Archive for April 7th, 2011

Samuel’s Footy Tips results: AFL Round 2 and NRL Round 4

AFL Round 2
Saints V Tigers (Drawn match, half a tipping point)
Kangaroos V Collingwood red cross
Power V Eagles red cross
Suns V Blues green tick
Dockers V Cats red cross
Bulldogs V Lions green tick
Swans V Bombers red cross
Hawks V Demons green tick

AFL Round 2: 3.5/8 (43.75%)
AFL Total: 9/16 (56.25%)

NRL Round 4
Broncos V Panthers red cross
Rabbitohs V Sea Eagles green tick
Raiders V Titans green tick
Eels V Cowboys green tick
Knights V Dragons green tick
Sharks V Warriors red cross
Roosters V Tigers green tick
Storm V Bulldogs red cross

NRL Round 4: 5/8 (62.50%)
NRL Total: 18/32 (56.25%)

Week Total: 8.5/16 (53.13%)
Overall Total: 27/48 (56.25%)

The graphs

Weekly results

Running totals

Samuel

April 7th, 2011 at 10:25pm

Great news from the Channel Ten bunker: Andrew Bolt gets his own show

Some fantastic news from the Ten Network today, confirming what has been believed to be happening for some time. Andrew Bolt, the Herald Sun columnist, MTR1377 presenter, Ten contributor, and former ABC TV ‘Insiders’ contributor and Nine contributor, is expanding his role at the Ten Network. No longer will he be relegated to the utterly ridiculous role of being the guy at the end of the desk making Twitter-length observations on The 7PM Project (one wonders if they use this format because they think that their core-demographic won’t understand anything longer, or because they think their core-demographic is so obsessed with Twitter that they won’t listen to anything longer), Andrew will now have his own show on Sunday mornings on Ten.

The Bolt Report will premiere on May 8, and will air at 10am. The show will provide a lead-in to Ten’s existing Sunday morning show Meet The Press which moves from its existing 8am timeslot to a 10:30am timeslot.

The timing for the decision couldn’t be better. Earlier this week, Nine’s veteran journalist Laurie Oakes announced that he will relinquish his role of providing the Sunday morning interview for Weekend Today…and quite frankly, whoever takes on this role (if anyone) will not have the same clout and respectability of Oakes, so Oakes’ departure from Sunday television leaves a void…Seven don’t have a serious political discussion or interview program on Sunday morning (they do muster up the occasional interview on Weekend Sunrise, but it is very unusual, and it only works when Andrew O’Keefe isn’t it “silly mode”) so that just leaves ABC TV and Ten.

ABC’s Insiders continues at 9am sans Andrew Bolt, but will presumably still keep other conservative commentators such as Piers Akerman and Gerard Henderson, and it’s a well-known fact that people who watch Insiders and hate the likes of Bolt, Akerman, Henderson and co. are more engaged in the program when they are on…so presumably the plan is to get people to switch over from Insiders at 10am to Bolt at 10:30 and then probably stick around for Meet The Press at 10:30.

It strikes me as clever programming, and Ten have seen that Bolt engages the audience on 7PM Project regardless of their opinion of his views, so this could very well be a winner. At the very least, it puts Ten’s political programming on at a more sensible time…Meet The Press was wasted at 8am up against the unstoppable fluff machines of Sunrise and Today. Ten are much better off counter-programming with youth-oriented music programming in the early hours and putting the serious stuff on at 10am after the adults have finished watching the news (and news-esque) programming on the other channels.

I’m looking forward to The Bold Report, and will make sure that I don’t miss a second of it.

Samuel

April 7th, 2011 at 05:31pm

Two examples of government waste in the space of a couple days

I have come across two rather interesting cases of government waste this week. Two cases where money is being paid to government employees to carry out pointless tasks.

Firstly, I had a CT scan a couple days ago. Medicare was covering some of the scan, and I was paying the rest which, from memory, was $160. After I had paid the $160 and my Medicare details had been recorded, I was informed that I would be receiving a cheque from Medicare in about four weeks time which would be addressed to the doctor who performed the scan, and that I would be required to forward the cheque to the clinic.

This is utterly ridiculous. If I had paid the full amount for the scan, I could have walked in to any Medicare office and received the Medicare portion of the payment in cash on the spot. And if I go to a bulk-billing doctor, the payment for the consultation goes straight to them…so why are the government wasting all of this time sending out payments to people who aren’t the ultimate recipient of the payment, only for the cheque to be handed to the doctor who then receives their payment? Wouldn’t it be simpler to pay the doctor directly via an electronic transfer? The answer is yes…but I suppose the government wouldn’t need as many people to administer that.

