Reasons to be happy you’re not stuck renting, like your kids will be

A glorious morning, where everything has turned out for the best. A couple of unions have been crushed – this time for daring to demand Australian jobs in a company that trades on the record its Australian workers have built up for safety. Glamorous and wealthy people will be visiting Melbourne for a horse race. And people questioning the status quo are being moved on wherever they gather.

So I thought I’d get in the spirit by sharing with you some happy thoughts to make you feel better about your lot in life, so long as you’re not a renter, locked out of owning your own home by the non-portability of your job and the ludicrous prices in Australian capital cities.

  • You own an asset that’s priced by real estate agents at a ludicrous figure! If you can find a buyer wealthy enough to pay it. And if you don’t mind the inflated house prices making your rates higher for pretty much no realisable gain for you.
  • Your housing costs remain roughly stable over the term of your mortgage. You can’t have your rent raised every year at the whim of a landlord. (And if a bank threatens raising interest rates on your mortgage, every politician in the land will fight to prevent it.)
  • You can save money by planting your own vegetables and trees and other things in your own back garden, not limited to pots but in the ground, where they can flourish – if you were a renter, you’d probably be prevented from doing this. And if you weren’t, and spent money nurturing such a garden, the landlord could, with a few months’ notice, just take it from you.
  • You can put up pictures without asking permission.
  • You can install air conditioning without the landlord raising the rent because the house now has air conditioning.
  • You can install solar panels and water tanks and otherwise reduce your living costs.
  • You can have pets without asking someone for permission as if you were a child.
  • You can relax, because you can’t be kicked out at a few months’ notice on the whim of a landlord.

See? Things are pretty good, after all. For you.

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50 responses to “Reasons to be happy you’re not stuck renting, like your kids will be

  1. Splatterbottom

    “A couple of unions have been crushed – this time for daring to demand Australian jobs in a company that trades on the record its Australian workers have built up for safety.”

    Too right. Why can’t Qantas be a good employer like Ansett? It is far more important that workers have pampered conditions than that the airline survives at all. It doesn’t matter if all the workers lose their jobs in the process. No union official will lose theirs. They probably won’t even get their brothel allowance reduced.

  2. “It is far more important that workers have pampered conditions than that the airline survives at all.”

    Yeah, “pampered conditions” like being employed in Australia under the Australian standards on which was built the irreplaceable reputation for safety on which Qantas still trades.

    It’s hardly the “Australian airline” if it’s offshoring its engineers and pilots.

    “They probably won’t even get their brothel allowance reduced.”

    Which union has a brothel allowance for union officials, SB? Feel free to link to the employment contract that includes such a thing.

  3. Splatterbottom

    The point is that if the unions milk too much out of Qantas then it will go the way of Ansett. Gillard has set up an IR system that allowed the unions to inflict eight months of rolling industrial carnage on Qantas. They were promising another year of it. The government could have got the same outcome without the Qantas shut-down if it had used the powers under its own legislation to stop the union tactics.

    This is how the unions fuck over the country – by bribing the ALP with election support and then stepping in for their cut of the cake.

    Unfortunately Gillard forgot to include laws that would make union bosses more accountable – like compulsory auditing and disclosure of benefits paid to union bosses. This has allowed some grubs to use their union cards for brothel visits. (Where is Craig Thomson’s long-promised detailed explanation anyway?)

    And now the crybaby unions and their mindless cheerleaders are whining. Fuckwits one and all.

  4. “The point is that if the unions milk too much out of Qantas then it will go the way of Ansett. “</i

    And yet that's not at all what the unions were doing.

    “This has allowed some grubs to use their union cards for brothel visits.(Where is Craig Thomson’s long-promised detailed explanation anyway?)”

    So… going to brothels is not an allowance like you claimed? That’s considerably more believable.

    “And now the crybaby unions and their mindless cheerleaders are whining. Fuckwits one and all.”

    Australians who wanted the airline that we built up as a country to retain its strengths are a bit annoyed at the idea that a Qantas CEO can chuck a tanty and sabotage the airline because the unions weren’t actually doing it for him. No warning, just trashing the entire airline.

