Jordan Brock

Check Facts Before Mouthing Off

Mar 05, 2014

As highlighted in my previous post the Prime Minister, while addressing a forestry association dinner in Tasmania, made the following remarks:

“We all know Tasmania has the lowest wages in Australia, it has the lowest GDP per head, it’s got the lowest life expectancy, it’s got the lowest educational retainment in the country and it’s got the highest unemployment, and funnily enough for the last eight years it has had a government in large measure dominated by the Greens,” he said.

A pretty damning accusation you’d have to agree. Basically saying, amongst other claims, that the reason that Tasmanians are dying earlier than their mainland counterparts is due to the rise in prominence of a minor party on the Tasmanian, then National landscape.

OK, so how could we test this claim? Well, we could compare the national life expectency to the Tasmanian one. If what the Prime Minister has said is true, then the national figure would increase at a rate faster than that of Tasmania? Meaning that policies furthered by the Greens would be holding back the Tasmanian average. Right, let’s go to the numbers.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics published this report which has the life expectancy of Australia as a whole, and the individual states and territories.

Region 2002   2012   Average Annual Change
  Males Females Males Females  
Australia 77.4 82.6 79.9 84.3 0.9%
Tasmania 76.5 81.3 78.7 82.6 1.0%

So, it seems that Tasmania, in the time period corresponding to the rise of the Green party, has actually outperformed the national average.

Uh-oh.

Always Go To Important Meetings

Mar 04, 2014

I realise that Fran Bailey was advised by her doctor to not travel to Canberra for this meeting, but wow, it certainly had some pretty dire consequences for the country. By not going, and not being able to vote for Malcolm Turnbull, we end up with a Prime Minister that says stuff like this:

“We have quite enough national parks. We have quite enough locked up forests already. In fact, in an important respect, we have too much locked up forest.

“Why should we lock up as some sort of World Heritage sanctuary country that has been logged, degraded or planted for timber?

Source

And this:

“We all know Tasmania has the lowest wages in Australia, it has the lowest GDP per head, it’s got the lowest life expectancy, it’s got the lowest educational retainment in the country and it’s got the highest unemployment, and funnily enough for the last eight years it has had a government in large measure dominated by the Greens,” he said.

Source

That’s right, the Prime Minister of Australia blames a minor political party’s influence over the past 8 years for long term health and economic trends within Tasmania.

Trojan Free Trade

Sep 25, 2013

With the recent change of government, there is likely to be a change in attitude to some slightly arcane Free Trade Treaty regulations. One such regulation that the Howard, Rudd and Gillard governements all seemed to agree on is that including a Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) regulation wasn’t always in the best interests of Australia. The Abbott government doesn’t seem to hold the same opinion.

The ISDS provides a mechanism for companies to seek compensation from a country where they feel they were penalised due to the laws of that country. How is that a bad thing? Well, take the case of Phillip Morris, the tobacco company that lost it’s case in the High Court of Australia. They argued that the Gillard government’s crackdown on cigarette packaging was unconstitutional because it infringed their right to trade. The High Court felt otherwise and ruled in favour of the government.

The highest court in a country rules against you, so you should suck it up and leave it be, right? Well, not if there’s a 24 year old free trade agreement that includes an ISDS provision.

Less publicised is the fact that having failed in the High Court, the company now is pursuing the matter via a bilateral trade agreement signed between Australia and Hong Kong in the early 1990s, which includes ISDS provisions.

The contempt such an action shows for Australian legal process and sovereignty, says Patricia Ranald, is plain.

“They’re saying: ‘We’re going to ignore the High Court, when it says we’re not entitled to compensation; we’re going to go off and find an obscure trade agreement to sue you under’.”

Australia is about to become a member of one of the largest free trade regions in the world, the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. The US is pressuring Australia to agree to the ISDS provisions, which would allow, say, a coal-seam gas mining company to sue the government if our environmental regulations prohibit them from operating in Australia.

Great.

Coffee Roasters

Sep 25, 2013

I’m constantly amazed by the talents of the people I work with at Five Senses: Photographers, musicians, and artists. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when one of the roasters, Damon Steponavicius, pulls out an amazingly eloquent piece on what it means to be a Coffee Roaster, and how Five Senses is managing that responsibility:

We see the inequity in our industry, and our Green Bean team are witness to the human toll the global market takes upon growers who remain predominantly from the developing world. The beans that arrive on our doorstep are thus indeed a gift from those far away, the result of years of hard labour and sacrifice, of love and of craft. But this gift also comes with an unwritten legacy, and a specific bequest:

‘Do me, and my grower, justice’.

And, crucially, our ability to comply with this unspoken demand is precisely where our ability to invest has profound implications

Lovely stuff.

iOS7 Adoption Rates

Sep 24, 2013

The speed at which iOS6 devices are being upgraded to the latest OS is quite incredible. I can’t imagine that there has been a software upgrade that’s had an adoption rate like this ever. To be near 60% after less than a week is astonishing.

A graph of adoption rates: Mixpanel