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Same Sex Marriage – Shaming didn’t work before. Why now?

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Ahhh. Where have we seen this before? 2016 US election? Brexit? Yes. It’s the name and shame game. Make people feel that failure to vote “yes” in the same sex marriage (SSM) plebiscite makes Australia as backward as predominantly Muslim countries (which ironically are the same countries the liberal left will scream unwavering support if any criticism is thrown at them, despite their stance against homosexuality), a few former communist states and Thailand. The irony of SSM is the campaigning and advertising is probably the worst spent money ever. How?

If I asked all the Aussie people who adorned their page with “I’m voting yes” I’m guessing 99% had already made up their mind and nothing would change it. So any “No” campaigns should have slid like water off a duck’s back. The same goes for those in the no camp. 99% have probably made their mind up and no amount of “Yes” campaigning will change that. Posting memes which aim to shame people has the opposite effect by further cementing their “No”  vote.

I’m not confident this plebiscite will pass. No amount of tears from Senator Pratt, $1m from Alan Joyce, rainbow banners forcibly added on my blog draft page or friends telling people they have a moral obligation to vote Yes will have any effect. Why the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is charged with handling the plebiscite and not the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is beyond me .

Going a step further, we see that the ABS has sent multiple ballots to some addresses because of  outdated information of former tenants, rogue postmen have threatened to use torches to  throw out “No” votes they find and a government that introduced emergency laws to ban free speech on SSM. Personally I think the plebiscite fails but the more concerning thing about the SSM debate has been the attack on free speech. How?

Anyone that would seek to tamper with an official vote (mail tampering is an offence), vote multiple times or seek to get people who are in the “No” camp deregistered from the medical profession or think government leaders using tax payers to support the “Yes” cause only to influence an outcome indeed would place Australia in the right column which contain countries that in many cases don’t believe in democracy. Having emergency laws on free speech to curtail it in a way that would only punish the “no” side tells us all we need to know. A gay journalist can happily tweet he’d “hate f*ck the homophobia out of conservative politicians” and that is passed as a racy joke but if conservatives said they’d “hate f*ck the homosexuality out of a gay progressive politician” they’d be hounded into the courts.

Indeed Australia is rightly positioned in the above column. Just the heading of the study should be “rights to free speech” not “equal marriage rights”

Renewable jobs!!

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Victorian Premier Dan Andrews blathered on his FaceBook page that wind farms create lots of jobs. In March this year I revealed the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) renewable employment figures which showed all states seeing declines. By state, South Australia has seen a 65% fall in green jobs since the peak in 2011/12. Victoria down 46%, Queensland down 49%, NSW down 32% & WA down 55%. The problem with green jobs is they are not sustainable.

ABS Program Manager of Environment and Agricultural Statistics, Lisa Wardlaw-Kelly, said that Employment in Renewable Energy Activities, Australia provides experimental estimates of the levels of employment in renewable energy by state and territory, and by types of renewable energy activities.

Annual full time equivalent (FTE) employment in renewable energy activities was estimated to be 11,150 in 2015-16, down 16 per cent from 13,300 in 2014-15 and down from a peak of 19,220 in 2011-12,” Ms Wardlaw-Kelly said.

Wind Power in Australia made up 1,200 jobs in total in 2014/15 down from 1,700 in 2013/14 according to the ABS. Total employment in the industry is around 65,000. So for the boom that Premier Andrews is talking about the stats tell a different story. As the ABS stats clearly show, renewable jobs aren’t sustainable. While there is a spurt in construction this disappears and then consumers are faced with higher electricity prices and blackouts because they don’t provide baseload power.

 

Why MiFID2 is like Spectre and why 007 needs Q more than ever

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Risk is a great leveler. Everyone has different thresholds of it. Of course when you’re young, risk is easier to take. Have a family, take on a mortgage, private tuition and heaven forbid you get wiped out in a divorce – the risk reward equation is constantly swinging. Catching up with an old client last night put a smirk on my face. In 2018 MiFID2 comes to life. For financial markets people it is the latest EU regulations which has many service providers in a blind panic. Investment clients will have to select “research” He spoke of the current equity broker market being a bit like a huge buffet. Lots of selection but hardly a Michelin star in sight. He said he’d met with many bulge bracket brokers who are all tinkering at the edges. Never before has the dangers of not taking risk been greater. While Musk might be tearing up the EV world, MiFID2 is a massive disruptor for financial services and the collective might of the alpha egos inside it can’t summon a slither of courage to be different.

It is easy to hide behind compliance. If I had my way I’d staff compliance with lawyers rather than those with a penchant for saying “no”. MIFID2 is such a huge chance yet all brokers are like rabbits in a headlight. A lawyer will tell you how far you can go. A compliance officer is more worried about protecting his own hide so maximum risk off is the safest option. So worried about compliance are finance companies in some circumstances they outnumber the people they’re assigned to police. Name me one prison where guards outnumber inmates?

The latest trend is to hire product managers. Enlightened ones who are entrusted to revolutionize the research offering. One asked what makes a good product manager? I replied one that is prepared to completely blow up the old model. More importantly one whose management will give him or her carte blanche to start a revolution and to act decisively on hiring analysts with true out of the box vision. Yet time and time again these senior managerial risk experts turn into complete novices and hire conservative group thinkers who have no desire to rock the boat. Throw on top the outsourcing to aggregators like SmartKarma and all you have is an even bigger buffet of substandard gourmet. The aggregator model will not be a success unless it reforms to have serious quality control of which it claims it has but in reality hasn’t.

