About timothyrhaslett

After 30 years in academia, with a Ph.D. in non-linear dynamics and systems modelling and a Masters degree in English literature, I'm keen to broaden my writing audience. I am interested in becoming part of an informed community of commentary on matters of public interest. For me this will include politics (mainly Australian), films, books and the general cant, hypocrisy and stupidity that seems to infest public life.

Pick on someone your own size. Prime Minister Scott Morrison shoulder charges seven-year old boy in soccer match.

Scott Morrison turned up to a trial soccer match of seven-year-olds Tasmania. He joined in the game. A rugby league fan, he then shoulder charged a 7 year old boy, Luca Fauvette.

Did none of his minders tell him that soccer is different from rugby league?

It was still wrong on every count, Luca didn’t have the ball, the rules of tackling are different in the two games.

Has Morrison never been to a soccer match?

Apart from that, Luca was much smaller than Morrison.

Seven-year-old Luca Fauvette, appearing on the Today show with his grandmother, Jo, thinks the prime minister should have been given a red card.CREDIT:NINE NEWS

Morrison could get some lessons from Sonny Bill Williams, who was a master of the art, on how to do a decent shoulder charge.

There are also some other simple things too: pick on someone your own size, take your glasses off, wear footy gear.

And the piece of general advice from everybody: Don’t be a bully.

A modelling evaluation of Scott Morrison’s proposed $50,000 Superannuation Funded Home Deposit Scheme

This post examines two scenarios. The first is relatively benign. The second is disastrous

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has proposed that first-time home buyers should be able to borrow up to $50,000 towards a deposit on their first home. The loan, plus the capital gain, would be repaid back into the superannuation fund when the house is sold.

There are a lot of variables involved in this transaction: the rate of capital gain on the house, the rate of capital gains superannuation fund, how long you own the first house, the difference between the capital gain on the house and superannuation fund. These are all questions with no answers because they deal with predicting the future and as the famous physicist Niels Bohr said  “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future!”

But here goes.

This simple model looks at the implications of this proposal using the System Dynamics modelling package Stella which is specifically designed to capture feedback effects between interacting systems, in this case the superannuation system and the housing sector.

In the interests of simplicity there are a number of assumptions built into this model.

The borrower, let’s call her Elizabeth, will earn $60,000 for her working life of 45 years. It goes but not much. Much as wages have done for quite a while. This means the numbers are understandable in todays prices.

Elizabeth will pay 9% of that into an industry super fund and will earn a compound interest rate of 8%.

Elizabeth will buy her first house after she has been working for 10 years and borrow $50,000 from super account.

Elizabeth will purchase a house for $750k and borrow $600k from the bank. The house will go up in value at 8% per annum.

Elizabeth will sell her first house after eight years for $1.2m and purchase a second house.

The total repayments to her super account are $100k, twice what she borrowed borrowed. However, this offsets the impact of the withdrawal of the $50,000 from her super account.

While Elizabeth’s superannuation has lagged as result of the withdraw for a home deposit, the repayment very quickly catches up her superannuation.

Elizabeth’s sale of her first house leaves her with $1.1m. She borrows another $1.1 from the bank to purchase her second house which she lives in for the rest of her life.

The impact of the $50k borrowing on the value of the house over the next 20 years is that Elizabeth’s equity will be approximately $680k less than someone who had not borrowed from their super account . But that will only represent 4% of the market value of the house ($17.4m against $16.8m) when she retires.

This case study indicates how PM Scott Morrison’s proposed $50,000 borrowing from superannuation would work on a best case scenario.

There are many scenarios and they will vary according to the value of the property purchased and the rate of return in the stock market where most superannuation funds are invested and the increase in house prices. These two case studies outline the principles and systemic structures that underlie Morrison’s proposal.

Contrary to what most commentators say there will be no major impact on super as long as the borrowing and capital gain is paid back. The long-term impact, and it will be slight, will be on the capital value of the second home.

