The Daily Flute has moved to http://dailyflute.com

Monday, June 27, 2005

Flute has moved: Get with the program

It's been around six months since I moved to http://dailyflute.com. Get with the program!

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Flute has moved

Now at http://dailyflute.com

Just when you thought I was getting all half-arsed about this blogging lark. Right, please update your bookmarks, blogrolls, any links you have made from your blog, any links from me commenting on your blog, rss and atom feeds and tattoos.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Tuckey defends JH

Not that JH, James Hardie! Just when all is going boringly well for the Liberals, someone gave Wilson Tuckey a poke with the wakeup stick. He must have been in a deep REM slumber as the first gibberish he uttered was:
When is Australia going to take a view about hindsight, when is Australia going to stop ambulance chasing, and when are we going to stop picking, as we are on this occasion, on a single corporate entity, that we want to blaggard in hindsight?
Who needs an opposition?

The Contenders #4: Malcolm Trumpbell

Form: Malcolm Trumpbell has bags of cash and er...that's it I suppose. He could have been an ALP man, but the ALP chose wisely to use him as a white ant in the coalition. Used to ruling the roost, he won't be satisfied at being the apprentice for long, despite the promise of a tax deduction on a new toolkit. Cracking policy ideas include giving all children a flat rate of government education spending regardless of whether they are privately or publicly taught. Recently bought a seat in Wentworth.
Aims: To quicken Howards retirement and hasten the demise of the Liberal party.
Insiders guide: Buy, buy, buy.

The bucket overfloweth

After some tummy trouble caused by Devine's glowing appraisal of The Great Costello's wit, my road to recovery has been hampered by Albrechtsen in todays ex-Australian. Never let it be said that a woman can't be sexist. The story begins in a typical fashion with la Janet claiming that feminism is obsolote. What is the proof of this? Well....
"She [Anne Summers] also accused John Howard of downgrading the Office of Status of Women. The PM should plead guilty to the last two charges. And then point out both moves are causes for celebration, not tears. Women have not been dumped. Instead, the gains made by women, their improved status, suggests that a separate office founded upon feminist ideology is now obsolete. "
I see! So removing any potential solution to a problem, removes the problem itself. Hopefully we can look forward to a few pesky hospital closures to get Australia fit again.
Women hold 33 per cent of Australian government board spots, well beyond the 8.6 per cent of seats they had on Australia's top 200 listed companies as at June 2003.
I can understand figures of 50% being a cause for celebration, but one third and one twelfth is barely enough to crack open a can of fizzy pop.
Similarly, while the Howard Government has appointed 23 women to federal courts across Australia, or more than 28 per cent
Again, 72% male appointments does not make happy reading. On the quota point:
When you appoint a woman on sex, not talent, you risk appointing the talentless -- or at least promoting that perception.
You risk appointing the talentless regardless of sex. Especially in journalism.
There is a new feminism afoot for many young women.
A bit like this methinks.
One that does not depend upon the paraphernalia of a passe feminism.
Paraphernalia of passe feminism. Albrechtsen constantly argues that feminists stereotype women, by stereotyping feminists. I'll tell my wife to put her paraphernalia on eBay, we might get a bob or two.
One that says let's be truly adventurous and abolish separate bodies devoted to women because they only perpetuate an otherness about women and the issues that affect them.
Perpertuates otherness amongst whom? Women? No. Men of course, and we can't piss them off can we?
Indeed, so-called progressive movements founded on fine notions of freedom and choice have a nasty tendency to transmute into the dictatorial and doctrinaire. Feminism, or at least the version that feminists such as Summers cling to, is case in point. They talk about liberating women but continue to deride or ignore women who choose to stay at home and care for children.
No, they deride the system that gives women little choice but to stay at home and be a housewife. They deride religious beliefs that say that a woman staying at home is a sign of "moral fibre". And they probably deride you for perpetuating a myth that women are now equal. Feminism is about equality of choice for both genders, fulfilling your potential according to your ability. Blokes can stay at home or work, women can too. A wonderful world. No masculinity crisis, no discrimination at work, it all sounds good. More choices for everyone, a more productive, happier nation. [cue gramophone record of Land of Hope and Glory]
Feminism's choice deficit has always been its greatest flaw.
[sound of gramophone needle scratching across old 78]. Huh?

Non ratings season presents guest post - Ben Craddick

I was talking to an old mate of mine, Alf Thompson, the former forward for the Brewarrina Maulers, who was on a trip down to the smoke to look at some waterfront property. It was a nice day, with a bit of a nip in the air so we warmed our cockles at the Cliche Arms Hotel. Well Alf had not much luck finding his dream retirement home, and let's face it how could he with all these bloody yuppies buying up houses like there's no tomorrow. It's a sad state of affairs when an old digger like Alf is faced with selling his 5 townhouse developments just to enjoy a bit of sea air in his twilight years. If the government did something useful with it's money instead of forking out cash left right and centre for every do-gooder and ponce that walks on God's earth maybe we could reward people for what they put in to this country. For a start when are they going to give Medicare the boot? My old man never had Medicare and even though he smoked 6,000 durries a day, lived till he was 98. Menzies would never have allowed such a waste of the great Australian taxpayer's hard earned money. He would have told the sick to bugger off and get some exercise, and come back when they're of some use, like the battlers who built this nation. Battlers like Alf, who now thanks to the me-generation has to let his hourglass run out of sand nowhere near the beach.

