Seamless” is the buzz word when talking about the new ACT Government Service. There is to be a “”seamless” transition from having all ACT public servants as part of the Commonwealth service to having a separate ACT service. There is to be “”seamless” transfers from one service to the other.

You can just see Bernard Wolley interrupting: “Er, Minister, if it is to be seamless then it is the same fabric, so you cannot have two fabrics joined seamlessly.”

And he’s right. There will be some seams when the new ACT service begins on July 1 and about 20,000 Public Sector employees in Canberra find themselves moved by legislation from the Commonwealth Service to the ACT Government Service.

It is inevitable, if we are to have a separate service, and without a separate service we cannot be truly called self-governing. The seams are not a bad thing. What are they? How will the two services differ and what effect will that have on employees, present and future?
Continue reading “1994_05_may_actps01”


A North Canberra redevelopment which has come under fire in the Federal and ACT Parliaments has been withdrawn and will be redone, it was announced yesterday.

The joint private-ACT Housing Trust redevelopment in Torrens Street, Braddon, was to have drawn Federal Building Better Cities money and be a model for inner-city redevelopment, however, it was condemned by the Canberra Conservation Council and several leading community groups for poor solar-energy use, privacy and other problems.

The Minister for Land, Environment and Planning, Bill Wood, told the Assembly that the developer had advised the ACT Planning Authority that a revised proposal was being investigated “”which will seek to achieve better solar orientation and streetscape”.
Continue reading “1993_05_may_lease”


Retain existing sales, wholesale, petrol excise and payroll tax. Cut company tax from 39% to 33%. Cut income tax. In Jun 94 $3.30pw at $25,000 rising to $23.25 at $50,000 and above. In Jan 96 $3.30pw at $25,000 rising to $24 at $50,000 and above. No cuts below $20,000.

Coalition: Abolish sales, wholesale, petrol excise and payroll tax. Impose GST at point of consumption of all goods and services except health, education, food for home consumption, residential land. Cut income tax. In Jul 93 $2.30pw for everyone. From Oct 94 (GST day) from $6pw at $10,000 to $49.70 at $40,000 and above. Taper capital gains tax until none is payable for assets held for more than five years. No capital-gains on goodwill.


Labor: Increase Medicare levy from 1.25% to 1.4%. Buy 10,000 private beds for public patients to cut waiting lists. Basic dental care under Medicare to health card holders. Keep present AIDS funding.

Coalition: Cut $1.3bn in grants to states for hospitals which would be made up with private-insurance input. Medicare to change: no general bulk-billing; rebate cut to 75% of schedule fee; penalties of up to $800 for individuals on $35,000+ and families on $45,000+ for those failing to take out private insurance on tope of the 1.25 per cent levy. Incentives for low-income earners to get private insurance with rebates of up $800 for family, phasing out at $30,000 income.
Continue reading “1993_03_march_polsum”

July 1992. Justice for Australian writers

The Copyright Agency Ltd dished out $6 million last week to 1600 Australian writers and other copyright owners. That was the takings for all the photo-copying done in Australia’s educational institutions. It was a triumph of pragmatism over artificial legalism. The result, by and large, was justice for Australian writers. They got a financial return for the use of their work. Continue reading “July 1992. Justice for Australian writers”

Caligula, the rule of law and Australia

The Roman Emperor Caligula (born 12AD, murdered 41AD) has had some bad press in the past, say, 1900 years.

And I am about to give him some more, not for all his personal torture, rape, murder and incest, but for his more general undermining of the rule of law.

It is an opportune time for doing so because in Australia in the past couple of weeks we have seen the rule of law gradually triumph over rule by persona, despite the cries of banana republic, political bankruptcy and economic doom and gloom.
Continue reading “Caligula, the rule of law and Australia”

Did smokers consent to the risk? Is Big Tobacco liable?

Published June 1992
When Rose Cipollone began smoking 44 years ago, there were no health warning on cigarette packets. Rose is now dead. She died of lung cancer caused by smoking in 1984.

Her family sued and a jury awarded her family $400,000. Last week the US Supreme Court upheld the award.

The ruling caused some wild speculation about the legal liability of tobacco companies for the thousands of deaths caused by tobacco each year in Australia. Anti-smoking groups imagined an orderly queue of bereaved families at the courtroom door seeking damages for the death of loved ones who foolishly smoked their lives away.
Continue reading “Did smokers consent to the risk? Is Big Tobacco liable?”