ASKO: making the wrong calls on quality and service.

Recently our old dishwasher broke down. We went to Harvey Norman. “Best to buy European quality!”  we were told.


We chose ASKO, top of the range priced at $2300. A lot for a dishwasher, you might think. It was. But this was top of the range quality. ” This should last you at least 18 years,” said the man who installed it.

“Should  see me out,” I thought, “I’m not going to make 90.” Less than two months later, it’s broken down. Nothing. Won’t start. No lights.

So we ring ASKO

After a 20 minute wait during which I listen to messages about how seriously ASKO takes the quality of its products, just what you need to hear when your $2300 dishwasher has broken down and you’re on hold.

I am then told by the nice young gentleman at the end of the phone that I need to provide proof of purchase of the dishwasher.

Given the ease with which Facebook is able to share masses of personal information with anyone it likes, I would have thought that Harvey Norman and ASKO could have shared my information about the purchase of my dishwasher.  Surely, a simple part of the quality experience a customer can expect.

But no.

Then I’m told it will be early next week before someone can come and look at my dishwasher, my brand-new $2300 that didn’t last two months. (an 8-day wait)

Here’s what they have on their website.

We understand that although you may work business hours, your appliances do not. That’s why ASKO are proud to introduce class leading 7 day breakdown service.

The technical term for this is “over promising”.

Apparently, this doesn’t apply during public holidays, said the polite young man. I said I thought that was a bit long but the young man on the phone said that a week to get a repair man out was “acceptable quality by our standards.”

Local service providers, such as Opaque, can normally provide a same or next day service, so is hard to see why a big company like ASKO can’t meet the same service standards.

If it’s taking a week to get make warranty service call one of three things may be happening:

  • there are a lot of quality failures on new products,
  • service calls for product failures on new products are not being given priority (don’t generate revenue?)
  • there are not enough people making service calls for new product failures.

Some theory around the idea of quality.

I was introducing Total Quality Management programs in Australian manufacturing nearly 50 years ago and one of the key principles was that quality is defined by the customer not by the manufacturer.

So, if someone is making a throw-away razor for a traveller, the quality standard the customer expects is that the razor should last for about three or four shaves.

If someone buys a watch to pass on to one of their their grandchildren, they expect it to last a lifetime. In both of these cases, the customer defines the standard of quality, not the manufacturer.

So if someone buys a dishwasher, especially an expensive one, they expected to be working each day. That’s a quality standard.

In terms of product and in terms of service quality, ASKO has got it absolutely wrong.

While the young gentleman should have said to me was, “What, your brand-new ASKO dishwasher has stopped working after two months? That is appalling. We will have a repair person round this afternoon to fix it. Please accept my humblest apologies on behalf of ASKO?”

This company positions itself at the quality end of market and charges accordingly.

Of course, ASKO will argue that it only has one product failure in a zillion. But that’s not the relevant in our kitchen. In our kitchen, ASKO has 100% product failure.

In our case, ASKO has not delivered on what we paid for and in addition it servicing policy has failed to provide adequate support for its product failure.



l’ll back company tax cuts if you leave the banks out, says man who fell out of Uber

Advancing a very sound economic argument, septuagenarian Senator Hinch said “How do you justify giving a [5 percentage point] tax cut to the big banks when there is a royal commission going on?”

Recently Senator Derryn  has reportedly suffered “brain trauma” after falling out of an Uber in Melbourne and declared he “will continue to drink” despite having previously sworn off the booze.

In relation to the proposed business tax cuts Senator Hinch said the two-line statement from the Business Council of Australia and heads of 10 of Australia’s largest companies was not enough to convince him.

Perhaps he should read  Peter Martin’s detailed analysis of the Treasury modelling but it might be too much for someone who is suffering from  brain trauma.

I have written the Dummies’ guide on my blog

No case for business tax cuts says Treasury modelling.

 for the slightly economically challenged.

Children in inner-Melbourne suburbs vulnerable to measles epidemics.

