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The Carbon Footprint of Australia’s Construction Sector

Josh Frydenburgh, the minister for Energy and the Environment has belatedly released the greenhouse gas pollution data for the period up till the end of 2016. According to the report there has been a considerable improvement in the way the data is recorded allowing them to give more accurate estimates from individual sectors. The data show a total increase of GHG emissions of 0.7% for the last 2 quarters of that year but a considerable drop in emissions from the electricity sector. This could be due to more solar, hydro and wind use, the closure of big users like smelters but also the impact of high energy prices causing more restrained use.

Economic and other fairy stories

You probably would have noticed the media attention given to the Australian economies historic 26 year reign of economic growth which has been claimed is breaking that held by the Netherlands. Apart from being incorrect, (The Netherlands’ real GDP declined by 0.3% in the June quarter of 2003, and by 0.01% in the September quarter of that year) that record should go to Japan. In fact, if Japanese GDP data were available on a quarterly basis earlier than 1960, it’s likely that this run of continuous economic growth would have been even longer, perhaps as long as 38 years, inferring from annual data available back to 1955. Not bad for a nation mocked for its decision to abandon population growth and actually reduce its population.

Poaching health-care workers made easy

During the 2015-2016 financial year, more than 2600 health workers were brought into Australia via government-sponsored 457 visas on the basis they were needed for jobs that could not be filled by Australians. Of these 1692 were general practitioners and resident medical officers, 228 registered nurses, 35 specialists, 38 psychiatrists, 28 surgeons, 19 anesthetists and 20 midwives.

The high intake of health specialists occurred despite a senate inquiry in June 2015 where the Australian Nurses and Midwife Foundation (AN&MF) stated that there were 3000 unemployed graduate nurses, often with high HECS debts, while about 1 in 4 nursing positions were being filled by 457 skilled migrant intake[1]. They also claimed that many of the overseas nurses were victims of underpayment and exploitation because they live and work under threat of deportation[2]. The inquiry was also told that importing health workers was not solving the shortages of health professionals in rural areas because most imported workers went to the cities.

Population numbers and policy in the Philippines – a history

President Marcos institutionalized a national family planning program by creating a Population Commission (POPCOM) to study the issue and advise on a national policy. The focus of the commission was to decelerate the nation’s high fertility rates, yet consensus on how this was to be accomplished was considered problematic and, at best, unclear. Catholic sociologists brought an increased awareness of population problems and RCC officials started to become involved in the government birth control plan, making no objections and even sat on the POPCOM board. Obviously this concensus did not last. What happened?

Economics and witchcraft in the ALP and elsewhere

Dr. Andrew Leigh MP is a former Professor of economics at the ANU and is now the Labor member for Frazer. During his university career he was awarded the Economic Society of Australia's Young Economist Award which is given to honour that Australian economist under the age of forty who is deemed to have made a significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge. He has published over 50 journal articles in the disciplines of economics, public policy and law, and over 100 opinion pieces. His research findings have been discussed in, amongst others, the Australian, the Australian Financial Review, the Christian Monitor, the Economist, New York Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, Time and Washington Post. He has also written a number of books, perhaps the best of which is titled Battlers and Billionaires, which weaves together vivid anecdotes, interesting history and powerful statistics to tell the story of the growing inequality in this country. It is not as hard hitting as Thomas Piketty's book Capital which has a similar theme but a different conclusion, arguing that increased growth will not prevent the spiral into global inequality. Andrew's book on the other hand tells us that inequality can fuel (economic) growth, almost implying that the end justifies the means.

Economic growth negatives for Scott Morrison

Australia may have the world’s highest debt to GDP ratio. We have the lowest ranking in the region (61st) for income security. Our social expenditure is behind Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy's. The OECD has ranked Australia second last in government funding of public education.

Scott Ludlum jumps aboard the Property Council's Growth Wagon

Arguably one of the most successful actions of the Australian Greens has been the reaction to their Democracy for Sale website. This site allowed the media and public to readily access information on ‘who gave what to whom’ and has, (albeit grudgingly), forced some governments to make changes to the funding regime. But more importantly it showed that political donations were not just for buying favours, they were also about changing government policies or legislation to suit the donor at the expense of the general public, including their right to protest. And when it came to getting legislation changed there was none more successful than the development industry. Paul Keating became involved in 2006 saying that New South Wales (NSW) property developers were sending a wall of money to the planning minister. Of course is wasn't only in NSW, West Australia (WA) was the home of the infamous 1980s “WA Inc.”, referring to corporate deals with government under Premier Brian Bourke. WA Greens Senator Ludlam would know this from the findings of the WA Corruption and Crime Commission report.

Traffic congestion in the Corridors of Power

It is just possible that the terrorist attack warnings by both the PM and ASIO head, Duncan Lewis, and the announcement of a hefty hike in defence spending was just a coincidence. But for those cynics who claim otherwise, let me point out that at this very moment we already have more than 1000 (perhaps as many as 4000) terrorists running riot in Canberra and doing so with the full knowledge and encouragement of our government.

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