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28 responses to “Saturday Salon”

  1. Paul Norton


    I must now quickly finish my breakfast, have a shower and get dressed so that I can get to Nerang station in time to catch the train to Varsity Lakes to catch the bus to Tweed Heads to catch the bus to Lismore to catch the bus to Casino to catch the bus to Coffs Harbour to attend the birthday party of a friend who has lived long enough to hang a 5 in front of her age.

  2. Geoff Henderson

    ‘Morning PN
    I would think that maybe your trek, going both ways, is a more daunting affair than reaching the 50th…

  3. paul burns

    So far we’ve had one mildish thunderstorm here this afternoon that went on for quite a while. Predictions are for huge ones with lightning and cricket ball sized hail, but the skies are clear for the moment. Everybody advised to turn off/unplug computers, and appliances. Will do that, but I’m still going to watch TV tonight.
    Only thing I’m concerned about is will the lightning set fire to the curtains as it blows everything up.
    The problems of living in a world of global warning.

  4. jungney

    Yairs, PB, a ripper rolled over Drastic this arvo; big bangs, real hard rain. I went out in the truck to watch, in comfort and dryness, the drama unfold. Local flooding, but quick to drain. Tornadoes, I see. Around Tenterfield too, one of my favourite country town; such architecture as never will be seen again. What were they thinking when they built the Post Office and Town Hall? Anyway, a possible future of tornadoes will rule it out as a furthest retreat for my purposes.

  5. drsusancalvin

    Speaking of “ratfuckers” the Coalition are axing the childcare worker rise of $3 per hour.

  6. eilish

    @5: axing childcare workers rise

    Still waiting to hear if he is going to axe the requirements for improved qualifications and standards under the Quality Improvement Plan introduced by Labour. Funny how he is right quick to axe wage improvements, but slow to say whether he is going to demand higher standards for the same pay.

  7. Evan Elpus

    @ 5–axing childcare workers rise.
    Nothing to do with Victorian Liberal heavyweights Kroger and Peacock having a financial interest in numerous childcare centres, I suppose? No, thought not…..

  8. Gummo Trotsky

    ‘Ere! Where’s ‘Lazy Sunday ‘ then?

    Had a pretty good day today – wrote 700+ word blog post, fumbled around with the right hand part of Bach’s ‘Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring’ transcribed for piano in G (can’t escape the feeling I’ve been given short measure though – seem to be missing some repeats and second time bars).

    Did some hanging out at a local wine bar, came home, looking forward to finally getting the low-down on the Time-Lord on the grassy knoll later tonight when I finally get to watch the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who. I mean come on – the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination and Dr Who in the same weekend? No way that’s a coincidence.

  9. Graham Bell

    Gummo Trotsky: A cheery hello – nice to see you’re alive and kicking.

    Thanks to Supple Knave for comment on the childcare shemozzle …. as they say, “Follow the money ….”

    Everyone: Storms here. Bringing in jerricans of drinking water has finished. Storing jerricans of drinking water for flood or bushfire has started.

  10. philip travers

    I think I use organic milk in litre containers with molasses in them like XXXX.And don’t care wether the Leader of Indonesia doesn’t listen to Pilberserk!

  11. Graham Bell

    “Who …. nose” What a brilliant last line …. oh, for ‘Dr Who’ of course. Gnash your teeth with envy, Mr Shakespeare. 🙂

  12. Brian

    We’ve got Nielsen 52-48 to Labor .

    GhostWhoVotes reports that the first Nielsen poll of the Abbott government shows a shock 52-48 lead to Labor, the best result for Labor from Nielsen since the 2010 election campaign, or from any poll at all since the months following. Primary votes are 41% for the Coalition, 37% for Labor, 11% for the Greens, 5% “independent” and 6% others. Tony Abbott has an approval rating of 47% and disapproval of 46%, while Bill Shorten scores remarkably strongly at 51% and 30%. However, Abbott holds a 49-41 lead as preferred prime minister.

    But 57% believe Labor should vote to support abolishing the carbon tax, with only 38% saying it shouldn’t.

  13. eilish

    Tony’s going to axe superannuation concessions for the lowly paid and a group of rampant economic fascists calling themselves the Productivity Commission are suggesting he raise the retirement age to 70. I’m guessing they all have jobs where they sit down for most of the day. I’m thinking about building sites and kindergartens full of 70 year old workers. Seriously?