    When Joyce talks about “flexibility” he means “to offshore jobs”. Why exactly is that something we Australians should cheer?

  5. “The point is that if the unions milk too much out of Qantas then it will go the way of Ansett”

    The CEO gets 71% and how much are the workers asking for? Maybe the CEO ought to lead by example rather than be an utter hypocrite, he’s an expensive failure (what’s Qantas share price?)

    ” pampered conditions”

    What do you do for a living, how much do you get paid? Are you prepared to get rid of your entitlements and take an effective pay cut just because somebody overseas is prepared to do the same job for less?

  6. Splatterbottom

    “Australians who wanted the airline that we built up as a country to retain its strengths are a bit annoyed at the idea that a Qantas CEO can chuck a tanty and sabotage the airline because the unions weren’t actually doing it for him. No warning, just trashing the entire airline.”

    First, fewer and fewer Australians are using Qantas for overseas travel. Once it was more than 80%. Now it is less than 20%. Australians have shown they don’t want to pay double for their air travel to subsidise unionists.

    Second, Joyce hasn’t trashed the airline. He has saved it. The share price has surged.

    Third, Gillard and her crew could have prevented the shit-down but chose not to out of loyalty to her union cronies. How many crooked unionists can she fall for in one lifetime?

    Do you want an airline at all? Or just fantastic worker entitlements for the few jobs left in the country?

  7. Splatterbottom

    Bobbyboy, the point still is that if the unions milk too much out of Qantas then it will go the way of Ansett.

    This isn’t about what everybody would like. I’d like a gold-plated toilet with you standing by to lick my arse when I drop the kids off at the pool.

    Sadly the world doesn’t work like that.

  8. “Australians have shown they don’t want to pay double for their air travel to subsidise unionists. “

    They don’t want to pay double for an airline that no longer provides a premium service, and has demonstrated it’d rather cut costs than maintain its reputation for safety.

    “Second, Joyce hasn’t trashed the airline. He has saved it. The share price has surged. “

    We’ll see. Institutional investors might not realise how much damage he’s done the company.

    “Do you want an airline at all? Or just fantastic worker entitlements for the few jobs left in the country?”

    Joyce wants shit worker entitlements for the few jobs left in the country. Well, except for his.

  9. Splatterbottom

    Joyce hasn’t done any damage to the company. That was done by the union cretins and their rolling campaign of industrial action which has gone on for months and would have gone on for much longer if the unions had their way. It was dumbfuck unionists like Steve Purvinas telling passangers not to fly Qantas. Now that is doing damage to the company but funnily enough you didn’t mention that did you?

  10. Home ownership is a very worthy pursuit. The stability that a family home offers is uncalcuable.
    It sadens me that so many mothers must now go out to work in order to pay the mortgage.

  11. jordanrastrick

    Eh. Neither side in the industrial dispute has been particularly praiseworthy.

    @Jeremy:

    When Joyce talks about “flexibility” he means “to offshore jobs”. Why exactly is that something we Australians should cheer?

    Because we’re not racists?

    If Qantas is going to outsource jobs to people with Dickensian conditions, I can see why that’s objectionable.

    But to take the opposite extreme of assumptions, say hypothetically they wanted engineers or pilots with more or less the same working conditions, but 1/2 the pay. Because these workers live in China, Malaysia etc, 1/2 an Australian wage buys them way more for their local cost of living than what a full Australian pilot/engineer wage buys here.

    All else being equal, if the Asian workers can potentially get more out of the jobs while costing Qantas shareholders/customers less, surely that’s a net positive, unless we have some messed up preference for richer white people to have more access to employment? Yes, its a bit shit to be the previously rich white person losing your job (or far more likely, taking a paycut to work for another airline). But… really? How can you (and so many other “progressives” who might question my left wing bonafides for being too market friendly) call Abbott a racist, for instance, for saying new zealanders are like family, but openly endorse such blatant economic nationalism whilst living in such a rich and privileged country?

