Midweek Mayhem!


Good Afternoon, and welcome to Midweek Mayhem, and this week it’s May *ahem* (Get it?)

Okay, never mind.

Do you ever have one of those moments when you realise how stupid you are in front of other people?

Naturally, this never happens to me, except perhaps for an incident earlier today.

This morning I had to go and visit an Orthopaedic Surgeon due to a problem I’ve been having with my right arm. Now, to be honest I’ve never actually been to see an Orthopaedic Surgeon before now, and up until now I didn’t have a clue what they actually do.

My GP explained a week or so ago that “oh, they look after arms and legs, that sort of thing”.

Fine, I thought. Given that we’d narrowed the problem down to my elbow, clearly the “OS” was the man (or woman) for me.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I spent ten minutes this morning with the OS and after fannying about with my arm for a few minutes he suggested that I ought to have an MRI scan.

Now I had already had an X-ray and that other type of scan where they smother you in some sort of lube and then use that thing that looks like an electric shaver to show you what’s going on inside the other week. So why not have another scan?

Do these people just like referring people to each other, or what?

Anyway, “Any questions?” asked the OS. Nup I was fine and headed back to see Brenda at reception. In fact, I’d call her the lovely Brenda, because she was indeed lovely.

“I can book you in for the MRI scan now if you like” chirped helpful Brenda, and I jumped in with sure, why not.

“Brenda,” I said, “this MRI thing, is that where you have to lie down and they push you into that tube thing that looks like a big donut..??”

“Uh-huh,” said Brenda “Do you think you’re gonna be okay with that?

“Oh yes, sure, no problem” I said, while thinking about how much of a complete goose I must’ve looked like with the words resonating in my head – “the big donut thing”.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, it was the way Brenda looked at me over the top of her nice red-rimmed glasses as if was a little school boy afraid of his first injection.

“Are really you sure?” she asked again. “Yes, yes, yes”

So next week I meet the donut.

And here I was thinking life was dull…


196 Responses

  1. How embarrassing..Turnbull re-enters the Rich List after a 4 yr absence.


    I only caught a snippet but apparently Laurie Oakes caught up with Turnbull and questioned something along the lines of, How does this gel with your opposition to means testing private health insurance?

    The Sky News reporter stated tweely (is there such a word?) that Turnbull always looks embarrassed when his wealth is mentioned.

  2. reb

    I hope Homer hasn’t eaten the donut bfore next week

  3. Welcome home, joni!

    No terrorists? No swine-flu? LG!

  4. “And nurse?”

    “Yes, Reb?”

    “When they put me in the donut, is it a chocolate donut and can I lick the sides?”

    “No, Reb.”

    “Does the donut have sprinkles? Can I eat the sprinkles?”

    “No, Reb.”

    “Is it a cream donut? Can I eat the cream?”

    “No, Reb. Reb, this is not the type of donut you can eat.”

    “Then why do you call it a donut, miss?”

    “You called it a donut, Reb, and I’m a nurse, not a miss. This is not a school.”

    “Your donuts suck rhino dick, miss.”



    “When I come out of the donut, will you give me a lolly? Miss? MISS?”

    “How about I give you a lolly you let me do a prostate exam right now, Reb?”

    “YAYYYYY!!! And you promise you’ll give me a lolly?”

    “Yes, Reb, I will. And this is one chunk of candy on a stick you’ll never ever forget son, I promise you that.”

  5. reb,
    some years ago I has an MRI brain scan and predictably they found nothing.
    I must confess I felt a little uncomfortable about the very enclosed space, but the worst part is the noise. Now I’m pretty deaf and wear hearing aids so when I was asked to remove them so they could insert ear plugs I scoffed “I don’t think I’ll need those” Oh yes you will, was the reply. He was right.
    It’s certainly an experience, albeit quite a costly one . My udder half had an mri just last night and I think it cost around $800.

  6. Handyrab..how do you find hearing aids? I couldn’t tolerate mine due to the whooshing noise in the wind when outside.

  7. $800!!! The noise!!!

    Nobody told me about all that!!

    Although, if they throw in a prostrate exam it might not be so bad…

  8. Handyrab…. yeah – the chunka chunka chunka sound of the MRI is quite annoying. I have had many many MRI’s over the years (brain, shoulder, chest, neck).

    You’ll be fine reb. Is the injury caused by too much repetitive action on your arm?

  9. Very funny Joni.

    No, I don’t quite know what caused it. Although everyone that’s examined it so far all seems intrigued..

    “That’s an usual spot to have a tendon injury” remarked the GP.

    “I’ve never seen anything quite like this before” observed the “lube woman” as we both peered at the screen. I said “It looks like a bit of mess compared to the other one doesn’t it?’

    “Yes” replied lube woman “a bit of a mess. That’s a good way to describe it”


    And then the OS this morning. “Well I don’t know what you’ve done, but you’ve definitely lost a lot of strength in that arm”

    Yes, I know, that’s why I’m here 🙄

  10. Min,
    I’ve been wearing HA’s for 13 years. I have a moderate to severe hearing loss (genetic). I also have tinitus. In that time I’ve has ^ hearing aids (two of which I lost).
    The new aids (digital) suppress wind noise, in fact it’s not even noticeable.
    My current set are phonak, very small with the speaker implanted in the ear mould but the rest behind the ear.
    From a vanity point of view that are hardly noticeable.
    The big problem is the cost – the current ones were close to $7000 including a remove control. Got about $2000 back from private health.
    I can live without them. If I want to hear the birds I put them in. If I don’t want to hear the udder I leave them out!

  11. Have you tried anti-inflammatory medication, reb? They also help with prostate inflammation should RS’s predictions come to fruition.

  12. “the current ones were close to $7000 including a remove control”

  13. “the current ones were close to $7000 including a remove control”

  14. Hehehe handyr about not wanting to hear the udder. My problem is getting hubby to turn around to face me when he’s talking..if only I had a dollar for ever time I’ve had to say, Turn around when you’re talking to me so that I can hear you (strangle, strangle!).

    I have moderate conductive hearing loss..likewise an hereditary thing, plus tinnitus (which comes and goes) and nerve damage to my left ear.

    You’re certainly right there, re the biggest problem being cost. My 1st hearing aide was via Australian Hearing Services..she wasn’t pretty but she was serviceable (except for outside) plus Telstra used to provide a volume control phone.

    When my volume control phone gave up the ghost hubby went to buy a new one..and came back with one with a louder ring..sigh…

  15. Yes huh. A costly affliction, indeed. The only way I could afford them was to cash in some a small amount of super I had. The remote control allows me to increase/decrease the volume, switch to music mode if at a concert and access the induction loop if at a funeral or play.

  16. I had an MRI on my head.

    All they found was sign saying ” Vacant Space for Rent”

  17. Hearing aids don’t replace normal hearing and in many situations, eg noisy, it remains a battle to hear. I find,over the years, I’ve gotten into the habit of asking people to repeat themselves just to make sure. Drives the family crazy.
    While dining out with strangers someone made a comment and i laughed – she was on holidays following a death in the family! Shees that was embarrassing.

  18. I know what you mean handyrab..I feel that sometimes the most used word in my vocabulary is Pardon?

    I agree, the worst is background noise. I also find some female voices almost impossible to understand due to the pitch. I say, Pardon? Then the person speaks louder and it doesn’t help because it’s the same pitch. I find male voices a lot easier.

  19. Thank you Handyrab, the OS did suggest something like Voltaren.

    I should give it a go.


    Forgive me for my ignorance, but why would one need a “remote control” for a hearing aid?

    Do you need to change channels or somethin’?

