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. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Darren Gray reports that the Morrison government has gained new scope to deliver sweeping personal tax cuts in the April budget following a massive surge in the global iron ore price that could pour up to $6 billion into federal coffers. Not ANOTHER move to add to structural deficit!
    The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index, has fallen to its lowest level since September 2017 and its housing sentiment index has sunk to its lowest on record.
    Michael Koziol reveals that sources close to Craig Laundy have said the MP had already made up his mind to quit but the announcement was kept secret.
    Advance Australia has raised almost $400,000 it will use to shore up the positions of key Liberal Party conservatives ahead of the federal election – including that of former prime minister Tony Abbott.
    Home Affairs has asked Ernst & Young to investigate how the little-known Paladin Group came to win $423 million in refugee service contracts on Manus Island.
    Sarah Danckert tells us that one of Australia’s largest brokers, Halifax Investment Management, is set to head into liquidation after administrators discovered that some of the $210 million of client money was used to cover off losses on bad bets on investment products by other clients. $20m of clients’ funs is missing.
    Meanwhile Jess Irvine writes that the mortgage broker debate demonstrates everything that is wrong with our democracy.
    The AFR tells us how the Morrison government’s stunning backflip on mortgage broker pay was engineered by the Prime Minister’s celebrity friend Mark Bouris and aided by his former flatmate Stuart Robert.
    In a hard hitting contribution ex coal boss Ian Dunlop tells politicians to wake up to the climate threat.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz says that the global slowdown is becoming more intense – and no one knows why.
    Michael Daley has ruled out watering down the state’s gun laws if he is elected premier, despite having done preference deals with the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party in several key rural seats.
    The SMH sums up yesterday’s Pell sentencing.
    Lawyer Duncan Fine writes that Judge Kidd got it absolutely right with the sentence.
    The SMH editorial celebrates that yesterday’s sentencing demonstrated that even a cardinal is not above the law.
    In a typically well written contribution David Marr says George Pell’s jailing defies the might of Rome but his fall is too appalling for celebration.
    Joanne McCarthy, the journalist who played a big part in bringing about the royal commission, examines the gravity of the outcome of the Pell case.
    Conservatism is one thing; Australian conservatism is a whole other basket of brutality, writes John Tomlinson who looks at the Pell case.
    Despite the mainstream media’s defence of Cardinal Pell’s shocking crimes, the victims and survivors of sexual abuse have finally been heard, writes Sophie Love.
    The Australian’s Joh Ferguson says that while George Pell remained respectful of the Chief Judge, the same can’t be said of Peter Kidd’s attitude towards him.
    Peter Kidd: The judge who sentenced George Pell.
    John Warhurst looks at the state of our democratic system. A good read.
    The ACCC’s Rod Sims writes that our product safety regime is out of step and we are lagging behind. It’s time for that to change. He says this with there being about two deaths and 145 injuries per day caused by unsafe consumer products in Australia.
    And APRA is finally talking tough as it puts poorly managed super funds on notice.
    Labor’s pledge to introduce a “living wage” could make Australia’s minimum income the highest in world, an analysis of OECD data reveals.
    The Guardian reveals that One Nation’s election campaign for the New South Wales election is being predominantly funded by loans from its Queensland branch, raising questions about the party’s compliance with the stricter NSW campaign finance laws.
    With the election looming, now is a good time to examine how the NDIS is being managed by the Government, writes Michael Thorn.
    Dana McCauley tells us that employers are pushing for new laws to allow them to more easily sack perpetrators of workplace sexual harassment, arguing that the current system is hampering efforts to stamp out misconduct.
    Nick Miller explains why Theresa May can’t get a Brexit deal.
    Adele Ferguson accuses the ATO of excessive spin.
    Elizabeth Knight reports that Australia’s lesser-known retail bank, ING, has produced earnings growth that leaves its big four competitors in the dust.
    Jennifer Hewett writes about the Coalition failing to find its way through the energy and environment maze.
    Meanwhile Barnaby Joyce has dropped his claim that he is the legitimate leader of the Nationals, but cabinet minister Matt Canavan has joined the push for federally funded coal-fired power in Queensland.
    Doug Dingwall writes that the Coalition is targeting 76 Canberra jobs as another agency goes bush. This time it’s the Murray Darling Basin Authority.
    Australia’s largest pharmacy chain Chemist Warehouse, has been accused of short changing staff while creating a “toxic culture” of sexual harassment, bullying and job insecurity.
    Trump says the White House will be issuing an emergency order to ground all flights of the 737 MAX 8 and the 737 MAX 9 Boeing jets after a fatal crash.
    Richard Wolffe explains why Fox News is in a mess.
    More on the US college entry celebrity scandal.
    Paul Manafort cops another three years on top of last week’s prison sentence.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe and poor Theresa.

    Cathy Wilcox on Brexit.

    John Shakespeare and a realisation.

    Matt Golding’s in good form today.

    Matt Davison and Josh’s sideshow.

    Andrew Dyson with the living wage issue.

