Scandal

Constructive dismissal?

CM’s view on the incompetence of Rugby Australia (RA) is well documented and reconfirmed by Alan Jones in The Australian today. It appears that Israel Folau looks more like a sacrifice to the altar of the sponsor god, Qantas.

Sponsorship money is important to sports teams but it should never get to a point where the sponsored has to make unconscionable decisions to acquiesce their paymasters. It is unethical.

CM has long held issues over Qantas’ flagrant use of shareholder capital to sponsor the CEO’s activism. It is terrible governance.

Remember the acceptance rings ahead of the same sex marriage debate that Qantas pushed so hard on us? The idea was to distribute these acceptance rings (not fully closed) to customers, clients and travellers.

CM supposed if someone were to politely decline to wear one they risked being be branded homophobic, bigoted and summarily ostracized for expressing such views. It might be that they actually support gay marriage but do not wish to express it openly. That is nothing more than a conscious choice, not categorical staunch opposition. Perhaps failure to wear the ring could cause their career takes a turn for the worse all because they don’t comply with group expression i.e. corporate slavery. The team leader who passes them over because they incorrectly assume the employee is a dissenter. That is palpable workplace bullying encouraged by a woke CEO.

What Jones points out is that the ‘wallaby court’ had already decided the outcome before a word was uttered in defence. It appears it was a ‘hearing’ conducted with the deaf.

RA CEO Raelene Castle apparently told Vanessa Hudson, chief customer officer at Qantas,

I updated her on the situation a day after the post and told her that, confidentially, Rugby AU would be working towards a process to terminate Mr Folau’s contract and that Ms Hudson can share that position with Qantas chief executive Mr Alan Joyce. Ms Hudson texted me later that day saying that she had only shared the update with Mr Joyce and he was appreciative of the transparency and he said that a speedy resolution by Rugby AU was paramount.”

This says a lot about Qantas. If it wants to exert control over RA it should acquire it and manage it as a subsidiary.

Yet where was the pushback by RA? It flaked. If it understood the dwindling fan numbers meant it wasn’t connecting to revenue, it might have thought defending Folau might have been its greatest coup and that many non virtue signaling corporates could replace Qantas’ sponsorship.

The culture of RA is self evident. It is not about rugby anymore but a platform for identity politics.No wonder fans are deserting it. CM discusses dwindling fan numbers yesterday, something Jones alluded to. Put simply, the product stinks and that rot permeates from the top. Fans aren’t stupid.

Coach Michael Cheika’s abysmal win/loss record is tolerated because he tows the line of the C-level cabal. So do some of the players who threatened to boycott the team if Folau was allowed to keep playing.What a joke! These virtue signaling players if given the choice to stand by their beliefs or keep their lucrative contracts would choose the latter every time. They sounded just like those Hollywoodcelebrities that threatened to leave America if Trump won the presidency.Hypocrites.

However it only reinforces the reality of the culture within the RA that encourages this type of numb skulled response to pander to the top. If these players wanted to think about faith in context of not selling out core beliefs they could learn muchfrom Israel Folau.

It increasingly looks like the high level breach has been committed by the board in cahoots with Qantas.

As CM mentioned yesterday, perhaps receivership is the best outcome for RA. That way the apparatchiks get cleared out and replaced by people that connect with fans who ultimately pay the keep the lights on at HQ. It isn’t that hard to fix RA’s problems but it will be impossible with a leadership team which seems to support constructive dismissal at the behest of corporates that champion activism rather than principle. Clearly Qantas is the mean “spirit of Australia”

Get woke, go broke.

Industry gets the management it deserves

What did the Rugby Australia (RA) board expect from Israel Folau? That he’d crawl away into obscurity? CM has long held the RA’s handling of this affair has been about as good as the Wallabies on-field performance under Michael Cheika, the coach with the worst record in the history of the team.

Industry gets the management it deserves. Bad outcomes come from poor decisions at the top. RA CEO Raelene Castle’s performance in this affair has revealed she has no crisis management credentials. If Folau ends up bankrupting RA then management didn’t weigh the risks properly when they terminated him for a supposed “high-level breach”.

