Australian Politics 2019-01-16 15:48:00


Australian psychologists are down on "Traditional Masculinity" too

The most substantial piece of evidence from Australia for the criticisms is the "Man Box" study mentioned below.  It is a colourfully presented "report", not a refereed academic journal article.  And that shows.  It is not as bad as some such reports in that some care was taken with the sampling and conventional statistical significance was observed but it is basically crap.  Let me say in detail why:

For a start, no factor analysis of the questions asked is offered.  So is there in fact such a thing as a "man box"?  We do not know.  A strong first eigenvector would have reassured us but we are not told of one.  I once did a survey of allegedly female attitudes (The BSRI) which found the attitudes concerned not to be characteristic of Australian females.  They were not sex-polarized at all. So are we sure that the man box attitudes are in fact characteristic of Australian male attitudes?  We cannot assume it. Were there similar attitudes among women?

And including the man box questions within a larger survey was not done.  Doing so might have revealed that the questions had a larger identity.  For instance, many of the questions seem to me to be rather like assertiveness questions, and assertiveness is usually praised.  There certainly should have been some attempt to distinguish the "bad" man box questions from assertiveness.   Could some man box attitudes be good?

And the selection of man box attitudes was also tendentious.  Traditional male attitudes do for instance include courtesy towards women.  To this day I hold car doors open for women but that is only a trivial thing.  There is also a strong traditional male inhibition against hitting women, for instance.  Feminists are much concerned about domestic violence so should they encourage traditional male attitudes of courtesy and restraint towards women?  Nothing like that was examined in the survey, funnily enough.

And what about the traditional male attitude that self-sacrifice is noble?  What about the times when men have sacrificed themselves to save women -- in an emergency situation such as a sinking ship?  Is that noble or foolish?  Sane women would hope it is noble but there is no mention of such nobility in the man box.  The whole conception of the man box is thoroughly bigoted from the get-go.

But the most deplorable omission in the research is a complete failure to apply any demographic controls.  They apparently had demographic data but did not use it to segment their sample.  One does wonder why.  Were the results of such segmentation too embarrassing?  Were man box attitudes almost exclusively working class for instance?  From my own extensive background in survey research, I suspect it.  I always looked at demographic correlates of the attitudes I examined and social class variables were often significant.

And one social class variable that they would have avoided studying at all costs is the dreaded IQ.  Yet IQ is powerfully correlated with an amazing array of other variables.  In this case it could even explain some male/female differences. Why, for instance, do men on average die earlier than women?  The research below says it is because of their bad male attitudes but there is another explanation. Male IQ is more variable than female IQ.  There are more brilliant males but also more spectacularly dumb males.  And, for various reasons, IQ is significantly correlated with health.  So it is likely that most of the males who die young were simply dumb.  They did more silly and dangerous things, for instance.

All in all the report is just a piece of feminist propaganda designed to fool the general public.  I am guessing that they had no expectation that it might come under the scrutiny of an experienced survey researcher

Traditional masculinity has been labelled “harmful” in a major move by a health body, linked with high rates of suicide and violence.

The American Psychological Association released a report last week, citing more than 40 years of research on the issue of “masculine ideology” — a step praised by Australian experts.

“Traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behaviour, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health,” it said.

Increasingly referred to as “toxic masculinity”, traditional ideals surrounding manhood are usually toughness, aggression, a suppression of emotion, dominance and stoicism.

Queensland University of Technology sociologist Michael Flood said some of the ways boys are raised can have “significant costs” for the community.

Across the country today, an estimated six men will take their own lives — three times the number of women to die by suicide.

“There’s growing recognition that norms of masculinity in many ways are limiting for men themselves,” Dr Flood told

“Going along with traditional masculine beliefs increases the risk of suicide — there have been studies to indicate that. If you think being a man means not asking for help or not showing pain, being a John Wayne character and going it alone, you can’t cope when things are hard.”

Traditional masculinity has a place in a number of scenarios, Dr Flood said, where a number of those qualities can be very useful. “Being tough and stoic are exactly the qualities you need if you’re fighting a fire or something like that, but once it’s over, you need other qualities,” he said.

“Some of those men (without) are poorer at some of the qualities that many people recognise are important in contemporary relationships — communication, emotional expression.”

There’s growing recognition in the fields of men’s mental health, education and the prevention of violence against women and children that “the norms of masculinity” can be harmful.

“Unless we tackle this, we’ll continue to see large numbers of men turning up in hospitals, being assaulted, committing suicide, and suffering in silence and so on,” Dr Flood said.

Criticisms from some segments of the community that the discussion about toxic masculinity is an attack on men are unfounded, he said.

“We need to distinguish between men and masculinity. The attack on the narrow messaging is not an attack on men. This is driven by a concern for men.”

Dr Flood was involved in the groundbreaking Man Box study last year, which found that young Australian men who oversubscribe to traditional notion of masculinity had poorer health and wellbeing outcomes.

“We also found that many of them have poorer relationships with others and were more likely to be involved in violence,” he said.

Of those surveyed — a cohort of 1000 men aged 18 to 30 — 69 per cent felt society expected them to act strong and 56 per cent felt being a man meant never saying no to sex.

Another 36 per cent agreed that society pressures them to shun friendships with gay men and 38 per cent thought boys shouldn’t learn how to cook and clean.


