The New Australian

Proudly nearly Australian since 2010. "I'm not grumpy, the rest of the world is just unrealistically upbeat"

The New Australian - Proudly nearly Australian since 2010. "I'm not grumpy, the rest of the world is just unrealistically upbeat"

Where’s my compo?

Over the five years I’ve lived here, I’ve realised that there are multiple Australias; there’s a metropolitan privileged Australia inhabited by the politico/media class, there’s the sprawling suburban Australia with its waddling obese sugar and carb addicts, a country/farming/resources Australia physically and culturally remote from 90% of the other Australias (ironic, as they are the most productive) and, of course, there’s the human living museum/zoo of remote Aboriginal communities, incapable of sustaining themselves but also unable to lift themselves off welfare dependence while their children die at the same rate as in Zambia.

These multiple Australias can be distilled down further to just two; those who are immune to the consequences of their actions and the rest of us.

Witness; Clive Palmer’s wheeler dealing unwinds and we pick up the tab.

Scan through the linked news article and weep silently at the multiple indicators that you and I are not living in the same country as these looters.
 
Good to know Clive, you morbidly obese oxygen thief. In a functioning economy, privately owned companies which make poor decisions and find themselves insolvent go out of business, making room for better, more efficient companies. That’s how capitalism works, or at least it did until 2008 when the world decided that 200 million murdered people wasn’t a big enough clue that Socialism is bollocks.

Cretaceous Clive’s chutzpah continues though; not content with allegedly using his company as an ATM to fund his political campaign, he now wants us to refill the damn thing, like some spotty junior bank clerks on the morning shift. Be grateful that we don’t have to wipe the previous evening’s vomit of the keypad, at least.

  
 

Let’s just ponder that for a moment; 

1. Clive mismanaged the company to the point of destruction and allegedly illegally took money out of it for personal use.

2. He now demands taxpayers bail him out.

3. If he doesn’t get it, the taxpayer will have to pay the wages/redundancy bill anyway.

4. This is an election year and Turnbull’s not looking so good in the polls. Perhaps the support of an independent is a price he’s prepared to make us pay for him to remain in office.

Clearly Clive believes he lives in the Compensation/Entitlement Australia.

Other people who live in that Australia include taxi drivers in South Australia who just got handed several tens of thousands of dollars each to help them cope with the fact that their business model of speculating on ownership of a government-regulated taxi “plate” has been broken by Uber.

Also, workers at Holden and Ford factories who manufacture cars that none of us want to buy have been receiving millions of dollars of our cash in compensation for years and, when the last shite car has rolled out of the factory, no doubt they’ll have a load more coming their way to help them all retrain to become web developers, aromatherapists and pet groomers.

In the other Australia, the rest of us have to live with the consequences of our actions and decisions without the comfort of a taxpayer funded compensation bank account.

But, given that we have such a high turnout at elections where we vote for the people who make these decisions to spunk our cash on the fickle, corrupt and just plain stupid, it’s unsurprising that the politicians believe that we agree with their actions.

What’s that you say, “compulsory voting“? Maybe it’s time you started drawing a cock on the voting slip from now on with the words “none of the above, thanks“.

Lawmakers gonna make laws

When a country of only 23 million souls has 16 parliaments and 799 MPs/Senators it is unsurprising to find lots of bullshit laws being created out of thin air. After all, as the joke goes, “why don’t State MPs look out of the window before lunchtime? Because it leaves them something to do in the afternoon“.

As a recently-converted citizen (lobotomy scar healing nicely, thanks for asking), you’ll excuse me for wondering whether the Federal/State split of powers is somewhat fucking insane?

A case in point; NSW is considering additional anti-terror legislation in a highly-predictable knee-jerk response to the latest insanity from Europe.

Call me an old cynic with a tendency to invoke the law of unintended consequences too frequently if you will, but surely national security legislation is something which is most appropriate to be legislated, well, nationally?

Sure, I’m not seriously suggesting potential Jihadis will go “law shopping” and decide that Sydney is a tougher place to trigger a suicide vest than Melbourne but, as a taxpayer, I’d like to pay just the once for the cost of introducing the new law, not twice as a Federal version is then debated.