Recall RA tried to buy Israel Folau off with a $1m shut-up cheque but his religious beliefs weren’t for sale. Folau reached out to former Wallaby and fellow devout Christian, Nick Farr-Jones, who concluded after an intense grilling that his faith was authentic. Did the board take into account NF-J’s testimony? 

The RA’s decision smacks of the spineless virtue signalling that pervades our corporates today. It folds at the first sign of social media activist pressure. It might bang on about “inclusivity” but it practices exclusivity. One wonders if a player from another religion tweeted “apostasy is death” the board would have sung an entirely different tune. It would have said, “we respect all views.

Then we saw the hypocrisy of NRL Chairman Peter Beattie who spoke of the importance of inclusion and freedom of speech (when it comes to players protesting the national anthem) despite affirming that Folau would never play rugby league. So which is it? Whose freedom of speech is free? Beattie even argued that the Folau Twitter post still remained up. If he took it down would the NRL sign him up? Not a chance.

As CM wrote in the last dispatch, RA’s #1 priority does not appear to be rugby. The website is flush with identity politics. Such as this:

MCC works with influential leaders and encourages them to take action towards gender equality. 

Rugby Australia is a proud supporter of MCC and our Chief Executive Raelene Castle has recently been appointed as a Special Advisor on the MCC Sport program. 

This program aims to enhance the involvement of women in all aspects of sport and works with key stakeholders to achieve pay equity.

What has this got to do with managing the Wallabies franchise? Too much focus on irrelevant things that will not turn around the continual losses in the business because the key ingredient that generates revenue – a winning team is second fiddle.

RA folded at the foot of the sponsor, Qantas. A sponsor has the rights to be represented in certain ways but how little confidence must RA have in its ability to attract new backers? Cricket Australia snagged Alinta Energy after the ball-tampering scenario. CM reckons the Adani Wallabies has a nice ring to it.

RA is not run for its fans. Player David Pocock was arrested and charged for chaining himself to a piece of heavy equipment but Folau was fired for quoting a passage from the Bible.

It is quite likely that Folau’s bid in the High Court will succeed. Our constitution enshrines free speech. Whether we like what he said or not is irrelevant. We either support it or we don’t.

Maybe RA needs a total clean out? Perhaps sending in the receivers would see the appointment of someone who loves the game and reconnects with the fans, not waste time trying to enforce identity politics on them.  RA was set up for one purpose. To win.

Why not look at the yardstick of attendance? Why is it since 1962, Eden Park in Auckland is always at full capacity when the beloved All Blacks play? Because the team is so dominant. Why is attendance at Stadium Australia at 65~80% of available seats when it used to be 100% in 2002-2009? Why have Super Rugby attendance figures slumped t to around 11,000 per game vs 35,000 for Aussie Rules and 15,000 for NRL? Even A-League soccer gets average game attendances of 12,500. There is a message here RA. You are not connecting with the flock.

Perhaps Izzy Folau is reciting in prayer for the fans;

For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Did Trump ask for the Navy move the USS John S McCain?

The press love to ham up an anti Trump story on any occasion. The latest claim was that the president ordered the USS John S McCain out of port on his visit to Japan. It had been involved in an accident 20 months ago (refer pic). Repair jobs take time.

CM contacted a friend who works for the US Forces in Yokosuka (where it is stationed) and said,

It’s been tarped and scaffolded quite a bit in the last year. Moved around a lot depending on what work it needed and priority of ships. Might have moved stuff around for security, so some contratcors could keep working without being to close to the ship Trump and Abe landed on...

…the Navy released a statement saying it was not a request of the White House…

…The Navy had also moved the Admiral’s flag ship, the Blue Ridge out of port for the visit. It is called building 19 because it hardly ever moves.”

So anything to fit a narrative that it was all down to petty requests from the White House. Trump Derangement Syndrome reigns supreme.

Obesity in America

The American Medical Association (AMA) has updated the latest State of Obesity 2019 report which tabulates a damning trend. West Virginia is the worst offender. It has seen obesity rates surge from 14% in the 1990s to 38.1% of the adult population.

The state has the highest rates of diabetes at 15.2% of the adult population, up from 6.7% in the 1990s. Of the 191,000 diabetes sufferers in WV, by 2030 there is expected to be over 282,000 with the disease.

