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District Court stays claim because of Australian Financial Complaints Authority’s bureaucratic bumbling — Sterling Law QLD

It is well known that many public bodies these days are obsessed with political correctness and identity politics, and spend a lot of their time fussing on topics such as equity, diversity, inclusion, harmony days, ‘unconscious bias’, and the like. Once can only imagine that they hold regular meetings where they talk about topics such as their gender pronouns, paleo pear and banana bread, and what a relief that in a few months time the Morrison federal government will be replaced by a Labor-Greens Coalition, but how the ideal would be a Greens Government with Adam Bandt as Prime Minister and socialism being tried once again.

Supporters and apologists of this frivolity often use the cliché that organisations can “chew and walk gum at the same time”, however a recent District Court decision to stay a proceeding as a result of bureaucratic bumbling undermines such claims.

The facts

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority is an external dispute resolution scheme that is supposed to deal with complaints from consumers and small business about financial products and services. 

The following case reveals that the extent to which AFCA deals with complaints is doubtful, however we were elated to find out that what is not in doubt is that it commemorates ‘Transgender Day of Remembrance‘, and on its own admission everyone at AFCA recently wished us a Happy Mardi Gras.

On 25 November 2019, ANZ Banking Group applied to the District Court for recovery of possession of mortgaged properties on the basis that the debt that is secured by those mortgages had not been paid by the respondent debtors. The debtors then made complaint to AFCA, which resulted in the proceedings being adjourned pending AFCA’s determination. In September 2021, AFCA belatedly issued what it called a recommendation, which was not binding on the parties.

Barlow DCJ decided to stay the proceedings because of the delay occasioned by AFCA.

Read more:

“It’s about time the exit death industry was investigated” By Paul Russell

Find below an interesting essay By Paul Russell that I reproduce under its Creative Commons license from Online Opinion. I think that Paul makes a quite persuasive argument that Dr Nitschke goes too far in trying to make suicide seem more rational than it often is one thing we can be sure of and taht is its not as sweet as its presented in Soylent Green

Cheers Comrades


Bouquets to Jeff Kennett and the Beyond Blue organisation for their clear and appropriate condemnation of the actions, or rather inactions, of Dr Philip Nitschke in relation to the suicide death of a Perth man in the story that ran on the ABC’s 7:30 report a little over a week ago.

According to the media reports and to Dr Nitschke’s twitter feed, he is basing his defence, in part at least, on his claim that there is such a thing as rational suicide.

The idea that suicide can be somehow a rational choice is not new. In fact, an organisation exists in the UK called the ‘Society for Rational Old Age Suicide’ and there has been one study that I am aware of that canvasses the issue.

Dr Nitschke has consistently maintained that every adult should have access to the means to their own end. The faux lower limit, in light of this, seems more about trying to soften the public perception of this macabre death industry than it does about any corporate sense of public duty.

When we think of suicide we commonly understand that people who contemplate ending their lives will be viewing their problems through a very dark lens that does not, at that time, offer them any hope or possibility that what troubles them could be dealt with in a less dramatic fashion.

But there is always hope; there is always some other solution. Time, good counselling, talking to family and friends, taking exercise and a good night’s rest can all help us see past those solitary, dark moments. We can all help.

Some years ago now, my work with homeless and at risk youth gave me a very clear window into this issue. That’s why I’m so grateful for the work of Beyond Blue and other suicide prevention organisations. Suicidal people can often appear to be quite rational; their plan and their reasoning behind it, quite compelling. Were we to have accepted the assertion that any of these people should simply be left unchallenged and unsupported because they could put up a calm and cogent argument for their actions we would have been abandoning them in their time of deepest need. The intuitive assessment that suicide should be shunned and is never the only option is natural, normal and something hardwired into humanity. Thank goodness!

And while the argument about whether or not someone can be genuinely rational is, intuitively false – an oxymoron as one commentator put it – it is largely academic and should not be brought to bear upon suicide prevention nor our natural responses to those in need. The message would be a dangerous one and bears within it the distinct possibility of an implied endorsement of some suicides.

Think about it. At the end of this article and of every story on this subject we’ve grown to expect that responsible media will always carry a closing line saying something like: “If this article troubles you, phone…….. for confidential help.” If Dr Nitschke’s argument holds true, would public policy then demand that we add something like: “Unless you consider yourself rational; in which case contact Exit on….”? Yes, I know an example in extremis but I think it makes the point.