But, when you have a system which promotes SNAFUs who should hardly be considered capable of being competent parish councillors to the lofty heights of “Member of Parliament” with all the entitlement culture and sycophancy that that entails, we’ll continue to be the unwitting recipients of tax bills for shit laws we never asked for.

Supplemental point; what is the fucking point of the police being able to hold a suspect without trial if they aren’t allowed to ask them any questions? Are we hoping to overhear them discuss their plans for mass murder over the visitors’ table when their mates come to see them? Maybe they’ll post something incriminating on Facebook by mistake?

Perhaps we deserve to be overrun by ISIS after all; we’re too weak too survive.

And the question on the nation’s lips is…..

Will anyone notice?

 

The Sydney Morning Property Advertiser’s remaining staff are currently out on strike.

 

What are their demands?

 

Erm, “stop sacking us just because the company is bleeding money faster than Mike Carlton at an anti-Zionist Charity Ball”.

 

As employee demands in a negotiation go, it’s not the most compelling, especially as the paper pretty much writes itself these days thanks to the genius algorithm employed by the news desk. At the risk being sued for breaching the SMH’s intellectual property, the code is written something along the lines of;

 

  1. Go to Twitter, look at what’s trending.
  2. Cut and paste some of the choicest comments. Better still, if a s’leb has spoken about it, grab that comment first, regardless of whether the subject is remotely linked to their capabilities or expertise.
  3. Publish.
  4. Sell space at the bottom for paid adverts for stories such as, “ten Hollywood breast surgery disasters” or “eight ways to discover if your spouse is unfaithful”.
  5. Rinse.
  6. Repeat.

 

Still, be thankful for small mercies; although Peter “I have no scientific qualifications but I’ll equate climate change sceptics with holocaust deniers” Fitzsimons didn’t get the flick in this latest cull, he has honourably decided not to file his column this weekend in support of the comrades who were fired. Presumably, he’ll comfort himself with a moment’s silence over a couple of soy decafs in his large and recently renovated multi-million dollar heritage Neutral Bay home, perhaps pausing whilst browsing the current Range Rover catalogue to ponder how those ex-journalists will struggle to make their mortgage payments this month. He is a man of the people after all, as the red bandana illustrates, Johnny Cash style.

 

The eloquence of the argument against the constant shrinking of the dead tree press is of the quality that you’d come to expect from people who are paid to write for a living (or at least used to be last week). However, it’s no different to the arguments that were made by out of work blue collar workers when their jobs became cheaper to automate than to pay to be undertaken by manual labour.

 

For those few left working in the anachronistic career of journalism, here’s a few data points for you to ponder;

 

  1. Everyone with a smartphone and a social media account is now a journalist.
  2. Therefore, content is now free.
  3. We never really trusted your content in the first place and now we can corroborate what we’re reading with hundreds of other sources.
  4. While state-funded broadcasters and news websites exist, there will not be a compelling commercial model to fund your product. i.e. your commercial competition isn’t from the Evil Murdoch empire, it’s from theirABC.
  5. The queues at Centrelink can be quite tiresome, don’t forget to top up the data on your phone before you go.

Maybe it’s all down to the language that’s used?

Unlike French, which regularly has officious bureaucrats pontificating over changes to the “correct” spelling and use of grammar, English is a chaotic, evolving Lingua Franca. Best of luck trying to persuade half a billion English-speaking Indians as to the proper conjugation of a newly-invented irregular verb.

Australia has taken this freedom of language and run with it like a fat kid at the school sports day, lardy limbs flapping around impotently, prompting concerned observers to worry about the safety of those in close proximity.

We’ve poked enough fun here at the crimes against the four rules of apostrophes (apostrophe’s?), incompetent use of homophones and transforming nouns into verbs (“medaled”, “podiumed”, “farewelled”, etc.)  But perhaps there’s more subtle consequences to the uniquely Australian version of the English language in use on these shores?

Consider the almost rabid defence employed to protect the hugely uncompetitive government interference in the basic contract of employment between private businesses and their staff. If I were to own a coffee shop (or café, as other English-speaking countries might refer to it), why on earth does a state body need to stipulate the hourly rate on weekdays and weekends that I must offer to potential waitresses and waiters? The clue is in the verb “offer”; if I’m paying less than the market rate I will have to serve the customers on my own, surely?

