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78 responses to “Saturday Salon”

  1. Wendy

    I am an avid reader of LP but this is my virgin post. I am a volunteer bushcarer. On Sunday I will be going to a meeting with all councillors and senior staff of Shoalhaven City Council, along with 2 representatives each from several other bushcare groups. Council wants to legitimise the destruction of coastal vegetation for the benefit of selfish people who have been complaining that they want ocean views. Developers also appear to have been in the ear of council.

    For many years hundreds of volunteers have been working tirelessly to remove invasive weeds and keep beaches and foreshore areas clean. It doesn’t happen by itself or through the actions of council. It beggars belief that a council could even consider such action in the face of all the legislation, policies and guidelines which protect our foreshore ecology.

    The Shoalhaven has some of the most magnificent beaches in the state but I fear for them.

  2. Jacques de Molay

    “Business as usual under Labor’s ‘new’ income management”:

    The new system of income management designed by the federal Labor government has been progressively rolling out across the Northern Territory since the start of August.

    The new system is allegedly “non-discriminatory”, applying to all welfare recipients across the NT and potentially Australia.

    It is also supposed to soften the grip of income management on “prescribed” NT Aboriginal communities. On paper, people on aged and disability pensions are now exempt.

    Last Friday, September 17, I went into Centrelink with some elderly women from Ilparpa town camp on the southern fringe of Alice Springs. These women have long complained about the BasicsCard making it harder for them to access their pension and deeply resent their lives being taken over by the NT intervention.

    Centrelink has been telling Aboriginal organisations in Alice Springs that 70% of Aboriginal pensioners in Tennant Creek and the Barkly region have “volunteered” to stay on the new income management system.

    After our experiences on Friday, I’m genuinely amazed that 30% managed to escape.

    “I want cash. BasicsCard is rubbish. I am a non-drinker and I don’t gamble, I’m a Christian woman.”

    This began a 15 minute tug of war, with the Centrelink officer pulling out several stops to try and convince May to stay on the card.

    He turned around his computer to show May the list of “essential items” she could spend her BasicsCard on.

    “I get paid wages, but I have to buy clothes and food too. See, it’s no different. It’s like we’re all on income management really.”

    “I want cash,” she kept insisting.

    “I’ve worked with communities for 25 years,” he was talking to me now.

    “People come under a lot of pressure to hand their money over to their family.”

    May said, “I can look after my money. I don’t give it out. I need cash.”

    He tried one last angle, “well if you come off the system, we won’t be able to pay your rent anymore.”

    Pensioners assessed by front-line Centrelink staff as being “vulnerable to financial exploitation” can be kept on the new system against their will. Racist assumptions about Aboriginal people being unable to look after their money continue to underpin income management.

    Two other Ilparpa pensioners were not as lucky as May with their negotiations and are still on the card.

    Once you “volunteer” you can’t come off for at least 13 weeks. Despite having no recollection of her “decision”, Lydia now has to go through a formal appeals process to be taken off the BasicsCard. The appeal is being processed in Tasmania.

    On Saturday, I saw my friend Donald at a service station and explained the ordeal to him. He receives a disability pension and lives at another town camp. Donald is very confident and fluent in English. But he, too, had to argue hard with Centrelink to be taken off the BasicsCard:

    “They kept telling me it was good for me. That I was doing really well with my finances since being on the card. They’ve got no idea. I’ve had that much trouble with bills since they took control.

    “I can speak up for myself. But the others, they’ve got no chance.”


    Shame Labor shame.

  3. CMMC

    Bit off-topic, but I remember being in a Redfern bank in 1988 (Bicentenary year).
    An Aboriginal women in front of the queue was furious about having to accept a new bank book illustrated with First Fleet regalia.
    She stood her ground until they were able to locate a plain-cover bank book.

  4. BK

    On the Kloppers effect:

    Marius Kloppers’ decision to publicly advocate for a carbon tax appears to have had a quiet but profound effect on the climate change debate within the minority government which has, since his announcement, run a line that a carbon tax, or similar, is back on the table. Julia Gillard and Greg Combet are tempering their alacrity with assurances that any such measure would, of course, be discussed by the special parliamentary committee on climate change.