  20. Reb..I’ve never had one of the new fangled ones with the remote, but handyrab has. See above to handy at 4.29pm.


    Most theatres and unis have an audio induction loop.

  21. Reb, voltaren works a treat. And it’s cheap. I take it on and off to relieve joint pain.

  22. Or maybe I should drag my carcass along to Hillsong for a “healin”

    Hallelujah!! I can see!! I CAN SEE !!!!

  23. [Scroll on by…news of Pentagon report on detainee recidivism exaggerated]

    Surprise, surprise. That Pentagon report which led to headlines that “1 in 7” Guantanamo detainees who were released “re-engaged” in some form of terrorist-related activity or association…doesn’t support the headline.

    The report itself says that only 5% of the released detainees are “confirmed” and the other 9% are “suspected”. For most it provides very sketchy evidence to support even those conclusions (nearly 2/3 of them don’t even have names) – and it simply fails to even consider the possibility that some of the detainees were not engaged in terrorism before they were detained but turned to it as a result of their experiences.

  24. I’ve had more than my fair share of MRIs, EEGs, cat scans, ultrasounds and other procedures. Sometimes they need to inject a contrast dye to make things show up better on the scan – that can give you a weird feeling. IIRC it’s cold when it goes in, but then a few seconds later most of your body gets quite warm in a strange way and stays like that for a few minutes.

  25. I wonder what the percentage of re-engagement of US POW’s in military activity was after they were released from detention?

  26. Er, make that ECGs…

  27. Lotharson re injections. Yep – had those too.

    I wonder if I am the only blogocrat with a photo of their heart? I asked the surgeon for an image after I had a tumour removed from next too my heart – pretty cool to see your own heart.

  28. joni, I always knew you had a heart!!!!!
    BTW that must have been pretty scary, an op like that.

  29. Not sure about US POWs, but the general US prisoner recidivism rate is said to be almost 1 in 2 within a year and 2 in 3 after three years.

  30. Wow, I had a catheterisation procedure that tweaked my heart, but I wasn’t opened up so no photos.

  31. handyrab…. you don’t know the half of it! terrifying was the term I used. Three General Anaesthetics in four days. Two on my neck, one on my chest.

  32. Sounds as if we’re very lucky to have you lot still with us!!

  33. Lotharsson,
    There’s only one thing (regrettably) that feels better than that contrast dye and that’s pethedrine (spl?) when you’r e suffering renal colic (kidney stones). Almost immediately after it’s injected you feel it working through your body – and the pain disappears.
    You can understand why druggies go to hospital pretending they have k.s. and when asked to give a urine sample prick their finger and add it to the ‘juice’.
    I think they tend to monitor the sample giving a little more closely these days.

  34. I had a heart once. Needed a microscope to find it though.

  35. Electron microscope, Tom?

  36. reb, on May 27th, 2009 at 4:00 pm Said:
    Although, if they throw in a prostrate exam it might not be so bad…

    Mmmmm… a prostrate exam, hey, the mind boggles!


    On a personal note regarding my $7000+ teef – the one next to the new ones is now giving me crap! Grrr…does anything work properly in the 21st century (AND I include people!)


    SREB, I suffer from psoratic arthritis, nothing helped, until I discovered emu oil … only one side effect…

    …you lay some awfully big eggs! 😆

    Seriously it has helped me!

  37. I have just about completed the outside of my vessel.
    I just have to rub it down till its shiny.
    Swine flu is making a comeback. The media just cant whip us into a panicked frenzy yet, (i can see the next report) man with swine flu blows up.

    I need a drink, we have been seperated for too long.

  38. Bloody hell, joni! Open-heart surgery?! My hat’s off to you, darlin’, cos that’s some serious recovery right there! Don’t think I could stand seeing a picture of my own heart afterward though… it’d remind me too much of just how… er, open I was on the operating table. Gives me the shudders just imagining it!

    Would make a good excuse to avoid meeting clients though… “Sorry, you’ll have to visit the clients yourself today. I don’t think my heart could stand the stress. Say, have you seen my heart – I think I have a picture of it in my wallet” *cue retching noises and a race to the bathroom*

  39. Indeed Ben.

    It sounds like we need our own Blogocrats rehabilitation centre!!

  40. On another subject, I was thinking, that in the context of Australia’s generally atrocious standards of journalism, perhaps we should make tomorrow –


    Maybe we could all think of something flattering to say about our Kerry…?

    Maybe we could start with his hair…? Or perhaps scratch that…

  41. What about our most admired journalists . . . . scratch that too.

  42. Scratch my back

    Wetsuits get itchy

  43. Most admired journalists you say Tony…?

    1. Kerry O’Brien

    Well I got to one….

  44. 2. Michael Brissenden

  45. I can see you’re watching the 7:30 Report. Talk about living in the moment.

  46. LOL! Very perceptive Tony!

  47. 3. Sir Nicholas Stern

  48. Hey, I’ve just noticed Blogocrats has a nice little blue square icon with a white B in it on my Favourites side bar … very nice!

  49. Mines just got a crummy old wordpress w in a circle.

    I wonder if Joni’s watching Office Tigers.

  50. The only procedure I had a problem with was a barium enema. They pump air up the backside before taking the x-ray.

    The comedian running the show said to me – while I was laying there with with enough air pumped up my arse that I thought I’d float off – well he said that I could do anything I wanted to do at that very moment. Annnnnything. Except fart.

    Believe me – there was only one thing to wanted to do.

    But it was banned.

  51. The only procedure I had a problem with was a barium enema. They pump air up the backside before taking the x-ray.

    The comedian running the show said to me – while I was laying there with with enough air pumped up my arse that I thought I’d float off – well he said that I could do anything I wanted to do at that very moment. Annnnnything. Except fart.

    Believe me – there was only one thing I wanted to do.

    But it was banned.

  52. What happened there?

  53. You farted.

  54. It was that good you had to do it twice?

  55. Does anyone know what’s happened to Oftenbark?

    And yep, I spent the next 15 minutes farting. It’s never felt so good.

  56. Costello obviously graduated from the Goose School of Economics. During the boom, when Governments are supposed to cut back and make room for the private sector, Costello spent hundreds of billions of dollars, like a drunken sailor staggering around the marginal electorates he was. Now, during a serious recession, when Government’s role is to increase spending and take up the gap caused by reduced private investment, Costello wants to slash spending and cut the programmes designed to help working families through the bad times.

    Costello’s bizarre economic prescription would deliver Australia a re-run of 1929.

  57. Last I heard, he was following a non-winning horse called Discorsi. He’s probably busy washing his bookie’s car.

  58. Yeah Mark, a much better prescription is to splash around billions, without any particular direction or discipline.

    Billions on insulation (is it means tested?), billions on cash handouts, leaving nothing in the tank.

    Sound economics.

  59. How appropriate. The blog topic goes from farts to Costello.

    There are similarities.

  60. I wonder if I am the only blogocrat with a photo of their heart?


    Maybe we could swap photos? I had a colonoscopy and gastroscopy in March and have some lovely internal colour photos.

  61. The Goose School of Economics? Can’t find it with Google …

  62. LOL

  63. #The blog topic goes from farts to Costello

    i dont see the difference.

  64. Its like when someone says ” ill give you a tip”
    i look for Costello.

  65. Did I mention that there are apparently 5000 Telstra employees on strike today?

    This is obviously to punish the new Telstra regime for saying that they were willing to commence negotiations for a collective agreement with the union.

    Let that be a lesson to them.

  66. they were willing to commence negotiations for a collective agreement with the union.

    When Tom? And why then?

  67. I thought Telstra outsourced everything, Do they still have workers?
    Or is this in another country?

  68. The news of this change was reported fairly widely, eg –


    But typically the unions have only one reaction – take action.