But when we look at the vernacular for this interference we gain an insight into why people feel the café owner is somehow a corporate bad guy; penalty rates. That’s right, that nasty employer is being penalised for wanting to pay staff so that he can offer a service to customers at weekends. Oh, the inhumanity.

Then there’s business travel; how many auto-email replies have you received where the sender infers that you’ll not get a response for a few days because they are travelling interstate? What does that mean in reality? Working out of a different office which, at the most extreme, shares at least 5 hours of the business day with the home office. Last time I checked, my smartphone received phone calls and downloaded my email in Melbourne, Perth and StabYerDadAlaide (too soon, Crows fans?). Another silly word which indicates an excuse.

But the best example of linguistic cockwomblery is to be found, as always, with the political class; when you and I travel for business, our expense claims are limited by a corporate expense policy which puts an upper limit on what we can claim for costs incurred such as dinner. The noun used is usually something along the lines of allowance or some such synonym. What’s the political version? Entitlement.

If there’s a reader of this organ with a background in Neuro-linguistic Programming, it would be great to have a summary of what behaviours might result from the unconscious mind’s reaction to the word entitlement?

Or alternatively, type “MP entitlement scandal” into Google and see for yourself.

Update; one just arrived today. A cool million for a Greens’ Senator’s travel. 

We’re taking bets

… On which of the 21 kilometres I’m going to get twatted by one of the professionally offended.

Why?

Because, in an attempt to give myself a goal to finalise and draw a line under the the recovery from this, I’m running the Sydney Half Marathon on May 15th…. in fancy dress.

  

If you fancy a post race pint, it should be fairly easy to find me.

Arbitrarily Detained

The deputy leader of the Australian Communist Greens Party, has called for the dropping of the warrant for the arrest for Julian Assange after a group of non-lawyers in a sheltered workshop in the UN released a report claiming that Jules had been “arbitrarily detained” in the Ecuadorian Embassy in Kensington, London.

Obviously Senator Ludlum is a complete dickhead but, in his defence, he’s been completely eclipsed in cockwomblery by the UN Working Group’s spokesman;

In the up is down world of Greens’ logic, the real question is, if Britain and Sweden now have to pay compensation, as the team of non-legally qualified UN idiots suggest, how much does Senator Ludlum reckon we have to pay to this pair?
  
(Arbitrarily detained 1964 to 2001)
  
(Arbitrarily detained 1978 – 2003)

Brown in town

By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
At the doorway of his wigwam,
In the pleasant Summer morning,
Hiawatha stood and waited.

  

Mate, I don’t want to alarm you but you’re wearing fucking moccasins. 

Moccasins.

To go to work in.

And it looks like you’ve forgotten your bow and arrows.

Sydney CBD Dress Code Bingo is back.

Still voting, fools?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the latest policy proposal from a right of centre political party currently running the state government of New South Wales;

  
Let me translate that for you in case you’re a bit slow on the uptake this morning;
1. Increase taxes.

2. Churn some of the increased revenue back to some people in a really fucking inefficient way.

3. No cuts to government spending. None.

This, by the way, from pretty much the only Australian political party which doesn’t claim to be socialist.

Personally, I’ll do what little I can to avoid paying tax for these jokers to piss away but I certainly won’t vote for any of them. 

Since gaining citizenship, I’ve had two begging letters from the AEC asking me to register. It’s tempting to reply with this link explaining why I won’t.

Arrestin’ Guber

This bloke is my new favourite green inker;

  
Russell Howarth isn’t the unfunny British “comedian” who seems to be omnipresent on shite panel shows on theirABC but is, in fact, an hilarious British ex-copper who’s down on his luck so earns a living picking me up at 5am when I need to go to the airport.

Like all the other vested interests Sydney taxi drivers, Russell has made a poor investment decision and is now desperate to prevent the value of his Sydney Taxi “plate” from falling any further.

The difference between Russell and all the other chumps who thought that buying into a cartel was a good long term decision, is that he’s got a lot of energy and is not afraid of the chance of a bit of biffo.

