Oligarchies, monopolies, and monopsonies

I highly recommend this article by John Quiggin:

Analyses of the upsurge in inequality since the 1970s have pointed to monopoly and monopsony power as a major factor. As Brett Christophers observed in his book of the same name, competition has ceased to be the “great leveller.” Or, to quote Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, “As inequality has widened and concerns about it have grown, the competitive school, viewing individual returns in terms of marginal product, has become increasingly unable to explain how the economy works.”

The importance of monopoly and oligopoly in generating inequality has also been highlighted by bodies such as the Economic Policy Institute and the Open Markets Foundation, as well as by David Autor and other leading economists.

As is usual in economics, most discussion focuses on the United States. What about Australia? Last December, the Grattan Institute released a report seeking to debunk the idea that monopoly power creates serious costs for Australian consumers. Understanding this counter-intuitive finding takes some digging, but it turns out that the analysis rests on a simple, but dubious, choice of metric.

One useful measure of monopoly power is the proportion of household expenditure that goes to monopoly or oligopoly businesses. On the income side, economists worry about the extent to which large businesses can act as monopsonists (single buyers) using their market power over their suppliers, franchisees and workers. Taken together, the share of household expenditure and income that involves dealings with monopolists represents a reasonable measure of monopoly power.

Grattan’s analysts do something subtly, but crucially, different. They use the “gross value added,” or GVA, recorded in the national accounts to identify industries dominated by a few private firms. Their striking finding is that only about 20 per cent of the economy falls into this category. These firms account for a substantial share of the average household’s expenditure, but a much smaller share of GVA.

Why is this the case? Arriving at the GVA for any given firm involves subtracting from its sales revenue the inputs purchased from other firms. In Australia, those inputs are mostly services supplied by firms ranging from labour hire and cleaning services at the bottom end of the market to legal and accounting services at the top. In all but a handful of cases, these markets are highly competitive.

On any reasonable accounting, the fact that monopoly businesses deal mostly with competitive suppliers — suppliers that can be replaced if they don’t cooperate — makes the problem worse, not better. By using GVA as its measure, the Grattan analysis reaches the opposite conclusion.


591 thoughts on “Oligarchies, monopolies, and monopsonies

  1. Today’s Shorten video –live about half an hour ago, from Canberra for a major infrastructure announcement.

    Shorten in great form, handling some real pests of journalists well. Loved “I don’t want to interrupt your questions with an answer”.

    I believe “Pachi” is Michael Pachi, from 2GB. I don’t know which CPG “Andrew” is the one being a real pain.

  2. Gippsland (NAT 18.2%)


    Eastern Victoria. Gippsland includes the towns of Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Morwell, Sale and Traraglon and surrounding rural areas.
    State electorates within Gippsland include: All of Gippsland East (NAT), parts of Gippsland South (NAT) and Morwell (IND).


    Gains Yallourn North from McMillan, slightly reducing the margin from 18.4% to 18.2%


    Gippsland has existed since Federation and has never elected a Labor MP. The Country Party and their successors the Nationals have held the seat continuously since 1922. All but three of Gippsland’s MPs have ended up in cabinet. These include its first MP Alan McLean (1901-1906), who was de-facto Deputy Prime Minister under George Reid. Thomas Paterson (1922-1943) who held various portfolios in the Bruce and Lyons Governments. Peter Nixon (1961-1983), who held the interior, transport and primary industries ministries under Gorton, McMahon and Fraser, and Peter McGauran (1983-2008), minister under the Howard Government. McGauran was succeeded by Darren Chester.


    Darren Chester- NAT: Before entering the parliament, Chester was a TV and newspaper journalist and then chief of staff to then Victorian Nationals leader Peter Ryan. He also unsuccessfully contested the seat of Gippsland East at the 2002 state election. Chester entered the ministry as assistant minister for Defence in 2015 and was promoted in 2016 to Regional Development and Transport Minister before being removed from Cabinet at the behest of Barnaby Joyce. After Joyce was replaced as Nationals leader, Chester returned to the ministry as Minister for Veterans Affairs.

