Wednesday, 31 October 2018

That wage explosion keeps getting bigger

The ABS released the CPI yesterday. It rose a miserly 0.4% or 0.1% in seasonally adjusted terms.
The RBA's preferred measures rose 1.7% and 1.8% in annual terms.

In other words we do not have an inflation problem thus we do not have a cost of living problem. The official cash rate is a mere 1.5% and is umlikly to rise in any sort of future.
Why is this?
Wages show no sign of rising at all despite us reaching our NAIRU.
There are a lot of explanations for this.
Underemployment is high and restraining wage rises.
Trade Unions are weak and restraint wage rises.
Whatever. We now have a very de-regulated labour market. We have to live with the consequences.
It ain't a positive electorally.
That wage explosion just keeps on keeping on.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Bennelong becomes interesting

I live in the electorate of Bennelong. I voted for John Alexander through gritted teeth. He is a most unimpressive member. A member who lives in the eastern suburbs.
( I consistently vote for a change of government no matter who is in power once a government has served two terms.)

In the Bennelong by-election I did say Kenneally the ALP candidate was over-rated and was proved right.
In the neurosurgeon  Brian Owler the ALP has finally picked an impressive candidate.He obviously has a lot more energy than Alexander although that would not be hard.
I will be interested to see how he handles his criticism of the ALP government at the time and its handling of Medicare.
Assuming he handles it well then he should be a minister in a new ALP government.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Review into Australian Cricket

Cricket Australia released its Review of Australian Cricket following the aftermath of the South African disaster.

My first question is why are there any redacted parts ? What is Cricket Australia hiding? ( I do believe these idiots wanted flat tracks so to gain more TV revenue. Showing yet again they have no idea of cricket is about and what is needed.
The second question is why is there not a complete change of the board. Poor culture comes from the top and really will not change if the same people are there.
On this very issue David Peever gave a train wreck of an interview to Leigh Sales. Go mate go now and do it fast.

Let us go back to that terrible test loss against south Africa in Tasmania. Mathew Wade replaced Peter Neville. Neville is easily the best technician behind the stumps and as good a batsman as Wade .Neville was also playing well. We learnt Wade replaced Neville because of his sledging. ( I now speak as an umpire that sledging is not allowed under the laws. The spirit of cricket says in its preamble you should show respect to the opposition. Sledging is the antithesis of this.)

You are a player in the test team or trying to get into the test team. This selection says loud and clear what the cricket hierarchy wants and it is not pretty.

Why in recent times do opposition teams not want to share a drinks with the Australian team. The same reason why I have enjoyed Australia losing . It is because of their behaviour.

Go back to the basics and have EVERY cricketer and administrator learn what the spirit of cricket is about.
I think Sam Perry has it right.

THIS is interesting. So is THIS

Punt Peever. Peever gone.

 I can add just one thing here. Whilst Peever was there it was almost impossible to  get them to talk to each other even when in the same room. Hopefully this will change. Last years MOU negotiations still rankles

Sunday, 28 October 2018

A bit of football and cricket

The A-League has started and the season looks great. No easy games. All the teams have improved and the football has improved as well. all the games thus far have been enjoyable to watch.

HOWEVER we have a problem with the VAR. In both derbies we have seen howlers made AFTER the Referee has looked at the video. In the Melbourne derby the Referee was conned by the attacker. Every referee has been conned. BUT if you watch a replay you should overturn the decision and have a drop ball. The Referee doubled down and award a penalty. Any fan who watched the replay knew this was absurd, This referee should not have another A-League game this season.

In the Sydney derby We had a Referee awarding a free kick for offside however he awarded a direct free kick not an indirect free kick. Let us be clear. No player HAS to get out of the road of another. If the Defender had to get to the wanderers player he had to go AROUND the other Wanderers players. This makes obstruction and offside untenable.