Which explains why he’s been trying perform citizens’ arrests on Uber drivers that he books to collect him for journeys he has no intention of taking.

I’m curious; is there a case to be brought by these Uber drivers against someone who is preventing them from undertaking their business? I’m happy to help, because we love Uber here at The New Australian Towers.

I digress. His website is good value too; I particularly love the footage from his 15 minutes of fame on one of the trashy consumer TV programmes. Watch to the end where he wells up and gets a bit teary because he realises that he’s just potentially cost a minimum wage-earning driver $110k in fines. Of course, if the NSW government were to try to impose this, the taxpayers ought to bring a case against their government for being fucking idiots; they’ve not yet managed to get Eddie Obied to pay a fine, for fuck’s sake.

We can’t blame Russell for acting out the angry ginger kid stereotype; he’s emigrated to Australia with his generous Police pension and spunked it all into a depreciating asset. I’d be pretty pissed off too.

Good luck to him in his single issue crusade. Just whatever you do, don’t tell him that Google and Ford have gone into partnership to build driverless cars and, once the first juristiction such as Singapore legalise them, the longevity of taxi drivers can be counted in months and years, not decades.

Probably best to sell your “plate”, Russ, before the supply of greater fools runs out.

Banana spills

If you have a hunt around the internet, you’ll find rumours that are not currently being reported in the mainstream media which suggest that the last Prime Minister (I don’t recall his/her name) is gathering numbers of MPs to challenge the current Prime Minister (I don’t recall his/her name).

Actually, that paragraph might have a slight factual inaccuracy; it might be being reported in the mainstream media, but I haven’t watched/listened or read any of the main sources for so long I can’t be sure. If it’s not on Netflix, BeIn Sports or a podcast, I don’t notice it. Correct me in the comments if the luvvies are all over it.

Whether or not the mejia are doing a Rolf again is not really the point. Go on to Twitter and search for the hashtag #Libspill and you’ll see that there’s some smoke, if no clear evidence of fire.

So what?

So how about the fact that, although we’re living in a country with lovely beaches, great climate and excellent quality food and wine (no, not the beer; that’s fucking shite), it is, in fact, a banana republic.

Surely not? This is another one of those rants with excessive hyperbole (“hyperbowl” in the vernacular) with no basis of fact.

Banana Republic

NOUN

  1. derogatory
    a small state that is politically unstable as a result of the domination of its economy by a single export controlled by foreign capital.

No, that’s not Australia at all, is it?

Hmmmm……. Five Prime Ministers since 2007, with the chance of a sixth this year, which would average out the term to be 18 months each. Ok, so we’ve got political instability….. at least we’ve not got an economy reliant on the export of one single commodity, without any local “value add”, controlled by foreign capital.

  

 Oh.

I’m trying to work out what must be worse; being the suckers who diligently go into the polling booths every three years genuinely thinking that they have any influence whatsoever or the Peter Van Onselens, Laurie Oaks, etc. who have an entire career dedicated to reporting this utter bollocks. What do you call parasites that live off other parasites, is there a noun for it?

 

By the way, if you’re wondering whether you recognise the voice, it’s Louis Prima, the chap who played King Louis in the original Jungle Book cartoon. If you’d like to amuse yourself further, read how casting an Italian American singer was racist because, well, because the apes are a metaphor for African Americans, apparently.

 

 

George, you ARE soul

I was hunting around for one of those “teach yourself to play a famous riff” guitar videos on YouTube recently. It’s all so much easier these days; before the Internet you’d have to keep pressing Pause on the cassette CD player until the correct chord or note had been identified.

Time is a commodity I have less of now so I’m very happy that it’s possible to watch other people, who’ve done the hard work, demonstrate how to play it, allowing me more time to get on with making the damn noise.

During this process, I stumbled upon the musical genius that is George Souls. 

Germany has produced a long line of brilliant rock and roll acts from Kraftwerk to erm….. Yeah.

My selection today is The George Souls’ Band (clue; it’s just him) playing all the parts of The Rolling Stones’ classic from Sticky Fingers; Brown Sugar. 

