Scott Morrison: 2018 National Humble Pie Eating Champion

Like Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and most of his colleagues on the Treasury benches, Morrison voted in Parliament 23 times between April 2016 and June last year to block a royal commission into the banks. (The AGE)

An amazing demonstration of his complete inability to understand the  sordid realities of the financial advice sector. A terrible shortcoming for Treasurer. He should fall on his sword.

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There will of course be innumerable quotations that will come back to haunt him about why we didn’t need a Royal Commission. Morrison could not possibly have known how quite badly things were going to turn out but he should have had some idea. And now it looks as if he’s been covering up for some pretty dodgy behaviour on the part of our major financial institutions.

And he is looking incredibly stupid, and that’s not a very good look for a Treasurer.

The amazing thing is, he is still trying to blame Bill Shorten. Bill of course  will be making a lot of political mileage out of this.

The difficulty here is that he is now suggesting the banks should be facing exceptionally large fines. This is not a particularly smart idea because it punishes the shareholders who are, by and large, the superannuation funds to represent the vast bulk of  ordinary Australians.

The people who should be punished are the financial advisors and executives who were designing the remuneration packages that led to the appalling behaviour that ruined the lives of many of the clients of the major banks.

Marianne Perkovic, the head of the CBA’s private bank did not impress Royal commissioner Hayne with her answers

These  scumbags should be named and shamed publicly. Their photographs and their names should be displayed on the Internet and they should be made to face the Royal Commission to explain their behaviours.

. And then if necessary they should be faced with criminal charges.

But imposing fines on the banks because one  section of the banks’ activities, and very small section at that, was rotten to the core, is no justification for imposing fines totalling hundreds of millions of dollars  on the entire sector. This will lead to a crisis of confidence in the banks that will be detrimental to the economic health of our banking system.

The best thing for Scott Morrison to do is to say, “I got this one really badly wrong. This is the ultimate demonstration of my own competence as a treasurer.  This happened on my  watch. Please accept my apologies and my resignation.”

Our heroes are few but tall

Today, we commemorated  to Dr Martin Luther King, assassinated at the age of 39, Dr r King will stand with Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi as 20th century giants who stood for the emancipation of the oppressed.

On this very day, the President of the United States,  aka “the pussy grabber” was deploying troops to prevent “the big caravan of People from Honduras” from crossing into the United States suggesting Central American hordes were converging upon the United States to take advantage of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

Ghost: O Hamlet, what a falling-off was there!

 

 

Pressure builds on Malcolm Turnbull as News Poll 30 nears

It’s the usual suspects. Political has-beens with nothing to lose and a common cause, hatred of Malcolm Turnbull.

It’s a well-worn issue: Coal and electricity costs.  But always good for a couple of headlines.

Members of the Monash Forum include Craig Kelly, Eric Abetz, Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce and Kevin Andrews. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen (SMH)

This time they been able to stir up a bit of controversy by using Sir John Monash’s name for their “Forum” sparking indignation not only from the family but also nationally.

They have been pilloried as dinosaurs but that’s nothing new. They’ve captured the headlines again and they’ve embarrassed the PM who was about to open a centre on the Western Front honouring the great General.

The dinosaurs have effectively pissed on his picnic.If the aim is to destabilise Turnbull’s leadership, you wonder who the alternative would be as you look at the photo. None of them would be acceptable to the Australian public. So what would long-term strategy be?  There probably isn’t one, just unthinking hatred of Turnbull.

Or are they seriously thinking of a challenge when Turnbull loses that 30th Newspoll?

Is Tony Abbott going to have another run at the leadership?

Bill Shorten must love it.

10 ways to tell if Your President is a Dictator

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International elations at Harvard University

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listed Jeff Colgan’s  of Brown University ten points

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You can read the full article at

10 Ways to Tell if Your President Is a Dictator

1. Systematic efforts to intimidate the media. 

2. Building an official pro-Trump media network. 

3. Politicizing the civil service, military, National Guard, or the domestic security agencies. 

4. Using government surveillance against domestic political opponents. 

5. Using state power to reward corporate backers and punish opponents. 

6. Stacking the Supreme Court. 

7. Enforcing the law for only one side. 

8. Really rigging the system. 

9. Fearmongering. 

10. Demonizing the opposition.

Just checking

 

Matthew Guy may regret breaking the pairs convention over CFA legislation

Matthew Guy was unrepentant about  breaking the long-standing convention on pairs to sink the CFA legislation on Good Friday.

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“The end is justified the means.” said the opposition leaderin a very poorly  chosen quote.

If the response in The Age was any indication, Guy has made a bad mistake. The convention of pairing parliamentarians is a long-standing one. It’s only a convention but it’s one that rests on parliamentary trust and Guy’s tactics and his justification for them was a blatant betrayal of trust.

Labor’s outrage was fairly confected but it will make the most of the political mileage that it can. And the public does not seem to view Guy in a very favourable light.

The Docklands zoning scandal reflected very badly on his time as Planning Minister and his links with dodgy criminal figures cast a very bad light on his relationships with fairly some dubious characters. His political judgement in this particular incident has not been good.

But the stupid thing about this little debacle has meant that Guy lost the initiative on the so-called “Red Shirts” affair which had the potential  to show the government in a very bad light.  Liberal party strategists must be fuming.

Andrews must be breathing a sigh of relief.

 

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.

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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.