    The CEO gets 71% and how much are the workers asking for? Maybe the CEO ought to lead by example rather than be an utter hypocrite, he’s an expensive failure (what’s Qantas share price?)

    Except for the last part – its far too early to judge what Joyce’s long term impact on Qantas will be – this is pretty spot on. Its a huge stretch psychologically to ask for belt tightening for the common good whilst reaping personal profit from the failed market for company executives. At the very least, from a purely “winning this fight” perspective, did Joyce or any of management or the board take PR 101 – Dumbed Down for Dummies, before planning/agreeing to this pay rise when the company was on the verge of this sort of action?

    Nonetheless, its actually a reasonably big sideshow from the issues (hence the PR failure for letting it happen…) Its easier for the public to be pissed at an overpaid CEO with a face than a reasonable CEO simply carrying out the self-interest of a nebulous and kind of abstract bunch of shareholders. But if Joyce’s pay were $1, Qantas fiscal position would be almost exactly the same – they’d have extra wiggle room to pay for what, a dozen pilots maybe. Hypocrisy, greed and foolishness yes, but that doesn’t invalidate Joyce’s arguments about the actual dispute.

  12. jordanrastrick

    They don’t want to pay double for an airline that no longer provides a premium service, and has demonstrated it’d rather cut costs than maintain its reputation for safety.

    The data don’t back you up on this, Jeremy. People might say that kind of thing at BBQs or in polls. But in business and economics they care about revealed preferences, i.e. what people spend their money on, not what they say they like when asked.

    And 1) Qantas still has the best safety record of any airline in the world; 2) Most people don’t give a shit. With good reason, too – aircraft crashes are dramatic and headline grabbing but rare; extra-high-super-duper safety is not worth paying huge amounts extra for (at least when weighed against the kinds of price vs safety tradeoffs people make when choosing land transport, drugs, food etc.)

    We’ll see. Institutional investors might not realise how much damage he’s done the company.

    While I’ve already hopefully established my lack of esteem for the people making decisions at/for Qantas, there’s ultimately a limit to how far you can carry the
    “shareholders/managers are crafty, greedy, profit-maximising pigs”
    and
    “shareholders/managers would rather actively destroy all their own wealth out of pure spite than give workers a 2% raise”
    arguments simultaneously.

    I look forward to seeing exactly how far some of the commenters here are likely to want to try, if we get much activity on this thread….

    @SB: Eh. Some reasonable points in defence of Qantas and the glimmerings of some constructive criticism of the current IR setup… drowning in a sea of anti-union, anti-Gillard, hilariously apologist-for-CEOs-come-hell-or-highwater trolling. I mean its no change to your usual filler schtick for when you don’t want to condescend to be funnier/more accurate/etc; but I feel you can do better here.

    For instance the fair work act actually (notoriously?) moved some things back to the pre Keating-Hawke state of affairs. If you want to land some real blows on moderate lefties, it beats the hell out of me why you wouldn’t mention that. In like, every second sentence.

    I will pay the gold-plated toilet material, that was a comfortingly classic SB rejoinder at least.

  13. “It sadens me that so many mothers must now go out to work in order to pay the mortgage.”

    I often wonder if that’s a dog chasing its tail situation. If only one spouse in a marriage worked would it mean less money around for housing? Would this lead to a drop in house prices? In other words, is the two-income family actually one of the main causes of high-priced housing?

  14. truefamilies: “It sadens me that so many mothers must now go out to work in order to pay the mortgage.”

    Yes, because the woman’s place in the home. Wait, what?

    Sorry, couldn’t let that one pass. There’s a lot of assumptions packed up in it that shouldn’t be allowed to stand.

  15. Tenants certainly enjoy a better deal in some countries where rental is the norm – long term leases, no need to get permission to do anything short of knocking a wall out, and random rent hikes not allowed.

  16. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: “How can you (and so many other “progressives” who might question my left wing bonafides for being too market friendly) call Abbott a racist, for instance, for saying new zealanders are like family, but openly endorse such blatant economic nationalism whilst living in such a rich and privileged country?”