If you close your eyes, you will struggle to discern a difference between the original Keef Richards, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor version and this. The intricate drum fills kept me fascinated in particular. Also, admire the “soulful” way (try the veal) he recreates the way Keef holds the plectrum strokes just slightly off the rhythm to give it a really sleazy blues sound.

Genius.

If you’ve enjoyed this as much as I have, may I also recommend his version of Procul Harem’s Whiter Shade of Pale?

I’m making tea, Withnail. Do you want tea?“.

Money saving idea for Manli ™ Council

No, it’s not “merge with a bunch of other councils to get economies of scale because we don’t all travel around on horses anymore”.

Nope, this is even simpler to implement; when this sign needs replacing, put up a smaller one that says, “Don’t break the law”;

  

Seriously, “our code of respect”? They’re all laws except offensive language (and I think they can label that “threatening behaviour” and fine you anyway).

Deadpool 2016

As always, my picks survived the year.

With my kiss of life in mind, I’ve added one or two on there who I don’t want to see depart soon….. and a couple of utter bastards who I’d help hurry along.

So, without any further ado;

Justin Bieber

Clive James

Peter Sutcliffe

Robert Mugabe

Paul Gazza Gascoigne

Ian Brady

George Bush Snr

John McVie

Fidel Castro

Joost van der Westhuizen

Leonard Cohen

Iggy Pop

Fast Eddie Clarke

Charles Manson

Martin Crowe

A reminder of the rules; they must be famous, the score is 100 minus their age and if anyone else in the competition (there’s about 30 of us) has the same selection take 5 point off the score.

Thanks for the hearing damage, Lemmy

He may have progressively and utterly ruined my hearing over a series of concerts dating back to 1988 but, boy, it was worth it.

Lemmy got his first taste of rock and roll at a Beatles concert. Based on the location and the year, it’s highly likely both of my parents were at the same concert. The Fab Four were the support act for Roy Orbison (which is even better than my “I saw Nirvana when they were 6th on the bill” boast)

I’m not disappointed that Dad didn’t go on to roadie for Hendrix, get kicked out of Hawkwind for taking “the wrong drugs” (and shagging all the other band members’ partners) and then form the best heavy rock and roll band in history; home life might have been somewhat more unstable than the bucolic middle-class idyl that my childhood was.

I saw Motörhead live about half a dozen times and every one was exciting, huge fun and, most memorably, fucking loud.

There are lots of brilliant Lemmy quotes which we’ll hear over the coming days. Perhaps my favourite is when asked by an interviewer at a festival what the band would sound like if they came back to play in ten years time?

“The same but louder”

There seem to be an awful lot more Motörhead fans out on social media than I ever saw at a concert. If you see any unlikely fans, perhaps ask them the name of a 2nd or 3rd song title just for a bit of fun.

This is one of my favourites. I often quote the lyrics in my standard “thanks, I’m leaving” email when I switch contracts

Just Fast Eddie left from the original line up now. Deadpool 2016 selection, I suspect.

State governments, proving Dunning and Kruger correct since 1901

….and Messers Dunning and Kruger only wrote their paper in the last decade and a half.

I’ve not got on my bike since this happened, but I still own a cycle and I’m a big fan of legislation that is clearly thought through with the benefit of empirical evidence indicating a good chance of it being successful in its desired outcome.

I’m also in favour of the state getting the fuck out of my business if I’m not harming others or sticking my hand out for a payment from someone else’s purse.

So here we go again with another example of why we have at least one layer of government too many in Australia.

Cyclists get a law to stop incidents like this but, to make all other voters car drivers feel better about it, they now will now be forced to carry a photo ID and will get a much greater fine if they ride without a helmet.

Clearly those last two are kneejerk platitudes not based on any evidence whatsoever, right?

If a police officer has reasonable suspicion that I have committed a crime, I already have to provide him or her with details proving my identity and if they suspect that my assertion that I really am George Kaplan of North By Northwest Avenue, honest Guv, is a bit of a porky they can detain me until they’ve confirmed it to be true or false. Also, who doesn’t go out on a bike ride without their wallet or purse containing some cash, a debit card, medicare card and driver’s licence? It must happen one time every thousand, and certainly not when all those peloton twats arrive for their early morning espressos in their stupid matching Lycra with the brand names plastered all over.

