2008 - 2012

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Experts Methodology Predictions and Commentary

Experts are everywhere. Governments and corporations use them, the media, public and private entities. They inhabit universities. They inhabit disciplines. Philip Tetlock, a psychologist with a Phd from Yale has spent most of his time at the Universities of California, Berkely and Ohio. What makes him unique in the world of academic research is that he has produced a seminal and intensive study of the world of experts, of all types, and assessed whether they are any better at their activity than a novice such as me (KEVINRBECK). Philip has published his research in "Expert Political Judgement: How good is it? How can we know? (Princeton University Press).

His research translates to any society and this case I have compared it to how things work in Australia. The Australian Financial Review published an excellent synopsis (Friday 25 November, 2005, Review 3) of his research in an article written by Paul Monk, who is co-founder of
Austhink Consulting and author of "Thunder from the silent zone: rethinking China". Tetlock's work can be applied to the unflinching claims of the Howard government for its Workplace Relations Reforms, justification of war in Iraq, economic policy, investment in R&D and other pet projects and its ideological pursuit of dross. Similarly it can be used to debunk economic forecasts, political analysis and a host of other "crystal ball" style pronouncements that are used to sell services, dress up stories and drive home points. The research exposes the human tendency to rely on an expert, particularly one with a job that suits and a title to go without. The history of their performance and other traits are never considered nor remembered. He says that "experts are attempting to do with confidence what they demonstrably cannot do very well at all. They make lots of money and kudos from dubious forecasts without ultimate accountability. They are well suited to being politicians particularly Ministers in Australia's governments and consultants and advisers in Australia's top tier companies and public sector enterprises.

They are partisan, rarely admit error or they will give a dozen explanations as to how they got it wrong. Governments, shareholders and businesses lose billions year after year but continue to draw on their services. Monk quotes Tetlock, "we keep running into ideological impasses rooted in each side insisting on being the only judge of its own beliefs and forecasts". Does that have resonance, or sound familiar, in your workplace, communities, in political rhetoric and justification, on television and everywhere? Tetlock found that experts on their home turf made neither better-calibrated nor more discriminating forecasts than did dilettante trespassers. Monk says that Telock found that it made virtually no difference whether participants had doctorates, whether they were economists, political scientists, journalists or historians, whether they had policy experience or access to classified information, or whether they had logged many or few years of experience in their chosen line of work.

There was no correlation between ideology and accuracy of judgement or precision of forecasting. The experts tended not to adjust their beliefs when the evidence came in but to rationalise or outright deny their errors. Is that familiar too? Seems our politicians have this gene. The dominant danger he concluded was hubris closed mindedness, dismissing dissonant possibilities too quickly. Resistance is fierce particularly from those with grand reputations but humble track records.

Tetlock did find that exacting research using scientific and other proven techniques based on solid empirical evidence and statistical analysis and checking, using large volumes of data and input over time did impact on the accuracy and quality. This is the
intrinsic objective of the design of the Mosaic Portal.

Imagination is the force of progress (Ralston Saul, J, 2001).
The majority of people do not have the ability to look over the horizon and make the linkages. They are oblivious to the agendas of others particularly if they are laterally concepted, complex developed and implemented agendas, by diverse interests not known to operate in their sector of activity. Who are the competing interests in your sector and what are their motivations?

Einstein Every day the tools of the Mosaic Portal trawl the web, searching for pieces in the jigsaw and the owner Kevin R Beck, and colleagues in a network of diversity, interacts and meets with people across the Australian spectrum and internationally. Out of discussions, communications and research articles, analysis, predictions and strategies are assembled and deployed.

Public policy issues are questioned and matters raised with politicians, governments, corporations, boards, investors, interest groups and individuals. The Australian social and economic landscape is assessed, predicted and impacted.

the eagle sees all ... The ability to predict is the realm of
the Futurist

Based on Tetlock's theories and research the following predictions are just as likely to come true or be off the mark as any of the expert predictions. One can only hope that through ongoing learning, observation, comparison, evaluation and measurement, reading and listening to the views of others one might minimise the probability, and continuance, of always being wrong. You be the judge.

