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Inequality amblyopia

By Ad astra

Inequality amblyopia is a condition affecting some conservatives, who simply cannot see inequality when looking directly at it. The facts and figures that convince objective observers that there is increasing inequality in our nation, are simply not visible to them.

As in childhood amblyopia, or ‘lazy eye’ as it is called colloquially, there is nothing wrong with the eye. Amblyopia results from a developmental problem in the brain, not the eye. The part of the brain that receives images from the amblyotic eye is not stimulated properly.

In conservatives that part of the brain is where political concepts, ideology and entrenched beliefs live. So ingrained are these beliefs that no contradictory facts or figures can erase them. The beliefs are unshakable. Evidence has no impact; it is invisible.

This is why Scott Morrison was able to argue that rather than increasing in Australia, inequality was decreasing! He said: “The latest census showed on the global measure of inequality, which is the Gini coefficient, that is the accepted global measure of income inequality around the world, and that figure shows it hasn’t got worse, it has actually got better,”

Even if Morrison actually understood how the Gini coefficient was computed, what it measured, and the nuances that surround it, he is pushing his luck to base his refutation of Shorten’s inequality claim using only the Gini to ‘prove’ that inequality is decreasing, not increasing. More of this later.

For those not familiar with this measure of inequality, the following explanation extracted from Investopedia may be of value.

The Gini index or Gini coefficient is a statistical measure of distribution developed by the Italian statistician Corrado Gini in 1912. It is often used as a gauge of economic inequality, measuring income distribution or, less commonly, wealth distribution among a population. The coefficient ranges from 0 (or 0%) to 1 (or 100%), with 0 representing perfect equality and 1 representing perfect inequality. A country in which every resident has the same income would have an income Gini coefficient of 0. A country in which one resident earned all the income, while everyone else earned nothing, would have an income Gini coefficient of 1.

The same analysis can be applied to wealth distribution (the “wealth Gini coefficient”), but because wealth is more difficult to measure than income, Gini coefficients usually refer to income and appear simply as “Gini coefficient” or “Gini index,” without specifying that they refer to income. Wealth Gini coefficients tend to be much higher than those for income.

Morrison has likely made his assertion after reading the 12th iteration of The University of Melbourne Melbourne Institute’s annual study of The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA). The preface to the HILDA Survey explains that it ‘…seeks to provide longitudinal data on the lives of Australian residents. It collects information annually on a wide range of aspects of life in Australia, including household and family relationships, child care, employment, education, income, expenditure, health and wellbeing, attitudes and values on a variety of subjects, and various life events and experiences. Information is also collected at less frequent intervals on various topics, including household wealth, fertility-related behaviour and plans, relationships with non-resident family members and non-resident partners, health care utilisation, eating habits, cognitive functioning and retirement.’

The important distinguishing feature of the HILDA Survey is that the same households and individuals, 17,000 persons in all, are interviewed every year, allowing the study to see how their lives are changing over time.

Of relevance to this piece is one of the findings of this year’s HILDA: ‘The Gini coefficient, a common measure of overall inequality, has remained at approximately 0.3 over the entire 15 years of the HILDA Survey.’

The flakiness of using this measure to support a political point of view about the level of inequality in Australia is illustrated by Figure 4.2 on page 48 of the 2017 HILDA Survey, which details the Gini coefficient up to 2015 for males and females based on the weekly earnings of full-time employees. The graphs show a tiny downward flick for males (indicating less inequality), but there is a larger upward flick for females (indicating more inequality). The movements are so small that to claim inequality is decreasing is patently dishonest, particularly as the Gini for males and females go in opposite directions, females more than males.

Do take a look at Figure 4.2 below to convince yourself of Morrison’s deception.

Image by Roger Wilkins, HILDA

The OECD Economic Survey Australia 2017 also comments on the Gini. It states: ‘The Gini coefficient has been drifting up [towards inequality] and households in upper income brackets have benefited disproportionally from Australia’s long period of economic growth. Real incomes for the top quintile of households grew by more than 40% between 2004 and 2014 while those for the lowest quintile only grew by about 25%.