    This is the real point. It’s called sharing. Free trade contributes significantly to improving the lives of people in third-world countries. I am regularly shocked by the vituperative criticism this obviously beneficial action attracts from protectionists and agrarian and other socialists. Apparently they think it is preferable to drip-feed aid to sustain people at the poverty line rather than to enable them to join the economically more successful states by giving them access to markets.

    The truly unconscionable conduct of the West is its agriculture protectionism which consigns hundreds of millions of people to poverty. Not only can’t the compete in Western markets, but cheap Western food dumped in their countries means they have little incentive to produce their own food.

    Jordan, I hear what you say about my style of argument, but I like to have a bit of fun sometimes before getting to the real issues.

  17. Why can’t Qantas be a good employer like Ansett? It is far more important that workers have pampered conditions than that the airline survives at all. It doesn’t matter if all the workers lose their jobs in the process. No union official will lose theirs. They probably won’t even get their brothel allowance reduced.

    If you’re the kind of person who is reflexively opposed to whatever unions are for 100% of the time and regardless of the circumstances owing to some bizarre ideological obsession, there’s no reason for anyone to respect anything you have to say in relation to industrial disputes.

    Joyce hasn’t done any damage to the company.

    Wow, you really do live in fantasy land, don’t you?

  18. Australians have shown they don’t want to pay double for their air travel to subsidise unionists.

    What a crock of complete shit. Newsflash: Australians aren’t obsessed with hatred of unions, like you are. You don’t pay “double” to fly Qantas. Qantas’ loss of market share might have something to do with the fact that we now have way more (and cheaper) options to choose from when it comes to flying.

    Australians have shown they are tightarses and will pass up a shitty meal and movie to save $50 when given the option.

  19. Splatterbottom

    Buns, Joyce was forced to act by a union inflicting pain on it and its passengers and by a gormless government too beholden to the unions to get of its fat arse and do something beneficial to the community.

    “Qantas’ loss of market share might have something to do with the fact that we now have way more (and cheaper) options to choose from when it comes to flying.”

    And the unions want to make sure that Qantas has a higher cost structure so it can’t compete. How many jobs will there be then?

  20. “gormless government too beholden to the unions”

    I believe governments (LNP & LP) are much more beholden to business unions than they are to employee ones.

  21. Buns, Joyce was forced to act by a union inflicting pain on it and its passengers and by a gormless government too beholden to the unions to get of its fat arse and do something beneficial to the community.

    I thought you were a libertarian, a fan of the free market. Like Tony Abbott, it seems you are happy to ditch your principles to score a political point.

    And the unions want to make sure that Qantas has a higher cost structure so it can’t compete. How many jobs will there be then?

    None, SB. Congrats – you’ve uncovered the unions’ evil plot to destroy their members’ jobs and bring down Qantas. There can’t possibly be more to this than you can see through the one eye you’re looking through.

  22. Not much new here except business using the old militant union tactic of a lightening shutdown. That’s worth a chuckle.

    And isn’t it great to see us importing some good old Irish free-market know-how. It’s worked so well over there.

  23. Splatterbottom

    Ronson: “I believe governments (LNP & LP) are much more beholden to business unions than they are to employee ones.”

    That is interesting and highly controversial point. The misanthropic Greens on the other hand are beholden to trees and baby wales born in the Derwent.

    Buns the only principle you seem to adhere to is rank stupidity. The current IR system has nothing to do with free markets and is largely subversive of them, designed as it is to empower Gillard’s union mates. (I have full confidence in Craig Thomson as well.)

    Funny that the unions want greater powers and wages from Qantas than other airlines isn’t it?

  24. Buns the only principle you seem to adhere to is rank stupidity. The current IR system has nothing to do with free markets and is largely subversive of them, designed as it is to empower Gillard’s union mates.

    The right to engage in strike action isn’t new, is it?

    When you said Joyce was forced to act by a union inflicting pain on it and its passengers and by a gormless government too beholden to the unions to get of its fat arse and do something beneficial to the community, what specifically did you have in mind?