    Deb Foskey- Greens: Foskey is a former Greens member of the ACT legislative assembly and was also the ACT Greens Leader. She was also the Greens’ candidate in Gippsland East at the 2018 state election.

    Electoral Geography

    Most of the areas in Gippsland are very strong for the Nationals with the party winning more than 60% 2PP in most of the booths. Labor still has strength in parts of the Latrobe Valley around Morwell but this has declined in recent years. The Nationals’ vote ranged from 39.89% at Yallourn North Primary School in the Latrobe Valley to 86.29% at Cobains Primary School north of Sale.


    The Nationals will easily hold on to Gippsland (unfortunately)

    • I agree with your last remark. I always get a bit confused though, does Gippsland cover up to the border. We are 25ks from B’dale, at what used to be the start of the Omeo Highway. For the State election we are in East Gippsland.

  3. Goldstein (LIB 12.7%)


    Southern Suburbs of Melbourne. Goldstein includes the suburbs of Brighton, Hampton, Sandringham and parts of Elsternwick and Cheltenham.
    State electorates within Goldstein include: Parts of Bentleigh (ALP), Brighton (LIB), Caulfield (LIB), and Sandringham (LIB).




    Goldstein was created in 1984 and has always been held by the Liberal Party. Its first member was Ian Mcphee, the member for the abolished seat of Balaclava. Mcphee was Immigration Minister in the Fraser Government and was Shadow Foreign Minister in opposition. McPhee lost Liberal preselection prior to the 1990 election to David Kemp. Kemp was Education Minister and then Environment Minister under Howard. Kemp was succeeded in 2004 by Andrew Robb. Robb was Vocational and Further Education Minister under Howard and Trade Minister during the Abbott and Turnbull Governments. Robb retired in 2016 and was succeeded by Tim Wilson.


    Tim Wilson- LIB: Prior to his election, Wilson was the Director of Climate Change Policy, Intellectual Property and Free Trade at the Institute of Public Affairs, where he argued against plain cigarette packaging. In 2014, Wilson was appointed as Human Rights Commissioner despite previously calling for the commission to be abolished. Wilson has been on the backbench for this term of parliament.

    Wayne Connolly- UAP: Connolly is a business owner

    Electoral Geography

    Most of Goldstein is strongly Liberal, especially the Brighton area, while McKinnon and Bentleigh are more marginal. The Liberal vote ranged from 45.8% at Glenhuntly Primary School to 75.2% at St Andrew’s Church Hall in Brighton.


    Goldstein is a safe Liberal seat on paper but there could be a hefty swing on the cards. All of the state seats in this area swung heavily to Labor at the last state election.

    • My seat. I can tell you that nobody is bothering to bombard us with anything at the moment, and haven’t done so for quite a long time. Which is odd, because we used to get some fairly regular junk mail from both Wilson and Southwick (the state member). In all the years I’ve been here I have never seen any advertising from any other party.

      I think it’s a safe Liberal seat. My bit of it will vote ALP (as they did in 2016), which is something I guess. .I would love, love, love to see Wilson go though. He’s the type of person that really rubs me up the wrong way.

    • But Labor almost got in at the state election that made many of your retired neighbours giggle. I reckon that many old farts would like to repeat the result . . . more emphatically

      Bayside Council is so dismal that when some one rings the council looking for social support/activities for retired people they are referred to the largest bushwalking club in the state. A very paltry offering compared to the efforts of surrounding council areas

    • An extra comment on this one:

      McPhee was regarded as far too lefty for Howard’s strategists (and, of course, Howard himself). McPhee was someone who I would count as a “good” Liberal. Especially because he was the Minister for Immigration under PM Fraser, and totally, completely, supported the boat people.

