Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Jeor

Aussies: NSW Politicians, keeping ICAC in business

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Jeor said:

Oh I wasn't referring to Australia with the deficit talk (hence use of and/or). Australia is juiced by the low interest rates, which is having a few other adverse effects (e.g. house prices in Sydney are still ridiculous) but the budget deficit is not a problem at all and we actually ought to be spending more as a federal government. Borrowing money is cheap and using that money for infrastructure projects and future-proofing projects (e.g. energy) would be a much better use than that money sitting in the sacred surplus account somewhere.

The deficit juicing is occurring in more Western economies like the USA (trillion dollar deficits), and the UK as well where Boris Johnson seems to be throwing money and election promises around like confetti. A few of the European countries are doing likewise, and even countries like Singapore are now going into deficit spending. These countries are now trapped in a low-interest, high-deficit situation, and I suspect eventually they are going to end up like Japan, where nothing really works to get the economy moving and the economy stagnates for decades with no wage growth.

Australia isn't an economic zombie yet, but I'm afraid the low interest rates are starting us down that path. On the positive side, unemployment is still low, and that's probably the main human measure of how the economy is doing, but even that has it's downsides - the underemployment rate is probably still very high.

Hmmm it’s a tricky topic and probably not for this thread. I wouldn’t put the UK and the US in the same bucket - the UK could probably use some government spending after years of austerity and Brexit. The US is juiced on spending I agree, but has a higher interest rate than say, Australia, so has more wriggle room in a crisis.

And re: Japan, if unemployment was a great indicator of economic health, then Japan would be an exemplar! They have some problems with labour market participation, but overall unemployment is low and the labour market is tight. Shinzo has had some qualified success in re-igniting the economy, though the recent sales tax was a disaster.

Edited by Paxter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be fair, the government IS spending a ton of money on Health and Infrastructure. Major new projects everywhere you look. NSW in particular. New hospital expansions, new major roads, new public transport etc. It's a good time to be an Engineer :D. If anything, you want to make sure you don't make the peak worse because there is a shortage of workers to deliver these projects. As a result people rush and do a poor job of planning/design which leads to construction issues and cost blowouts.

I'd say they need to spend a lot more on education and energy. Energy in particular are hampered by the feds as they can't get their shit together on energy policy. This is prime time to renewable+battery storage the shit out of everything! The only major energy project on the card seems to be the snowy hydro.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, The Winged Shadow said:

To be fair, the government IS spending a ton of money on Health and Infrastructure.

That's the NSW state government, which is actually doing a good job. They're building stuff and doing stuff, instead of trying to publicly spin everything and get entangled in social culture wars.

This coronavirus stuff is going to get ugly in Australia, I reckon. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Jeor said:

That's the NSW state government, which is actually doing a good job. They're building stuff and doing stuff, instead of trying to publicly spin everything and get entangled in social culture wars.

This coronavirus stuff is going to get ugly in Australia, I reckon. 

And yet potentially way better than certain allied nations are looking.

The Unis are really starting to struggle, Sydney declared a predicted $200m minimum loss so far with potentially a lot more to come at the end of March along with a complete hiring freeze, suspension of all capital works that aren't already in progress, suspending projects and cutting down on contractors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The toilet paper situation shows that the basic doomsday prepper premise of a swift social breakdown after a major disaster is well founded. Even in a stable, socially integrated society like Australia panic has set in over toilet paper of all things, for no valid reason. Imagine for a moment if the food, water and power supply were affected.
 

It would be chaos. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cannot fathom this demand for toilet paper of all things. I popped into my local Woolies after work last night to pick up a couple items to make tea, and it coincided with delivery to the floor of a pallet of toilet paper. The rush to get a pack or 3 or more was comical - fortunatley not feral, but there was no sense of order. The load had to come in near the fruit & veges and deli section, where it then got pounced on - very unseemly, got put off getting any veges.

