Having dinner tonight with the PM

barnacle bill

Along with about 400 others. But do not worry. I have my binoculars and my hearing aids are turned up to max so it should be all right.

Most interesting for me is to see what he’s going to do about Barnacle Bill, how he’s going to scrape those last few barnacles off and get on with governing. He has all the makings of a great Prime Minister but needs to get untracked. As the picture shows, he is just warming up.

The one news item that I found relevant about tonight’s dinner was the front page story in The Australian. Where I will be tonight is at the dinner of my previous employer, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. ACCI is to employers what the ACTU is to unions. It does much else but I have even presented the National Wage Case on occasion which is something of a career highlight. And the story in The Oz was, “Business raises the case for workplace change”. Goodness knows we need it.

Labor along with many others perennially confuse the need to improve the lives of working people with the need to make unions more powerful. I am no enemy of unions but it is essential that their power is contained if an economy is ever to succeed. Slush funds and such are only just the start of the problem. I wrote six reports on the failings of the current industrial relations system while Labor was in government (here’s one) and with none of the legislation as yet changed, the problems continue.

The Government has been promising a review of the IR system by the Productivity Commission, which is what today’s news story was about. It is certainly time this was called on, if not actually long overdue.

Posted in Federal Politics | 35 Comments

There’s a world out there

obama and ferguson

No charges to be laid so we will waste this place. Obama almost sounds like a real president. Everyone knew what was coming so a very brave decision. From Drudge:

Obama begs for calm as rioters set fires in Ferguson…
No indictments… Details…
‘Duty of grand jury to separate fact from fiction’…
Eyewitness told police Brown charged cop ‘like football player head down’…
Prosecutor: Democrat…
Michael Brown’s mother collapses outside station…
Cars vandalized, gunshots… STATE SENATOR: THIS IS RACE WAR…
Suburb Enlists Private Security Contractors…
Store Robbed by Brown Looted…
NYPD Commissioner Sprayed With Fake Blood…
FOXNEWS Reporter In Ferguson Attacked…
MSNBC Anchor Chased Off Air By Gunfire…

UPDATE: A president who reaps what he sows. The photo will in many ways be his legacy. Every single outcome he said he wished to achieve are ashes, from peace internationally, domestic prosperity and improved race relations. He has consistently applied the presumptions of the left to every agenda and they have all gone deeply wrong. Other than being elected twice, I cannot think of a single success that may be associated with his years in office.

Posted in International | 161 Comments

Patents are (not) theft: Discuss

Here is Andrew Leigh talking about patents:

Here is the Tabarrok Curve:

Taborrok Curve

Posted in Economics and economy | 73 Comments

MPs hard at work

Parliament hard at work

This is a screenshot of Andrew Leigh giving a speech to the Parliament on patents. Not only do our MPs not spend too much time in Canberra, even when in Canberra they don’t spend too much time in the Parliament. We shouldn’t complain, I suppose …

Posted in Budget | 26 Comments

David Kilcullen – What are we fighting for? Islamism and the threat to liberal ideas

Posted in International, National Security | 22 Comments

Solar subsidies

Households are paying hidden subsidies of more than $200 million a year to homes that have installed solar panels, according to new research by one of the country’s top energy analysts.

The rapid uptake of solar photovoltaic systems has been blamed for a sharp rise in electricity prices, but this is the first time a specific figure has been put on the total amount of subsidies.

The subsidies are in effect paid for by non-solar households to help cover generous payments, or feed-in tariffs, to solar households for putting electricity into the grid.

From the Financial Review ($).

The paper can be downloaded here.

Posted in Economics and economy, Global warming and climate change policy | 18 Comments

Not quite as simple as ABC

I know too little about media policy but as I watch the manoeuvering by the ABC Board, I am reminded by something my cousin told me when I visited Canada in July. He is a sound technician with the CBC in Toronto and the Chairman had just given a speech in which he had said that of the eight priorities the CBC had, television and radio came last. Here is a story from The Globe and Mail from around that same time that seems to show a kind of parallel shift taking place in our own ABC with that in Canada. It’s a story titled, Why does the CBC compete with newspapers? Here’s what I think is relevant:

The CBC strategy calls for TV/radio to be the lowest priorities and Internet and “mobile” services to be given the highest priority and predicts that by 2020 twice as many people, 18 million per month, will use CBC digital/mobile services.

Until a year or two ago CBC was open about its ambitions to compete with daily newspapers for readers. Here are some past statements by Hubert Lacroix, president of CBC, which show that his current strategy was developed as early as 2008:

“We must be a content company. Don’t think of us…as simply a radio or television broadcaster.”

“…we are now much more a content company than a broadcaster.”

“That means offering audio, video and text content on multiple platforms… We are an integrated content company.”

Compare and contrast with this from the editorial in The Australian today:

The creation of ABC Digital Network is a reckless development, pushing the broadcaster further into the most dynamic area of the media world. Start-ups like Mamamia and Buzzfeed, the entry of Guardian Australia and others, and expansion into apps by traditional media, among other innovations, mean there is more media competition than ever. The ABC is not there to compete against and crowd out new and existing entrants in ultra-competitive areas.

I can only say to you folks in the commercial media you are being surrounded by a billion dollar octopus that will put you out to pasture if it can. A bit of self-interest by the commercial media operators would go a long way to contain what will be an overgrown ideological monster that will be very hard to contain if it is not stopped now.

And just to remind us of the stakes for the Coalition, ABC cuts: Bill Shorten vows to increase funding. There are many ways to get rid of Murdoch and a free press, but the best one of all is to compete them to death through government funding its own media organisation.

Unlike promising no carbon taxes, nobody voted for the Coalition because they promised not to touch the ABC. Circumstances change, and if this is not strangled at birth, you will live to regret this for a very long time to come.

Posted in Federal Politics, Media | 58 Comments

Q&A Forum: November 24, 2014

Posted in Open Forum | 380 Comments

Explaining the left media silence over Gruber – he called them stupid too

gruber and the media - twitter

Mollie Hemingway on twitter

Posted in Media | 20 Comments

… like yoga is bad.

A great op-ed about the ABC in the the Sydney Morning Herald:

They didn’t have a 9-5 mentality. They had a 10-3 mentality. They planned their work day around their afternoon yoga class. They wore thongs and shorts to work, occasionally had a snooze on the couch after lunch and popped out to Paddy’s Market to buy fresh produce for dinner before going home.

Magnificent – read the whole thing.

(HT: Andrew Bolt)

Posted in Budget | 116 Comments