    For the Abbott camp in the Coalition, Mr. Kloppers’ startling announcement is like a fart in an elevator with all the occupants fully aware of the culprit. It would be in poor taste to take the analogy further by speculating on the quiet relish of one Malcolm Turnbull in that cramped space. Kloppers has, in effect, wedged Abbott and, in doing so, implicitly backed Gillard (and Turnbull) over the longer term. For the moment, Abbott has no choice but to stand by his opposition to any form of carbon tax but the issue must be causing him deep consternation. In the context of his ‘ferocious’ determination to bring down the government, even if it requires a constitutional crisis to do so, the stakes are very high indeed and it is no wonder that there are rumblings (sorry) in the Coalition ranks over the Leader’s uncompromising adversarial strategy.

    MSM analysis of these developments has been lacking. Not that the issue has been ignored by the commentariat – both News and Fairfax have run pieces on it – but the wider political implications have yet to be taken up, IMO. The blogosphere has been relatively quiet too, as a far as I know, but I welcome any references.

    Clearly, Mr Kloppers, and following his lead Clive Palmer and Andrew Forrest, have broader motives in going soft on pricing carbon and it is difficult not to regard the BHP boss’s move as a pre-emptive strike against any increase in the mining resource tax resulting from the tax summit mooted for 2011. I suspect Kloppers is moving now in anticipation of the minority government lasting long enough for the Greens to gain the sitting majority in the Senate next July. So, the logic behind Mr Kloppers’ statement is unsurprising.

    The Kloppers intervention should also be seen as confirmation of the very powerful influence he and the senior management of the other big resource companies have on the government of the nation. He speaks and suddenly a carbon tax becomes possible, even likely, whereas only weeks ago the Prime Minister was categorically ruling it out. Similarly, when Rudd unilaterally announced the MSPT the miners rallied in a pincer movement that combined devastating public relations muscle with a targeted political strategy involving the ALP Right to remove him from office.

    If there were any doubts remaining about the role of the global resources sector in determining the governance of its host nations, Mr Kloppers’ fart has expunged them.
    Once the elevator doors open, perhaps we will regather our senses and reflect more fully on what has occurred.

  5. Helen

    I like these faux-retro social networking ads.


  6. Paul Burns

    Phone is back on and the silver lining is something wonderful. $100 off my next Telstra bill, plus through the Telecommunications Ombudsman I may be able to get compensation from Bunnings and/or the private contractors who have cut the cable 4 times. Time will tell.
    More books!

  7. Paul Burns

    And does anybody else think there are less vegetables in the Birseye Create a meal packs? Or is it just my imagination.
    Apparrently we got through trhe GFC by drinking less beer, smoking fewer cigarettes ansd leaving the car in the garage, but this is ridiculous.
    Re the intervention: Disgraceful and shameful, but who’s going to listen?

  8. Bernice

    BK, Klopper’ timing is interesting. Forrest described him as a consummate politician; certainly his reading of a changed political landscape is more mature than anyone in the Coalition. Come July 2011 and high carbon emitters face the very strong likelyhood of facing a legislative program to price carbon.

    Having seen the ETS bills which more than generously compensated the polluters defeated, he would know that gaining similiar concessions is unlikely with the Greens certain to be part of the negotiating. Abbott’s partisan position on the ETS isn’t looking quite so bright and shiny anymore.

    Went to a lecture by John Hewson last night, totting his low debt/low carbon economy model. He raised Abbott’s partisan position, pointing out how it seemed extremely unlikely Abbott or anyone else from the Liberals would be part of the parliamentary climate change committee, “though some of us are working behind the scenes to change that”. Throwing Turnbull to Communications may have had more to do with keeping him away from any chance of ending up on the climate change committee…

  9. bmitw

    Was at a presentation given by Bernard Salt yesterday. Lots of graphs about Australian and world population trends (tough luck Japan) and the need for immigration to sustain our economy, as we are about to fall off the baby boomer cliff with more people leaving the workforce each year than entering it.

    But the best (or worst) bit was the graph on the man drought. There are more males than females until age 27, and then the only time in which males again outnumber females is from age 58 to about 65. So he advised all the girls to lock their choice in by age 27 and for the guys to hold out for as long as possible!

    Me? Locked in at 21. Unlocked by choice at 33. Didn’t really want to repartner, but apparently would have had Buckley’s anyway. Oh well.