That the public commentary has focussed on the WA man is understandable in as much as he had direct contact with Dr Nitschke. But the ABC’s story also told of the suicide death of a 25 year old Victorian man who used the services of Exit to purchase information and thereby, a prohibited substance to end his own life. Nitschke’s defence here that the man lied about his age on a tick box on an Exit website is as ludicrous as is Exit’s self-imposed supposed lower age limit of 50 years for such services.

It is this supposed right-to-die that is the false over-arching philosophy by which the death of a young person can be somehow ‘rationalised’ by Nitschke and Exit. In 2010, in response to a Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine Report showing that two thirds of deaths in the preceding decade using the Exit drug-of-choice, Nembutal, were for people under the age of 50 with nearly one-third being younger than 40 and six being in their 20s, Nitschke said: ”There will be some casualties … but this has to be balanced with the growing pool of older people who feel immense wellbeing from having access to this information.” Tell that to the families of the two men featured in the 7:30 Report! Suicide prevention should never accept the notion of acceptable casualties!

And herein lies a bigger question which suicide prevention organisations and the Australian public generally need to come to terms with: How is it that we have somehow grown to accept that it’s okay for older people to seek to end their lives; that there’s somehow a distinction to be made about access to suicide methods and suicide ideation, generally, based upon age?

This notion that somehow ‘older people…feel immense wellbeing’ from having the means to kill themselves is very odd indeed. Certainly, studies on people who have accessed suicide methods in Oregon under their legalised suicide system do point to this as an outcome for some. But if we apply the same general thinking towards people who are suicidal as described earlier (and I argue that we should), we should be thinking clearly about the reality that there is always another way past presenting difficulties and dilemmas – even if these problems ultimately include advancing age or a difficult prognosis.

We should be preventing suicide by treating every suicidal person with equal respect and act the same in every case. If not, then aren’t we at risk of failing people in the same way as Nitschke’s cry for the recognition of rational suicide would?
It’s about time this macabre and clandestine industry was subject to public scrutiny.

But, as Cook points out, this means that ‘only four per cent of the authors “voted”‘ which is hardly grounds to claim a consensus.

Chariots of the Dogs

Chariots of the Dogs

Here is a lovely exposition of the way that statistics can be manipulated and distorted as a propaganda tool and then cited ad infinitum as if they have some intrinsic meaning, sorry in advance to the true believers in Climate change but this may just upset your apple cart just a little next time you cite the “97% consensus” claim.

Tuesday 28 May 2014
Media Contact: Tim Black
+44 (0)207 40 40 470

Today on spiked, Michael Cook takes apart the claim, cited by President Barack Obama, that 97 per cent of scientists are in agreement that climate change is man-made and poses a serious danger.

‘Do 97 per cent of scientists really agree on both propositions? Let?s do a reality check here’, writes Cook. ‘On what issue do academics reach 97 per cent agreement other than that they are being underpaid? That the sun will rise tomorrow? No, some of them will say, because the sun doesn?t rise; the earth revolves. No, because we can only assert that it is probable, not certain. No, because we might be living in a multiverse where the sun will not rise on 28 May, etc, etc.’

So how did an Australian scientist at the University of Queensland, and several colleagues, arrive at the this now famous figure of 97 per cent?

Cook discovered that the researchers had sorted through thousands of academic abstracts featuring the words ‘global climate change’ and ‘global warming’, dividing them up into four piles to indicate whether they held a position on climate change (the biggest pile (66.4 per cent) held no position)

Cook writes: ‘Of the smaller piles which did express an opinion, 97.1 per cent “endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming”.’ 

The researchers then emailed a survey to 8,547 out of the 29,083 authors who ‘endorsed the consensus position’ on climate change, of which only 1,189 responded (nearly all of whom did agree that climate change was man made (97.2 per cent)).

But, as Cook points out, this means that ‘only four per cent of the authors “voted”‘ which is hardly grounds to claim a consensus. 

Furthermore, Cook points out, ‘Obama rashly added the word “dangerous” to the claim. Not even [the Australian reseachers] dared to assert that 97 per cent of scientists believe that global warming is “dangerous”.’

Cook concludes: ‘Scientists and politicians do themselves no favours when they use shoddy statistics and public relations flim-flam to sell scientific hypotheses to the public.’ 