  1. Into 2006 - 2007 the freewheeling property market and easy cash will lead to a major crash in the Us housing market which will ripple out. The US fails to exercise legislative constraint on the cowboys of the entrepreneurial world. They allow the rich to propsper at the expense of the poor. A massive rise in US debt and the Australian property and banking industry will feel the pinch. Excessive housing and credit card debt is masked by a rhetoric from the Australian government of a comfortable existence.

  2. Market watchers and those who think they know who calls the tune might well do more research and look beyond the horizon. Here's an example. In 2000 a small Australian company, with interests in international R&D, took on the light metals policy platform of the Australian government, the business model of Australian Magnesium Corporation, CSIRO and the power collective generally. They proposed that a world class light metals R&D facility be established at the University of New South Wales in Sydney in conjunction with Australian and international, commercial and scientific interests. They were rebuffed by governments and ridiculed by those who knew better and who had better connections to government and the world of big business. They did not consider the tenacious attitude of this smaller company and the ability of its consultants to enter this world of politics and big business on an international scale.

    Over a period of four years consultants, to the small company, continually warned the Australian and State governments, particularly Queensland, Australia's premier research entity CSIRO, other larger and well connected magnesium proponents, the Australian government R&D advisers, the media, and members of Australia's parliaments, that the government supported magnesium project valued at $1.4 billion, with a significant public investment, would fail. They travelled the world meeting with investors, bankers, corporate executives, manufacturers, scientists and government agencies discussing the strategies of these powerful Australian interests in magnesium technology and R&D and distributed analytical papers comparing technologies and investment proposals. The Australian and New South Wales governments declined to support the establishment of the research laboratory at the university in Australia. The NSW government also refused to acknowledge that the small company has a technology that destroys asbestos and which could rehabilitate an environmental hazard in northern NSW whilst extracting quality magnesium. The proposed project, offered by the small company, was lost to international interests. In 2004 the Australian Magnesium project, underway in Queensland, failed costing the Queensland taxpayers millions of dollars and small investors and communities much, much more. As at 2005 the Australian and state governments, and the experts who rebuffed the overtures of the small company, accept no responsibility.

    Today (September 2005) the Australian government insists that CSIRO, funded for a $50M programme, is still on track and that there is a "flagship" programme in light metals, magnesium technology", that will bear fruit sometime in the distant future. There is no recognition that the creation of a magnesium industry in Australia was blocked by ignorance of technology, lack of vision and the ego of those who purport to know better. In 2006 the small company was taken over by a larger resource entity. They are now diversifying into some new dimensions in mining, perhaps uranium?

  3. The New Zealand government (February - April 2006) is getting cold feet over the actions of Australian Agriculture Minister, Peter McGauran, and his calls for more detailed food labelling. Facing an election in September 2005 that is being called as close, the NZ people might like to opt out of the Australian food labelling regime. Australia has been bending the rules on such things in keeping with its aping support of the US position. It is neither here nor there for NZ because they have an overarching treaty of mutual reciprocation which means what is legal in NZ is legal in Australia, as it relates their imports. This is even so if a food or other item contains an ingredient that is normally banned here. That allows them to bring any NZ product into Australia under their banner. They will exercise their rights and flex their muscles in 2006, causing Minister McGauran a few head aches. One wonders if he is in touch with the New Zealand High Commission all that often? It is just down the road in Canberra, Australia.