    Peter Broelman on the extremes of One Nation.

    Paul Zanetti with another good one.

    Sean Leahy takes Pell to prison.

    And he gives us one on Palmer being sprung buying campaign material from China.

    Jon Kudelka and the Brexit negotiation path.

    From the US

  2. Brexiteer Piers Morgan tweeted about Brexit Vote

    Parliament, dominated by Remainers, is now actively trying to stop Brexit happening.
    Staggering, unprecedented.. and disgraceful.

    Personally I think UK is much better off Remain even though the car industry is decamping. They also need to revamp their Parliament by getting rid of “First Past the Post” voting system

  3. Had a “Telstra” scam call yesterday. He did his spiel, I then said ‘Can I tell you I’m recording this call.’ He hung up. I am so sad. 😦

    • My DB clocked a personal best yesterday with a similar phone call. 35 minutes he wasted. His theory is that they longer he can keep them talking, on their dollar, the less likely someone who is less aware will be phoned – that and listening in to the pained politeness of the poor sod on the other end can be very funny.

  4. A 3-line whip means you must vote as the party tells you

    Another minister: “There is utter fury and despair by MPs and Ministers at the breakdown of collective responsibility. Voting against a 3 line whip especially as a Cabinet Minister and no repercussions- it’s free fall…”— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) March 13, 2019

  5. Learning FauxMo takes policy advice from his rich “TV personality” mates and from – heaven help us – Stuart Robert is chilling.

    The braindead being advised by the brainless – or maybe that should be the other way round.

  6. My wife is a mad gardener and we have had crops of oranges and mandarins but today we have just had our first crop of Mangos. And I have to say they are bloody gorgeous, big and juicy with an aromatic taste of gobsmacking delicousness. Next is Bananas also mulberries and blueberries.

    As a humble English boy from Lancashire where it is cold and damp (a bit like Denly Moor) I did not ever contemplate the ability to be able to say “I have just had a home grown mango from my own garded” but now I can and will whenever anyone will listen to me.

    I am only posting this to make people jealous (obviously not Political Animal who has his own story) so there and as Stephen Hawkins would say neener, neener,

  7. Once again the SMH proves its bias.

    This is a disgraceful piece of misquoting from Stephanie Peatling, deputy federal editor of The Age and the SMH –

    What Shorten actually said –

    Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten says the government has been on strike from climate policy since it has been in power.

    “In an ideal world, they (students) would protest after school hours or on weekends but it’s a bit rich of the government to lecture school kids for going on strike on climate,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday


    Steph is quoting Channel 9 News (well, of course she is) which also twists what Shorten had to say in its headline.
    Protest climate after school hours, Shorten tells kids

    Labor supports the climate strike.

    Here’s Michael Daley –
    Michael Daley says NSW schoolchildren have right to strike over climate change
    State Labor leader says education is ‘bigger than the classroom’ as he applauds students for ‘standing up and taking action’

  8. The backlash is beginning. We’ve had a couple of tweets today from GetUp lambasting Shorten for something he said about tomorrow’s climate change rally. All he said was that in an ‘ideal world’ the students would protest after school or on weekends, but that the current Government have a bit of a hide complaining about it, with the way they’re avoiding sitting in Parliament. GetUp concentrated on the first part of that quote, claiming Shorten wanted to stop students having a voice. Which is clearly not what he said.

    They’ve just deleted both posts in the past ten minutes, I note, so I can’t link to them any more. They were copping a lot of flak in the replies. But they are still re-tweeting this:

    I’m not quite up with where GetUp’s political loyalites lie, but it all has a creepy Greens feel about it. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re anywhere left of the Liberals, verballing Shorten and the ALP is a self-defeating exercise. Criticise all you like, as long as it’s constructive, but at least do it in the context of the ALP being better proposition than what we have now. That ought to be indisputable.

    • I saw the furor on twitter about a getup tweet implying that Bill was having a go at the kids strike. A lot of people I follow were saying they would withdraw their support as well as donations. I’m glad I’ve never participated in any of their stuff. I think they have done what Crikey did and turned green.

    • GetUp has gone Green and has turned on Labor in a big way, which is odd, because Bill Shorten was a founding director.

      You might remember that the current AWU/Michaelia Cash/raids issue is all about a donation Shorten allegedly made to GetUp back when he was a director and involved with the AWU.

      I have had no time for GetUp for quite a while. I don’t like the way they operate.

      Now they are just another front for the Greens. I believe the rot set in during Simon Sheik’s term as national director. He started off Labor, lied about the extent of his Labor Party membership, joined the Greens then left GetUp to run as a Greens candidate. He was not successful.

  9. Leone covered a lot of that in the post above, but I thought the GetUp aspect was an interesting addition.

    The other thing is this:


    It contains a familiar suspect – Chris Richardson from Deloittes, often the Liberals’ go-to man to prosecute their arguments in an economic setting – going on about how extravagant the wage-rises are going to be. But of course it’s all speculative, because he’s talking about what the ACTU want, not what the ALP are promising. There’s even a bit about how we’re current third in the OECD for minimum wage – which then goes on to suggest that there’s pressure on most of the the OECD countries to raise their minimum wages. And even an admission that raising them wouldn’t be a bad thing to do (RW talk for something being a good thing to do).

