News

Eurydice Dixon: we’re trying to fix the wrong problem

The murder of Eurydice Dixon in Melbourne last week is a tragedy, as is every murder of an innocent person. The randomness of this attack makes it all the more haunting and my heart goes out to her family, friends, and fans.

We’ve seen this before. The murder of Jill Meagher bears gut wrenching similarity both in the crime, and in the reaction. The randomness of the attack, the rape and murder, the public outcry, the marches and vigils.

But we’re making the same mistake we did after the Jill Meagher murder, and every other random murder of an innocent woman: We’re ‘fixing’ the wrong problem, and that leaves the REAL problem un-fixed.

The mistakes are many, but let me articulate the ones that undermine our efforts to actually protect women:

A: We’ve made this a ‘group’ issue, but all violence is committed by an individual, against an individual. We … Read the rest


Of Kanye and coconuts

It would have been hard to ignore the outburst of pure rage that met recent claims that Kanye West had suggested “slavery was a choice”. Kanye, who has become famed for his provocative comments, seemed to have gone too far this time. The rage quickly spread through liberal media outlets, with CNN reporting, for example that “Kanye West just said 400 years of slavery was a choice”.

Among my own Facebook and WhatsApp circles, the anger was palpable. I’d have gotten angry too, if I still believed much of what I read on Facebook or WhatsApp. But given that most of today’s outrage tends to be based on exaggeration and misinterpretation – if not outright lies – it was worth sitting back and considering the facts and context.

First question: are there ulterior motives for attacking Kanye? Absolutely, yes. In black and left circles, Kanye had fallen out of Read the rest


Why Stan Grant is wrong about Hayek and the ball tampering saga

Recently Stan Grant wrote to tell us that F.A. Hayek — of all people — not only founded the global order we have today, but gave us a set of ideas that lead directly to ball tampering in cricket! It was another one of those cliched “other people consider mere economics but ‘I’ consider higher ideals” articles. The bogeyman of “Neoliberalism” strikes again, we are told.

The message of Grant’s article is that economics is pretty much the science of greed. He complains of the “reduction of all human motivation to the one-dimensional rational self-interest of Homo-economicus”. The concept of homo-economicus was constructed by the early classical economists because homo-real-life didn’t fit their mathematical models. But anybody familiar with economic history would know that Hayek was from the Austrian school, which robustly rejected this approach.

The Austrian method starts with humans as they actually are – purposeful, choosing, acting beings, … Read the rest


Brutality exposes dark heart of Australian police culture

The shocking footage of a Victorian pensioner being beaten outside his home by police has highlighted a festering blight that taints governance in this country, revealing some very dark truths about how we citizens can expected to be treated by those who wield the gun and the baton over us. Concerned for his welfare as he came off his pain medication, the carers of the pensioner, only identified as John, called the authorities and half a dozen police officers were dispatched. Despite the fact that John asked the officers to leave, saying he wanted to be left alone, the police told him that they would break down his door if he didn’t let them in. Once he unlocked the door, the police pepper sprayed him, dragged him out of his home and to the ground, beat his leg with a baton, and then six of them pinned him to the Read the rest


No offence: but you’re going to hell

Rugby union player and devout Christian Israel Folau views on homosexuality has caused a maelstrom of controversy. On Instagram Folau was asked, ‘What is God’s plan for gay people?’ His reply, ‘Hell. Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.’ has been heavily criticised in both mainstream and social media.

Many commentators have called for Folau to be penalised by Rugby Australia and have called for major sponsors of the game to withdraw their sponsorship. In response to the controversy a Qantas spokesperson said ‘as a sponsor of Rugby Australia, we’re supportive of their approach towards tolerance and inclusion, which aligns with our own. We’ve made it clear to Rugby Australia that we find the comments very disappointing.’

There have been some claims in the media that Qantas is considering pulling its sponsorship of the sport, however there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of this apart from Read the rest


Dividend Imputation Credits – or how to send non-accountants to sleep

Accountants, and particularly tax accountants, have a wonderful way of making themselves indispensable. They use explanatory terms that induce creeping somnolence and decreasing sentience amongst the general population. In other words, they use sentences that put you to sleep. Once you are asleep, they can issue their bills and there is not much you can disagree with them on as you slept through the entire process. Sign here, please.

Dividend imputation is one of those terms that just seems to cause abject boredom to everyone else but gets many accountants excited.

First, an explainer. In most of the world companies pay tax and then, when they pay dividends, those dividends are also taxed as income to the shareholders. This, as you may have noticed, is effectively taxing the same income twice. The result is that many companies don’t pay much in dividends or they seek out tax havens to reduce … Read the rest


What’s to be gained by an Australian republic?

On New Year’s Day, the Prime Minister was goaded into commenting on the prospect of opening up the debate on an Australian republic following an attack on his republican credentials by former PM Paul Keating. Despite acknowledging there is ‘little appetite’ for such a move, he then went on to expound on what methods he’d like to use if we were to debate the issue again. Coupled with Bill Shorten’s election promise of July last year to appoint a minister to advance a republic debate should Labor win office, it is likely that the debate will be revived sometime in the near future.

Yet what is there to be gained by such a change? Some would say that the greatest benefit is that we would have an Australian occupying our highest office – a ‘mate for a head of state’. And yet we already have one. The governors-general, the Queen’s … Read the rest


An open letter to Suzanne Simonot

This open letter is in response to an article by Suzanne Simonot in the Gold Coast Bulletin that covered Milo Yiannopoulos’ show on the Gold Coast.

Ms. Simonot,

I read your article regarding Milo and I wished to make a few comments.

First, I attended his show. Sure, I don’t agree with everything he says, frankly I think his position on Islam could do with a bit more nuance, his foreign policy is Israel-centric, and his idea that bisexuals aren’t real is just silly. I am also an atheist and critical of Abrahamic monotheisms, so I do not share Milo’s religion. But many (probably most) people who go to Milo’s shows have at least a few disagreements with him; he’s as much a showman as a commentator and this is part of why he is successful.

But I think your most substantial error is at the end of your article, … Read the rest


Everyman’s home is not his castle

We all know that with any land we ‘own’, there are rules and regulations over exactly what we can do with it. Some of these rules make sense such as a ban on burning off during the summer months; while others seem less useful and border on the pedantic. For instance, in my own suburb, we cannot fence in our front yards with walls any higher than 1.2m. The purpose, one assumes, is to ensure our streets maintain a certain look, to the benefit of all the residents.

If you think the rules and regulations governing how people make use of their own property is restricted to the cities and surrounding suburbs, think again. A WA man living on his own patch of paradise in the outback, has accumulated almost $5000 in court costs and fines for ‘camping’ on his own property in the middle of nowhere.

Roland Gopel, an Read the rest