You may care to look at Figure 3 on page 8 of this report that compares the Gini coefficient of Australia, Canada and the US. It shows how much the income of the top 1% has grown, as it benefitted most from the economic boom.

So let’s dismiss any serious claim that Gini ‘proves’ that inequality is decreasing in Australia. There is so much other evidence to the contrary that inequality amplyopia must be affecting the brains of those who argue so.

Conservative commentators too, such as Adam Creighton, economics correspondent for The Australian, and Paul Kelly, editor-at-large, were quick to attack Shorten’s call of inequality. Creighton wrote a headline in The Weekend Australian of July 22-23 that read: ALP’s ‘false’ pitch on inequality. He goes on to assert that Shorten’s claim that inequality is at a 75-year high is ‘patently false’. Creighton supports his argument by quoting Professor Roger Wilkins, author of HILDA, who told an Economic and Social Policy conference that “Inequality is still relatively high by modern standards but the narrative that says inequality is ever rising is patently false…”, and that the proportion of Australians over 15 with incomes less than half the median level of income had fallen to about 10%, adding “That if anything inequality has been declining”.

So the game, as always, is to quote the data, or the person that supports the argument being made. This is what Morrison, Creighton and Kelly have done, shamelessly, although it flies in the face of the facts and figures.

Yet, ask the average person in the street whether they believe that they, or Australians in general, are becoming better off or worse, and the predominant answer will be ‘WORSE’.

Writing in Crikey, political editor Bernard Keane says: ‘We’re missing the point on inequality. Arcane debates about measures of inequality don’t deal with the day to day perceptions of voters of an economic system that has stopped delivering for them.’

He goes on: ‘Is inequality in Australia getting worse? Is the Gini coefficient going up or down? Who’s right, Bill Shorten or Scott Morrison and the conservative newspapers beating the bushes for academics who’ll back them up? It doesn’t matter, and the longer the government and its media allies debate it, the more they’ll play into Shorten’s hands on what will become a key issue for the next election.

‘Inequality is a central outcome of the kind of market-based economic reforms we’ve pursued since the 1980s. That’s how neoliberalism works. It has made us all wealthier – even the poorest Australians are wealthier than they were 30 years ago, in real terms. But the wealthiest have benefited more than the rest of us. This is indisputable.’

Writing in the same issue of Crikey Helen Razer says Inequality IS the point’. She continues: ‘Inequality has reached a crisis point in Australia, no matter your definition. The poor can’t afford homes or electricity, and something has to be done. Rising inequality, says the Leader of the Opposition, is a terrible fact of Australian life. Rising inequality, says the Treasurer, is a non-fact that opposition leaders evoke when what they really want to do is stunt economic growth.

‘The Herald Sun says that everyone should just shut up about rising inequality, because causing people to worry about what they don’t have and can’t get is a destructive “politics of envy”. There’s no point in scrutinising the odd claims of the Herald Sun – it’d be a bit like arguing with my Aunty Dot about global warming three sherries in. But there must be a point in scrutinising what is meant by “inequality” and how much of it we have, or don’t have, in this nation.’

Also in Crikey Alan Austin writes: ‘ Company reporting season begins this week with confidence sky high that record annual profits will be achieved. With these will come exciting news of higher executive salaries, well-earned performance bonuses and, of course, increased shareholder dividends. These are already being hailed by the corporate media as proof that all is well with the world. Meanwhile, data on Australia’s economy published in July confirms two things. First, that much of the increased income and wealth accruing to rich corporations and individuals is taken from the poor and the middle. And second, that this rate of transfer is accelerating.

Peter Martin, economics editor at The Age frontally addresses the disparity between Shorten’s claims and Morrison’s in his article: HILDA. Why we’re suddenly concerned about inequality. Things have stopped getting better.

Martin begins: ‘Bill Shorten’s on to something. Not the pointless debate over inequality – whether it’s rising or not depends on what you measure – but the truth that lies beneath the debate. It’s that, unusually, life is getting harder.’