  69. The Japanese Government is searching far and wide for the right response to North Korea’s increasingly aggressive behaviour, according to this report in today’s Japan Times: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20090527a1.html

  70. Clinton reportedly reassured Nakasone that the U.S. is determined to carry out its duties under the bilateral security treaty.

    Well, that answers the question of Japan’s whipping up a few tactical nukes of its own, at least. (Not that it couldn’t, nor that it couldn’t do so in weeks, if not days, if it wanted to with all the prep work done in advance, and just the assembly to do…as a world leader in nuclear fission and fusion sciences.)

  71. Tom,

    I’ve heard from some within the big “T” that what is reported publicly isn’t what is actually happening. I thought you, the guru of all things industrial, may have some further knowledge of what’s going on.

    The word is that HR people are madly scrambling to see exactly what they will HAVE to comply with, in terms of “good faith bargaining” and what they can get away with – history would say this sounds quite feasible.

    It was difficult to find much from the affected unions, but it seems at least one of them is not impressed:


    When you read today’s announcement about Telstra’s planned approach to negotiate with employees over a new enterprise agreement, nothing could better demonstrate that little’s changed at Telstra.

    Sure, the CEO’s changed – but today shows that the mindset remains the same.

    In a self-gratifying gesture, Telstra pauses for applause over their announcement to obey the new laws set out in the Fair Work Act, which will enforce the employer’s responsibility to enter into good faith bargaining with their employees’ chosen representatives.

    As usual, what is publicly reported by a large group of Robber Barons (copyright TB 2008?) is far different to what’s happening for workers on the ground…

  72. Nah, nah, nah. Sol’s not a dud, yer bloomin work-shy dingbats, he’s a top bloke, a super-star of management an always a “heroic” mate of tha ugly one. So wake up 2 yerselves, yer backward whingers, quick smart, OK?

  73. I’m beginning to think that class background is affecting your vision and limiting your potential for total world domination, BWOOCE. Sol was and is a grunt of the managerial class. Sure, he helped himself to the C-suite sweets: some petty cash, a shares allotment, a couple of rental apartments, a free phone or two to lose on overseas junkets; but it’s not as if he’s a genuine Capitalist worthy of any genuine respect. I know it’s trendy to lie about liking work colleagues in this networked day and age, but let’s be honest: Sol was a dick who sold his soul for a bowl of pottage in the big scheme of things. Until the man can say billion after worth-a, he can only be an acquaintance and definitely not a ‘top’ one of anything. Please have more respect for yourself and the education that an MBA provides to prospective Masters of the Universe (and not managerial grunts at Telecom who’ve sold out and are slumming it in small and backwards markets).

  74. Geez, reb, off ta see teh sawbones eh?

    Nothing serious, I hope.

    Not to worry. Orthopods are lovely people, right up-there with Anaesthetists. Some of them can even communicate in a full sentence, too, so you might even find-out what’s wrong.

  75. When the $900 giveaways were announced I was not impressed – happy for the infrastructure spending ’cause we need it – now!

    I’m a SFR but did some work in the last tax year but got a full refund…so not eligible for either handout … and that’s fine …

    … seems Australians who are dead, permanently live overseas and prisoners in jail are much more needy…


  76. The trouble with personal debt in the US aint moving anywhere soon. More write-offs and bankruptcies on the way? Yep. We’ve now got to take seriously our own level of personal debt and the likely impact it will continue to have.

    The $4 trillion housing headache
    House prices have returned to 2002 levels, but mortgage debt hasn’t deflated from its bubbly highs.

    NEW YORK (Fortune) — House prices are taking a long ride in the wayback machine. Unfortunately, Americans’ housing-related debt isn’t going anywhere fast.

    Prices in big U.S. cities posted their biggest-ever decline in the first quarter, according to the most recent S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price index. After nearly three years of declines, house prices nationwide are back at 2002 levels — and still falling.

    Yet as bad as that is for overburdened homeowners and their bankers, the mighty mountain of mortgage debt Americans have taken on is an even bigger concern – especially for those who believe an economic recovery is in sight.

    Time to pick and choose: Housing or Jobs
    March 21st, 2009
    You could be mistaken for thinking we didn’t each have a part to play in the Global Financial Crisis. It wasn’t that long ago Kevin Rudd was saying “As Prime Minister I will not sit idly by and watch Australian households suffer the worst effects of a global crisis we did not create.”

    But the cause is closer to home than we think.

    The Great House Bubble

    Despite real estate agents and industry lobbyists shamelessly spreading the concept that house prices double every 7 to 10 years, sadly this is nothing but lies. But as they say there is “truth in marketing” and you certainly can’t say they haven’t marketed Real Estate well – just too well, and now we are paying the costs.

    House prices in fact, do not increase in the long term faster than inflation. Historically, you don’t buy houses for capital appreciation, but rather rental yield.

  77. Here’s another concern: the Federal Government will end up having to bail out incompetent state governments like NSW.

    Debts ravage hospital service
    SOME of Sydney’s largest public hospitals frequently run out of medical supplies because they have debts of millions of dollars and the consultants PricewaterhouseCoopershave been called in to help stop the problem deteriorating.

    The authority running western Sydney’s public hospitals owes suppliers nearly twice as much as previously acknowledged, according to internal figures that reveal for the dire state of its true financial position.

  78. Well Philip Ruddock will be pleased to hear that dead people are entitled to the stimulus bonus.

    Maybe he could use it to top himself up with embalming fluid…

  79. For Joni….


    And then there’s the issue of hard hats. Again, not exactly earth shattering stuff, but when the stakes are so low, as they are in each case, doesn’t it disturb you even a bit that Rudd’s default position is to simply lie? When those lies are so easily corrected? Again, I think there’s something else going on and Rudd’s in a panic. Something we don’t know about yet.

  80. TB..well that seems to be a stuff-up doesn’t it. Obviously the government thought that if they sent the $s to those who put in a tax return that would cover it but forgot about estates, ex-pats and temporary foreign workers lodging returns.

    The other stuff-up which they have subsequently corrected is those on PhD scholarships. Daughter was told that she didn’t qualify even though PhD candidates are (very) low paid…that is, non taxable income and they are not technically ‘students’ but are candidates. However, they’ve fixed that one up now.

  81. Oh my god James the opposition line of attack almost verbatim.

    Innuendo, muck raking, mud slinging and it goes on. It’s very telling of the character of those who continually engage in this sort of low brow insinuation in the smallest hope some of it might stick, and also telling it continues to mostly backfire.

    Stop treating people as stupid James, either you have something or your don’t, and if all you can come up with is “something we don’t know about yet”, which is straight out of the opposition attack book, then just shut the fuck up.

    Stupid thing about this failed line of attacking Rudd James is that there are genuine and more important things to criticise Rudd over and hold him to account for, but this petty muck raking and nit picking character assassination is not the way to do it.

  82. There’s only one thing (regrettably) that feels better than that contrast dye…

    I didn’t really find contrast dye a good feeling – weird, but not good.

    And I’ve had a colonoscopy, gastroscopy and cystoscopy (but unfortunately no colour photos). I heartily recommend avoiding the latter where feasible. Whoever coined the phrase “like p*ssing razor blades” was NOT kidding. And they make you drink about a litre of fluid shortly after you wake up…

  83. James

    Thanks for that – and so it does seem that the German line used by the PM was a lie.

    And did you see the get-out-clause in the SMH article? Where they say “the Herald understands”…hmmm

  84. Wow, the RBA have announced that they stand ready to up interest rates if inflation picks up as a result of local and international stimulus measures, and this guy’s basing a recovery on the fact that interest rates are record lows and unsuspecting first homeowners are willing to continue paying higher and higher prices and the privilege of boosting their lifelong debt committments . Similar principle JWH was spruiking not that long ago.

