Cull Those Bloody Sharks

February 28, 2014 1 comment

There’s nothing I hate more than a poor, inconsistently applied philosophy and the associated hypocrisy. So it goes without saying that I hate fad environmentalism.

After years of research and many fatalities, the Western Australian government has commenced a policy of culling sharks. The policy has sparked protests around Australia and the world. I call these protests an act of fad environmentalism.

The fad environmentalist will state that the ocean is the shark’s natural environment so we have no right to kill it. Here’s breaking news for all you morally superior fad environmentalists: the natural environment for humans consists of parasites, mosquitoes, ticks, leaches, flies, spiders, snakes and predators. Humans have changed their environment to exclude these creatures. So if you live in a house then you have no right to this argument. You exclude animals from their natural environment every day. Most of them purely for convenience. You’re a hypocrite.

Have you ever killed a spider in your home? What about a fly? Flies aren’t even a threat to your safety. You kill them just because they annoy you.

If there was a deadly snake in your backyard would you have it moved on? Or would you allow yourself and your family to be exposed to the risk of death since the snake is in it’s natural environment? Sure the snake may be relocated instead of killed. If it was practical to capture and relocate a 500kg shark I’m sure we’d do that too. What if it was impossible to relocate the snake? You had to leave it in your backyard or kill it. Then what?

What about animal cruelty? People eat meat from animals that are born and bred on a factory farm and tortured their whole lives. Unlike a shark, these animals aren’t a threat to our safety. We torture them because we like the taste. So if you eat meat you’re worse than those that support shark culling. At least culling sharks is attributed to safety. Unlike the animals on factory farms which we torture and kill for fun.

What about the argument that it’s a waste of resources? We should spend the money on other issues that cause more fatalities? Apply this argument consistently and you have a situation where only the risk with the highest fatality rate has any resources allocated. Everything else is left out. Actually there’s many things to consider when allocating funds to programs that protect the public. Number of fatalities, expected returns, diminishing returns with escalating funds, impact on economy, impact on lifestyle, etc. That’s why we end up with a distribution of funds.

Arguments about the best distribution of funds aside, if protecting people from sharks is a waste of money then where were all the protesters in the last few years whilst planes and helicopters patrolled our coast at great expense? This strategy costs millions of dollars a year. What about the nets and drum lines in Queensland that have existed for years? Of course the protesters were non existent. The fad environmentalists have no philosphy about preventing the squandering of resources. All they have is a passion for fashion.

We can’t afford to have Western Australian waters earn a reputation for being too dangerous to swim in. Our whole lifestyle revolves around the coast. Tourism depends on our reputation for being a world class coastal destination. The fact that shark attacks do not cause many fatalities is not really relevant. It’s to do with public perception. People are becoming too scared to swim. We are losing our carefree beach culture. It’s a complicated problem with no easy fix.

I don’t like killing sharks. But I dislike even more the death of a shark attack victim and the impact it has on family, friends and the community. It’s easy for the fad environmentalist to say they hate this or that when they don’t live with the fear or the consequences. I don’t know if culling sharks will help reduce fatalities. Actually I don’t think anyone really knows. Short of conclusive evidence, this policy is an experiment. I’d rather an experiment than nothing. I’m happy if the experiment is limited in duration, done under strict guidelines and used to gather information and learn. In the meantime we continue research and seek alternative solutions.

So if you’re guilty of being a fad environmentalist and you actually care I’d suggest using your resources to help reduce the mass suffering the occurs from large scale factory farming. Or perhaps spend your spare time attempting to reduce the suffering afflicted to the millions of people who live in poverty around the world. Let’s be honest – fad environmentalists don’t care about reducing suffering. Fad environmentalists care only about fashion and themselves. My message then to you hypocrites: retreat to your comfortable home and eat a tender steak.


The Incredible Tax Hikes Keep Rolling In

August 2, 2013 2 comments

This is amazing. I thought I was already in a position of extreme disbelief when the fringe benefits tax and cigarettes tax increases were announced earlier this week. Now the banks are being targeted with an ill-conceived third world style levy and I can’t put into words how extreme my disbelief has become! This government is out of control with it’s addiction to spending and tax hikes. It goes without saying that the cost of the bank levy will be passed onto consumers. How else will it be funded? Does Labor think the money comes from some magical money tree? It’s the same whether it’s the carbon tax, mining tax or the myriad of other tax hikes Labor have already introduced. It adds to business costs, prices go up and we become uncompetitive in international markets.