    There’s a “spending like drunken sailors” narrative being put together somewhere, I can feel it.

  10. I saw some of this interview on Sky, but missed the start, I was just channel surfing to kill a few minutes before I had to go out. It seemed very negative about FauxMo giving $1,3 billion to Snowy Hydro 2.0. and about the whole project.

    Jason Aravanis is Senior Industry Analyst and Media Liaison at IBISWorld Australia.

    The comment about the entire cost estimates chapter being redacted in the government’s feasibility study really got my attention. We are being lied to, again. I think the government is trying to sell us a pup.

    Never forget this whole thing was a Turnbull brainfart. It’s likely to end up the same way as his other brainfarts, like a faster, sooner, cheaper NBN and the infamous Rainmaker funding rort.

  11. The Guardian had an article about Parents Next today.
    The victim has an 11 year old, a 5 year old and a baby and was being harassed to get a job.
    Honestly I shudder at the prospects of those 3 kids growing up in the grinding poverty of relying on Centrelink in 2019 – I know that Leone’s children are fine upstanding citizens after a great struggle but I think conditions are worse now
    I listened to Senate Estimates where it was stated that everyone loved the pilot program – which was voluntary, had a dedicated Centrelink Help line. However when the program was rolled out nationally it was compulsory, the support people were not social workers, the Help line had been discontinued and women were breached for failing to report their activities in a timely manner whether that be because Telstra OPtus or Centrelink were down or the woman had run out of money to top up her account.
    I wonder whether it would be cheaper to just pay a Universal Basic Income because these punitive policing systems cost so much

    A comment was that the punitive job obligation was introduced by Department of Small Business

    A lot of people don’t seem to realise that, although you need to interface with Centrelink, everything is being driven by the Department of Jobs and Small Business who are making all the rules.
    It’s this two layer bureaucracy that is adding to the the complete clusterfuck that the ‘mutual obligation’ system has become for everyone on welfare, whether it is ParentsNext or Newstart.
    Centrelink takes all the flack, but in most cases their hands are tied. I’m not being an apologist for Centrelink and have had some bad experiences with individuals working for them, but on the whole they are stuck with being forced to deal with a compliance framework that is coming from Jobs and Small Business over which they have no control.
    How Jobs and Small Business make their decisions is what should be investigated because they seem to be totally out of touch with reality.
    (I hope they don’t cut me off for expressing my opinion).


    • I am so glad I signed up to oust Kelly ODwyer, although disappointed she is resigning at the next election. Her husband owns a shopping centre at Lyndhurst – an area of factory workers 1 hour commute southeast of Melbourne. The suburb has 20% unemployment an a third of the school kids qualify for the breakfast program.

      Kelly’s family prey on the vulnerable

    • Conditions are certainly worse now, although back in the time of the Hawke government, when I became a single mum, things were already heading downhill. Even then Labor was trying (unsuccessfully, mostly) to bring in punitive changes.

      This is going to sound harsh and nasty, but here goes anyway.

      I saw that story too, and while I have a lot of sympathy for this woman and her ParentsNext problem I also suspect she is a career single mother. The ages of her kids (and their different fathers, easily discovered with a quick Google) tell me she is one of the women who carefully time their pregnancies to make sure they keep having kids just within the cut-off dates for a parenting payment.

      I know a few local women who do this or have done this. When the cut-off age for benefits was 12 years old they would miraculously pop out another baby just before their youngest child hit that age. Now it’s six years old, and this woman has three children aged 11, 5 and newborn. It really makes you wonder.

      I would not condemn any woman for choosing this lifestyle, everyone has to survive as best they can. If the only way you can have a tiny income and keep your family together is to keep on having kids then go for it. I just think it is dreadfully disheartening that so many young women feel they have no other option, or have so little education that they have no idea better choices are available.

      As for governments who demonise these women and keep making things more difficult for them – you all know my thoughts. Both sides are just as bad when it comes to single mums (never single dads though) and both deserve to be criticised.

    • I had noted the 5 year gaps between kids
      I think those kids chances of reaching their full potential will be stunted

  12. Laura Tingle failed to mention that Catholic hospitals providing public health care, like St Vincents, Cabrini, in Melbourne, Mater in Newcastle are exempted from providing abortion or contraception services – a bit sad for the non-Catholics zoned to those hospitals

  13. I’ve had a theory about the ‘centre’ and politics for a while. As long as the centre is expanding, the ALP are well set to govern. But if it shrinks, they miss out. I’ll see if I can explain:

    The ALP, especially around election time, get attacked from both directions. It happens every time. We know they get attacked from the Right. That attack is all about how the ALP are in thrall to the Unions, how they waste money, relax borders, elevate crime levels, go ‘soft’ on everything. It’s a spurious argument, but it relies on fear and greed, and as such it can be effective… as long as those propagating it aren’t already discredited by their own actions, as the Lib/Nats currently. It’s all politics-as-perception.