    The Housing Industry Association is forecasting a recovery in the housing market will begin mid-year.

    The effect of the First Home Owners Grant boost, along with 49-year-low interest rates, will cause the housing sector to “grind out” a recovery in the middle of the year, HIA chief economist Harley Dale said in a statement.

  85. Handyrab, they thought my partner had kidney stones a while back (obviously in a lot of pain). They said druggies would pretend to have them, because it’s just about the most painful thing you can have.

  86. Joni, the question is why? Leaving aside what we think of all politicians etc, and both sides of politics have their lists and all that, but these lies just seem so stupid. Why could he not just say he didn’t think he was the best person for the job or something. They seem to be just rolling off the tongue. Why?

  87. James why did Howard lie over and over, why do any of them lie over anything whether it’s piddling or major.

    Methinks it’s more to do with Rudd doing it than anything else and you are just engaging in some petty character assassination, nothing more nothing less.

    Wish you were as critical against Howard or even Turnbull now who has been exaggerating a bit and told one or two porkies for political expediency.

  88. And why are interest rates abnormally low?

    Lehman failure escalated crisis: RBA
    The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) says the failure of Lehman Brothers in 2008 dramatically escalated the global financial crisis and reduced the impact of changes to monetary policy.

    RBA deputy governor Ric Battellino says the collapse of the 158-year-old US investment bank in September last year caused a decline in household and business confidence.

    As a result, many nations found that their normal monetary policy transmission mechanism had become less effective, forcing official interest rates to “abnormally low levels, in some cases close to zero”.

    “The reason why official interest rates have been reduced to such extreme levels is that frictions in markets had made interest rates on loans to households and businesses less responsive to cuts in official rates,” Mr Battellino said on Thursday.

    Mr Battellino told a Securities and Derivatives Industry Association conference in Sydney that among developed economies, only Australia, New Zealand Denmark and Norway still had official interest rates above one per cent.

  89. Adrian at 11.58, I don’t have anything. As I said. It’s not out of any text book, but you explain to me why an experienced diplomat and politician is showing such poor judgement. It’s not muckraking to point out that Rudd is lying for no apparent good reason and to speculate that it may indicate an element of panic. And in the absence of anything about which to panic, it’s not muckraking to suggest that there may be something in the wings.

    What are your thoughts on these lies?

    Absolutely there are important things to attack Rudd for, although I don’t see you volunteering them.

    Adrian’s latest line of defence “Don’t pick on Rudd for that, there are more important things to pick on him for”. Funny I don’t recall you applying that line of thought when you went in to bat for John Howard on any issue under the sun.

  90. Adrian, if you don’t have the intellectual capacity to understand the distinction I have drawn between the average political “lie” and the porkies I am talking about, then how about you just stay out of it. I am well aware that I’m not about to convince anyone on this blog to switch political alliances over these matters, least of all Joni. I am aware that every politician has to some degree stretched the truth for the sake of political expediency. If you don’t think the question is worth answering then don’t. If it’s too difficult to answer, then exercise your right to avoid it as you have in the hockey thread. Please don’t tell me to shut the fuck up or I may interpret your phrase as an attempt to nobble my right to free speech.

  91. John Mcphilbin, on May 28th, 2009 at 9:40 am Said:

    Further to your post John. I cannot for the life of me believe that the Health Department does not have enough senior accountants (even if they pull them in from friggin Treasury of Finance for Godsake) without having to employ Price Waterhouse.

    Words fail me in trying to getr my head around some of the things that governments do.

    Plus why the Hell does every Area Health Service have its own accounts department. It’s absolutely f*****g ridiculous. The Health Department should have one and only one accounts department handling its books. Just like a large corporation.

    Then yesterday there’s an article saying that they are going to raise the base salary of Cityrail Station Masters from $78K per year to $91K per year. What the F*** !!!!!!

    Is there a Degree in Station Mastering available at TAFE these days ?

    How can anyone justify that sort of salary for a job that does not involve any formal education yet a cop on $50K a year has to do a degree from Charles Sturt University…………….!

    Its bloody ridiiculous what some public servants get paid and no wonder this state cant pay its health bills

    I just shake my head at this sort of stuff.

  92. Now we are hearing that 8 of Wayne Swan’s most senior bureaucrats flew to London First Class at a cost in airfares of $120,000. Business Class not good enough ?

    Just wonderful is it not……………………….every rock that one peers under you’ll just find another example of wanton waste.

    And some of you wonder why people try to avoid paying their taxes or at least minimising them ??????

  93. ….Absolutely Walrus, it shows just how dysfunctional NSW really is. I won’t be at all surprised if Rees and his cronies call for a bailout from the Federal Government, simply because ‘health’ is only the tip of the iceburg when it comes to mismanaging finances – in fact, NSW’s ‘incomings’ are depleting whilst their ‘outgoings’ are ballooning just as fast, if not faster it seems

  94. http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/one_in_five_pigs/desc/#commentsmore

    Well looky here, I posted a well worded counter to Andrew Bolt and got published.

  95. James of North Melbourne, on May 28th, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I’ll answer your question from the Hockey thread. The answer is: no. On logic alone. And I don’t even care bout the ‘great debate’ all that much where its presented as a bounded, seemingly bi-polar system and not as an object of worthy study in its own right. I’ll leave you ti figure out why trying to impose a linear construct and terminus for discussion about a non-linear system is a priori silly.

  96. I think, Legion, I get what you’re saying, to the extent that I understand it. The response that I am trying to provoke, and it is certainly a provocation, is that no matter what happens to temperature in the future, there will always be a reason why they haven’t behaved as modelled, and that CC will remain the fault of mankind. I will eventually be told again that I must believe in it because the peer reviewed scientists say it is so, which really is why I must believe in it now. And that’s the guts of my objection to the conduct of this debate that apparently ceased some years ago. If you stop and say “Hang on, this doesn’t ring true” and start to ask questions, you are labelled a denier and placed in a nice little box by John Quiggin. If the proponents hadn’t presented a linear case from the start, or at least allowed a linear case to be presented on their behalf, then they may have better grounds now to tell average Joe now to “Mate, just believe us because we’ve studied it, we’re right, we can’t possibly explain it in terms you understand, but you’re gonna have to make some changes”.

  97. Today the CFMEU has been fined $100,000 for coercion. One of their officials has been fined $15,000.

    They have to pay costs.

    The government will weaken regulation of the construction industry at their peril.

  98. Adrian, I’ll back up James here on the PM is in panic mode and the general public don’t know about it…YET!

    I’m not at liberty to divulge the details so you’ll have to wait to the matter is leaked to the media at the chosen time.

    I’ve been kept informed by a high profile member of GSC and in the first instance assumed she was referring to the opposition leader, I was mistaken.

    This is an excerpt from the communication I received on Tueday night.
    I had good news today re: the scandal. I have the best silk possible going all
    out for me. The federal government’s worst nightmare is he is doing it
    pro-bono with supports to back him up.
    Not muckraking at all!

  99. Tom,

    You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve booked George the Greek Car Thief’s restaurant The Press Club for dinner during my stint in Melbourne.

    We’re also going to Ginger Boy the night before.

    I was tempted with Vue De Monde but at $250 a head plus grog, it’s a bit steep for even this wealth crazed prick.

    Thanks for the recommendations!

  100. Enjoy yourself Reb.

    I see the Mayor is aware of a secret political scandal! I do hope he will be able to share it with us soon.

