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Monday by the Magazine Rack



Good afternoon and welcome to our beginning of the working week idle chit chat thread.

We’re all doomed.

I’ve summarily reached this conclusion after following recent news stories. North Korea is hellbent on flexing its nuclear muscle, Kevin Rudd is about to spend billions on defence (which makes me wonder whether he knows something we don’t – like an imminent world war), we’re all going broke in record numbers due to the financial crisis, collapse of the economy and escalating unemployment.

Furthermore, global poverty is expected to increase dramatically as a direct consequence of the GFC. Desperate people resort to desperate measures. Perhaps we may see increasing violence locally and globally. Today I was sickened to read about a father who attempted to rape and murder his own 2 year old son. The boy is in critical condition in hospital. What sort of society have we created that drives people to commit such horrific acts?

Meanwhile, as the world teeters on the blink of oblivion, scientists have come up with a very useful invention – a robot penguin. Just what we need right now. Makes me wonder how we ever got by without them really.

Oh, and I would like to personally thank Kevin for sending me my $900. Although it will be going straight into the mortgage along with 70% of all the other recipients of the dosh.

111 Responses

  1. And youngest did not receive not a single solitary brass razoo as she is on a PhD scholarship of a little over $20g per annum however doesn’t pay tax (minimum hours are 9-5 for 5 days..minimum but most weekends also). Only 2 years to go on this ‘generous’ amount and it begs the question, why do Australians not go on to post-graduate studies?

  2. Re – “Although it will be going straight into the mortgage along with 70% of all the other recipients of the dosh.”

    Does that mean that only 30% are putting it into the poker machines? I thought it was a much higher proportion than this.

  3. North Korea is the world’s brat………………….It has nothing that any of us want and it knows it. So in order to get some attention it rolls around on the floor screaming (launches missile).

    So we then ship off another load of rice and caviar and champagne to its elite classes until the next time it wants some attention (threatens to launch missile)

  4. I thought that some here might be interested in a couple of options for spending their stimulus handout.

    Breast Augmentation(silicone) – $6000-8000
    Botox – $200-400 per area
    Forehead Lift (Brow Lift) – $3500-5000
    Hair Removal (Laser) – $300-800
    Nose Surgery – $5000-6000
    Tattoo Removal (Laser) – $300-800

    I think botox and hair removal look good value and can be covered by the handout.

    And given that the tattoo industry advises that “you can expect a basic price of $80 to $100 an hour”, I’m thinking of getting one, and then having it removed, just to support our local, hardworking tattoo industry.

    I’m not sure whether to get “death before dishonour” under a snake wrapped around a dagger, or the one of the buxom woman with the name of a former mistress.

  5. Tom,

    Why don’t you just go for the “Love” “Hate” tats on each of your knuckles?

    I always thought there was something deeply philosophical about that…

  6. “Tom,

    Why don’t you just go for the “Love” “Hate” tats on each of your knuckles?………………”

    reb, on April 27th, 2009 at 4:02 pm Said:

    He’ll need to put “Love” on whatever hand he most uses when he’s all alone I reckon……….!

  7. Reb – The “cut here”, with a dotted line, around the neck, is always a favourite too.

    This seems to compliment the “love” & “hate” knuckle tattoos.

    The question is whether all this decoration can be funded by the handout.

    I do know that botox is great value, as the Mayor and I can attest. It is also labour intensive, so provides a real stimulus for the money.

  8. You’re terrible Walrus.

  9. Tom,

    The barbed wire around the neck is a nice look too.

  10. Well, Walrus on this basis I think there will be plenty of demand for “love” knuckle tattoos, particularly from some of our regular “visionary” contributors.

    Amongst the tattooist profession, a tattoo of this type is regarded as a specialist calling.

    Not many can spell it.

  11. Is botox done while you wait?

  12. I have acquired big brownie points..I put hubby’s beer in the fridge this morning when he forgot and left the warmies languishing in the utility room.

  13. I miss beer.

  14. “It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated.

    (This) affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them not only interesting to the advancement of science but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations.”

    President of the Royal Society, London, to the Admiralty, 20th November, 1817

  15. Reb..just before I go to dinner duties..the armed services have been run down to the bone having to do the job with antiquated equipment, poor pay and p’poor conditions. Billions will need to be spent in order to bring Australia up even to the standard of the last decade of the previous century.

  16. Geeeeeeee…………….!

    Aren’t the times just great……………….a global economic tsunami heading our way…………………….a pig flu on the next Qantas flight from LA and now the news that the Conficker computer virus is about to spam us all to death.

