Sunday 30 April 2017

How the average person experiences watching the nightly news in 2017?

Women are still the majority of the low paid workers in Australia - a fact that is conveniently ignored by government

The Australian Taxation Office publishes a range of statistics which, despite the time lag, state and federal governments and their agencies rely on for a financial profile of the nation.

This April the data release covers the financial year 2014-15.

Table 3: Individuals – selected income items, 2013–14 to 2014–15 income years 
Income item

Individuals (no.)
Average ($)
Median ($)
Individuals (no.)
Average ($)
Median ($)
Salary or wages
Gross interest
Dividends – franked amount
Dividends – franking credit
Allowances, earnings, tips, director's fees etc
Net rent
Net non-primary production amount
Net income or loss from business – non-primary production transferred from item P8
Dividends – unfranked amount
Australian Government allowances and payments like Newstart, Youth Allowance and Austudy payment
Australian Government pensions and allowances
Net capital gain
Total income or loss
Note Total income or loss: components do not add to the total number of taxpayers because taxpayers may declare more than one type of income. Some components of total income are not listed in this table. The count, average and median for total income or loss are calculated including zeroes.

Whichever way one looks at salary/wage line in this table it clearly shows that ordinary Australian workers are not doing well, with half having annual incomes below $47,502. That's 5.1 million people earning far less than the $195,130 base salary enjoyed by 
members of the Turnbull Government who are even now looking for ways to reduce the takehome pay of such workers. 

Of the 13.21 million individuals who lodged a tax return in 2015, 6.85 million were males and 6.35 million were females. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2013-14 there were also an est. 1.22 million people of working age lived alone with a significant number of these individuals having incomes below the median annual salary/wage, so it is likely that a similar situation existed in 2014-15.

If one divides the ATO tax returns by gender it is not hard to see that more women than men would be found in the group earning less than $47,502.

This is not just a passing phase in wages growth – women have consistently been on the bottom of the wage ladder this century. This despite the fact that they are better educated now than in centuries past and so many are in paid employment.

The Guardian helpfully published a breakdown on 18 April 2017 from which I selected three graphs to illustrate the point:

In the article Greg Jericho concluded: Women made up 45% of all people earning a taxable income in 2014-15, and yet they accounted for just 25% of those in the richest 10% but 57% of those in the poorest decile……It goes without saying that if you earn a large income you are more likely to be a man and if you earn a small income you are most likely to be a woman – and it really does not matter what your job is.

The Australian Government Workplace and Gender Equality Agency stated in August 2016:

The full-time average weekly ordinary earnings for women are 16.2% less than for men.
Among non-public sector organisations with 100 or more employees, the gender pay gap for full-time annualised base salary is 19.1%, and for full-time annualised total remuneration is 24.0%.
The full-time average hourly earnings for women are 13.9% less than men's full-time average hourly earnings.
The gender pay gap in ASX 200 organisations is 28.7%.
Average graduate salaries for women are 9.4% less than for men. When factors such as personal characteristics, occupation, industry and education are accounted for, average graduate salaries for women are 4.4% less than for men.
Average superannuation balances for women at retirement are 52.8% less than those for men.
Of people aged 65 years and older receiving the aged pension, 55.6% are women.

This agency also pointed out that:

Of all women aged 20-24, 90.1% have attained year 12 qualifications or above, compared to 86.3% of men in the same age bracket.
Of all women aged 25-29, 39.6% have achieved a bachelor degree or above, compared to 30.4% of men of the same age bracket.
A slightly higher proportion of men (6.1%) aged 15-74 years attained a postgraduate degree than women (5.7%) of the same age bracket.

The reality is that women have never enjoyed equal pay across all industries and occupations and the national economy relies on them supplying cheaper labour.

So the next time your local MP tells you that he or she understands how "middle Australia" is feeling or attempts to position their family there – openly scoff at such a nonsensical viewpoint.

If your MP tells you that he/she supports the right to equal pay - walk away whilst raising a middle finger in disgust.

Saturday 29 April 2017

President Donald J Trump has been in office for exactly 100 days and the Turnbull Government continues to endorse him

This is what America thinks of the man that Australian Prime Minister Malcolm 'I trust the wisdom and judgment of Trump and Pence' Turnbull and his ministers have so slavishly endorsed.............

