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.
Various recent comments to the effect that putative changes mooted concerning Australia’s current mix of revenue arrangements with respect to the Mining sector grossly threaten its Sovereign Risk standing strike me as hyperbolic and potentially misinformed. Over at least the past couple of centuries, Australian governments have had access to a remarkable pool of economic advice precisely calibrated to minimise investment uncertainty. This advice has generally been heeded by successive governments of disparate political complexion which, combined with other factors conducive to civil tranquility (take Australia’s consistently high ranking in the UN’s Human Development Index, for instance) have left it in a position whereby relative complacency on the question of Sovereign Risk therein seems prudent.
Mutatis mutandis, Australia isn’t entirely immune from Sovereign Risk concerns. Given that the above conditions of relatively high civil tranquility with governments being amenable to sage counsel while keeping an eye on constraints of commonsense emerged under its current system of government, it would seem that proposals to alter said system of government ought partly be assessed on whether such proposal/s are conducive to maintaining that enviable cocktail of conditions described above.
Contrary to the thrust of Malcolm Colless’ analysis herein, a fresh assault on Trade Union powers and privileges by the Coalition strikes me as neither prudent nor indicated by the transitory effects of polls.
But the political sands have shifted significantly since the heady days of Labor’s victory. Concern about the erratic style of government, which can be traced directly to Kevin Rudd’s preoccupation with policy micro-management, is starting to show up in the polls and Labor is not the sure-fire election winner it was a few months ago.
Perhaps. Still, unless we assuage resultant concerns somewhat, there’s nothing quite like perceptions of vested interests being threatened to guarantee massive electioneering war-chests flowing to the wrong hands. In the 2007 NSW State election, for instance, one major card the ALP held was concerns about the security of public-sector employment.
While I wasn’t too keen on Papa Smurf from the start, nonetheless I was a touch startled to come across the following video.
A couple of days ago, I bought from the Broadway Co-Op near UTS a discounted paperback edition of Samuel Huntington’s expanded monograph The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, a seminal book which I’ve long delayed acquiring since initially I wasn’t too impressed by its triggering article. Once one takes various caveats (often introduced by Huntington himself) into account, though, in hindsight I’ve belatedly come to accord it some serviceability in rendering various inherent cultural limitations of effective statecraft palatable to practitioners.
For aught I know, I might give said work some more thought later.