In Cricket we had David Warner walking off a cricket field because pf a 'sledge'. A few things here. g First the utter hypocrisy of Warner who was the main sledger for the test team.
Secondly the umpires should have intervened and stopped the talk. The fieldsman did not show respect for the batsman. That is part of the spirit of cricket.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Around the Traps 26/10/18

It is time yet again for Around the Traps

Northern America
Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)
Vox wonk

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

electricity again.

The government announced their 'new' electricity policy yesterday.
Only problem is as Greg Jericho points out it is the same policy that Malcolm Turnbull announced only days before he was shafted.

Moreover the government does not address the problems why higher-energy-prices-are-here-to-stay
Indeed the Government appears to have gone the full Karl Marx.

Coal is possibly the highest price alternative is building a new power station. Renewables have about a 40% advantage on them and that is without a price on carbon to compensate for their negative externalities.

The present coal powered power stations are very unreliable when it is damned hot. Units failed in Victoria, NSW and Queensland last summer.Look out this summer.

Remember also that is was privatisation that caused the massive rise in electricity prices

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

The Government's policy on Asylum Seekers makes no sense

The government insists their push back policy on boats involving  asylum seekers works. no boats have come to Australia Well very few.
If this is the case then it matters not if they allow such people on Nauru to live in Australia.
People smugglers cam promise the world to asylum seekers however they will not make it to Australia.

Next we have the government insisting any asylum seeker that is allowed to live in New Zealand never be allowed in Australia.  This is so obviously absurd I won't even go into the argument. some kiwis are allowed into Australia but not others?

how about those who are now in the US. how come this does not apply to them?

I have been to both countries and New Zealand is ca much more pleasant country than the US!

This is a government that clearly has no idea on anything.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Robert Menzies: A Life

I recently read this two volume biography of the great man  by A W Martin. Although very sympathetic to Menzies it is not a hagiogrphy.

I must say I was unimpressed by this biography.
Let us take elections. There were a hellva lot of them in Menzies lifetime yet we do not even get a paragraph on any on them.
Take the controversial 1954 election. We get a few sentences where we learn at the end the ALP got the majority of the vote. This is irreconcilable with what the author had written about the campaign.

Most people take it for granted Menzies was very good at constitutional law given that is how he made his repudiation yet he merely states Menzies stated in the 1949 the ALP could still nationalising the banks despite both the High Court and Privy council ruling against this. What were Menzies's arguments. We do not know. Was this a political ploy or did his statement have substance. We do not know.

Martin tries unsuccessfully to show Menzies was not embarrassed by the Sues crisis and the UN debacle but I think his heart was not in it. This is also the case on south Africa. I think without realising it he shows Menzies as a man who simply does not realise the winds were changing in the world and Menzies did not realise this.

One major defect was the inability to perceive how restrictive trade practices were the norm in Menzies time.There was no competition. Why and how was this allowed? We do not know indeed this topic is not even broached!

The only time we learn of Menzies work habits was after the 1949 election. People were used to Chifley arriving at work at 8. Menzies did not arrive until 10!
Perhaps relation to this Martin completely avoids why Menzies wore double breasted suits everywhere and anytime, whether it be the tropics in Malaya then Malaysia or summer in the USA. Why would the man do such a stupid thing. He was obese. He wanted to wear clothing which did not highlight this. Thus I am not convinced by Martins reasons Menzies was not indolent.
Menzies loved cricket but taking valuable days of his working life to watch a game of cricket is another example of indolence Martin does not appreciate.

Martin quite regularly says understood his brief on economic matters yet he NEVER proves proof of this. This is very frustrating. Perhaps Martin like Menzies does not understand economics.
Indeed we never learn from this book that following the 1949 election win Australia has its highest inflation rate and by far its highest current account deficit as a % of GDP. Economics is not covered very well at all. For those of us who read all about the Vernon report at University and how Whitlam embraced this Martin's commentary on this subject is very one-sided/.

Okay I have been critical thus far so let me get sympathetic to Menzies, He is brought in to Federal politics from State politics to replace Lyons when he retires. Lyons himself confirms this. Many times he tells Menzies he is weary of politics BUT he never retires. Menzies finally resigns from Cabinet on a matter of principle.
Why did not Lyons resign as he wanted, No question in my mind it was his wife. In this instance Menzies was no Keating.