    You understand that Qantas could have referred the dispute to Fair Work Australia itself, right?

  25. jordanrastrick

    And isn’t it great to see us importing some good old Irish free-market know-how. It’s worked so well over there.

    Gadj, I’m sure you mean well, but surely you don’t think its legitimate to bring a person’s national origin into an argument just because you happen to think they’re a dick.

  26. Jordan,

    if you really believe that my point was a crude ethnic jibe rather than swipe at the effects of a good dose of market fundamentalism on the Irish economy, then I apologise for my inability to express my thoughts less obscurely.

  27. jordanrastrick

    Well, it certainly wasn’t crude, but I don’t think it was a productive way to make any sort of a “point”, no.

    I don’t think there’s any relationship at all between Ireland’s embrace of excessively liberal economic policies and Alan Joyce’s personal views (and FWIW it seems that the board with all its Australian directors has been at least as instrumental in pushing for the showdown as he has, if not more so.)

    Where a CEO comes from is pretty irrelevant, and given he’s been the subject of some pretty nasty racist slurs in the rancour of the debate, AND there is a rather awful nationalist and racist undercurrent to parts of the argument in general, it seems like a bad idea to me for any progressive person to even bring this into the conversation. At best its a distraction from the actual legitimate criticisms you might like to make of the man.

  28. Splatterbottom

    Buns: “The right to engage in strike action isn’t new, is it?”

    Did I say it was? There were other changes in work choices. Educate yourself.

  29. So no answers to my other questions then. OK.

  30. Jordan,

    on the link between between Joyce’s policies and irelands neo-liberal disaster – well of course there is one, and it has nothing to do with racism to mention it. It’s that joyce’s moves are straight from that same market fundamentalist recipe book that has blighted Ireland. There is an object lesson there and we should pay careful attention.

    And your earlier comment about the benefits of moving jobs to less wealthy countries misses the point entirely. The net effect of this kind of move is not just the reduced wages. Conditions are also less – no 4 weeks leave, longer hours. What needed 100 engineers now only needs 75 – job destruction is the net effect. And we can pay them less – awesome. And of couse, the logic of market fundamentalism doesn’t stop there. Today county x lets us pay only half of what we did in oz, tomorrow we can find country y that let’s us pay less again. Let’s sack all the x workers ( with no severence pay, 1 weeks notice and , wow, we never had to pay their bloody employer super levy! ) and move operations to y.

    Fuck that.

  31. The unions were not part of the reason for Ansett’s demise – it was decades of poor management with ridiculous fleet management driving higher costs for years. The similarity with Qantas? The distractions of private equity partnerships, negotiations with employees, etc has meant management has failed to invest in the right planes at the right time (eg. hanging out for the promises of the 787 when other airlines hedged their bets and bought 777s that deliver returns today, hanging on to 767s while they wait, configuring special 747s for that pointless Dallas route). Qantas is not being run as a modern airline anymore, and as usual poor management looks around for a handy scapegoat.

  32. “That is interesting and highly controversial point.”

    So why not discuss it SB?

    “The misanthropic Greens on the other hand are beholden to trees and baby wales born in the Derwent.”

    What a load of nonsense. How is ensuring future generations have the resources, clean air and water they will need to thrive “misanthropic”?

    This is what misanthropy looks like SB…

    “In 2000, the Department of Justice served the Koch brothers with an indictment for allowing “at least 91 metric tons of uncontrolled benzene in its liquid waste streams” during a period in 1995 at its Corpus Christi refinery. Prosecutors alleged that the company was well aware of its pollution, and that Koch’s employees conspired to deceive regulators.

    Shortly after President Bush took office in 2001, his Attorney General John Ashcroft dropped 88 counts against Koch for the benzene spill and cover-up. Koch pleaded guilty to falsifying documents, all major charges were dropped and the company settled the lawsuit for $20 million, a small part of the possible $350 million in fines. The Bush administration, the beneficiary of large Koch campaign checks, essentially slapped the company on the wrist for leaking a chemical known to cause leukemia.”