    Aint Life just grand……..!

  17. I’m just catching up on the blogs after a few days absence.

    I remember when I was last here that tom was talking up the westgate bridge and union thugs using bikie ‘gangster’ types for all it was worth .

    Was it all just bunkum?

    The rumours were apparently unsourced and unfounded on the internet and then managed to get from there to ken phillips, tom of melbourne, Gottliebsen and the Victorian Police Commissioner, Simon Overland.”

    From internet to lunch: CFMEU bikie rumour takes wing

    tom, you owe the Victorian CFMEU a full retraction of the baseless allegations made against them!

  18. unions do more good then bad, dont know what the fuss is over
    is it there is to much care for the worker
    work choices were they dont care about them.

    Never had anything to do with unions but i feel beter knowing they are around.

  19. I was sickened to read about a father who attempted to rape and murder his own 2 year old son. The boy is in critical condition in hospital. What sort of society have we created that drives people to commit such horrific acts

    What sort of society </b. While I don’t discount the influence society has on behaviour, I think the concept of mental illness will have better explanatory power than societal impacts in this instance.

  20. What happen to Nasking?

    Althought i didnt listen to the music it was comforting to have him around. i must go over the history at some stage to catch up.

  21. kittylitter, on April 27th, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Make no mistake bikies’ are bad bastards. The evidence abounds. Here is QLD, for example, there was a recent drug bust with more than 32 people arrested and millions of dollars worth of property confiscated.

    Would you believe that 4 of the 32 arrested had connections to a bikie gang? Yes a massive 12% !

    Rumour has it 8 of the 32 had strong religious affiliations. Yes, religious affiliation seems to have a greater influence than bikie membership when it comes to drug dealing. A reasonable person might be tempted therefore to legislate against those who are members of religious organisations. Lol.

    Seriously, bikie gangs are a menace but banning them is as stupid as banning religion. The more you persecute them, the more you drive them underground, the stronger they become.

  22. Well of course it is not possible to tell the difference between a CFMEU official (in Victoria) and a member of a bikie gang.

  23. Where are those stats from, Nature5?

  24. James of North Melbourne, on April 27th, 2009 at 8:22 pm Said:

    The 4 ‘bikie’ stat is from the local MSM. The second stat is a joke, simply designed to make a important point that ‘evidence’ citing stats often confuses correlation with causation.


    Sorry for the ‘joke’. Lol.

    The truth is that 64% of Australians claim religious affiiliation so maybe I should have said 18 of the 32. Lol.

  25. Shaneinqld,

    Would be very interested to hear your reaction to this:

    Lenders face penalties for bad loans

  26. James

    There was a very interesting article covering union superannuation funds up here on the weekend with comments supporting your argument regarding unlisted assets held by the union spuer funds. It stated that normal funds have about 10% of their funds in unlisted assets which are yet to be revalued. Whereas union funds have around 25% in unlisted assets.

    I cannot find a link anywhere on the internet to show you as it indicated a lot of what you have been saying is true.

    Did you happen to see it. If not I will try and locate the paper for you and get it to joni by email for onfrowarding to you.

  27. Thanks, Shane, I didn’t see it. That would be great. 25% sounds low, I’m wondering if they are divesting? It was over 30%.

  28. Tony

    Thanks for the question. I have been absorbing the changes to be implemented for a number of days now. With regards to the article I will respond in point form as there are many issues in this one article.

    1) I fully support lenders and brokers being required to properly assess if a product is suitable for client. However the final decision must be the clients as they are the ones taking out the loan. I will have the client sign a form stating that after options given they have selected X loan.

    2) I am glad the laws will cover all types of lending as this will ensure clients are not placed into a loan which is designed to avoid responsibility.

    3) Being able to sue for damages for being placed into loans they cannot afford will ensure the demise of Low Doc Loans.

    4) Laws that prohibit irresponsible lending will ensure that the SELL, SELL ,SELL targets imposed by the banks on their staff will be revisited as the Banks could face amazing claims in the future. Remember banking staff have targets to achieve at all costs or are placed on improvement programmes and eventually dismissed for failinhg to reach those targets (regardless of droughts and floods or fires in their areas), even if the products they are selling to clients are not in their best interests. This was imported from the USA in the early 90s after the privatisation of the CBA. I have no doubt most of you would have been asked about lending while in a tellers queue. This is called a tag on and they are required to achieve a certain number of them everyday in addition to serving the customers.