He goes on: ‘In all but four of the past 15 years, things were getting better. Two of those four years followed the global financial crisis. The other two were the two most recent years for which we have data: the first two full years of the Abbott-Turnbull government. It means that whereas before the election of Tony Abbott, a typical Australian family took home about what it did in 2009, it now takes home less, after adjusting for inflation.’

He quotes Shorten: ‘As Shorten put it in a speech that purported to be about inequality but was actually about declining real incomes, “It feeds that sense, that resentment, that the deck is stacked against ordinary people, that the fix is in and the deal is done.” We didn’t get that sense when ordinary incomes were rising, even though inequality was widening. Only now, when real incomes are slipping, do we feel resentful. And it’s mainly men who are resentful. Female earnings are trending up, especially those of women employed full-time. Male earnings are trending down.’

Can Morrison or Creighton or Kelly counter these feelings? Especially when the average Joe sees corporate high fliers sitting on salaries and bonuses that often run into millions. No, not with their amblyotic vision! The visual centre in their brains can’t process the facts and figures that we all can see.

Let’s look at some of the facts that Martin extracted from HILDA:

Education:
University graduates earn much less than their predecessors used to ($1023 a week, down from $1468) and they are much less likely to be in full-time jobs four years later (73 per cent, down from 91 per cent). Australians with only a high school qualification are even worse off. When the survey started, 81 per cent of them were employed full-time within four years. Now it’s 62 per cent.’

Work:
As more and more of us work in part-time rather than full-time jobs, an increasing proportion are combining part-time jobs in order to work full-time. This means that part-time jobs are more common than the Bureau of Statistics survey suggests and that full-time jobs are harder to get.

Australians are working longer without waiting for the pension age to rise. The typical retirement age has climbed from 62 to 66 for men, and for 61 to 64 for women. And retirement is less likely to be a one-off event. Thirteen per cent of men who retired between the ages of 60 and 64 find themselves back at work within a year, up from 9 per cent. Seven per cent of the women who retired between 60 and 64 find themselves back at work in a year, up from 4 per cent.’

Superannuation:
‘Even now, a quarter of a century after the introduction of compulsory superannuation and 15 years after compulsory contributions of around 9 per cent, the balances of retirees are surprisingly low.

‘Thirty per cent of men retire without super, and 29 per cent of women. The men who do have super retire with a typical balance of $325,200; the women with $110,952. That typical balance is the median, meaning half of the retirees will have more, and half less. The mean (average) is much higher, pushed up by very big retirement balances at the top.

‘Retirees with low balances are highly likely to use them to pay off debts, obliterating 58 per cent of their super (men) or 70 per cent (women) in one go.’

Home ownership:
’Home ownership rates for the under-40s have collapsed. In 2002 when the survey began, 32.5 per cent of 18- to 39-year-olds owned a home. It’s now 24.9 per cent.

‘The proportion of men in their early-20s living with their parents has jumped from 43 per cent to 60 per cent. The proportion of early-20s women staying at home has jumped from 27 per cent to 48 per cent.

‘Those who can buy houses find it hard to pay them off. The average mortgage taken out by a young homebuyer has almost trebled – jumping from $120,813 to $330,687. Going back to the same homeowners year after the year the survey finds that in most years the amount owed climbs as a substantial minority of young homeowners refinance or redraw or fall behind on their loans. HILDA author Wilkins says if they continue like this – using their mortgages to fund day to day expenses – there will be “real implications for future aged pension liabilities”.’

Martin concludes: ‘Australia remains a wealthy country. But it isn’t absolute wealth (or even relative inequality) that matters most when it comes to our feelings. It’s whether or not things are getting better. HILDA suggests they are getting worse.’

