Showing posts from August, 2005

Bill and Mal's taxation adventure

On Sunday it was Malcolm... A simple plan - and we can afford it, too By Malcolm Turnbull August 28, 2005 Australia's tax system needs further reform to make it simpler, more efficient and more competitive. Our top marginal rates are too high, although the last budget's reforms mean they now cut in at higher levels of income than they previously did. Most of us would agree that we should have a tax system that is less complex, with rates that are lower. But how do we finance reductions in rates? Where is the money coming from? The answer is that there is a virtuous circle. A simpler tax system will have fewer concessions. This means that the tax base, the income that is available for taxation, will be broader. By broadening the base, we are able to raise the same amount of money with a lower rate. Broadening the base allows you to lower the rate, and vice versa. Simplicity and efficiency go hand in hand. And on Monday it was Bill's turn: Union chief joins call for b

Any takers?

This lobbed in to my in box this week, thanks to a well-connected friend : JOHN SAFRAN NEEDS A RESEARCHER Monday, August 22 2005 The team producing the new John Safran television show is looking for a researcher. You should have a clue about political and religious matters. Your job would involve taking a brief then sourcing guests - rabbis, imams, gurus etc - and writing background material and interview questions based on this brief. You would also be expected to contribute your own ideas. Being able to Google is not enough. You are going to need a lateral-brain that can help secure unusual guests and eclectic content. Maybe you’re an academic, maybe you’re an anthropologist, maybe you’re a bright spark of some other description. No TV experience necessary but it doesn’t hurt either. You would preferably be Melbourne-based. The job is a 16-18 week paid full time position starting mid-September 2005. Send a CV to I'm not the one for

And I think to myself...

IT'S leafy, affluent and perhaps a little smug, but South Yarra has reason to be well pleased with itself — according to a study commissioned by The Age, it is the most liveable suburb in Melbourne. An interesting front page article in The Age today that no doubt excited the inner-city Age-reading latte-sippers (like me) no end. As new South Yarra residents, AOTW and his other half are thrilled no end with their choice - and are quietly relieved that they didn't chose to live in Cranbourne North, which is apparently at the other end of the livability spectrum. As the other half pointed out, that means we now live in the most livable suburb in the world's most livable city . Life's good!

Two takes on China

There were two interesting contrasting pieces on the Australia-US-China triangle on the Op-Ed pages of today's papers. In The Age, Hugh White argued in favour of Australia's pragmatic appoach to keeping China on side, comparing it favourably with the American approach of treating China as a strategic rival: John Howard, visiting Washington last month, starkly displayed these differences when he and President George Bush spoke on the touchstone issue of China. Standing next to Howard, Bush described America's relations with Beijing as "complex" and "complicated". "We've got issues when it comes to values," he said, and asked Howard to "work together to reinforce the need for China to accept certain values as universal." Howard turned him down, flat. He told Bush: "We have a good relationship with China. It's not just based on economic opportunity. We are unashamed in developing our relations with China. I'll do ev

Ari interviews a Reaganite

Next week, thanks to Vibewire , I'm interviewing Clyde Prestowitz, who's in Australia to promote his new book, Three Billion New Capitalists . From his biography, Clyde is a long time economic neo-conservative who has wielded plenty of influence inside the Washington beltway : Clyde V. Prestowitz, Jr. - President Clyde Prestowitz is founder and President of the Economic Strategy Institute, a Washington think-tank influential in the areas of international trade policy and specialized in how key sectors of the US and world economy adapt to change, in particular the effects of globalization. Prior to founding ESI, Mr. Prestowitz served as counselor to the Secretary of Commerce in the Reagan Administration. There, he led many U.S. trade and investment negotiations with Japan, China, Latin America, and Europe. Before joining the Commerce Department, he was a senior businessman in the United States, Europe, Japan, and throughout Asia and Latin America. He has served as vice chai

Investigating Investigate

The Australian media battlefield is strewn with the corpses of magazines who fought valiantly but failed. Back in the mid-1990s it was Kookaburra, a magazine of satire, that produced a wonderful first issue but failed to make it to a second. In the late 90s it was The Eye, an excellent anti-establishment magazine which stirred the pot, but evidently failed to find an audience. Then just recently there was The Reader, also from Text Media, which has slinked back to the on-line world after trying its luck in print. Given this background, it was a brave move by New Zealand magazine Investigate to try its luck in Australia. This monthly magazine has been established across the Tasman for some time, but has only this year ventured into the Australian market. To title the magazine "Investigate" is highly misleading. For sure, the feature article was a fascinating show-and-tell amongst the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Phillipines, for which journalist Matthew Thomp

Kennett's Melbourne

During the week I had a Kennett moment. I was out late one night, waiting for a train at Parliament station and started studying the local area map on the wall. As at most stations, the map is a collection of Melway pages stuck together, pointing out everything worth seeing in the area, all with a painful amount of detail. To help pass the minutes I started looking at the small details on the map, and noticed that it had aged quite significantly. Just south of the Yarra was "Crown Casino Complex (proposed)", whilst just opposite Flinders Street Station was nothing but an unwieldly collection of railway lines and the Gas and Fuel building. Based on what was an wasn't published on the map, I estimated that it was circa 1995, just over two years into the Kennett era, and with many of his major projects still to come. I betchya Jeff did most of the talking In the time since the map was published, there have been a multitude of changes to the shape of Melbourne. Divi