    Major Australian chains will do a deal with NZ producers to bring in their food and generic products. You will see produce branded "NZ" in Woolworths and Safeway supermarkets in January 2006. Competing interests will deal a major blow to Australian manufacturers, seeking to bypass the labelling requirements being introduced by Minister for Agriculture, Peter McGauran. They will defeat the Australian farmers who have been driving their tractors assiduously around Australia yelling "buy Australian". These farmers will feel duped, by the seeming inaction of the federal government departments in progressing issues agreed to by peter McGauran. The departments will have to have a study and to prepare a strategy advice paper and that will take them the better part of 2006.

    The retail big chain corporations will move to counter Dick Smith's bright idea for Australian made aisles in shops. How would you know what is Australian? Australian producers should mount a counter strategy with a group like Aldi who use quite a lot of Australian product and who are cheaper than the major supermarkets. They could similarly come to an arrangement with IGA retailers. However the major corporations know of this strategy and perhaps they might want to move behind the scenes, under the radar, cherry picking these stores individually. They will seek to neuter, shackle and eliminate competition through friendly third parties acquirers from overseas. These friendly types buy up the independent retailers and the ACCC might be oblivious.

  4. (2005) Tasmanian potato farmers have been driving tractors around Victoria and are coming to the capital, Canberra, in August 2005, and might like to drop by the NZ High Commission. They are on about McDonalds and other large users of products buying from anywhere but Australia and have Minister McGauran's ear. Meanwhile his cabinet colleagues negotiating Free Trade Agreements and World Trade positions are probably wondering how they might reconcile a "buy Australia" first campaign with the acceptance by governments, and most politicians and corporate leaders, of the economic wonders of free trade for Australia and the 3rd world?

  5. Meantime Australian manufacturers are scared willy - nilly of the supermarket chains creating their three tier house brands and the impact on real brands.

    Coles Myer is their dread and this organisation needs capital to fund its expansion into the petrol game and also into the purchase of plant and manufacturing to expand its domination of food. Where will it get this cash? It will sell its under performing general department and clothing stores and narrows its base out of general merchandising into the more cash rich food, liquor and supermarkets sectors. There will be
    a war, ever expanding, between interests in Australia and multinational investors coming here under Free Trade Agreements.

  6. Richard Mulcahy, a member of the Australian Capital Territory Assembly, will ultimately replace Brendan Smyth as leader of the liberal party in opposition in 2005. Mr. Mulcahy, former National head of the Australian Hotels Association of Australia has more experience than Mr. Smyth. Mr. Mulcahy can challenge the labor government lead by Jon Stanhope. Jon Stanhope is out of his depth even though he heads up a fiefdom of only 300,000 citizens. He exhibits very poor judgement. For example he decided to support public servants and others who are aggrieved at being shown to be derelict of duty and incompetent in relation to the major bushfire that killed people and destroyed hundreds of homes in Canberra. As Attorney General, he adopts the superman profile of the alpha male. "I can be everything at once". He goes off to the Supreme Court to argue the Coroner is biased. He has no idea what biased in this case actually means and seems to be dumb to the fact that the government appointed advisers to the Coroner who actually are beholden to the government and not independent. She thinks they are independent and he does not tell her that they are not. He and everyone else loses, in the court. He says the judgment is flawed. Does it say Jon Stanhope, LLB, (Lawyer) after his name? Stanhope might appear incompetent to some but he is a trier, and is honest.

    The ACT Assembly is a hybrid government, within the Australian Territories legislative framework. It acts more like a local government council and costs more than it delivers in benefits. Seventeen members, earning between $95,000 and $170,000 each in public office, serviced by thousands of public servants, to represent a country town of 300,000 people is farcical. It takes fourty minutes by car in any direction to reach the borders of the Territory. He argues, with his ACT Assembly colleagues, that there should be four additional electoral representatives to serve 300,000 people taking the number to 21. This is a joke but these people live in a rarefied world driven by delusions of being busy and overworked. The ACT could be a serious economic, social and democratic, proposition if talent and merit was the primary mechanism for choosing candidates in the Assembly however it is not. Like every other government in Australia it is the personal fiefdom, and milking cow, of the Labor and Liberal Parties.