    I work in early childhood edumacation. I am one of the lowly paid part-time women whose superannuation is so small the company needs a microscope when it wants to send me an account balance.
    I dunno that I will still be able to bend enough to be able to chase around after 4 year olds when I’m 67. I’m going to need to sell a kidney.

  14. Helen

    Pyne’s announcement that he’ll scrap Gonski and start all over again is hugely depressing.

    One of their election slogans was “stop the waste”. Surely binning a nearly-complete process and starting again (with lots of highly paid consultants and a change of identity, I predict) the very embodiment of waste?

    I envision something like Obama’s health care “compromise”:


  15. mindy

    Helen I think NSW and Victoria are already kicking up a stink about a process they were happy with and felt that they had already agreed to with the previous Govt.

  16. Chris

    Helen @ 14 – yes, looks like Gonski is gone – kind of wonder what will happen with NDIS now too.

    From a political tactic point of view, I’m curious as to why the ALP and Greens are being so restrained and not simply calling Pyne and Abbott liars? The language used seems very restrained.

  17. Chris

    Tony’s going to axe superannuation concessions for the lowly paid and a group of rampant economic fascists calling themselves the Productivity Commission are suggesting he raise the retirement age to 70. I’m guessing they all have jobs where they sit down for most of the day. I’m thinking about building sites and kindergartens full of 70 year old workers. Seriously?

    It’s not only the Productivity Commission recommending this, but also the Grattan Institute (http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/grattan-institute-plan-delays-access-to-superannuation-and-aged-pension-until-70-20131124-2y3w6.html) which is I think a left-wing think tank.

    I think it pretty much comes down to what is affordable and to get those who can work longer to do so. Those who can’t will end up on unemployment or disability pensions.

    There probably needs to be more consideration for encouraging the many people who have a large component of manual labour in the job to consider well ahead of time the need for retraining and career changes later in life. As well as acceptance for employers to consider more recently trained older people for employment. And for the larger employers who can do it to transition their employees where they need from manual labour positions to those that aren’t as physically demanding (although it may result in salary decreases for the employees and a willingness to invest time and money in retraining).

  18. Geoff Henderson

    Pushing out the retirement age to 70 is a shocker. So many folk work aiming for retirement at 65, taking the big trip somewhere, going fishing, golfing or whatever – they have choices available because they are retired, have time and hopefully health and sufficient money.
    To push that vision out of their reach for five years is a kick in the groin.

    And what of the guy waiting behind you, the pretender to your job – the promotion has been denied for a further period.Corporate structure and norms take a hit. So does the public service.

    And how do you tell someone at age (say) 68 he can no longer work because he is now too much at risk to get hurt, or his health has declined such that a healthy retirement is now probably gone.

    And what happens to all the planning that has gone ahead based on the demographics of so many folks retiring at 65. Suddenly that changes – the number of retirees is now a fraction of that expected, planned for and invested in. And then finally the 70y.o. folks retire – to what?

    I don’t think there is too much good is in this proposal.

  19. Chris

    Geoff @ 18 – in the past when they’ve moved the retirement age they haven’t done it overnight but over quite a number of years slowly increasing it. So those near retirement age don’t see their retirement age suddenly move back 5 years. It would be a slow transition.

    People run into the same health issues pre-65 as well – there’s nothing really magical about 65. Part of that as I mentioned before will be handled by disability pensions, changing jobs or working part time instead – perhaps a combination of all of the above. Maybe even partial access to superannuation before 70 like can be done now if you retire before 65.

    I don’t think there is too much good is in this proposal.

    Well the alternative may be that if the retirement age is not increased over the long term that the pension does not increase as much as people expect, nor do services for those who are retired. But for those who have retired it will be too late to re-enter the workforce. Better that we be given realistic expectations of what the government will provide ahead of time?

  20. Bernard J.


    Pyne’s announcement that he’ll scrap Gonski and start all over again is hugely depressing.

    It’s more than just depressing, it’s downright hypocritical.

    Gonski had wide, bipartisan support in the electorate, to the extent that prior to the election Abbott said:

    As far as school funding is concerned, Kevin Rudd and I are on a unity ticket.

    Which is to say, the Gonski reforms had a broad mandate across the community. And as we know Abbott is all about respecting mandates, so his backflip on this is in stark contrast to his high moral umbrage about other mandates.