Hypertension is also expected to surge from 24.2% in the 1990s to 43.5%. To that end heart disease is also forecast to jump from around 138,000 to over 659,000 people.

According to the most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data, adult obesity rates now exceed 35% in seven states, 30% in 29 states and 25% in 48 states.

The AMA notes,

Race, ethnicity, gender, income, education levels and where an adult lives all make a difference in how likely he or she is to have obesity. For example, the report found that:

  • Obesity rates are higher among Latinos (47%) and blacks (46.8%) than among whites (37.9%).
  • Women are more likely to have obesity than men, 41.1%versus 37.9%.
  • Women are also more likely to have severe obesity, 9.7% versus 5.6%.
  • Adults in rural areas are more likely to have obesity than those in metro areas, 34.2% versus 28.7%.
  • College graduates are less likely to be obese than those with less than a high school education, 22.2% versus 35.5%.
  • Adults with higher incomes are less likely to be obese. The obesity rate is 29.7% among those making 400% or more above the federal poverty line; the rate is 42.6% for those at 100 to 199% of the federal poverty line.

None of this makes for pleasant reading but the AMA calculates $149bn in extra medical costs annually and $66bn in lost productivity.

According to the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 18.5% of children and 39.6% of adults had obesity in 2015–2016. These are the highest rates ever documented by NHANES.

Obesity.png

The underlying causes of obesity are complex and interconnected, ranging from economic and policy dynamics to environmental influences, social norms, and individual and family factors.

High-calorie foods are less expensive and more available in some neighbourhoods; many communities lack safe, accessible places to walk, bike, and play; and children and adults are inundated by advertising for unhealthy foods and beverages.

Many Americans eat too few fruits and vegetables and consume too many calories in the form of highly processed foods, and fewer than half meet national guidelines for physical activity.

Obesity increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, sleep apnea, liver disease, kidney disease, gallbladder disease, and certain types of cancer.

ResMed.png

Seems like the pharmaceutical companies will continue to do well in America. Aussie company ResMed, which makes CPAP machines to treat sleep apnea is crushing it.

Can we please get some adults in the room?

Here is a picture from the angelic pig-tailed climate strike goddess Greta Thunberg’s Twitter feed calling for another global school strike. The climate change activists are really at the point of maximum desperation. Kids are now being weaponized to fight climate change because the supposed adults in the room have done such a woeful prosecuting the case to the heretic non-believers.

It is hard to speak to those who dismiss one as a knuckle dragger from the start. What is lost on alarmists is that skeptics merely wish to be presented with facts and figures not sanctimonious finger wagging. In 99.9% of cases, when politely asking to be provided with facts, it ultimately leads to ad hominem attacks. “Your kids will thank you for it” is an argument often used as a condescending way to end a debate before it has even started. Others resort to saying skepticism comes from regrading quack websites resourced by the fossil fuel lobbyists, When CM asks alarmists about whether they have concerns over the multiple cases of fraud committed by scientists from the very (often government) bodies they spruik, not one has voiced issues with their ethics. At that point they have lost CM.

If alarmists can’t admit the fraud committed from their own side, it shows that they are utterly indoctrinated. 1+1=3. Fraud is fraud. CM has often argued that climate scientists face absolutely zero repercussions for peddling falsehoods. None. Think of the penalties handled out to the financial sector. There has been much malfeasance committed in the last few decades that have resulted in humungous penalties.

WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years based on nine counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and false regulatory filings to the tune of $11bn.

Enron’s former CEO Jeffrey Skilling was convicted on 35 counts of fraud, insider trading and other crimes related to Enron and sentenced to 24 years prison and fined $45 million.

Madoff got 150 years for his $65bn Ponzi scheme, Allen Stanford received 110 years jail for his $7bn fraud.

Yet when the scientific community commits fraudulent offences, they’re not even brought to trial. Nothing. Even worse the alarmists are only too happy to wheel out the very same scientists who have made dud predictions and push them as experts in their field.

How are billions in taxpayer funds that bail out Wall St any different from billions of taxpayer funded adventures into redundant climate change white elephants based of manipulated scientific claims any different?

