Category Archives: Economy

Sunday Reads #8: All things climate, environmental and politics

Firstly, I need to plug my survey again. I had a great response on Friday, but yesterday saw little movement. If the question and the answer matters to you, please try to get at least three friends or family members to spare 60 seconds to fill it in and a couple additional minutes to get three more to follow on.

Survey: Does the Aust Gov have a mandate on Chaplains in Public Schools?

Coalition’s Green Army passes the Senate

Having worked as a retail “trainee” when I was 19-20 in what was clearly a way to get around minimum wage restrictions, I am concerned by this, but not surprised at the bi-partisan support, sadly.

Carpark run-off cheaper to drink than desal water

Thinking for the 21st century!

Changing what we eat [relating to sustainability climate change]

Great to bookmark and refer to the future.

This Is What Your Grocery Store Looks Like Without Bees (PHOTOS)

Expect this message to become a bigger issue over the coming decades.

Fiji accuses global community of abandoning the Pacific on climate change, singles out ‘selfish’ Australia

Unfortunately, our leaders are not listening.

The jobs of yesterday: Abbott’s roads rear-vision

Sorry, second plug. This is my latest article on the Climate Spectator.

Power bills to drop 8pc in Tasmania if Senate approves carbon tax abolition

When the Gillard government introduced the carbon price, Abbott said people would pay thousands more a year in energy costs. He then said he would save people on average $550 a year in energy costs. Tasmanians’ are set to save $164 a year from the latest estimates.

For me, this is a clear indicator that reality is likely to be about 20% the estimate offered by our current PM.

Coal’s share of world energy demand at highest since 1970

And this is a genuine tragedy for the coal rich country down under, regardless what the short-term economics might say.

 

Economic Wealth is Tied to Ecology

Today I stumbled upon The Future Economy Group. Very interesting stuff, especially the following infograph. The biggest problem as I see it from my experience is that those you need to convince (typically conservative politicians) think that token gestures are enough (I’m thinking Direct Action and the Green Army, for example).

Farmers are often conservative, but they know better than most that symbiosis means wealth. “You reap what you sow” isn’t just a dated cliché, it is the unbreakable mantra of our relationship with environments. It is only through investing in environments that we can continue to obtain profitable returns.

This isn’t “Tree hugging” nonsense, but good business strategy.

The jobs of yesterday: Abbott’s roads rear-vision

The following is the start of an article that Climate | Business Spectator published yesterday.

The weeks are few and far between when there isn’t news of job cuts, be it primarily manufacturing, services or research. A few hundred here, a couple thousand there, a revamp (with a subtle job loss undertone) for the rest.

And our brave Prime Minister stresses with his Canadian counterpart that job and economic growth are his primary focus. He wants to be the “Infrastructure PM” after all, and if we would all just chip in for his fuel tax, he would open the doors to a plethora of roles in road construction.

There is just one problem with this logic. Just because they’re fruit, it doesn’t mean an apple and an orange are the same. Just because he talks of jobs, it doesn’t mean an out-of-work postie, ex-Holden worker or researcher will be suitable fodder for his new roads projects.

Keep reading here.

Sunday Reads #7: All things climate, environmental and politics

Why electricity prices continue to shock people

Something a lot of us have been saying for some time; the maths simply doesn’t add up. The costs of energy in Australia are not largely the result of the carbon price. We will not be better off with the carbon price gone. We certainly won’t be better off with additional fuel taxes and GP co-payments.

Hunting for Hunt’s Direct Action costings

This government clearly failed when they told us they would be one of “no surprises”. If they had told us they would be one of “no modelling” they would have been spot on.

The Liberals’ radical turn on climate change

An interesting back story the shifting Liberal ideology.

IR debate hijacked by the right

Everything you thought you knew about the supposed “wage explosion” is nothing more than spin designed to undermine workers rights.

Unleash metrics on the climate change sceptics! Met Office chief wants scientists to turn to poetry to promote research

Julia should spend more time exploring blogs and YouTube. There are plenty that have long known this.

Tony Abbott missing signs of world’s switch to carbon trading, experts say

No-one is convinced by the claim that countries are moving away from a market based approach.

Dear Millennials, We’re Sorry

I’ve wanted to write a response article to this, if time permitted. In short, great read, but I disagree with attacking the aged so heavily. Yes, a large proportion goes to them, but we have an aging population. More importantly, have we forgotten the point of “we are the 99%”?

There are massive problems with the distribution of money. More equal societies and a combination of super and taxation ought to support individuals throughout their lives. What kills that is when you live in a society that sees no fundamental problems with some having billions in personal net wealth among their communities.

People-Oriented Cities: Three Keys to Quality Public Transport

Another one to bookmark. The “Aussie dream” for the 20th just doesn’t work in the 21 centuryst. How we manage the expected population growth in Australia over the next century will make or brake our cities.

Sunday Reads #6: All things climate, environmental and politics

Real Density Versus Experienced Density in Paris

I know I’m part of a very small group in Australia who believe discussions will need to focus on higher density on the coming decades, but all the signs are there. I am certain Australia a century from now will have it’s capital cities and many satellites with densities much the same as places like many of the biggest cities today. A massive rethink on how we envision cities and indeed the “Aussie dream” need to be on the cards sooner or later.