The following McCrindle image of Australian Income and Wealth Distribution 2016 summarizes inequality in this country graphically:

Image from McCrindle

Morrison, his Coalition colleagues, and their conservative cheerleaders in the media are petrified about the impact of Shorten’s inequality message. No matter what counter messages they shout over the airwaves or through the Murdoch media, they know that the people out there, most of whom have never heard of the Gini coefficient, let alone its variations over time, realize that they are worse off than before, know that life is getting harder for them as their wages stagnate while the costs of living continue to rise. They know that as they struggle to pay off their mortgage and their rising power bills they have less and less for food and other essentials. No amount of tough talk from Morrison and Co., no amount of quoting Gini, no amount of slick political blather will convince them otherwise.

The sad fact is that despite these verifiable facts, Morrison and his Coalition colleagues are incapable of processing what everyone else can see, now reinforced by HILDA data. They can see the facts just as anyone else can, but because of their inequality amblyopia their brains cannot process these facts, distorted as their thinking is by inbuilt ideological biases and deeply entrenched beliefs. Their eyes see the facts; their brains cannot, and never will.

Only by recognizing this form of amblyopia will ordinary citizens ever be able to understand how conservatives can deny that life is getting more difficult for so many, how they can deny that inequality is increasing.

Shorten is on a winner.

Postscript: If any of you doubt the soundness of the ‘inequality amblyopia’ allegory, you might be interested to read a pertinent article in Friday’s issue of The Conversation: How do you know that what you know is true? That’s epistemology by Peter Ellerton, Lecturer in Critical Thinking at The University of Queensland.

Do you believe inequality is increasing in this nation?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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22 comments

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  1. Clean livin

    That’s why Shorten can, and will continue to say “out of touch”!

  2. Max Gross

    It’s really very simple: Morrison is a liar. Pure LNP.

  3. Michael Taylor

    Simply brilliant, Ad astra.

  4. astra5

    Michael Taylor
    Thank you for your generous compliment.

    I think Shorten is on a winner; some will disagree. The people will decide who is out of touch about inequality: Morrison or Shorten.

  5. Phil

    Your thesis has merit Ad Astra. There’s no doubt in my view, that the last thirty odd years of neoliberalism has achieved exactly what its architects and adherents intended ie the transfer of wealth and political power to the corporates and the abandonment of those whom the system has robbed and rendered ‘useless’ to the moneyed elites.

    The workplace is now just as neoliberalism intended it – shrunken, insecure, underpaid – with a massive pool of beleaguered and bullied unemployed for enterprises to pick and choose from.

    Neoliberalism has converted every human value into ‘market products’ from which to extract profits- education, energy, health, security, prisons, childcare, aged care, defence, news – all are servants to private profit.

    Is the ALP going to really change this? At present the ALP appears neoliberal-lite rather than system transformative, and maybe that’s the best we can hope for when this dystopian Turnbull mob collapses.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Karl Marx had it right. The elite want us to be ignorant and under pressure. It makes us maleable.

    The conflict between the bourgeoisie (those that own the means of production) and the proletariat (those who sell their labour) is crucial to the maintenance of capitalism. Its function is to create an obedient, docile, uncritical workforce who will work to support the upper-class’s lifestyle and the economy. Keeping wages low, or debt pressure high, means workers will be less likely to complain or make demands. As workers struggle to provide their families with all the temptations that a capitalist society offers, they become far less likely to risk their employment, and less able to improve their situation.

  7. astra5

    Phil and Kaye Lee
    You have nicely summed up the neoliberal agenda that has been played out in Australia over the decades. The same agenda is being played out in the US.

    The question is whether its momentum can be slowed should Shorten be successful at the next election, which seems likely given the shenanigans of the Turnbull government, which become more grotesque by the day.

    Shorten can reverse the existing neoliberal sway only if he is bold, prepared to discard the worst of neo-liberalism and substitute a progressive agenda of fairness for all. He needs to address the inequality that distorts the economy, accentuates the gap between the haves and the have-nots, and creates needless suffering to an increasing proportion of people.

    The wages of the average worker need to rise again, penalty rates need to be restored, taxation needs to focus more on those who can afford to pay, the trickle down concept needs to be called out for the fraud it is, and services need to be readily available to those in need.