Conclusion; legislation for legislation’s sake.

What about the helmets then? Surely a more severe law enforcing their use is a good thing?

Go on then, tell me the last time you saw someone riding a bike without one.

I know when I did; pretty much any fucking day along the seafront at Manli ™. There’s this unwritten rule which says the police will enforce the law at Pyrmont Bridge and George Street but not on the beachfront in the tourist locations. I bet there’s been the square root of fuck all fines handed out in any remote community too. Presumably the Old Bill are somewhat busy stopping the drunks and junkies smacking ten types of shit out of each other over who gets to sniff the petrol canister next to be bothered with someone cycling sans lid.

It’s a matter of priorities and available resources, you see. Our bloated legislative bodies in the various state capitals have far too much time on their hands as a ratio of how many IQ points they have between them so, rather than coming to the conclusion that, following 800 years of Common Law, there’s been very few situations not already legislated for, so they may as well sit back and play cribbage in the chambers, they write more daft laws. The last thing they’ll do after writing another list of things for the cops to check is divert more resources to them to be able to do it.

Conclusion; more legislation for legislation’s sake.

Just a reminder for those new here; I became a citizen 2 months ago and the Electoral Commission keep writing to me inviting me to register enrol to vote and reminding me that it’s a criminal offence not to (another one which is never enforced, by the way).

I invite anyone to give me a compelling answer in the comments section below as to why the fuck I would bother?

 

Paying off the mafia

An email arrives from that excellent example of how the market and technology can combine to disrupt cartels, driving value for the consumer;

YOU DID IT!

TNA,

You helped make history.

Today, the New South Wales Government announced it would regulate ridesharing. Your support, and the support of hundreds of thousands of Sydney riders, helped make this vision a reality.

Half a million Sydneysiders are choosing uberX as a safe, reliable and affordable way to get around our city. Over 5,500 drivers are earning a flexible income by moving people from A to B in their own cars. People are making different choices about whether to drink and drive or whether they still need to own a car.

Thank you, Sydney. This is just the beginning.

David, Henry and the Uber Sydney team

Which is nice, but I really can’t claim credit for this development. All I’ve done is choose to use the great value service provided by Uber’s drivers, facilitated by the website and mobile phone software provided by Uber.

In fact, if consulted I would have told the NSW Government to keep the fuck out of the way, based on the complete clusterfuck they’d made of the regular taxi cartel service.

Wait a moment; what is it we’re celebrating?

Regulation.

Isn’t one of the great aspects of Uber that the market regulates the service? If I have a bad rating as a consumer, the driver will know in advance and choose not to take my custom. Similarly, if the driver has a poor rating, I can choose a different one. During the journey, if either of us commits a crime or acts in any way that threatens our safety, we both have each other’s names and contact details. That’s as safe, if not safer, than traditional taxis.

What on earth can the government of New South Wales do to improve this, given that many of us were previously very comfortable with the service provided by those 5,500 drivers in Sydney?

Sadly, governments, and especially Australian governments, really know how to do very little else other than raise taxes. 

And that’s precisely what they’re proposing to do. 

To a man with a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.

It gets worse though, not only is there a $1 “levy” (Australian for “a new tax”) on every Uber journey, but the good citizens of New South Wales will now have to subsidise payouts to unsuccessful speculators who purchased “taxi plates”.

The package includes a fund of up to $142 million for taxi licensees who face hardship as a result of the changes, and a buyback scheme for perpetual hire-car licences.

The transfer value of a taxi licence in the state has crashed by almost a quarter in the past month to $228,500, amid growing speculation that the government was on the cusp of legalising UberX.

So, a bunch of speculators bought up the supply of a commodity which was limited by government, got a clip of the ticket by leasing the use of it on to low paid workers who actually delivered the service, made large capital gains when the sale price increased and, now that a new service has disrupted their cosy world, are being bailed out by you and I?

In other words, a Ponzi scheme backed by a rentier cartel subsidised by the taxpayer.

Keep voting, fools.

I don’t suppose you considered cutting tax and regulations?

File under; yet another reason why I don’t vote.

