Odds and sods – part 2

The blog is taking a break. In the meantime some odds and sods. More tomorrow.

Business, the Voice and Dutton

 There was some good news for the Voice Yes campaign when another of Australia’s most unpopular and distrusted political leaders, Tony Abbott – joined Peter Dutton in the No campaign.

Dutton has also got cross with the business community suggesting they should stay out of politics except for donating to the Liberals, campaigning against resources taxes and crying that they would all be rooned if workers got a living age.

Sadly, they are not listening.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors has recently updated its Reconciliation Action Plan – first developed in 2017.

They said: “As an organisation committed to education and professional development, we also recognise that we have a lot to learn.The AICD started its formal reconciliation journey in 2017 with the launch of its first Innovate RAP. We recognise that our first RAP laid important foundations for the AICD’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation.”

The substantial plan specifies actions, deliverables, timelines and responsibilities.

It says: “We see a reconciled Australia that learns from the world’s oldest continuing civilisation and its systems of governance developed over thousands of years. Reconciliation means all Australians and all organisations recognise the fundamental importance of community and Country.

“Our vision for reconciliation Reconciliation will bring greater knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to the wider community and we envisage a prominent role for First Nations peoples in leadership positions across every sector and at every level of government.

“This will see more First Nations peoples represented in Australia’s boardrooms and there will be a pipeline of emerging First Nations leaders ready to step into these roles.

“Reconciliation reinforces the AICD’s broad mission to strengthen society through world-class governance and our reconciliation vision is for strong, well-governed organisations across the Australian economy that listen to, learn from and serve Australia’s First Nations peoples and their communities.

“To advance this vision, we will work within our sphere of influence to educate, engage and lead the director community in these focus areas: Lift Australian director engagement with national reconciliation; build the capability of a community of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders; support self-determination in governance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; Recognition of the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ approaches to governance and custodianship; Contributing to the national conversation on First Nations self-determination and Treaty.

Danny Tobin of the firm Gilbert+Tobin and part of the Voice campaign leadership told The Saturday Paper (6/5): “This a nation building moment. Corporates are corporate citizens, and they are part of the social, economic, political infrastructure of this country. They employ a lot of people and have an interest in building a strong, healthy, inclusive democracy.

His comments were part of an article by Julia Banks, former Liberal MP, who fell foul of the Liberal misogynist leadership.

Banks said Gilbert was talking about the Voice – a proposal that business leaders from the NAB, ANZ, Commonwealth bank, BHP, Rio Tinto, Wesfarmers,  Woolworths and Coles support as prominent corporate advocates of the Yes campaign.

“So are many of Australia’s largest law firms including Allens, Baker McKenzie, Ashurst, Herbert Smith Freehills and King & Wood Mallesons, to name a few.”

A few thoughts from the wise

 This one is well-known and gets quoted all the time but it is worth remembering in the context of current debates about central banks and their policies.

“Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back” ―John Maynard Keynes

Seneca and Erasmus

In the midst of fears about The Voice a good test of how valid anti-Voice campaigners hyperbolic claims are can be found in Seneca’s comment that “hyperbole lies to hint at the truth.”

To make it clearer Erasmus said: “Next comes hyperbole, for which someone invented the Latin term super-latio ‘exaggeration.’ In this, as Seneca says, we reach the truth by saying something which is obviously false. Hyperbole says more than the situation warrants, yet the truth can be inferred from the falsehood: for example, he could split rocks with his never-ending chatter; to touch heaven with one’s finger; swifter than the east wind; swifter than the wings of the thunder; I shall strike the stars with my exalted head.”


 The Albanese Government defence review says China’s military build-up is: “the largest and most ambitious of any country since the end of the second world war.”

That sounds a bit out of touch with reality. Since 1960, at least, US defence spending has increased 16-fold to more than $US800 billion dollars in 2021. It’s now approaching $US1 trillion dollars.

Meanwhile Chinese defence spending in 2021was $US 293.35. As a percentage of GDP China was spending 1.74% of GDP on defence spending while the US spent 3.5% of GDP.

A cheaper alternative would the path advocated by the Japanese Prime Minister, Kishida Fumio: “what must be prioritised is proactive diplomacy.”

Who’s the war monger in all this?