But this is a best case scenario.

The worst case scenario is Reg who is like the visitors in respect except one.

His $50,000 is not paid back and Reg stays living in the first home he purchases until his retirement.

The impact on his superannuation is disastrous.

His final superannuation retirement balance will be $1.7m million compared with someone who has not borrowed whose final balance will be $2.4m.

In addition, his initial $50k debt will now have grown to $740k which will presumably have paid out of the $1.7m million in his retirement account leaving the super balance at $1m.

There are a number of variations on this worst-case scenario.

They are all related to how long the borrower delays selling their first home and pays off the initial borrowing.

But any long-term avoidance of repaying the $50k, effectively incurs a compounding penalty interest rate of 8%.

It’s not very good idea when you can borrow money from the bank at 4%.

For many people who are on relatively low incomes, this type of borrowing will have an Increasingly devastating effect on their superannuation balances longer they delay the sale of their first home.

Is this a good policy? The model would suggest is that, at best there is a slight negative effect. At worst it is disastrous.

However, it provides a big proportion of the deposit first home owners need to provide. This will help more first home buyers into the market. However, the effects of this are beyond the scope of this model.

Packing Room Prize is an exercise in photo realism: ie the paintings need to be a bit like photos.

It is also designed to be something other than the more intellectual and rarefied mainstream Archibald Prize. It’s something of a “People’s choice.”

The Packing Room Prize has never won the Archibald. But it must surely have contributed to the popularity of the main competition.

This painting of actor Bill Hunter is immediately recognisable, particularly to people who live in Richmond in Victoria and for his role as Stan Combs in Crackerjack and for his role as Bart Cummings in The Cup a film about Melbourne’s iconic horserace in 2011.

There is sadness etched into Bill Hunter eyes. He is both saddened and puzzled by what he sees in the past which is somewhere outside and beyond the frame of the painting. The look of puzzlement borders appears to contain some sense of effrontery. Jason Benjamin has captured that sense very well. It’s a poignant and unsentimental painting.

The next portrait is of the immediately recognisable David Wenham.

Wenham has listed film credits stretching back to 1992 including Moulin Rouge, Van Helsing, Blinky Bill, Peter Rabbit and Australia. His TV credits include A Country Practice, Sons and Daughters, Come in Spinner, Police Rescue, Blue Healers, SeaChange, Les Norton.

His public persona is that of the intelligent and handsome pinup.

Tessa MacKay’s portrait captures Wenham sitting in a café looking out across the streetscape building. whereas the portrait of Bill Hunter is almost devoid of background, Mackay places Wenham in an urban environment merging the blues and greys of his clothes with the background of the buildings and the sky.

He is also placed in the nondescript jumble of the café: the sugar, the salt container, a pot plant. There are s treet signs outside. Is Wenham considering the meaning of Lewis Carroll’s Alice through the looking glass?

Probably not. Nothing to suggest he is considering whether to buy another coffee.

Some things are so bad, sometimes I struggle to find words for them: Victorian Liberal MP Bernie Finn is one of them.

The AGE reports: Victorian Liberal MP Bernie Finn has repeated his view that survivors of rape should not be allowed to have abortions, saying “everybody should be given a chance” to live.

Finn has denied that his controversial views on abortion could affect the Liberal Party at November’s state election. CREDIT:JASON SOUTH

This man is a Liberal party member of the Victorian Parliament. He has been there for 23 years.

It’s only a step away from the countries which demand that women who have been raped have to marry their rapist.

Yet Bernie Finn has continued as a member of the Victorian Liberal Party for 23 years. There must be women who are voting for him.

Do they not understand what he represents? Perhaps they don’t care. Perhaps they agree.

Must we assume that the other members of the Liberal party do understand and do agree.

It is almost impossible to imagine the trauma of rape but to combine that with the conflict of carrying and bearing the rapist child is unspeakable.