Trump has never gone out of his way to conceal the essence of his relationship to the truth and how he chooses to navigate the world. In 1980, when he was about to announce plans to build Trump Tower, a fifty-eight-story edifice on Fifth Avenue and Fifty-sixth Street, he coached his architect before meeting with a group of reporters. “Give them the old Trump bullshit,” he said. “Tell them it’s going to be a million square feet, sixty-eight stories.”
This is the brand that Trump has created for himself—that of an unprincipled, cocky, value-free con who will insult, stiff, or betray anyone to achieve his gaudiest purposes. “I am what I am,” he has said. But what was once a parochial amusement is now a national and global peril. Trump flouts truth and liberal values so brazenly that he undermines the country he has been elected to serve and the stability he is pledged to insure. His bluster creates a generalized anxiety such that the President of the United States can appear to be scarcely more reliable than any of the world’s autocrats. When Kim In-ryong, a representative of North Korea’s radical regime, warns that Trump and his tweets of provocation are creating “a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment,” does one man sound more immediately rational than the other? When Trump rushes to congratulate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for passing a referendum that bolsters autocratic rule in Turkey—or when a sullen and insulting meeting with Angela Merkel is followed by a swoon session with Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the military dictator of Egypt—how are the supporters of liberal and democratic values throughout Europe meant to react to American leadership?

The Los Angeles Times, The Times Editorial Board, Our Dishonest President: Part 1, 2 April 2017:

In a matter of weeks, President Trump has taken dozens of real-life steps that, if they are not reversed, will rip families apart, foul rivers and pollute the air, intensify the calamitous effects of climate change and profoundly weaken the system of American public education for all.

His attempt to de-insure millions of people who had finally received healthcare coverage and, along the way, enact a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich has been put on hold for the moment. But he is proceeding with his efforts to defang the government’s regulatory agencies and bloat the Pentagon’s budget even as he supposedly retreats from the global stage.

These are immensely dangerous developments which threaten to weaken this country’s moral standing in the world, imperil the planet and reverse years of slow but steady gains by marginalized or impoverished Americans. But, chilling as they are, these radically wrongheaded policy choices are not, in fact, the most frightening aspect of the Trump presidency.

What is most worrisome about Trump is Trump himself. He is a man so unpredictable, so reckless, so petulant, so full of blind self-regard, so untethered to reality that it is impossible to know where his presidency will lead or how much damage he will do to our nation. His obsession with his own fame, wealth and success, his determination to vanquish enemies real and imagined, his craving for adulation — these traits were, of course, at the very heart of his scorched-earth outsider campaign; indeed, some of them helped get him elected. But in a real presidency in which he wields unimaginable power, they are nothing short of disastrous.

Full editorial here.

Jonah Goldberg, Senior Editor, National Review, The President Is This Presidency’s Worst Enemy, 4 April 2017:

In the months after he secured the nomination, Trump and his surrogates promised skeptics that he would not be a hands-on policy guy. Instead, he’d rely on congressional leadership and, later, Mike Pence to do the major lifting, while the president would go around giving speeches to Make America Great Again.
Douthat is right that Trump could use a brain trust. But some of us were told that Pence or Reince Priebus or Paul Ryan would serve that role. Certainly they’ve tried. Moreover, there are countless policy agendas sitting on the shelf for Trump to choose among. Why so much chaos, then? A common answer you hear from all corners is “the tweeting” — the horrible, horrible tweeting.
But when you talk to people with more hands-on experience in, or with, the Trump White House, the better answer is that the tweeting is just a symptom. Trump brings the same glandular, impulsive style to meetings and interviews as he does to social media. He blurts out ideas or claims that send staff scrambling to see them implemented or defended. His management style is Hobbesian. Rivalries are encouraged. Senior aides panic at the thought of not being part of his movable entourage. He cares more about saving face and “counterpunching” his critics than he does about getting policy victories.
In short, the problem is Trump’s personality. His presidency doesn’t suffer from a failure of ideas, but a failure of character.


This is what U.S. courts think of certain executive orders issued by President Donald J. Trump during his first 100 days in office......

State of Washington et al v Donald J. Trump et al, Temporary Restraining Order, 3 February 2017, United States District Judge James L. Robart.

# Revised Executive Order, made 6 March 2017, identically titled PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES:

In the first 100 days there appears to have been at least fifty court challenges to Trump's immigration policies by individuals, public interest groups and US counties, districts and states.

This is what American popular culture thought of Donald Trump during his first 100 days......