Australia Day SHOULD be on January 26: Nearly 80 per cent of voters are against changing the date because of Aboriginal sensitivities

Leftist agitators are trying to destroy a patriotic holiday but the people are not having it

An overwhelming majority of Australians continue to reject calls for the country's national day to be moved from January 26, according to new polls.

Polling commissioned by the Institute of Public Affairs, a conservative think-tank, showed just 10 per cent of 1,000 people surveyed want to change the date of Australia Day.

Young Australians were even less welcoming to the idea of moving the date from January 26, which many indigenous Australians view as Invasion Day.   

'Only eight per cent of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 say Australia Day should not be celebrated on 26 January,' the IPA's Dr Bella d'Abrera said.

'[It] proves that despite the media and political left narrative, young people are not drawn to the divisive argument of opposing our national day.'

A separate poll of 1,659 people, conducted by conservative lobby group Advance Australia, found 78 per cent of those surveyed were proud to celebrate Australia Day on January 26.

'The results are in - January 26 is not a day for division and protest, but rather a day for all Australians to celebrate,' the group's National Director, Gerard Benedet, said.

Ten days out from Australia Day, the Greens have offered to host citizenship ceremonies on behalf of local councils who refuse to hold events on January 26 out of respect for indigenous people.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison plans to force councils to hold ceremonies on Australia Day and enforce a strict dress code at official events in an attempt to preserve the date.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has declared he will never move the date of Australia Day if he becomes prime minister. Mr Shorten also said he had no desire to be the 'fashion police' telling people what they could wear at citizenship ceremonies.

'I just think we've got to leave the politics alone, catch up with our family and friends, and on Australia Day my wish is for all Australians to realise what a great country we live in,' he told the Nine Network on Wednesday.

The opposition leader refused to buy into the Greens' idea on citizenship ceremonies. 'Some days I'd like to put the Greens with Tony Abbott and a few of the right-wing in the Liberal Party in the same room, tell them to sort it out, and the rest of us can just get on and cook a snag on the barbie,' Mr Shorten said.

'What happens in Australian politics is sometimes the extremes - because they say radical things - grab a headline.  'I'm not going to get distracted by that - the Greens can say or do what they want - Labor is not going to go down that path.

'We're not going to have big political debates about the day of Australia Day.'

Health Minister Greg Hunt is confident the vast majority of people support Australia Day. 'It celebrates what we are as a contemporary nation and this game that's played out every year is simply a diversion and self-serving,' Mr Hunt said.  'Australia Day is about celebrating a nation that is a multi-ethnic success, with all of the challenges of any country.'

Many indigenous people find it offensive the date their ancestors lost their sovereignty to British colonialists is celebrated with a public holiday.


We’ll do citizenship ceremonies: Greens try to stymie PM

The Greens are attempting to short-circuit Scott Morrison’s protection of Australia Day citizenship celebrations by exploiting what they claim is a legal loophole that would enable their MPs to conduct ceremonies on behalf of protesting councils.

Greens leader Richard Di ­Natale has leapt on advice from the parliamentary library that ­federal MPs can conduct citizenship ceremonies “at any time or place of their choosing” and without the approval of the immigration minister and the Department of Home Affairs.

Senator Di Natale said the Greens’ lower house member, Adam Bandt, and the party’s nine senators would perform citi­zenship ­ceremonies in councils that were banned from holding them under the new regulations.

The Prime Minister announced at the weekend that all 537 councils would be forced to hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day or their right to confer citizenship would be revoked.

“Scott Morrison is playing a predictable political game, trying to punish councils for reflecting the will of their constituents and standing up for justice for First ­Nations peoples but the Greens won’t let him,” Senator Di Natale said. “We’re promising today that any council which is stripped of its ability to hold citizenship ceremonies because it refuses to hold them on January 26th can count on a Greens senator or MP in their state to conduct those ceremonies in their place.

“The movement to change the date is an important step along the road to treaty, sovereignty and justice for our First Nations peoples and we hope Labor will join us on that journey.”

A Department of Home Affairs spokesman said last night any ­individual or organisation who ­politicised a citizenship ceremony could have their right to conduct one revoked by Immigration Minister David Coleman. “Citizenship ceremonies are non-commercial, apolitical, bipartisan and secular,” he said.

“They must not be used as ­forums for political, partisan or ­religious expression or for the distribution of material which could be perceived to be of a commercial, political or religious nature.

“Ceremonies conducted by a member of parliament must be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code and with the approval of the Department of Home Affairs.”

Advice from the parliamentary library, obtained by The Australian, said citizenship regulations gave power to all federal MPs to conduct citizenship ceremonies without approval from the minister or department.

“However, in practice, assistance from the department will be required — notably, in providing a list of citizenship applicants who are eligible to take the pledge,” the advice said. “The limiting factor in a senator being able to conduct a ceremony may therefore be the ability of the department to provide this information in a timely fashion.

“There is nothing in the citizenship legislation or regulations stating that senators and members must seek authorisation from the minister or department to preside over a citizenship ceremony.”

More than 100 councils did not conduct ceremonies on Australia Day last year, according to the Morrison government and the peak body for councils.

The Coalition government has banned the Victorian councils of Darebin and Yarra from holding citizenship ceremonies because they refused to do so on January 26.