    Shorten needs to move the thinking of legislators from the ‘Strict Father’ model to the ‘Nurturant Parent’ model of governance as described by George Lakoff, explained in ‘The myth of political sameness’: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/The-myth-of-political-sameness

    Shorten will not succeed if he caves in to a neoliberal-lite agenda to placate the powerful forces that promote neo-liberalism for their own selfish advantage. Soon enough we’ll see whether he’s up to the challenge.

  8. ozibody

    astra5

    Thank you for your spot on article, which goes right to the point.

    I’ll put it aside to read again, and I thank you for the ” ‘The myth of political sameness’ link in the comment box.

    My parents were migrants from the U K and I was born in country Q’ld in early 1933. My Mother ( in particular ) often remarked about how lucky we were to be living in Australia ; given her experience of the blatant money / social divide then existing in England…… she would turn in her grave were she here today!

    As a born and educated Australian, I have noted a change ( probably ) from the 1970’s, …….. much of which I attributed to entering my 40’s ( and increased awareness ). which along with the arrival of my two children ( 1968 & 1971 ) encouraged me to become active in my community ; leading to broadened political awareness.

    Indeed we are faced with the prospect of necessary Social / Political change, and the challenge for the Labor Party will be to ‘ bite deep and wide ‘ enough ….. particularly in spite of the msm ownership / bias ! ….. indeed … the time has arrived for ‘ Boldness ‘ supported by the Worldwide move against neoliberalism ! ….. ” Boldness ” being the operative word ! …. one helluva !

    I have finished reading the book ” Game of Mates – how favours bleed the Nation ” by Cameron K. Murray & Paul Frijters , which I found to be very well resourced and referenced ( P. 183 – 204 ) and provides me with a handy ( and up to date 2017 ) reference tool.

    Thank you again astra5 for your excellent article. … may your writing flourish !

  9. astra5

    ozibody
    Thank you for your kind comment. I enjoyed reading about your background.

    ‘Boldness’ is indeed what is needed in federal politics. Today we saw timidity writ large in the Coalition’s decision. It is ironic that they used ‘keeping the party’s promise’ as the raison d’être, as if always keeping promises is their party’s ironclad guarantee.

    I look forward to getting hold of ‘Game of Mates – how favours bleed the Nation’. Thank you for the reference.

  10. paul walter

    Stuffed logic plus empathy deficiencies can only equal profound neurological dysfunction. We have suspected closely for some time that the defects can only be pathological, but now ponder the reality that they were voted in by a slight majority of Australians.

  11. wam

    A bit flash for me.
    The read seems to show an explanation that the rabbott is ‘amoral’ because he has been able to avoid all references that may have caused him to question his truth as ‘opus dei’,(his explanation of marriage is simply inane? Is it believable??)

    Today’s beliefs are true.

    Inequality is a word easily explained by:
    if the young stopped wasting money on coffee and mashed avocado they could afford a house
    the unemployed are bludgers
    pensioners should not drink, smoke or gamble
    get a good job

    Billy is at the mercy of a timely: slogan, shooting, blackout, trumpism, rabbottism, islamism, hansonite loonyism or rupertism.

    Sorry but inequality is with menzies and natural ie with us forever

  12. astra5

    paul walter
    Yes, it is a mystery how the Coalition scraped home, a mystery similar to how Trump did the same.

    One of the uncomfortable facts about politics is that facts and logic seem not to be the preferred basis for decision making by voters. Instead, entrenched beliefs and the lure of appealing yet meaningless slogans set against the lived-experience of voters seem to be the most important decision-making factors.

  13. astra5

    wam
    You are right – inequality will be with us always. That does not excuse the government’s blindness to its extent, nor is it a cogent reason for not addressing it, indeed making it worse with its tax cut to business that it still seems determined to legislate.

    You know, we all know, that the catchphrases you list, which conservatives insist are causal factors, are fatuous, a reflection of their ‘Strict Father’ model of governance. Sadly, no matter how compelling the facts about inequality are, they will not change conservative minds – they have intractable inequality amblyopia.