Read the full article:

When we are given any numerical value as a signifier of a proposition’s veracity we should, of course always ask the obvious question of just how was that number made or settled upon. Especially when it is a major  dot point in the climate change debate. In any event in scientific terms “consensus” is and always has been close to utterly meaningless, not that any of the true believers will ever admit that because to them its their ticket to ride in the Chariots of the Dogs.

Cheers Comrades

this post was produced entirely with puppy power

this post was produced entirely with sustainable  puppy power

Jeremy Sear’s election woes


Victorian lefty Jeremy Sear has his own election rant, with an unpersuasive and long-winded post attacking the Coalition and advocating a vote for the Greens.

Firstly, Jeremy mocks the Coalition’s claims of waste, even though Labor has blown billions on  pink batts, overpriced school halls, massive subsidies to the highly unionised car industry, overpriced set top boxes, carbon tax compensation, a larger public service, the climate change department, green schemes, foreign aid directed at getting us on the security council, and so on.

Then Jeremy claims that the Coalition’s waste argument is discredited because their costings reveal only a modest improvement in the bottom line. So there! If there really was billions of waste, the Coalition would surely have brought in greater savings, right?

There are a few reasons why Jeremy’s argument is plain silly:

1) The Coalition’s reductions in government outlays are modest because they do not want Labor to mount an effective scare campaign. Anyone following the campaign will have noticed Kevin Rudd and Labor warning of Coalition cuts.

2) The Coalition’s paid maternity leave scheme is a costly promise which makes it a lot harder for the Coalition to substantially improve the bottom line. Jeremy is a support of PML. I am not. I am voting for the Coalition (LNP)  in spite of this policy.

3) Jeremy assumes that Labor if re-elected won’t introduce any new spending that again blows the bottom line, when the last six years of profligacy show that this is almost uncertainly a completely false assumption. Remember when Labor promised to restrict real expenditure growth to 2% per annum?  Remember when Labor promised to have a balanced budget over the business cycle?  Remember when Labor promised a surplus in 2012/13? All of these promises have been flagrantly breached.  Labor needs to be judged on its track record, not its promises.

4)  The Coalition will in its first term have a commission of audit, which will allow it to implement savings in its second term.

I also loved this howler:

Are you really set on voting Liberal no matter what they do?

Because your power bills are up? Only a very tiny percentage of that has anything to do with the so-called “carbon tax” – 90% of it is because the states run by Tony Abbott’s party have let the power producers increase all their other charges

As a matter of fact, the carbon tax has been responsible for a large portion of recent increases. But Jeremy seems to be suggesting that state governments should require their own ‘power producers’ to run at a loss. In which case the taxpayer picks up the tab.  So according to Jeremy, you should be glad if the state subsidises your power bills in order to prevent higher prices, even though you pay more in tax as a result.

Also amusing is Jeremy’s rather mild criticism of Labor:

Look, I agree that the ALP have been a disappointing government, blowing in the wind and fighting with each other. 

Presumably if Labor hadn’t engaged in any infighting or ‘blowing in the wind’ they would have been a good government, in spite of the many Labor policy failures I outlined in my last post. Talk about looking at the most superficial things rather than policy.

Like Ray, Jeremy fails to acknowledge those debacles. This confirms my view that anyone saying that Labor should be re-elected would have to. The more you list the facts, the more it becomes obvious that Labor needs to lose.

But the facts have never been on the side of Greenies. That’s why Jeremy has been so easy to dominate in argument over the years.

Thursday quadrille

Hard to decide which of these items to write about so I am writing about all of them.  first example I think that we can only draw a gasping breath of surprise as we find that the Fairfax press has actually published a piece full of fulsome praise for Tony Abbott, something that I would not have expected at all a few years a go:

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I may be wrong but to my mind this piece is staking out that much coveted “middle ground” in Australian political reporting and it probably represents the best chance that Fairfax has to remain a viable media player in the game of Politics reporting. The departure of a number of open;y Leftist writers and reporters must bea factor here and it can only improve the standards of the Fairfax Media to follow the clear change of mood in the Australian Polity rather than continuing the braying chorus of the Uber-left that has become so dull and annoying, especially in the light of the Labor’s terminal death spiral under Rudd and Gillard.