  7. The changes to Australia's industrial relations systems will not be well received by the greater number of corporations, employers, employees and citizens. The government relies upon its Constitutional (Corporations) power, which somebody mentioned to them. They seem to have never actually understood the Constitution, if they have read it. It is a complex document beyond the comprehension of many of them in the parliament it would seem because it is premised upon the elected member being accountable to parliament and the people, rather than to the political parties and factions they are in which are not actually mentioned. Despite this they like to rush out ideology without doing their homework. They rely upon wet behind the ears lawyers and public servants who have no experience, history and knowledge of the past. You see the government culled the expertise out because it was suspicious of them. This is typical of people who listen to their own egos talking in their head saying, "you can do this". They just take another political Viagra pill and go for it. They are invariably male. The Minister for Workplace Relations and front bench members of the federal government take their strong men pills every day. The government is disregarding the historical response of Australian citizens to a good industrial war. However there will be no industrial war. Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Greg Combet, will fight using the tools and tactics of the big end of town and the ones utilised by governments - advertising, spin, media grabs, advertisements and the Internet warriors. He will attack the government on multiple levels and will leverage his own board room networks. Federal Minister Mr. Kevin Andrews is disregarding of, or are oblivious to, the complex nature of IR, education, training and harnessing human talent and he is not a seasoned "fighter" on multiple fronts. From the perspective of the government's corporation powers, not every business and every employer is a corporation, but who cares when you are on a holy mission! The government's tactic is to give them time to get on board pestering them until they surrender and incorporate. Why incorporate if the High Court of Australia is going to rule against the federal government's Work Choices legislation in a number of significant areas, rendering it into a patchwork quilt of incomprehensible legislative "spaghetti". Many of the politicians could not survive a corporate governance audit if they occupied similar ranking positions in the corporate sector. They would fail the acting in good faith ethics and integrity tests required of company Directors. Ministers of Australia's parliaments do not have to justify their position, or performance, on their roles as they demand of employees and other workers. They are protected, and anointed, by a warped and corrupted system. They are allowed to persist in their roles by detached voters who little regard for the quality of government and democracy.

    Just as we revel in the legend of Ned Kelly and the Eureka Stockade, so too has the nation reacted to the legendary war horses of a bygone trade union era who put green bans on buildings and brought services to a halt. They are gone and the populace has no need for unions. At least that is the theory upon which many rely. The pendulum swings. Unions just have to reinvent themselves. The media loves a good story, and pragmatic employers who have much to lose if strikes occur and people become insecure and untrusting, will enter into industrial relations agreements ignoring the pleas of the federal government. The government may well abolish the award system and the industrial relations unfair dismissal protections but it cannot direct people to obey and adopt
    ideological policies . which are premised on distorted bargaining relationships. We have enough of these already in Australia. Coverage, and compliance, across Australia will be patchy and disappointing for the government. They think that it will take a few months to bed down and then all will be forgotten. They will have to prosecute a number of employers as an example to demonstrate their claim of fairness. The Fair Pay Commission will invite more calamity for the government. They really have not thought everything through. Let the dance begin.

  8. Gunn's Timber in Tasmania is using SLAOO suits to silence critics. This is quite stupid and costly. They will ultimately lose their legal suits against environmental and other interests activists who oppose their activities in Tasmania. There might be a number of reasons for this among them the litigious and vexatious nature of the company. Another will be the notion of free speech, particularly if it has a "political connotation". Gunn's decision to take legal action demonstrate the level of immaturity that exists in Australia's corporate thinking, in not realising that dissent is a natural, and desirable part, of a mature and vibrant society. Gunn's association with political parties in Tasmania and the relationships of board members and politics and relationship between Gunns and the public service administrators, and the decision making processes are of public interest. This relationship has taken Gunns into the realm of politics and the High Court has stated that the Australian Constitution guarantees free speech and certain action in the political realm. The question of breaking laws through demonstration and other acts of vandalism is a different question. This episode is one of citizen versus corporation and the state where the latter two appear indivisible. The Tasmanian government, of either political persuasion, has a long history of association with Gunns. The government has a history of ignoring conflicts of interest, a history of collusive behaviour and exclusive dealings with enterprise. This can seen in the historical decisions on gas and Basslink. The Premier of Tasmania accepted significant hospitality from Crown Casino, owned by PBL, and then granted a lucrative gambling license to interests associated with PBL, in a venture. The Premier dissembled as to the meaning of hospitality and then with typical arrogant hubris told those who questioned his judgement to butt out. Tasmania is the least ethical, and maintainer of high standards of integrity, among the nation's governments.

