September 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
Where do you start?
I get really annoyed when I hear our younger generation poo-pooing politicians; “They’re all the same. They’re just in it for the rort”. Mostly un-researched opinions based on whatever the media feed them. That said, I was driving back from the mine to camp yesterday and happened to turn on the radio which was streaming The Senate live. Let me tell you, I almost broke down and cried for Australia . How absolutely depressing!
So the debate appeared to be around who has broken more promises, who had more slogans and who had wrecked Australia most. At no stage was anyone talking about the future or how they were going to make this country great again.
I sit in project meetings all the time; working out how to make things safer, planning where we are going to develop next, where we need to spend money, how many tonnes we need to get out, how we’re going to make the whole process more efficient, etc, etc.
Imagine if we all just sat in that room saying “You stuffed that project up last time”, “You said that you’d finish that by September”, “You blew your budget”, ‘You have no idea what you are doing”. We wouldn’t get real far. It’d just turn into an absolute debacle and the mine would fall into its own hole.
Australia is the biggest project that we are all involved in. Where do we want to be in the future? How are we going to fund it? How are we going to make us all more proud, prosperous and healthy?
How are we going to make the big decisions that will get us across the line over the next decade of downturn while these muppets are spending all of their time calling each other names and then grandstanding to the media.
The derogatory nature of the adversarial debate we call The Senate and Parliament is achieving absolutely Jack Crap. I have to agree, after listening to that debate, that they are all the same. The kids are right….in as many words. We’re just a bunch of underground hardrock miners trying to get a job done as best we can. We all have a different view of life based on our own experience and the way we think. Yet, we manage to work together to keep everyone safe and to move forward in the shareholders (and our) best interests. Why can’t our politicians do the same? That’s what they’re getting paid for.
What we need is one side to just give it away; give it up. Stop the crap and start talking about Australia. Yes, for the next two years, the other side will keep throwing stones. But, if one side just had the balls to do what they know is right for the country (as opposed to what is right for them or their political party), we would start to make progress.
Wedge politics may be great for a headline, but it’s not great for the country. Imagine if a bunch of pollies had the intestinal fortitude to ignore polls, understand that they may lose the next election, understand that they had to make a sacrifice, but it was in the best interests of the country. Imagine that.
Given that so many soldiers have laid down their lives for this country….willingly…and made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our democracy, it brings me to tears to see these wankers making a mockery of it.
Who will stand up for Australia?
September 8, 2015 § 3 Comments
Ya gotta be honest in a blog….otherwise what’s the point. So I’ll admit in my uni days (yes, even hardrock miners go to uni), I may have partaken in some whacky tobaccy, but these days with all the drug tests at the mine, you just can’t do that sorta thing.
Do they have drug tests at Parliament House?
Fair dinkum, these Greens must be on something, or maybe they’re just high on their version of life. Listening to parliament on my way from underground to the processing plant, I heard one of them calling the government “Rudderless”. They love that stuff, don’t play the ball, play the man. He went on to say that it was not the senate blocking the Government’s bid for reform, it was the Government’s fault because they were not bringing policies to the senate that were in line with what the Greens stood for….
The Greens are a minority party. To think that the Government who won 50% of the vote at the last federal election should modify their policies for approval of a party that received 8% of the vote is just plain arrogant and ludicrous. To think that the media give the Greens as much oxygen as they do is just as ludicrous. However the media love to stir the pot, and when you have a bunch of loonies spruiking all sorts of ridiculousness, how can they resist?
The one I really love is that we can stop mining coal in Australia and replace that industry with solar power and windmills. Muppets! We sell our coal overseas….it gives us an income. We buy solar technology from China…….we spend money. So the Green’s economic model for Australia’s future is to replace an income with a spending habit. Brilliant!!! But….it’s all for a good cause; global warming………climate change……..the doc won’t let me buy enough blood pressure tablets for me to compose myself to write a blog about that!
These people hate the establishment and love to deconstruct. They talk about the future and the effects that ……you know……climate change….Denier!!…Denier!!……will have on future generations, yet they have no problem tearing down the economic policies that affect the majority of Australians; Negative Gearing….yeah, let’s get rid of it. See how affordable rental accommodation will be then. Superannuation….yeah, it’s only for the rich, let’s tear that apart now…bloody rich.
The economy is not something that you can just switch on and off at your whim. These policies support massive industries. Where do you think that superannuation is invested? Hmmm……BLOODY MINING you muppets. You know that “Big Polluter”, “Big Miner” industry that employs a crapload of Australians and generates……dare I say it….a friggin’ INCOME
let’s see what’s left for our grandchildren if these zealots ever get their day at the helm.