Labor think they are better off by taking a bigger slice of the cake. But the cake keeps getting smaller and Labor’s slice keeps increasing disproportionately. This is third world politics. Short term tax revenue at the expense of long term economic prosperity. Eventually the cake becomes so small that the government needs to take all of it to get any money. Is Robert Mugabe an adviser for the Labor government? How about getting a bigger slice by making the cake bigger?

This tidal wave of tax hikes is extraordinary. It’s beyond belief. I was astonished by the announcement of the fringe benefits tax that will kill our already struggling automotive industry. It comes just weeks after Ford announced they are closing up shop in Australia because we are too expensive. It’s ridiculous. My eyebrows were already raised to their highest position with a look of complete disbelief. But the tax hikes keep rolling in and my eyebrows have no where to go.

This government’s answer to everything is more tax. It’s been the case since they first took office. It is not sustainable to continue in this manner. These sort of third world tax hikes eventually lead to less tax revenue as the penalized industries decline. Corrupt third world governments increase taxes wherever they see a cash grab and the result is the country remains third world. This is where Labor is taking us. We are in desperate need of a new government.

Good ol’ Rudd

In true Rudd style, the Labor government has announced changes to the fringe benefit tax rules for new vehicles, of course with no consultation with the industry. It’s yet another tax hike from Labor to cover their inability to manage the budget and is predicted to reduce sales of Australian built cars by 20% according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries. Labor have already decimated vehicle manufacturing in Australia. Ford is closing it’s doors for good whilst Holden announces more layoffs every week. A further 20% reduction in sales will be the final nail in the coffin.

It’s incredible how Labor continue to invent tax hike after tax hike.

And the new taxes keep rolling in with news that Labor are considering increasing the tax on cigarettes, again in an effort to balance the budget. Labor have already increased the tax on cigarettes during their tenure. The price of a pack of cigarettes is already 60% tax and prices are among the highest in the world.

This is not surprising from Labor. They have a history of introducing short sighted taxes that penalize the Australian economy. After only a few years since the biggest economic boom in history, Labor has put the budget in such a poor position that they have been introducing a tax hike every 5 minutes since taking office. The tax hikes include carbon tax, mining tax, alcopops tax, cigarette tax increase, ethanol tax increase, increase in luxury car tax, taxing of overseas workers, flood tax, tax increase on company cars, LPG excise increase, cutting tax free super contributions, restrictions on business losses, changes to employee share scheme, tightening restrictions on medical expenses before you can claim them on tax, abolition of entrepreneurs’ tax offset, phasing out of dependent spouse offset, disallowance of deductions against government assistance payments, removing minors’ eligibility for the low income tax offset on unearned income, deferral of tax breaks for green buildings. Ridiculous!

Australia’s economy is in desperate need for a new government to abolish these short sighted third world taxes. We better hurry up whilst we still have something to save. We are already uncompetitive in international markets and our economy is in decline. Mining investment has been annihilated by Labor and as mining slows we have nothing else to take its place. We need to get the circus out of here!

Gillard Out! Time to Celebrate?

June 26, 2013 6 comments

Finally the end has come for Australia’s worst prime minister in history. Her exit speech reminded me of Rudd’s exit speech when he was stabbed in the back by Gillard in 2010. He was as stubborn and arrogant as ever, going on about how good a job he did. Similarly Gillard thought she did a great job, but it was sexism that contributed to her demise.

I’m so relieved to see this incompetent prime minister retiring from politics. Gillard was more interested in her legacy as Australia’s first female prime minister, back stabbing anyone who got in her way, rather than having concern for leading Australia and managing our economy. Unfortunately it doesn’t mean the end for the political spin, poor economic management, endless tax hikes and squanderous spending. Rudd is exactly the same. In fact it doesn’t matter who leads labor. Whilst they maintain their corrupt relationship with unions and demonstrate a complete lack of business acumen, they will continue to be unvotable in my opinion. They aren’t an option purely on a philosophical level. No need to even consider who their leader is.

The celebrations need to be kept on hold until the election when we can oust labor and start reversing the damage they’ve inflicted on our country. During labor’s tenure mining investment has ground to a halt. Manufacturing is devastated. Offshoring is rampant. Tourism is in decline. Our share market has underperformed international markets. We need the taxes that penalize investment repealed and power removed from the unions so that business can take control of costs and return to being competitive. Bring on the election!

Henry Kwan Killed by Archaic Drug Law

June 8, 2013 3 comments

If drugs were legal Henry Kwan would still be alive. The teenager took drugs expecting it to heighten his focus to help study for exams. Instead he had a psychotic episode and leaped to his death.

This tragedy is not caused by any inherent property related to drugs. It’s a consequence of banning drugs. This is what happens when drugs are illegal. Rather than getting a measured dose of exactly what you asked for prepared in a professional commercial lab, you play roulette with something of unknown composition and quality manufactured in a backyard lab.