With its consistent disdain for the extreme left its no surprise that the Oz should be taking some deligt at the embarrassment of the NSW Greens over their on again of again flirtation with our own infamous Holocaust denier Fredrick Toben.

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Clearly they are less than keen to have this infamous Anti-Semite sharing the public stage with them because it would be proof (as if something so self evident needs proving) that the loopy Greens support for the Palestinians is based upon the clear anti-Semitism of the far left. I can only dream of the shivers of schadenfreude had Toben managed to stand on the deck of that cruise boat. As Maxwell Smart would have said “missed it by that much” You can’t stop a feller dreaming now can you?
I absolutely enjoyed the Guardian’s top story for today about Asylum seekers which gives us just the smallest hint that an Abbott government might actually repudiate or attempt to reform the UN refugee convention.

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The best thing would of course be to repudiate the outdated and no longer appropriate convention with a domestic law that no longer relies upon the entirely subjective “fear of persecution” and replace it with a requirement that mendicants show that they have actually been persecuted and make the way that we deal with the illegal immigrants that come here under the Asylum seeker flag of convenience entirely subject to the decisions of our parliament rather than the cohort of idiotic far left lawyers who populate the  refugee advocacy groups. Thus it would be far easier to deport  failed claimants and far quicker to decide the legitimacy of the thousands of mendicants who have taken advantage of Rudd and Gillard’s  naive idiocy in “fixing” a border regime that was not at all broken.

Finally the news today that Microsoft will heed the wishes of gamers that we should be able to but sell and trade the games we buy for their new Xbox one is most welcome.

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Of course if I was going to buy a next gen console I tend to think that I would stick to Sony and go for the PS4 (the power of brand loyalty at work 🙄    ) however I see this as a very good example of consumers making their voices heard and ensuring that we are not just herded into a system that makes us into corporate milch cows for the hard ware producers. It also suggests to me that those who see Microsoft as an unstoppable juggernaut are, well, exaggerating.

So there you have a diverse range of issues to consider on this (nearly) mid winter’s day. Me? well after breakfast I have to interrogate the daily driver’s ECU, finish hooking up the heater on my sports car, sand and paint a wall repair here at Chez Hall and then there are a million other things on my list…
Cheers Comrades



Feeding the animals

This story tickled my fancy this morning because it has a great deal to say about the silliness of European governments and it suggests a new and environmentally friendly way to promote suicide euthanasia tourism.

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Really could anyone think of a cleaner or greener way to end the suffering of the terminally ill? All that has to be done is to throw them off the same cliff, a thousand foot drop will be enough to end their lives very quickly and disposal of the mortal remains will be assured as well as being a great way of helping the survival of an endangered species… Its a win win win idea whose time has surely come.

Levity aside though this story does highlight the  unintended consequences of  government decisions because if the long traditional practice of disposing of dead live stock  by leaving them for the vultures has made what was a benefit to the farmers a liability  which is itself symbolic of the way that the whole European experiment is failing because while the European union may have heralded an era of unprecedented peace it has replaced the cycle of war with the false hope of unity and the petty minded stupidity of an unloved bureaucratic hierarchy.

Cheers Comrades


The redundancy of Tim Flannery

Tim Flannery has had a really good session with his nose in the money trough under the patronage of the Labor Government but of course he should be unsurprised that when his patron falls that he will be cut off from the largesses that he has enjoyed over the last few years.

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What amazes me is that under a Labor government we have seen the creation of such a useless department as the one devoted to climate change, worse still that they have been paying Flannery so much money to sprout the same nonsense that the waterfront home-owner has so hypercritically been yelling from the roof tops for free.

Sadly I expect that making Flannery redundant will  probably entail a substantial severance package. Even so the nation will be better off on the day that he has to front up to centerlink ….

Cheers Comrades

The relief felt is amazing

The relief felt is amazing

Conservatism 102

I promised John Lord a critique of his post about my post (conservatism 101)  at the risk of chasing my own tail I will try to answer John’s observations

He asks: What is a conservative?

I would say that Conservatives (LNP) believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty and traditional values. They believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasise empowerment of the individual to solve problems. And they are cautious about change or innovation, typically in politics or religion.

Well I don’t actually see conservatism through any sort of party political prism at all. While its easy to categorise any political position through a pre-existing rubric the simple fact is that for most of us such broad brush classification is at best only half correct  the part emboldened is pretty close to the mark

What is a neo conservative?