      I also have a vague memory that his wife was active in one of the organisations that was supporting aspiring women parliamentary candidates, but so far I haven’t been able to track her.

    • Not out of the woods yet, his wife still has to wait 2 years before she can apply for Australian citzenship
      But . . . . yeah!

      As an Australian citizen I hope Al-Araibi exercises his democratic right to “VOTE THIS MOB OUT”

  4. Josh Frydenberg has walked away from his plan to ban mortgage broker trailing commissions, pushing the issue to a review in 2022.

    The Treasurer said the government had backflipped on its crackdown on the industry because it wanted to keep competition in the mortgage market, amid concerns that only the largest banks could afford to pay steeper bonuses to brokers.


  5. Gorton (ALP 18.3)


    Western Suburbs of Melbourne. Suburbs in Gorton include Deer Park, Albanvale, Taylors Hill and Melton.
    State Electorates within Gorton include: Parts of Kororoit (ALP), Macedon (ALP), Melton (ALP), Sydenham (ALP) and Sunbury (ALP).


    Loses areas around Delahey and Cairnlea to Fraser, reducing the margin from 19.5% to 18.3%.


    Gorton was created in 2004 and Labor MP Brendan O’Connor has been its sole MP.


    Brendan O’Connor- ALP: Before entering parliament, O’Connor was an organiser with the Municipal Employees Union and was then the Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Services Union. O’Connor was member for the seat of Burke from 2001 until its abolition in 2004. O’Connor was appointed Minister for Home Affairs in 2009 and was made Human Services Minister in 2011 before becoming Immigration Minister in 2013. He is currently the Shadow Workplace Relations Minister

    Electoral Geography

    Labor is strong in all areas of Gorton, winning all but one booth. The Labor vote ranged from 47.05% at the rural Toolern Vale and District Primary School booth to 79.82% at Victoria University Secondary in Deer Park.


    Labor will easily hold on to Gorton.

  6. The energy minister Angus Taylor has confirmed the Morrison government is continuing to assess new coal generation projects despite pushback from moderate Liberals, but he says taxpayers will only support projects that are “viable”.

    In a statement to Guardian Australia, Taylor confirmed the government was continuing to consider 10 coal projects through its power generation underwriting program, as well as new gas and pumped hydro proposals.

    Taylor said the government would not seek to pick any particular firmed generation over another, consistent with the advice of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The ACCC recommended limited government underwriting as a means of increasing competition in the generation sector.

    “The prime minister has made it clear the government will only support projects that are viable,” Taylor said. “The government is carefully considering all proposals. These are big projects and we’ve got to get this right.


    • Methinks a classic ‘walk-back’ effort from Anus T. here as he tries to reconcile his deliberate lying last week with a reasoned and economically responsible approach by the (renowned for good government) LNP. Of course he would love to see to it that coal was the only option. Good luck with that!

  7. From J O’Brien –

    This applies here libs and thier supporters and in the US with the trumpites.

  8. Penny Wong says it is impossible for Labor to entirely reverse Australia’s foreign policy cuts, accusing the government of having chosen cheap domestic political point scoring, cheered on by Pauline Hanson, at the expense of international aid.

    In a speech circulated ahead of its delivery at the University of Queensland, the shadow foreign minister said it would be impossible for Labor to replace the $11bn cut from Australia’s aid budget since the Coalition came to power in 2013 but has vowed to increase development assistance as a percentage of national income and commit funds to Pacific programs.

    Wong says the cuts “have not only had a very real impact to the people who benefit from investments in areas like health and education”, they have “damaged Australia’s reputation as a reliable partner in the region and lessened Australia’s influence precisely at the same time our national interest compels us to engage more deeply”.