    5) Being able to legally request changes to your loan contract is a good idea to stop the gung ho financial institutions from taking action far too quickly. While I defend tha major banks in regards to assisting customers whenever they can, there are lenders out there who take advantage of a persons difficult situation to obtain outrageous fees and interest while fully knowing they will sell up the client within 6 months.

    For myself I am happy with all of the regulation being introduced provided it is a level playing field between myself the banks own staff. The laws need to be applied evenly.

    I am also happy that no longer can a pineapple picker or a taxi driver leave their job and become a mortgage broker as has been the case for many years. I have over 25 years experience in the finance industry.

    My own morals are such that I welcome the changes and have no fear of their introduction. I am from the old school of customer comes first and if they come first then the rewards will follow.

    I visited a client last night who owns 2 properties, one an investment property. She has sold the investment property and wanted to know all of her options. I could have simply convinced her to keep all of her loans so I could continue to obtain income. Instead I recommended to her that she pay off 60% of her debt and only have the 1 loan left on her own home. It reduces my income but is the correct thing to do for the client.

  29. I’ve been looking for this piece in regards to TORTURE…Sums up nicely what I have been at pains to articulate…..


  30. Sparta

    While you make some points I agree with.

    Frankly I am over the torture debate at the moment and why do you keep dragging it to every post on this site ?. Can you not confine it to one of the threads and let people respond to your comments there ?

  31. shaneinqld,

    My apologies………However, I am hardly the only one “dragging” it along mate…..Point taken though…..

  32. Thanks Shane (8:09 am),

    I was wondering whether such a move might make it harder for more marginal applications to be approved. That is, by forcing institutions to make their lending policies even more conservative, this policy might squeeze even further the availability of credit for ‘battlers’. (Or to persuade brokers and agents not to risk putting forward applications from anyone other than blue-chip borrowers.)

  33. Sparta

    I agree, to all those involved in the emotional debate of torture could you please confine them to one thread.

  34. Tony

    It is not only the battlers that are finding it hard to obtain finance. I am finding it increasingly difficult to source finance for my very strong business clients. It seems the Credit Officers in their ivory towers have really put the brakes on and are being far more pedantic than at any time over the last 25 years.

    Problem is it also slows down the business side of the economy as well.

    The Banks are already persuading brokers and agents not to put doubtful deals to them by way of what they call “Incentives”.

    “Incentives” means if you submit deals that are not approved or settled we will cut your commission on all deals you send us. Problem is it depends on what Credit Officer receives your application as they are all different and some look at how to make a deal happen and others look at any reason possible to say no.

    As a broker I am on percentages for deals approved, deals declined and deals settled. Changes in those percentages effect the commission outcome for all of my deals with the Banks.

    In addition most banks now have 100% clawback provisions. If a customer repays their loan, for ANY reason within 18 months to 2 years the Bank will take back 100% of the payment they have made to me. This means a total loss. Who else can have their money taken back from them after 2 years.

    Having said that I do not submit deals that I believe would not be approved, wastes my time, the banks time and the clients time. If I believe I cannot assist I tell the client up front.

  35. Shane

    I just wished that banks would apply the same clawback rules to managers who made bad decisions that only come to light a few years after they have gained their bonuses.

  36. Shane,

    So you already have no incentive to put up a 50/50 deal for fear that if it’s rejected your commission structure will change. Now, you have the added disincentive of draconian laws, just in case it crossed your mind to help a struggling small business owner, for example. It’s the unintended consequences that bother me.

  37. joni

    I completely agree. It should also apply to management at the top levels as well. I fully experienced the introduction of targets and the intensity and ruthlessness that was imposed on the staff to achieve the results at all costs. Regarding bonus payments for performance this was the way it worked.

    1) Me – As a manager i had achieve 110% of my target in sales and debt balances to get any payment bonus for a job well done.

    2) My Boss – He needed to have his branches achieve 70% overall. So a much less requirement.

    3) His Boss – He needed to achieve 60% for the state. Once again a lesser requirement.

    4) His Boss – He needed to achieve 50% for the naitonal result of the country as a whole.

    5) The CEO. No actual requirement only a determination from the board.

    You received an annual taget. My last target was an increase in my balances of $15,600,000. So I needed to write new business of $300,000 per week. At the end of each week we have a phone hook up and had to report our results. Then each Monday we had a RA RA hook up supposedly designed to rev us all up for selling and achieving our targets.