Neo conservatism goes back to the 30s however in its modern form it is identified with George W Bush who embraced unbridled capitalism, corporate greed together with literalist Christianity to form a modern neo conservatism. Carl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld and others added global superiority to the mix believing that America in all aspects was above the rest of the world. A further element in this mix is Tea Party Republican politics.

I don’t recall invoking either American politics in general or ‘Non-conservatism” at all in my piece  so I am at a loss to understand why John is mentioning it here. As an Englishman I find American politics incomprehensibly dull. Their religiosity faintly amusing and their thinking often far to lacking in any sort of subtlety or nuance and to be frank my interest in the the tea party agenda is limited to non-existent, as a confirmed tea drinker who enjoys a regular cup of Earl Grey I am horrified that such a fine brew is debased by the nuttier end of US politics.

Iain asks: What is a social progressive?

My view is that Social democrats (Labor) believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all. That it is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights thus believing the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need. Progressive policies generally emphasise the need for the government to solve problems.

Well I can concur with most of that in terms of the aspiration and motivation for progressivism however in my experience the thing that is often lacking in progressives is any sense of pragmatism, they are all too often hot to trot on doing all of that with little concern about ether the bigger picture or the shades and variations in human nature. Take the issue of homelessness as an example. We all see the bedraggled homeless on the streets of our cities and its all well and good for progressives to bemoan this as evidence of the heartless rich raising rents or opposing the building of social housing but the sad truth is that in many cases the homeless are the cause of their own plight and they simply can not be saved from their plight no matter how much money you throw at the problem. They very often have the most serious character flaws  or substance issues that make it impossible for them to make or maintain a place in normal society. Yet we have so many of the well meaning insisting that these broken people can be re housed and re-integrated into  society maybe some can but they would be the exception rather than the rule. We pragmatists look instead to ideas like the “street swags” concept as a more realistic way to address homelessness. Simply put the pragmatic seek to  improve the lot of those who sleep rough by helping them sleep warm and dry but the progressives go for the impossible dream of a home for all.

Iain asks: What are the three top conservative values?

He lists them as. Firstly, personal liberty and autonomy. Secondly, social civility and good manners. Thirdly, there is the importance of family and the biological imperative to make and nurture our children.

I was puzzled as to why he felt that conservatives like him should identify these particular virtues as being “conservative values” as opposed to being universal ones. Is he suggesting that social democrats like me don’t have similar values and practice them?

Sure there is some universality in some of those virtues but they are often far too keen to make things like personal liberty and autonomy secondary to their collectivist ideals (look to the “politically correct” attempts to police thought, words and actions  that might “offend” as an example of this) or the eternal desire to control behaviours that may be considered “unhealthy” like their obsession with tobacco disincentives and ‘fast food” .

This issue of the rights of the individual is another puzzle. Why do conservatives place so much importance on it? I pose one example where I think it falls down. I would argue that there needs to be a drastic reduction in the amount of salt, sugar and fat in processed food if we are to avoid an epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

Right on cue John 😉

OK lets unpack this shall we? I too have strong opinions about food in our society as can be expected from someone who has done teh cooking for his family for many decades.  I don’t “rate” most processed food to be honest, preferring instead to prepare and serve meals made from unprocessed ingredients, Its simply the most economic way to feed a family on a modest budget.  The other problem with this sort of thinking is that it seems to be entirely ignorant of the real cause of our food woes which is, in my humble opinion, our cultural obsession with novelty in our cuisine, it feeds the Foodie Porn industry (that spawns innumerable cooking shows and a plethora of cook books. Thus we are distanced from enjoying the seasonality of different ingredients  and we are distanced from what things actually taste like, and we are distanced from the simple elegance of the foods that we eat.  If every meal is expected to be a gourmet feast it becomes an ever escalating quest for sensation rather than being the staff of life.

Conservatives are against government regulation because they say it takes away the individuals right of choice. In this case without regulation the cost, in the future will be beyond our health services capacity to cope. It’s a case where the individuals rights are outweighed by the common good.

It has to be about balance  and to be honest a light hand on the regulation tiller can be far more effective than trying to proscribe behaviours that some do-gooder or coffee-house moralist considers harmful. Now while  John cites the future cost implications of some of these life style conditions I can’t help thinking that he is ignoring the simple fact that, no matter how virtuous  we are,  as we age we make an ever increasing demands upon the heath system. If its not one thing it will be another and in the end we will have  a zero sum game.