But Bernie clearly has neither the imagination to consider that.

What’s wrong with the idea that the basic wage should keep pace with inflation?

During the debate on the 5% increase in the basic wage, it’s worth remembering that for someone on $20 an hour, a 5% increase is $1 an hour, $8 for an eight-hour day. That means your take-home pay goes from $800 to $840 a week. That’s $40 a week.

Difficult for someone on $500k, free house, free transport and all-expenses-paid to understand.

The AGE reports the response of the government to Albanese’s suggestion that the basic wage should be increased by 5%

Scott Morrison: “What we saw from Anthony Albanese yesterday was reckless, was incredibly reckless … Anthony Albanese is a loose unit on the economy,”

The employment minister Stuart Robert says Anthony Albanese’s wages stance is “unprecedented”.

Employment Minister Stuart Robert.CREDIT:JAMES BRICKWOOD

This confected outrage is from the man who brought Robotdebt to some of the poorest people in Australia.

Now he is outraged that they should receive $1 increase in their wages.

Some reminders about the Scotty we know

Scott Morrison likes to keep reminding the Australian public that with him we “know what we aregetting”.

To start with, he is in regular communication with God. At least, that is what he believes

A man who believes in divine intervention doesn’t need to do much himself.

That’s not a great attribute in the Prime Minister but it goes a long way to explaining the monumental government inactivity over the Covid vaccines and the rapid antigen tests.

They arrived when God was ready.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison believes that out there is an Omniscient being out there that will deliver him a personal miracle that will win him the Federal election.

Out there somewhere, someone is rooting for Scotty

And that’s just because Scott asked nicely.

That human life has been created on our planet in this universeIt is still difficult for the intelligent mind to grasp. That some force is at work helping Scott Morrison become Prime Minister because he sent a message defies rational belief.

But then:

Morrison allowed this picture to be printed in a national newspaper. Presumably, it’s a picture of him praying or making some public exhortation of faith taking advantage of his unique and direct relationship with God.

Morrison has also spoken of the “laying on of hands” Quoted in The Guardian

“I’ve been in evacuation centres where people thought I was just giving someone a hug and I was praying, and putting my hands on people … laying hands on them and praying in various situations,” he said.

“It’s been quite a time, it’s been quite a time, and God has, I believe, been using us in those moments to be able to provide provide some relief and comfort and just some reassurance.”

Not much comfort for the people of LIsmore who are still living in tents.

No miracles there. Just floods.

Is any Government service “free”?

I saw a poster featuring Adam Bandt (for whom I will be voting).

It was advocating free childcare. I thought to myself, it’s not free, someone will be paying. It’s the taxpayer. It is free for the people who are using childcare. Personally, I think that childcare should be free. 

And so should a number of other services. Like the police, education (primary secondary and tertiary) health, water, social housing. You can add to this list according to your political preferences.

It’s about the extent to which you think we all should support the community in their right to have access to a certain level of security in the society in which we live.

We should not delude ourselves into thinking that this is free. It is free for the people who use these services.

The difficult choices are the extent to which we make these services available without cost.

This links to the extent that members of society contribute to these costs. 

The current flattening of tax structures in Australia means that higher income earners are contributing disproportionately towards supporting the so-called “free” services to the general community.

When I was growing up in New Zealand in the 1950s, the top income rate for high income earners was 95%. 

It’s a dilemma. These two different ways of solving it.

In their debate, Frydenberg and Ryan gave Kooyong voters a good view of what they are voting for.

All course, they have known for years were getting with Josh.

But now they have a real choice. Many of them are going to like that. Democracy in Kooyong will be stronger for it. The irony is that the MP that most liberals would like to see leading to liberal party is now in danger of losing his seat.

Monique Ryan has showing strong support for climate change and for an independent integrity commission on both of which current government is particularly vulnerable. She also rejected claims that emissions have been reducing on the Government watch.