That said, as I was using the self-check counter, a couple shoppers using the counter next to me had to forfeit 2 of the packs they'd brought through as they'd exceeded their limit and the scanner wouldn't accept any more. I thought, since the discaded packs are right there and my stocks are a bit low I might as well grab one for myself ;).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The toilet paper situation shows that the basic doomsday prepper premise of a swift social breakdown after a major disaster is well founded.

This may sound silly, but I've always been a borderline prepper anyway. Ever since I was little, I was conditioned to buy things in bulk when they're on special. As a single person household, I don't get through stuff all that quickly so my pantry often looks like I'm ready to hunker down for a nuclear winter. Just looking at my cupboards now, I'd estimate I would have at least 3 months' worth of food in there, although that assumes I have continued access to clean drinking water.

Case in point, the other day I bought 3 x 1L bottles of shower gel because it was on special and it'll probably take me over a year to get through it. With toilet paper, I'm fine because before all this frenzy happened I already had 20 rolls in my cupboard from a previous specials binge. My extended family is now enjoying the fruits of my pseudo-prepper ways and raiding my cupboards for stuff, which I don't mind. I understand for families that have much higher turnover of food and household goods, it's much harder to stockpile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I shop at Costco so everything is in bulk. No need for any toilet paper buying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So are we heading for our first recession since '91 ("the recession that Australia had to have")? Or is it now only a question of: how long and deep will this recession be?

The big question mark for me is how hard the job market will be hit, and the flow-on effects to the housing market. The RBA has virtually no room to move, so presumably we will see the budget back in the red. 

From a narrow political perspective, at least this time the Coalition's economic crisis management will be tested. In recent history only the ALP has been in power during times of economic trouble (Hawke/Keating in the early 90s, then Rudd/Swann during the Crisis). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Paxter said:

So are we heading for our first recession since '91 ("the recession that Australia had to have")? Or is it now only a question of: how long and deep will this recession be?

I think it's very probable we'll have a recession. However, I have to say that at this point in time Australia has not really been affected as much as other countries. Yes, the share market has dropped a lot, but schools are still open, internal movement is still free and while small business has undoubtedly taken a hit and other corporations are starting work-from-home schemes, I don't think it's been as drastic as other places we're seeing around the world.

That being said, I do find it strange that schools are only closing for a day. Three schools in NSW have been hit by this but they've each only closed for one day before coming back. If they got another case after that, you'd have to think the government would rethink their policy and maybe have to go for longer-style shutdowns.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the risk of sounding heartless, I don't know about the government helping out casual workers with paid leave and all that. Isn't one of the reasons casuals are paid higher rates is that it's in lieu of those entitlements?

Case in point - a schoolteacher who comes in as a casual gets paid at a rate of over $400 per day (over 40 teaching weeks, the equivalent of around 85K a year, which is more than a full-time teacher, to account for the lack of entitlements/protections). I know a number of casual teachers who like this arrangement, they can say no to working a certain day if they want to, so on. But a casual teacher said to me today, "Gosh, if a school shutdown happens they better do something about still paying me or at least granting me paid leave". I thought - hang on. Surely they can't have their cake and eat it too?

(I take the point that not every casual thinks this way - some really want permanent work but can't get it, so have to be satisfied with casual status. But how can you legally differentiate between the two? The fact is, they aren't permanent employees so they lack the protections/entitlements around it and get paid higher rates as compensation)

Now I take the point that some industries are heavily overcasualised, so maybe they're different. I know I sound cruel, and I'll probably backtrack after I hear all the arguments for the other side, but what does the Aussies thread think...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's been some research in the last few years that indicated cost of living increases along with the increased casualisation of the work force have left the casual loading as not remotely adequate anymore, and there are a *lot* of people that are being forced to accept casual work that should be a permanent position.

The universities for example have been heavily engaging in that with even relatively senior academics still being stuffed around, a friend of mine recently received the VCs award for her lecturing work and was given exceptional feedback from students for multiple years while still being stuffed around as a casual. They finally employed her properly a few months after the award.