Citizenship ceremonies can also be undertaken by the ­governor-general, ambassadors, high commissioners, state governors, all members of the ACT parliament and the lord mayor of a city.

Australian Local Government Association president David O’Loughlin said councils were “disappointed” and “confused” by the government’s directive.

He said it was “a gross slur” for Mr Morrison to claim some councils were “sneaky” by holding citizenship ceremonies on the evening of January 25 rather than on the 26th.

“They have all had good reasons for many years to not do it on the public holiday … There is no conspiracy, they are simply making sure they are addressing their communities needs in a prudent manner,” Mr O’Loughlin said.

“They are scratching their heads wondering why the federal government announces the Australian of the Year the day before Australia Day. I would have thought Australian of the Year has a direct relevance to Australia Day — it is only one day and one title.

“And yet citizenship ceremonies happen in some councils every month.”

Mr O’Loughlin, Mayor of the Adelaide council of Prospect, said the announcement was made with “zero consultation” with local government.

“We live in a democracy. If a local community wants their council to advocate for something to change, that community would expect its council to do it. If not, they would vote for another mob next time,” he said. “Democracy and free speech are two of the vital parts of Australian society which we celebrate on Australia Day.”

The Weekend Australian revealed Greens MPs would attend “Invasion Day” rallies before Australia Day to raise pressure on Bill Shorten to support changing the date. The Opposition Leader has vowed to keep Australia Day on January 26 if he becomes prime minister. A GetUp spokesman said the group would also support “Invasion Day” rallies.


Dividends paid early to beat ALP franking changes

The guardians of some of the ­nation’s trillions of dollars in ­equities investments are adjusting their strategies in ­anticipation of a Shorten government, with the $360 million ­Mirrabooka fund yesterday paying a special dividend to shareholders six months early, ahead of Labor’s planned changes to franking credits.

Australia’s biggest companies, including industrial, mining and popular blue-chip stocks such as the four major banks and Telstra, sit on an estimated $45 billion in franking credits that could be ­released to shareholders before a future ALP government rips up the nation’s dividend imputation system.

Mirrabooka, a conservative stockmarket investor based in Melbourne, announced it would pay its traditional end-of-year special dividend now rather than after July 1 to safeguard its ­investors in the face of growing uncertainty around the use of franking credits for retirees and pensioners.

It is believed to be the first public company to reshape its dividend policy ahead of this year’s federal election, which the latest polls suggest Labor will win.

Last year, Bill Shorten unveiled his franking credits policy to claw back nearly $60bn over 10 years by abolishing cash refunds for excess dividend imputation credits.

The early dividend payment comes after a US investment bank predicted the valuation of shares in Australia’s biggest banks could be slashed by as much as 13 per cent if the ALP policy was implemented and cash refunds were ripped from investors.

JPMorgan equity strategist Jason Steed said yesterday there was an increasing likelihood that companies with large franking credit balances would look to accelerate special dividends and off-market buybacks. JPMorgan believes other stocks most likely to take measures to realise franking credits in the near term are Caltex, Harvey Norman, Metcash, Rio Tinto and Woolworths.

Issuing its interim results yesterday to kick off the reporting season for 2019, Mirrabooka chief executive Mark Freeman said because of the uncertainty created by Labor’s dividend imputation policy, the fund believed it should pay special dividends now rather than wait to July when a Shorten government might change the rules.

“The feedback so far is if they (ALP) change the policy, then it will take effect from July 1 this year so if they get that through as policy, then from July 1 you will no longer get a refund cheque — and so if you put out the special dividend this financial year, people will still be able to have that as part of their return and potentially ­(receive) a refundable credit,’’ Mr Freeman said.

He said Mirabooka thought Labor’s policy was “very grossly unfair for investors and trying to shift the playing field in favour of managed funds over self-­managed superannuation”.

“We are feeling the potential pain of people if this rule comes in, and so let’s try to help them out now,’’ Mr Freeman said.

A spokesman for the opposition’s Treasury spokesman, Chris Bowen, declined to comment when asked about the Mirrabooka decision.

Federal Liberal MP Tim Wilson, who chairs the house economic committee’s inquiry into removing franking credits, said Mirrabooka’s decision did not come as a surprise.

“In the economics committee hearings, we’ve heard witness after witness saying they’re ­already restructuring their ­investment strategy so they won’t be hit by Shorten’s retirement tax,” Mr Wilson said.

“Some of the most disturbing evidence we have heard has come from financial advisers admitting they can help their clients around Shorten’s retirement tax, but those without financial advice or literacy won’t know they’re being slugged till it is too late.”

Mr Steed said any negative effects of the policy were most likely to be felt by the higher yielding sectors with franking, such as the banks and Telstra.

“You would certainly be minded as a board to consider whether or not using those franking credits in advance of a potential legislative change would be advantageous to your shareholders or to certain cohorts within your shareholder base,’’ Mr Steed said. “There are many companies that have access to franking that would arguably be … considering similar action.’’

Investment bank Citi warned in a report to its clients last week that potential changes to dividend imputation and the removal of cash refunds from investors was likely to have a significant impact on bank shareholders.

“We estimate that 10-20 per cent of shareholders receive cash refunds from bank dividends,” Citi said.