    We are privileged to have such a worldly, well connected contributor.

    Anyone have an tips on the nature of the scandal ?

    Julia is a very attractive woman – remember where you heard it first.

  101. Reb, I’ve been meaning to take you to task on your comments some weeks ago about that show. For me, it has been a good excuse to go do some work when the wife switches it on, or at least to argue with you people. But I did watch it the other night and I must say that I was pleasently surprised at the positive vibe of the show. It’s a far cry from that violently abusive fool that seems to get all the press. Whilst I won’t cancel a beer with my mates to get home in time to watch it I must say I thought it wasn’t bad. I do think though that the little bloke looks like he’d have stolen hubcaps in his day and the upward inflexion on his “Yeah” at the end of each sentence is a little annoying, I thought the show wasn’t all that bad. For a reality show.

  102. James,

    It’s a show that I love to hate. It’s got everything going for it, suspense, drama, comedy, intrigue and it’s all so tacky and high-camp at the same time.

    It’s also a really great excercise in dragging out what is probably just a 15 minute show over into an hour long saga.

    It’s like “Sam’s not happy with his souffle, what will the judges think? Find out after the break..”

    And then after the break…

    “Sam seems to be having trouble with his souffle..”

    And you sit there thinking. “I know! You just f**king told me that before the break!!. I demand to know what Oscar Wilde got’s to say!!!”

  103. Reb and James, you have just about talked me into watching it. Now to get hubby to fix the TV aerial so that we can get normal tellie….a six month saga.

  104. What show are we talking about? Does it come with subtitles?

  105. Tom of Melbourne, on May 28th, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    All I know is that the tid-bit mentioned silk, and we all know where that comes from. And so the Chinese whispers go on…

  106. Yeah the advert thing goes with the territory, and is one of the main reasons I refuse to watch reality TV. I find it just so insulting…… But anyway, I was pleasently surprised by the positive vibe given off by the judges, a far cry from the bored cynical or downright abusive stuff on offer elsewhere. Makes me want to try cooking.

  107. Masterchef, Joni, Masterchef…

    It’s the campest show on TV at the moment..

    It’s got at these long drawn out pauses that are meant to heighten the suspense, but it’s almost farsical.

    In fact, sometimes I wonder whether the whole thing is just one big piss take.

    Especially the judges – there’s George “the Greek” this little wog who looks more like a car thief than a chef and Matt Preston (aka Oscar Wilde) who delivers everything he says as if he was Moses.

    Check out the web site – http://www.masterchef.com.au/home.htm

    It seems to be on every night of the week – constantly.

  108. Searching..searching..I’ve lost my rainbow lorikeet due to having to go back onto the old computer.

  109. Makes me want to try cooking

    Funnily enough, it did me too James…

    (did that make any sense?)

    I even tried George the Greek’s cauliflower puree the other night (although I used broccoli instead) and it was bloody beautiful.

  110. Yay..am back again. Reb..a good combo is cauliflower plus broccoli. One thing that I have found is Outback Spirit. They have a little cookbook at the local Coles. I made the steak with their Wild Pepper Sauce..it was very nice indeed.

  111. Sensational news Legion. So news of an affair hasn’t come out yet

  112. Anyone have an tips on the nature of the scandal ?

    The price of rendering cement is about to escalate wildly out of control…??

  113. Anyway, Reb, Legion, Tom, why the bare faced lies? As for Scaper’s idea, I hope he gets it up, the idea I mean. All the best ideas are mocked in the first instance.

  114. …no matter what happens to temperature in the future, there will always be a reason why they haven’t behaved as modelled, and that CC will remain the fault of mankind.

    James, you may think that but that doesn’t make it true. Read my comments here (particularly the last paragraph) and here.

  115. All the best ideas are mocked in the first instance.

    First they mock you, then they ignore you, then they fight you, then you win? 😉

  116. It’s got at these long drawn out pauses that are meant to heighten the suspense, but it’s almost farsical.

    Almost? They are bl**dy farcical. Thank goodness for a PVR. As someone said, there’s only about 15 minutes of actual content in a 30 minute timeslot. It is a compelling show, but I couldn’t stand to watch it without being able to fastforward through all the repetition (because we obviously have such poor short term memories that we can’t remember what was going on before the ad break) and the banal statements of the blindingly obvious (“well, one of us is going to get eliminated so the pressure is really on”).

  117. …there’s George “the Greek” this little wog who looks more like a car thief than a chef and Matt Preston (aka Oscar Wilde) who delivers everything he says as if he was Moses.

    The body language from the shorter two guys is very interesting – you can see them doing classic maneuvers to make themselves look taller or more imposing or authoritative…and once you see the trick it starts to look amusing rather than effective.

  118. and once you see the trick it starts to look amusing rather than effective

    The whole heavily “staged” feel of the show is part of it’s charm Loth.

    I know what you mean about George. he will often lean towards the left when he’s standing, with his shoulders arched back, as if he’s trying to see someone at the back of the room.

    While Oscar, he’s bloody huge with that foreboding presence of his. he has to stand with his legs spread far apart in order to not make George look so tiny next to him.

    I like Gary though. He’s a bit of a spunk…

  119. James of North Melbourne, on May 28th, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    I thought it a fair demonstration of why ‘false lighting’ is no light at all. What am I supposed to think about a piece of nudge, nudge, wink, wink advance callumnification? About the only scandal is being gleeful about a scandal and not extending compassion to all, imho, regardless of their supposed faux pas and perhaps because of it. And on the matter of ‘lying’ you have raised, and on the material presented, there is no lie apparent; just speculation and a rehash of others preferences and random thoughts. Define the ‘lie’: where is the ‘lie’ that you so clearly see?

  120. Lotharsson, now there is at least a logical argument in favour of the hypothesis. Have you any links to what the climate should have been over the period?

  121. N.B. I used your piece at James of North Melbourne, on May 28th, 2009 at 10:11 am as my point of reference because it was the most immediate example of your employment of the term when working backwards.

  122. From what I’m reading on here is there some sort of scandal about to break involving a high ranking Labor MP banging someone else ???????????????????

  123. Mmmmmmmmmmmm……………..!

    No response………………….I better email my mate in Canberra…….he’ll know.

  124. The lie, Legion, is this.

    When asked why Borrowman didn’t get the gig Rudd said “……I prefer our diplomats to speak the language……the last time I looked, Germans spoke German”. Borrowman is proficient in German. Again, I don’t even know who Borrowman is, so why lie?

  125. But is he proficient? That is why the “the Herald understands” comment makes me wonder if he really is proficient?

  126. There’s a scandal about to break James, and one of our regular contributors is not telling us all the juicy inside information.

    If the scandal isn’t that Kev and Julia are having an affair, then it might be that the town planning application for a “regional city, a hub for activity, an eco friendly transport junction” has been approved!! And we’re all moving to Crapperville!!

    The flies, dust and heat, it will be all ours!!!!

    This is a man clearly “in the know”. It is his responsibility to share this information with us, even on a confidential basis. We won’t tell anyone.

  127. Define proficient, Joni. I can only go on the reports which say that he is. Stephen Smith’s website says he has “qualifications”.

  128. James

    Indeed it does! I stand corrected.

  129. Yes I note we are about to be ‘shocked’ by info that only the ‘insiders’ have at this point. or perhaps not. I do note as well that on May 9, the ‘insider’ also said:

    TB, funny how the blog sniper got it so wrong with his high speed passenger trains…lol!

    Now who got it wrong? Lol. A new high speed passenger train across the inland – what a scream, particularly when the existing one is now broke.

    As for the appointment of Diplomats to particular locations, it has always been the prerogative of the PM as part of the Cabinet process. Storm in a teacup.