    They started with weekly calls, then it degenerated to daily calls of why you did not achieve your target. If I wrote a $3,000,000 deal I was congratulated. But if the next week I wrote nothing it was back to being counselled and coached. No matter that the previous loan covered 10 weeks of my target. As the bonus system trickles up all managers are on each others backs but the final counselling rests with the front line staff who are the lowest paid being the blamed all the time for non achievable outcomes.

    Being in a small country town of 2,700 people which was drought ravaged for 5 years they still expected a miracle. No allowance was made for anything. Non Negotiable you were to achieve at all costs and this is why the staff try to sell you everything and anything they can.

  38. Tony

    yes no incentive at all. I need to be sure that I believe it will be approved. A broker does all the work for the Bnak including cash flow projections, analysis of financial statements, preparation of submission and all customer contact.

    The Banks simply has Credit Officers doing number crunching and analysing ratios.

    Good thing is I wrote my own programme based on the banks ratio analysis programme and therefore can analyse financials to the same extent as their Credit Officers.

    The unintended consequences trickle down and this happened during previous recessions while I was in the Bank. Although the major one which was purely a policy decisions was when Westpac was the bank for Alan Bond and Christopher Skase. My bank saw Westpac make $800 million profit which was huge at the time so our management decided we would travle down the same path as Westpac and started pricing home loans out of the market in favour of entreprenurs business. I even attended the training for 2 weeks. Low and behold the following year Westpac nearly collapsed with a stunning loss. Needless to say our bank reversed it decision and all the hoopla and training disappeared and we went back to normal lending. During this time I saw hundreds of potentally excellent customers leave our Bank and get their home loans at the NAB which at the time dicided not to go down the Westpac Path. History shows the decision by NAB was sensible. The decision by our bank was incorretc but at least we were not that far down the track before it was all abandoned.

  39. Shane

    I am currently researching a big piece for the blogocrats, which will cover some of the issues around bonuses and management practices – especially in relation to the GFC. It’s gonna take me a while – which is why my threads have been pretty wek lately (that and the remnants of my man/pig-flu).

    And if any blogocrats want to put up some threads, please do (email the account at the top of the page and reb will get them posted).

  40. Sparta (8:26am),

    At the risk of upsetting the thread police 😉

    That was a very reasoned argument, and makes a worthwhile contribution to the debate. (There is still a debate, isn’t there?)

  41. join

    Problem is most staff are too scared to tell the truth about management practices. They lie, we all did just to keep management happy. People who object or have a negative comment are seen as undesireable employees who are not willing to accept change. Criticism of management decision is not accepted.

    You will implement the decision no matter what the outcome.

    Problem is the management who make the decisions have no contact with the public. They simply buy a programme from the good old USA for hundreds of millions of dollars and implement it.

    The staff who have contact with the public can see the problems but are ignored completely, their concerns are simply brushed aside or taken to mean that they are a negative employee who needs coaching and counselling.

    We had mandatory attendance for 3 full weekends at motels in certain towns to view hours upon hours of video and coaching. Much like a re education camp I would presume, where your whole mindset was attempted to be changed to the new programme.

  42. I find this piece amusing.


    One question…who is more believable, the IMF or our great treasurer who this time last year was fighting the inflation genie and has overseen the biggest waste of money in our history???

  43. scaper

    I don’t believe either somewhere in the middle would be truth.

  44. Scaper,

    I hope Swann’s right, although his record of predictions doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Still, if you continue to make guesses, you should get one right eventually.

  45. *Swan*

  46. I read today that the G-G has stripped Marcus Einfield of his AO. I think that is right, but tell me, how is Richard Pratt, a corporate criminal being treated appropriately?

    They are not going to drop the charges and the PM drops in to personally thank him for his efforts!

    I know the man is dying but that does not make his price fixing crimes OK.

    james and shane, re super funds and unlisted properties

    Incentives to stick with it

  47. They are not going to drop the charges

    They dropped the charges yesterday:


  48. sorry tony, I retyped and left the not word in after I changed the original sentence, I meant drop the charges not – not drop the charges.

  49. Swan is way out of his depth.

    Does anyone really think that $10bn on a handout and billions more on home insulation remains the best and most efficient ways of spending lots of money?

    There is a little bubble in poker machine patronage, so we’ve shored up a few jobs for croupiers. That’s about it.

    Really, it is an outrage that so much waste is creeping into government expenditure.