  9. Clare Martin will take labor to a stunning win in the Northern Territory as the Country Liberal Party leader loses his seat

  10. The loss of energy along the power line proposed between Darwin and Queensland would make the CLP's proposal a significant engineering cost impost. To propose this project demonstrates the lack of understanding of energy and a blinkered approach to visionary solutions on this vital topic.

    During the years 2000 - 2002 I travelled the world discussing mineral investments and in a particular meeting with a financial investment manager at Billiton in London I discussed nuclear energy.
    In January 2005 I predicted uranium mines would be expanded and that a nuclear power station is coming in Australia's future and will be built, perhaps near the NSW, Victoria and South Australian borders. I wrote to the Prime Minister, and federal and state Ministers on this issue shortly after and sent emails to members across the parliaments of Australia asking why we could not have a mature debate. Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie is wedded to the coal industry and cannot go with them. Steve Bracks is irrelevant and is still on his "learner's plates" as a leader. He is captive to radical and uneducated (in terms of understanding energy and consumers) "green" interests.

    His ignorant and stubborn refusal to admit that he and his Education Minister are wrong
    to sack the Orbost teacher demonstrates an ignorance of the qualities of leadership. When he is given a choice of backing down he lacks the ability to be humble and generous. His political position is of greater value to him than another person's ;livelihood or dignity. Bracks may be Premier but he certainly is not a "premier" leader.

    He, and his strategists, lost a billion dollar ship building contract to South Australia because they cannot see past their own reflections and egos in the mirror of their self interest. They will not listen on strategy, knowing all of the answers. Hubris reigns supreme in the corridors of labor part hegemony.

  11. Kim Beazley made a tactical error on the taxation issue but his ongoing blunder on immigration will not go away. Unless he gets new advisers, and tacticians, and a new front bench, he will again find that he is a loser in 2007. He has lost the fight and is appears punch drunk, and unless he bites the bullet he will have to resign as Labor leader. Lindsay Tanner will be the leader going into the next federal election.

  12. Former "which bank" employee Ralph Norris, former head of the bank's operations in New Zealand, will be appointed CEO of the Commonwealth Bank to replace retiring David Murray.

  13. Schapelle Corby will be released, eventually, probably about 2007 - 2008, due to diplomacy, politics and behind the scene support by Australian agencies for Indonesia's economic, and social plight, and of course compensating Australia for its part in the drug busts on the Bali nine, handed to them by the AFP, and further drug charges against others. It just takes time for the slow Indonesian politician to grasp that they are mall fry in the region. The public attention has to die down and the wheels of commerce and corruption have to be greased. This may take five years it may take ten.

    Corby has to play the Indonesian game according to their rules, such as they are. The appeal processes in Indonesia border on high farce, and theatrics, with celebrity lawyers and soap television stars. If she, and her Australian supporters, continue with the theatrics then she gets to stay in Bali for a very long time. The court may reinstate her original sentence. When it goes quiet, and she has been suitably chastised, some arrangement will be made.