CM reckons that if climate scientists faced steep fines and penalties for committing data fraud we would quickly work out we had way more than 12 years to live. Why not provide an amnesty period for scientists to come clean on any manipulation without facing any prosecution? After the date they would face stiff treatment. That is the only way to kill this industry at the source.

If scientists were forced to come clean with the truth, we would find that all of the grossly inaccurate models predicting gloom and doom were shown up for what they really were. Empty rhetoric.

Maybe the secret to solving the climate emergency is child’s play after all? Make the rules of malfeasance so transparent that even a 5 year old can understand.

If we look at the whistleblowing rules introduced by the SEC in 2011, it offered the whistleblower 10-30% of the monies saved through fraud as a reward. Surprise, surprise whistleblowing claims have shot up 16-fold since the rule’s introduction. In 2011 only 334 claims were made. In 2012, 3,001 were made. In 2014, 3,620. In 2018 it was 5,282. A total of $168mn was paid out to 13 individual whistleblowers.

Given so many scientists are probably aware of the manipulation that lies within the ranks, they have far more opportunity to dob in their crooked colleagues and collect a massive pay day.

No need for #ClimateEmergency. As the Australian Democrats used to say as an election slogan, “keep the bastards honest!”

Actually, vote on the political emergency

No surprise to see The Guardian parrot on about a climate emergency. The editorial completely misses out on the political emergency we face. The economic climate is a massive issue facing Australia. When Bill Shorten tells us that he “will change the nation forever” we shouldn’t view that positively. It is probably the honest thing he has said. Labor’s policy suite is the worst possible collection one could assemble to tackle what economic headwinds lie ahead. Our complacency is deeply disconcerting.

First let’s debunk the climate noise in The Guardian.

The math on the climate emergency is simple. Australia contributes 0.0000156% of global carbon emissions. No matter what we do our impact is zip. If we sell it as 560 million tonnes it sounds huge but the percentage term is all that is relevant. Even Dr Finkel, our climate science guru, agrees. What that number means is that Australia could emit 65,000x what it does now in order to get to a 1% global impact. So even if our emissions rise at a diminishing rate with the population, they remain minuscule.

Bill Shorten often tells us the cost of doing nothing on climate change is immeasurable. He’s right, only in that “it is too insignificant” should be the words he’s searching for.

Perhaps the saddest part of the Guardian editorial was to say that the Green New Deal proposed by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was gaining traction in the US. It has been such a catastrophic failure that she lost an unsolicited vote on the Senate floor 57-0 because Democrats were too embarrassed to show up and support it. Nancy Pelosi dismissed it as a “green dream.” At $97 trillion to implement, no wonder AOC says feelings are more important than facts.

With the 12-year time limit to act before we reach the moving feast known as the tipping point, it gets confusing for climate sceptics. Extinction Rebellion wants things done in only 6 years. The UK House of Commons still can’t get a Brexit deal done inside 3 years but can act instantaneously to call a “climate emergency” after meeting a brainwashed teenager from Sweden. It speaks volumes of the desperation and lack of execution to have to search for political distractions like this.

The ultimate irony in the recent celebration of no coal-fired power in the UK for one week was fossil fuel power substituted all of it – 93% to be exact. Despite the energy market operator telling Brits that zero carbon emissions were possible by 2025 (40% of the current generation capacity is fossil fuel), it forgot that 85% of British homes heat with gas. Presumably, they’d need to pop on down to Dixon’s or Curry’s to buy new electric heaters which would then rely on a grid which will junk 40% of its reliable power…good luck sorting that out without sending prices sky high. Why become beholden to other countries to provide the back-up? It is irrational.

Are people aware that the German electricity regulator noted that 330,000 households (not people) were living in energy poverty? At 2 people per household, that is 1% of the population having their electricity supply cut off because they can’t afford to pay it. That’s what expensive renewables do. If the 330,000 could elect cheap electricity to warm their homes or go without for the sake of the climate, which would they choose? 100% cheap, reliable power. Yet Shorten’s plan can only push more into climate poverty which currently stands at 42,000 homes. This is before the economy has started to tank!

