Australia

“We Thought We Were Voting For Mick Fanning” Say The 19 Stoners Who Accidentally Voted For Fraser Anning

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/08/2018 - 8:29am in

shark

All of the 19 voters who voted for Fraser Anning at the last election have admitted that they were high as a kite on top shelf choof when they put a number one in the box next to his name and may have mistaken him for surfing champion Mick Fanning.

“Woah, you mean he’s not the dude who punched the shark,” said stunned  Queensland voter Billy Bongwater. “I thought I was voting for Senator Shark Puncher and he was going to go to Canberra and start laying into sharks left right and centre. Bummer.”

Katter Australia Party leader Bob Katter is seriously considering recruiting Mick Fanning to join the party at the next election.

“With Mick dusting up the shark’s and me giving the crocodile’s a bit of Larry Dooley between us we could keep all of Australia’s dangerous wildlife under control,” said a thoughtful Mr Katter. “Maybe we could draft Jeff Fenech in to keep the box jellyfish in line.”

Meanwhile Fraser Anning has used his maiden speech to question the loyalty that immigrants show to the values of their new country.

“I waited a full hour before switching my allegiance from One Nation to the Katter Australia Party and I expect the same level of loyalty from every new immigrant to this country,” said Mr Anning.

Peter Green
http://www.twitter.com/Greeny_Peter

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Coles Release Series Of Collectable Mini Choked Sea Animals

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/08/2018 - 8:15am in

coles

Supermarket chain Coles has announced that following on from the success of its mini collectable grocery items it will be releasing a series of mini collectable sea creatures that have choked on discarded plastic shopping bags.

“Shoppers will be able to collect such items as a tiny replica loggerhead sea turtle with a Coles plastic bag stuck halfway down its gullet,” confirmed Coles marketing executive Ray Markup. “The range will also include an octopus with its legs trapped inside a plastic bag, a dugong with a plastic bag caught on its flipper and a red footed booby with its neck caught in the handles of a plastic bag.”

“I’ve got three spare mini stormy petrels with plastic bags in their windpipe that I’m willing to swap for a rare mini wandering albatross with a plastic bag wedged in its lower intestines,” said desperate shopper Fiona Flybuys. “I’m hoping to get a mini dolphin with a plastic bag in its blowhole next time I spend thirty dollars and then I’ll have the complete set.”

There have been reports of rare collectables from the ‘Little Choke’ range selling for as much as $300 on e-bay to obsessive collectors.

In response, rival store Woolworths has been considering giving away its own range of collectable mini dairy farmers who’ve been sent to the wall by spiralling farm gate prices for milk.

Peter Green
http://www.twitter.com/Greeny_Peter

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter or like us on facebook.

Is Capitalism Rigged in Favour of Elites?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/08/2018 - 1:47pm in

Tags 

Australia, Fun, Science

To answer that question The Economist is hosting a debate between Jason Furman (formerly a top adviser in the socialist [sic] Obama administration, currently at Harvard Kennedy School) and Deirdre McCloskey (University of Illinois at Chicago). Furman has been making the Yes case; McCloskey the Nope.


Personally, I think the contest is unfair. Furman’s job is like shooting fish in a barrel. McCloskey, on the other hand, is fighting an uphill battle if there ever was one.

I will abstain from commenting on Furman’s opening intervention. I’ll put it this way: meh. As I have a soft spot for the underdogs (in this case I think I better keep the old patriarchal conventions, you know, just to be on the safe side) I’ll comment on McCloskey’s.

You have to give her this: she tries. Always the consummate theoretician of economic rhetoric, she uses rhetoric to dodge Furman’s punches. She bends over backwards, does all sorts of verbal gymnastics. The problem is that it ain’t working. She may be a theoretician of rhetoric, but she ain’t no practitioner. Much to learn she still has, as Keynes and/or Friedman could have said.

In the process, after all those contortions, she becomes unwittingly hilarious. One example? Her closing remark:

“Be of good cheer, then. The poor shall inherit the earth.”