  10. Paul Burns

    Jane and others,
    My chest is still a little sore but a lot lot better. I can lay down without discomfort now, which I couldn’t do last week. The way its going I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m completely okay by next week. Am greatly improved. Cf.,5 re Telstra.

  11. Paul Burns

    So, of the 17 years of the baby boom (1945-1962) only the first 7 produced more males?
    Looking at the periods 1945 to 1952 and 1953 to 1963, I can’t think of anything special happening in the world that might have changed the gender balance in Oz. But then again, I know zilch about genetics except that therte are two different types pf chromosaomes and it has something to do with DNA.

  12. bmitw

    No Paul it’s a birth rate, death rate, emigration thing. The situation is even worse in NZ as the eligible men leave for Oz or elsewhere. We also have an expat problem but the GFC has reversed that to some extent.

    As Bernard put it, male births here exceed females by about 5000 every year, being a construct by Mother Nature to, as he put it, allow for losses caused by hunting woolly mammoths. Because the death rate is higher in those early years, the equal point is reached at age 27.

    Not sure why the line goes back the other way for a few years in the late 50s but may have to do with marriage breakdowns – he kind of skated over that because he was wanting to make his little jokes about ladies waiting too long and having to source a 58 year old.

    In NZ a 35 year old woman has as much chance of partnering as a 75 year old woman numbers wise. Also note that the figures refer to choosing a mate the same age as you. Nothing stopping an older woman picking up a young pup if she can!!

  13. Paul Burns

    S’pose motor cars are the equivalents of woolly mammoths today. (I have several friends who are mothers of teenage children who really can get into a state with their kids out on the road, something I readily understand.

  14. GregM

    And does anybody else think there are less vegetables in the Birseye Create a meal packs? Or is it just my imagination.

    Paul, this is a good and environmentally caring thing. You can buy fresh vegetables, which are more nutritious, more cheaply at the supermarket and add them to your meal.

  15. bmitw

    Cars, disease – boys are for some reason biologically weaker than girls in the early years – and war. The last is much less relevant to Australia than it once was.

  16. Katz

    That 58 – 65 male oversupply would have to be a result of net immigration.

    More men than women born in those years emigrated to Australia.

    Because there were so many of these male immigrants, the immigration effect must have more than counteracted the mortality effect cutting down men who were born in Australia.

    Worldwide, that age group must have been incredibly geographically mobile.

  17. bmitw

    Thanks for that Katz. After 2 days of SMSF stuff I wonder that I took in as much as I did – Friday fatigue to the nth.

    And as cougaring is clearly beyond me it might be time to go on the hunt for an unattached baby boomer. 🙂

  18. Katz

    Before you glom onto a baby boomer, bmitw, perhaps you should watch this.

  19. bmitw

    Oh well, cat ladydom here I come!

    Although aches and pains would be forgiveable if the sugar daddy was rich enough.

  20. angela

    So Mary Mackillop was another victim of vatican sex abuse cover-ups:

    So much for the line being peddled that it was the “filth” of the permissive 1960’s that started all the abuse. Interestingly Mackillop’s order says it is all documented in their archives that MM was a child sex abuse whistle blower and this led directly to her excomminucation by the church. Yet the official biography that led to the beautification was silent on the topic. I hope this story gets a good run in the media and a few more rocks are over-turned.

  21. angela

    hmmn perhaps NOT beautification- though she was a bit of a looker…

  22. terangeree

    I’ve just stumbled over the art of what appears to be a 16th-century Italian surrealist.

  23. Paul Burns


  24. terangeree

    Helen @ 4:

    Now I really want one of those Skype things, with the 1950s-style headset!

  25. akn

    A good bit of work from SMH journo Nick O’Malley on the corporate that runs Villawood Detention Centre: link,


    Not a good look, as you’d expect. The highlight is the way that the Dept of Immigration and SERCO manage to bounce responsibility backwards and forwards between each other so that no-one is responsible, really, for a death in custodty. Not so far anyway.

    Also, Paolo Totaro is unable to escape the sheer weight of the facts in a piece about Europe wide rebellion by unions as European parliaments try to force the working classes to pay for the banker’s stupidity and corruption.

