Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Gough Whitlam

Gough Whitlam died yesterday.

To begin with I will recount what I heard on 2UE on November 11 1975. Steve Liebman had an afternoon show and he was talking to Katherine West on the political situation when the Daily Telegraph Canberra correspondent came on the line ( Kevin somebody) and said breathlessly Gough has been sacked. Liebman said 'Shit' without knowing what he was saying. 

Gough Whitlam was a great Opposition Leader until winning in 1972.
He was a mediocre PM and then to be blunt a has been in parliament until he retired.

The reason he was a great Opposition Leader was because he reformed the ALP and went around and discovered what policies were needed to bring Australia into the twentieth Century.

In this he was heavily influenced by firstly the Vernon Committee and then Alf Rattigan of the Tariff board which he changed to the Industries Assistance Commission (IAC). Indeed on more than one occasion he declared himself to be a Rattigan man.

The policy program he adopted was highly impressive and would have helped Australia to improve its GDP per capita IF it were implemented cautiously  and successfully.

Whitlam's problem when he became PM was :

  • He had terrible people management skills and needs a good deputy to smooth things over. when Lance Barnard left he never had this
  • He allowed sentiment to overweigh good judgment in terms of cabinet. Thus he inherited a Cabinet of a poor calibre. Whereas he had a good one in his last days.
  • He needed a good treasurer, Treasury and economic advisors. Until Bill Hayden he did not have a good Treasurer. Treasury were not at their best which is why there was a 1974 recession and A lot of Ministers and back benchers lost faith in Treasury. He had no good economic advisors/
  • He thought he could adopt all his program at once and it would only have a positive affect on the economy. He was wrong.
  • In hindsight history would be a lot different if Whitlam had have won in 1969 like he should have.
Yes I agree his sacking was a travesty and Kerr's conduct absolutely disgraceful.However Whitlam's reaction was silly and never thought through.

Following the 1975 election Whitlam was never the same.

As a person he had a very quick and sharp wit. It could be destructive or self deprecating.

Two different views
Here are the figure from Budget papers.
Years     Outlays    Revenue      surplus/deficit
1972/3    18.8          19.5               0.7
1973/4    18.4          20.3               1.9
1974/5    21.7          22.3               0.3
1975/76  24.3          22.5              -1.8  

Net debt fell Under Whitlam as a % of GDP!!

Postscript

I forgot to add prior to Whitlam winning office only HALF of Sydney had proper sewerage!

Monday, 20 October 2014

When you are a PM you really need to behave yourself

We have in recent days had Tony Abbott say he would shirtfront  Russian president Putin.

This was wrong in a number of ways.

  • Clearly he was responding to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and attempting to look 'tough.Opposition Leader can say silly things in foreign affairs because no--one pays them any notice. We saw this with regard to Tony Abbott when he was Opposition Leader. On the other hand people do pay attention to what a PM says.
  • Shirt fronting means different things depending on whether you follow Aussie rules or rugby. What is particularly clear it is not a word you expect to hear from a Statesmen. this is confirmed by the fact Abbott walked away from that expression.
  • Abbott's comments than made himself a figure of ridicule.
  • Abbott has now put himself under enormous pressure when or if he meets Putin.He clearly cannot live up to his metaphor.
Now I think Steve from Brisbane is over the top but he is clearly heading in the right direction.
I think the G20 meeting is now going to be very interesting particularly since Abbott has put himself under enormous pressure as I stated previously. Just Remember Putin is one of the most experienced  leaders going around. Abbott is at the other end.

On the domestic front we find the actions of the 'burqua ban' was imposed because of a rumour
Bronwyn Bishop not only looks like an idiot but is found to be one.
I knew this would occur when Sinclair Davidson praised her. He is becoming more Kates like every day!. ( I might add that will happen when you run an echo chamber and not a blog. As Alan Moran so sadly shows at John Quiggin's blog you forget on how to debate.)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Around the Traps 17/10/14

It is time for Around the Traps again.

I will attempt to Umpire on Saturday afternoon but will update in the morning and Sunday.

Jim Rose, you really need to read most of this!
Genial Dave Giles is on fire!