So individual freedom is self-defeating. Safety belts and (discouraging) tobacco smoking are but two other examples of where government can change society for the better. I would have thought that the highest value any ideology has would involve the common good, and that a measure of that value might be related to how it best served the most disadvantaged in the community. Government is best placed to achieve this.

But what is the common good?

Safety in the  design of cars is something that I have personally explored in my car building project.  While I agree that seat belts have been instrumental in improving the survivability of many accidents it is not the only way to do this. In fact in the United  States where there has never been the same compulsion to wear seatbelts and that has led to what is arguably a more effective safety measure which is the explosive deployed air-bag.  So I would argue that you don’t always have to employ compulsion or legal coercion to get the “common good” that you desire.

Civility and good manners go hand in hand although discerning the difference is always important. Why does Iain think it is a value important only to conservatives. Mind you he doesn’t actually say this but he seems to be implying it. And the same applies to family and procreation. I would strongly suggest that procreation is the purpose of life and not necessarily a value in itself.

You are quite right to notice that I did not say that civility and good manners are held to be of value only by those of us who are conservative. clearly these are virtues acknowledged by both sides of the political spectrum. I would note however that there are a few minions of the left who think that manners are an invention of the upper classes to keep those that they see as their social inferiors in their place.  When it comes to procreation I likewise never intended my suggestion of its importance to be considered to be an exclusive conservative virtue.

Iain then asks: Is conservatism the opposite of progressiveness?

With this question Iain addresses the conservatives reluctance for change. I am he says, a very strong advocate for the “if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it” school of thought and to my mind progressives are the ultimate example of “built in obsolescence”.

I have never understood this reluctance for change. My view is that conservatives dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that they can make permanent that which makes them feel secure. Yet change is in fact part of the very fabric of our existence. I think I have probably seen more change in my lifetime time that any other period in history.

Like you I have seen lots of change in my lifetime, some good and some well lets just say of questionable virtue and the older that I have got the shorter the time between changing something and changing it again has become. Its this tendency for progressives to back an ever smaller change cycle that has me concerned enough to say: Stop! and really think about what you are proposing. Will it really be better or do you just hope it will be an improvement? It seems to be an article of faith with progressives that change = improvement but I am an agnostic on that equation and I need more than the hopes of utopian dreamers to endorse such things.

Often worthwhile change comes with short-term controversy but the pain is worth it for long-term prosperity.

And by the same token the “short term controversy” proves to be the portent of long-term failure which is well exemplified by the MRRT  designed by Wayne Swan.

And change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making with Its own inevitability. Change is in fact one of the only constants in life. Conservatives often become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that they never see better ways of doing things.

As I pointed out in my original piece I am not against all change, just the notion that you have to keep trying to re-invent the wheel all of the time.

Science has made in my lifetime the most staggering achievements and they are embraced, recognised and benefited by all sections of society and none of it could have come about without constant change. Resisting change can be folly and one of the best examples is the denial of climate science. Take this quote from the Courier Mail 25 Oct:

“Queensland consumers should be worried about rising electricity prices. But they should be more concerned about a government that clings to a century old energy system, is relying on short-term band-aid solutions such as price freezes, and is refusing to adopt or embrace to the new technologies and business models that will deliver the cost-effective solutions of the future”.

Why is that conservatives live in some sort of time warp and resist change until it gets to uncomfortable to stay the same? Or it is forced on them?

In the first instance I don’t get how that quote helps  John’s argument. As it happens Climate change is actually a good example of the sort of futile change for the sake of change that I find so objectionable in “progressive” thought. The science is far form settled and there is a whole industry devoted to addressing this “problem” which cots an awful lot of treasure but gives us very little in return. Just imagine how much that could be done to address real problems in the world if we were not wasting so much effort in measuring bovine flatulence or trying to deduce the paleo-climate from ever more obscure proxies?

Iain also suggests that it is a good thing that our health system has survived but fails to acknowledge that it is always the social progressives that bring about major reform.

Ok I can give credit where its due however since the social value of our Medicare  system is accepted by all it comes down to questions of how we prioritise the spending and to be honest I think that both sides of politics have a hard time with that.