  130. James of North Melbourne, on May 28th, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Well, well, two holes in the ground, James, one of which was lost in translation ellipsis, apparently. And surprise: a) Peter Tesch; b) Peter Tesch, Australian Commissioner General to Expo 2010 (Shanghai); and Peter Tesch, long-time speaker of German and well-familiar with Europe (even if Alexander’s French was rusty, then or now). Whereas, Mr Bowman appears to return to Stockholm with his Swedish language credentials intact; in Sweden they apparently speak Swedish. 😉

  131. Oops, make that Mr Bowman Borrowman.

  132. Hey sniper, nice bit of selective copy and paste, clown!

    I won’t waste my time explaining anything to you.


  133. Nature 5, on May 28th, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Was that a slip of the “capture” or a subtle way to include me, N5?

  134. Scaper that map is older than I am. It’s been proposed ‘forever’. Can you direct me to any allocation in the Budget which provides for money to actually build an inch of that track? Just a page! Just a dollar!

    And how does this ‘proposal’ qualify as ‘high speed’, and to the ‘inland’?

    As for the pejorative labels, well at least you are consistent. As for the ‘nice bit of selective copy and paste’ I’ll simply cite the whole statement chapter and verse:

    scaper…, on May 9th, 2009 at 12:15 pm Said:

    TB, funny how the blog sniper got it so wrong with his high speed passenger trains…lol!

    Date, time and reference. And your evidence is?

  135. No wish to include you TB.

  136. Nature 5, on May 28th, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Good, no wish to BE included.

  137. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,25532542-5006785,00.html

    Your inanity is showing yet again, clown!

  138. So, is “the inland city, a rail hub, connecting east to west, north to south, opening up our vast centre to the rapidly growing northern neighbours…”, actually Dubbo?

    Dubbo isn’t as hot, dusty or as fly infested as I’d hoped.

    It isn’t quite as far north or west as I’d been led to believe based on the “vision” of Crapperville.

  139. scaper your link to the OO is about a rail line going WEST from Melbourne – not NORTH to Brisbane and bears no resemblance to the map you provided. There is a total disconnect. No mention of the Melbourne to Brisbane line except a comparative assessment by Truss.

    Any Budget reference (in terms of dollars) to the Brisbane to Melbourne line? Any reference to ‘high speed passenger’?

    But things are improving – only one pejorative descriptor this time. Lol.

  140. Tom of Melbourne, on May 28th, 2009 at 7:01 pm Said:

    Well you get that from the map but that Melbourne to Brisbane link is not funded in the Budget. Funding is for another project completely:

    The project will be funded by a $3.2 billion contribution from the Rudd Government and $1.1billion from the state and is intended to take country trains off the suburban network creating capacity for more city commuter trains as well as servicing the new and growing suburbs around Werribee.

    servicing the new and growing suburbs around Werribee. Right! It follows that the proposed site for the new:

    inland city, a rail hub, connecting east to west, north to south

    must be Werribee.

    Tom given your local knowledge, what are the flies like at Werribee?.

    Me, I would love to see a line built from Melbourne to Brisbane and take X number of semis off the road but there would have to be an economic case for same and to date I haven’t seen one.

  141. Can this be fixed? Best if you wipe it in toto and I’ll post again. Thanks.

  142. The human race was dying out.

    No one left to scream and shout.

    People walking on the moon.

    Smog will get you pretty soon.

  143. N5 – that’s why I’m the only one left here that uses punctuation marks!

    The idea of moving the vast inland city, a hub…etc, (ie Crapperville) to Werribee has merit.

    Werribee has a sewage farm, and attracts sufficient flies to develop world class “caviar d‘mouche” or “veal d’maine” industries.

    While Werribee is not particularly dusty, and no hotter than Melbourne (25km), it is a good start. There are certainly sufficient numbers of local misfits, see media reports earlier this year. Misfits in such volume and showing such a level of behaviour that the NRL should be confident that the sport does have a future in the south after all.

    The only difficulty I see is that I just cannot imagine the vast number of tourists making the trip to Werribee. Many thousands would have made the trip to some isolated spot perhaps 500km east (or west) of Ti Tree. The various attractions – flies, red dust, 1 meter high scrub, flies and dust are hard to beat. Suburban Melbourne just doesn’t have these various attractions, or at least Werribee doesn’t.

    Werribee just has a good supply of misfits and a world class sewage farm. The Mayor would be elected by acclaimation.

  144. Tom of Melbourne, on May 28th, 2009 at 9:28 pm Said:

    The only difficulty I see is that I just cannot imagine the vast number of tourists making the trip to Werribee

    Surely, the advent of high speed passenger trains @ 200 km per hour would be an attraction?

    And yes this experiment with fancy presentation is pathetic.

  145. Dangnabit, missed out on the freakshow.

  146. I’m not entirely thrilled to learn that the human race is dying out BTW.

    What is a smog?????????

  147. dunghill Johnson, on May 29th, 2009 at 12:30 am Said:



    I think you need to cut back a bit on the crack cocaine !

  148. Smog is a great band!

  149. Nice to see that this government has completely lost any sense of perspective and humility. A few stories are stories are illustrative of this.

    Business class isn’t good enough for political hacks. Once in office get your snout into the trough.

    The hangers on, advisers, media officers, in ministers office go first class.

    The food and champagne would be wasted on them. They’d think Grant Burge is up market.


    Then we have ministers complaining that they have to get a taxi!! From the airport!!! Because there is no commonwealth car!!!!!!!!!!! How on earth did they survive in oppostiton????

    These stories are particularly interesting, coming on top of Rudd’s whinging about food on a VIP flight, and then giving away our money, the so called “stimulus” to people overseas and the dead

    Nothing like stimulating the dead. Great to provide a stimulus to some struggling countries overseas, such as France and the UK.

    Get the snout in the troughs, because this won’t last for ever.

  150. Tom..sigh. Dead people did indeed receive the bonus because it was based on people having lodged a tax return. It’s not exactly the government’s fault if people fell off the perch since filling in their last tax return. Nor is it possible for the government to query every person who has lodged a tax return to ask: Are you still alive?

  151. Tom

    I work in IT – how exactly was the ATO going to eliminate dead people from a list of tax payers? Answers on the back of a tax form please.

  152. Yes Min, still here, pointing out government stupidity, lack of logic and poor policy. I think it is the responsibility of government to spend our money with restraint. They are responsible for targeting expenditure effectively.

    Giving it to the dead and people overseas isn’t really doing much in the way of stimulating our economy.

    Joni, it wasn’t me that wasted millions in this way, it is the responsibility of the government to spend effectively, so I’m not sure it is my problem to resolve. Try lodging a form to get it. Or individual to provide their tax file number. It is the job of government to administer our taxes efficiently. They are supposed to be experts, not just splash our money around as they are.

    What about spending $60,000 on first class tickets for some political advisors. Complaining about having to get a taxi? They’ve lost the plot.

  153. They could have at least eliminated people residing overseas. I mean for Christs sake the money should have only been paid to Australian citizens and should have been based upon having lodged 2006, 2007 and 2008 returns as an additional safeguard.

    There was a lot they could have done to at least minimise the waste.

  154. Do some people have no shame? Rorting the system, even when they’re dead..

  155. Tom

    I agree that that spending the money on First Class travel is disgusting.

    But the whole point of the stimulus was that it was needed quickly. To eliminate the dead (or even those overseas) is not a trivial matter for an IT department. I do not blame the government for it, I blame the ATO’s tax department (if anyone).

    It probably came down to a cost-time benefit analysis. What was the cost to identify and eliminate the dead/overseas over the need to get the payments out the door.