September 7, 2015 § Leave a comment
12 hour shifts tend to take it out of an old bugger like myself, so it’s usually a shower, a quick bite and off to bed ready to start another day at 5:00am. Occasionally, I will follow the boys into town for a steak at the Royal….medium rare, chips and sal, mushy sauce.
They have banned me from watching Q&A in the pub as I tend to get a bit excited after a few reds (yeah, even hardrock miners don’t mind a full bodied cab sav), and have been known to throw things at the flatscreen. Q&A is like a window into the enemies living room. You don’t want to watch, but better the devil you know….
So….through a mixup of new staff and a lack of written procedures a few weeks ago, Q&A was on the screen with a bunch of miners watching. I’d had a few, but the boys were keeping me under control………..Uber.
Nothing makes my blood boil faster than Gen Y’s talking about Uber and the disruptive economy. What absolute wankers!
So here’s the deal. You get a bunch of mercenary businessmen with a slick marketing campaign selling an illegal business model to the most gullible generation in the history of humanity and you make a killing. The disruptive economy…..gimme a break FFS.
Let’s look at this logically. It is illegal to operate hire vehicles without the appropriate registration, permits, etc. etc. the beauty of Uber is that the market they are creating wears no risk. The hirers are not the ones being fined. The hirers are not the ones breaking the law. Imagine if I grabbed a bunch of illegal miners and shoved them down the hole without any of the appropriate training or regulation. We could build mines so fast it wasn’t funny. We’d grab a bunch of guys who own an excavator and a bobcat and tell ’em to start digging. We’d pay them by the meter…no sick leave….no holiday pay….no superannuation…no contract..Costs would plummet!!!. We wouldn’t have to worry about all that environmental or safety crap, we’d just get into it. Yeeehaaa! We’d be DISRUPTIVE!!!!! And NOW and we’d TREND!!!
We’d also kill a lot of people, but hey, that’s OK, we’re now part of the digital economy!
So here’s Ms Monica Bradley on Q& A part of the “PWC Chair of the Digital Economy”. When asked about her thoughts on Uber she grinned like a Cheshire Cat and proudly announced “Well….I use Uber!”. And everyone in the audience clapped and cheered. Yeehaaa!
So here’s Monica….sponsored by an accounting firm…you know…COMPLIANCE ….Corporate Legislation…Governance…..telling the world that she couldn’t give a crap about the law. What a great look. Oh, but she’s part of the disruptive generation, YEEEEEEEHHAAAAAAA!
Don’t get me wrong! I would LOVE to be disruptive, I really would (some say I have been for years). I’d love Monica to come to the mine and show me how to be disruptive but, at the end of the day, I am responsible for the safety of the guys and girls who work for me. So, call me old fashioned, call me a dinosaur, but I am not going to be disruptive, I’m going to be safe and boring!
September 7, 2015 § Leave a comment
So let me take you back to a time when horse drawn carriages conveyed people and goods through the streets of Sydney. I’m no transport historian but I doubt there were requirements to register the size of your carriage, the number of wheels it had, the number of horses pulling it or the combined number of horse legs involved. My grandfather was one of the first and one of the leading bakers in Sydney. He was forever losing horses and carriages down some of the steeper streets in Mosman. Unfortunate, but just a part of doing business in that area where the technology had not kept up with the transport requirements.
Move ahead a few years to the introduction of the internal combustion engine and horseless carriages. What changed? Two things; the speed of the carriages and the manoeuvrability of the carriages. Firstly, the fact that the wheels were directly coupled to the motive force meant that steering and braking were a thousand percent more effective. Secondly, four rubber tyres provided insanely more friction force than steel horse shoes on stone or bitumen. Bottom line; you could go faster safely.
Once the technology had caught on, there were more cars going faster that resulted in….you guessed it…accidents. Reasonably, the authorities made the decision to charge a registration fee so that the vehicles could be identified and monitored / tracked when accidents occurred. The fee was nominal and represented the reasonable cost of regulation.
A short time later, as speeds increased considerably with technology improvements, and the police started to drive horseless carriages, fines were introduced to encourage people not to be out of control. There were almost no safety features in those days and the consequences of two vehicles coming together were usually serious.
What we now had was a mechanism by which the government could raise revenue by taxing the population for using the road. Each year, the government could increase the size of theses fines to increase revenue. As well, the number and range of fines increased to capture more revenue. While this added no productivity, gave the motorist back nothing and built no infrastructure, vehicle running costs increased (the cost of registration rises each year beyond what is a reasonable cost of administration and of course third party personal insurance goes up and up – more revenue). Oh….you say, but it if you do nothing wrong you won’t be fined. Bullshit! The government want you to be fined. That’s why you get 12 points every two years. That’s why cops hide….to CATCH you speeding, not to STOP you speeding. Two different things. Now we introduce speed cameras and you have an instant way to raise revenue and the whole enforcement paradigm has shifted from road safety to increased revenue. And when you get to that stage, you need a whole media campaign to justify the unjustifiable “Every K over is a killer!” What utter rubbish. Age of vehicle, age of driver, type of vehicle (large four wheel drives for example) are much greater influences on road safety than a couple of K’s over the limit.