We might cogitate that Menzies left his party with no direction.  They should have lost in 1969. his cabinets were lacklustre ( I do not realise in 1949 the highly impressive John Dedman was beaten by Hubert Opperman who at best could be called a  plodder.
I think this is a good place to stop as this typified the Menzies era.

Menzies was a very lucky man. If either Curtin was still alive or Chifley had not had a brain explosion on banks it is unlikely Menzies would have regained government. In both 1954 and 1961 fair electoral boundaries would have seen him beaten.Again this is never broached,

This should have been a very enjoyable biography however it merely proved frustrating. This is a great shame.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

A Political Earthquake occurred on Saturday

Well Well,
The largest swing in political history has helped Kerryn Phelps to a win in the Wentworth by-election.

Make no mistake this is a political earthquake. This seat has been solidly liberal ( or part of its forebears) since Federation.
We saw two things. Firstly many Liberal voters were heartily sick of the party given its internal divisions. There was a huge swing from former Liberal voters. Secondly we saw very strategic voting from many Labor and Green voters. both wanted to see Phelps run second on primary votes and then win in preferences.

Why did this occur?
Well add to a very divided government a poor performance by the Prime Minister. We should remember he is a relatively inexperienced parliamentarian.It showed. He campaigned very poorly and was very poor under pressure. He was very good at telling voters on how to get the independent voted in just for example. An unstable government can hardly plead for stability.

It would not be hard to see Phelps hold this seat for some time. At least until the ALP are on the nose.
Expect  quite a few independents to put their hand up for the next election and trying to win either Liberal or National 'safe' seats on ALP preferences as occurred here.

We should end by saying I am always amused to always hear in circumstances like this That they have heard the message from the voters yet when asked what they will change the answer is always nothing!

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Around the Traps 19/10/18

It is time yet again for Around the Traps
Problems with the internet so hopefully will update later. I see it is affecting other blogs as well.It is affecting Dave Giles blog for a start.  Hey all fixed now.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles ( econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)
Vox wonk

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Yes Barnaby Joyce is mad

Imagine you are part of the government. you have recently discarded your leader and thus Prime Minister. what is the last thing you would want.

A change in National Party leadership.
Yet Barnaby Joyce is stalkng the present National Party leader. Even that great radio intellectual giant Ray Hadley is on the act.

A change in leadership would simply exacerbate the perception the government is a disorganised rabble..
Joyce's  political judgement has been 'poor' indeed 'very  poor' since he actively adopted adultery .
The thought that McCormack would background Ray Hadley is laughable unless you believe he has the judgement of Joyce.
Joyce is yesterday's man. He has been found out. He would be easy fodder for the ALP.
Kevin hogan is sitting on the crossbench because he realises this is a much better look for him to succeed politically. (It also helps he believes in his stand as well).

It doesn't matter if you have a leadership spill after the Wentworth by-election the voters there already know Joyce is stalking so the damage is done.

This is yet another reason to toss the government out.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

The Australian housing downturn

Our old mate Ricardian Ambivalence has written two excellent articles on the australian housing downturn. They are here-comes-the-housing-downturn and the-problem-with-aussie-housing.

He highlights that some of the people who have interest only payments CANNOT AFFORD TO REPAY THE PRINCIPAL.

My hunch is the RBA is sweating over this.

Monday, 15 October 2018

The Wenworth by-election

The Wentworth by-election is on Saturday. Remember the pitfalls of seat polling. HERE and HERE. This of course includes 'private party polling'.

What I find interesting is how the Liberals are reacting.

At first they were very confidant of winning the seat. They were slagging off Kerryn Phelps, which a lot of journalist and pundits have repeatedly told us is capable of winning the seat without proving a scintilla of evidence, early in the campaign.

How things have changed with Morrison in almost panic mode pleading for people not to vote for Phelps.