Secondly, I received a call from the tax office. My phone was off at the time, so they left a message which included my full name and the fact that they wanted to talk to me about my superannuation, and oddly that I “have no need to panic”. So I called them back on the number provided and, to my astonishment, got straight through to a human (the number must have a high priority in the phone queues) who asked me for all sorts of personal information (I googled the phone number first, it was legit) and then informed me that they wanted to talk to me about a “lost” superannuation account so that they could instruct the superannuation fund to reinstate it. He took a few moments to look up the account and then said “oh, that’s odd, the account is active”. My immediate reply was “let me guess, the Australian Super account?”, I received an affirmative response and then said to him “I sorted that out about three months ago” after which he apologised for taking up my time and asked if there was anything else he could help me with…not that he had actually helped me. I declined and the call ended.

Apart from the wasted time and expense of having a public servant make calls about superannuation accounts which are perfectly fine, the whole “lost super” thing is a rort and a giant waste of time. You pay fees to a private business to maintain these superannuation accounts, so they should not expire (or “become lost” to use the government’s preferred terminology) and default to government ownership simply because you haven’t contributed to them for a while. That’s like having a savings account with a bank and the bank seizing the funds because you haven’t checked the balance in the last week.

And then there’s the question of, if he can just push a button and reactivate the account with Australian Super (although I suspect it’s not so much the push of a button, but rather the completion of about 73 forms, a number of letters to the super fund, and about seven government employees overseeing the whole thing), why doesn’t he just go and do it…why ring me about it?

It amazes me that my tax dollars are going towards funding these kinds of useless and wasteful activities. It is a clear sign that the government is too big and could do with a bit of a prune.

Samuel

4 comments April 7th, 2011 at 08:45am

Either ban it or leave it alone…

It is becoming very tedious seeing government after government after government pretend to be very concerned about cigarettes, and implementing all of these measures to supposedly cut the smoking rate, when all that they are really doing is either punishing the smoker or the cigarette companies with higher fees and taxes, achieving very little, and reaping massive tax windfalls at the same time.

This time, they’re at it again, although they’re trying to punish the retailers as well, and the “logic” behind it is becoming more than a tad strained.

The federal government wants all cigarette packaging to be olive green, because research shows that is the least attractive colour for smokers, the health minister says.

Under proposed legislation aimed at reducing smoking rates in Australia, all logos will be removed from cigarette packaging, and tobacco companies will be required to print their brand name in a specific font.
[..]
“We’ve done a lot of research to ensure that we make the cigarette packs as unattractive as possible…,” Ms Roxon said.

“Apparently dark olive is the least attractive colour for any smokers and in particular for young people.”

Does Ms. Roxon really think that I’m stupid enough to believe that people will stop smoking because the packaging is not pretty? Those health warnings are pretty grotesque, more grotesque than some olive green cardboard, and people still smoke, so why does she think that olive green packaging will do what has not been done to date?

Realistically, this is just another swipe at the retailers, especially the smaller ones. The whole “you’re not allowed to display the packages, they have to be hidden” and now added on “when the cupboard is opened so that you can get a packet out for a customer, other customers must only see a heap of olive green and not be able to tell that these are cigarette packets” only serves to make it harder for smaller retailers to sell the cigarettes. People won’t stop buying them, they’ll just move to the larger retailers because they won’t know that the smaller retailers are selling them…and in the case of the corner shop where people duck in for a packet of smokes, a bottle of milk and the newspaper, having this business move to the service station up the road could very easily put them out of business.

But that’s OK, because that will look good on government statistics as they’ll come out in twelve months and tell us how “30% less retailers now stock cigarettes”. They’ll proudly announce their “successes” while ignoring the fact that they just damaged yet another industry and put people out of work.

And then there’s Nicola’s other bizarre statement.

“This is about taking away the last opportunity that tobacco companies have in Australia, to try to market their products by making them look luxurious, or pretending that they might be light and better for your health.”

Oh come on Nicola, nobody actually believes that cigarettes are good for your health, or that light cigarettes are better for you than other cigarettes. People know this, and they choose to smoke, something which I should remind you is a perfectly legal activity.

It really is about time that the government either leave people alone who are doing something which is perfectly legal, or they prove that they are concerned about cigarettes by banning them outright, and offering nicotine patches to smokers to alleviate them of their need to smoke.

Samuel

April 7th, 2011 at 04:43am


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