Thursday, 18 October 2007

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

I’ve found some stats I was chasing about Workchoices – it’s difficult at the moment as I travelling and working and have limited time and web access.

The point I am making is not to deny that unemployment is trending down, and engagement in the labour force is trending up, but to point out that these simple statistics have to be used in a comparative way to establish that Workchoices has had an effect.

If you look at the images, available on the Principle Labour Force Series Trend Estimates page of the ABS website you will see –

The first graph shows the unemployment rate. You will notice that it’s pretty uniform with the exception of 1999 – 2001. As I understand it, Workchoices took effect in May 2006. If its introduction has had a major effect, you would expect to see a major downward blip in the graph starting at about May 2006, and continuing until the present. It’s not evident. The average trend continues.
The upward blip in 2001 is interesting. Who was in power then?
The second graph is employment (engagement) for the same period. Again, you would expect to see a blip if Workchoices had helped. Again, it’s not there. The trend is remarkably consistent.

The best that Joe Hockey can say is that Workchoices has maintained the positive Labour Force trends. It’s not had a major effect.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Telstra Blues

After yesterday, I understand how much I rely on my mobile, and what a pain it is when it lets me down.

I’m working through Goondiwindi, St George, Surat, Roma & Meandarra this week. I’m also in the middle of buying some property in Brisbane. The network fell down yesterday morning and I was in deep do-do. My phone became a useless lump of metal and plastic. Standing on the boot of the car to call made no difference – this has worked before.

I got around it by using phone boxes – also discovering that they are now an endangered species, before I called into a Telstra agent in Goondiwindi who was very helpful. As soon as I walked in with mobile in hand, she knew the problem – I wasn’t the first for the day.

She changed my phone settings from 3G to 2G – I have no idea of the technicalities of this – and it (sort of) works again. She wasn’t sure when it would be fixed, and explained that the problem was widespread.

This could be an interesting trip.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Gone to the Dogs

I’ve always had a weakness for Australian Cattle Dogs, having owned three as my kids were growing up and we lived in the bush. The last one died a year ago, and I haven’t considered acquiring another whilst we live in a suburban block, and the kids have either left home or have more riveting interests than dogs.

My youngest daughter has a Poodle cross which doesn’t need as much exercise as a Heeler, and in any case is as thick as two short planks. She has no brains at all. (The dog – not my daughter).

Having said that, I’m enjoying a Heeler fix, looking after my sister’s bluey whilst she and her husband tour the shaky isles.

Bella is very smart, and has already established top dog status – chastising Janet (that’s what my daughter called her – she was only nine at the time) when the smaller dog barks or in some other way misbehaves.

She also understands what cars are for, and as soon as a car door is opened, leaps like a startled gazelle into the front passenger’s seat. She takes some moving – although if you drive the car about a metre and then open the door she leaps out.

She’s pictured here in my classic Peugeot 505.

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...