much tax money goes to incredibly wealthy private schools! If all of that money stayed in the public schools, all kids would have access to an excellent education.

    • proofreadersMEMBER

      “I believe if you look at the history of selective schools you will find they have always been full of immigrants” – this was absolutely not the case at the high ranking selective school I went to around 50 years ago.

      “What amazes me about Australia is that so much tax money goes to incredibly wealthy private schools! If all of that money stayed in the public schools, all kids would have access to an excellent education.” – if you want to take the partial subsidy away from the private schools, that will make private schools even more unaffordable than they are now and force people back in to the public school system – which is already bursting at the seams. Private school parents are probably doing the public system a big, big favour for a relatively small price to government.

      And one of the main reasons for the system bursting at the seams is … far, far too much immigration this century to date without adequate restrictions on numbers and without meaningful infrastructure planning being provided for by politicians of whatever ilk who want to push a population ponzi – growth for growth’s sake.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL…

      “Morag Lowe, principal of First National Hedland Real Estate, said no-one expected the prices of the boom to last.”

      *deep breath* LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL…

    • Gruesome (for them) 😉

      “Mr Mellor said interest rates were unlikely to rise, which would head off the threat of substantial mortgagee auctions in the major cities.”

      Bullshit 😉

    • That Karratha (spelling?) house that sold for $890k in 2011 and recently sold for just over $400k recently is still probably way overpriced fundamentally. What’s the cost of developing a small block of land in a regional town (not market price but cost price)? $40k maybe $60k? What’s the cost of building a small brick veneer house on a flat block, say 200 sq m at $1300 a sq m? So the cost price of that house is probably just over $300k so that place needs to drop another $100k or so just to get back to cost. When markets properly correct you should be able to buy existing properties at well below cost price. At over $400k that house still has heaps of premium built into the price imo.

      I reckon that even now those properties have at least one more step down before they find a base.

  25. Adding rent and misallocation costs, we show that, even without taking into account the financial crisis, the financial system cost between 6.3 trillion and 8.2 trillion more than the benefits it provided during the period 1990–2005. On top of this is the massive cost of the financial crisis itself, which most analysts agree was largely associated with the practices of speculative finance. If we add conservative Federal Reserve estimates of the cost of the crisis in terms of lost output ($6.5 trillion–$14.5 trillion), it brings the total amount of “overcharging” to somewhere between 12.9 trillion and 22.7 trillion.

    This amount represents between $40,000 and $70,000 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S., or between $105,000 and $184,000 for the typical American family. Without this loss, the typical American household would have doubled its wealth at retirement. To better understand the mechanisms and financial practices that have led to these excess costs, we describe in detail some of the ways in which banks and other financial institutions have overcharged for their services. We show how the asset management industry charges excessive fees and delivers mediocre returns for households trying to save for retirement; how private equity firms grab excessive levels of payments from pension funds and other investors while often worsening wages and employment opportunities for workers in the companies they buy; how hedge funds underperform; and how predatory lenders exploit some of the most vulnerable people in our society. From this bottom-up perspective, we can see more clearly how the levels of overcharging we identified at the macro level actually come about in practice. These excess costs of finance can be reduced and the financial sector can once again play a more productive role in society. To accomplish this, we need three complementary approaches: improved financial regulation, building on what Dodd-Frank has already accomplished; a restructuring of the financial system to better serve the needs of our communities, small businesses, households, and public entities; and public financial alternatives, such as cooperative banks and specialized banks, to level the playing field.

    No study of this magnitude and objective is going to be perfect, and there will, of course, be areas of disagreement. But after much discussion and multiple reviews, we are convinced that the methods and data we have used provide a clear and rigorous path to answering this question. We hope this analysis contributes to the public debate about the real costs of the finance sector

    http://rooseveltinstitute.org/overcharged-high-cost-high-finance/

    Disheveled…. but yeah… RE prices are screwing the economy…. sigh….

    • Skippy,

      “…Disheveled…. but yeah… RE prices are screwing the economy…. sigh…..,”

      Huh? So in the Skippy-verse RE prices are unrelated to financial system deregulation?

      Some of us quite capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time.

      You should try it sometime.

    • Both are a subset of a much more fundamental – core issues 007 and I would have thought the book you just read might help you to inform yourself of such.

      Your camp is fine with fiddling around with symptoms, whilst ignoring histrionics like Friedman working for the most powerful lobbyists in DC during the time in question.

      Disheveled…. one would think democracy, jobs, and wages comes first and foremost… RE is dependent on those factors regardless of financialization in the long run…. but thanks for addressing the content linked too….