All that said, I think you're looking at this wrong. We can disagree about the fairness aspect, but that isn't even the primary issue here. This is us, as a society, being forced to acknowledge for once that we need to work together. Refuse to give them sick leave and they'll still work and they'll spread the disease, because they don't have the money to survive otherwise. So we pay them to take their time off because it's in everyone's interests for those that catch this to stay home and reduce infections. Worthiness doesn't enter into it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, karaddin said:

There's been some research in the last few years that indicated cost of living increases along with the increased casualisation of the work force have left the casual loading as not remotely adequate anymore, and there are a *lot* of people that are being forced to accept casual work that should be a permanent position.

The universities for example have been heavily engaging in that with even relatively senior academics still being stuffed around, a friend of mine recently received the VCs award for her lecturing work and was given exceptional feedback from students for multiple years while still being stuffed around as a casual. They finally employed her properly a few months after the award.

All that said, I think you're looking at this wrong. We can disagree about the fairness aspect, but that isn't even the primary issue here. This is us, as a society, being forced to acknowledge for once that we need to work together. Refuse to give them sick leave and they'll still work and they'll spread the disease, because they don't have the money to survive otherwise. So we pay them to take their time off because it's in everyone's interests for those that catch this to stay home and reduce infections. Worthiness doesn't enter into it.

Great post.

It's worth mentioning that a lot of casual workers are in much less well paid, non professional areas like retail and hospitality and they are not always casual by choice but because those industries have been increasingly casualised. We have already had a case of a hospitality worker who turned up to his job despite waiting for confirmation of his test result.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And wage theft in hospitality is absolutely rampant.

The person preparing your food for $15 an hour (that’s a high estimate btw based on research a friend conducted last year, some of his participants were working for much less than that) is in a very different situation, and much more representative of the majority of casual workers, than a professional in a heavily unionised sector. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I acknowledge my example (teacher) was a highly educated professional in a heavily unionised sector (thanks @brook) and not really representative of the bulk of casual workers out there. In the current emergency environment, I can also see @karaddin and @Wall Flower's points about it being a common good in terms of overall community health. So consider myself chastened, at least in terms of the current environment.

It is a band-aid solution, though, and I still think in principle (if casual really means casual, not the warped and overused term of casual that is practically in play here) there are some difficulties with entitlement assistance for casuals. That being said, I know it's weird for someone who's normally a Liberal voter to talk about labor market reform in ways that unions like (the ACTU apparently pushed for a legalised definition of a casual employee to better reflect the composition of the workforce), but I think we have to stop gaming the unemployment figures with casuals and ignoring underemployment issues. We all have our maverick moments, I guess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're certainly not going to find any disagreement from brook or myself on returning casual to what its supposed to mean rather than how its come to be abused. And if we want to stick with the model of not giving casuals any sick leave then the loading will need to be renegotiated to a level that works again, which Im OK with as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/10/2020 at 5:28 PM, Jeor said:

Now I take the point that some industries are heavily overcasualised, so maybe they're different. I know I sound cruel, and I'll probably backtrack after I hear all the arguments for the other side, but what does the Aussies thread think...

I don't think they would typically deserve any paid leave, for the reasons you say. 

In circumstances like these where business as usual leads to a country having to implement quarantines and curfews and the like I think it's justified though, just as a purely practical, preventative measure, to get people to stay home when they feel compelled to work sick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I wouldn't characterise this stimulus as paid leave. It's more akin to a targeted unemployment benefit, which makes a lot of sense from a macroeconomic and public health perspective. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Paxter said:

Personally, I wouldn't characterise this stimulus as paid leave. It's more akin to a targeted unemployment benefit, which makes a lot of sense from a macroeconomic and public health perspective. 

That's an interesting perspective - and seems more reasonable.

I wonder if we're going to see school closures and other more radical moves in the coming days. Other countries seem to be doing it at the drop of a hat. I've got a trip to the USA in the April school holidays and I think that's probably a goner, but waiting until the last minute to cancel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For sure it’s going to get radical. TBH, I’m surprised organizations like the NRL and AFL are trying for a business-as-usual approach.

I think I’m in a bit of a state of shock at the moment. The real prospect of mass fatalities and severe economic hardship is hitting home. It even makes things like the upcoming US election seem trite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...