  26. akn

    Clagged the link in text. Yipes, but it works.

  27. jane

    Paul @9, great news on the healthe front and even better being able to squeeze a bit of money out of Telstra and hopefully from the cable cutters. Go Paul!

    Terangeree @21, they are the most amazing paintings in the flesh and more what you’d expect from Dali than a 16th century painter. What imagination!

    …European parliaments try to force the working classes to pay for the banker’s stupidity and corruption.

    Well who else should pay akn? Surely you’re not suggesting the wealthy should clean up their own mess? Next thing you’ll be saying that giving welfare to the wealthy is a bad idea.

  28. GrannyAnny

    I was settling down to watch the grand final bounce down and the #@!(* phone rang. It was Newspoll. They wanted a male between 26 & 41 years old and I don’t fit the profile, luckily.

  29. Paul Burns

    Indeed. Looking forward to spending the extra cash on books.

  30. Gummo Trotsky

    Oh boy! George Pell deploys economic analysis and “evolutionary biology” to critique contraception:

    Evolutionary biology dictates that there will always be more men than women in the sex market. Their natural roles are different. Women take nine months to make a baby, while it takes a man 10 minutes. St Augustine claimed that the sacrament of marriage was developed to constrain men to take an interest in their children.

  31. Gummo Trotsky

    Think it’s worth citing the next two paragraphs as well:

    Men leave the sex market at a higher average age than women to enter the marriage market.

    This means that women have a higher bargaining power in the sex market while they remain there (because of the larger number of men there) but face much stiffer competition for marriageable men (because of the lower supply) than earlier generations.

  32. GregM

    Women take nine months to make a baby, while it takes a man 10 minutes.

    Speaking from experience, I suppose.

  33. Paul Burns

    Gummo T @ 28,
    So, George Pell has come to the conclusion that because of the pill, people fuck more? Dah!

  34. Zorronsky

    The Prime Minister picked it!! A draw, what a bonanza for the AFL. And who’s going to umpire? That lot of black and white eyed umpires will surely be banned from ever umpiring again.

  35. Katz

    Maybe Oakeshott, Windsor, and Katter could officiate.

  36. Terry

    The AFL have worked out a nice little extortion racket on the fans here. But what if its a draw next time?

  37. Katz

    St Augustine claimed that the sacrament of marriage was developed to constrain men to take an interest in their children.

    Marriage existed long before it was a “sacrament”.

    Pell appears to be suffering from a serious case of anachronism.

  38. hannah's dad

    Some gems from other places.

    Neither team got a mandate.
    Its a hung GF.
    More supporters for CW therefore they won the 2PP.
    Where are the Independents?
    Abbott flooded the changerooms … of both teams.
    We wuz robbed!

  39. joe2

    But Ms Gillard said unlike the game of politics, Saturday’s contest needed certainty.

    “Please, please, we cannot have a draw,” she begged.

    “A week without a premiership football team – I’m not sure our nation’s strong enough to take it.”


  40. xulon

    Zorronsky @33

    Both teams will have to provide a player each to do the umpiring. Or maybe they won’t.

  41. Lloyd

    Julia was witty and natural, Bishop painful to watch with her inappropriate analogy re the faceless men.

  42. Gummo Trotsky


    Evidently the good bishop has never heard of soixante-neuf.

  43. Zorronsky

    Yes Joe she was a wobbler, but the draw was in her mind.
    Katz..They couldn’t do any worse eh!

  44. Fran Barlow

    Should the AFL not simply have played another 5 minutes each way?

  45. Terry

    In 2005 and 2006 the West Coast Eagles and the Sydney Swans played out two AFL Grand Finals, with the Swans winning by 4 points in 2005 and West Coast by one point in 2006 (the one where Ben Cousins was on Crystal Meth).

    Do the AFL seriously think that had either of those finals had been a draw – a very possible result in both cases – that 100,000 Sydney and Perth people would have hung around in Melbourne for another seven nights – costing them at least $2K and a week off work – to see a replay?

    Its just as well this draw was between two Melbourne based teams. Had just one of them been one of the six non-Melbourne sides, it would have exposed major problems with the AFL replay system.

  46. Robert Merkel

    bmitw, Bernard Salt talks a fair bit of rubbish.