 

Our latest unelected Prime Minister has just announced a plan to spunk $1bn of our money into “innovation. For those of us old enough to have been through a few business cycles in a diverse blend of industries, the alarm bells should immediately sound whenever one hears the “i word”. When it’s used in relation to anything the government is doing, we hear alarm bells amplified through Lemmy’s latest tour equipment.

 

Innovation. Was there ever a noun more cruelly abused? I once did some work for a Reinsurance firm in London and recall reading an interview with the CEO in a trade magazine where he claimed he was “bringing a culture of innovation to the reinsurance market”. Given that I’d just done a drains up on all their core processes and was fairly certain that all they actually did was take someone’s risk, convert it into lots of bits of (virtual) paper, sell these to lots of different parties and manage the corresponding revenue flow backwards and forwards, I was somewhat sceptical about his claim.

Let’s not even get into the arrogance involved by the suggestion that some fat late middle-aged public school twat in a good suit lounging around in an office off Fenchchurch Street was going to disrupt an industry which had remained broadly unchanged, for good reason, since 1799…..

At the risk of falling into the rich vein of material that is available by launching an ad hominin attack on the latest looting parasite with a deep sense of entitlement at the expense of the public purse, I also struggle with the concept that Goldman Sachs alumni Malcolm Turnbull knows the first thing about what an innovative idea might look like. Sure, he made an absolute stinkload of money prior to entering politics, but perhaps the fairest thing we can say about that is that it was via a corporation that has proven very innovative in lifting money from dumb investors and government profligacy, followed by a successful personal punt on a technology company. Steve Jobs he is not.

Here at The New Australian, we have this radical view that the last place innovation is ever to be found is in the public sector and that the best thing a government could do to encourage it in the private sector is to get the fuck out of the way.

It might be argued that the cost of starting up a new business is likely to be the greatest inhibitor of innovation. Where does Australia stand in that regard? 10th in the world, according the to the World Bank (although what the fuck would they know, being ostensibly a bunch of civil servants themselves?).

So, we’re behind Denmark, Norway and Finland and only just in front of Sweden. Anyone who’s spent any time in the Scandinavian countries will know that, as lovely and charming the locals are, their tendency is very much towards statism. Denmark, for example, steals 60.2% of every dollar over $55,000 you earn through the fruits of your labour. Clearly the gap between places such as Singapore and Hong Kong and the bottom half of the top 10 countries on that list is quite wide.

Add to the expense and regulation involved to get a company registered and started, the eye-watering real estate costs and an industrial relations environment that would bring a nostalgic tear to the eye of Red Robbo, it’s frankly astounding that anyone ever starts a new enterprise from scratch in this country.

The details of Malcolm’s big brain fart using our taxes idea is where one gains an understanding of what’s going on; tax breaks for venture capital funds, capital gains exemptions for investors and a bunch of money thrown at CSIRO, the agency that uses our taxes to tell us that we should pay more taxes to stop global warming, despite not being able to show observable evidence that the globe has actually warmed since 1998. This is a fairly blatant siphoning of cash to the people who put him in power in the first place. Pork barrel politics at its best.

We don’t make public policy here at the New Australian but, if we did, it would be based on the principle of getting the hell out of the way of people who are smart enough to invent things. Here’s some of the policy changes that we believe would achieve that;

  1. Flat fee of no more than $150 to register a Limited Company, and all done through a single agency (i.e. not both ASIC and ATO)
  2. Annual reporting for tax purposes and no payments on account, removing the cottage industry of accounting bollocks that currently occurs every quarter end
  3. Reduce company tax down to something below the median of the G20 equivalents instead of being in the top 3
  4. Lower the tax rate on company dividends to be significantly below the top marginal income tax rate, encouraging investment and start ups rather than salary slaves
  5. Cancel all Modern Awards and Penalty Rates, replaced with a single minimum wage pegged (officially or unofficially) to be below the median of the equivalent value for the other G20 countries (because we’re currently head and shoulders above the world in that regard)

Hands up who thought there’d be something in there about negative gearing for property? Nah, hats off to anyone who can claw a little back from the looters and, anyway, if the above recommendations were implemented, there should be plenty of better performing investment opportunities for people to choose other than a paper thin-walled box with a tin-roof.