Pushing drugs underground makes them dangerous and the result is often death. This effect is not unique to drugs. Drugs are not special in this regard. Ban anything and you’d get the same result. Ban cars and they would no longer be manufactured under strict safety and quality standards. Airbags and ABS wouldn’t exist because that technology is beyond what’s capable when manufacturing a car in a backyard. Wheels would fall of because they haven’t been designed correctly. Training to safely operate the car would not exist without government endorsement. Education on risks and how to mitigate them would similarly not exist.

Banning drugs kills people. No doubt. It also gives power to the organized crime gangs that supply the drugs. So problems with bikies, mafia, etc manifest through the banning of drugs. This is not special to drugs. It is a consequence of having them banned. Organized crime would also supply cars if they were banned. They would become rich and powerful through the dealing of cars.

Not only does banning drugs kill people, but it’s inconsistent with other laws. People are treated differently depending on what their recreational drug of choice is. Alcohol, caffeine and nicotine are legal  but why are other drugs illegal? Because politicians and “family” associations enjoy the legal drugs but not the others? Is that a good way to decide law?

Actually drugs are no different to any other risk taking activity. Whether it be driving a car, eating unhealthy food or playing a physical contact sport. Safety is garnered through education, training,  risk assessment processes, safe systems of operation and safety in design. All these methods of staying safe are lost when an activity is made illegal. Drugs are not special. Risks associated with drugs can be controlled with the same techniques used to control any risk. It is the law that make drugs dangerous.

Feeding Dolphins has Risks?

December 6, 2012 2 comments

So a girl feeding dolphins was bitten on the hand and the parents say they weren’t warned of the risks. They’re demanding that SeaWorld “make changes.” They posted a video of the incident to let other people know of the risks.

I’m not an expert on animals but I’d suggest that putting your hand near the mouth of an animal attracts the risk that you may get bitten on the hand. The risk grows when feeding the animal. It’s not rocket science.

The response from the parents is typical of a culture where banning cigarettes is seen as an acceptable means of protecting society. Hopefully these parents do not have access to a clever lawyer, else feeding dolphins may also get banned.

Governments are fostering a culture where people are no longer accountable for their actions. As we proceed down this path more things will be banned, insurance premiums will rise and litigation will rise. People wont be able to do the things they enjoy doing. Is the philosophy of banning helping to improve our standard of living and happiness? Freedom and accountability needs to be weighted up against, for example, the one in a million chance of getting bitten by a dolphin when feeding it.

I’ve seen a similar change in workplace health and safety. As safety paperwork becomes more arduous and micromanaged, focus shifts from performing duties safely and looking after workmates to ensuring the paperwork is completed and the appearance of safety is conveyed to management. Paperwork and micromanagement divert attention. There is no way around it. Human attention is a finite resource. Paperwork and micromanagement need to be balanced with accountability and a general culture of safety, otherwise safety suffers. The same applies to the banning of activities – our standard of living suffers.

Julia Gillard Slush Fund Allegations – Worth Pursuing?

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

So maybe our prime minister Julia Gillard knowingly allowed the misuse of union funds around 20 years ago. Is it worth seeking the truth 20 years on? Should we care about what really happened regarding the AWU affair?

Many people claim it is so long ago that it’s not worth pursuing. If that’s the case then what is the time limit? How recent must a corruption allegation be before it’s worth pursuing? It’s completely arbitrary to specify a time. There is no time limit. Either we have a philosophy of seeking the truth or we don’t. Anything else is more of the same that you’d expect from labor and their supporters – make it up as you go politics and arbitrary decisions lacking a consistent philosophy.

If we ignore a corruption allegation against our prime minister it’s fostering a culture where corruption is allowed to proceed. Let this one go because it happened a while ago and it sets a precedent for allowing more corruption to occur. Those that are corrupt will push the boundaries of an inconsistently applied principle. It’s reasonable to test a corruption allegation regardless of when it happened. Actually there is no time limit. The philosophy is, seek the truth. If the prime minister is not guilty it doesn’t mean we’ve wasted our time. That’s the price we pay for keeping politicians honest.

Even if Julia Gillard is not guilty in this case, I still find it disturbing the apparent conflict of interest present in the labor government from their entrenched history with unions. Many labor chiefs have an association with unions. It reeks of corruption, regardless of the specifics of this particular case. I’m not happy with allowing our country to be run by a group so intimate with unions. We need a more balanced government. One that knows how to run the business of a country’s economy. One that can adopt a philosophy and apply it consistently.