We’ll inherit the earth, after it’s gotten scorched and dry.

(source)(source)You know capitalism is in trouble when even a guy like Furman has to concede it has serious problems. You know things are worse than you imagined when apologists like McCloskey make you laugh.

Exploring the Decline in the Labour Share of GDP: A Symposium

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 06/08/2018 - 6:30am in

Tags 

Blog, Australia

As featured in The Sydney Morning Herald by Matt Wade, the share of total economic output in Australia that is paid to workers (in the form of wages, salaries, and superannuation contributions) has been declining for decades. Workers produce more real output with each hour of labour (thanks to ongoing efficiency improvements and productivity growth), but growth in real wages has been much slower – and recently, real wages haven’t been growing at all. The result is that labour’s slice of the economic pie has been getting smaller. In fact, a recent Centre for Future Work report showed that in early 2017 the labour share of GDP hit its lowest level since the Australian Bureau of Statistics began collecting quarterly GDP data.

To explore the causes and consequences of this decline in workers’ share of national income, the Centre for Future Work convened a special panel of experts at the Society for Heterodox Economists conference at UNSW in Sydney last December. The papers presented at that panel have been peer-reviewed and just published in the Journal of Australian Political Economy.

In addition to further documenting the long erosion of workers’ share of Australian GDP, the symposium sheds additional light on the trend, including the following aspects:

  • The shifting distribution of income from labour to capital contributes to widening inequality in personal incomes (since financial wealth, and income from that wealth, is so tightly concentrated among the richest Australians).
  • The decline in the labour share in Australia has been among the worst third of all OECD economies; and some countries have experienced stable or even rising labour shares, proving this trend is neither universal nor inevitable.
  • The growing power of finance, and the financialisation of business practices even by non-financial firms, have been key factors in the relative fall of labour compensation.
  • New business models involving the fragmentation of work and the outsourcing of direct employment responsibilities by lead companies (what participating author David Peetz terms “not-there capitalism”) have also contributed to the trend.
  • Australia’s minimum wage once established a strong foundation for a healthy labour share of national income, but its influence has eroded over the last 30 years as minimum wages have failed to keep up with overall wage trends and productivity growth.
  • Despite the erosion of union density and collective bargaining, Australian unions still possess an impressive capacity to mobilise working people to demand a better share of the economic pie (including through the political process).

The long decline in the labour share is a powerful, telling indicator of the regressive shifts in the power balances of Australian society over the last generation.  The articles in this symposium help us understand what has happened – and how to achieve a better distribution of income between factors of production in the future.

The articles included in the symposium are:

The Declining Labour Share in Australia: Definition, Measurement, and International Comparisons: Jim Stanford (Director, Centre for Future Work, and Honorary Professor of Political Economy at the University of Sydney)

The Labour Share, Power and Financialisation: David Peetz (Professor of Employment Relations, Griffith University)

The Erosion of Minimum Wage Policy in Australia and Labour’s Shrinking Share of Total Income: Margaret McKenzie (Economist, Australian Council of Trade Unions)

The Declining Labour Share and the Return of Democratic Class Conflict in Australia: Shaun Wilson (Associate Professor Sociology, Macquarie University)

Links to all the articles, and a rich introduction by Dr. Frances Flanagan of United Voice and Prof. Frank Stilwell, are available at the Journal of Australian Political Economy and at the Centre for Future Work website.

The post Exploring the Decline in the Labour Share of GDP: A Symposium appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

Cricket Australia under fire for sacking female employee over abortion reform tweets

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 04/08/2018 - 7:30am in

It's just not cricket

Author’s mashup. Images: Wikimedia Commons and a screenshot from 9Honey video

Cricket Australia, the national governing body for cricket in Australia, is facing public controversy for sacking female employee Angela Williamson after she criticized local abortion policies on Twitter.

Representatives of Cricket Australia claim that Williamson's tweets damaged their relationship with the government.