    Dumping deadly poison, and then buying immunity from a corrupt government? NOT misanthropic.

    Caring about the environment and future generations? OMG!!! What is it with the Greens and their fanatical hatred of mankind? They don’t even want cancer causing poison in their drinking water!

    How “misanthropic” of them.

  33. Splatterbottom

    Duncan, here is classic Green misanthropy:

    Or take this quote from the idiot founder of Sea Shepard:

    ““Curing a body of cancer requires radical and invasive therapy, and therefore, curing the biosphere of the human virus will also require a radical and invasive approach,”

    He also said that deaths of seals was a greater tragedy than the deaths of seal hunters.

  34. Splatterbottom

    aslw: The unions were not part of the reason for Ansett’s demise – it was decades of poor management with ridiculous fleet management driving higher costs for years.

    There is more than enough blame to go around. Unions are usually most effective when they are extorting a monopolist employer. They effectively share the proceeds made from ripping off the public. The mistake both management and the unions made was to think that Ansett was still part of a cosy duopoly. Once the market is freed up management and the unions can either recognise that fact and act accordingly or go down in a screaming heap. Guess which option the Qantas unions favour?

    Buns, the government could have achieved the current position, without the shutdown, by ordering a stop to the industrial action. It was too gutless and too compromised to do so.

  35. Splatterbottom

    Another example of Green misanthropy is their support for onshore processing which has just killed another six people.

    Watching Hanson-Young dissemble last night on Sky was sickening. When van Onselen cut away from the interview he informed the audience that “you can follow the rest of the interview on Sky News Active – if you’re……… odd.” Indeed.

  36. Buns, the government could have achieved the current position, without the shutdown, by ordering a stop to the industrial action.

    Duh. Obviously. The government could order a stop to all industrial action. Alternatively, Qantas could have not ordered the grounding of flights.

    It was too gutless and too compromised to do so.

    Either that or it did not think the situation dire enough to warrant stepping in, which is probably not that controversial a position to take unless your judgment is clouded by a passionate hatred of unions and/or an inability to refrain from automatically subscribing to Liberal Party talking points.

  37. Another example of Green misanthropy is their support for onshore processing which has just killed another six people.

    I’m not sure that’s really all that relevant to a thread devoted to how bad renting is. Do you understand the purpose of this blog isn’t for all of us to listen to your anti-Greens trolling?

  38. Splatterbottom

    Buns, do you really think a year of rolling stoppages is acceptable? They’d been at it for six months already and promised to bake Qantas slowly.

  39. SB – your criticism of Gillard over this issue seems to simply boil down to “she should have sided with the Qantas board against the Unions”.

    I’m quite sure you passionately believe this, but it’s not really much of an argument.

  40. Exactly, mondo.

  41. Splatterbottom

    Mondo my criticism of Gillard is :

    1. Her Fair Work legislation has made it much easier for unions to disrupt business. They are recipe for further industrial strife and economic damage to the country.

    2. Given Qantas was being ‘baked slowly’ by idiot unionists who were threatening to carry on the campaign for another year and advising passengers to fly with another airline, a responsible PM would not have sat on her hands.

    3. Gillard was in fact quite happy for the unions to keep on screwing Qantas as that was precisely what she intended to happen under the rules she crafted.

  42. There’s an issue of balance that you seem to be ignoring here SB.

    All IR laws seek to balance worker’s rights against employer rights; and while it’s obviously true that the Labor government’s Fair Work legislation shifted the scales away from employers and towards workers it’s far from clear that this was a bad thing for our country.

    Your argument seems to simply assume that it was, and then go from there. You’re not explaining why the Fair Work laws go too far, you’re just insisting that they do purely because they deliver more power to the workers.

    I guess in SB world IR changes should always shift the balance of power towards employers and away from employees.

    I guess that’s a valid viewpoint – although I don’t find it particularly persuasive.

  43. Splatterbottom

    Mondo you are right about my views on IR laws. The class warfare model is broken. Employment is a matter of contract rather than a question of balancing rights.

