You Cheeky Buggars!

Deloitte Access Economics prepared a report for the Minerals Council Australia stating that although the major mining companies hadn’t paid a lot of tax, they had paid a total of $185 billion in company tax and royalties. To claim that royalties somehow represent a payment of tax is extraordinary – royalties are payments for goods that belong to the people that a private company removes from the peoples’ possession and on-sells. In other words, its the wholesale price of the iron ore that it mines that the company then retails to their customers. Its not tax, its a legitimate (and largely cheap) price that the company pays for raw product.

When BHP, a company established in Australia, exporting iron ore that once belonged to Australia, sells its ore overseas it claims that its owned by the Singapore marketing hub of BHP so no tax is payable in Australia. The ATO believes (I assume by the court cases that are pending)  that this is an accounting fiction and is suing for outstanding tax and penalties of $1 billion.

Its time the mining industry and its minders faced up to their responsibilities as far as tax payments and their responsibility of compensating the Australian people for the product they take and the impact they have on the Austrlaian land mass.

How Stupid Is Our Treasurer?

Morrison is up on his soapbox spruiking the improved financial position of the Australian Government. He pats himself on the back over increased company profitability while ignoring the stagnant wage growth – gosh does that mean that companies are increasing their profits at the expense of employees. And you expect Australian workers to pat you on the back. Then he goes onto say that the prospects of an increase in surpluses is a result of cracking down on welfare payments. Nobody expects that welfare cheats should get away with it but how come corporate tax minimisation and the tax breaks available to the wealthy aren’t targeted by this government. He is also claiming credit for the increase in employment of a thousand jobs a day and that this is led by business. But the reality is, according to Ross Gittin’s article in The Age today, that government infrastructure projects in Victoria and New South Wales have led to creation of 300,000 of those jobs. Additionally, the increase in health related jobs is caused by the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. While the jobs maybe in the private sector, they are funded by the government.

Stop this crap about small government. We want a just and fair society and we only ask that ALL of society contribute financially to this through taxes. NO MORE TAX CUTS!!

We Should Have Known

The Child Abuse Royal Commission lodged its 100 page report with the Governor General today. Thanks be to them for undertaking the harrowing task of hearing from all those victims of child abuse. Thanks to the victims for sharing your pain in order to allow us, Australian society, to protect our children into the future. To all those silent witnesses who suspected but did nothing, to those criminals who were told but refused to listen and protect children may you all suffer at the hands of your chosen god. Your victims may forgive but we as a society must never forgive or forget – our children are far to precious to allow anyone to get away with it.

To Malcolm Turnbull, you destroyed any lingering hopes I had today by holding a press conference to beg the people on Benalong to re-elect John Alexander so that Turnbull wouldn’t lose government. I had hoped that it was to recognise the work that the Royal Commission had done and to make a commitment to implement and fund all the recommendations made by the commissioners. Sadly, that was just an aside.

I suppose I was hoping that the politicians would stop thinking about themselves and start thinking about Australia as an inclusive society.

If This Was A Business

I’ve just been watching the news reports on the High Court case bought against the government for its use of the Contingency Fund to pay for the Marriage Equality postal survey. It occurred to me that if parliament were a business then the board would be calling for heads to roll. If you look at the enormous salaries paid to members of parliament (and for anybody who thinks that MPs don’t get paid a fortune I suggest you look at the Newstart allowance or wages for cleaners and the like to see the disparity) you have to ask where is their output? Why are they abrogating their duties to the shareholders (the electorate)? I suggest that as they are not carrying out the requirements of their job i.e. governing the country, making decisions that require the enactment or repeal of laws, they should be deemed as being on strike and their wages should be withheld.

Labor, The Greens and the cross benches are all implicated in this. You are all meant to be in parliament to further the good of the nation. Opposition for opposition sake should have died out with Tony Abbott’s demise as Opposition Leader. The public of Australia expect more from our parliament. They expect that the good of the nation is put first. Parliament is elected to act not equivocate. We should not be having a postal survey full stop. Parliament should not be the playground of internal party factions. The people of Australia have elected the parliament to act – get on with it.

A Marriage Equality Bill should be put before the Parliament and voted on. If the outcome does not suit the majority of voters they will have their chance to have their say at the next election. If the government won’t put a bill forward or blocks a Private Members then the opposing parties should pass a vote of no confidence in the government and those Coalition members that have pursued Marriage Equality should, at the very least, abstain from voting.