    Now a question – did the dead waste their payments on the pokies or did they put it in their bank accounts?

  156. Walrus. I agree. They could have done it better. I don’t think that it would have been possible to try to eliminate people who died but who lodged tax returns.

    (Just askin’)..how do you eliminate people who are overseas? The oldies on their scenic tour or the Scottish Highlands? This would require another census in itself re how much time one has spent overseas. Min waves to joni 😉

    Re non-citizens being eliminated..how would you do this? To me (non-economically minded person) but wouldn’t that mean going through every single tax return to ascertain whether a person is a citizen or not. What about the people who have been dutifully paying taxes for 40yrs but never got around to becoming a naturalised citizens?

  157. What about spending $60,000 on first class tickets for some political advisors.

    I presume you’re referring to the Treasurer Wayne Swan flying first class to London.

    I guess it depends on precedents.

    I wonder what class the previous Treasurer chose to fly on, for international destinations..?

    Oh look, it was “first class” too…!


  158. Joni – So they needed to get it out quickly.

    For those that wanted to stimulate our vital gambling industry, I think they might have filled the form out pretty quickly.

    I still find it sickening that Crown Casino had a surge in revenue due to the stimulus package.

    The entire episode is a blight on any suggestion that this is a prudent and restrained government.

    Min – I signed form may have been evidence that the person was alive and in the country.

  159. a signed form.

  160. Nah reb, this is about flying government advisors and hanger ons first class, not front bench pollies.

  161. With regards to payments going to dead people,

    apparantly, the payments were sent to anyone who qualified for the payment AND submitted a tax return last year, so presumably these people have snuffed it since submitting their last tax return, in which case the payment has gone to the ESTATE of that individual and as such will still be spent or invested or whatever by the benefactors of the estate.

    Honestly, the Liberal party realy are desperate for a headline these days…

  162. Elimination of people living overseas could be achieved by requiring the person reciving the cash to have lodged 3 consecutive tax returns. Backpackers are unlikely to have done so since they would have ben on 12 month visas I would think.

    You can still pay the bonus to people who paid tax in 2008 even if they did not in 2007 or 2006.

    The only people who might not have lodged 3 years running are the Young. So OK have a look at their application for a tax file number and see if they declare themselves as citizens.

    There are a myriad of ways to reduce the waste. As for people who have died well not much can be done really.

    Its just ridiculous that we have so many public servants and no one gives a rats arse about simple “custodianship” of taxpayer funds.

  163. what about Union officials flying business class?

    eh Tom?

    (apologies to everyone else for raising that), prepare ourselves for an onslaught from Tom….

  164. What was it – $40 million to dead & OS taxpayers, out of a total stimulus package of $42 billion ($8 billion of which was the cash bonuses)? That’s 0.095% of the total package or 0.5% of the bonuses. I think joni’s got it right with the cost-benefit analysis reasoning…

  165. Reb, the only time union officials travel first class is when

    • They are blackmailing an airline with the threat of industrial action.
    • They are embarking on a “study tour” of best practise, which must be in the European summer, and always includes Capri and Siena.
    • They are rorting some members funds.
    • They are visiting the ILO.
    • They are on a private trip

    Other than these limited occasions they only travel business class!

  166. bacchus, on May 29th, 2009 at 11:11 am Said:

    Bacchus………………you cant eliminate it all but you should be able to reduce it.

    “Devaluing the value” of $40M does not do the Labor stimulus argument any favours as people justifiably think to themselves “Well that could have been spent on my local hospital”

    So with $40M and what……………..lets say 1,000 hospitals……….well that $40M is spent 1,000 times and becomes $40 Billion in the minds of voters nationwide

  167. Tom..you mean that prior to receiving the stimulus $s that a form would have needed to be sent out to every Australian taxpayer/student/recipient of the pension asking: Are you still alive?

  168. Yeah, only $40,000,000. Nothing. Spend it and get on with it. Don’t worry about the cost.

    And how much was put through our vital poker machine industry?

    It is also up to the government to connect with our expectations, eg first class travel for hacks. The only people that should be in first class are the wives of the pilots, and perhaps one of the beneficiaries of the Pratt estate.

    Min, it is up to the government to stop giving our money to dead people and sending our “stimulus” money overseas.

  169. Tom

    And you are also not taking-note of the evidence (which has been put up on here in the past) that showed that the handouts DID in fact stimulate the economy. Remember the 2% jump in retail?

  170. Your take there is probably quite accurate IATW, but back in the real world, if the government had demanded that there be little or no “waste” of the stimulus payments, the ATO would still be trying to work out how to do that, which IT consultants to hire, and how much it was all going to cost – The stimulus package would probably not get distributed until 2020, and a large proportion of the unwasted $40 million would have been spent trying to save it.

  171. Bacchus………………..I would have been quite willing to use my methods to check as many of the payments I could and only be paid a 10% success fee.

    I suspect you might have been quite willing as well

  172. Joni, how many jobs are created by a temporary increase of 2% in retail spending? The cash bonus was what? $10,000,000,000? For a 2% lift in retail spending?

    I’ve not been in favour of these cash handouts to everyone. Just pumping ill directed money out is not value.

    I don’t find bland dismissal of $40m of waste acceptable and I don’t find it good value to give Crown a 12% jump in their revenue.

    People were critical of the previous government for not being in touch. This is an example.

    First class travel for hacks is another, complaining about having to catch a taxi is yet further evidence.

    Rudd is just another politician.

  173. It sometimes seems to me that government activity is a function of efficacy, efficiency, and accountability. Variants of arguments about all three seem to be doing the rounds here. I do still have questions though. Eg…What percentage of leakage is that $40 million of the total dollop? How does it compare to other leakage parameters for fiscal activities?

  174. Yeah, only $40,000,000. Nothing. Spend it and get on with it. Don’t worry about the cost.

    False dichotomy.

    Real dichotomy:

    (a) We can live with a small portion of wastage (say $40M)
    (b) We can pay NN$M (probably tens of millions) plus the opportunity cost ($$$ plus political, of course) of delaying the scheme in order to try and save the $40M by doing more verification work for several million payments, plus setting ourselves up for the inevitable large increase in exception handling due to the new procedures.

    I’d say (a) is at least a plausible choice here.

  175. No Lotharson, try this.

    For a $10,000,000,000 handout, people are pointing to a 2% blip in retail sales for the quarter.

    How many jobs does that create for the quarter? A couple of thousand?

    Alternatively the wastage of $40,000,000 could be used to directly employ about 2,000 people for the quarter.

    Get a little perspective about the value we are getting for all this money the government is wilfully throwing around.

    Some debt is inevitable, but this spending program is ill directed and far below optimal effect.

  176. Hey sniper, you are not very amusing anymore as you are perpetuating a lie concerning my support for a high speed rail link.

    I have never supported such a unfeasible idea, someone here has and I’m surprised that he never came forward to admit such.

    You even accused Everald Compton of supporting a high speed railway which is another lie but I suppose honesty is not a valued commodity in your kennel…is it!


    I like how you cherry picked my comment but did not reveal in what context yesterday, true to form.

    You make my laugh at your know all attitude when you have not a clue what is going down!

    Oh, by the way…the water transfer project was evaluated by Infrastructure Australia today, Rod Eddington is all for it.

    Interesting times…

  177. ‘the water transfer project was evaluated by Infrastructure Australia today, Rod Eddington is all for it.”

    Well that’s sensational news!!

    Is this the same Rod Eddington that was a board member of the now defunct Allco? Promoted the failed bid for Qantas? Jumped just before the crash of Ansett? How did the BA share price track under his stewardship? What happened to Rubicon holdings?