Leap ahead to 2015 and the two cops sitting across the road from my city office. They are hidden in a railway line access driveway and are booking people exceeding 40km/hr through a school zone that has only been in place for a week. For 20 years it has been considered safe (and legal) to drive past the school at 60km/hr. I have never heard of a single accident in this area of any kind and certainly have never heard of a child being hit by a vehicle. There are traffic lights and pedestrian crossings at the exit of the school to allow students to cross safely.
Move ahead one week and it is now a dangerous activity to drive at 60km/hr which is then in excess of 15km/hr over the speed limit and two demerit points and a couple of hundred dollars. The cops are pulling over about a car every four or 5 minutes. What a great business model….change the terms and conditions of the contract with no notice, hide in the bushes, and then hammer the customer with penalties.
Oh! But it’s road safety! Gimme a break. This is where the institutionalised corruption hits high gear. The number of fatalities and injuries per 1000 kilometres driven has been steadily dropping since the 1950s. You are now safer in a vehicle than you ever have been in any time in history. The following graphs (http://www.monash.edu.au/miri/research/reports/papers/fatals.html)show this in brilliant colour.
However, the police (you know those guys who are meant to be tasked with looking after us) tell us that the road toll is unacceptable and that we all must be punished severely. Of course they quote the overall road toll, not the relative road toll, as it suits there purposes. Lies, damned lies and statistics. The real problem is that they start to believe their own spin. The yearly increases in traffic fines and the yearly changes to the levels of offence (15km over becoming 13km over) are simply designed to raise additional revenue. They have absolutely nothing to do with safety. There is no evidence that covert speed cameras have any effect on road safety.
“Every K over is a killer!” is it really? I drive an E63 Mercedes which can pull up from 100km/hr in just over 30 metres. A Toyota Landcruiser pulls up from the same speed in just over 40 metres. That’s three times the width of a pedestrian crossing. What’s the killer? I can occasionally be found in my car thrashing it around Eastern Creek raceway. When was the last time that Pitt Street farmer had his Landcruiser out on the track? Speed kills…..Muppets Kill!!!
The absolute proof that this is all about revenue is in the treatment of company registered vehicles where you can choose not to identify the driver but simple pay three times the fine. I.e., if you are prepared pay the tax, you can speed all you want! We won’t even mention the fact that the number of accidents decreased when they pulled the speed cameras off Somerset’s roads in the UK (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-somerset-18099809)
The great tragedy of what I am seeing today is the number of mums in family wagons that are being pulled over. You can see that they are visibly upset and will have to go home and explain to hubby that t she just lost a couple of hndred dollars because she was doing 60 in a 40 zone that had been installed for a week and that she had been pulled over by a couple of dodgy tax collectors hiding from view to catch her.
Given the prevalence of domestic violence, and the fact that some of these women will have to break the news to drunken abusive husbands, some of these mums will be beaten up for their trouble. Just for a second, imagine how they felt when the bloke in the blue uniform jumped out and pulled her over. This is an example of government actively working against citizens.
Road safety my arse.
August 31, 2015 § Leave a comment
Can I tell you why Productivity in Australia Sucks?
So….me an a few mates have a little business in the city of churches. We design and build tools for the mining industry. It’s a good little earner, but Jesus wept we struggle with the bureaucracy from time to time.
So we order a 3D printer from the US of A (you know…we have a free trade agreement with them). So we pay for Express mail to Australia as we need to get this baby fired up to make some parts for our world leading technology.
Sure enough, the parcel takes four days to hit this wonderful shore of ours. Then…..nothing…The tracking says; “Held in Customs”. It sits there for a week before I ring Australia Post…
.”Nah, you gotta ring customs”. So I ring Customs (Sorry..”Immigration and Boarder Protection”).
“Yeah, mate, we’re sending you a letter”.
“Why don’t you just email me?”
“Yeah, mate, we don’t do email”.
So a week later, the letter arrives. I have to work out what the class of Tariff is, scan all of the invoices (which are attached to the parcel anyway), fill out a bunch of paperwork and email it all back to them (they do do email).
A week later, I get the invoice. $216 of GST and $48.50 for me to fill out the forms. I pay online instantly.
That was a week ago. Where’s the parcel??? You guessed it…”Held by Customs”.