    (Incidentally, this is what Turnbull was aiming at when he was banging on about the ‘sensible centre’. He just wanted to claim that philosophical ground for himself, in order to make the ALP appear further left than they actually were. If successful it would have marginalised the ALP. It wasn’t successful though, because Turnbull and his party were thoroughly discredited at the time).

    But running alongside it is an attack from the other direction. There is a whole body of people setting up unrealistic and idealistic standards for the ALP, demanding that they promise everything, fix everything, anticipate everything, otherwise they’re unfit to govern – or as it is more commonly put, “the same as the Liberals”. A lot of them vote Greens, because the Greens have discovered that when you have no prospect of governing, you can promise any old utopian thing you like. You’ll never have to pay for it, and the bonus is a bunch of idealists getting on your bandwagon.

    A strong ALP pushes both opposing forces further and further to the margins, making them appears crazier and more ‘out-there’ in the process. A weaker ALP gets swathes of its territory carved off from both sides. The point of this is the same one made about Fascism and Communism. The further from the centre they get, the more they resemble each other. At the moment the ALP do look strong and settled. But the attacks from both sides are becoming more and more virulent – one side desperate to force a “Union-controlled” straightjacket on them, the other attempting to portray them as unwilling to change anything for the better.

    I don’t know if all that is very clear. I really only started with the image of a central balloon expanding and contracting due to expansion from within and pressure from without. That’s how I see the ALP in this country.

    • There’s a moral to the misquoting story – always go to the source and check your facts before you leap onto a bandwagon.

      Never, ever believe what anyone says in a tweet until you have checked it for yourself.

      GetUp could have saved themselves a great deal of embarrassment if they had bothered to do a quick search to find out what Shorten actually said. It took me around 30 seconds to do it. GetUp portrays itself as reputable, they want their followers to believe they always speak the truth. They destroyed what little reputation they have this afternoon by blindly accepting garbage put about by Nine and by having to take down inaccurate comment. The time for finding out it was inaccurate should have been before it was posted.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Leone!

      I would also recommend that the Greens follow your sage advice.

      Not bating my breath, however …

  14. As if by clockwork, Greens MPs are lining up to misquote Shorten. We’ve had McKim, Bandt and Ludlum already. I’m sure there are more to follow.

    • To their credit, GetUp did apologise for jumping the gun when they pulled their tweets. I’m willing to bet none of the Greens loons do. In fact, checking on Ludlum, he doubled down.

      I have to go and find what Fiona said in reply to Bandt now…

  15. Tasmania’s public sector wage dispute is reaching a tipping point, with the Health Minister threatening to dock hospital workers’ pay and bring in contract labour when industrial action escalates.

    Public sector unions have rejected the state government’s latest pay offer, which would have amounted to a 6.75 per cent pay rise over three years.

    Hospital workers who are part of the Health and Community Services Union (HACSU), which includes hospital aides, cleaners and domestic service staff, have begun escalating industrial action including cutting back on removing dirty linen and rubbish from wards, sterilising trays and cleaning public toilets.

    Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the industrial action would have a direct impact on infection control and cleanliness, and would endanger patients.

    “The Department of Health has advised that if the bans announced by HACSU bosses proceed, critical services will cease and there will be serious impacts on patients and attendant public health risks,” Mr Ferguson said.


    • I spent a whole school day travelling to and from some big paddock in Sydney in full high school uniform including hat and gloves, just to spend a few seconds not waving at Princess Alexandra as she drove past in an open Land Rover.

      Not a highlight of my school days. I’d actually forgotten all about it until I saw that tweet.

  16. Would someone like to take McGowan out the back and do some “gentle persuasion”?

    Western Australia’s environmental watchdog has abandoned a recommendation to the state government that new emissions-intensive projects should be carbon neutral following widespread criticism.

    The Environmental Protection Authority last week released updated guidelines on mitigating emissions from new or expanding projects, suggesting proposals with emissions higher than 100,000 tonnes a year should be fully offset.

    The idea was shot down by the oil and gas industry, which warned it could jeopardise billions of dollars worth of new liquefied natural gas projects, and the WA government swiftly rejected the advice.

    After meeting with industry associations on Thursday, the premier, Mark McGowan, told reporters the EPA had withdrawn its recommendation and would consult more with the sector.

    “I think that’s a good outcome for the state,” McGowan said. “I think it will provide more certainty and allow us to be part of a bigger national solution on this issue.”


  17. This is Jamie Parker, Greens member for Balmain in the NSW lower house, doing his best to make sure he is re-elected by sabotaging Liberal corflutes.

    Or is he helping to put them up?

    It’s hard to know whose side the Greens are really on.

    And in other Greens news from the NSW election campaign –

  18. Oh,please, do it!

    Federal Liberals have hatched a plan for the Morrison Government to revive the East West Link by increasing its contribution to $4 billion, as ­internal polling shows the party faces an election wipe-out in Victoria.