Artz and Kulcha

As well as finding time to offend friends on both the left and right of politics, I manage to lead a bizarre double-life as an arts reviewer for The Program , an excellent arts and culture website. For your edification, here's some of my latest work: DVD :: Cho Revolution - Margaret Cho with Bruce Daniels "So I think that if racial minorities, sexual minorities, feminists, both male and female, hell, all liberals, if we all got together and had this big "too much information", "go there" voice, if we just went and did it, that would equal power, and that power would equal change, and that change would equal... a revolution." And so ends Margaret Cho's hilarious call to arms at the climax to her laugh-packed and offense-filled stageshow and DVD, Cho Revolution. Cho has been an American comedy institution for over a decade, rejecting the bland observation-fuelled gags which have sustained so many other comics. Instead, Cho uses comedy as a ve

Sounds kinda familiar

"Welcome to the Australian International University web site. Established in 2005, we are a two hundred year old university institution based in Australia. We provide educational services to a diverse yet exclusive clientele of local and international students. Our clients choose the AIU when value for money is their number one priority." Click here for more.

Pointing the Bone

Pamela Bone is a journalist I admire. She's a writer on the left who understands the nature of poverty, justice, and the ideology which is slowly destroying out world. Best of all, the wisely avoids the indulgent Western self-criticism which has driven many of her colleagues to desperate seeking morally equivalancy for every fundamentalist excess when none exists. Here's a sample of her fine work from The Age today: Those searching for the "root causes" of terrorism might do well to listen to the terrorists themselves. The leadership of al-Qaeda has said many times that its aim is to set up a global Islamic state. They want a worldwide Islamic theocracy ruled according to sharia law; a world in which women must conceal their faces, where they may not work or be educated, may not go in public without a male relative; a world in which women are under the total control of men. They want a world in which women do not have the option of rejecting them. Exactly.

Brindal brought to brink

This is one way to come out of the closet : MARK Brindal is the Liberal MP who claims to have been blackmailed over his sexual relationship with a 24-year-old man. The married father of four had a three-month affair with the man - who has a mental incapacity - earlier this year. The pair had sex in Mr Brindal's Unley electorate office several times. Truth be told, there was nothing willing about the timing - it was forced out by a blackmail attempt, and may well destroy his political career as he seeks preselection for the state Labor held seat of Adelaide. Still, these are gutsy word and deserve to be applauded: "I believe people in all sorts of places have been living a lie all of their lives . . . who need to get out of the shadows," he said. "Hopefully the next generation of kids can actually grow up and say this is who I am, I don't need to be ashamed, I don't need to hide." Mr Brindal has told close friends that while he may have made &q

Bolt and friends (and enemies)

There's been some argy bargy between Media Watch , the left's standard-bearer, and Andrew Bolt , the hero of the right. In response to Bolt's latest tirade, a friend of mine of the left, the modern day Che, Nahum Ayliffe sent this missive to the Hun columnist: Well done Andrew, I'm never one to hold back, and I hate Muslims just like you do. All they want to do is bomb the hell out of us, and ruin our way of life. The ABC and SBS should be taken off air because they represent different views to yours. David Marr, Liz Jackson, Stuart Littlemore, Stephen Mayne, far from being fellow journalists or colleagues, are all ignorant idiots. Serve them right for having a go at you for you to hang them out to dry in your shockjock column. My advice is, don't listen to them. If they are your only critics, you only give them credit by responding to their ill-informed ramblings. Develop a thick skin and let their hastily cobbled case against you fall on deaf ears.

Young Libs: Stupid or set up?

Not so long ago, I wiled away the hours keeping busy in a 'youth' political movement. We were young, idealistic, and desperate to put ourselves front-and-centre whenever there were jobs and preselections on offer. Unfortunately, as a Young Democrat, these things were few and far between. From all reports, not much has changed in the two years since I left. Whilst it was a lot of fun, and we desperately craved attention, there was always a clear rule: never embarrass the party or its public representatives. In practice, this meant that you never got too drunk in public, never make public statements challenging the party line, and never air your dirty laundry in public. Easy, right? Not if these stories are correct: THE AGE: Feathers fly at Young Liberals' shindig By Farrah Tomazin State political reporter August 2, 2005 With scuffles, verbal abuse and excessive drinking, the Victorian Young Liberals' annual ball turned into a very big night out. But as t

Why the long face?

I made it back safe and sound from Hobart, but am overwhelmed with uni work. Will post more musings in a few days. For now, though, I think it's worth repeating a post I made almost exactly a year ago : Sunday, August 01, 2004 A very happy birthday It's August 1 , so it's time to wish all the horses of the world a very happy birthday. All those in favour, say 'aye'. All those opposed.... ah, it doesn't matter. Apparently Gai went a bit overboard in celebrating the occasion. Priceless.