    • We know that Essential is a slow moving beast but if that has started moving in the right (sorry left) direction then Bye Bye scummo. 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  9. Higgins (LIB 7.8 v GRN, LIB 10.2 v ALP)

    Inner Eastern Melbourne: Higgins contains the suburbs of Prahran, South Yarra, Toorak, Malvern, Glen Iris, Ashburton and Murrumbeena.
    State electorates within Higgins include: All of Malvern (LIB), parts of Burwood (ALP), Hawthorn (ALP), Oakleigh (ALP), Prahran (Greens).


    Loses Windsor to Macnamara, gains Murrumbeena and Hughesdale from Hotham, Reducing the Lib v Green margin from 8% to 7.8% and the Lib v ALP margin from 10.7% to 10.2%


    Higgins was created in 1949 and has only had five members in that time, all of them Liberals. The seat’s first MP was Harold Holt, who immigration minister, labour minister and treasurer respectively until succeeding Robert Menzies as Prime Minister. John Gorton assumed the Prime Ministership after Holt’s death and moved from the Senate into Higgins. Gorton was Prime Minister until 1971 until rolled by William McMahon, he served as Deputy Prime Minister for five months until McMahon sacked him for disloyalty. Gorton left the Liberal Party in May 1975 and unsuccessfully stood for an ACT Senate seat as an independent. Gorton was succeeded in Higgins by Roger Shipton, who was the only MP for Higgins not to be promoted to the frontbench. Shipton lost preselection in 1990 to Peter Costello. Costello became deputy Liberal leader under both Alexander Downer and John Howard and was Treasurer for the whole of the period of the Howard Government. After the 2007 election defeat, Costello decided not to run for the leadership of the Liberal Party (despite expectations that he would) and resigned from Higgins in 2009. He was succeeded by Kelly O’Dwyer.

    Incumbent MP

    Before entering parliament, O’Dwyer was a solicitor and then an adviser to Peter Costello. O’Dwyer was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer in 2013 and was made Assistant Treasurer and Small Business Minister when Malcolm Turnbull assumed the Prime Ministership, she also became Minister for Women in 2017. After Turnbull was replaced by Scott Morrison, O’Dwyer was made Minister for Industrial Relations. She is retiring at this election for family reasons.


    Katie Allen- LIB: Allen is a Paediatrician who has worked at the Royal Children’s Hospital for the past 25 years and has also worked as a medical researcher at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. she Unsuccessfully contested Prahran for the Liberals at the 2018 state election.

    Josh Spiegel- ALP: Spiegel has worked in sales and logistics management for a number of businesses and has recently worked as a staffer for Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby.

    Jason Ball- Greens: Ball is a co-founder of the Pride Cup, which helps football clubs stage matches to celebrate LGBT players, he is also a beyondblue ambassador and former Young Victorian of the Year. He also ran for the Greens in Higgins in 2015.

    Timothy Ryan- UAP: ????????????????????????????????????????

    Electoral Geography

    The strongest areas for the Liberals are in the wealthy suburbs of Toorak and Malvern while the best area for the Greens was in Prahran. The Liberal vote ranged from 39.23% in Prahran East to 74.72% in Toorak.


    Given the strong swings against the Liberals at the state election. Both Labor and the Greens will be eyeing this seat off. But it will be a long shot for either party

  10. Can we please collect Gippsland Laborite’s excellent work on seats into a dedicated thread. As in leave them in this thread but also archive them so we can use them as an easy-to-find resource. Also in one archive we can word-search if we want to find a particular seat.

    I am very grateful for this information.

    • Hear hear. I am often overtaken with gobsmacking gratitude to have such fantastic commenters as GL, BK, Leroy et al (you know who you are) on this site.

      Thanks GL for the hard work.

    • Puff,

      Yes, I already have a work-in-progress. Will probably be a pic thread-starter, with a link to the pdf.

      Once the election is announced …

  11. I found an excellent Australian facebook page dedicated to humorous responses to AntiVaxxer (or Pro Plague) fools. If you are on Facebook and want some good responses just search Refutations to Anti-Vaccine Memes.