    Senior Liberals have told the ­Herald Sun they fear that up to a dozen federal seats in Victoria are under ­serious threat at this year’s election.

    The East West Link push, spearheaded by eastern suburbs MP ­Michael Sukkar with the support of other MPs, has been backed by party research that shows the giant ­project — dumped by the state Labor government — is still a “vote shifter”.


    I like the votes that would shift.

  19. More Home Affairs dodgy contracting.

    High risk and inflated: Australia’s contract for food on Manus Island

    A Papua New Guinea company paid $82 million by Australian taxpayers to feed and house asylum seekers on Manus Island is suspected by its own bank of inflating invoices, while making millions of dollars in profits.

    The Department of Home Affairs awarded the contract, without competition, to a politically connected company, NKW Holdings. Leaked emails from NKW’s bank say the contract was a “much-needed lifeline” to the struggling company.

    The emails, leaked to The Age and Sydney Morning Herald from within PNG’s biggest bank, Bank South Pacific, suggest the Home Affairs department entered into a high-risk arrangement with NKW in September 2017, but did not sign a formal contract until a year later.

    This appears to have exposed Australian taxpayers to huge unnecessary costs imposed by a company that was on Bank South Pacific’s “watchlist” for unpaid debts at the time it was engaged by Home Affairs


  20. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. I’ve pulled together a monster compilation for you today!

    An excellent essay from Waleed Aly on the bigger picture of Pell’s sentencing from which we should have discovered the difference between vengeance and justice.
    Theresa May will ask the EU to extend the Brexit deadline after MPs just voted overwhelmingly to agree an extension to Article 50.
    David Crowe is excoriating with his assessment of the government’s last week but says that the budget could provide Morrison with a launching pad for the election campaign.
    Katharine Murphy writes that the Morrison government, which is battling a persistent internal fracture on energy policy, is attempting to foment divisions between Labor and the union movement over the opposition’s 45% emissions reduction target in the run up to the election.
    Michael Pascoe tells us that hot on the heels of the Reserve Bank unequivocally calling out the financial danger of climate change, the head of the Home Affairs Department has listed it as a threat to national security.
    Greg Jericho goes into how new research from the Reserve Bank of Australia has revealed the extent of the impact interest rate cuts have had on house prices, rents and dwelling investment.
    Dana McCauley writes that employers have called for an effective wage freeze for low-paid workers, in a bold move that sharply contrasts with union calls for a 6 per cent increase and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s promise to legislate a “living wage” if he becomes prime minister.
    Fergus Hunter reports that Labor has played down expectations of a rapid and major overhaul of the National Broadband Network if it wins government, ruling out a “quick fix” and instead promising a responsible approach to the vexed $50 billion project.
    Richo reckons Morrison’s in for a rude awakening.
    Phil Coorey writes, “If you are in any doubt how the Coalition has misread the politics of climate change and how concerned the Liberals are about Victoria, look at the recent change in language and behaviour.” It’s every man for himself, he says.
    Judith Ireland tells us that the states have accused the Coalition of playing politics with the disability royal commission.
    The Parliamentary Budget Office has called into question whether longstanding net debt frameworks adopted under Coalition and Labor governments are appropriate. The Future Fund could be holding $70b of government net debt.
    I’d say Boeing’s in a spot of bother given this revelation.
    And Bloomberg is of the opinion that Boeing has already lost control of the narrative.
    Patrick Hatch with this example reminds us of the perils of taking on a franchise. Let’s see what the release today of the report from the parliamentary inquiry into the franchising industry.
    Adele Ferguson reckons the jig is finally up for the shameful franchise sector.
    And Shadow Minister Deb O’Neill writes that it’s time to restore confidence in the franchising industry. She says the current regulatory environment is just not working.
    Richard Baker reports that a Papua New Guinea company paid $82 million by Australian taxpayers to feed and house asylum seekers on Manus Island is suspected by its own bank of inflating invoices, while making millions of dollars in profits. Another mess on the Uber Tuber’s watch.
    And one of UBS Australia’s most lucrative financing deals is being investigated for possible breaches of Swiss law, after a controversial $1.2 billion loan to Papua New Guinea left the Pacific nation with heavy losses.
    Michael West concludes that when it comes to tax, it’s Virgin by name and Virgin by nature.
    The SMH editorial says that mortgage broker reform must not be kicked into touch. It concludes by saying that the backdown by Frydenberg sends a bad signal for how he plans to implement the other 75 recommendations of the Hayne inquiry. It will invite banks and other financial institutions to use all their lobbying power to water down and delay other measures.
    The Age reveals that a fire safety engineering firm blamed by VCAT for a flammable cladding blaze in Docklands also approved the Spencer Street tower that burnt last month.
    The John Curtain Institute declares that the case for a living wage has never been stronger.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz writes that the CBA, confronted by the costs and uncertainties permeating the wealth management sector, had no realistic option but to suspend its plan.
    Sarah Danckert explains how the head of the corporate watchdog has slammed the attitude of some senior bankers who have warned against strict new regulation, in a fresh sign the sector has not taken the Hayne royal commission seriously.
    Off-the-plan apartment buyers could be ‘out of the money’ by as much as 20 per cent as settlement falls due in coming months. Ouch!
    And Cait Kelly opines that Australia’s housing market is on track to experience a slump bigger than both the global finical crisis and the 1980s recession.
    Peter Hannam reports that the NSW government had prepared sweeping climate change policies to decarbonise the state’s economy only to have the plans shelved when Gladys Berejiklian became Premier.
    A former deputy director of the Nationals and a key lobbyist for the tobacco industry and Adani has emerged as one of the biggest donors to One Nation in the last six months.
    Billionaire developer Harry Triguboff’s company has launched legal action against Premier Gladys Berejiklian in an attempt to win approval to build a divisive residential tower in north-west Sydney.
    Michael Koziol explains how Malcolm Turnbull has warned the “idiocy” of a renewed fight over coal-fired power among federal MPs is damaging the chances of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian as she fights the knife-edge state election.
    Meanwhile Peter Dutton, says the Morrison government should not be in the business of building coal-fired power stations, and has put a question mark over whether taxpayers should support upgrades to existing plants.
    Michelle Grattan writes that the Coalition is trapped in its coal minefield. She says It seems the government can’t take a trick on climate and energy policy – even the school children are reminding it of that.
    What do you do when the polls are against you and you don’t have a climate change policy? Start a fake internal war over coal, that’s what, says Dave Donovan
    The terror of climate change is transforming young people’s identity.
    Jess Irvine tells us how a random audit of 300 tax returns of property investors has revealed widespread, worrying errors. The ATO has warned that property investors were now his “next focus”, following a successful crackdown on inappropriate work-related expenses.
    Jenna Price says that it’s not only the US where university admissions can be wangled.
    And now the college admissions bribery investigation that led to charges against 50 people, including chief executives and Hollywood celebrities, has placed a new focus on how US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law got into Harvard.
    Mistakes made by private call centre workers in Centrelink call centres could be putting people escaping domestic violence at risk, the main public sector union claims.
    The Catholic Church is investigating George Pell’s case. What does that mean? Canon law expert Ian Waters explores this question.
    Disgraced Cardinal George Pell has been given his sentence in the case of child sex abuse, with mixed reactions from the public, writes Dr Lee Duffield.
    Was it a pig’s ear, a dog’s dinner or a cat’s arse? Yesterday was one of the May government’s worst political screw-ups, and that’s really saying something writes Nick Miller.
    One of Adelaide’s wealthiest and most prominent mining executives has had tens of millions of dollars in assets frozen as part of a federal police investigation. Dr Keith Robert “Bob” Johnson has been named as a suspect in a case brought by the Australian Federal Police under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
    US federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with some of the world’s largest technology companies, intensifying scrutiny of the social media giant’s business practices as it seeks to rebound from a year of scandal and setbacks.
    The head of the Australian Medical Association has warned celebrity chef Pete Evans should stick to cooking and not spread misinformation about vaccinations.
    The former leader of the far-right anti-Islam movement Australian Defence League has been sentenced to 12 months behind bars for his assault on a neighbour. Clearly a nominee for “Arsehole of the Week”.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe and the state of Brexit and the UK.