Williamson, Cricket Australia's former manager of public policy and government relations, tweeted in June 2018 on her personal account that the Tasmanian parliament’s refusal to restore abortion services was “most irresponsible … gutless and reckless”. She was forced to go to mainland Australia from the island of Tasmania earlier this year for a pregnancy termination as the last clinic in the state closed in December 2017.

Angela Williamson is fighting for her job back through the industrial relations tribunal the Fair Work Commission. She also started an online petition calling for ‘affordable, accessible abortion in Australia':

I’m speaking publicly now, waiving my privacy, because nobody should have to go through what I went through to access a legal health procedure.

However, Williamson's tweets in question were apparently taken down and her account was made private. Meanwhile, Australian netizens were swift to respond and highly critical of Cricket Australia, sounding off that the decision was rooted in misogyny and sexism. Lifestyle reporter Rebecca Sullivan typified the reaction:

Zombie Mao threw some dark humor out there by referencing the iconic uniform from The Handmaid's Tale, a television series that imagines a world where women's rights are extremely compromised:

Writing for The Big Smoke, Gay Mackie did not see this as an isolated incident:

Surely it had to pass through many hands before it was rubber stamped.

Which is the issue, we’re not dealing with one person, we’re dealing with a culture. Clearly 1951 rolls on down the corridors of Cricket Australia, a halcyon place where a woman’s place is out the door.

It’s not Cricket. It’s institutional misogyny.

Indeed, the Tasmanian Liberal government may have played a role in Williamson's firing when in March 2018 a senior staffer named Martine Haley allegedly informed Cricket Australia about her pregnancy termination. Haley, a Liberal Party member, was forced to quit when it was discovered that she was using a fake social media account to troll Williamson and others. Women's Agenda reported:

Making matters worse, a senior staffer of the Liberal Party allegedly was the first to complain to Cricket Australia about Williamson’s tweets and breached privacy by notifying the organisation of Williamson’s pregnancy termination.

Local Tasmanian writer Melanie Tait believes the government has a lot to answer for:

Netizen Roy Brown decided to get a straight answer from Cricket Australia but was disappointed with their reply:

The right to freedom of expression also emerged as a central issue in Williamson's situation, especially for those with different views:

Murray Campbell disagrees with abortion but also disagrees with Williamson's dismissal and weighed in on the matter through his self-titled blog whose ‘aim is to engage with Melbourne culture and churches through a Gospel lens:’

[…] not because I like what she said, but because in a civil society, citizens have a right to voice opinions about social and political issues.

Meanwhile, WORK180, an international jobs network, has suspended Cricket Australia as an “Endorsed Employer” while Williamson's case is pending:

However, Cricket Australia is unflinching, posting a job advertisement for a replacement for Angela Williamson that is currently active as of August 2:

For the moment, the last word goes to Madeleine Northam. She is a public sector union representative in Tasmanian. Coincidentally, her Twitter profile states “All tweets are my own’.

The Case for Income Tax.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/07/2018 - 7:23pm in

Claire Connelly is a young journalist specialising in economics and finance. An MMT sympathiser, she has written popular pieces about it.

She wrote “The Case Against Income Tax” about the need (or lack thereof) for income taxes. Although she has “no hard opinions on whether or not to abolish income tax”, as she says towards the end of her piece, it’s evident she finds that possibility attractive, particularly within the Australian context, where tax cuts have been a thing lately.

It’s understandable then that she produces a list of income tax criticisms (going as far back as Henry George, whom she mentions approvingly). A bit more worrisome is that she presents no argument in favour of income taxes.

Ironically, though, she links to an article of a leading MMT proponent, Prof. L. Randall (Randy) Wray, dealing precisely with the need (or lack thereof) for taxes. There Wray explains some misunderstandings about taxes in general and income taxes in particular, and their legitimate uses (because, against a common misunderstanding, taxes do have legitimate uses within MMT, beyond driving the demand for money).

To that end, Wray discusses the work of Beardsley Ruml (whom Connelly also mentions) and asks (my emphasis from here on): “Why, then, does the national government need taxes?”