The “if it ain’t broke” comment is often applied to Australian republicanism. The fact is that until we have an Australian as our head of state, the system is broke.

You can assert that if you please but it does not alter the fact that our current system is  functional  stable and respected by the people who really don’t give a toss about the vestigial connections to the British crown. frankly that makes it “not broken” in my book

What I also found disconcerting in Iain’s article was the absence of economics. Surely capitalism is central to conservatism. Conservatives believe In the free market system, competitive capitalism, and that private enterprise creates the greatest opportunity and the highest standard of living for all. They believe that free markets produce more economic growth, more jobs and higher standards of living than those systems burdened by excessive government regulation.

Well for me economics is not a first order issue, while I support and endorse the concept of free enterprise but I am not a big fan of worshipping Mammon or the notion of  an ever growing economy. You see I am a social conservative who believes that the economy exists to serve the people, rather than the people being.

Conversely, Social Democrats believe in the same free market system but one which government regulates. That government must protect its citizens from the greed of big business. Unlike the private sector, the government is motivated by public interest. Government regulation in all areas of the economy is needed to level the playing field and bring about social equity.It well may be that capitalism over time has won the economic argument and is used by most ideologies. However, unbridled unregulated capitalism as favoured by Conservatives has, as recently been evidenced with the global financial crisis, proven to be corrupt. Without regulation it is a failed system.

Well I suppose that must mean that I am a Conservative Social Democrat because I believe that having clear regulations for the way that our economy runs has more merit than having open slather the trick is of course to find the right balance between enough regulation to keep things “fair” and not stifling free enterprise.  So I am more interested in the idea that regulations should evolve rather than be reinvented all of the time.

Capitalism does not allow for an equitable flow of economic resources. With this system a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. Margaret Thatcher’s theory that “There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making their way. That the poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect of the rich” (Paraphrased) has been proven to be wrong. The rich of the world are becoming more so. In fact beyond imagination.

Well I don’t agree with any of that to be honest, I thought Thatcher was a very strong politician (who won my respect for her retaking the Falklands ) but quite wrong headed in many of her social ideas. and frankly I think that we need to get beyond the Marxist critique of capitalism which certainly is well past its use by  date in this country.

Iain asks: Can one be a secular conservative or atheist conservative? And in doing so makes the following statement: ” . . . at the core of most of the great faiths is a template for a “just society”. It can be argued that some churches do good works for society. However, on the other hand it must be said that historically the great religions have been, and still are the greatest forces for “injustice” the world has ever see. One only has to look at the comparative behaviours of militant Islam, the invasion of Republican politics in the US by literalist evangelicals and the practised evil of the Catholic Church. The simple answer to his question is obvious: Yes. Personally I have come to the conclusion that one of the truly bad effects religion (any religion) has on people is that it teaches that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.

I tend to agree with much of that and as a lifelong atheist I have had endless sport arguing about questions of faith . Where we differ though is that I think that not all people of faith are by their very nature bad, many do the right thing in societal terms even if their reasoning is the stuff of nonsense.

Ian also makes this statement: “Mainly though we conservatives think that making the most of how things are now trumps the empty promises of a “better future” that never seem to arrive”. Surely this is the statement of a patronising Luddite? In recent years I have had bowel cancer and suffered a heart attack. Is he suggesting I should have made the most of how things were instead of the hope of a better future? Which I now have. I can further assure him that from the poverty of my upbringing a better future did arrive. I find that to be one of the most dank and demonstratively negative statements I have ever heard.

I too have my health issues and to be frank I am delighted that you have managed to largely overcome yours  but I was not actually referring to medical technology or how anyone should face the ravages of disease. We all do the best we can on that one. I am talking about other changes in technology or attempts to manipulate the shape of our society. Things like the NBN were in my mind on that point to be honest. As much as I love having my broadband and dream of even faster download speeds I can’t help wondering if it really will be the improvement in our online experience that its proponents claim .

I welcome Iain Hall’s contributions to this blog and I understand he is not speaking for all conservatives. But there is little we would agree on if this is his own understanding of Conservative ideology. Well except for good manners and civility.

I very much appreciate the warmth that you have  shown my contributions to the AMIN  even though we disagree with just about everything after all isn’t the point of good manners and civility to enable “a frank exchange of ideas” without it descending into verbal fisty-cuffs?

Cheers Indeed, Comrade


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