Monday, May 21, 2018

Monday Forum - the Royal Wedding, Section 44, Germans like cash

This is a short round-up post. It also acts as the Monday Forum post - go where you like here.

The Royal Wedding

I hadn't intended to watch the royal wedding. While I am a supporter of the current system and enjoy a good spectacle, my TV has stopped working and I didn't feel like going to a venue to watch. As it happened, I was invited to dinner at what turned out to be a royal wedding session complete with tiaras and veils for the girls and crowns for the boys. So I did watch, although I couldn't help think of the irony of a group of largely staunch republicans not only enjoying the spectacle but capable of identifying all those minor royals!

I see that Neil Whitfield enjoyed the wedding (Yes, I watched it! And with much pleasure…) althow I wasn't as keen on Bishop Michael Curry. I thought he started brilliantly but then lost me in the middle to some extent. I think that this was partly a matter of the poor sound on the TV we were watching.

More prosaically, wearing my economist hat I found myself trying to calculate how much the wedding was worth in cash terms at a time when the British economy is not strong with confusions and concerns over Brexit acting as a drag. I know that it cost a fair bit, but my best best guess is that the direct and indirect benefits may have exceeded the costs at least twenty fold.

Excluded: The impact of section 44 on Australian democracy

Excluded: The impact of section 44 on Australian democracy, the report of the Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, was released earlier in May. My post Sunday Essay - can we change Section 44 of the Australian Constitution?just before the release.

The response to the report suggests that there is little appetite among any of our political leaders to start a discussion on the desirability of change, while the News Corp papers seem to have lined up against any change.: Daily Telegraph headline "We can't allow political citizenship rules to change", The Australian  "Power grab by the political class thwarted by Turnbull".

I think that it's a mess that does need to be discussed, but see little point in repeating arguments. I think one or a combination of three things will happen: there will be more cases of members thrown into doubt because they are unable to property demonstrate renunciation; the rules and processes regarding nomination will be tightened to the point that only candidates who are wealthy or have big party backing will be able to meet them; and that Parliament will tighten rules on referral to the High Court, effectively transferring power to it from the Court.

Germans like cash

Interesting story in Quartz by Matt Phillips on German's continuing liking for cash. One part the reason lies in their dislike of credit, a belief that using cash better controls spending. I can see their point of view.

I am out of time, I will hold my other stories to later posts.

Update 22 May 2018: 11 and 12th Century Trade Routes

Fascinating story from Merchant Marine, An Incredibly Detailed Map Of Medieval Trade Routes, . Worth a read.
Update 22 May 2018: Sydney housing and infrastructure woes

Sydney's problems in the supply of infrastructure and affordable housing continue as hot issues. Because I don't have time to review at the moment, I thought that I might at least post some random links for later review.

I will add to this list when I have time.

Update 23 May 2018. Google Search and newspaper blocks

A frustration. I do a Google search, find an interesting story, click on it, and come up against a newspaper paywall. This wastes my time and effort. Is it time for Google to change its algorithms so that only material that is in fact accessible to the searcher is included in search?

Update 24 May 2018. Remarkable insights into public sector governance

Thanks Nicholas Gruen (@NGruen1) for pointing me yo these remarkable insights!



2 tanners said...

The High Court has now opened the way for foreign governments to demand favours from Australian politicians in exchange for accelerating their clearances or delaying rivals' clearances. Lower house politicians can only be referred by the Government of the day (or by themselves). This is a total mess and so far from the original drafters' vision it really does need to be cleared up with a sensible solutions.

Couldn't watch the wedding while my footy team was playing, but wouldn't have anyway. But I reckon Jim is right - the benefits would outweigh the costs. Wouldn't mind that calculus being applied over here, with a loading to allow the simple enjoyment of fans being able to attend events. But the ridiculous overspends of Commonwealth Games, FIFA cups and other such things should be avoided like the the plague.

That's enough for now.

Jim Belshaw said...

Morning, 2t. I guess we just have to wait to see how the S44 issue unfolds. The next step will be the new regulations for nomination. While I think such action by foreign governments is unlikely, mind you I'm less certain of that after all the Russia stuff, it does illustrate the problems involved when eligibility is made dependent on foreign law.

Did you see the the Canberra Time has apparently dropped the obituary section from its web site?

2 tanners said...

My point was not in the likelihood of it happening although i was told that the Oz has already accused a Labor MP of being precisely in that position. But now it is no longer up to the the efforts solely of the MP/candidate, but must have finished being processed by a foreign government. That's plainly wrong as an interpretation of a requirement that the candidate has done all they reasonably can, in my view.

I don't read obits often as they are too often hagiographies. However, since I doubt CT tracks my usage in determining their presentation decisions, it could be that the truly uninteresting stuff served up has driven many readers away. I learned much more at my father-in-law's funeral and my brother's father in law's funeral (both this year) about two fascinating, idiosyncratic men than I ever have from a newspaper obit.

Jim Belshaw said...

I understood your point, 2t. The point of my Russia comment is that here you had a government, or so it seems, attempting to manipulate election results in another country. So will it happen in our case in the way you foreshadowed? I guess the broader points are the wisdom of making parliamentary eligibility dependent on changing laws in another country (I think that was your point too); the extent to which a provision based on mechanics actually has a meaning in terms of the intent; and the meaning of that provision in the context of changing Australian society.

On the obits, I found them helpful and interesting. They did seem to be common to the Herald and Age, largely repeated comment. I doubt that they drove readers away. They weren't directly on the front page anyway. It's actually a diminution in CT content, part of the CT retreat. I have found out how to access them from Age/SMH although the visit limits affect this. One has to prioritise.