Change Has to be in the Air (Part 1)

The financial crisis of 2008 bought the failings of the Capitalist System (as it currently operates) in to stark relief. The bastions of capitalism, the banks, had abused their market position to initially write loans to clients with doubtful ability to repay them, using valuations that were dubious at best and fraudulent at worst. The Banks then on-sold those mortgages to unsuspecting/careless brokers and second tier banks. When the inevitable happened and the borrowers were unable to repay their loans, the Banks coerced governments into supporting the Banks with the mantra “To big to fail”.

The end result was that the working poor and the middle class ended up paying for the Banks’ systemic failures through cuts in social services, losing their jobs and losing their homes. The worst  of it was that everybody other than the rich were the ones that felt the pain. Superannuants were hit by the falling stock market and the cuts in interest rates. Governments around the world instituted austerity programs, cutting pensions and raising taxes on ordinary people. Social services were curtailed and yet not one banker in the United States was prosecuted. When questioned about such outrageous schemes such as short selling (where you sell shares that you do not own at a discount in order to drive the price down so you can make a profit by forward selling the same shares at a later date for a higher price) the response was that its legal because we’re the players in the market and we make the rules. I’d like to see anyone else who sells property that they don’t own,  successfully argue to a judge that what they did wasn’t fraud.

But this was all just a sideshow in the market place. The recent research released in the United States showing that the wealthiest in society have increased their wealth in the last twenty years by 80% and that productivity per capita has shown a marked increase (although its slowing now) while at the same time real wages have dropped by almost 8%. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots start eating into employment rates in the developed world the days of full time employment are disappearing.

In Australia, the problem has already reached previously untouched rates of under-employment and part time employment. With housing costs in the major capital cities rising to heights that make home ownership much harder for ordinary workers attain and even rental rates beginning to verge on the unsustainable something has to give. Its this sort of exclusion from society that leads to anti-social behaviour and increased crime rates. Even as the unemployment rate falls, wages are not increasing. This stagnation in wages growth hurts the economy in several ways – reduced ability to spend means that GDP drops on a per capita basis (and the capitalist system relies on increased consumption to keep the wheels turning) and the tax take by governments is reduced. But there is a solution.

(In the next instalment we talk about one possible solution)

The Robots Are Coming

Zan and Dr Karl’s guest today  is Quantum Physics Professor Stephen Bartlett. While they discuss heady quantum mechanics  topics, it confirms that with the increase in computing power, especially when quantum mechanics can be fully utilised in computing, the robots are coming. ABC news have been running articles all week on the future workplace that includes robots. As noted in the article on the 7.00 PM News, 5/7/2017, it will not just be labouring jobs that will be lost or those doing repetitive tasks. There are already computer programs that can find case studies in law that means lees junior lawyers or law clerks doing research for court cases.

Time for a new societal structure – stay tuned.

Amongst the Sadness, a Shining Light

In a world saddled with sadness as innocents abroad have their lives or loved ones taken by acts of violence either malevolent or accidental, a light has shone in the world when researchers at RMIT revealed their success in creating a paint made of  cheap and readily available materials that has the ability to use Solar Energy to convert airborne water into Hydrogen and Oxygen. The fact that they have achieved this is remarkable in itself but then they topped that by deciding to release the details without seeking a patent so that the technology can be taken up by others to make it commercially available as soon as possible.

The details of their work were revealed in The Age ( Solar Paint -16/07/2017 ) and I can only say that I find their reasoning reassuring – there are good people in the world. Lets just hope that the businesses that take advantage of their largesse don’t attempt to take advantage of consumers. This has the potential to change the world for the better – Donald can forget about ignoring Climate Change, this one discovery has the potential to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions back to previously unobtainable levels.

Thank you  RMIT lead researcher Dr Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh and your team.

Stop Politicising Terror

To all those politicians that think that its quite alright to use the pain and suffering of the victims of terror to make political points STOP IT, ITS NOT ABOUT YOU.

That Malcom Turnbull could contemplate blaming the Victorian Government for the behaviour a terrorist thug in order to score political points for his state counterpart is beneath contempt. For Mathew Guy to blame Daniel Andrews and accuse him of being weak merely illustrates why Guy is on the opposition benches. The plain simple fact is that a criminal with intent to inflict terror on the good people of Melbourne formed a murderous plot in short order that could not have been seen by authorities. His own family apparently didn’t see it coming.