    I can’t work out this one from Rowe.

    From Matt Golding.

    Glen Le Lievre with a view on the church.

    Andrew Dyson with the relationship between anger and justice.

    Jim Pavlidis and the student strike.

    And we have Cathy Wilcox on the same subject.

    Sean Leahy also.

    Rod Clement and the living wage.

    Mark David takes aim at a particular section of the media.

    We’ve now had a string of three reasonable cartoons from Zanetti!

    Jon Kudelka lines up Barnaby.

    From the US

  21. BK

    Rowe has done a riff on The Nightmare.

    The Nightmare is a 1781 oil painting by Anglo-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli. It shows a woman in deep sleep with her arms thrown below her, and with a demonic and apelike incubus crouched on her chest…………..Interpretations vary. The canvas seems to portray simultaneously a dreaming woman and the content of her nightmare.

  22. And Cait Kelly opines that Australia’s housing market is on track to experience a slump bigger than both the global finical crisis and the 1980s recession.

    Slump ? Nah, moving back to more realistic prices rather than bullshit over inflated ones.

  23. Our government is so determined to put the boot into kids striking today that all of them have failed to realise the strike is global.Something like 87 countries are involved. It’s not the Australian Greens influencing impressionable little kids, it’s teenagers, some of whom will be voting in this year’s election, making up their own minds and trying to make sure they have a future on this planet.

    Those striking kids have parents, grandparents, extended families and brothers and sisters who vote, or will soon be voting. Many family members are fully supporting these kids. Those who are not are at least being made to think about the reason for the strike.