  12. Thanks for the compliments. It’s an evolving work and I will be making edits as more candidates are announced.

    • Okay, GL.

      When your evolving megathesis has fruited, please email me the pdf and that will most DEFINITELY be the thread-starter for Federal Election 2019! (Anyway, I have enough to do getting a few PhD candidates over the line at the moment …)

  13. I think I’ll keep the remaining seats for the PDF.

    Just to clarify it’ll just be the Victorian seats, I really don’t have time to do all 151 (unless Morrison goes crazy and splits the senate and house elections)

  14. What rotten luck. You buy some rock salt and find after being around so many many years you have bought it just before it expires 🙂

  15. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. Theresa May’s latest Brexit proposal just got tossed out by around 150 votes.

    Chris Uhlmann opines that there will be many MAFS moments ahead in the federal election campaign.
    David Crowe opines that Shorten is making a huge promise to Australian voters that he will find a way to lift their wages.
    Eryk Bagshaw reports though that Shorten is preparing to legislate a “living wage” if he becomes prime minister, in a move that would boost minimum pay packets and embolden unions but alarm corporate Australia just two months out from the federal election.
    The Australian reports that Shorten has issued a new hit in his war on business, caning criticism of a Labor wages plan that could affect 2.3m workers.
    Adele Ferguson talks about the big report due out tomorrow on the fraught franchising industry. She says the industry could get turned on its head.
    Legal academic Joanna Howe writes that at least half of Australia’s cohort of temporary migrant workers are being underpaid, with exploitation of international students and backpackers deemed “widespread” and “endemic”.
    Patrick Hatch reports that Australia’s aviation safety authority has banned all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from flying to or from the country in the wake of two deadly plane crashes involving the brand new aircraft in the past five months. When one looks at the altitude tracks of the two flights it quite apparent that there is a significant control issue.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz says that the new chief executive should give Virgin Australia reason enough to take a fresh look at its order of 40 of these planes.
    And Bloomberg says Boeing needs to come up with answers quickly after this second air tragedy.
    Matt Wade says a Daley Labor government would seek to lift wages growth for NSW government workers beyond the 3 per cent mark, well above the wage growth cap introduced by the Coalition eight years ago.
    The SMH editorial explains how the latest polling shows that the environment, to the chagrin of the NSW government, is a major issue with voters.
    NSW’s Deputy Premier warns the eruption of leadership tensions among ­federal Nationals could sink the Berejiklian government.
    The Reserve Bank has warned climate change is likely to cause economic shocks and threaten Australia’s financial stability unless businesses take immediate stock of the risks. The central bank became the latest Australian regulator to tell business that they must analyse their investments on Tuesday, as the Coalition grapples with an internal battle over taxpayer-funded coal fired power and energy policy.
    David Crowe explains how the Nationals could be facing a climate change backlash.
    Paul Kelly also thinks the Nationals are facing good deal of trauma.
    And right on cue the odious Barry O’Sullivan has struck back at Scott Morrison in the war over a coal-fired power station, daring the Prime Minister to stand up to the state government.
    Coal-fired power plants can pose a bigger threat to human health and the environment than cars, a ground breaking long-term global study has revealed.
    Gabrielle Chan writes that prominent rural women expressed their anger at a potential return of Barnaby Joyce to the Nationals leadership, with one accusing the party of turning a blind eye to his past behaviour in order to raise funds and votes in some quarters.
    Lenore Taylor calls enough scandalous time-wasting on climate change and implores politicians to get back to the facts.
    Wendy Touhy asks, “Why is it women’s job to make Parliament hospitable?”
    Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison did not “stop the boats”. John Menadue summarises how the boats were, in fact, stopped and who was responsible.
    The world will be watching as George Pell is sentenced this morning for child sexual abuse. Only the judge will be seen during the telecast.
    The Morrison government, under heavy fire from politically influential mortgage brokers, has backed down on a key recommendation from the Hayne royal commission, and will no longer ban trailing commissions from 2020.
    I suspect the for-profit aged care industry is going to get a fair bit of attention. Some Bupa facilities are in a fair bit of trouble.
    Penny Wong has issued a plea for a return to bipartisanship on aid, savaging complaints including by Coalition MPs that Canberra is ignoring struggling Australians by wasting billions of dollars helping foreigners.
    She says it is impossible for Labor to entirely reverse Australia’s foreign policy cuts, accusing the government of having chosen cheap domestic political point scoring, cheered on by Pauline Hanson, at the expense of international aid.
    Elizabeth Knight explains how NAB’s chairman Phil Chronican will need to exercise his herding cats skills to manage the different views of the bank’s shareholders on how to engineer a new executive pay scheme.
    Eight years ago, the world held its breath as the Fukushima nuclear crisis unfolded in Japan. Today the lands are littered and the seas awash with the consequences of radioactive waste responses and the economic, human and environmental costs are severe and continuing.
    Doug Dingwall tells us that Centrelink is saying its bid to cut call wait times using contractors is working, despite reports from agency staff that private call centre workers are giving welfare recipients incorrect advice. Staff have said some welfare recipients are calling up to eight times to have their questions answered as they deal with private call centre operators.
    Tonight’s Insight on SBS will ask, “What is the evidence behind the vitamins and supplements we love to take?” Here is the sorry story of one lady on the program who was sucked in by vitamin and other products.
    David Brophy writes that people who are wary of Chinese influence on Australian universities should not endorse extensive collaborations with the United States.
    The SANFL will need more than 170 new football grounds in metropolitan Adelaide by 2026 as the booming growth of the game puts a squeeze on oval space. Figures released last month revealed a 17.6 per cent rise in Australian rules participation in SA to a record-high 204,892 players.
    Looks like money and fame can get one’s lacklustre offspring into elite US colleges.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe with yet another beauty!
    John Shakespeare drops in on Warringah.