  50. How is there a difference in morality and criminal behaviour between the two?

  51. NP Kittylitter, we all make them.

  52. I find the case of Richard Pratt is an interesting dilemma.

    Should the statement made to settle a civil matter, ie reach an agreement on a civil outcome, then be used as the primary evidence in criminal proceedings?

    Pratt has been charged with perjury because he originally said he couldn’t remember discussions with Amcor, in reaching an agreed settlement with the ACCC, he made a statement that provided details of his recollection.

    I’m not really sure whether or not this is particularly fair, and some discussion would help to crystallise my opinion.

  53. kitty

    Thanks for the link re super. The comments make a lot of sense.

    I was letting Tony know that there was an article in the newspaper up here and if he had seen it.

    Doesn’t mean I agree or disagree but I am always happy to provide information on topics that people are discussing if I see something to help their comments for or against no matter what my own opinion is.

  54. Kitty

    I agree – why were the charges dropped against Pratt? So does being sick means that you can get away with criminal acts?

  55. Sparta

    Firstly – I wonder if the writer would hold the same opinions now that more information is available on what actually went on (with the release of the memos)?

    The writer says:

    “There shouldn’t be much debate that subjecting someone to it repeatedly would cause the type of mental anguish required for torture. But what about doing it once, twice, or some number of instances that were not prolonged or extensive?”.

    Now – is 183 times prolonged or extensive?

    And then comes the the falacy that torture works:

    “So here is the question: If we captured a top al Qaeda operative who was certain to have information about what we reasonably believed was an imminent plan to attack midtown Manhattan with a nuclear weapon, would it shock your conscience if an intelligence officer waterboarded that operative in a desperate attempt to thwart the attack and save thousands of lives?”

    Why would you want to rely on waterboarding when you know that it can elicit false information? Wouldn’t that mean that resources might be wasted on a false lead?

    And his analogy of the Kenya bombings and 9/11 is just meant to cloud opinion. After all, those events committed murder, which is a totally different set of laws.

  56. Tom

    While I agree there is no doubt that some of the money was spent on gambling which is a waste.

    A few jobs for croupiers ?. What about all the clubs and pubs around australia I think it amounts to more than a few jobs.

  57. Another blackout in Sydney CBD.

  58. Joni. Your state is in the very best of hands. 🙄

  59. Kittylitter and Joni, the charges were for perjury and stemmed from a discrepancy between evidence given by Pratt and a statement he signed for the purposes of settlement. He says he only signed the statement on the understanding that that would be the finish of the matter. They then went after him for perjury on the basis of the signed statement. Now I don’t know to what extent he was involved in price fixing but that side has been dealt with. What the judge has ruled is that the ACCC can’t use the signed statement to sustain charges of perjury because of the circumstances. The ACCC were left with a weakened case. I’d be interested to know how many charges of perjury are actually brought and it would seem a pretty minor charge to be pursuing for a bloke on his deathbed. It would seem that the ACCC agree.

  60. Why is it that since the sell off of electricity assets and the introduction of competition and privatisation we lurch form one crisis to another regarding an essential service.

    I do not remember these types of dramas on a continual basis, (nor do I remember the ridiculous price increases over the last few years) when the electricity was under county councils a number of years ago.

  61. At least this blackout is confined to the finance wankers in the CBD only and not the Eastern Burbs

  62. James,

    I can’t help thinking the prosecution is using “not in the public interest to continue, because the case will not be concluded before Pratt’s death” as a convenient excuse – on the same day, coincidentally, as their main piece of evidence was disallowed.

    They should do the right thing and withdraw because they no longer have a case – and Pratt’s lawyers should pursue such a concession.

  63. Shane, the NSW power industry has NOT been privatised. Arguably this is one of the problems.

    The government has no money, and won’t fund the construction of another power station.

    The private sector won’t build one because it has no idea on what impact carbon trading will have, and they don’t know what the future ownership and competition structure might look like.

    If you had a few billion, would you use it to build a new power station?

    It should have been sold off 12 years ago, when Carr first proposed it, but unions stopped him. It should have been sold a couple of years ago, but unions stopped it then too.

    Stupid, union intervention in sensible policy. NSW is now paying the prive.

  64. Tom

    In QLD the sales and service area of electricity HAS been privatised and opened to competition and we get heaps of blackouts and price increases well above and beyond the CPI. The last one was 6% and the previous one was 11%.

    I never remembered problems in country NSW when the local electricity was run by the Ulan County Council. My mother reports blackouts and price increases continually.