  14. There will be a full exposure of the performance of the Australian Immigration Department. John Howard will be confronted with a liberal revolt, as the guardians of the party react to the degrading of liberal values, which will expand to engulf his leadership opening the way for Peter Costello. For this reason the private member's bill put forward by Petro Georgiou will succeed in bringing the Prime Minister to the bargaining table. Petro, and the supporters of change, will prevail over Howard, Vanstone and Ruddock.

  15. The Minister Assisting the Minister for Immigration, the Honourable Peter McGauran, will leave his immigration portfolio to take up a new portfolio after John Anderson resigns. This will likely be Transport and Regional Development although other options may be Agriculture, given his farming roots. There will be a reshuffle of Departmental Secretaries. The Honourable Senator, and Minister, Amanda Vanstone will eventually be given another portfolio, though her continued performance in the ones she has held to date should not qualify, and may not do so, for any future inner cabinet roles. Unfairly she takes the flack from enquiries for Philip Ruddock's legacy of culture change in the department and for the omissions of the Foreign Affairs and Justice Ministries who knew that Alvarez was illegally deported as far back as 2003 and did nothing. A guard at Baxter detention centre told DIMIA that Cornelia Rau was probably Australian, and the Department, and ministries, let her stay there.

  16. I was wrong in my prediction that Mark Vaile and Peter McGauran would take over the leadership of the National Party when John Anderson decided to retire. The Deputy leader position went to Warren Truss. However there is a longer-term view in play. Warren Truss is not, on the evidence, a performer and not the best choice for melding agricultural and farming interests back into the party. He will have to relinquish this portfolio because he cannot handle the demands of Deputy and Agriculture. Trade will be his nemesis. Peter McGauran will get the leadership in 2007 if not in late 2006.

    The FTA and Telstra privatisation will prove a far too complex, and dangerous, ground for Mark Vaile and Warren Truss. Telstra is not worth $33 billion as indicated in the budget and parroted by the media. It is not worth $25 billion and may fetch much less than anticipated. The government says that it won't have a fire sale, well that is their only option. Barnaby Joyce may well give ground in return for money and say that is how he represents his state in the Senate under the Constitution. Warren Truss and Mark Vaile have to look towards the resurgence of the National Party and its draw cards. This will necessitate Vaile surrendering the trade portfolio elevating Warren Truss to the role. McGauran is far more skilled at this and it is incongruous that the party has not demonstrated an awareness of the limitations posed by the Vaile/Truss leadership. Truss will ultimately prove the error of their choice and McGauran will assume the Deputy role over time. Perhaps Truss is being temporarily rewarded by the party?

  17. South Australia will win the head contract for the new defence ships defeating Victoria, due to that latter state's poor quality governance, unreliability and industrial record and behind the scenes influences. {Premier Steve Bracks will bleat that it is a federal government set up refusing to admit that he runs a second rate show in Victoria. Business confidence in Victoria will be the lowest in Australia and additionally South Australia has secured an industrial accord with the unions guaranteeing productivity in its manufacturing industries. Victoria's loud bid managed by Premier Steve Bracks, and his league of deluded egos, will lose, but they will not go graciously.

  18. A nuclear power station will be planned for construction on the NSW, South Australia and Victorian borders and the uranium debate will split the labor party machine. Federal Minister MacFarlane, and state Premiers Rann and Carr, might find a new cooperation, what will Bracks do? He will have no idea and will rely upon someone else to tell him. Steve Bracks will be exposed in this session of his Premiership for reliance on an archaic notion of the role of government. Victoria's business confidence will slide, the Commonwealth games will present him with many political surprises, as will the redevelopment of the Spencer Street station. John Brumby's, and the political aspirations of others will end Bracks' political leadership in 2006 - 2007. The state government will suffer a backlash on its arrogant approach to human relations and employment evidenced in its treatment of the teacher at Orbost in Victoria, toll turn around, poor transport planning and decline in services such as mental health, education and over burdensome, greedy taxation policies.

    Bracks will be forced to recant his actions and justifications for destroying peoples' careers, and livelihood, for political self interest and promotion.