The Age reports:

In the suburb of Melbourne, where about 1000 young children live, only 70 to 75 per cent of five-year-olds were fully vaccinated, according to the 2016-2017 data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

In St Kilda and South Melbourne, the rate was 80 to 85 per cent.


Does something happen once you cross the Yarra? You turn into a crazy anti-Vaxxer?

Or are these people herding together for self protection?

These numbers are sufficient to give rise to a decent size epidemic if a traveller from Bali were to move into the area with a decent case of measles.

Don’t these parents realise that the children who haven’t been vaccinated are the ones who will get measles and all the other diseases many potentially fatal?


The terrible tragedy of all  of this is that there is currently no inoculation against parental stupidity and ignorance.

No case for business tax cuts says Treasury modelling.

Peter Martin, economics editor for The Age, explains the Treasury modelling of Turnbull’s proposed business tax cuts.

He is an economist, it’s an involved argument.

Here’s the guts of it:

 It will produce a one-off gain of just $150 per person – two to three months’ worth of the internet and that may take 15 years.

Try to smile Scott, Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Martin goes on to argue that it would be more beneficial for the Government to focus on personal tax cuts than tax cuts for big business. It would give a more immediate and more substantial benefit for taxpayers.

Peter Martin’s conclusion?

“The mathematical truth is that every dollar that is shovelled into company tax cuts can’t be shovelled to us in tax cuts. And we’re likely to need them more.”

Shorten takes bragging rights in Batman

Bill Shorten has won a significant political and psychological victory over Malcolm  Turnbull with a somewhat unexpected victory in the by-election for the federal seat of Batman.

Australian Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten and Ged Kearney celebrate her federal by-election win in Batman.  Photo and text: The Australian

Labor has held onto its Melbourne seat of Batman, defeating a strong challenge from the Greens. By 11pm the ALP’s Ged Kearney had a lead of 4.6 per cent, two candidate preferred, over her Greens rival Alex Bhathal with 65 per cent of the vote counted.

It’s an important victory for a number of reasons.

The first is that the Liberal party did not bother fielding a candidate. Shorten will make a lot of political mileage out of this. He will claim that Turnbull, approaching the dreaded 30 consecutive News polls, did not have the political willpower to challenge the ALP.


 Expect this man to say that the Liberal party is walking away from the difficult fights

 The second is that he will  be able to claim that the ALP is turning back the “green tide” in inner-city Melbourne. It’s probably not true. But he can make some political mileage out of it nonetheless, at the expense of the Greens.

He may also claimed that the Liberals are now irrelevant in the inner city suburbs of the big east coast state capitals and they know it.

He was lucky that he had an outstanding candidate in Ged Kearney and the Green turned up with a five time loser and were hampered by internal bickering.

Di Natale and his party leadership have some real problems.


Photo and text from The Australian: Greens leader Richard Di Natale concedes defeat alongside Greens candidate for Batman Alex Bhathal (centre) and Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt (right).

He’s been shown up to be a very weak leader unable to control his party which was racked by internal feuding. It was quite clear that a small number of  dissidents derailed the Greens’ campaign. Not a good sign for a party that wants to be considered seriously on the national stage.

For Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals, the nagging question will be whether the liberal candidates in inner-city seats are now a factor in the Greens gaining power and how they should allocate preferences in the future.


Clearly, allocating preferences to Adam Bandt will be a major factor in his holding his seat in the next federal election. This is likely to be the scenario in inner-city seats in Melbourne and Sydney.

A horny dilemma

Surely our Immigration Policies can do better than this

A Sri Lankan asylum seeker family taken from a small Queensland town were pulled from a plane overnight just minutes before they were due to be deported Tamil Refugee Council spokesman Ben Hillier said they were handcuffed and taken in separate vans to Melbourne Airport on Tuesday, flown to Perth and placed on a flight to Sri Lanka.

But a last-minute legal intervention resulted in them being removed from the plane before it took off.

The family, which has been in Australia now for nearly 6 years is currently in a detention centre.