The head of the Adult Parole Board (Judge Peter Couzens) detailed at length the circumstances of Moron Number 100’s parole. I would recommend that all interested parties read it and absorb the facts before letting their mouths run off again. The depth and breadth of their considerations showed that the reforms carried out to the Victorian parole system after the Jill Meagher tragedy have led to a much improved system. The fact that Moron Number 100 played the system, the extent of which may become apparent following the thorough police investigation, does not mean that the system itself is broken.

Many people fail to understand the purpose of parole, viewing it as a means by which the convicted get to escape the confines of prison. In reality it is a mechanism by which society is able to place controls or requirements on a parolee in order to reduce recidivism. The conditions that were applied to Moron Number 100 were appropriate, his supervision was thorough (his first application for parole was rejected, the second only granted after he had undertaken courses relevant to his personal circumstances) and he was near to the completion of his sentence, at which time all supervision would cease. The events of Brighton have more to do with Moron Number 100’s inability to maintain a civilised life. No excuses, not even the fact that he had arrived as a refugee from Somalia. People make choices in life, not all of them wise or considered, and some people are pathetic in that they need to use violence as a method to prove their masculinity or their position in the world.

In any case, no politician directed this idiot’s behaviour, the Adult Parole Board did its job well, the Receptionist at Brighton was a good man who didn’t deserve this fate and politicians would do well to respect his memory.

Moron Number 100

I read John Silvester’s column in The Age this morning and thought he expressed what I had been feeling really well. Its worth having a look at. Our points of view align when it comes to the media constantly promoting the misdeeds of these idiots by plastering their names all over the place, giving them the notoriety they long for. That’s why I’ve decided to label this latest idiot Moron Number 100, no name just a title that illustrates his mental prowess. I could pander to his weaknesses by pointing out the likely problems he had growing up as a Somali refugee in Australia with all the baggage that that entails but the reality is that he was an adult. Like all adults it is up to him to make his way through life. The vast majority of people don’t resort to crime, don’t try to manage their failings by abusing drugs and alcohol. Indeed most would never dream of stealing from other hardworking people. The people that do resort to these measures are self declared victims. Now I know some will read this as a white middle class Australian who wouldn’t know what its like to struggle. Without going into detail, I have had my share of troubles and I have had to dig deep to get myself back up – I have had to do that my self. Sure I asked for some help and our glorious Medicare system enabled me to receive that help, the point being that I had to make a considered decision to get myself out of the hole.

The Liberal Party would call it self determination, and, to an extent they would be correct. Others would say I’m being harsh, but I call it tough love – don’t blame others for your failings, accept that bad decisions are choices you choose to make. Show some backbone and stay strong in adversity and never take the easy option of blaming your problems on other people. If other people are causing you grief, walk away. If others ask you to hate, walk away, hate only consumes the person carrying it. Most of all don’t hide behind a religion that you never followed seriously, don’t use it as excuse for acts of hate.

Goodbye Moron number 100, the world’s IQ was raised on the night you died.

Another day, another coward

I understand that people can fill disconnected from the societies they live – poverty, unemployment, bigotry or sexuality are often used as tools to beat up on people, young and old. I cannot understand how that disconnect entitles you to brutalise the innocent. If you are truly disaffected shouldn’t you be taking it out on those in positions of power? To say that attacking  children at a social outing is justifiable jihad only illustrates how distorted their view of the world is. For someone to carry out a suicide bombing in these circumstances shows that they have been brainwashed and manipulated by gutless criminal cowards who are to afraid to take on tough targets themselves. Added to this mix is an increasing suspicion that these people have below average intelligence. This is the only way that I can understand that they are able to justify what they are doing. Even the innocent children that they slaughtered in Manchester would have a better capacity to see what they were doing was wrong and that it certainly didn’t further the criminals’ aims if they were looking for acceptance. These low life are obviously not students of history, or else they would be aware of the fairness and integrity of the Saracens during the so called crusades that led them to be victorious over the invading armies. Nor have they noted how brutal dictators like Hitler, Amin and the Khmer Rouge all get their comeuppance as good people around the world rise up and defeat them with unity and love.

To anybody out there that reads this and thinks that they have legitimate reasons to hate the western democracies, talk to me. Explain it so I might understand and help you find a better way. Infamy is not fame or fortune, cruel criminal acts are not carried out by true warriors, Islam doesn’t belong to bigoted murderers.

You want a better life – do it by loving life.