In all this Tim Murray the wholly impressive candidate has been ignored.

I will say the seat should change given that the Liberals are a disorganised rabble however we shall see.


I only just found out that Morrison is proposing to move our embassy to West Jerusalem. .The Liberals are not just worried they are very very scared.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Electricity is still very affordable

Alert readers of Around the Traps would have read an article by Ben Phillips on how the cost of electricity affects various households.

He finds that for most but not all households  there has been very little change on the proportion of money spent on electricity from ten years ago despite rises of some 117%!!

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Around the Traps 12/10/18

It is time again for Around the Traps

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles ( econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)
Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Expelling gay kids?

Yesterday in breathless fashion we were emblazoned with the information gay kids could be expelled from 'religious' schools. See HERE for all the actual information.

This gets a bit boring for me but here goes again in no order of importance in relation to Christian schools,

Being homosexual is NOT a sin. Having sex outside marriage ( where there is a husband and wife) is.
Thus it is very easy to see straight away many more heterosexuals are affected then homosexuals.

No-one but no-one is forced to either apply for a job in a Christian school or enrol their children.
Teachers are affected as they enter into a contract to uphold the School's values. If they lie about it or flagrantly publicises their relationship as occurred recently in WA then yes you will be sacked.

Students are a different kettle of fish. no student has ever been expelled for being gay, probably for the above reasons.

The only scenario I could foresee is if the student ( or the parents much more likely) made public the student was engaged in fornication and openly paraded such beliefs. If after  counselling the student continued on this course then the School would have no option.  The student and their parents would be undertaking a political exercise.

I think this is unlikely.

The whole thing is much ado about nothing.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

A couple of home grown articles

Two interesting local articles from two of my favourite bloggers.

Firstly we have the kouk on the-bond-market-is-crashing-and-it-ll-affect-you.

Next we have ricardo ambivalence on here-comes-the-housing-downturn. ( more  writing please)

It seems to me one thing stands out.The $A will fall.

Next financial year might not be the windfall the government expects.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Sunday, 7 October 2018

The US Supreme Court loses respect

When Brett Kavanaugh became a Supreme court judge the institution lost a lot of respect.

This again showed how Trump is no conservative. He clearly does not uphold institutions at all.Indeed he likes to destroy them. What is horrifying from this nomination process is that all the Republicans have joined him in desecrating important institutions.

There were the gravest of charges made against Kavanaugh. This should have involved a lengthy and quite thorough investigation. Not one that even comedians can show up as slipshod.

Imagine an investigative journalist examines these accusations in quite detail and find them corroborated at a later date!
The US Supreme court would be demeaned and the FBI been seen as a player in a political game.

The very quick investigation where the accuser was not even talked to did NOT declare Kavanugh not guilty of such charges and it never was. Yet for any person to sit on the Supreme Court that is what had to occur.

the US Supreme court has always been a political one. Now it is an overtly political one as Zack Beauchamp writes .

David Glasner criticises Kavanaugh testimony to the Senate.

Like his former boss Kenneth Starr Kavanaugh has changed his colours on whether anybody can investigate a sitting President. It seems it is dependent on whether the sitting President is a Democrat or Republican.

Kavanaugh's own testimony was very partisan and the linked article by Beauchamp shows how this will cause damage to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme court and the FBI are very important institutions of US polity. Their demeaning is not good for democracy.

Any conservative worth their salt would know and understand this.


The President is entitled to nominate anyone he or she wants to. The Senate is entitled to accept or reject the nomination. IMHO this nomination should have been rejected because the man is clearly a political animal.
As I said previously without a thorough investigation a taint is over Kavanugh and will  always be over him.  I do not like it when a man cannot even admit to being drunk at either school or Uni. If he cannot admit that what can he actually admit.

I would like to see Roe V Wade overturned.I would like to see it done in a very legal way. doing it in an obvious political way will merely foster the current differences further

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Around the Traps 5/10/18

It is time for Around the Traps.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
Vox wonk