MiFID2 is a bit like Spectre in a Bond film. The baddie Bond girl is like the client. The equity broker is Bond. If it wasn’t for 007’s array of gadgets from Q-branch (research) he’d be toast. The new breed of product managers (Q) are not creative enough to give equity salespeople (007) the upper hand to woo the baddie Bond girl. The problem is even worse because under MiFID 007 will be unable to use carefully rehearsed lines, expensive meals or fancy sports cars to catch his prey. So without a creative Q, brokers will end up being annihilated by the baddie Bond girl without even so much as a kiss in her death grip. Sadly baddie Bond girl needs to justify her actions to Spectre. Too. She won’t waste time in meeting M to plead her conversion. Quite frankly if 007 can’t deliver the goods she has every right to feel no emotion if he dies.

Q has always been the innovator. The one trying to stay well ahead of the curve. Let’s face it. Every Bond film we see comes out with something new to dazzle. Baddie Bond girl is never easily impressed so without properly engaging, well thought out, reasoned and in depth balanced research, 007 will die a slow death chewing on his high calorie low quality buffet which Q unimaginatively sprinkled Tabasco on.

Baddie Bond girl wants to be charmed. Like Pussy Galore ditching the poison gas canisters for a mild sleeping agent over Fort Knox, Baddie Bond girl will be only too happy to oblige switching broker repellent for commission dollars if Q makes the difference.

So to me MiFID 2 is an absolute bounty for the Michelin star research providers. Ones who give clients such a gustation experience that they can’t wait to book another opportunity to pay for another culinary experience.

In closing perhaps the biggest schadenfreude in all of this is three realization of how internal politics which have driven sell side bonuses gets exposed when next to no clients want to dine at their smorgasbord.

I’m no fan of MiFID2 but now that it is coming I see it as a huge opportunity rather than a sign to wave the white flag. Bring on January 2018.

 

Australian Constitutional scalps?

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Most Australians have no idea of the contents of our constitution. Dennis Denuto is probably one of the more versed. In America we know the 1st Ammendment is all about freedom of speech, the 2nd about the right to bear arms and we know what pleading the 5th is about. This is a list of Australian politicians who were born in countries other than Australia. Section 44 (i) of the Australian Constitution states, “Any person who is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power…shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.”

Two Greens senators (Scott Ludlum & Larissa Waters) have recently resigned after being in breach of this. One has to question how anyone (much less politicians) are unaware that they are dual citizens. My kids are well aware of their dual nationality. Now we will see many of the above confirm their Australian citizenship.

Rules are rules. Regardless of whether these people have served their constituents in good faith, there is a requirement to change the constitution.

When one thought Australia had maxed out its ability to display a fractured political system, the constitution may well clean house.

The Wallabies literally need to “pull their socks up”

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The problem with the Wallabies rugby team is obvious. Look at the picture above. Where is the discipline? At the start of a match you’d hope that  the players had real pride representing their nation. To be in view of an entire nation. To wear the green and gold with purpose. 3 players have their socks down around their ankles. Trivial? Perhaps but these players don’t share discipline and that is driven by the head coach Michael Chelka. If I was a coach I would expect the players to show the uniform more respect and would see such sloppiness as an unacceptable standard. Let’s see how the NZ All Blacks present themselves as a team. Yes they look like a team. Performing the haka is all about precision and teamwork.

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Perhaps we need look at the 1991 World Cup side

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and 1999

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Two teams that won thanks to their discipline from head to toe.

Why Chelka hasn’t been dumped is beyond me.  Look at how Eddie Jones transformed England after the 2015 World Cup. After watching Japan play Ireland a TV show interviewed players to discuss life under Eddie Jones as a Japanese representative. Two players said he was very strict when it came to alcohol and food. No booze and no fried foods. If he spotted a fried thing on their  plate he’d give them the death stare

All the Wallabies look like now is a collection of prima donnas with self entitlement as a prerequisite. Perhaps the ARU should hire Bobby Knight to install discipline!?

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The sorry tale of US auto makers in Japan

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It isn’t new news. American leaders have often complained at the Japanese for not buying more American cars. The sad reality is that most American cars are totally unsuited to the narrow streets in the land of the rising sun. Last year, Chrysler sold 240 cars, Cadillac 585 and Chevy 593. Jeep, to its credit sold a compact SUV into Japan and sold 9,745 cars. Toyota sold 2.45mn cars in the US last year. Nissan 1.56mn and Honda 1.64mn. What is the best selling US brand in Japan? Harley Davidson – it imported 10,766 bikes last year approximately half the total of foreign imported motorcycles sold in Japan in 2016 above 251cc.

We shouldn’t forget that Ford pulled out of Japan several years back as the low volumes couldn’t justify it. Don’t think that the Japanese hate imported cars:

Mercedes-Benz was Japan’s No.1 import brand selling 67,386 units, BMW at 50,571 and Volkswagen at 47,234. By model, the top-selling import in 2016 was BMW’s Mini with 24,548 units. Volkswagen’s Golf at 22,802 deliveries, followed by the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (17,760); BMW 3-Series (11,947) and VW Polo (10,903). Surprise surprise- all at the lower end of the size spectrum.

 

Magical Christmas Unicorn vanilla ice cream beer – what were they smoking?

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All jokes aside this “Magical Christmas Unicorn” vanilla ice cream beer from a local brewer in Beechworth, Victoria is much better than it sounds. 7.3% alcohol. I’m wondering whether they tip a punnet of ice cream inside a brewing vat? If you get a chance try it – it is nothing like you imagine. Perhaps they named it after a night with magical mushrooms on Christmas Eve.