To what purpose?

“They have consistently been found not to meet Australia’s protection obligations,” said a Department of Home Affairs spokesman.


Who cares?

They were living in Biloela. Anyone know where that is?

Have we all gone mad, Mr Dutton?

Now this

The Guardian: Australia considers fast-track visas for white South African farmers

White South African farmers “deserve special attention” from Australia due to the “horrific circumstances” of land seizures and violence, Peter Dutton has said.

So what’s the difference between A Sri Lankan asylum seeker family and a White South African farmer?

Apart from the very obvious one.


What the ABC needs when interviewing politicians: More Mongrel

You need Mongrel in many walks of life. Sean Fitzpatrick had a large streak of Mongrel. Along with McCaw (who also had a streak of Mongrel in him), Fitzpatrick would rank as one of the greatest All Black captains ever.

Mongrel is about being able to hand out some rough treatment and being able to take some as well.  Being uncompromising.


Peter Fitzsimons has spoken about the need for about Mongrel.


Fitzsimmons and Fitzpatrick were both Mongrels, although Peter was never in Sean’s  league.

Perhaps we some Mongrel on the ABC.

Perhaps the ABC should give them Fitzsimmons and Fitzpatrick some time on 730.

I watched Leigh Sales interview Malcolm Turnbull on7.30 a couple of nights ago.


I’m not a great fan of Leigh Sales as a political interviewer. She is very good where it’s important to build a good rapport with the interviewee.

But you need Mongrel when you interview Turnbull.

In fact, you need Mongrel when you interview most politicians, otherwise they get away with murder.

Sales asked Turnbull the obvious question about the 30 consecutive losing polls.

It was met by the usual wall of Turnbullian waffle and Sales let it go. It was about the leadership being in the hands of the party room etc, etc.

What Sales should have asked was:

” Prime Minister, if you lose 30 polls in a row will you dare Tony Abbott to mount a challenge in the party room? Please answer my question yes or no. And if not why not?”

She did not pursue the line of questioning of why the Liberal Party would consider the possibility of going into the next election having lost every poll since the last election.   In other words, “How many polls do you think you can lose before someone moves against you?”

That is a Mongrel line of questioning.

At one point in the interview Turnbull said spoke disparagingly about “University  Economics professors” and went on to speak in the most vague and theoretical terms completely lacking in  new substance to support his arguments.

Yet Sales did not challenge him for his abstract and theoretical language.

The interviewer should be free to criticise and comment with the politician fails to answer the question and say:

“With the greatest respect Prime Minister, you have not answered my question.  My question requires a simple yes or no.  The question you have answered was…….”

Why should the viewer have to put up with the Prime Minister getting away with this nonsense.

And here’s a change that would make things a little bit more interesting

At the end of the interview, particularly an interview with someone as important as a Prime Minister or a senior Minister of the Crown, a  independent panel should  set up to comment on the adequacy of the answers.

This segment could include playing back particularly problematic sections of the interview which may have been incomprehensible to the interviewing panel or the audience.

It’s time for more Mongrel in 730 interviews.


Turnbull’s Bonking Ban exposes significant double standards in Liberal party

Daily Mail: The ex-girlfriend of a highly-respected Liberal minister has lost her job as an adviser to Malcolm Turnbull after she revealed the sordid texts he sent to a fellow MP.

Caitlin Keage exposed the sexting scandal last month, sharing an exchange between NSW Innovation Minister Matt Kean and Liberal backbencher Eleni Petinos.


Mr Kean texted Ms Petinos at around 10pm on December 27, saying he was ‘tempted to drive down to see’ her, before adding: ‘Really need to f*** you.’

Mr Kean’s boss, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, previously said she would not be sacking him over the scandal.


‘What I’ve read this morning is extremely disappointing,’ the premier said at the time.

‘I’m personally disappointed in him and have told him so, but it is nonetheless a personal matter.’ 

 Heard that before?

After the outburst from Michaelia Cash last week. it seems that, in practice, Turnbull’s bonking ban is only being applied to female staff members.