Ruml -- Wray says -- gave four reasons:

  1. “As an instrument of fiscal policy to help stabilize the purchasing power of the dollar;
  2. “To express public policy in the distribution of wealth and of income as in the case of the progressive income and estate taxes;
  3. “To express public policy in subsidizing or in penalizing various industries and economic groups; and
  4. “To isolate and assess directly the costs of certain national benefits, such as highways and social security.”

And further elaborates: “The second purpose is to use taxes to change the distribution of income and wealth. For example, a progressive tax system would reduce income and wealth at the top, while imposing minimal taxes on the poor.”

Which, one gathers from Connelly’s piece, seems to be what Dr. Steven Hail, apparently a local MMTer, tried to tell her.

Without being an expert, I’ll try my hand at some answers to Connelly’s questions and comments.

Connelly asks: “If income tax were really important, how come those who make the most often pay the least?” The fact that those who earn (not make) the most often pay the least does not prove income taxes are unimportant. It is, instead, an argument for the closing of the loopholes in taxation law allowing that to happen and it’s a demonstration of the influence those who earn the most have on lawmakers and bureaucrats. Wouldn’t the elimination of income taxes only play to their hands?

“[Henry] George argued that a land-value tax” -- writes Connelly -- “should replace all other forms of taxation, ‘leaving labour and capital to flourish freely, and thus ending unemployment, poverty, inflation and inequality’.” If workers and capitalists don’t pay taxes wouldn’t their inducement to demand money be reduced?

Moreover, wouldn’t that increase inequality?

Which lead us to this comment: “In the current climate, with wages stagnating or in some countries even going backwards, it makes little sense to take money away from people already struggling to pay their bills for the sake of an almost permanent deficit.”

That’s all very truth. But there are tax cuts and tax cuts. The one already approved in Oz precisely cuts the taxes the least for people struggling to pay their bills as their wages fall, and the most for those whose salaries have been rising lately. These are tax cuts, the question is: are they good? I fail to see how inequality can fall with that.

----------
That is a misunderstanding that may come back to haunt MMTers: when they say “taxes drive the demand for money” people tend to hear “the only purpose of taxes is to drive the demand for money”. Often -- as I’m sure is the case with Connelly -- it’s an honest mistake which a little thought, hopefully, can correct, thus, this post.

I fear, however, sometimes there’s more than a little equivocation behind it; which may have something to do with its zombie-like resilience.

The World’s Biggest Coral Reef is Headed For Collapse

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/07/2018 - 5:00pm in


Cyclones, starfish, pollution... bleaching... climate change.

On The Jolly Swagmen podcast, discussing economics, the economy, politics, Europe & Greece

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/07/2018 - 5:06pm in

Tags 

Australia, English

Joe speaks with former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, the man who defied Europe to save Greece – and failed. Yanis, the suave economics professor turned unexpected politician, has recently announced he will run for Prime Minister of Greece at the next national elections. He is the author of multiple books including And The Weak Suffer What They Must?Adults in the Room, and Talking to My Daughter About the Economy.

CLICK HERE FOR THE PODCAST

Topics discussed

  • What three core economics concepts should a person know in order to be a minimum effective citizen? [4:30]
  • What percentage of citizens in a Western nation like US, Australia or Greece actually understand basic economics?[8:40]
  • Why government spending is not analogous to household spending. [9:14]
  • Game theory and the prisoner’s dilemma from the guy who wrote a textbook about them. [14:52]
  • Who were Yanis’ parents and how did they meet? [21:24]
  • Insiders vs. outsiders. [26:56]
  • The prevailing atmosphere in an insolvent post-2010 Greece. [32:50]
  • How does a country become insolvent? [43:04]
  • Why Greece needed debt restructuring. [45:02]
  • The cold logic behind why the Troika wished to impose more loans on Greece. [50:32]
  • What is Angela Merkel like as a leader and a person? [55:00]
  • The Greek Bankers threaten Yanis and his family, who move to the US. [57:45]
  • Staring down the Troika, as Finance Minister of Greece. [1:01:02]
  • Does game theory apply to the negotiations between Greece and the Troika? [1:09:39]
  • Whose idea was the Greek Bailout Referendum and why did it lead to Yanis’ resignation? [1:12:04]
  • Is Alexis Tsipras an insider or an outsider? [1:15:43]
  • What motivated Alexis Tsipras to accept the european programme? [1:17:10]
  • What general lessons did Yanis take from the Greek government-debt crisis? [1:18:09]
  • Is there such a thing as “too much” government debt? [1:20:08]
  • What is Yanis’ advice to the Australian Treasurer? [1:21:22]
  • DiEM, Yanis’ new democratic movement. [1:22:42]