    Michael Leunig looks at clubs.

    From Matt Golding.

    Andrew Dyson on Morrison’s Melbourne problem.

    Cathy Wilcox with Latham.

    A cracker from Mark David.

    Fiona Katauskas with certain Canberra bubbles.

    Zanetti comes good.

    A reminder from Alan Moir.

    A little classic from Jon Kudelka.

    From the US

  16. Queensland. Beautiful one day.Moonlight State(again) the next .

    Queensland to repeal police discipline system set up after Fitzgerald inquiry

    Legislation to establish a new police discipline system was tabled in the state parliament last month, after years of pressure from the influential Queensland police union. The bill has bipartisan support and will likely pass later this year.

    he police union president, Ian Leavers, has hailed the demise of “the old punitive police discipline system” established in 1990, in the immediate aftermath of the Fitzgerald inquiry.

    The new system encourages the use of “management strategies” rather than formal sanctions for police misconduct and misbehaviour. Officers can no longer have their salary reduced

  17. If rural women are so disgusted by the National Party and Barnaby can we assume they will be voting anyone but Nats?

    I bet most of them won’t.

  18. Pelosi Tacitly Admits That Russiagate Is Bullshit

    In an interview with the Washington Post yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she opposed the impeachment of President Trump. This comes shortly before Mueller’s investigation into Trump-Russia collusion is expected to wrap up.

    “I’m not for impeachment,” Pelosi told the Post. “This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.”…

    “Is it possible that Putin has something on Pelosi?” Greenwald joked. “Or perhaps Democratic politicians and their media allies have been knowingly feeding the party base and cable viewers unadulterated, deranged, unhinged bullshit that they now can’t carry through on with the power in their hands because it was all self-serving, manipulative dreck? Anyone who has ever believed Trump is controlled and blackmailed by Putin to the point that Putin makes Trump treasonously sacrifice America’s interests for Russia’s — and there are a lot of you — should be marching in fury in the streets over Pelosi’s refusal to impeach Trump.”