Aussie,Aussie,Aussie,Oy,Oy,Oy
Northern America
Europe
Asia

Wonk
General
Climate
 Andrew Gelman ( Mainly Stats)


Genial Dave Giles ( Econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( Quirky + Book Reviews)
Vox wonk

Monday, 13 October 2014

Some people will NEVER learn

I was asked, by e-mail, about a Sinclair Davidson article yesterday.
Naturally there are a number of inaccuracies as you would expect from Davidson.

Apparently debt is soaring. But hang on the Commission of Audit found on the WORST case scenario net debt as a % of GDP would get to 17.5% of GDP.
Hmm that doesn't sound like soaring debt does it?

He believes that Hockey should have brought in a much tighter budget. Hockey has backloaded most of the spending and tax decisions. The reason for this is the economy is already weak. It is logical that fiscal consolidation occurs when the economy is stronger.

The declining Terms of Trade is putting pressure on the Nominal GDP level.
The Last time a treasurer put forward a tight budget when similar circumstances  eventuated the budget made the economy much weaker.
That Treasurer was Wayne Swan. His budget, easily the tightest in budgetary history, actually detracted 0.7 percentage points from GDP. ( We must always remember Davidson said on the day after this budget he and another colleague said the budget was expansionary!!)
the RBA believed Hockey's budget would add around 0.4 percentage points to GDP.

So like an old fashioned communist Davidson never marks his beliefs to market. He continue to believe in them even though he is almost always wrong.

That is also the reason he does not allow varied comment at his site. He and the others have thin skins and cannot debate. They never venture out from Catallaxy to make comment because when they do they get humiliated.

They never learn!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Reflections on lying on a Hospital Bed

Before I start this Can I just thank everyone for their good wishes.

Imagine my surprise dear Lonely and Only Reader when I was getting get well e-mails from everywhere on the globe ( well not quite but you know what I mean!)!

Okay in no particular order here goes:

Australia's health system
I was lucky. I am relatively okay financially and am in possibly the best health fund to be in Australia ( Teachers courtesy of my wife). Thus when it was obvious an operation was needed I was able to go to a really good private Hospital (the San) very quickly and get the operation done.
I hate to think what would have occurred if I couldn't afford all this.

Media
Whilst lying on my bed I had a TV in my room. This has all the free channels plus some channels from Foxtel. I have to say ABC 24 is way way better than Sky News.
I could listen to AM, the world today and PM as they has those radio stations on the TV. They also had ABC FM which was a god send when I wanted to nap during the day.
I got to see the greatest Western of all time ( the Virginian) BUT only in is final bad season. I watched Bonanza for the first time since I was a teenager. IT is still enjoyable to watch.
I couldn't watch Mad as Hell as it hurt when I laughed!

I heard Nick Gruen ( the nicest bloke in the Blogosphere) being interviewed on 702. It was really interesting. ( This is mostly what he talked about). Thanks heaps Nick. I have always wondered why when private toll roads go broke they cannot be simply made public roads?


Internet
I was having withdrawal symptoms having to go three whole days without any access to the internet.
Next time hopefully I will have a laptop. I missed a vital Castle episode!
There is an incredible amount of information out there. My interests are politics and economics and there are  plethora of blogs to read in these two areas. ( I am reading more these days on climate change, statistics and econometrics ( mainly thanks to Messrs Andrew Gelman and genial Dave Giles.)  It is all good but now my wife is saying I am always on the internet during my recovery!!
My excuse is that I cannot do any significant physical exercise yet!

Postscript
I am perplexed that some of the highest viewed articles I have had in recent times was a piece which was a mundane look at the stats of this blog, Then my problems after the Wedding i went to and then of course my post on sick leave.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Debussy

Between Eric Satie and Claude Debussy we are blessed with some of the great classic music of all time involving the piano


 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Around the Traps 10/10/14

It is time for a post-hospital operation Around the Traps. I haven't read any of the articles so I will be reading them over the weekend like you.1
Since I am recovering I will be updating all weekend.

Aussie,Aussie,Aussie,Oy,Oy,Oy
Northern America
Europe
Asia
Wonk
General
Climate
Andrew Gelman ( Mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles ( Econometrics)
nuttin as yet. Bad Dave!
Dianne Coyle (Quirky + Book Reviews)
Vox wonk