    A government who dismisses these strikers as mindless children, pawns of alleged “greenies” is a government about to become an opposition.

    I’m sick of the drivel being spouted by members of the government.

    Dan Tehan’s remarks are typical –

    Cormann has also muttered some drivel on Sky News.

    FauxMo seems to be back in witness protection. He has said nothing.

  24. The ‘children of ’68 ‘ would have been hearing the same but probably much worse ‘finger wagging’ back in the day. March on !
    Re the jet and the timing of US action. just remembered the timing. Trump leapt into action as soon as the first bit of cockpit recording came out, as well as altitude recording.. It made it obvious a similar thing had happened. So it would be that rather than China which forced the Septics.

  25. Paul Krugman on robots with a bit of ‘the bleeding obvious’ re wage stagnation b\. Bonus gact,young Paul must have watched a bit of Dr Who 🙂
    Use incognito, Outline does not seem to be working on the NYT at the moment.

    Don’t Blame Robots for Low Wages
    Progressives shouldn’t fall for facile technology fatalism.

    ………..But while there have always been some victims of technological progress, until the 1970s rising productivity translated into rising wages for a great majority of workers. Then the connection was broken. And it wasn’t the robots that did it.

    What did? There is a growing though incomplete consensus among economists that a key factor in wage stagnation has been workers’ declining bargaining power — a decline whose roots are ultimately political…………………. robots in that sense have been transforming our economy literally for centuries. David Ricardo, one of the founding fathers of economics, wrote about the disruptive effects of machinery in 1821!……………………….. robots in that sense have been transforming our economy literally for centuries. David Ricardo, one of the founding fathers of economics, wrote about the disruptive effects of machinery in 1821!

    • The missing instead of the repeated ‘Ricardo’ bit

      Let’s back up for a minute, and ask: What is a robot, anyway? Clearly, it doesn’t have to be something that looks like C-3PO, or rolls around saying “Exterminate! Exterminate!”

  26. Ok so this:

    Followed by this:

    So what he’s saying, in effect is: “I don’t like Bill Shorten. I made an attempt at nailing him with my wit and it didn’t work out because I got it completely wrong. But none of that matters because I don’t like Bill Shorten.” And he’s gone on a spree, blocking anyone who points out that he was wrong.

    So, let’s just get this straight. He’s spent the past 24 hours parsing a Shorten comment, failed to do that competently, and he’s angry at everyone who thinks what he did was unfair. When he could have spent all that time promoting action against climate change. It’s a good working definition of futility combined with hubris.

    It’s a shame, because the First Dog cartoons do on the whole manage to combine social responsibility with humour, and their messaging often hits home. But the man himself has demonstrated two things over the past day:

    1. Bill Shorten is his Achilles heel, inasmuch as presenting himself as a rational thinker on important issues is concerned. He goes haywire whenever Shorten or the ALP cross his path.

    2. His behaviour is symptomatic of the entire Greens’ approach. They’ll abandon social issues at the drop of the hat if there’s a political gain in the offing. Differentiating themselves from the ALP is their prime activity, even if it means taking the conversation away from things that actually matter. And clearly, climate change is way, way more important then whether a leader is ambivalent on the question of when and where to strike.

    As I keep saying and saying, there is no point picking fights with a party that is basically on the same page as the Greens when it comes to climate change. It’s just stupid. They’re in no position to dictate terms, and they’re splitting hairs over something entirely peripheral.

    • The Greens ARE stupid. They want to be in government, want to be a major party. They believe their best bet in attaining that mythical status is by reducing Labor to a minor party status. Really they should be sucking up to Labor in the hopes of forming a coalition..

      Their problem is they have trashed Labor and sucked up to the Libs for so long that no Labor government state or federal, will have a bar of them.

      Instead of hating on the current government the Greens are always looking for ways to tear down Labor. A party made up of people that stupid deserves to lose all representation come the election.

      If First Dog wants to lose followers then he’s going the right way about it.

    • Thats the one thing that dissapoints me so much about Mr Onthemoon in particular and the Greens overall. They are very dogged about the perfect and will reject the good because of this, when any intelligent person can work out that the good can be improved over time.

    • I checked his posts. He’s been pretty thorough. Not a lot of replies, all supportive of him. He’s blocked everyone who didn’t agree with his false premise.

    • I followed him and the other guy who rode push bikes around Tassie. Used to hang out for his cartoons. Not any more. I gave up after he did a cartoon a few years ago that got my back up. Haven’t looked at one since.

  27. Heads up for Python fans, tonight SBS2 (I refuse to call it viceland) –

    Monty Python’s Flying Circus The Ant, an Introduction
    7:20PM – 7:55PM

    One of the most imaginative and ingenious comedy shows ever, this is the original, surreal sketch series from the Monty Python team. This episode features a homicidal barber and the Lumber Jack Song.

  28. I just saw some footage of today’s Sydney strike.

    For some reason Kerryn Phelps was front and centre at Sydney Town Hall during the opening procedures, wandering back and forth in camera range during the welcome to country and then standing behind the two young MCs as they welcomed the crowd.