    Yes, we will spend more on aged care and health over the next decades. Yes, that means higher taxes for the working. But what he just doesn’t get is that productivity growth can pay for it
    and leave plenty left over for working-age people.

  47. joe2

    Zorronsky you are correct. A draw was on her mind. I think she was trying to make up to pies fans, with a win prediction, for the rude things she had said about them, rather unwisely, before the election. Even if being rude to them is a national sport.

  48. joe2

    Women take nine months to make a baby, while it takes a man 10 minutes.

    In my reckoning if the best George can do is last ten minutes he made a sound career choice.

  49. Phillip

    #29 & 30:
    It would probably have been more correct for Pell to have said “it can take as little as ten minutes” for a man to make a baby. However, given who he is, and what he does for a living, it’s not surprising he doesn’t see sex as an activity where quality is an issue.

  50. Patrickb

    Yes but it’s so rare that I think nobody has bothered to reflect on the replay idea since the competition went national. The AFL have said that next week is it, they’ll play extra time if the extremely unlikely event occurs and we have a second draw.

  51. Katz

    Heresy alert!

    According to Church Doctrine a baby isn’t “made” until the egg is fertilised. A period of time elapses between ejaculation and conception. Whatever a man may do (short of quasi-medical intervention) he is unlikely to influence in any material sense at all the time this process takes, which may be a matter of hours or a number of days.

    I’m surprised that a Prince of the Church would play so fast and loose with this doctrine, given its status as one of the signal controversies in contemporary politics.

  52. The Amazing Kim

    Evolutionary biology dictates that there will always be more men than women in the sex market.

    Sooo, Cardinal Pell is suggesting that more men should embrace their inner (and outer) bisexual?

    I’m glad we can finally agree on something.

  53. Fine

    Hung parliament, drawn Grand final. I’m predicting a dead-heat in the Melbourne Cup.

  54. Fine

    Fran what do you mean ‘each way’? Methinks you don’t understand AFL very well.

  55. dylwah

    Terry if scores are tied at the end of regular time next week there will be extra time. well that is what i heard on the radio on the way home. go saints

  56. dylwah

    sorry patrickb you got t here first

  57. Helen

    Terangeree @23 “Now I really want one of those Skype things, with the 1950s-style headset!”

    I’m willing to pretty much bet that people will come up with things like that – look at the popularity of retro bikes and steampunk laptops.

  58. Robert Merkel

    Steampunk laptops, Helen?

    I want one 🙂

  59. Helen

    Robert – Looky!

    I’m planning to check out a shop called Wunderkammer with the boy/girl on the school holidays. It might have that kind of thing.

  60. Patricia WA

    If Cardinal Pell
    Knew women well
    He wouldn’t opine
    We’re in decline
    Due to the role
    Of birth control.
    Through all the years
    And all the tears
    From emancipation
    To wider liberation
    It’s my perception
    That contraception
    More than education
    Was our salvation.
    A medical solution,
    It brought resolution
    To sexual disunity
    With equal opportunity.
    He can think what he will,
    I say, God bless the pill!

  61. skepticlawyer

    Cardinal Pell, you fail statistics, evolutionary biology and law forever. Here is some accurate information on the issues he discusses:


    Gratuitous abuse of statistics really annoys me. Please return to your usual programming…

  62. Nick
  63. Cuppa

    LPers will recall the interview with John Menadue on ABC Sydney’s ‘Mornings’ program on 15 September. Mr Menadue, as you will remember, is calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the conduct of the media during the Federal election.

    If you would like to add your voice to his call for an inquiry, you may contact him here:

    John Menadue
    Centre for Policy Development
    PO Box K3
    Haymarket NSW 1240

    Please take a few minutes to put pen to paper to help to bring about this vital investigation.

    If you didn’t yet hear the interview, do yourself a favour:


  64. Cuppa

    An informative session this morning on Radio New Zealand National about the interrelationship between the blogosphere and the mainstream media.

    From Radio New Zealand National’s Mediawatch:

    [Mediawatch looks at the impact of the ‘new media’ on the old. Can online amateurs really replace the professional journalism of today? Is it already happening? And if so – what effect is it having on standards? (duration: 35?24?)]


