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The more things change the more they stay the same

In the old days of the seventies our national unemployment statistics used to be based upon the number or people claiming an unemployment benefit from the then DSS and at some point a bright spark in government decided that instead of using that empirical measurement of those who are self-identifying as “unemployed” they would use  a supposedly better system of statistical sampling. Frankly I was unconvinced when this change was made and I recall discussing the change with my late father who was equally scathing and of the opinion that it was just a blatant attempt to manipulate the public perceptions of the level of unemployment.  Over the subsequent years since the change I have  shared my cynicism about the statistics many times but this little snippet from the Age shows just how right I am  to distrust such things

Each month the bureau surveys about 29,000 homes. One-eighth of the group, about 3600 homes, leave the survey each month and a new 3600 are ”rotated” in.

Rarely, usually only once every one or two years, employment conditions in the new homes are quite different to those in the old. When that happens, the official employment numbers jump (or fall) even if employment itself hasn’t changed.

The houses rotated in in February were extremely different to the houses rotated out. So different that the bureau believes the rotation itself was responsible for half of the reported 71,500 surge in employment, the ”best monthly job creation result in 13 years”.

Bureau staff briefed government officials Thursday morning

Another unusual occurrence ”amplified” the error.

To convert its survey into answers for the entire population, the bureau multiplies the result by a number based on its guess of the population. Its best guess is that Australia’s working age population rose by more than usual at the start of this year as a greater than usual number of foreign students arrived.

It reckons this further exaggerated the already-exaggerated employment growth, perhaps by another 13 per cent.

It would prefer people to look at its estimate of what it calls the trend. This shows employment climbed at a sedate pace of 11,600 in February, much less than 71,500, and just enough to keep pace with population. The unemployment rate remained steady at 5.4 per cent.

As someone once said ” there are lies, damned lies and statistics “   and when it comes to this or any other government talking about how well they are doing in creating or maintaining our employment levels when they bandy around figures as if they are holy writ it is probably wise to think on the way such figures are magicked into existence by the ABS especially if they are trumpeted by any political player as being indicative of a government’s performance in “creating jobs”
Cheers Comrades
a gratuitous image of a woman exercising to distract attention from the post, rather like the way that employment ststitics distract attention form the actual level of employment

A gratuitous image of a woman exercising to distract attention from the post, rather like the way that employment statistics distract attention form the actual level of unemployment.

Cue the usual suspects 🙄


George Monbiot, millenarian prophecy and his desire to see western society back into an “energy dark age”

One of the reasons that I abandoned the left’s politics is its inability to see the obvious  and its wanton  ability to to be duped by its ideologues. One such issue has to be climate change and the extent to which humanity’s footsteps on the planet will impact on the environment.  One article that I read a few days ago in the Guardian has been republished in the Green Left Daily , sorry I meant the AGE,  and its a  call for the subversion of democracy to the to the needs of Gaia from that high  priest of the Green faith George Monbiot:


click for source

Of course what all of these minions of the watermelon left ignore is the complete equation, namely the human impact on the environment is a function of not only the things that humans do, but also the number of us that do it. So while the likes of George may whine about the industrial economy they also bemoan the loss of life from pestilence, famine and war. But here in lays the real problem when it comes to human impact on the planet. As a species we have become very adept at circumventing all of the checks upon our population and we are now reaping what this compassion for all has sown. Add to this the persistence of the cultural imperatives to have many children (especially in the third world) and it becomes clear that George is letting his leftist politics and hatred of the “elite” cloud his reason.

There are two ways to control an ever expanding population, either  limit the number of children that are made  to  that which will replace numbers with out increasing our population or we stop making extraordinary efforts  to constrain the four horsemen of death that have for so long controlled human  numbers.  This is of course an anathema to the left who think that every death in a struggle for resources or territory is an unmitigated disaster and requires sackcloth, ashes and the blaming of western culture.  Dare I suggest its not the successful western  cultures that are the problem for the planet because almost all of those have well and truly taken to heart limiting the number of children we make to replacement levels, its the countries of the third world who have unsustainable birth rates which combined with the compassionate “aid”  from the industrialised first world have seen rapid declines in childhood  mortality and subsequent population increases.

If our George really believes his own  apocalyptic doom-saying then why does he not even consider  the issue of population?  It seems to me that he is so in love with his own millenarian prophecy and his desire to see western society  back into a new “energy dark age”  that he is not seeing the real big picture at all .