This is what owners of The Washington Post, Fox News and The Australian - News Corp and Australian-born U.S. media mogul Keith Rupert Murdoch - are telling the world........


Donald John Trump’s own assessment of his first 100 days……..

Reuters, 28 April 2017:

"I loved my previous life. I had so many things going," Trump told Reuters in an interview. "This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier."



According to Business Insider on 28 April 2017, in his first 100 days President Trump signed into law:

* a Senate bill on January 20, which allowed him to appoint General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense. Prior federal law prohibited individuals from becoming Secretary of Defense until they had been out of the armed forces for at least 7 years. Mattis retired from the Marine Corps in 2013

* H.R. 72 on January 31, authorizing the Government Accountability Office to obtain all federal agency records needed to perform its duties

* a congressional action in February, repealing a regulation which prevented coal-mining companies from dumping debris and toxic waste into nearby streams and waterways

* an action in February, abolishing federal standards that determined which schools were doing well in terms of students' performance and which ones were not

* a Congressional Review Act resolution in February, which rolled back financial disclosure requirements for energy companies mandated by Dodd-Frank Act. The stipulation required that energy companies disclose payments made to governments that related to fossil fuel development

* H.J.R. 40 on February 28, a bill repealing a rule which prohibited the mentally disabled from being able to purchase firearms

* H.R. 321 on February 28, the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act. The law mandates that within 90 days of the law's passage, a plan must be submitted to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology for how NASA scientists can engage with and promote female STEM students from K-12

* H.R. 255 on February 28, called the Promoting Women In Entrepreneurship Act. The law authorizes the National Science Foundation to support entrepreneurial programs for women

* sH.R. 609 on March 13, a bill which designates a Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare center in Butler County, Pennsylvania the "Abie Abraham VA Clinic"

* Senate bill 442 on 21 March, which authorized the appropriation of funds towards NASA research and exploration

* a resolution on March 27, repealing a rule which prevented the government from working with contractors who had been in violation of labor laws, had engaged in wage theft, or were responsible for workplace safety violations in the last 3 years

* the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 on 28 March, which designates March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day and encourages the display of the American flag on that day

* a bill on 31 March, which designated a VA clinic in American Samoa to be named the Faleomavaega Eni Fa'aua'a Hunkin VA Clinic

* a Senate resolution in March, approving a memorial to recognize military men and women who had served in support of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield. A joint resolution originally passed by US Congress before he became president

* a congressional review action in March, which abolished a land management rule aimed at streamlining the process for making federal land use decisions and giving ordinary people more input into federal land management decisions

* the repeal of a rule in March, which mandated that all states issue ratings for teacher-prep courses within their borders

* the abolition of a rule in March, which limited the number of unemployment applicants states could drug test

* a bill on 3 April, providing for the appointment of members to the Office of Compliance's Board of Directors in order to replace members whose terms were expiring in 2017

* a House resolution on 3 April, abolishing hunting restrictions on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. The rule was intended to protect predator species like wolves and bears from being hunted. The repealed rule also imposed a ban on aerial hunting, live-trapping or baiting predators, and from hunting those predators while they were near their dens or cubs

*  a Congressional Review Act bill on 3 April. eliminating rules protecting private citizens' internet and browsing data from being used by their internet providers

* a measure on April 13, allowing states to withhold Title X family-planning funds from clinics which provide abortion services

* a bipartisan measure on 19 April, extending the duration of the Veterans Choice Program

* a House joint resolution in April, eliminating workplace safety regulations which were aimed at reducing injuries and deaths in the workplace

* a House resolution in April, eliminating a Labor Department rule regulating how large cities and municipalities design payroll deduction savings programs

* a bill in April authorizing a number of programs to enhance weather forecasting and alerts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

* a Senate resolution in April which reappointed Steve Case as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents at the Smithsonian Institution. This was previously a joint resolution passed by Congress before Trump became president

* a measure which appointed Michael Govan as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution

* a Senate resolution which appointed Roger W. Ferguson as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution.