“Additionally, the value of franking credits continue to make up (about) 28 per cent of our major bank valuations, with any changes to dividend imputation policy likely to impact major bank (and other stocks more broadly) valuations as a consequence. “Depending on the changes implemented, this could impact major bank valuations by up to 13 per cent.”


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

Hauser’s Law, Updated for 2019

Back in 2009, we wrote about Hauser's Law, which at the time, we described as "one of the stranger phenomenons in economic data". The law itself was proposed by W. Kurt Hauser in 1993, who observed:

No matter what the tax rates have been, in postwar America tax revenues have remained at about 19.5% of GDP.

In 2009, we found total tax collections the U.S. government averaged 17.8% of GDP in the years from 1946 through 2008, with a standard deviation of 1.2% of GDP. Hauser's Law had held up to scrutiny in principal, although the average was less than what Hauser originally documented in 1993 due to the nation's historic GDP having been revised higher during the intervening years.

We're revisiting the question now because some members of the new Democrat party-led majority in the House of Representatives has proposed increasing the nation's top marginal income tax rate up to 70%, nearly doubling today's 37% top federal income tax rate levied upon individuals. Since their stated purpose of increasing income tax rates to higher levels is to provide additional revenue to the U.S. Treasury to fund their "Green New Deal", if Hauser's Law continues to hold, they can expect to have their dreams of dramatically higher tax revenues to fund their political initiatives crushed on the rocks of reality.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis completed a comprehensive revision to historic GDP figures in 2013, which significantly altered (increased) past estimates of the size of the nation's Gross Domestic Product.

The following chart shows what we found when we updated our analysis of Hauser's Law in action for the years from 1946 through 2018, where we're using preliminary estimates for the just-completed year's tax collections and GDP to make it as current as possible.

Hauser's Law in Action, 1946 - 2018

From 1946 through 2018, the top marginal income tax rate has ranged from a high of 92% (1952-1953) to a low of 28% (1988-1990), where in 2018, it has recently decreased from 39.6% to 37% because of the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Despite all those changes, we find that the U.S. government's total tax collections have averaged 16.8% of GDP, with a standard deviation of 1.2% of GDP. Applying long-established techniques from the field of statistical process control, that gives us an expected range of 13.2% to 20.5% of GDP for where we should expect to see 99.7% of all the observations for tax collections as a percent share of GDP.

And that's exactly what we do see. The next chart zooms in on the total tax collections as a percent share of GDP data from the first chart, and adds the data for individual income tax collections as a percent share of GDP below it.

Total and Individual Income Tax Collections as Percent of GDP, 1946 - 2018

What we find is that the federal government's tax collections from both personal income taxes and all sources of tax revenue are remarkably stable over time as a percentage share of annual GDP, regardless of the level to which marginal personal income tax rates have been set. The biggest deviations we see from the mean trend to be associated with severe recessions, when tax collections have tended to decline somewhat more than the nation's GDP during periods of economic distress.

We also confirm that the variation in total and personal income tax receipts over time is well described by a normal distribution. We calculate that personal income tax collections as a percentage share of GDP from 1946 through 2018 has a mean of 7.6%, with a standard deviation of 0.8%.

For both levels of tax collections, if Hauser's Law holds, we would then expect any given year's tax collections as a percent of GDP to fall within one standard deviation of the mean 68% of the time, within two standard deviations 95% of the time, and within three standard deviations 99.7% of the time. And that is what we observe with the reported data from 1946 through 2018.

As for high tax revenue aspirations, we can find only three periods where tax collections rose more than one standard deviation above the mean level.

  1. In 1968, the Democratic U.S. Congress and President Lyndon Johnson passed a 10% income surtax that took effect in mid-year, which suddenly raised the top tax rate from 70% to 77% (which increased the amount collected from top income tax earners by 10%.) Coupled with a spike in inflation, for which personal income taxes were not adjusted to compensate, this tax hike led to outsize income tax collections in that year.
  2. The sustained high inflation of 1978 (7.62%), 1979 (11.22%), 1980 (13.58%) and 1981 (10.35%) led to higher tax collections through bracket creep, as income tax brackets in the U.S. were not adjusted for inflation until 1985 as part of President Ronald Reagan's first term Economic Recovery Tax Act.
  3. Beginning in April 1997, the Dot Com Stock Market Bubble minted a large number of new millionaires as investors swarmed to participate in Internet and "tech" company initial public offerings or private capital ventures, which in turn, inflated personal income tax collections. Unfortunately, like the vaporware produced by many of the companies that sprang up to exploit the investor buying frenzy, the illusion of prosperity could not be sustained and tax collections crashed with the incomes of the Internet titans in the bursting of the bubble, leading to the recession that followed.

Now, what about those other taxes? Zubin Jelveh looked at the data back in 2008 and found that as corporate income taxes have declined over time, social insurance taxes (the payroll taxes collected to support Social Security and Medicare) have increased to sustain the margin between personal income tax receipts and total tax receipts. This makes sense given the matching taxes paid by employers to these programs, as these taxes have largely offset a good portion of corporate income taxes as a source of tax revenue from U.S. businesses. We also note that federal excise taxes have risen from 1946 through the present, which also has contributed to filling the gap and keeping the overall level of tax receipts as a percentage share of GDP stable over time.

