Category Archives: Government

J.B. Chifley’s fine discernment

1] Chifley’s musical taste and enthusiasm, for instance, were for light opera and musical revues. On one occasion Coombs came into his office to find him humming a Gilbert and Sullivan tune. “How is it, Doc,” he asked, “that nobody writes music like that any more?” Coombs replied: “Probably because he’d starve- at least if he lived in Australia!” “Well, anyway,” concluded Chifley before turning to the business in hand, “If you find a fellow who can write that stuff you put him on the Post-War Reconstruction payroll and I won’t enquire too closely what he’s doing.” He was also fond of band music- a fact which was decisive for the founding of the Canberra City Band.

L.F. Crisp Ben Chifley: A Biography. Melbourne: Longman, 1961;3 (pbk.) p154, fn1.

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Filed under Books, Gilbert & Sullivan, Government, History, Political, Trade Unions

Various ACM videos

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Filed under Constitutional Monarchy, Government

One on’t cross beams gone owt askew on treadle

I’ve found various arguments in this thread concerning, inter alia, the Spanish Inquisition, rather fascinating, especially since my position stands somewhat in between the correspondents therein (incidentally, the poster in that thread called “Jane” was substantially influential in the actualisation of my reversion from atheism a few years back through my observing over the years in various fora her utter decency under intense ad-hominem pressure.)

Broadly speaking, while I suspect much English and French (from which a fair proportion of the former is derived) calumny concerning the Spanish Inquisition was exaggerated and paid inadequate attention to the general coarsening of European manners prevalent for most of its operation, talk of its “mercy” seems question-begging at best, and blithe of grave procedural concerns at worst.

Admittedly on a gut level at present, it also seems implausible and potentially disingenuous for certain ultramontane controversialists to assign the preponderance of blame for postulated abuses under the Spanish Inquisition’s ægis to agents of the Castilian, Aragonese and (from 1713-1834) Spanish Crowns. I see nothing inherent to the Cloth per se which renders those in said estates/orders more immune from cruelty than would pertain to diligent persons in lay offices.

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Filed under Delphi, Depravity, Government, History, Political, Religion

On pension levels

As a long-term recipient on psychiatric grounds of the Australian Disability Support Pension, I have a direct pecuniary interest in seeing its plausible maintenance and increase. Nonetheless, it seems worth bearing in mind a few factors which could militate against excessive recourse to the begging-bowl at present.

All else being equal, in fairly stable countries times of relative economic declension tend to affect long-term pensioners less negatively (or even positively in some cases) than others in the community. Since our income is fixed, deflation in commodities, rent and consumer goods allows it to go further in such times.

While our continued spending may serve to some extent as a demand-sink for the economy, governments may find themselves constrained by reduced revenue from precipitately increasing individual pension payments to those whose position remains stable, especially since more volatile sectors such as Construction or Commodities tend to disproportionately be adversely affected by recessions.

Contrariwise, we would tend to be at greater need of assistance when the economy is booming. Incidentally, I’d say the same of responsible landlords since rental yields tend to decline disproportionately compared to other asset classes in such fecund times.

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Filed under Economics, Government, Political, Revenue

Best wishes to John Murphy

I was saddenned to read that my neighbouring (and, when boundaries allowed, local) MP John Murphy felt constrained by family reasons to resign from his Parliamentary Secretariat.  As one who’s personally on the other side of the political  fence, I can say that throughout his time as an MP Mr Murphy has consistently acted for his constituents and the wider community in a principled and dignified fashion.

My own dealings with Mr Murphy have largely been through the NSW Right to Life Association (in which I am locally active).  Facing enormous pressure, Mr Murphy has stood steadfastly in defence of the vulnerable.  As such (and for various other qualities), I salute him and wish both he and his family well for the future.

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Filed under Australia, Ethics, Government, Political, Sociology

On blowing figures out of proportion

Headlines such as this strike me as potentially rather misleading.

While things are quite bad economically at the moment, it nonetheless seems dubious to lump figures from seperate years into some purported “gross” revenue shortfall when most readers would be more attuned to thinking in terms of single-year increments.

More broadly, while I generally support much of the Rudd Government’s economic stimulus packages so-far , I do think that some alarmist rhetoric which has eminated from it has been irresponsible.  When “animal spirits” are at stake, governments generally ought do what they can to soothe market sentiment.

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Filed under Economics, Government, Political

Depressing reading – might comment later.

Depression 2009: What would it look like?
Lines at the ER, a television boom, emptying suburbs. A catastrophic economic downturn would feel nothing like the last one.
– Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/11/16/depression_2009_what_would_it_look_like/?page=full

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Filed under Economics, Government, Political