Selected links

Book Review: Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia edited by Anita Heiss

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/07/2018 - 8:42pm in

With the edited collection Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia, Anita Heiss brings together a range of multivocal, heterogeneous and deeply compelling contributions from 51 Aboriginal writers reflecting on their experiences of growing up in Australia. This is a valuable resource for those wanting to listen to, learn from and better understand the diverse experiences and perspectives of Aboriginal people in Australia, finds Maja Milatovicand will also prompt many readers to consider their own implication in unequal, imperialist power structures that continue to impact on everyday lives. 

Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia. Anita Heiss (ed.). Black Inc. 2018.

Find this book: amazon-logo

Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia is a landmark anthology featuring 51 temporally, geographically and culturally diverse contributions from Aboriginal people detailing their experiences of growing up in Australia. The anthology is edited by Dr Anita Heiss, a prominent author of fiction, non-fiction, social commentary and a groundbreaking genre of women’s commercial fiction featuring Indigenous protagonists. Heiss is a proud Wiradjuri woman who has previously related her experiences of growing up Aboriginal in Australia in her memoir Am I Black Enough for You? (2012). As a socially and politically engaged author, editor and educator, Heiss is committed to empowering marginalised communities through art and literacy. Reflecting on the anthology in her editorial ‘Introduction’, Heiss writes that there were no limitations placed on the content of the contributions, resulting in truly multivocal, heterogeneous and deeply compelling stories which speak for themselves.

Each contributor reveals personal and vastly diverse understandings of their own identity and personal history. Adding layers of intimacy to the affective experience of reading, each narrative is accompanied by a photograph of the author as a child. While the stories reveal the devastating effects of racism and shame brought by colonialism, dehumanisation and attempts to erase Aboriginal cultures and break apart families, Heiss highlights that the ‘anthology is not one of victimhood: it is one of strength and resilience, of pride and inspiration, demonstrating the will to survive and the capacity to thrive against the odds’ (2). This collection of inspiring narratives shows Aboriginal people authoring their own stories, disrupting hierarchies and actively resisting colonisers’ erasure.

The anthology is dedicated to the memory of passionate poet, activist, educator and environmentalist Alice Eather and ‘all those who were lost too soon’. Eather’s contribution in the anthology, entitled Yúya Karrabúrra, features her poem of the same name, followed by a narrative reflecting on the poem’s engagement with identity and detailing Eather’s childhood and family. Yúya Karrabúrra is a deeply moving meditation on Eather’s identity and the challenges of navigating multiple worlds. In Eather’s words:

I walk between these two worlds / A split life / Split skin / Split tongue / Split kin / Everyday these worlds collide / And I’m living and breathing / This story of black and white (77).

Eather depicts the ways in which she embodies her complex ancestry, highlights the necessity of coming together and, in her words, ‘being part of conscious change’ (84), and taking action to challenge ongoing oppression and dispossession.

Image Credit: Aboriginal Flag, Sydney (picsbyclive CC BY 2.0)

Apart from the complexities of identity, numerous contributors write on their experiences of racism and the frequent objectification and stereotyping resulting from hegemonic culture’s monolithic and reductive notions of Aboriginal identities. For instance, Natalie Cromb’s narrative features her memories of childhood happily spent on country with family, followed by high school experiences marked by the sense of being singled out and teased for being Aboriginal before ending with her eighteenth birthday. Here, Cromb remembers someone she considered a friend introducing her through a racist remark (66). The casual way in which this was uttered reveals a broader context: how the insidiousness of racism can permeate even the closest relationships with friends, families or partners.