Looking at the preliminary data for 2018, which saw both personal and corporate income tax rates decline with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, we see that total tax receipts as a percent of GDP dipped below the mean, but still falls within one standard deviation of it, just as in over two-thirds of previous years. Tax receipts from individual income taxes however rose slightly, despite the income tax cuts that took effect in 2018, staying above the mean but still falling within one standard deviation of it.

Hauser's Law appears to have held up surprisingly well over time.


Bradford Tax Institute. History of Federal Income Tax Rates: 1913-2019. [Online Text]. Accessed 13 January 2019.

Tax Foundation. Federal Individual Income Tax Rates History. [PDF Document]. 17 October 2013.

U.S. Department of the Treasury. September 2018 Monthly Treasury Statement. [PDF Document]. 17 October 2018.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. National income and Product Accounts Tables. Table 1.1.5. Gross Domestic Product. [Online Database]. Last Revised: 21 December 2018. Accessed: 14 January 2019.

U.S. White House Office of Management and Budget. Budget of the United States Government. Historical Tables. Table 1.1. Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-): 1789-2023. Table 2.1. Receipts by Source: 1934-2023. [PDF Document]. 12 February 2018.

Australian Politics 2019-01-15 15:51:00


Soaring house prices and overcrowded cities: It’s official – Australians don’t want any more immigrants

Australian support for immigrants has plummeted amid soaring house prices and overcrowded cities.

Just 30.4 per cent of Australians now believe the country needs more people, according to a poll by the Australian National University (ANU).

This was compared to 69.6 per cent who felt Australia did not need more people, a dramatic increase since a similar poll was done in 2010.

According to a report on the figures most Australians were supportive of cultural diversity but did not want population growth to come at the expense of the environment.

'Crowding and housing affordability have become key issues,' the report stated.

Both the Liberal and Labor parties are developing their own stance and policies on immigration, but the new findings suggest only three in every 10 people who participated believe Australia has room for more people.

Questions asked were similar to those asked in the 2010 survey in an attempt to keep results as even as possible.

The 2010 survey found 45 per cent of participants were supportive of population growth.

Male support has now fallen to 38.4 per cent, while female support is even lower at 28.2 per cent.

‘The Australian population is now a little over 25 million… Do you think Australia needs more people?,' was one question participants were asked to answer.  

Australia's population growth is the largest it has experienced since colonisation. 

In 1981 the Australian population was around 14.9 million people. By June 2018 it had reached 25.0 million, with the last five million of that growth occurring since December 2004.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to lower his intake of immigrants from 2019-2020 from 190,000 to 160,000. This will be confirmed when the April budget is released.

Mr Morrison's decision - should he go ahead with it - reflects the ANU findings, in which the least supportive of increased immigration was coalition voters.

Greens were found to be the most supportive, though support was still below 50 per cent.


Teachers won't be allowed to take classes if they fail English and maths exams

Teachers will soon have to pass a literacy and numeracy test to prove they can read, write and solve maths problems before they're allowed in the classroom.

All aspiring teachers in Australia will have to take the formal exam from next year and must pass it within three attempts.

In Victoria, about five per cent of working teachers failed or were yet to sit the test, but were allowed to remain in the classroom provided they passed within two years.

But the state government announced this week that from this month, all aspiring teachers who don't pass the test won't be registered.


Ports and mine targeted by fat cat unionists

Wharfies earning up to $150,000 a year for working 33 hours a week will launch industrial action at Hutchison Ports Australia this week, condemning the loss-­making stevedore’s bid to cut their pay and conditions as the “most severe attack on waterfront conditions in a generation”.

The industrial action at Hutchison, which fears the union bans could escalate into strikes disrupting operations at inter­national container terminals in Sydney and Brisbane, came as Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union members at a NSW coalmine voted yesterday to extend a seven-day strike by a further week.

Employers last night expressed concern at the industrial action by different divisions of the CFMEU, with Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive James Pearson ­insisting strikes should be a last resort.

“The sight of Australia’s mega-union, the CFMEU, flexing its industrial muscle to hold up ports and shut down mines is a sharp ­reminder of why we need workplace laws that encourage co-­operation, not conflict in the workplace,’’ Mr Pearson said.

“Big unions are putting pressure on the Labor Party to make big changes to workplace rules to give themselves even more power. That’s a sobering prospect with an election just around the corner.”

Hutchison said wharfies at its Port Botany international container terminal in Sydney earned on average $150,000 a year with superannuation and Port of Brisbane workers received $130,000 annually for an average working week of 30 to 33 hours.

Employees get 11 weeks off a year — five weeks’ annual leave and an extra rostered week off every eight weeks, up to 13 days’ sick leave, and 12 per cent ­superannuation.

The company is seeking to slash pay rates by 10 per cent followed by a 12-month wage freeze; reduce the superannuation contribution to 9.5 per cent; and cut sick leave, redundancy and long service entitlements.

Maritime union assistant nat­ional secretary Warren Smith said workers would start imposing a range of work bans from Thursday, including bans on overtime and higher duties. The Maritime Union of Australia became part of the CFMEU last year.

“Our members refuse to sit back and watch as four decades of hard-won conditions are stripped away by a greedy multinational whose only concern is maximising its own profits,’’ he said.