Cheers Comrades


128 boats and nearly 1500 people Vs seven boats and 161 people last year

Barnaby joyce, ahead of the pack on this isssue

Barnaby Joyce, ahead of the pack on this issue

This topic is a good example of how any sort of bad news can eventually become so mundane that it gets right under everyone’s radar. If we are entirely honest with ourselves we would have to admit that upon  hearing about another boat arriving we would be hard pressed to do a full 360 eye roll. A modest sigh is the full extent of my response these days.

In provocative comments made during a parliamentary visit to the island, Senator Joyce said all the people he had seen
‘‘seem very happy here — which is a concern’’.

He said the line that differentiated refugees from economic migrants had been conveniently blurred, which was encouraging people to come to Australia for economic reasons. ”Unfortunately the Government needs to toughen policy,’’ he said.

His comments came after two more boats, carrying a total of about 40 people, were intercepted at the weekend, bringing arrivals this year to 128 boats and nearly 1500 people. This compares with seven boats and 161 people last year.

Of course  Joyce is right, we do need to toughen up the system and to send those who don’t qualify as “refugees” back to where they came from. In an amusing contradiction to the usual deep green grab bag of political positions I heard Tim (the sky is falling) Flannery on ABC 2’s Fora program advocating  for less immigration because of the environmental impacts of this country having an ever larger population.

For the life of me I can’t see even one good reason for us not to grow our own Australians rather than to continually importing them, and yes I know that I am a migrant myself, but when I came here there were less than 1i million here and now the number is closer to 22 million, a number that has  more than doubled in less than my life time.

I have long argued that no population can grow exponentially forever but no one from either of the mainstream parties seems willing to acknowledge that particular pachyderm. The conservatives because they are so focused upon wealth creation and the socialists because they have some rather naive “we are all one”  mindset.  If we are to build a sustainable future then we need to be realistic about the carrying capacity of this land and as I see it we can be a rich nation where our population is “Just right” or we can be a poor one where there are too many people, the amount of water, food  and energy will  have to be spread far too thinly for the majority to have a good life.

Cheers Comrades


Is this truth also evident here in the antipodes?

Here, I think, one can detect the malign influence of political advisers who have undermined both the independence and the self-confidence of the Civil Service. In the past, it has not always paid to stand up to government ministers; it certainly doesn’t pay to do so now.

Set on its political course of increased immigration, all seemed to go swimmingly for the Government as it trebled the number of work permits and later lifted all restrictions on the entry of East European workers.

Then the politics started to fall apart as the white working class, which felt threatened by immigrants prepared to accept lower wages, began to desert Labour, often for the BNP – a development largely explained by the same Newsnight poll which found that 58 per cent of the white working class felt that “nobody speaks out for people like me in Britain today”.

The Government is now in a serious bind. Its traditional supporters are deserting, 80 per cent of the public disbelieves it on immigration and, with this report, its underlying justification is in ruins.

We should not be misled by the Government’s claims to be introducing the most far-reaching immigration reforms for a generation. Having lost control of our borders (and allowed the asylum system to collapse into chaos), the Government’s response so far has been to form two more committees to assess the economic ‘need’ for, and the social impacts of, immigration.

This will not remotely restore confidence. It does not address the real issue which, as the report says, is how much net immigration is desirable. The committee calls for an explicit and reasoned indicative target around which immigration policies can be adjusted, but this is something the Government seems unable to address, perhaps for ideological reasons.

What we need is not more committees but a clear shift of policy towards the concept of “balanced migration” between immigration and emigration. Setting this as the key objective would provide a sensible way forward for a public increasingly desperate for practical solutions to a developing crisis.

The Daily Mail

I have always doubted the notion that we can have eternal exponential growth in both our economy and our population and this report from the UK certainly suggests that having a country that is constantly accepting immigrants and constantly growing may not be the way to maintain a rich vibrant society. Despite the rhetoric from all sides of the political spectrum about an ever increasing population being a net good I have my doubts and I think that we should be looking to what sort of population we want for Australia and we should be beginning now to wind back immigration programs with the aim of a stable population rather than a growing one. But I suspect that just as it is in the UK our members of parliament are in the thrall of immigration advocates and they are more concerned about keeping their seats rather than what is best for the country as a whole.

The other aspect of this issue that is rather sadly amusing is the fact that the bigger our population is the greater our emissions of CO2 will of course rise in direct proportion to that rise in population and those very same advocates for large scale immigration are very often the most rabid global warming true believers (as well as being frequent flyers). Frankly I can’t see how anyone can be both a follower of the green religion and support the idea of an exponential growth in our population either from immigration or from natural growth.

Cheers Comrades.


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