Jilted lover Caitlin Keage went public with some indiscreet texts from NSW Innovation Minister Matt Kean to parliamentary colleague MP Eleni Petinos.

Ms Keage who was in a relationship with Kean, was understandably upset at the content of the texts.


We can only speculate on the nature of the relationship between Kean and Petinos. But the texts make Matt’s intentions fairly clear.

This situation raises some very interesting questions.

Is it important that this is a senior state Liberal politician in a relationship (  presumably involving sexual relations) with a Federal Liberal staff member and this is just what Malcolm Turnbull’s bonking ban was designed to stamp out.

Problem is, he is a minister in the New South Wales Parliament and she is a staffer in the  the PM’s office.

There is nothing to suggest that this relationship was not a consensual one.

So it be that one of Caitlin Keage’s unfortunate indiscretions was exposing Matt Kean and Eleni Petinos.

What she has done is continue the unfortunate spectacle of the ongoing spectacle of the  Canberra bonkfest.

Most unforgivably, at a time when Michaelia Cash was trying to sheet this home to Bill Shorten’s office, the focus has swung to the PM’s office.

Malcolm Turnbull has wound up with egg all over his face.

Caitlin Keage has made both Malcolm Turnbull and Gladys Berejiklian look like a couple of right hypocrites.


This affair will leave the credibility of his bonking ban in tatters.

Now in fairness to Turnbull, who is a lawyer, the bonking ban was not meant to

1) cross interstate boundaries

2) cover sexual relationships between MPs

3) cover sexual relationships between ministers of the Crown and backbenchers,


All of which I’m sure that Turnbull will be at pains to point out in his next press conference.

Expect a few homilies from Tony Abbott on “moral leadership.”



Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse/more sordid for the Barnaby Joyce

The Age reports: Nationals officials were warned of an impending “avalanche of allegations” about Barnaby Joyce and were expecting so many women to complain some MPs considered asking a former governor to hold an inquiry.


Wonderful comments from Roger Currie in the Age A new species of freshwater groper has been discovered in rural Australia, Akubrensis gropus: has felt like plumage and beetroot blotching.

If these allegations are true, it really is time that Barnaby Joyce make a statement to Australian people about why he is justified in holding the seat of New England.


Turnbull’s new frontbench announces itself

They pretty much selected themselves given the amount of media coverage they had over the last few weeks. No one is developing serious policy in government at the moment so these four look like they are to be the government’s best chance at re-election.

Leading was the pack was Barnaby “Who’s your daddy ” Joyce.


He was keeping himself in the limelight with statements  \to the national media about the “grey area” of the paternity of his son (what a great start in life for the little bloke) followed up by statements that all of this was a “private matter”.

Followed closely by Michaelia Cash, self-appointed Special Minister for the Advancement of Young Women in Politics. Also Minister for Snarling


Next was Tony “the Final Countdown” Abbott, reminding everybody that Malcolm Turnbull has now recorded 28 consecutive polls where he has trailed the Labor Party. Turnbull famously used Abbott’s 30 consecutive losing polls as the reason for (succcessfully) challenging him as PM.


Abbott’s problem will be that when Turnbull finally notches up his 30 losing polls, Abbott may be able to gloat but he will not be able to argue that replacing someone with 30 losing polls with someone else who has lost 30, is a particularly good idea.

Nonetheless, Abbott has got two months to have a ball at Turnbull’s expense. Expect him to make the most of it.

And finally there is Julie “Hey Big Spender” Bishop and her acceptance of lavish gifts from various generous friends who appear to be sponsoring DFAT.


But it’s her spending of tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayers money on her “not my boyfriend”, “not my partner”  “just met him in the Qantas lounge.” property developer travelling companion David Panton, that must stick in the age pensioners craw.


What is it about Bishops and the sense of entitlement? The last one was a disaster, overspending and this one doesn’t seem to have learned from her mistakes.

We look forward to news about someone is actually conducting the business of government in Canberra