And so it goes . . . name your poison

1.  “New Jakarta ban shuts down live cattle trade.”

The price of utter amateurism:

Indonesia has slapped its own ban on live cattle imports, citing the Australian government’s export embargo that has paralysed the northern cattle industry.

No real surprise there. Australian governments have for long seemed to enjoy boasting or their (assumed) superiority over neighbouring states. Now the tables seem to have reversed. Who pays the price? Not government, that’s for sure. The cattle industry most immediately. And taxpayers, as always.

Unremarkably, government denies responsibility for the mess:

A spokeswoman for Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said last night . . . the government would continue to work with the Indonesian government to resume trade as quickly as possible.

As though the fault lay with the Indonesians.


2.  “RBA is facing a tough inflation challenge.”

When you look at the problems facing many economies around the world, you would think it should all be beer and skittles in Australia.

This is reportage, Australian-style. Who knew that economies are interconnected. I never cease to be amazed by the number of people I meet who anticipate excellent economic conditions over the next several years. But with comments like that, added, say. to the remarks of Jamie Dimon, global chief executive of J. P.Morgan, last week, perhaps I should not be. In a somewhat simple sense Dimon was right. It’s just that the likelihood of the US ‘shaking off the gloom’ is very slight indeed.


3.  “Kevin Rudd says Middle East turmoil forced Labor’s intervention in TV tender bid.”

Kevin Rudd says growing tensions in the Middle East forced the federal government to redraft its tender for the Australia Network, which had appeared set to be won by Sky News over the ABC.

His subsequent regarding ABC correspondents in the Middle East is, frankly, self-serving (and, at least in part, unclear) and denies the actual quality of reporting that characterises them. Wishful thinking on the partof ME correspondents is not confined to the ABC by any means but to suggest that we, the public, depend on them for pertinent analysis and reportage is nonsense.

A larger question regards the tender and appointment processes generally that have operated under Labor in the last couple of years. Rules seem to change at the last minute to serve not the public but ministers’ (usually ideological) convenience.


4.  “NBN deal ‘absurd, wasteful’.”

The Gillard government faces demands to abandon proposals to pay Telstra to maintain its ageing copper network in the bush where the NBN Co will also roll out a taxpayer-subsidised network.

The critics say nothing about price. No surprise there even as one might expect that demand for telecommunications services will, as with any other product, be price-dependent. As it is, the monthly price for NBN services from Internode is a few cents shy of $140 per month. Given the monopoly status of the NBN that is unlikely to fall. Price will, in all likelihood, force many users away from the internet. So the complaint about maintenance of the copper network is somewhat peculiar. It suggest that critics of the Telstra deal anticipate that people will continue to use the internet regardless of cost. Time will tell, but I doubt they’ll be proven right.




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