    It is an ESSENTIAL service and should NOT be sold off for fat cats to suck the blood out of it to simply satisfy anti union gurus like yourself ( always a unions fault never a management or private enterpise greed problem is it Tom). Look no further than electricity in VIC or now the price of electricity in QLD to see the results of privatisation. Or look at the cost of electricity in the USA where it is privately owned where many of the porr or elderly cannot afford the cost.

    Regarding carbon emmissions that is a smoke screen as far as I am concerned. There is solar and other alternatives to building a coal fired plant.

  65. Tony, certainly their case is nowhere near as strong as it was, but I have no doubt that there is some face saving going on. I’d be interested to see just how often the crime of perjury is pursued against crooks found guilty after a plea of not guilty. I’m not a fan of Pratt, but in the scheme of things, I think there are worse crooks who are dealt with more leniently. They do like to catch their big fish these people.

  66. Look no further than electricity in VIC

    What exactly is wrong with Victoria’s electricity industry?

    Regarding carbon emmissions that is a smoke screen as far as I am concerned. There is solar and other alternatives to building a coal fired plant.

    Not so Shane. There are no viable alternatives for the provision of baseload power, with the exception of nuclear.

  67. The lights have gone out at Australian Fashion Week…………………………….I suppose “Blackout” is the “New Black” then !

  68. joni, on April 28th, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Welcome to Wonderland…

    The Real Interrogation Scandal: It’s the disclosure of the memos that should ‘shock the conscience.’ By Andrew C. McCarthy

  69. Shane, I think that basic the ownership structure remains in state hands, though it has been corporatised.

    The 3 big Queensland generators are –

    CS Energy – 2060mw – Black Coal/Diesel – State Govt. owned

    Tarong Energy 1915mw – Black Coal/Hydro – State Govt. owned

    Stanwell Corporation – 1566mw – Black Coal/Hydro – State Govt. owned

    Really, if you think solar will have the generation capacity of a base load power station, how much of Queensland do you intend to bury under solar panels?

    Solar power may be a partial solution for the next generation or 2, but it won’t replace any base load capacity now.

    Investment in base load power is needed, so who will provide the investment?

  70. Tom

    Have a look at the link I provided for Tony. Forget the neo liberal crap they include in it and just read the facts.

  71. Tom

    Regarding solar, have you ever heard of rrof tops of buildings ?. Hospitals, government offices, Brisbanes energex headquarters has solar panels covering the whole top of the roof and it shows at the entrance the amount it is contributing to the grid.

    What about solar panels above open car parks like they have at Nambour hospital which now generates all of the hot water needed for the whole hospital. Look outside the square.

  72. Shane,

    After a quick scan of that document I note only broad criticisms such as: “Privatisation of electricity in Victoria had failed to deliver any increased generating capacity and generator breakdowns were threatening blackouts. Prices had increased particularly for low-income households. Ironically businesses too, which had been prime drivers of privatisation, suffered from rising wholesale prices after 2000 (Beder 2003, 236-40).”

    First, I wish to point out that the Victorian government – against the prevailing green ‘wisdom’ – last year announced a new coal-fired power plant.

    Second, any claims of price increases, to have any relevance, need to be compared to what has happened in similar markets here and abroad.

    Third, anecdotally, blackouts haven’t been a problem except a handful of isolated incidents during summer peaks.

    Fourth, the obvious political bias of the writer is noted.

  73. Tony

    Don’t have a quick scan but rather read the whole thing.

    I acknowledge the politicial bias in the comments but the facts are true.

  74. Shane

    Have a look at this article in Wikipedia.


    While it says – “Covering 4% of the world’s desert area with photovoltaics could supply all of the world’s electricity”, I think the greens might have something to say about this.

    The photo in the article of the 11 MW Serpa solar power plant in Portugal, is interesting. 11 MW!!!!

    That’s 6% of the capacity of the smallest power station listed above! Less that 2% of the total capacity, you’d need to install about 70 times this size.

    As I said Shane, how much of Queensland are you intending to buy under solar power?

    I think you need 1 acre of solar panels for 10 houses, so you’ll need to find a spare 5,000,000 acres to replace a power station.

    Where do you find 5,000,000 acres for solar panels?

  75. Tony,

    “That was a very reasoned argument, and makes a worthwhile contribution to the debate. (There is still a debate, isn’t there?)”

    Very much so but to make an argument here is to be labeled a “torture advocate or torture apologist”…..Sorry Shane……..