    That woman will do anything for attention. As well she might, I suppose. Her chances of hanging on to Wentworth are slim. Voters there have had their little protest against Turnbull being knifed, they are likely to swing back to their Liberal roots as soon as they get the chance.

  29. Yes, the Greens are stupid. I won’t bother debating them anywhere any longer, because it’s all ideology and no practical application. If you don’t buy into their utopian visions, they will hate you. Incessantly.

    I’ve long since failed to see what they hope to achieve. They’re ok at telling you what a perfect world would look like, and complaining that that’s not what we have. But they don’t have a path from here to there. Now, the party is quite mercenary of course, they’re political animals. But even given that, what on earth are their supporters thinking? They must realise from time to time the the ‘perfect’ really is the enemy of the ‘good’, mustn’t they? That progress down the right path is a positive thing, even if it doesn’t go far enough for their liking? You almost never hear them say, “That idea/policy is not what we were hoping for, but it is better than the alternative on offer”. They’ve been known to vote for the greater over the lesser evil on many occasions. And if they do vote for the lesser evil, they do it with a world-weary, “We’re doing you a favour here and we expect to be lauded for it” air.

    Being the spanner in the works of Parliament isn’t much of a role. But the Greens do seem to relish it.

  30. Christchurch shooting: multiple fatalities after mass shooting at two mosques – live updates

    Bill Shorten’s beautifully worded response –

    Let’s hope some highly-principled Green doesn’t try to misquote that.

    • And what bad ‘luck’ Laundy news popped out during shooting and protest march distractions.

    • As the previous thread stated ‘Another one bites the dust’, these deserting rats must know that the poling is a lot worse than Newspoll et al are reportting (I hope).

  31. I’ve been struggling to keep abreast of events today but did manage to catch Dan Tehan being a total dick today Re: Student protests, as a teacher I’m impressed that he didn’t manage to say that the teachers were the Green Activists who were responsible for ‘brain-washing’ the students.

    is it fair to say that GetUp and FirstDog on the Moon have ‘outed’ themselves as not being truely ‘on our side’?

    • First Dog outed himself as a full-on Green a long time ago.

      GetUp has been turning Green since Simon Sheikh took over as National Director about a decade ago. Now it’s so full-on fluoro Green you need sunglasses to read their stuff.

      Neither have been “on our side” for a very long time.

  32. Not making the news –

    FauxMo was back in the Shoalhaven today, desperate to win votes for WazzaMundine.

    It didn’t go well.

    Shoalhaven dairy farmer stops PM Scott Morrison’s car in Nowra to protest milk prices

    Shoalhaven dairy farmer Robert Miller has blocked the Prime Minister's convoy after it attempted to leave Nowra.

    "Mister Prime Minister, it's cheaper to wash your car with milk than it is with water," he said, holding a placard and a bottle of milk.

    Mr Miller was ushered away from the car by a man in a suit, and addressed the media, while the PM's motorcade left Nowra.

    "We have to have a change, we need a Prime Minister who listens to us," Mr Miller said.

    "He said he doesn't want to see the price of milk go up, but yet everything else has gone up.

    "The price of cornflakes has gone up 50 per cent, bread's gone up 50 per cent, milk hasn't moved in eight years.

    "Labor's come out and set a floor price, let's have a retail price where farmers get a fair price, at least $1.50 per litre. We do a decent day's work, let's have a fair price


    Holding a meeting in “Jellybean Park” might not have been the brightest idea.The word “jellybean” has some interesting sexual and drug-related meanings and is also the name of a variety of marijuana, aka “Jillybean”.

  33. Just catching up with the news from Christchurch. I won’t be seeking out the footage. For mine, the most significant information that’s come up so far is that the guy was Australian. We, as a nation, and in particular our current government, have to take some responsibility for this. There have been concerted attempts over the past few years to radicalise this nation against the Muslim population. I think that’s the only way to describe it with any accuracy. Tacit acceptance and quiet encouragement of the likes of Blair Cottrell has given heart to virulent racists that they can prosecute their ideas more aggressively. It’s been of great concern to a segment of our society that the ‘official’ stance is one of overt racism.

    I don’t expect that will be addressed. There’s no real way Morrison can comment on what’s happened without either taking personal responsibility or exhibiting hypocrisy. But it is the underlying cause.

    The question needs to be asked: how do people become radicalised, and what can we do about it?” We can ban guns – and we should, of course – but much, much more needs to be done to promote tolerance an diversity. It’s clear from his manifestos etc that this guy believed he was acting on behalf of white people everywhere. It’s needs to be made clear, to him and anyone else of similar mind, that this is not the case, far from it. Hardly anything is being done in this area.

    Morrison’s on now. He has at least called the gunman a right wing terrorist.

  34. Awhooga ! Awhooga ! PM Morrison has upgraded his “thoughts and prayers” to
    “I particularly want to express my sincere prayers and thoughts
    Were the previous ‘thoughts and prayers not sincere ?

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