    The system that allows unions to damage employers’ businesses is insane beyond belief. Industrial action should be dealt with under tort law where participants are liable for the damage they cause through industrial action.

    The class war approach to employment relations is not relevant. It only ever worked in a protectionist economy where companies could pass on the costs of union extortion. Unions are just monopolists of a different stripe.

    The government should enforce minimum standards on all employers and leave it that. And no I don’t mean a return to the days of dark satanic mills.

    Unions now are mainly transit lounges for political hacks or worse. They also are good for funding Joe Ludwig’s legal actions (which had nothing to do with his role as union boss) or for paying for private school fees for the union boss’s kids or for Craig Thomson’s escapades, or for a slush fund that ripped off a million dollars from the AWU that the Gillard was too naive to spot despite being a partner in a leading law firm.

    Interestingly the government doesn’t seem to be very big on making unions accountable, for example by forcing disclosure of all benefits received by officers in the same way listed companies must disclose all benefits received by senior executives. Labor will never do this because it is bought and paid for by the union movement.

    Everything this government touches it screws up. People are fed up with it. The next election will provide a massive mandate for change. The Liberals are too incompetent to implement any coherent policies of their own so we will end up in another kind of mess. I doubt Abbott will do anything much on the IR front he is too gun-shy after Work Choices.

  44. The governments’ ‘incompetence’ seems to be a meme getting quite a run in some sectors.

    Though it seems at odds with the governments ability to get its’ legislation (and lots of it) passed, with a few notable exceptions.

    It appears that they are in fact referring to the governments ability to control the story, ie, it’s incompetence in spin and PR. Not that they don’t try, but that it’s not very effective.

    This strikes me as bizarre. I think it’s quite a good thing.

  45. Splatterbottom

    ‘Gadj, getting legislation passed is not a good thing per se. The fact that Labor, in cahoots with the Greens, has an agenda that is detrimental to the country is no cause for celebration.

    Changing the IR laws to allow companies to be ‘baked slowly’ by the unions is not a good thing. The carbon (dioxide) tax Gillard promised us we would not have is insane.

    The live beef export ban was a debacle. It unnecessarily fucked up the lives and livelihoods of people. They were farmers and bushies so I guess they don’t count in the ALP?Green scheme of things. The refugee policy is a complete shambles. More people are dying than ever. The Timorese had a good laugh at our expense and the Malaysians have cashed in without doing anything. Blaming the Chief Justice was idiotic – being a lawyer she should have known better. Obviously she is still young and naive in that regard. BER wasted a billion or so. The insulation scheme was a fiasco and some of the government’s policy announcements were so fucking incompetent that even they didn’t have the guts to implement them like the Citizen’s Assembly or the Cash for Clunker’s program.

    The GillRudd era of ALP government is a complete schemozzle. The Murdoch lynching party is a straight out attack on it’s media critics. And now they are talking of raiding the Future Fund. This is easily the most incompetent government in Australia’s history.

  46. jordanrastrick

    The carbon (dioxide) tax Gillard promised us we would not have is insane.

    Not just wrong (or a broken promise), but insane? I don’t agree with a lot of policies of the four large parties, but there’s very few I’d characterise as insane. Indeed, not even the Coalition’s shambles of a climate policy qualifies on that front, because its not entirely without rationale.

    The live beef export ban was a debacle. It unnecessarily fucked up the lives and livelihoods of people.

    Bullshit. I feel sorry for those in the industry who were let down by the people higher up. But ultimately, that’s who let them down – the livestock association who were responsible for self-regulating the industry to ensure minimal standards of animal welfare were met, and who utterly failed to do so. The government response was as measured as could be expected, given the industry was clearly never going to take the problem seriously unless given a shove.

    The refugee policy is a complete shambles.

    That’s true, although I wonder about the quality of the legal advice they received from the civil service on Malaysia. Still, this is the Westminster system, so ultimately the cabinet does bear responsibility.

    BER wasted a billion or so.

    Nonsense. The purpose of the BER was twofold: provide school building infrastructure, and create Keynesian economic stimulus. It was never going to deliver the former for the cost you’d expect in normal circumstances, since to achieve the latter goal it has to, by definition, significantly raise demand (and hence prices.)