My point is that Australian Business suffers as our bureaucracy are just a bunch of speedhumps that charge you a fee every time you bounce over one. They add no value whatsoever. Three bloody weeks just to get a parcel into the country. I’m just one business. Imagine how often this is going on every week. There’s a bunch of start up businesses out there who are just being bogged down by these mongrels that charge you a fee for doing absolutely nothing.
So why isn’t this an efficient process? They certainly generate enough revenue to invest in world best technology. The reason is simple…….the money goes to consolidated revenue. The government has turned every aspect of regulation we have into a revenue stream. Prices go up to increase revenue, but there is no added value being delivered. So the cost per unit output rises continuously. Productivity goes down the toilet.
August 24, 2015 § Leave a comment
What do you do when you get your tax return, or when uncle Harold falls of his perch and leaves you a few grand? Maybe you do that extension, or maybe you put a bit away in the bank, or maybe you have a holiday. What you don’t do is go and employ a gardener, manservant, chauffer, cook, nanny and handyman. Why, because that added wealth is not sustainable income. We know that it won’t last and that we can’t rely on Uncle Harold to repeatedly fall of his perch whenever we need some extra cash.
On the other hand, when your family loses an income, you don’t rush out an borrow a crapload of cash and buy the extended family new TV sets (like Rudd did in the first GFC….I say first because it looks like it’s all happening again).
It would appear that federal Treasurers have a lot to learn from basic home economics.
Whether federal or state governments or local councils, there has been a failure in economic strategy in Australia in regards to the variable nature of revenue. At the top, the Federal government became addicted to the golden revenues generated by the long and sustained mining boom. How much of this did we bank for a rainy day? Nada.
A 2013 IMF Report (http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2013/wp1305.pdf) would suggest that the Howard years were a lost opportunity to be financially responsible and to bank some of that mining boom bonus.
That said, the modelling also suggests that Greece were more financially responsible than Howard and look where they are at the moment! Howard treated the big Variable bonus as sustainable revenue and gave it out as tax cuts to those who probably deserved it most as they were contributing more in tax. What Howard did manage to do was pay down government debt as can be seen below (http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/FlagPost/2013/June/Australias_current_debt_position__update_June_2013)
Using excess cash to pay down debt is as good as banking it. None of the lefties have ever acknowledged the amount of debt Howard paid down and it should be noted that he actually left money in the bank when he left office….not nearly as much as there should have been.
Along come Labor….Holy Crap!!! Talk about spending. They went nuts. Not only did they spend everything that Howard left, they borrowed hundreds of billions of dollars and kept spending. Check the graph to the left. All of the work done by Howard was reversed by Rudd/Gillard.
They just kept spending, even though the mining boom was over. The farce was the “MRT” – Mining Resource Tax. What a joke. The boom was over, but Labor and the Greenies thought they could rape the miners one more time to get some easy cash. As it turned out, the mines were already on their way down and they didn’t make a brass Razoo out of it.
So here ends the lesson…..until we have the stability in politics where successive governments are allowed to exhibit long-term economic prudence….we’ll be in the poo. The media should be hounding our politicians to show economic responsibility. The problem is that prudence is boring. The front page is not going to run a story highlighting that we just paid off $100M of debt.
The same scenario holds for state governments. Queensland – $88B in debt after the best mining boom they every had. The size of the public service grew and grew and grew. When the money ran out, the were left with a bloated government that they couldn’t downsize as the unions had a strangle hold. Along comes poor old Campbell Newman and sacks 15,000 of them and he gets thrown out of government. he tried to do the prudent thing. Now Labor are back in power in Queensland, with massive debt, but on a platform that won’t let them cut the spending….and not a peep form the ABC!
August 23, 2015 § Leave a comment
So, they’re at it again – “Abbott is on the ropes”, “The Death Blow”.
I am always concerned when the Commenteriat claims to have their finger on the public pulse. Jennifer Hewett arrogantly assumes that while the public is ‘appalled by the political drama’ surrounding the Abbott government, the same public is satisfied by the media coverage of these events. Nothing is further from the case.
The public is tired and frustrated by the now endemic cycle of the media Illuminati pouring petrol onto the slightest smoulder of discord and then providing limitless amount of oxygen to the flame. The second that detonation occurs, the same protagonists fill page after page with informed review of where the deposed leader went wrong and why the party must rebuild and refocus.
The incredible damage this new paradigm is doing to this great land is irreversible. The Country’s interests come last, commentary is now more about raising the status of the journalist involved than doing anything for Australia. It would appear that sitting back and throwing grenades at the country’s highest office for personal and professional status is the new national sport.
In this environment, how is it possible for any government to implement long term strategy?
Instead of exposing them for saboteurs, the media will give one or two recalcitrant backbenchers more oxygen than they will the rest of the party governing Australia. It is clear that their agenda is disruption and chaos. They thrive on it.
Sack the bastards. They do the people of this country no good.