Quotes of the Week

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Donald Trump averaged 41% job approval during his first quarter as president, 14 percentage points lower than any other president in Gallup's polling history. Bill Clinton had the previous low mark of 55%. The average first-quarter rating among post-World War II presidents elected to their first term is 61%, with John Kennedy's 74% the highest. [Gallup, US analytics firm established in 1935, 20 April 2017]

Australia is particularly exposed to developments in North Korea with commitments as a signatory to the Armistice, and sitting precariously at the mercy of the whims of two "mad men". [Former Liberal MP & former leader of the Liberal Party, John Hewson, writing in The Sydney Morning Herald on 28 April 2017]

"If you can afford to live there, there are no jobs and if there are jobs, you can't afford to live there!"  [Anglicare Australia, Rental Affordability Snapshot 2017]

"“If you march but you don’t vote you are a f*ckin’ idiot.” 
[Australian comedian Adam Hills on The Last Leg, Channel 14, 21 April 2017]

How to spot fake news

Friday 28 April 2017

SENSIS: small business support for Federal Government lowest under Turnbull at -2 points

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 Medianet Release

28 Apr 2017 5:00 AM AEST - Business support for Federal Government now negative; lowest under Turnbull

Business support for Federal Government now negative; lowest under Turnbull

28 April 2017: Support for the Federal Government among small and medium businesses (SMBs) has fallen into negative territory and to the lowest level since Malcolm Turnbull took over as Prime Minister, according to the latest Sensis Business Index (SBI) survey.

The net balance fell four points this quarter (+2 to -2). This score is calculated by comparing the number of SMBs that feel supported by the Federal Government's policies (14%) to the number that do not feel supported (16%).

Sensis Chief Executive Officer, John Allan said: "After Malcolm Turnbull took over as Prime Minister in 2015 we saw confidence in the Government rise, with businesses telling us they were optimistic about the change."

"Since then the Government's approval rating has fallen nine points and is 20 points lower than the highest score we saw under Tony Abbott, following the pro-business Federal budget of 2015. To find a lower score we need to go back to the March 2015 survey, which was taken after Tony Abbott had survived a leadership spill.

"While perceptions of the economy remain strong, less than one in seven businesses have faith in the Government's policies, with the biggest concerns being excessive bureaucracy and red tape, as well as there being too much of a focus on the interests of big business," he said.

The Index, which reflects the views of 1,000 small and medium businesses from across Australia, also revealed that despite a tough quarter for the Government the long term projections for the economy have improved to their best level in 2 ½ years.

"Perceptions of the current state of the economy fell slightly, but when we look further ahead businesses are feeling the most optimistic they have been since the carbon tax was repealed in 2014," said Mr Allan.

The net balance score for current perceptions of the economy now sits at +2, while the expectation for the economy in a year's time have risen to +10.

"When we look at the key indicators, sales, employment, wages and prices are all positive, while profitability has also improved, despite still recording a negative score. When you mix these results with the fact that business confidence remains at one of the best levels we've seen in the past seven years, it's not surprising to see the long term economic sentiment improve," said Mr Allan.

"Businesses are expecting a solid increase in prices this quarter, which may give inflation a push, helping the Reserve Bank to justify a rate hike at a time when everyone is keenly watching their every move."

In terms of business confidence there was a two point fall nationally, with the score now sitting on +44, which is the second best result since March 2010.

Across the states and territories only ACT, Tasmanian, Queensland and NT businesses became more confident, while WA businesses maintained their score, and the other state and territories went backwards.

"The results were fairly flat this quarter, although the ACT saw an 18 point spike and now sits in top spot – driven by strong sales results – in the first full survey taken since the ACT election," said Mr Allan.

"In a sign of what was to come, the WA Government's score fell as it headed towards the election loss, with SMBs reporting concerns the Government was too focussed on the interests of big business."

At an industry level there were mixed results in terms of business confidence, with seven out of 10 industries going backwards this quarter. The three sectors that improved were Health and Community Services; Building and Construction; and Retail Trade.

"We saw big declines in confidence in the manufacturing and hospitality sectors this quarter driven by poor sales results, with manufacturing really struggling compared to the other industries. Fortunately, expectations are for an improvement in sales this quarter," said Mr Allan.

Comparing metro and regional results, there was little change this quarter, with metropolitan businesses again more confident, now by a slightly reduced margin of seven points (+47 vs +40).

"Overall more businesses in the capital cities are feeling confident and it comes down to their perceptions of the economy. They believe the economy is travelling well, whereas more regional business owners feel pessimistic," said Mr Allan.

The full report and video summarising the report are available at

Video grabs featuring Sensis CEO John Allan analysing the ACT results available for download here:

Images and infographics available for download here:

Distributed by AAP Medianet


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