    Meanwhile Queensland will push their play in the so-called national electricity market with cogeneration and cross border marketing strategies. The building of a transmission line of capacity between Queensland NSW will become an imperative. There is only one place to go outside of Queensland, to develop revenue, and that is into NSW. Why would Queensland interests not also broaden their strategy nationally, operating cogeneration plant on behalf of customers everywhere and selling products into the developing electricity market? Beattie is wedded to the coal industry and cannot address environmental considerations nor the uranium debate.

  19. If Peter Costello takes the Prime Minister role six months to a year before the next federal election, Labor will not win another federal election until after 2010.

  20. Slow internet speed, and service, in rural Australia is a deliberate technical and economic decision of Telstra and the government could fix the issue but has an agenda to maximise the sell value of the telco.

  21. The balance of 51% of Telstra, when sold, will not reach $30 billion. Why? The maintenance systems and supporting assets (such as telepower supply systems and equipment) that keep the exchanges going are not all that flash and Telstra's been saving money and gambling on risk and their ability to assess it accurately. Reliability issues might arise out of any real third party analysis, and due diligence, conducted by potential and serious buyers. If the little shareholders act on advice of the brokers and push the price they may fulfill the government's budget dream, however it is likely that they may find that their shares, at some later date, when Telstra's international competitors come to play, are not as valuable as they thought.

  22. Telstra services will be blacked out, unexpectedly, in different areas of Australia, due to failure of power supply backup systems and poor or little investment in infrastructure.

  23. The federal government will propose a national human resources talent harnessing strategy and will demand that employers and recruiters change their myopic and discriminatory attitudes. False and misrepresentative employment advertisements placed by recruitment agencies and employers will come under the eye of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

  24. Substandard employment selection and talent harnessing systems

  25. A recruiter told me that he had 12 years experience and he only ever applied 30 - 40 seconds to reading a resume. This is an indictment of the general industry level of attention given to a decision that impacts the applicant and the employer. There will be a shakeout in the recruitment industry, in the next 12-18 months, due to the excessive number of firms, diversity of quality and customer service and methodologies, and moves by HR divisions to take services in house to control process, costs and protect their turf.

  26. Older applicants are discriminated against in interview and assessments by inexperienced who exhibit a lack of awareness, and seem oblivious, to the background of the industry, history and the relevancy of other material factors that might inform their deliberations. Is industry knowledge relevant? It is when a mid- twenties recruitment consultant thinks that NSW electricity is produced by nuclear power stations at Lucas Heights and other places and is interviewing looking for people with nuclear background to work in what are really thermal coal and gas power stations.

  27. The federal government will launch education campaigns to change the culture of employment practices, seeking to broaden criteria, and advertised experience beyond a particular industry, to stop cannibalism of industry by simply moving people around same industry sectors, to cross pollinate and grow expertise and to harness the full talent of the nation.

  28. There will be a challenge to the excessive, and damaging protectionist activities and assertions by professional associations, who demand that only their respective discipline, and members, are effective performers in specified employment. For example in the UK, a biologist, chemist, computer programmer etc. may be employed in a bank, finance industry or other business working alongside qualified accountants and auditors, whereas in Australia these roles are the reserve of `accountants' and 'CPA's', engineers, doctors, lawyers and the core associations are merely trade unions in disguise.

  29. Registered training organisations will begin to collapse across Australia, in late 2005 and into 2006, due to a crowded market and a rising aversion to the dumbing down of training curricula, a move away from simplistic competency to deeper learning, the impact of Free Trade Agreements, a reaction to the minimal qualifications of the providers, their capacity to deliver and concentrated competition from academically qualified institutions.

  30. Rather than focus on the practice of imbuing performance, attention to quality management, practices and accountability, many governments, institutions and corporations, employ spin doctors and crisis, issue management consultants and tactics, to mask their failures and protect their positions.