    I would love to see Pyne try to tell the Labor party and the Greens that they should reliquish their previous position on Gonski and side with the Coalition’s abandonment of the reforms. I wonder how that would go down with the Australian publilc…?

  21. Brian

    The site stats show that 20 people revisited this page yesterday. The third Kerry O’Brien interview of Paul Keating was riveting watching.

    I hadn’t realised that Paul Keating had packed up his office and was going to leave parliament over Christmas 2001 when Hawke recalled parliament for a day and Keating’s supporters cottoned on and intervened.

    I think O’Brien is in best form ever in these interviews.

  22. Brian

    I’ve done a separate post on Gonski. Please take further discussion there.

  23. zorronsky

    Maybe someone in Ms Bishop’s Foreign Affairs (no pun intended) Dep’t is setting a trap. Could it be to quieten the gungho aggression and arrogance of the new Government?

  24. Geoff Henderson

    Talk about the future of car manufacturing (in particular) has been in the news recently. Jobs and technical skill are two topics included in discussion.
    This link offers a great YouTube video of the Tesla factory in the USA.
    The technical aspects are fascinating, but the first thing noticeable is the lack of people on the factory floor. About halfway through the video, there is a claim that some 3,000 people are employed at the factory. ‘Might be true, but they are not very obvious.

    The video seems to point at where Australian car makers would want to go. Already they are very automated. But if Ford, GMH and Toyota want taxpayer funding to effectively reduce the man hours in a vehicle I’m not to sure it is worth it. Further, are the robots going to be made in Oz? And with robotic technology comes an small army of experts to fix, modify, program and generally support the robots. How much of that expertise is from Oz?

  25. Chris

    Further, are the robots going to be made in Oz? And with robotic technology comes an small army of experts to fix, modify, program and generally support the robots. How much of that expertise is from Oz?

    Its expertise which could be gained by Australians. But it might not actually solve the problem, because the workers losing their jobs due to increased automation are not the ones who are going to be employed in these new positions.

  26. eilish

    [email protected] and 19: Oh, what a good idea – I’ll go on disability benefits or the dole instead of a pension. A much better idea.
    The blitheness with which you contemplate me finding a new job at a decreased salary in a new field at the age of 67 makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
    I’m having a flashback to the time the bloke behind the counter at the CES told me that I should be applying for jobs as a sandwich hand and not just limiting myself to looking for work in my chosen profession, after studying for 3 years at tertiary level.

  27. Graham Bell

    Geoff Henderson @18, Chris @17&19, [email protected]:

    Successive governments and our fantastically clever business wallahs have worked very, very hard indeed to build this problem in despite all the torrents of evidence and advice that they were wrong! wrong! wrong!!.

    Wrong in three way.

    1. The crazy simplistic one-size-fits-all retirement age:
    We all know active, alert people in their eighties AND we have all known working people who have died in harness in their forties and fifties. It would be relatively easy and quite cheap to have a fair RORT-FREE system of health and capability assessments at several stages in a person’s life. However, it would be near-impossible to smash the one-size-fits-all retirement age mindset.

    2. Age discrimination in employment:
    That’s the elephant in the room.
    Age discrimination will continue to do serious hidden damage to the Australian economy until a government has the guts to make it illegal and to back up that up with mandatory imprisonment for the perpetrators – real prison terms; none of this concessional few months inconvenience for corporate crooks either.

    3. Credentialism:
    That has put so much inflexibility into the labour market as to drag us back to the Middle Ages. Many of the people thrown onto the social and economic scrapheap have a wealth of skill, experience …. and now-despised qualifications. Worse yet, those who are forced to squander a few thousand dollars buying Michael Mouse credentials have only a small chance of ever recouping that money in wages .

    Several tens-of-thousands in some parts of the training and education industry get rich and it costs the rest of us a fortune to make them so. It would be cheaper to send each one of them on a decade-long world cruise with a couple of million dollars just to get them out of the country and so put an end to the credentialism racket.
    Once that is done, older workers who are fit to work could be readily and profitably employed.

  28. eilish

    Oh my Lord in a biscuit tin.
    Try to imagine yourself as a 70 year old nurse in an operating theatre for 12 hours.

    How many men at retirement age currently struggle with depression as they make the transition from active contributor – if not supporter of the household to person no longer able to do the work for which they no longer have the physical strength? It’s devastating!

    It’s a terrible idea to create financial insecurity and stress for people finishing their work lives.