Category Archives: Economy

It doesn’t have to be a circus

By | Climate Change, Economy, Education, Environment, Health, History, Politics, Religion, Research | 32 Comments

The driver who took us home from the airport suggested that the election result was a bad thing because the outcome was uncertain. I said the result was the result we had, and that the politicians would simply have to make it work. That was, after all, what their jobs were about. Politics is the art of the compromise. He was unpersuaded. A clear outcome was what he had been seeking, and it seemed to him, I thought, that anything else was bad for the country. We didn’t solve that one before the car arrived at our freezing house, unheated for…

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Brexit and after

By | Climate Change, Economy, Environment, History, Media, Politics, Religion, Research | 26 Comments

The possible link between the Brexit vote and the Australian election a few days later has exercised a few commentators. Some think there will be no flow-on effects. Some think it will benefit the Coalition. The financial effects are thought to be short-term. Some think the new Britain will want to buy more from us. An occasional comment suggest that this is the end of the world as we have known it. Some seem to think it was all a conspiracy by climate change sceptics. What fascinated me was the fury of the Remain brigade at the outcome. How dare people…

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My perspective on Climate change #15 ‘But what about the precautionary principle?’

By | ABC, Climate Change, Economy, Environment, History, Language, Media, My Perspective, Politics, Religion, Research | 48 Comments

I was at a dinner once where one of the guests gave vent to his objections to genetically modified foods, on the grounds that he didn’t want to eat chemicals. I’ve forgotten what we were eating, and our hostess pointed out quickly that her bill of fare contained no synthetic or other ‘tampered with’ food. I stayed out of that one, but I did wonder what the complainer knew of chemistry. Everything we eat, and indeed everything that we are, is a complex of chemicals. Human beings have  become quite skilful at determining the nature of some chemicals, and creating…

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Where does our responsibility stop?

By | Climate Change, Economy, Education, Health, History, Indigenous, Language, Media, Politics, Society | 61 Comments

Some readers will have come across a cry from the heart with the title ‘I’m 73, and I’m tired’. I read it with some sympathy, and an appreciation of why someone who served as a State Senator in Massachusetts and had been a Marine would write such a piece. Because I like to be sure that what I’m reading is the real thing, I did some research, and discovered that the author Robert A. Hall is real, and he did write it. He also wrote an earlier version when he was 63, with much the same message, but different details. It has been…

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The race to be the silliest: alternative energy and the election

By | ABC, Climate Change, Economy, Environment, History, Media, Politics, Religion, Research | 41 Comments

I had mentioned in a previous post that I would look at the Greens’ policies in due course, and I’ve started. But the other night a smiling Greens Senate candidate for the ACT, Christina Hobbs, told us in the news that she had  a plan that would Renew Canberra. How would she do that, always supposing the city needs ‘renewing’? Why, by boosting alternative energy, of course. Now, before I get stuck into her policy it’s worth remembering that the Greens can say almost anything their supporters like, because they are not going to be in power (the probability of a Greens…

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‘Climate change’ and the election

By | ABC, Climate Change, Economy, Education, Environment, History, Media, Politics, Religion, Research | 41 Comments

I await each morning radio news with the expectation that Mr Shorten will have a new expensive promise for us, and so far I haven’t been disappointed. What does disappoint me is that his accounts of how his party would be able to pay for them are so empty, and there is never a mention of reducing the budget deficit. No journalist seems able or interested in asking questions of this kind. On the one occasion when one did, Mr Shorten’s response was that the wealthy would pay more in tax, and they could afford to. Surely somebody, somewhere, sometime…

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What sort of election campaign are we having?

By | ABC, Climate Change, Economy, Education, Environment, Health, History, Indigenous, Language, Media, Politics, Society | 9 Comments

I was a young (in fact the youngest) member of the political science department when I was invited to join a senior colleague in commenting on the ABC’s 1966 election night extravaganza; James Dibble was the anchorman. I had not appeared on television before, and it was all new and somewhat forbidding. Once it started, though, I forgot about the cameras. I did know a lot about elections and vote counting, where seats were, who the candidates were, and so on. There were a couple of politicians on our panel, but I can no longer remember clearly who they were. Perhaps…

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Understanding the Federal Budget

By | ABC, Economy, Environment, History, Language, Politics, Society | 33 Comments

My own first budget as a CEO meant a lot of learning for me. As budgets went, it wasn’t all that much — a hundred million or so — but I was responsible for it, so I needed to understand it, and the way it was set out. Where did all the money come from — and where did it all go? And why? Plainly it was intimately related to last year’s budget, when I hadn’t been at the University. What about the year before that? When I thought I understood it all I decided to write about it for the benefit…

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Managing comments on the website

By | Climate Change, Economy, Education, Environment, Food & Wine, Health, History, Humour, Language, Media, Music, Politics, Religion, Research, Road Safety, Society, Sport, Theatre | 43 Comments

I’ve had to think hard about how best to moderate the comments on this website. A number of the recent posts have had more than 100 comments, and one has passed 200. Just following them is a decent amount of work, and it gets in the way of other writing important to me. My own practice has been to respond to anyone who I think is seeking a real answer to something, or who has found a weakness in what I have written, or who seems to have misunderstood what I wrote. I learn from such encounters. If I find I…

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‘But wouldn’t it be useful to move to alternative energy anyway?’ #9 My perspective on climate change

By | ABC, Climate Change, Economy, Environment, History, Media, My Perspective, Religion, Research, Road Safety | 136 Comments

The quotation in the title of this essay comes from something I noted down in 2010. It was part of a comment somewhere, and it carried the implication that even if you didn’t think AGW was a real problem there were good reasons to go down the alternative energy path. Why was alternative energy a good thing? Well, it was said to be ‘free’, would continue forever, and didn’t require the use of fossil fuels, which were not sustainable even if they weren’t bad for the planet. I had a particular interest in solar energy, because the Australian Research Grants…

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