    There were a few cases where genuine mismanagement occurred, but they were a vanishingly small proportion of the program, beaten up out of all proportion by The Australian et al.

    Now if you think Keynesian economics is complete and utter nonsense, then you can characterise the spending as waste; but that’s a seriously contentious argument.

    The insulation scheme was a fiasco.

    Yeah, pretty much.

    some of the government’s policy announcements were so fucking incompetent that even they didn’t have the guts to implement them like the Citizen’s Assembly or the Cash for Clunker’s program.

    Governments frequently announce dubious proposals, and once there has been some public argument about them, realise their mistake and retract them. Being able to recognize and correct your own errors when criticised is a sign of competence, not the reverse.

    In the case of the Citizen’s Assembly, the idea got a lot worse press than it deserved (not to mention, was nixed by the parliament, not the cabinet). Its obvious to every person in Australia that the parliament should just get on and resolve the issue, not talk it over with the populace more – except, of course, all of the “obvious resolutions” differ dramatically. So we have a really critical policy issue for which there has clearly been no solid public consensus for or against.

    The idea of picking citizens by lot as an alternative or supplement to elected officials has a long and respectable history in democracies and republics. We only have used it historically for juries in the Anglosphere, but to take one example the city states of both Renaissance Italy and Ancient Greece employed it to reasonably good effect much more widely.

    Of course it was too unusual an idea for pundits to have any response but to mock it.

  47. well said jordan

  48. The insulation scheme is a pretty interesting one – the rational assessment of it was that safety of retro-fitting insulation was actually improved compared to how it happended before. It seems understanding incidence rates was asking too much of our poor media.

    The government has also passed some potentially very important legislation such as the PBO, which has not received much notice.

  49. jordanrastrick

    @duncan: Cheers.

    The insulation scheme is a pretty interesting one – the rational assessment of it was that safety of retro-fitting insulation was actually improved compared to how it happended before. It seems understanding incidence rates was asking too much of our poor media.

    I have some sympathy for this argument, but ultimately the government should never have involved itself in an industry with such a shoddy safety record (unless it could have ensured higher standards in advance).

    Its kind of like:
    “We’ve instituted a new Homoeopathy program in hospitals.”
    “Uh, all your patients are now dying from lack of adequate treatment.”
    “Yeah, but they’re dying less frequently that is usual for patients of Homoeopathy!”

    The Department of Climate Change, having previously been a very “policy-oriented” bureaucracy, was simply not equipped to achieve major service delivery on the required scale, and Garrett I think has a decent talent for politics but was hugely inexperienced as a Minister. Cabinet should have realised this was a recipe for disaster, but they were too busy trying to get the money spent quickly to stave off the GFC.

  50. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: “Not just wrong (or a broken promise), but insane?”

    Pretty much. It is legislation that can’t achieve anything as far as temperature goes and will distort the economy as every rent-seeking shyster hoovers up the free cash. More Solyndra anyone?

    “Now if you think Keynesian economics is complete and utter nonsense”

    Not quite. Sometimes the invisible hand needs a little help. I’m a pragmatist rather than an ideologue.

    “Governments frequently announce dubious proposals”

    That was my point – in the heat of an election campaign putting out thought bubbles as policy indicates that she is not fit to hold office. Speaking of which I just heard Abbott say Australia shouldn’t contribute to the Euro crisis so that Greeks can retire at 50. He is tin-eared and ignorant, which is a shame for us all. Even Bill Shorten is starting to look good.

    Picking leaders by lot would scare the shit out of the intelligentsia. Clive ‘suspend democracy’ Hamilton reckons that the Greens are the party of Plato. I assume this is a reference to Plato’s model of a society ruled by philosophers, such as himself no doubt. Imagine Clive coping with a parliament selected by lot. No doubt he would be stammering about people who seem not to be interested in Proust or George Eliot (to paraphrase David WIlliamson moaning about his voyage among the Lilliputians).

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