Thursday, February 23, 2006

Why is it that we have enough memory to recollect the most minute circumstances of something that has happened to us, but not enough to remember how many times we have recounted them to the same person?
-La Rochefoucauld, Moral Maxims and Reflections

The Westminster system, under which ministers are responsible for wrongdoing by their departments, is dead in Australia The ground rules for when ministers' heads must roll

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Engineering democracy
Truly representative elections, lacking in even some advanced nations, are an essential first step

Much handwringing has resulted since Hamas, a group on the Bush administration's terrorist list, won a sizable majority of legislative seats in Palestinian Authority elections in January. But the planners of the recent elections there could have learned a thing or two from European election conventions, such as those in effect in the Czech Republic.

The proportional vote [Stolen pleasures Courier Mail, 21/02/2006, Good Life, Page 10
Author: Rory Gibson Why convict James Squire's head isn't featured on an Aussie banknote like other notable Australians is a national disgrace. If such an honour can be bestowed on the likes of Dame Nellie Melba, Banjo Paterson, Reverend John Flynn and Mary Reibey, then surely the man who produced the country's first commercial ale deserves a start. Income Tax Reform; Low fertility and the degrading of motherhood are class issues, which explains why the so called chattering classes are so concerned about them: it is the women of this class who are not having children or are leaving them in child care. As in all things, if it is happening to the chatterati then it matters to the nation … Oh No Children, We Forgot Motherhood, Did We? ]
• · In this article for Griffith Review 11 – Getting Smart: The Battle for Ideas in Education, Gavin Moodie argues that national strategies to expand education need to be more broadly based. Research to excellence ; Michael Evans fears the mysterious drawing power of the Bermuda Triangle MacMedia off to a tax haven ; Listen son, your problem is you believe in free enterprise and I don't Sherlock Holmes couldn't work out these deductions ; ATO outsources debt collection Australian Financial Review, 21/02/2006; Private companies will earn 12 to 18 per cent commissions under Australian Taxation Office plans to outsource debt collection from thousands of recalcitrant small businesses, according to Tax Office union officials Also ABC 2000: ATO outsources debt collection
• · · The Politics of Literature 101: Did Father Know Best?; Rankism -- still lies ahead, poisoning our minds and increasingly corrupting our interpersonal and political behaviors. If the right emphasizes liberty and the left equality, should the radical middle
emphasize dignity? The biggest barrier of all, rank abuse
• · · · Centrelink audit finds 1.5m dead customers ; It's independent, opinionated and always looking under rocks Crikey - a two-way conversation
• · · · · Shot property Bulletin with Newsweek, 28/02/2006 It's not as if there were not enough warnings. Something as simple as a Google search could have saved the homes and savings of thousands of investors who are confronted with losing everything in the $450m-plus Westpoint property debacle; Long ago the Spanish philosopher, George Santayana, said those who ignore the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them Abolishing negative gearing a recipe for disaster ; The silly season is over and a new year brings a new boss for Australian Customs - along with new challenges. Carmody's choice
• · · · · · Age, 21/02/2006, Keith McEwan Letters, Page 10 - How much longer will we continue with the fiscal vandalism of negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions to housing investors (resulting in a $2.6 billion revenue loss to the Government in the 2003-04 financial year)? This has been the main cause of house prices doubling in recent years, denying people who are not home owners the opportunity to join the 70 per cent of those who have achieved this goal. Overpriced and over here: Housing affordability; A royal commissioner does not make an allegation - far less does he initiate prosecutions. What he does is investigate and report to government on his investigations. A royal commissioner is charged with high office, to investigate without fear or favour, no matter how wealthy a person may be, or how influential he is Costigan hits back at Packer 'ignorance' - Costigan rejects Packer's barb