If one looks across Europe, it is no surprise to see the countries with the highest level of fossil fuel power generation (Hungary, Lithuania & Bulgaria) have the lowest electricity prices. Those with more renewables (Denmark, Germany & Belgium), the highest. That is Australia’s experience too. South Australia and Victoria have already revealed their awful track record with going renewable. Why did Coca-Cola and other industries move out of SA after decades? They couldn’t make money with such an unreliable

Ahh, but we must protect our children and grandchildren’s futures. So low have the left’s tactics sunk that using kids as human shields in the fight for climate change wards off conservatives calling out the truth because it is not cool to bully brainwashed kids. We should close all our universities. As the father of two teenagers, CM knows they know everything already so there is little requirement for tertiary education!

The Guardian mentioned, “But in Australia, the Coalition appears deaf to the rising clamour from the electorate [on climate change].” Really?

CM has often held that human consumption patterns dictate true feelings about climate change. Climate alarmist Independent candidate Zali Steggall drives a large SUV and has no solar panels on her roof! Her battleground in the wealthy seat of Warringah is probably 70%+ SUV so slapping a Zali bumper sticker does nothing but add to the hypocrisy.

Why do we ignore IATA forecasts that project air travel will double by 2030? Qantas has the largest carbon offset program in the world yet only 2% elect to pay the self-imposed tax. Isn’t that telling? That is the problem. So many climate alarmists expect others to do the heavy lifting.

SUVs make up 43% of all new car sales in Australia. In 2007 it was 19%. Hardly the activity of a population fretting about rising sea levels. In Warringah, waterfront property sales remain buoyant and any bank that feared waves lapping the rooves of Burran Avenue would not take such portfolio risk, much less an insurance company.

Shorten’s EV plan is such a dud that there is a reason he can’t cost it. Following Norway is great in theory but the costs of installing EV infrastructure is prohibitively expensive. It will be NBN Mark II. Will we spend millions to trench 480V connectors along the Stuart Highway?

Norway state enterprise, Enova, said it would install fast chargers every 50km of 7,500km worth of main road/highway. Australia has 234,820km of highways/main roads. Fast chargers at every 50km like the Norwegians would require a minimum of 4,700 charging stations across Australia. Norway commits to a minimum of 2 fast chargers and 2 standard chargers per station.

The problem is our plan for 570,000 cars per annum is 10x the number of EVs sold in Norway, requiring 10x the infrastructure. That would cost closer to $14bn, or the equivalent of half the education budget.

The Guardian griped that “Scott Morrison’s dismissive response to a UN report finding that the world is sleepwalking towards an extinction crisis, and his parliamentary stunt of fondling a lump of coal”

Well, he might doubt the UN which has been embroiled in more scandals related to climate change than can be counted. Most won’t be aware that an internal UN survey revealed the dismay of unqualified people being asked for input for the sake of diversity and inclusion as opposed to choosing those with proper scientific qualifications. The UN has climbed down from most of its alarmist predictions, often citing no or little confidence of the original scare.

Yet this election is truly about the cost of living, not climate or immigration. The biggest emergency is to prepare for the numbers we can properly set policy against.

We have household debt at a record 180% of GDP. We have had 27 years of untrammelled economic growth. Unfortunately, we have traded ourselves into a position of too much complacency. Our major 4 banks are headed for a lot of trouble. Forget meaningless stress tests. APRA is too busy twiddling its thumbs over climate change compliance. While the Royal Commission may reign in loose lending, a slowing global economy with multiple asset bubbles including houses will come crumbling down. These banks rely 40% on wholesale markets to fund growth. A sharp slowdown will mean a weaker dollar which will only exacerbate the problem.

We have yet to see bond markets price risk correctly. Our banks are horribly exposed. They have too little equity and a mortgage debt problem that dwarfs Japan in the late 1980s. Part/whole nationalization is a reality. The leverage is worse than US banks at the time of the Lehman collapse.

We have yet to see 10% unemployment rates. We managed to escape GFC with a peak of 6% but this time we don’t have a buoyant China to rescue us. Consumers are tapped out and any upward pressure on rates (to account for risk) will pop the housing bubble. Not to worry, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen assures people not to panic if their home falls into negative equity! This is the level of economic nous on the catastrophe that awaits. It is insanely out of touch.