    Podcast for download (in .mp3 format, 12.2 MB):


    Mediaatch program website:


  65. bmitw

    Robert Merkel @ 45

    Productivity growth is not an instant cure-all. The “cliff” that Bernard Salt refers to starts as early as next year when the first of the baby boomers turns 65. You have in excess of 130,000 Australians a year turning 65 from now on and for the next 20 or so years, and less than half that number coming into the workforce each year to replace them. To expect productivity growth to make up a gap of that magnitude is a big ask. Hence the need for immigration.

    Also, boomers are not as frugal and self sacrificing as previous generations. There will be increasing demands on the health system and political pressure to increase government benefits over and above the level presently on offer. And all at a time where the tax system has already had a structural deficiency programmed into it by the removal of the tax on retirement benefits for the over 60s.

  66. Katz

    And all at a time where the tax system has already had a structural deficiency programmed into it by the removal of the tax on retirement benefits for the over 60s.

    But don’t forget that these savings have already accrued a significant tax benefit by virtue of concessions on superannuation contributions. In other words, the government has already foregone revenue on these monies.

    As boomers retire and begin to draw down their superannuation (it is difficult to imagine that they will be net contributors to their superannuation corpus over the period of their retirement) the money they spend will still be subject to GST and will tend to stimulate taxable economic activity in the economy.

    In other words, the costs on the public purse for this policy are front-loaded.

  67. Salient Green

    Bernard Salt is just plain dishonest. He has been made well aware that population growth will only have a minimal effect on mitigating the aging costs and is nothing but a ponzi scheme which will merely shift the problem, magnified, to future generations. He is really only a shill for the growth lobby.

    Productivity growth, raising the retirement age and tax reform will all mean we are copacetic with the costs of aging.

  68. bmitw

    I seem to have stirred up an anti-Bernard Salt hornets’ nest.

    Since he was the light relief at the end of an intensive 2 day SMSF conference I don’t really have a view on whether what he says is right, wrong or politically motivated.

    And the phrase “he has been made aware” is somewhat curious as it implies behind the scenes activity and/or deliberate manipulation of the facts.

    Again, not my issue. But I have referred back to my notes and on the slide marked pros and cons of a Big Australia he makes mention of the “Ponzi” scheme argument. My reading of his attitude was that he was not advocating anything in particular but rather putting statistics in front of us as food for thought.

  69. Huggybunny

    I understand that the LNP wants to issue all schoolchildren with Tasers. They are then to use them on teachers who fail to perform.
    What a really brilliant idea. Would have been useful for defence in the Catholic education system too.

  70. David Irving (no relation)

    bmitw, Salt exposed his idiocy to you by claiming the higher male birth rate is an evolutionary response to hunting woolly mammoths. It isn’t. It’s because male infants are not as robust as female infants.

  71. Paul Burns

    Oh! I liked the woolly mammoth theory.

  72. bmitw

    FFS the woolly mammoth part was a joke! For whatever reason there are more boys born than girls. I had understood it to be the case that more die in infancy & etc but the reasons for it are less important than the consequences.

    From memory he may have offered the woolly mammoth quote either as a suggestion as to the higher death rate of young males or as the light-hearted answer to a question about why the convergence at age 27.

    Either way, I am still none the wiser about the hatred towards him on this site and towards me as his supposed apologist. His brief was to be entertaining and I found him to be so.

  73. Salient Green

    No hatred towards you bmitw, glad you brought it up. No hatred towards Salt either, contempt maybe, but you have no need to take that personally. While you had a positive experience with him, I felt the need to balance that view with mine for your and others information.

    I have heard him many times on talkback radio and read several of his articles and he keeps banging on about needing population growth to support an aging population despite being presented with reliable information from respected experts that it is a bad idea. Cheers.

  74. bmitw

    Well one thing is for certain, the NBN had better be built if we are serious as a country about productivity growth. Kiss all that goodbye if Abbott gets his way in demolishing it.

  75. Salient Green

    bmitw, not wrong there and we had better get serious about publicly funded R&D as well, Agriculture and Technology. And forget this level playing field bullshit and get Australia producing something more sustainable than housing developments.

  76. Katz

    Salt hates woolly mammoths.

  77. bmitw

    Woolly mammoths probably not too fond of Salt either. 🙂

  78. Katz

    Salt started it.