This is excellent fuel for thought. As is;

Transit Oriented Development Needs More than Just Location

Making Aussies pay more for fuel to invest in more roads is worthy of a face palm. We will need TOD’s for our growing population. Planning ahead while density is low and land is being chewed up from sprawl makes for excellent timing.

Five Exciting Designs Chosen for New Garden Cities

Of course, higher density can be beautiful, if planned ahead.

Saving Trees in Tropics Could Cut Emissions by One-Fifth, Study Shows

Why not? They are productive lands (assuming landholders don’t rip them up – little nutrients actually in the soil).

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank joins super funds in fossil fuel rethink

The shift is happening, regardless how much some might resist it.

Science funding cuts are generating fears for jobs and research output

Something I can relate with. Being a job searcher hearing CSIRO cutting jobs, various universities cutting non-academic roles, outsourcing, outsourcing, outsourcing. Let’s just say, it’s hard being green….

Abbott deserves to be punished relentlessly for his broken promises

And yet, a mad side show between Turnbull and a couple neo-conservative commentators are taking up the discussions. Speaking of which;

Reading the crazy illogical Turnbull-Jones-Bolt brouhaha

Another shameless plug. The Climate Spectator picked up my article and ran with it.

Richard Denniss: Hey Joe Hockey, while we’re on the subject of debt …

“Australia faces choices about climate change, not dilemmas.”

Australian democracy: why we are fighting back

The word ‘democracy’ means something different to each of us. In short, it represents empowered people, with all else open to debate, as it should be.

In Australia, empowerment is embedded with the belief of fairness; the ‘fair go’ for the individual to make a life for themselves, based not on class, but solely merit. Fair opportunity, not privileged positioning.

I have to admit, for most of my three and a half decades of life, the ‘fair go’ felt to have left polite conversation. I believe it quietly sat within the Australian values goodie bag while the market took our imagination with bling, sprawl and SUV’s.

Yet, so nasty and individualistic has this government’s attitude been that it has reminded us of our core sense of fairness.

Make no mistake; the student protests and the March Australia protests are truly free, democratic processes. The Aussie ‘fair go’, is back.

The right to be free from sickness

For a small cost to taxpayers collectively, we all have the right to genuine healthcare. We are all empowered to seek out quality medical help when we need it, regardless of our social status.

It opens the doors to those most disadvantaged and works to Close the Gap for indigenous people. It gives us all a ‘leg up’ in tough times.

For me, as a young and healthy professional, I know I’ve paid more than my share of use of public healthcare.

So what? There will come a time where I am no longer so young or so healthy. I may suffer illness that limits my capacity to earn. My support for Medicare will, at that point, be returned to me. It’s a personal investment as much as it is a social service.

The co-payments may not currently hurt me personally, but the same cannot be said for those who must struggle to make ends meet. For them, a doctor visit, potentially leading to blood tests, x-rays and/or medicine, all add up. Rather than working to Close the Gap, it rips it a new one.

Some might point out that co-payments are limited to the first 10 visits for concession holders. Does the government really need that $70 from a poor person’s pocket, especially when $50 of it goes to research?

Tertiary education

Gina Rinehart once lamented that she had to compete against companies in Africa where they could get away with paying employees little better than crumbs.

Australia is an expensive country when compared to developing countries in Africa. It is expensive not only to pay wages, but also for workers to make ends meet.

What we trade abroad must meet that challenge. Rather than flogging off iron ore, coal and wood to whoever would buy it, we must refine our resources and develop specialised products that include due premium.

We are also moving towards a service based economy. All of which requires a population with specialised tertiary educated to remain globally competitive. Business needs highly trained people.

The proposed changes to the cost of tertiary education may lead to lifelong debt. It will act as a deterrent to family-orientated women and the disadvantaged, reducing our resource of professionals in contrast to the needs of our changing economy.

As Luke Sulzberger recently wrote [my emphasis]; “Would it not be more logical and efficient (not to mention fair) to increase the income tax rate of the demographic earning this “75 per cent more” [the assumed benefit of tertiary education of personal income] to pay for the hike in education fees?”

This would be today’s successful professions passing on the benefits they enjoyed for all the economic perks that come come along with it for themselves (eg. employees and high quality services) as much the country.

Fair go vs. individualism

Mr. Pyne labelled tertiary student protesters a “socialist alternative“. This must have had Joe Hockey squirming uncomfortably in his seat, known to protest against increased university fees in his own youth.

It gets worst for Pyne. The protesters are not calling for a radical change from current situations, but against changes. Is Christopher Pyne suggesting that Australia currently has a socialist leaning already?

Above I’ve tried to illustrate the clear economic benefits of the systems we now have in place.

Moreover, Australian’s believe in a fair go for all. This isn’t some slippery slope to an alternative government, but the acknowledgement that a population full of healthy bodies and fit minds benefit us all and our local marketplace. The most efficient way to empower the Australian population is for us to contribute to the ‘whip round’ when we are in our prime. It all comes back.

Australian’s have always done the heavy lifting, with our working class roots, which allowed Hockey and Pyne to enjoy cheap tertiary education and free health care when they were young.

We are not ignorant, however, and can spot when our government is removing the mechanisms of general empowerment that remain fundamental to Australian culture.

Tony Abbott, Happy