IN AN ideal world, the old joke goes, you would have French cuisine, Italian romance, British humour and German administration. But pity help you if you get British cuisine, German romance, French humour and Italian administration. The joke was brought to mind as Australia Day approaches. Are there such things as national characteristics? Or is such talk dangerous stereotyping at worse or harmless, illogical twaddle at best? [click to continue…]
THE Australia Institute did a splendid job this week at calling the bluff of business groups, conservative politicians, economists and think tanks that pretend to be independent while taking swags of money from the big end of town. [click to continue…]
AMONG the things blocked in the Senate in 2014 was the Government’s asset-recycling scheme. The scheme has a certain logic to it, but also a big ideological contradiction for the government. The scheme is based on the premise that state governments are struggling to keep up with demands for infrastructure. [click to continue…]
Woodshed Falls taken from the clifftop.
IT WAS was not even Page 1. On 24 September 1961, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on an inside page in just 250 words the ghastly murder-suicide of Mrs Mary Robinson and her four children. She stood atop the 35-metre cliff at Woolshed Falls near Beechworth in Victoria, swept two children in each arm and the five of them fell to their deaths – Mary 32, Lynette 10, Trevor 7, Graeme 4, and Dianna 3. [click to continue…]
WELL, was it an act of terrorism, or wasn’t it? Was Man Haron Monis a terrorist? Or as Brian’s mother in Monty Python’s Life of Brian said: “He’s not a messiah. He’s just a naughty boy.” That is being brutally irreverent, but Brian’s Mum had a point. We need to see through religious delusion. [click to continue…]
YES, price signals are a well-known economic phenomenon. You put up the price and demand falls. People are discouraged. This government has imposed, in the words of Prime Minister Tony Abbott this week, a price signal on visiting the doctor. It also wants to impose a price signal on university degrees through higher fees. [click to continue…]
SEVERAL months ago, I watched a BBC program do a thorough expose on the diet industry.
It exposed charlatans around the world, especially the US, raking in millions by selling books, potions and foods. It also gave numerous examples of dieting failures — people who had taken off weight very quickly only to find that mung beans and grapefruit lose their charm after a while, or that after a time the longing for plate of pasta puts an end to the “no-carb” diet. [click to continue…]
THE solution to the ABC’s government-imposed financial trouble should be straight-forward. It should just apply the sort of principles that the conservative side of politics in Australia has been preaching for decades. [click to continue…]
IF YOU or I had been in the same place at the same time as Stefan Kuczborski we would not be facing a minimum six-month jail sentence for just being there. Unfortunately for Kuczborski, he is a member of the Hell’s Angels bikie gang. And he was in the company of two other members of the same gang in public in Queensland. And that gang is one of 26 “declared criminal organisation” by the Queensland Attorney-General under the Criminal Organisations Disruption Act. [click to continue…]
LAST week’s High Court decision in Alphapharm Pty Ltd v H Lundbeck A/S highlights yet again how Australia is being poorly served by patent law to the benefit of international pharmaceutical companies. [click to continue…]