Economists wrong again

Another week and another embarrassment for the cabal of economists and commentators who for decades have asserted that high immigration is essential for Australia’s prosperity.

This week the national accounts showed that the Australian economy grew by 1.8 per cent in the March quarter to fully recover from 2020s steep recession and back to its pre-pandemic levels.

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Self-destructive Coalition Luddites

In the early 19 th century in Britain, Luddites destroyed new technology and opposed the Government. In the early 21 st century in Australia, neo Luddites prop up old technology and are the Government.

In Britain, destroying machines carried the death penalty and a dozen or more Luddites were hanged.

In Australia, the neo-Luddite madness infecting the Federal Government has run to a promise of $600 million in government money for a gas-fired power station and $2 billion to prop up two oil refineries that make inferior petrol.

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Profit first even if ‘some people may die’

Thanks must go to Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlika for spelling out exactly how big business thinks: profit first, lives and health last.

“We can’t keep [Covid] out forever,” she told a business leaders’ forum this week. “We’re all going to be sicker than we ever have been in the past because we’re not exposed to the viruses and challenges that the rest of the world is dealing with, so we need to get the borders open for our own health and for the economy . . . . .

“It will make us sick, but won’t put us into hospital. Some people may die, but it will be way smaller than the flu.”

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Brainless Budget fails on population, tax etc

The 2021 Budget has been called the recovery budget, responsible, irresponsible, fair, unfair, cautious and reckless. But it has not been called what it should be: “brainless”. This is a really frustratingly dumb Budget on several counts: population, housing, tax, energy, and childcare.

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India: misjudged as Tampa event

Religion, nationality, sex, and race cover a fair amount of the “identity” ground and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has trampled over a fair amount of it recently.

Identity is a distorting prism. It both splits the light and reflects it. Hence, during the 2019 election Labor supporters and a lot of the commentariat got it totally wrong when they thought that the outward expression by Morrison of some of the weird beliefs of his Pentecostal faith would turn voters off.

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Media distorts Covid reality

Every word of a media report can be true and accurate, but it can still mislead.

“Two dead of blood clotting after vaccine” is a classic case.

Novelty is an essential element of newsworthiness. The first Covid deaths got wide coverage. The 900 th got much less.

It explains Australians’ inconsistent approach to the risk Covid presents. 

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Housing: Reserve cannot be the driver

Putting on his best Churchillian accent, Yes Minister’s Jim Hacker envisioned his destiny and said: “When a country is going downhill, it’s time for someone to get into the driver’s seat and put his foot on the, er,  . . . “, only to have Bernard Woolley bring him to the absurd reality of bus hurtling out of control and Hacker as driver putting his foot on the accelerator making matters worse.

These days we like to think that our economic bus is guided by the steady and independent hands of the Reserve Bank.

Even so, the Reserve Bank seems to be having trouble at the moment making the economic bus perform as well as it should.

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History suggests crunch is coming

At some stage western democracies are going to have to tell the Chinese Communist Party that enough is enough and do so with more than just sanctions against a few individuals.

The US and European nations have imposed the sanctions against individuals in protest against the Chinese Government’s “mass arbitrary detention, torture, separation of families, forced labour and violations of reproductive rights” of the Uighur and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, in the words of Human Rights Watch Australia.

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Are women jurors being talked over?

There’s nothing like a bit of research to find out what has been going on. The publication this week of “Sex, Lies and Question Time” by former Labor Minister Kate Ellis adds to a series of earlier revelations about the toxic, misogynist culture in Parliament House.

Leaving aside the physical, mental and verbal assaults, the sidelining of women’s views, and men constantly ignoring or talking down and over women has obviously made our government worse, to the cost of all of us. 

It makes me wonder about other decision-making bodies. What if the talking down and over women and ignoring their views is also happening in jury rooms around Australia. Unfortunately, we can only wonder and not know. Ellis was able to interview women from all parties about their experiences and the revelations have done us a service. But the law in every jurisdiction in Australia makes it a criminal offence to interview jurors.

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