“We will not accept an agreement that rips us off and reduces our standard of living, and the MUA is committed to using every industrial and legal tool at our disposal in our fight to protect con­ditions and safety standards on the waterfront.

“The actions of Hutchison Ports highlight exactly why the Australian union movement has launched the Change the Rules campaign, to challenge the ­actions of big corporations who are increasingly using the broken workplace laws to attack the conditions of working people.”

Hutchison is trying to delay the action, and will seek orders from the Fair Work Commission ­tomorrow to require the union to give five days’ notice before it can take the industrial action.

MUA members work on average 30 to 33 hours a week across a year, an arrangement agreed to by the company in exchange for greater automation. Hutchison wants workers to be able to work 35-42 hours a week.

“HPA continues to negotiate in good faith with the union, but the company’s position remains that it needs a more flexible workforce to improve its economic position and keep people employed,” a company spokesman said.

The productivity impact on the company’s operations will not be known until the bans starts, but Hutchison will look at ­diverting work to other stevedores if necessary.

Talks between the company and union officials are scheduled this week and Mr Smith said the workers did not intend to escalate bans into strikes before the ­resumption of talks

The stoush came as the CFMEU said workers at the Wollongong Coal-owned Wongawilli Colliery had decided to stay out for a further week after starting a seven-day strike this morning.

The union members are seeking to pressure labour-hire firm CAS Mine Services to bring the pay of its fully casualised workforce into line with union members in nearby mines.

CFMEU mining and energy southwestern district vice-president Bob Timbs said the anger of workers on the picket outside the colliery was directed at Wollongong Coal owner Jindal Steel and Power. He said the India-based company was profiting from Australian resources while hiding from their responsibility to Australian workers. “These workers are not casuals and should be treated as the ­permanent employees they are,’’ he said.

“Wongawilli mine is a classic labour-hire rip-off. Across mining and the broader workforce, ­employers outsource workers to labour-hire companies to drive down wages and conditions.”

Mr Timbs said Wongawilli miners worked in some of the most difficult underground coalmining conditions in the region.

“They are not asking for anything extravagant — they simply want conditions that are basically in line with the region,’’ he said.

Union member Marty Childs, who was on the picket, said the workers deserved “fairer pay”.

“We should be on par with the industry,’’ he said. “I am sick of casual contractors being paid less than a permanent worker.”

CAS, which the union accused of unlawfully employing its entire 100-strong workforce as casuals, said last week it would “go broke” if it had to fund a 10 per cent pay-rise claim that it said would wipe out its operating margins.

The strike is the latest flashpoint in the battle between employers and unions in the wake of last year’s precedent-setting court ruling on casuals, with labour-hire firms hit with union claims and class actions over their allegedly unlawful use of casuals in the ­mining industry.


An incredibly crooked cop

How did she think she could get away with taking people's homes?  People tend to be strongly attached to their homes.  She's got to be a mental case

A Victorian Police officer, who the state's anti-corruption watchdog alleges used her police connections to attempt to take possession of six properties, has appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court.

Court documents allege she went to one council office in her police uniform to get details of a property's owner
Rosa Catherine Rossi, from the Geelong suburb of Corio, has been charged with 20 separate offences by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).

They include deceptively and dishonestly trying to gain property, fraudulently claiming welfare payments, stealing, accessing the police database for her own gain, and falsifying documents.

Documents from the court allege she tried to claim ownership of three rural properties in the Western District as well as three suburban Melbourne properties in Chadstone, Malvern East and Brooklyn.

At Willaura, south of Ararat, she is alleged to have targeted the owners of three homes, changing the locks on the properties and submitting false change-of-address documents to the Ararat Rural City Council.

Ms Rossi is also charged with providing false documents in order to secure a loan with the Commonwealth Bank for a property in the town.

Deceased estate claim

At Malvern East, IBAC alleges Ms Rossi told a locksmith the property was a deceased estate in order to convince them to change the locks.

Court documents allege she went to the police station in Footscray and looked up the name and contact details of the owner of that property on the internal LEAP database.

She also lodged a false change-of-address form to the Stonnington City Council, according to the charge sheets.

For the Brooklyn property, court documents claim she went to Hobson's Bay City Council in her police uniform to get details of the property's owner and also submitted a false change-of-address notice.

IBAC investigators also allege she:

set up a fake not-for-profit organisation called Sweet Georgia Pty Ltd;

falsely claimed rental assistance from Centrelink;

falsified statutory declarations about who she was and where she lived.

Ms Rossi will return to court in March


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

The Growth Rate of S&P 500 Dividends Per Share in the 21st Century

One of the most important and perhaps least well known metrics for the U.S. stock market is the growth rate of dividends for the S&P 500, which is why we started a new series to feature it last year.

The following chart visualizes the year over year growth rate of the S&P 500's trailing year dividends per share for each month of the 21st Century, starting from the beginning of the last year of the 20th Century and continuing through December 2018, with a bonus projection of the currently expected future for S&P 500 dividend growth through March 2020.

Year Over Year Growth Rate of S&P 500 Dividends Per Share in the 21st Century, 2000-Q1 through 2018-Q4, with Projected Future Through 2020-Q1

We've also indicated the National Bureau of Economic Research's official periods of recession in the 21st Century (so far!) on the chart.