  76. By the way, Shane, the co-author, Sharon Beder, cites her own research to support her claims.

    (Beder 2003, 236-40)

  77. I can understand there being no case to continue for Pratt and perhaps it should have been dropped before now, but he is still convicted of price fixing (cartel operation) and paid Australia’s largest corporate fine, $36 million.

    Should the PM be dropping in to tell him (not personally, but on behalf of all Australians) that Australia is grateful?

    Pratt’s cartel ‘cost all of us’

    BILLIONAIRE cardboard king Richard Pratt ripped off every man, woman and child in Australia for his own personal gain in the nation’s largest and most destructive cartel, Federal Court judge Peter Heerey said yesterday.

    The nation is grateful, PM tells dying Richard Pratt

  78. Should the PM be dropping in to tell him (not personally, but on behalf of all Australians) that Australia is grateful?

    Fair point.

  79. Kittylitter, I agree. It is repulsive for all these politicians to be driving out to Raheen to see Dick Pratt.

    I also think it is entirely appropriate for customers and consumers to continue with their litigation against Visy. I hope they finish up paying them plenty.

    I was less comfortable with the basis for the criminal prosecution

  80. Tom

    The articlae also says this

    “Covering 4% of the world’s desert area with photovoltaics could supply all of the world’s electricity. The Gobi Desert alone could supply 20 times the world’s total energy demand.[2]”

  81. Tony

    Don’t have a quick scan but rather read the whole thing. I acknowledge the politicial bias in the comments but the facts are true.

    I’d rather not read such polemical drivel, Shane, but perhaps you could point out where the paper cites any facts, and supports them with independent evidence, which prove the Victorian electricity industry operates at a lower standard than its peers (I presume that’s what you meant when you said: ‘Look no further than electricity in VIC’).

  82. *First three lines above are quotes from Shane.*

  83. Tony

    What is wrong with citing your own research from previous articles if you are using facts ?

    I look past the political rhetoric, the same as I look past it in posts that you or others refer to if it is in them and look for the facts within the story.

    If you read the whole article you will see that the electrcity industry did not need to be sold at all.

    What needed to happen in all states was for the state governments to stop fleecing the electricity councils of all their profits and permit holding of some for future infrastructure.

  84. the electrcity industry did not need to be sold at all

    And it’s obvious to any reader why the author thinks that way. But, she does not prove her contention that such privatisations have resulted in a worse deal for consumers.

  85. Nor does she explain, for that matter, why the huge sale prices Treasurer Stockdale was able to achieve for those electricity assets was bad for the state of Victoria.

  86. I just put up a decicated thread on electricity – can we take the discussion in there please?

  87. Tony

    Your attitude to the posting just shows your disinterest in anything that disagrees with your opinion.

    I have at times altered my opinion on matters you have posted and sided with yourself after reading through some of the propoganda you post here and looking at the facts contained within.

    But it appears that your propaganda containing facts within the story is truth, whereas my propaganda containing facts within the story is lies.

  88. I agree with your comments about Pratt, Kitty. Reminds me of the tax payer funded state (or whatever) funeral that Howard gave Packer. The biggest tax avoider in Australia had the tax payers pay for his funeral.


  89. Tony

    I have just been emailed the draft legislation webpage by our member organisation in relation to the draft credit legislation site of the australian government

    The link is here


    I have not read or absorbed it all yet.

  90. Thanks Shane. Will have a look when I get the chance.

  91. Richard Pratt dies

    May he RIP.

    I didn’t wish him dead, but I don’t think illness and death should turn a corporate criminal into a saint.

    I shall speak no more ill of the dead.

  92. Yep kitty, whatever else Pratt was, he was a price-fixing crook too.

    And whatever they do with the electricity grid, I sincerely hope they don’t sell it to the likes of Visy Industries.

  93. The evil men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones…..

  94. Legislative review: Parliament of Australia, Senate
    Review of Amendment to Trade Practices Act 1974
    Review dated: 26/2/2009


    1.9 In 2005, the Treasurer, Peter Costello, announced the governments intention to amend the TPA to introduce criminal penalties for serious cartel conduct. A Bill was prepared but never introduced.

    ABC, PM 16/4/2003: Mark Colvin
    Reported by Catherine McGrath
    ‘The government says criminal penalties will now be considered for serious cartel behaviour such as price-fixing’.

    Costello: ‘That is where individuals, on behalf of corporations get together to fix prices. Fines and sanctions currently apply, but the committee recommends that where that is hard core, there be the option of criminal sanctions’.