Are our politicians aware that the US has to refinance US$8.4 trillion in US Treasuries in the next 3 years? That amount of money will crowd out a corporate bond market which has more than 50% of companies rated BBB or less. This will be compounded by the sharp rise in inventories we are witnessing on top of the sharp slowdown in trade (that isn’t just related to the trade war) which is at GFC lows. The 3.2% US economic growth last quarter was dominated by “intellectual property”, not consumption or durable goods.

China car sales have been on a steep double-digit decline trajectory for the last 9 months. China smartphone shipments dwindle at 6 year lows. In just the first four months of 2019, Chinese companies defaulted on $5.8 billion of domestic bonds, c.3.4x the total for the same period of 2018. The pace is over triple that of 2016.

Europe is in the dumps. Germany has had some of the worst industrial production numbers since 2008. German GDP is set to hit 0.5% for 2019. France 1.25% and Italy 0.25%. Note that in 2007, there were 78mn Europeans living in poverty. In the following decade, it hit 118mn or 23.5% of the population.

Global bellwether Parker Hannifin, which is one of the best lead indicators of global industrial growth, reported weaker orders and a soft outlook which suggests the outlook for global growth is not promising.

This election on Saturday is a choice between the lesser of two evils. The LNP has hardly made a strong case for reelection given the shambolic leadership changes. Take it to the bank that neither will be able to achieve surpluses with the backdrop we are headed into. Yet when it comes to economic stewardship, it is clear Labor are out of their depth in this election. Costings are wildly inaccurate but they are based on optimistic growth scenarios that simply don’t exist. We cannot tax our way to prosperity when global growth dives.

Hiking taxes, robbing self-managed super fund retirees and slamming the property market might play well with the classes of envy but they will be the biggest victims of any slowdown. Australia has run out of runway to keep economic growth on a positive footing.

We will do well to learn from our arrogance which has spurned foreign investment like Adani. We miscalculate the damage done to the national brand. Adani has been 8 years in the making. We have tied the deal up in so much onerous red tape, that we have done nothing more than treating our foreign investors with contempt. Those memories will not be forgotten.

There will come a point in years to come where we end up begging for foreigners to invest at home but we will only have ourselves to blame.

The editorial closes with,

However you choose to exercise your democratic decision-making on Saturday, please consider your candidate’s position on climate and the rapidly shrinking timeframe for action. We have endured mindless scare campaigns and half-baked policy for too many decades. We don’t have three more years to waste.

This is the only sensible quote in the entire article. The time for action is rapidly shrinking. However, that only applies to the political and economic climate. One can be absolutely sure that when the slowdown hits, saving the planet will be furthest removed from Aussie voters’ minds.

Will Bill Shorten declare a climate emergency?

Why is Greenpeace demanding PM Scott Morrison declare a ‘climate emergency’? Why not badger Bill Shorten? Labor has an uncosted climate change policy but gone one step short of declaring a full blown “climate emergency” despite the cost of doing nothing being so huge. Probably because climate change isn’t as big an election issue as made out and declaring catastrophe might wreck his chances to move into The Lodge.

Ironically Greenpeace just wrote about the success of Extinction Rebellion with respect to climate emergency. In the process revealing how useless it is at public advocacy to praise a rival playing in the same donation pool. Will these two leftist groups eat each other in months to come when they realize they’re fighting over the same funds?

Are the Greens expecting the Libs to hold onto power? Even if Morrison declared an emergency, not one Greens voter would put Liberal as their second preference.

What we do know is the Greens love law breakers. It is a $3,000 + GST per person fine to climb onto unauthorized parts of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 15 of them. $45,000 for Premier Gladys Beijiklian. It doesn’t matter if they were experienced abseilers. They should be prosecuted.

Instead of condemning illegal activity the Greens, true to form, were applauding! NSW Greens politician, Cate Faehrmann, was quick to say,

BREAKING: Protesters have scaled the Sydney Harbour Bridge calling on Australia to declare a climate emergency! I applaud their actions 100%. Governments aren’t listening so more and more people are taking desperate action to be heard.”

Imagine if pro-Adani groups handed out leaflets on the benefits to jobs and the economy. The Greens would censure the activity as unconstitutional and demand they be arrested and jailed for heresy.