Frydenberg for his part attacked Ryan’s lack of policy on tax and raise the spectre of a hung parliament and questioned to Ryan would support.

She made it clear she would find it difficult to support Morrison government which settled the issue for the Kooyong voters.

The issue of Ryan’s mother-in-law surfaced. This generates more heat than light, but Ryan clearly feels strongly about it. Frydenberg would have been better off not mentioning it. Politics must be listed within walls who have not voted for their relatives.

This will be one of the most closely watched seats on election night.

Aloss here will mean that the government is in deep trouble.

In his rants against a national integrity commission, PM Scott Morrison demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of Australian democracy.

He clearly doesn’t understand the concept of the separation of powers.

There are three elements to government, separate but related: the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary.In this system, the Legislature (or the Parliament as it is called in Australia) passes the laws, the Executive (or Public Service) makes them work and the Judiciary make sure that they are working fairly and justly. An ICAC would be part of the Judiciary made up of lawyers and judges.

Morrison clearly does not understand this demonstrated by this quote in THE AGE where he said: “We can’t just hand government over to faceless officials to make decisions that impact the lives of Australians from one end of the country to the other. I actually think there’s a great danger in that”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends a rally in the South Australian seat of Boothby on Wednesday.CREDIT: JAMES BRICKWOOD

Later he reiterated the point emphasising the risks of handing sweeping powers to unelected officials

Establishing a Federal ICAC  does not “hand government over to faceless officials”. It allows one of the arms of government, the Judiciary, to perform its proper functions: conducting judicial inquiries.

Morrison has also been scathing about the performance of the NSW ICAC which he believes (incorrectly) forced the resignation of ex-Premier Gladys Berejiklian. 

NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption commissioner Stephen Rushton blasted “buffoons” who had labelled the commission a “kangaroo court” – a term the prime minister has used multiple times. 

 Clearly, no love lost there.

The overwhelming national support for an independent commission at a Federal level is clear evidence that the Australian public is sufficiently convinced that there is extensive corruption in the current government that needs investigation.

The fact that the Prime Minister promised a Federal ICAC at the last election and then reneged on that promise. That he now continues to double down on his refusal only confirms the suspicions of the Australian electorate of that something is rotten.

In his rants against a national integrity commission, PM Scott Morrison demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of Australian democracy.

He clearly doesn’t understand the concept of the separation of powers. There are three elements to government, separate but related: the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary.

In this system, the Legislature (or the Parliament as it is called in Australia) passes the laws, the Executive (or Public Service) makes them work and the Judiciary make sure that they are working fairly and justly. An ICAC would be part of the Judiciary made up of lawyers and judges.

Morrison clearly does not understand this demonstrated by this quote in THE AGE where he said: “We can’t just hand government over to faceless officials to make decisions that impact the lives of Australians from one end of the country to the other. I actually think there’s a great danger in that”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends a rally in the South Australian seat of Boothby on Wednesday.CREDIT: JAMES BRICKWOOD

Later he reiterated the point emphasising the risks of handing sweeping powers to unelected officials

Establishing a Federal ICAC  does not “hand government over to faceless officials”. It allows one of the arms of government, the Judiciary, to perform its proper functions: conducting judicial inquiries.

Morrison has also been scathing about the performance of the NSW ICAC which he believes (incorrectly) forced the resignation of ex-Premier Gladys Berejiklian. 

NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption commissioner Stephen Rushton blasted “buffoons” who had labelled the commission a “kangaroo court” – a term the prime minister has used multiple times. 

 Clearly, no love lost there.

The overwhelming national support for an independent commission at a Federal level is clear evidence that the Australian public is sufficiently convinced that there is extensive corruption in the current government that needs investigation.

The fact that the Prime Minister promised a Federal ICAC at the last election and then reneged on that promise. That he now continues to double down on his refusal only confirms the suspicions of the Australian electorate of that something is rotten.