    Costello, Federal Treasurer, Press release, Melbourne, 2/4/2005.

    ‘I am announcing today that the Australian Government will amend the Trade Practices Act 1974 to introduce criminal penalties for serious cartel behaviour’

    Costello, federal treasurer, Press release dated 9/5/2006:
    ‘The Treasurer today announced as part of the 2006-7 Budget additional funding for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to implement the government’s decision to introduce criminal penalties for ‘serious’ cartel conduct as recommended by the Review of the Competition Provisions of the Trade Practices Act (the Dawson Review)’.

    Summary: ‘A Bill was prepared but never introduced (into the Parliament)’.

    The www is littered with clear evidence of how the dishonest Costello stalled on introducing/passing legislation deeming cartel behaviour as a ‘criminal’ offence, dating from 2003. After all, Liberal Party benefactors must be protected from common law.
    Costello, the ever-obedient puppy.

    Let not the passing of Pratt cloud the facts regarding the introduction/non-introduction of criminal provisions to the Trade Practices Act, 1974. Conspiracy?

  95. Re Richard Pratt:
    The Australian, 28/4/2009
    Carlton AFL coach, Brett ratten:
    ‘he’s been the catalyst to get our club off the bottom’

    Chris Judd, Carlton captain:
    Carlton captain Chris Judd said he could not imagine what the club would be like without Mr. Pratt’s influence.

    ‘I doubt I would be here as well’ – C. Judd

    Interesting comments.

  96. ‘I doubt I would be here as well’ – C. Judd

    Interesting comments.

    Do you think, OB, that some money may have been passed around underneath the table?

  97. Maybe not under the table, exactly, but I’m willing to bet his salary for a position like this is ‘above the award’.

  98. ‘Do you think, OB, that some money may have passed around underneath the table’ – Miglo

    Perish the thought Mig. Your words, not mine.

    Ah yes Tony, Chris yearned for the day when he could join a (cartel). And , with (remunerated secretary) Bec, all is hunky dory.
    All speculative diatribe, of course.

    What I find more interesting is the ‘he’s been the catalyst to get our club off the bottom’ comment.
    Ahhh, may I suggest, that in company with another Carlton, and Liberal Party stalwart, Pratt may have been the catalyst for Carlton’s (punitive) exclusion from successive AFL National Drafts, and hence the catalyst for Carlton’s wooden spoon/s.
    Another interesting point to mention. During the coaching days of Pagan at Carlton, Carlton did, in one season, prior to the drafting of Chris Judd, (lose its last) 11 consecutive games. Funny thing, that.
    Pagan was sacked midstream, just when things may have begun to look bright for the onfield Carlton brigade. Carlton later admitted to approaching the Judd management during that same season, in March of that season, in regard to a possible defection to Carlton from WCE.
    I would trust Denis pagan. I’ll let your collective imaginations run wild on the other speculative matters.

  99. I watched “The Day The Earth Stood Still” last night.

    While it was mildly interesting, the stort just lumbered along, and Gort (the giant robot’s) role was very subdued. He didn’t see much action at all.

    A bit dissapointing, but still worth watching on DVD

    2 and half stars from me.

  100. Good one Tony. Careers like that can pay excellent salaries, especially if you know how to play footy.

  101. reb

    Did you get 2 emails from me to forward to James of North Melbourne regarding Union Super Funds. My emeails seem a bit dodgy this morning.

  102. Reb, whatever happened to Gort in the remake? His unknown fate was just another loose end in the movie.

  103. True Miglo. True.

    Gort was hard done by in the movie. As was the audience.


    Let me check the email now (I was a bit busy yesterday)

  104. Sorry shane, I didn’t get the emails..

  105. True Miglo. True.

    Fine words there reb. Fine words indeed.

  106. If Richard Pratt had migrated to the USA become an American citizen and done business there he would have died in gaol.

  107. IATW – Not if Costello took out US citizenship also.

  108. And just a word of advice. Fellow members of my professional body the Institute of Chartered Accountants are apparently charging their clients fees ranging between $22 to $44 to forward on their client’s $900 stimulus cheques.

    If this happens to you could you please just whisper into my esteemed colleague’s ear that what he/she is doing is

    1) Illegal as you the client must agree to it in writing first up
    2) Unethical according to the Institutes own massive ethical standard that no one seems too bothered to read or follow anymore.

    If you still a blank look ask him/her why the hell did they ask for your payment to go to them first as the ATO asked all tax agents whether they wanted the payments to go to them or direct to the clients in the first place.

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