As for how to best use this data, you really want to pay close attention to how fast the growth rate of dividends per share is changing, where negative accelerations for dividends generally coincide with falling stock prices, and positive accelerations tend to coincide with rising stock prices. Also, if you compare the projected future for 2018 with what actually happened for the S&P 500's dividend growth rate, 2018 was a year that mostly lived up to early expectations.

That's not always the case, where we've seen dramatic changes in those expectations in this century, particularly when the U.S. economy fell into recession. If there's one observation that you want to take away from the chart however, it is perhaps Tadas Viskanta's observation that "recessions are a dividend killer"!

Previously on Political Calculations

Australian Politics 2019-01-14 15:47:00


Ecofascism in South Australia

Free plastic waste is almost entirely a 3rd world problem but it gives Greenies erections to blame it on us

South Australians may soon be banned from using a range of single-use plastics as the government considers a major crackdown.

Plastic items such as straws, cutlery, shopping bags and coffee cups are on the chopping block after the state’s Environment Minister, David Speirs, released two discussion papers on the issue yesterday.

One deals with the possible single-use plastic ban and the other is a review of the state’s container deposit scheme reviewing what sort of containers should be included and whether the refund amount should be revised.

Mr Speirs said it was important to keep the impact of single-use plastics at the forefront of conversation so South Australia could continue to be the national leader in recycling.

“I am keen to keep South Australia at the forefront of these areas, and to maintain this position while also increasing economic activity,” Mr Speirs said.

“Plastic is a valuable material, integral to modern life. But when littered, it ruins our environment’s pristine image, and harms marine and terrestrial life.”

There is a growing global trend towards doing away with plastics and Mr Speirs said it was important for South Australia to keep up.

The European Union announced its intention on October to ban a range of plastic items.

“We can take more immediate local action on items that are designed and intended for disposal after only a single use, are prone to being littered, are unlikely to be recycled and for which more sustainable alternatives are available,” Mr Speirs said.

Mr Speirs’ paper, entitled “Turning the tide on single-use plastic products”, suggests a ban on these products be implemented the same way single-use plastic bags were banned at check-outs across the state in 2009.

Switching from lightweight shopping bags to reusable ones has resulted in 400 million bags being removed from circulation in South Australia, according to the paper.

The paper seeks views from the community and business on what they consider are the problems associated with plastic products, alternatives and if there is a need for government intervention.

Environmental groups, including Conservation SA, have welcomed the government’s move.

“Despite this, the recent State of the Environment Report shows that per capita waste in SA still increased by over 40 per cent over the last five years,” chief executive Craig Wilkins said.  “It’s time for stronger action.”


Solar Failed in grid crisis

    The operator of Australia’s electricity grid has raised the prospect of household rooftop solar panels being retrofitted to ensure they meet compliance standards after some units failed to adequately respond to a major interconnector outage last year, which isolated two states from the power system.

    An official investigation found thousands of rooftop solar units did not comply with Australian standards after a lightning strike caused the Queensland and South Australian interconnectors to trip simultaneously on August 25, forcing electricity to be cut to big industrial users and retail customers in NSW and Victoria.

    A range of supply sources including solar, wind and coal generators either crashed or were unable to assist in boosting supply to either of the two states, renewing concerns over the challenges of integrating a surge of cheap but intermittent renewable energy supply within the national grid to complement existing baseload generation

    The Australian Energy Market Operator detailed how 15 per cent of sampled solar systems installed before October 2016 dropped out during the emergency event. Of those installed after that date, nearly a third in South Australia and 15 per cent in Queensland failed to meet the Australian standard for reducing excess frequency


Unions go to war over labour hire practices

Unions will use a seven-day strike next week to intensify pressure on the Coalition and business over the “exploitation” of labour-hire workers, declaring public unrest at employer conduct will be a “vote-shifter” at the federal ­election.

The Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union yesterday revealed workers at the Wollongong Coal-owned Wongawilli Colliery would strike for a week in a bid to pressure labour-hire firm CAS Mine Services to bring the pay of its workers into line with union members in nearby mines.

CAS, which the union ­accused of unlawfully employing its entire 100-strong workforce as casuals, said it would “go broke” if it had to fund a 10 per cent pay-rise claim that it said would wipe out its ­current operating margins.

The strike is the latest flashpoint in the battle between employers and unions in the wake of last year’s precedent-setting court ruling on casuals, with labour-hire firms hit with union claims and class actions over their allegedly unlawful use of casuals in the ­mining industry.

Jobs and Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer said last night the government believed ­industrial action should be taken only as a last resort, and encouraged the CFMEU and CAS to ­return to the bargaining table.

A Federal Court full court ruled last year that casual truck driver Paul Skene was not a casual because of the regular and continuous nature of his work on a fixed roster and he was entitled to receive accrued annual leave pay.

CFMEU national president Tony Maher said employer ­exploitation of labour hire and casual employment arrangements was a “real sleeper for the election because so many people in the ­labour market had been ­adversely affected by this particular business model where, by stealth, permanent well-paid jobs are converted into poorly paid itinerant jobs”.

“It affects a lot of people … in a lot of electorates,’’ he told The Australian.

“The downside for conser­vatives of fly-in, fly-out is that you get people cranky in electorates outside of mining regions.