  14. astra5

    Folks
    As I contemplated the catastrophic mess that Turnbull and his government has created, one that gets more bizarre, more destructive and more insoluble by the day, I asked myself: ‘How is it so?’ One name, just one name, jumped to mind! Tony Abbott. He is the source of virtually every problem, every issue, every dilemma, every unsolvable quandary the LNP now faces!

    As I was thinking about writing a new piece: ‘All roads lead to Abbott’, I realized that I had already done that in February when I authored: Abbott’s legacy of destruction.

    As I re-read it, I realized that there was little I could add. Among other things, it described Abbott’s destructiveness in the areas of climate change, the NBN and marriage equality, as well as his aggressive moralizing. Here we are, six months later, still trapped in the same whirlpool:

    Abbott is still vigorously opposing the setting of a Renewable Energy Target, thereby retarding the adoption of the recommendations of the Finkel Report and the implementation of a rational, utilitarian energy policy. Finkel’s advice still sits on Energy Minister Frydenberg’s desk; every attempt to ascertain what is happening with it is lost in his characteristic verbal entanglements.

    Abbott has strangled the RET.

    The NBN has gone from bad to worse. This shamefully second-rate communications tool is now the object of ridicule from communications experts, and ceaseless frustration and angry criticism from business and individual users alike. The best Communications Minister Mitch Fifield could do to resolve the NBN’s manifold problems was to issue a communiqué this month that read: “The Turnbull Government has increased its program of work to ensure customers have a positive experience on the NBN, with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to conduct research and collect data on the NBN customer experience.” In other words he will collect even more information about how incensed users are with the NBN! Why, why?

    All this dates back to Abbott’s instruction to Turnbull: ”Demolish the NBN” and Turnbull’s obsequious attempt to do so via a hybrid fibre-to-the-node NBN, which is now acknowledged by experts to be inferior, soon to be out-of-date, more expensive, and slower in rollout that the original fibre-to-the-premises scheme Labor initiated.

    Abbott’s strangulation of the NBN continues to this day.

    The discourse about marriage equality is mired in interminable internecine brawling, so much so that in the last few days, it is further away from resolution as it ever was. LBGTI folk are white with rage, Abbott and his fellow travellers – Abetz, Andrews et al and the Australian Christian Lobby (which does not represent Christian churches), are delighted as they realize that the preferred latest iteration of a plebiscite is a postal vote. It is impossible to imagine any method less valid and reliable to ascertain public opinion, which of course is just what Abbott and his co-conspirators want.

    The wrangling about marriage equality is set to continue for months, perhaps years, all the time throttling the Coalition and its chances of re-election, as it frustrates and angers the electorate which overwhelmingly wants marriage equality and the parliament to get on with its job of legislating it.

    It is hard to understand how this government has gone so far down the path of self-immolation, and continues relentlessly to do so, day after day, week after week. It’s as if they are caught in a vortex from which they cannot escape.

    Abbott’s intention of strangling marriage equality, which he detests, it is almost complete.

    And his intention of garrotting his nemesis Turnbull progresses daily.

    All roads lead to Abbott.

    Abbott wears a persistent gloating smile.

    You can re-read Abbott’s legacy of destruction at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/abbott-s-legacy-of-destruction

  15. Michael Taylor

    Ad astra, one wonders if his legacy will live on after the LNP lose office (which I hope, and suspect, will be at the next election). I expect that it will, as did (or does) Howard’s. But at least in opposition his legacy will do far less damage than has been unleashed on us since Sept 2013.

    There is one helluva mess to fix.

    I cannot begin to imagine how long it will take and how much it will cost to fix the NBN, as one example. If Turnbull’s NBN is woefully inadequate in 2017, what will it be like in – say – 2027 and beyond when much more will be demanded of it? Let’s assume that Labor – if they rip it up and start again with an NBN for the ‘times’ – spend $100 billion (a wild guess), my crystal ball tells me that a LNP opposition will scream that “Labor destroyed something we built, something that was good, and in the process spent $100 billion of your money. We told you they can’t be trusted with money”. And the Murdoch media will join in the chorus.

