Tue, 24/01/2023 - 21:59

By Patrick Lawrence / Original to ScheerPost Somewhere between the first and second times I heard someone say “weaponize,” this term and its derivatives—“weaponizing,” “weaponization,” and so on—began to repel me. It was the crudity of it, or the way it served as an accusatory dismissal, like “conspiracy theory.” Assert that someone has weaponized a […]

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Wed, 01/09/2021 - 15:32

Failure is only the beginning.

Thirteen of Australia’s 80 closely-regulated MySuper superannuation funds have failed the APRA performance test.

There’s a fair chance you are among the one million people in them.

The results were made public on Tuesday and handed to the funds on Monday. From here on — for the people who run those funds — it’s about to get worse.

APRA is the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Landmark reforms introduced in response to a devastating Productivity Commission report into the “mess” that is much of Australia’s super industry require APRA to rate each MySuper fund (and from next year most other funds) with a pass or a fail according to how they have managed their members’ money.

Wed, 08/09/2021 - 15:39

After a misstep, it’s about to become illegal to import e-cigarettes without a prescription, which means that, for most Australians, it’ll become all but impossible to vape from October 1.

The misstep tells us a lot about how the Australian government works behind the scenes — most of it good.

Mid last year, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced plans to ban the import of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and refills without a doctor’s prescription. Border force would be checking parcels.

To Hunt, the decision made sense. It was already illegal to buy and sell such products without a prescription in every Australian state and territory, and it was illegal to possess them without a prescription in every state but South Australia.

All Hunt was doing was closing a (very wide) loophole.

Wed, 15/09/2021 - 15:43

Last year COVID-19 seemed simple. It was horrific, but the arguments about what to do were fairly straightforward.

On one side were people rightly horrified by its rapid spread who wanted us to stay at home and stay away from school and work and socialising in order to save lives.

On the other side were people concerned about the costs of those measures — to jobs, to education, to freedom, to mental health, and to other lives (because if we used too much of our health system fighting COVID-19, other lives might fall through the cracks).

And through it all came a kind of consensus.

Wed, 13/10/2021 - 11:42

Never has an inquiry into the skyrocketing price of homes been more urgent.

Rarely has one been as insultingly ill-suited as the one under way right now.

Midway through last year in the midst of COVID, the average forecast of the 22 leading economists who took part in The Conversation mid-year survey was for no increase in home prices whatsoever in the year ahead (actually for slight falls).

At that time the typical (median) Sydney house price was A$1 million, where it stayed until the end of the year.

Then it took off. In the ten months to the start of this month the typical Sydney house price soared $300,000 to $1.3 million – a breathtaking increase (and an awfully big penalty for delaying buying) of $1,000 each day.