    No doubt, once he has endorsed something, its success is assured.

    Sir Rod is a true success story.

  178. Alternatively the wastage of $40,000,000 could be used to directly employ about 2,000 people for the quarter.

    Tom, you assert this wastage was entirely avoidable. I see no evidence for that. Feel free to point me to the modeling showing the cost of doing the validation that would be needed to save the $40M, and the cost of the delay while the validation plan was implemented.

    It doesn’t matter what we could have “spent the savings” on, if we couldn’t save the money in the first place.

  179. Lotharson, you seem to miss the point.

    I’m not in favour of the cash handout, so why do I need to engage in “modelling”? Call me naïve, but I think it is up to the government to ensure that our taxes aren’t paid to the dead. And if the handout is supposed to stimulate the economy how does sending it overseas achieve this objective?

    Contrary to your request, I think it is entirely up to the advocates of the cash handouts to demonstrate that this is effective and prudent use of public money.

    How many jobs were created in retail, even given the 2% quarterly blip?
    How much did the $10,000,000,000 cash stimulus add to growth?

    We know that Crown Casino has a 12% increase in revenue.
    We know that we have a budget deficit of $58,000,000,000.
    We know that we can employ about 2,000 people for a quarter for the amount that the government paid to the dead and those overseas.

    They are wasting our money. If you wish to prove that this isn’t the case, please post the data.

  180. Don’t act daft, Tom. You’re straining gnats, and then claiming you aren’t.

    You’ve been banging on about the number of jobs the $40M “paid to the dead and the overseas” could have created. That presumes it could have been saved. But you haven’t any evidence that it could have been, because there’s no evidence of what it would cost to prevent those payments going out.

    If the tax office could reap $40M by spending an additional $60M on compliance enforcement, would you call that a savings to the government of $40M? Or a loss of $20M?

  181. Tom of Melbourne, on May 29th, 2009 at 4:41 pm Said:


    He’s on the board of Rio Tinto too !

  182. Lotharsson, on May 29th, 2009 at 5:29 pm Said:

    Lotharsson……..really………………..I do think that with a little bit of work the ATO could have at least prevented some of the $40M going out.

    Whether you are for or against the stimulus package I do think it could have been better handled than what it has ben and the wasteage only serves to give people from the Right more ammunition.

    It would not have been difficult to stop payments to Backpackers. It’s just the usual Public Service attitude of

    “Well it aint my money so who cares !”

  183. .I do think that with a little bit of work the ATO could have at least prevented some of the $40M going out.

    That may be true. But it may also have cost implementation time, which also has undesirable consequences. Can you imagine a bunch of people baying about the number of jobs lost while the ATO took a month to set up the validation process?

  184. Its not going to take a month to require that in order to recieve the cash you must have submitted tax returns for 3 years not just one. At least you then get rid of backpacker payments.

  185. That the Coalition are fiddling about with this $40 million to the dead shows that under Turnbull that have no hope of forming an effective government. Who cares if a few deceased estates got some extra money. If the money was to stimulate the economy, then beneficiaries will spend it just as well as taxpayers do. The argument is about the policy as a whole. It was a crap one, just as the pink batts was a crap policy.

    I can’t believe that people who were happy to refer to the Murray Darling Basin policy as “written on the back of an envelope” are accepting of this flagrant waste of money. There is a concept call “bang for your buck”. In this case it’s more like “pop for your billions”.

  186. Lotharson, earlier you challenged me to identify the that safeguards against giving a handout to dead people wouldn’t delay payment to the living.

    My premise is that the entire concept of paying BILLIONS in handouts is ill conceived. Therefore it is entirely open to me to be critical of any aspect of this waste.

    On the other hand, the proponents of the cash handouts have yet to justify exactly why it represents good value expenditure.

    Please show me the modelling and evidence to justify your position.

  187. My premise is that the entire concept of paying BILLIONS in handouts is ill conceived.

    In that case, feel free to stop raising the $40M and concentrate on your main premise, and in turn I’ll stop pointing out that your claims about the $40M are overblown.

  188. Lotharson – Why would I stop being critical of any aspect of waste in a wasteful program?

    Advocates of waste, neglect and inefficiency should always be put to the test.

  189. The states are going well. Suing one another over water, despite all the money the federal government is throwing at the problem.

    Then we have the outstanding way the public health system has been fixed, just as promised.

    First class travel for hacks, political advisors are obviously so close to the people.

    Ministers whinging about having to catch taxis, they too are plugged in to public sentiment.

    Finally Lotharson, what exactly is the evidence that the government has spent $10billion on handouts has been effective? And the proof that this was a more effective employment creating policy than other optons?

  190. Advocates of waste, neglect and inefficiency should always be put to the test.

    More strawmen, Tony.

    No-one is ADVOCATING waste. They’re pointing out that 100% efficiency is in practice almost always impossible, despite your protestations. And they’re pointing out that you falsely allege that the entire $40M is wasted, when you can’t show that to be the case.

    IMHO you would look much more credibly concerned if you stuck to the contention that the entire program (which is, what, 250 times as large as $40M?) is ill-conceived, rather than making a mountain out of a molehill.

  191. No Lotharson. I’ve already posted a detailed critique of the options and the waste. I don’t need to repeat myself (in full) each time the subject of a cash handout arises. I post enough as it is.

    The fact is that advocates are yet to show the economic benefit of this policy. We have seen no detailed cost benefit analysis.

    This package was probably drawn up on a whiteboard, just like the old days.

    Accept the challenge and detail the benefits of this package, and explain why this is better than the various other options.

  192. It’s Tom by the way, and I’m off for the night.

  193. Sorry, Tom (and Tony), with this illness my short term memory is sometimes dodgy, particularly with names that start out similarly 😦 (At times I have trouble remembering the names of people I’ve worked with for several years, which is even more embarrassing.)

    BTW, it’s Lotharsson 😉

    Accept the challenge and detail the benefits of this package, and explain why this is better than the various other options.

    That was not the basis of my criticism of your position and I feel no need to argue it with you.

  194. Can’t understand why the Coalition is so het up about $40m being paid to deceased estates in Australia, considering $300m worth of bribes paid to Saddam Hussein couldn’t raise a flicker of interest, particularly from the minister concerned.

    He took the Clinton-I have never taken responsibility for that portfolio. Or, would you believe I had amnesia, or nobody told me, or someone had WMDs? We were showing the Iraqis how democracy works?

    It’s as risible and unconvincing as the blurb from that waste of space Patrick Secker snivelling about Rudd’s lack of action on the Murray.

    “Where’s our river, Mr Rudd?” he and Malvolio bleat smugly. “The Coalition only had 138 months to take action, whereas you’ve had a whole 18 months!” Apparently, these clowns think we’re incapable of doing a simple calculation.

  195. Jane, regardless of how useless the last government was on the handling of the MDB it is the responsibility now of this government to act and not play the blame game!

    I am presently on a policy blog outlining the events of this saga and I have supplied the host with documentation to substantiate my claims which will feature actions by the QLD government that I consider to be grossly irresponsible!

    I am not impressed with the politicisation of this issue.

  196. scaper…, on May 30th, 2009 at 8:19 am Said:

    “Jane, regardless of how useless the last government was on the handling of the MDB it is the responsibility now of this government to act and not play the blame game!”

    I agree, Scaper. However, I’m absolutely fed-up with the opposition’s rank hypocrisy. Halfway through its first term, the present government is at least making a start;
    after 11.5 years in power, the previous government had done precisely nothing. So their outrage pretty much lacks any credibility, imo.

    Of course, whether you agree with their proposal is another thing entirely. And they have to overcome state intransigence, not an easy task.

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