    But, of course, they will not. There will be no protest against Pelosi’s opposition to impeachment because those who would lead it know there will never be any evidence that could possibly lead to a bipartisan willingness in the Senate to remove him from office.

    View at Medium.com

  19. M R-D

    The coal baron and Liberal National party donor Trevor St Baker has blasted the Reserve Bank deputy governor, Guy Debelle, for sounding the alarm on climate change, branding a significant speech on Tuesday warning of risks to Australia’s financial stability “totally inappropriate”.

    The politically connected founder of the business electricity retailer ERM Power, who has approached the Morrison government to underwrite new coal developments in Victoria and New South Wales, including a high-efficiency plant on the site of the AGL-owned Liddell power station, told the ABC on Wednesday Debelle’s intervention was out of order.


  20. Woofle dust won’t fix that.

    I’m working on finding the tweet in my unadulterated “legacy” version of Twitter.

    You seem to have fallen foul of the alleged “new” Twitter set-up.So did BK, this morning.

    It’s not new, they tried it a whole back and it was crap. It’s still crap now, although this time they have taken away the incredibly annoying continual automatic scrolling.

    My advice – go back the the legacy version of Twitter (in your Twitter settings) which is a zillion times better for posting tweets and images.

  21. Have I recalled correctly that quite a few years ago, pell spent millions doing up some apartment for himself in Rome? If so, his new lodgings must be very hard on his ego.

    • Domus Australia. Not for Pell, but for Australian pilgrims to Rome who could stay there.

      The Sydney diocese donated most of the cost, my diocese, Lismore, was apparently the only other NSW diocese silly enough to donate. That donation did not go down well with the local Catholics I know.

      Pell spared no expense.

      The place is now run as a four star “Boutique Pilgrim Guest house in Rome”, it offers –

      a calm and welcoming refuge from the busy tourist pace of the Eternal City.

      The Domus welcomes people of all nationalities and faiths.

      Home to its own Roman ruins, the historic Italian building complex of accommodation surrounds a central courtyard. It was completely restored in 2011 and offers beautiful and very comfortable facilities for travellers whether your reason for travel is pilgrimage, leisure or business


    • Your memory is impeccable, Gravel (unlike Pell …).

      … it is Rome that is Pell’s home away from home. He goes there three or four times a year, when he has business at the Vatican, the 44-hectare walled enclave that is both the world’s smallest independent state and the headquarters of the biggest Christian religion. He used to stay with James Stafford, a US cardinal best known for accusing Barack Obama of having “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic” ideas. Now he has his own splendid digs at Domus Australia, an old Marist Fathers’ building in Via Cernaia that the Australian church has bought and converted into a guest house with an attached chapel.

      Note: This article is from 2012, before Pell became 3IC at the Vatican.

  22. I am reposting this down thread.

    Sorry for the late reply, I have been doing my chores and other stuff.

    That is it for sure.

    Perhaps someone could decifer the equation? I think it has something to do with black holes but what would I know.

    • As I said, stay away from the new version of Twitter. If you use it you cannot copy images that will reproduce here, you will get a link that ends in something like “jpg&name=small” – or something like that. There’s no way you can get around that.

      It won’t let you simply copy a tweet, you have to “embed” it, which means you get taken to a new page, have to copy the code, paste it here and hope to hell it works (I haven’t tried it) and then you have to go back to the page you were on.

      Apart from that they have made the font larger, so everything looks messy and they have taken away the “home”, “notifications” etc labels at the top of the page and just left the icons, probably assuming that no-one needs to actually read words, a bit weird on a site where you have to read the tweets. They have also moved the trending lists to the other side of the page, for no other reason than because they can.

      Last time they did all this I sent some very stern feedback. I did it again when I gave the new look a try.

      It’s horrible.

      Don’t go there.

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