    And they’ll send us back to 2013 again.

    The truth needs to be told. Your fantastic articles are a great start.

  16. astra5

    Michael Taylor
    How right you are. The ‘fix’ will be the costly bit. Yet fix the Abbott destruction, exacerbated by Turnbull’s sycophantic extension of it, we must.

    Shorten and Labor will need boldness, courage and persistence to accomplish the fix. And, as you indicate, they will need the guts to withstand the slings, arrows and misrepresentations of the conservative press. It’s a big ask. Let’s hope the progressive forces are up to carrying it out.

    Thank you again for your generous compliment.

  17. Matters Not

    Seems to me that it’s extremely difficult for a Labor leader to be a ‘messiah’ if they have the baggage of a previous term. You need to be a cleanskin. Whitlam, Hawke, Rudd federally, Goss locally, came on the scene without the political burdensome encumbrance of a ‘record’ of leadership to be judged on. Could make fresh starts and all that. And do so with a clean slate.

    Not sure that Shorten will be able to do that. Hope so! The PM by default is the more likely outcome.

  18. astra5

    Matters Not
    You may be right about the need for a cleanskin to lead Labor; Shorten may not fit the bill. But who else might? I would have preferred Antony Albanese, but he seems to be somewhat on the outer. Tanya Plibersek is a sound politician, but is Australia ready for another female PM? Chris Bowen always sounds sensible and well informed, but is not openly touted as a successor to the ambitious Shorten. Good politicians are in short supply!

  19. astra5

    Ozibody
    I have downloaded ‘Game of Mates – how favours bleed the Nation’ to my iPad. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  20. ozibody

    astra5
    Thank you for advising me of your download – may you find it to be an informative, and interesting read.

    I look forward to having your comments.

    Earlier this morning when I was browsing back over my copy, the following extract ( P 41 ) came close to summing up my major underlying concern :

    ..” ( … And even after the infrequent political competition from elections , opposition political parties who do find electoral success will realise that to stay in power they must appease James , rather than the voters ” …..

    … ” … rather than the voters ” .!! … Whilst our Political System has / will always contain the element of ‘ Dirt ‘ , then ( obviously ) the MSM rates high in the Control stakes. – and the neocons virtually rule the roost here ! …. so ” Dirt ” will fly far & wide !

    From a marketing perspective there are openings to exploit …… with the emphasis upon ‘ Boldness ‘ & ‘ One Helluva ‘ ….. ( maybe ? )

    May you enjoy your read astra5.

  21. astra5

    ozibody
    With it loaded onto Kindle on my iPad, I shall relish reading it during my Queensland trip next month. I expect it will provide material for another post on inequality.

  22. ozibody

    astra5
    You’re in for a ‘ good read ‘ – so, enjoy it along with your Q’ld. trip ! ……. I reckon you’ve already taken a ‘ peek ‘ anyway, judging from your ‘ relish ‘ remark … 😉 … you’ll be spoilt for choice, as far as articles is concerned.

    May I put one more book to you ? …. just the one , and no more !

    Printed this year and written by retired Diplomat Tony Kevin , ” Return to Russia ” is an up to date view of Putin’s modern Russia, starting from his fledgling experience in 1969 – 71, and compared with his tour last year.

    Designed as a study resource, the Appendix and Resource section spans pages 261 – 284 and is comprehensive. It’s fair to say Tony deals with Russian History and psyche in some depth, ( which for me was a little laboursome at times ) and there’s first hand ( intelligent ) observations we’ll never see in our msm ! Given that Russia will feature in future ( barring WW111 🙂 .. ) it could be handy !

    BTW I ordered another copy of ‘ G o M ‘ yesterday as a gift, and the advice was ‘ awaiting arrival of stock ‘ so it may be selling well, ‘ cos I had to wait for my original order too !

    Happy travels … Cheers .

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