Friday, March 23, 2007

Super Fund

The future fund I mentioned in my letter to The Age newspaper yesterday, was set up from the proceeds of the sale of our home grown Telstra. It represents most of the second half of the sale. The idea is that it will be invested by the future fund managers for the next decade and then be worth $140 billion. The current government thinks this should be used to pay the unfunded liabilities for the super-annuation for the Public Servants.

The Public servants have a very generous super and currently are paid out of pay as you go government payments. This could continue into the future.

When the government sold the second half of Telstra they had to bribe the investors with generous dividends. The money they raised should of been used for the benefit of all of us. It was part of our common wealth and should of been seen as that. Historically we have used our common wealth to pay for large infrastructure projects and through taxes and charges the costs are repaid over the decades by all of us.

The profits from the sale of Telstra should never of gone into a future fund that couldn't be used to help all of society. From memory the Super fund wasn't ever debated properly and the government used their numbers in the house to get it though.

Shame on them. And for Mr. Costello to talk about opposition members getting their hands in the honey pot, he was seen to be playing the international money markets with our money and loosing millions. He's no genius when it comes to money management, though he likes us to think he is.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Broadband for Australia. Kevin Rudd Style

I wrote a letter to The Age newspaper this morning.

Mr Rudd wants to use $2.7 billion of the Future Fund to help build a
national broadband network. Peter Costello immediately calls it "A
shabby little deal" and "economic vandalism'
My first thoughts were what a wonderful use for the future fund.
You couldn't get something more focused on the future than a high
speed Internet broadband network. Set up properly it should give very good returns to the
investors which I imagine the Rudd government will be one of. Instead
of seeing it as a "shabby little deal" or "economic vandalism" It
should be seen as a sensible use of our assets i.e. the sale of
The future fund was always a bit of lame duck. This sort of innovative
relatively safe investment, is an ideal way of using it. In ten to
fifteen years time it may be viewed like the purchase of 'Blue Poles'
by Gough Whitlam. Criticised at the time, but heh what investment that
turned out to be.

The Howard Government has had 10 years of unprecedented growth and
prosperity with the added bonus of GST revenue, and we are way behind
in Internet speed and technology.


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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Harold Wilson and other thoughts

Recently I have been writing to an old school friend in the U.K. We haven't talked in twenty years and so there is a lot of catching up. He has moved to an area of Cornwall I used to live in, virtually the same village. There are people around the area that I remember well, and some that have moved on or died. One of those is a guy I will call Bobby.

Bobby was as Cornish as they come, he could fish and build houses. His other talent was to tell long stories to anyone who would listen. I used to see him as I walked down to the fishing cove just below our village. One day he told me a story about Harold Wilson, who at the time was the Prime minister of England. Wilson had had a difficult time in office. Things like Rhodesia and Miners etc. He used to like coming down to Cornwall for his holidays and stayed on the Isles of Scilly which you can get to from Penzance not far from where I lived.

One day Bobby was talking to one of Harold Wilsons aides a top civil servant with the ear of the Prime minister. So Bobby asked the aid how things were going. "

Was the Prime minister on top of everything, coping, so to speak. "

The aid answered by saying,


"And why is that". asked Bobby.

"We are never on top of things in Government". said the aid

"What do you mean." said Bobby.

"Lets put it like this," said the aid.

"In government you react you don't act."

There was a pause, and then he went on to describe how it was like putting fires out all the time.

"You never have time to make things happen they happen around you and then you react and try and put the fires out and settle the troops."

He gave the impression that being in government was a game of chance and if you were lucky you got out ok and if not you left office covered in shite.

Not a lot has changed. Here in Victoria we have a premier called Steve Bracks and he is waiting for rain. He is praying for the stuff to drop from the sky [big time] cause if it doesn't, he will have trouble facing his electorate. He will appear to have done nothing to solve the problem [to react to the situation] Maybe there already too many things he is having to react to.

And here in Australia we have a Prime minister who goes by the name of John Howard. He used to be a failed treasurer many years ago. He is a politician they call 'Lazarus with a treble by pass.' He too wishes that he had taken retirement when he turned 65 years old. He could be enjoying retirement but instead by the time he goes [next election] this year, he will have gone from longest serving Prime minister to possibly one of only two Prime Ministers who lost their seat in parliament while serving as Prime minister.