Good times ahead

The Great Costello is now saying that 2005 might not be all plain sailing. Bloody right it wont be. The great Australian meeja is at last waking up to the fact that people are spending $125 for every $100 they earn, and economists and business people are getting a bit nervous. Have you heard the analogy that managing the economy is like driving a car with lagging controls? Well it's even harder if you don't bother looking out of the window to see what the scenery is like. This debt trend has been worsening since 1996 (a cruel coincidence methinks) and perhaps the Great Costello should have been doing something about it before now. Also he took time to utter a witty rebuke to Easy Peasy Albanese who said labor had a good year apart from the election (he was obviously taking the piss). Enter not the Great Costello himself, but a sideling who said:
"The treasurer thought it had been a great year because of the election,"
Worth an extra icecube in the Pimms, that one. And thanks a bunch to the Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony for pointing out that Literacy Pannul Member Miranda Devine thinks that Costello is funny. Just what I need.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

The Contenders #3: Dr Brendan Nelson

Form: Having thankfully been cured of an earring, Dr Nelson has gone about his business of reducing education funding effectiveness with the same one-eyed determination showed by his legendary sea-faring namesake. Major acheivements include: The Nelson Rifle Range at Kings, The Nelson Performing Arts Centre at Pymble and dumb as you like uni places for all who have the required wedge. An expert on phonics and flash cards, the Doctor sure knows how to get Australia reeding agen. When Nelson manages to get his patented twoshortplanx serum into the Liberal party room port supply without the pine aftertaste, there will be no doubt that he will be a contender for the top job.
Aims: Pay first, questions later. Pay more, get some answers. Provided you're not doing arts.
Insiders form: Former stud, turned gelding. 5000-1.

PS: My first attempt at the picture was a bit Abu-Ghraib, hence B1 in the hotseat.

Devine on Literacy Panel

All I can say about this is that Ronald McDonald is now chairperson of the panel that hands out Michelin stars to restaurants.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Comedy genius

Peter Costello: "This weekend a rooster declared a jihad on a dead parrot". Doesn't he remind you of an embarassing pissed uncle at a birthday party? A couple of points for Costello's team of script writers:

1) The dead parrot sketch has not been funny for decades. It lies in the grave of uni students repeating it ad nauseum whilst trying to pull chics.
2) The secret of comedy is not a smirk or having the backbenchers split their y-fronts. It is


Is this guy trying to be the Bert Newton all round entertainer of the government? Variety is dead mate, dead.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Greatest Treasurer Magic

Thanks to good old Pete Costello, The World's Greatest Treasurer, I now know that a high Australian dollar is bad for exports. Thanks again Pete! And thanks ABC News Online for deeming his announcement to be newsworthy.

The results are in from the last 8 years and the verdict is: Australia is funding economic growth through debt. This debt is buying stuff from overseas. Australia is not smart enough to compete. That is all.

Coming soon in The Great Costello's Magic World of Finance: How having a free trade agreement with a superpower that, against the world tide, you have a foreign trade deficit with creates cash out of thin air!

Flight DJ800: Demographic Timebomb

Apart from concentrating on the infruriating infighting that is New Labor, yesterday's Insiders featured the world's best Treasurer, Peter Costello waxing lyrical on the demographic timebomb. As he said, this is set in stone and will happen. As is Costello's want to coin forgetable phrases (e.g. hoax the folks and Kylie Minogues), he wrapped the whole problem into a question of the three Ps: Population, participation rate and productivity. With population working against us through low fertility rates, we have to get the other two Ps working for us, claims Costello. The scary fact according to the government sponsored fluff piece by the Productivity Commision is that in 40 years, an extra 6% of GDP will be required to "look after" the ageing population. Costello could not come up with anything concrete on how the government will solve the problem apart from wrecking the PBS and a paltry tax incentive to keep pensioners in work longer. First off, remember that this problem would be a whole lot worse than if the ALP government had not introduced compulsory superannuation. That little "job costing" measure has done much to mitigate the problem, as well as lining the pockets of financial advisors from coast to coast. The government's main charge at the moment is that if we don't start with small measures now, Australia will have to take a big adjustment in the future. Unfortunately, when governments talk like this, they are usually gearing us up for service cuts. Anyway, enough of the whinging, here are the easy peasy solutions to the demographic timebomb, and as Costello "set the agenda" it is only fair to use Pete's three Ps to frame the answers.


There are studies that show that immigration and fertility can be managed to even out the bump that is looming. There are also studies that show the Western countries who make it easier for women to balance child rearing and their career, will have more children. So measures like paid parental leave, and tightening of discrimination laws would put a tick in this box.


The government should put as much time and effort into getting the female participation rate up as they are at keeping old people employed. Income splitting, scarce child care and just outright sexism in the workforce need to be addressed. However, this goes against the white picket fence view of "where's my bloody dinner you cow?" that the incumbent government holds.


The government is actively working against this facet. By reducing the amount of R&D and introducing full fee paying places, Australia is on course to become a dumb country. Sure, we can still dig things out of the ground, but we can't do anything smart with the resources. A substantial investment in education is the sure fire way of raising GDP by the extra 6.4% required to whether the storm. In fact, if we continue with the woeful education spending, the GDP will not be as great as the productivity commission predicts. And since governments shouldn't be in the business of picking winners, make all studies free, not just the sceinces.


Provided that Costello three P model is correct, then free education to tertiary level, affordable and obtainable childcare and paid parental leave are three simple concrete ways to address the ageing populaton problem. What's more, there is no downside to investing in these measures. There is no long term unsustainable cost. Its all good.

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