Describing the experience of racism in her contribution, Ambelin Kwaymullina writes:

It’s like standing in the sea and having waves crash over you; it’s regular and relentless and you forget what it’s like to be able to properly breathe (136).

Kwaymullina’s waves metaphor as ‘regular and relentless’ shows the omnipresence of racism, its daily iterations and its suffocating effects. Many contributors describe in detail the ways in which racism limits them and confines to narrow, damaging constructs. Crucially, Kwaymullina underscores the value of safe spaces where she retreats, places of possibility and reclamation which make her ‘horizons expand to infinity’ (137).

Most importantly, many of the contributions focus on empowerment, resilience and survival, affirming the politically engaged function of this anthology. Education is highlighted as a crucial element in challenging social hierarchies, establishing spaces of affirmation and leading communities. For instance, prominent sporting figures Adam Goodes and Patrick Johnson underscore the relevance of learning from one’s elders, listening and being fearless and ambitious. As Shahni Wellington urges at the end of her narrative revolving around life lessons: ‘So don’t forget: Put your identity first. Respect and educate. Keep it strong’ (261).

Moreover, all the contributors reflect a deep sense of belonging to country and culture. For instance, Frank Szekely’s narrative begins with poetic descriptions of places important to him, their natural beauty and the pride he feels when he sees the reactions of people visiting those spaces (226). Ultimately, this anthology contains a range of interconnected themes and issues, with only a fragment of these mentioned in the thematic threads outlined above. The layered wealth of experiences and perspectives represented in this work invites a highly reflexive and thoughtful reading.

Considering the importance of storytelling, Doreen Nelson states in her contribution: ‘I believe by recording our stories we leave behind a wealth of knowledge and a rich and important legacy for our future generations’ (177). This anthology demonstrates the importance of centering Indigenous Australian Peoples’ voices, perspectives, art and scholarship in the ongoing processes of decolonisation in Australia. Challenging hierarchies and cultural erasure, the contributions feature a moving, engaged and diverse range of perspectives on Aboriginal identities. The anthology is accessible to a range of readers and not isolated to one specific group. Therefore, it will be of interest to the international public, activists, artists, scholars and students of Indigenous studies, Australian studies, history, sociology, literature and other interrelated disciplines. Moreover, the anthology is a crucial resource to be included in reading lists in tertiary and secondary schools, in order to change reductive curricula that erase Indigenous Australian perspectives and cultures while privileging white Anglo-Australian views and narratives.

Ultimately, the anthology brings to diverse readers of different backgrounds a valuable resource for listening to, learning and understanding heterogeneous experiences of Aboriginal people in Australia, as well as for reflecting on one’s own accountability and implication in unequal, imperialist power structures which privilege certain groups over others.

Dr Maja Milatovic teaches at ANU College, Canberra, Australia. She holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh (UK) and an MA in Postmodern Fiction from Aberystwyth University (UK). Her current research is located at the intersections of international student education, human rights and decolonising methodologies.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics. 

 


Andrew Bolt Proposes Burning Green Bags As An Alternate Energy Source

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/07/2018 - 8:00am in

Plastic bag enthusiast Andrew Bolt has called on the Government to consider burning green bags as an alternate energy source as part of the upcoming National Energy guarantee.

“What use are green bags,” said Andrew Bolt. “If like me you have a cupboard full of them, as every time you send your wife to the supermarket to shop she forgets to take them and has to buy more to bring the groceries home then what are you meant to do with them?”

“Hence if we burn them they will provide cheap base load power and also rid our houses of unnecessary clutter.”

When asked what would we use to bring home our groceries Mr Bolt replied: “Well the Government should mandate that all shops give out single use plastic bags and any company that refuses will be taken over and run by the State. That’s how a market economy works best you know.”

Mark Williamson 

www.twitter.com/MWChatShow

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