So some of it is luck some of their own making, but don't ever think those in high office have time to get on top of the job. They just don't.


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Sunday, March 18, 2007


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe Must Go. Any which way he has to go and go very soon. He has taken Zimbabwe to point of self destruction, inflation and unemployment out of control. The brutal treatment to anyone who disagrees with him. The removal of white farmers who had stayed on after Independence and produced good produce.

is an evil man who has been allowed by other nations in Africa to remain in power. Shame on them all.

And the international cricketing nations are still prepared to play cricket with them. That is outrageous.

Time send in United Nations troops to close down the Mugabe regime and restore democracy.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dirty Politics

I have long thought of our prime minister as a weak man who has managed through lots of luck to look ok as a leader.
He has presided over 10 years of economic growth and taken the credit for it. But now his luck is running out. The problems are coming home to roost and he doesn't have much idea what to do about it, except to work harder and walk faster.

He passed his use by date about 2 to 3 years ago, he almost went then. But because people that have tasted power can't be trusted to give it up, they hang on and on and on. Can you imagine an American president going for his 4th term in office.

I would think there are many liberals who want him gone. But they too can't let go of what they had thought of as their best chance at re-election. In the end it is all down to their own survival as politicians. We might like to think they are all working for the common good, cause that is what they say as elections come around. But you only have to look at the way they behave in betwixt and between times to see that power and money gives you a high that is worth defending in any which way you can.

I'm not saying the Labor side is any better, they too have had their hangers on. But when they win the next election [and they will] the Liberals will go into long and arduous analysis of their loss and why they allowed John Howard to stay on, beyond his use by date.


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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Qantas Sold

Well that didn't take the treasurer very long. He has approved the sale of Qantas to the consortium of business men, known as 'Airline Partners Australia' snappy little name really. They may be partners to each other but I doubt they will be seen as partners with Australia a year or so down the track.

The treasurer announced certain conditions of sale and said they would be contained in an 'enforceable deed of agreement'. I like the word enforceable, as if that is going to carry much weight when the company is no longer a publicly listed company and has moved much of it's operation off shore. As some bright spark has said,

"I bet the consortium lawyers are looking at ways around the enforceable parts of the deed of agreement." And of course they will.

What the Treasurer has done, used to be called a snow job. Make it look like you have considered the problem, and in this case give it a few weeks, then announce some cosmetic changes and allow the deal to go through.

There is not much any of us can do to stop the sale now and in reality it won't make that much of a difference, to most of us. It will mean the employees may loose their jobs and we may end up with an airline known as Jet Star instead of Qantas in the future.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

To Fall on ones Sword

A row has blown up down here in Australia, over politicians meeting lobbyists who are disgraced ex-politicians. The federal opposition leader Kevin Rudd has been accused of lying about the content and the intent of his 3 meetings with the ex premier of Western Australia. Not too big an issue if you think he met him 2 years ago when Kevin was an opposition foreign affairs spokesman and not the leader. But in the course of the governments attack on Kev for seeing this guy, it has been alleged by the Federal treasurer that any one who has met with this disgraced ex premier is tainted. The slanging match in parliament was designed to humiliate Kevin, who is new to the job and needs to be knocked around a bit by the government front bench. Especially as he has a very high approval rating.

It back fired for the government cause one of their own ministers had also supped with the disgraced ex prem. So he too was tainted. In normal circumstances the minister would take a lot more flack before he resigned. But that is exactly what he did within a day of revealing his misdemeanor. Normally he would of had the support of the prime minister, for such a meager deed of wrong doing. But no the prime minister immediately accepted his resignation.

Why you may ask?

The short answer is so the prime minister can continue to attack Kevin over values and honesty and all the mumbo jumbo that blustering politicians can come out with to gain some moral high ground.

I can't and wont say too much about our prime minister but suffice to say it is a beat up and I just hope the media treat it as such and don't go along with the prime ministers farce of making the leader of the opposition be accountable for something that isn't worth defending or talking about. This is typical of John Howard, small time politician acting as a high ground moralist of statesman like character.

He was described today as a coconut with a shoulder that shakes when he is flustered.

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