Of course, nobody you can ever vote for in Australia would contemplate a fraction of the five suggestions listed above.

Hence why I haven’t registered to vote.

Douglas Adams

This week saw an unscheduled visit to Nuh Zulland to help the local management team find a significant volume of unbilled costs that haven’t been invoiced for most of the year.

It seems the BSD culture on “two poxy islands in the Pacific” is rather similar to that of incompetent surgeons; they tend to bury their mistakes.

As usual on these visits, I introduced the team to revolutionary techniques such as milestone plans and Pareto distributions and then step back to watch the look of fascination on their faces as if I’d just shown them how to make fire for the first time.

We found the money after about a day and a half, it was behind the cushions on the sofa in the reception area. Phew.

This is my fourth or fifth trip to the potential future state of Eastern Australia and, as always, the sun was not seen for the entire trip. Not because I was beavering away in a windowless office but because this is the view that seems to be the norm regardless of the season.

  

Obviously there is a large element of chutzpah in what follows, given the country of my birth, but I can’t help reminding myself of the planet Krikkit in the third Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy book, Life, the Universe and Everything.

(From wiki);

Long ago, the peaceful population of the planet of Krikkit, unaware of the rest of the Universe due to a dust cloud that surrounded its solar system, were surprised to find the wreckage of a spacecraft on their planet. Reverse engineering the vessel, they explored past the dust cloud and saw the rest of the Universe, immediately taking a disliking to it and determining it must go.

It struck me that Douglas Adams must surely have written the plot line about Krikkit after visiting New Zealand.  Think about it; an insular and remote society with a view of the atmosphere which stops just a few hundred metres above sea level, aggressive to outsiders and an irrational superiority complex.

Speaking of cricket, could someone get a message to Chris Cairns’ legal team that the burden of proof to prove perjury is significantly higher than the imminent for civil case?

If anyone wants more Krikkit-themed fun, perhaps research how many International T20 matches have been drawn, how many of those involved Pakistan and, of those, how many were when Pakistan batted 2nd?

The truth about beer

As disingenuous mendacity goes, this is right up there with, “Saddam can deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes“, “the cheque is in the post” and “of course I won’t come in your mouth“.

This isn’t some CAMRA-esque campaign for organic ales, but a marketing exercise for Nathan Lion Nathan.

Why should anyone be pleasantly surprised that their beer doesn’t have preservatives in it? For hundreds of years, the basic recipe has been; water, malted grain, hops and yeast. The hops perform a bittering role but also preserve the finished product to a certain extent. If you bottle it into dark and sterile glass you shouldn’t need any other preservatives.

By the way, that’s another tip for you; never drink a beer in a clear bottle; light kills beer almost as quickly as heat and infection. That’s probably one of the main reasons those beers are marketed as tasting better with a slice of lime stuck in the top, just like those sophisticated Mexicn drinkers have it….

Most beers are preservative free. It’s not preservatives that make the beer awful hangover-inducing piss, it’s the fusel oils.

What are fusel oils? They are types of alcohol produced when the mash stage of brewing is undertaken at higher than normal temperatures. The usual mash temperature of 67 degrees centigrade extracts the optimum sugar type from the grain. Above this, more sugar is produced (therefore allowing a stronger beer to be fermented) but with the result that fusel oils are also produced.

Brewers call fusel oil, “fighting alcohol“. There’s a load of it in Bundaberg Rum, for example.

Why would you brew at this higher temperature then?

Cost, obviously; brewing at a higher temperature allows the same volume of alcohol to be produced but in a concentrated form. Lion Nathan’s main commercial beers will be brewed to be a few percentage points higher in alcohol by volume and are then diluted down to the requisite 5% mark. Yes, they water down their beer.

The duty thresholds for beer are 0-3% ABV, 3% to 10% ABV and then anything above 10% (although a 10% ABV beer is unlikely to taste of much else other than rocket fuel). Based on those thresholds, it’s interesting that the vast majority of beers for sale are precisely 5% ABV. Presumably that’s driven by consumer choice and buying behaviour but it tends to suggest people don’t value slightly lower strength beer with richer and more subtle flavours. Who knows?

Anyway,your favourite beers were always preservative free. They’re still shite though.

 

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