  31. What are the expectations of the Qantas Board regarding the performance of the organisation's security management and division? What are we to think about the inconsistencies of statements as to Qantas' management knowledge of baggage handlers' involvement in drugs? Was it that Geoffrey Askew, head of security, knew about it but could not act because Qantas was involved in a covert police operation or is it that the Qantas security management and division failed to do its job? Mr. Askew's days with Qantas are numbered.

  32. Some may think, and well argue, that many segments of Australia's governments, and board rooms, run on rhetoric and outmoded thinking, action and management practices. There is data that indicates that politics and boardrooms are dominated by a small number of conservative, males. There is no national consensus, or plan, to harness and utilise Australia's broad talent base and many people are unemployed or under employed. The most common strategy used by government and business to achieve profit objectives is to shed staff. There is some foundation in the proposition that Australia's human resources are treated as `fodder' rather than as productive assets.

  33. The push for generic manufacturing in place of brands, by the two large retailers, Woolworth's and Coles Myer, will come to the attention of regulators. The Australian Productivity Commission will be asked to carry out an analysis of the social and economic impacts of generics in the light of the effects in the USA, of the Wal Mart chain use of its market power and the replacement of US made goods with cheap imported products. Australian brand manufacturers will rally against the market power of the retail chain giants of Australia. Coles Myer is under attack and being singled out as bad guy in the market power game. They may have to focus and sell off some of their assets. It is a superhuman effort to run them. Additionally the government may well limit how many outlets a company can own in a market segment to introduce real and diverse competition.
  34. The government's initiative regarding Technical Colleges will fail to materialise by middle of 2006 due to the apathy of industry and the poorly constructed model developed by the Department of Education, Science and Training and the Ministry advisers.. Accordingly I wrote to Minister Gary Hargreaves and copied federal Ministers, including Peter McGauran. I met with the latter to discuss my views. The government begs to differ. Oh well another few million down the drain.

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Australia, an autocracy masquerading as democracy achieving new middles in mediocrity

Australian Prime Minister and Ministers demonstrate daily, an apparent lack of leadership standards. Where is the defined, and demonstrated, moral, ethical quality, for the Australian public service, and community at large, to value and replicate? This explains how in the above survey politicians ranked in the very last category of trusted professions, behind `car salesman'. It is not about a career in public service, it is about a career in "power and politics". Public interest went out the window when politics became a career choice rather than the benevolent contribution of the civic minded.

and the Prime Minister's unique standards of performance appraisal, and standards, of behaviour for Ministers became the accepted norm. How many accumulated lies, manipulations, falsifications, omissions and failures disqualify people from being a Minister of the Crown? In the case of the Australian government, it is an infinite number.

Women of different status under Australian government policy: Single mothers must, when their children turn six years old, get a job and will have their welfare benefits cut. On the other hand a married woman, living with a spouse who earns, may stay home and receive government benefits.

The standard response of the Prime Minister, and Ministers, on any issue - "I wasn't told", "It's not my fault", "They are wrong, you are wrong", "I have full confidence in my minister".

The federal government minister, who on the advice of the Immigration Department, orders the deportation of long term resident East Timorese, accusing them of possessing `serious character flaws'.

Branding people seeking asylum as "queue jumpers" and "illegals" when they are neither and then incarcerating them, Australian citizens, and residents, deporting people on the most rudimentary justifications. All of this is carried out under the jurisdiction of successive Ministers, and government servants, who it could be argued, themselves possess 'serious character flaws' in performing their task with care and diligence.

Steve Bracks, Premier of Victoria, demonstrates his personal qualities of leadership by supporting the sacking of a thirty two year old teacher whose crime was that he had a fifteen, nearly sixteen, year old girl friend when he was nineteen years of age. The man's career has been taken from him on the spurious grounds of political interest dressed up as public interest.

Editorials on Ethics

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Australia's disgraceful governments

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