Lawyers outnumber plumbers by 15 to one in Joe Hockey’s seat of North Sydney, I noted in The Australian last week.
As an indicator of the social, cultural and political divide in contemporary Australia, the lawyer-to-plumber ratio is as good as any.
The Kenny Index shows that there are at least twice any many lawyers as plumbers in 21 out of 150 federal lower house electorates.
They are, I suggest, the seats where the Liberal’s new leader Malcolm Turnbull is likely to prove most effective.
The eagerness to show “we care” about Syrian refugees has displaced the much harder moral and practical challenge of how best to relieve the anguish of millions of displaced people, I write in an article on the SBS website.
“Thousands turned out to deliver a simple message,” reported Lindy Kerin on Tuesday’s AM. And what was that simple message? A GetUp organiser speaking from the podium spelt it out.
“We should be so proud of ourselves standing here tonight with courage and compassion to say welcome,” he said, and the audience cheered.
Well, thanks for turning up, everybody. But it is far too early to give ourselves a pat on the back. The challenge of giving people in the Middle East the chance of a better life is not solved by lighting candles, emergency foreign aid, or hasty decisions about quotas.
Anti-booze zealots insist drinkers are not paying their way claiming that alcohol’s social cost is greater than alcohol tax revenue. They’re wrong.
The IEA’s Christopher Snowden reports that the costs of alcohol to government in England was not £20bn ($43.9bn) a year, as crusaders claimed, but £3.9bn a year. Since the government raises £10.4bn from taxes on alcohol, drinkers are subsidising non-drinkers to the tune of £6.5bn a year.
As I write in The Australian today, it would be interesting to transfer Snowdon’s methodology here. You can bet your wine cellar the cost of alcohol use is considerably less than the $36bn “social cost” claimed by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.