“There would be a lot of people in Brisbane upset about this; there would be a lot of people in Perth upset about this, so it is, I think, a real sleeper and it’s a vote-shifter, I’m pretty sure.”

The striking workers are paid hundreds of dollars a week less than permanent workers at nearby mines.

From next month, CAS will employ them on 12-month ­contracts but they will lose their casual loadings.

Under the industry award, the use of casual employees is not ­allowed except through an enterprise agreement but CAS did not employ the workers through an agreement, exposing the company to back-pay claims.

Mr Maher said the workers were the “poorest paid in the ­district”.

“The company was not very smart,’’ he said. “The award doesn’t provide for casuals. They are up for a lot of back pay, I would have thought.”

Bill Shorten has promised that labour-hire workers would be paid the same as another worker doing the same job in the same workplace if Labor won the election, expected in May.

In a bid to allay business concerns about the policy, Labor has promised to give employers an extended period, possibly 12 to 18 months, to comply with new ­labour-hire laws.

ACTU president Michele O’Neil accused the Morrison government of aiding “unscrupulous” employers to use ­labour-hire arrangements and casualisation to drive down the wages of workers.

“When a company can make 100 per cent of its workforce ­labour hire, casual or short-term contract, and use these arrangements to cut their pay well below permanent workers in the same region and industry, it’s clear that the rules are broken,’’ she said.

Ms O’Dwyer said “labour hire is a legitimate and useful way for employers to access a flexible workforce and is used across the entire economy covering skilled and unskilled work”.

“Labour-hire employers, like any other form of employer, have an obligation to comply with all their obligations under the law and provide workers with all of their legal entitlements,’’ her spokesman said.

“Labour hire as a proportion of the total workforce has remained stable at around 2 per cent over the last decade.”

CAS business manager Jesse Yvanoff said the labour-hire workers were paid $34 an hour compared with permanent workers at nearby mines who were paid $42 an hour.

The labour-hire employees also received a lower weekly ­attendance payment.

But he said the company rates were similar to comparable ­labour-hire firms.

Mr Yvanoff said for the company to meet the union claim, it would have to receive a commitment from Wollongong Coal to increase the rates.

He said Wollongong Coal, which did not respond to ­requests for comment yesterday, had declined to provide ­additional money.

“If we were to meet their ­demands, as I tell them, we would go broke’’ Mr Yvanoff told The Australian.

“That is nearly double our margins. There’s no way we could afford to do that as a ­company.”

He said converting the workers to fixed full-time employment would see them lose their casual loadings but the shift was the “only proportionate ­response”.

“The CFMEU is using whatever leverage it can to make us change our position,’’ Mr Yvanoff said. “But from the company’s point of view, that’s the only offer we can make to remain a viable business.’’

He said the strike, which was allowed under the Fair Work Act, would have a significant impact on the company’s operation.


Inside Australia's hottest town where temperatures have exceeded 40C every day for almost a month

Unmentioned below is that Marble Bar has very low humidity.   It is dry heat.  So evaporative coolers, including human skin, are very effective.  Canadians know about the temperature effect of wind chill. Australians know about humidity

A remote Australian town has endured almost a month of sweltering heat with temperatures above 40C but locals say they would not have it any other way.

Marble Bar in north-western Western Australia is known for being the hottest town in the nation, but as of Saturday, it has had 23 days of consecutive highs above 40C.

Despite temperatures so hot you could fry an egg on a rock, the townsfolk say they are still living the dream and wouldn't live anywhere else, reported.

Bureau of Meteorology spokesperson Neil Bennett said the weather is normal for the town in the Pilbara region but the recent temperatures have been something else.

In December, Marble Bar recorded a temperature of 49.3C, which was the hottest it has ever been in the town - but even so, locals seemingly are not fazed by the heat.

local Iron Clad hotel operator, Cheryl Manurung, said the only time she notices the heat is when travelling tourists pass through the town and comment on it.

'The cold weather scares me, it just gets too cool. I'm totally happy with it here,' Ms Manurung said.

She said while the record-breaking day in December was particularly hot, the hotel doesn't yet have air-con, but rather its patrons opt for a few fans and a cold beer.

'You can't come to the hottest place in Australia and sit in airconditioning. You can have a cold beer instead,' Ms Manurung said.

Marble Bar Holiday Park operator Lang Coppin said while the spot is popular for caravaners and retirees, as temperatures soar, they avoid the area completely. 

Mr Bennett said while there's a degree of complacency about the superheated weather by townsfolk, when temperatures start hitting 45C it can be dangerous.

He said while other regions of Australia have recorded higher temperatures, it is Marble Bar's sustained heat that make it so interesting to weather watchers.

One of the reasons for the towns constantly high temperatures is partly to do with the ground and rocks, which basically heat up during the day, he said.

The town's remote location also lies north of the subtropical ridge, a belt of high pressure systems that stretches across Australia.

Winds that travel above the ridge, roughly south east to north west, deliver air to the town that has been slowly baked in the deserts of Central Australia.

From time to time, an upper level trough may return the warm air back down to south east Australia which can lead to soaring temperatures in St Kilda and Glenelg.

'Next week Adelaide is going to get very hot due to heat from Pilbara. It's our gift to the nation,' Mr Bennett said.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here