The Kouk's top 40 hits and misses

Sat, 08 Feb 2014  |  

Over the summer break, while fiddling through data bases, reading and just being interested in things, I unearthed a few quirky bits and pieces about the Australian economy, people, sport and a few other bits and pieces. 

Only item 38 is open to any discussion, perhaps. Here are the top 40.

  1. Australia's daily GDP is a little over $4.3 billion.
  2. Every 21 seconds, $1 million of GDP is created.
  3. In 2014, there will be, in net terms, around 600 new jobs created each day.
  4. Approximately every two and a half minutes, employment rises by one.
  5. The price of the average basket of goods and services purchased by the average household rises by 0.008% a day.
  6. If consumer spending on restaurant and take away meals halved in 2014 and nothing else changed, Australia would record its first recession since the early 1990s.
  7. Turnover of Australian dollars in the foreign exchange market will be approximately $25 trillion in 2014.
  8. In 1980, the median house price in Sydney was $70,500.
  9. 410 people will die each day in 2014.
  10. In 2013, around 1.25 billion litres of wine was produced.
  11. In 2014, there will be approximately 35,000 greyhound races in Australia. The total distance run by all of the dogs in these races will be approximately 98,000 kilometres.
  12. 1.55 million chickens are slaughtered every day.
  13. The Abbott government will borrow approximately $70 billion in gross terms in 2014.
  14. Before his last test innings, Don Bradman's batting average was 101.39.
  15. Approximately 185,000 new houses will be built in 2014.
  16. There have been over 1.89 billion views of Gangnam Style on youtube.com.
  17. One in every 588 Australians is currently in prison.
  18. The Howard government may yet have presided over a recession in 2000-01. The latest national accounts estimates show that GDP recorded zero GDP growth in the December quarter 2000 which was followed by a drop in GDP of 0.4% in the March quarter 2001. Watch for revisions.
  19. In 2011-12, 1.469 million tonnes of waste paper and cardboard was exported, with a value of $241 million.
  20. The Whitlam government had zero net government debt when it was sacked in November 1975.
  21. Over $400 million in cash is withdrawn from ATMs every day.
  22. There has been a 155% increase in the number of people aged 85 and over in the past 20 years.
  23. The number of people over the age of 115 is unchanged, at zero.
  24. Agriculture, forestry and fishing makes up 2.2% of Australia's GDP. The electricity, gas and water sector is larger.
  25. 92.4% of the prison population is male; obviously 7.6% is female.
  26. The last time Australia recorded a current account surplus was in the March quarter 1975.
  27. The household sector generates 12.4 million tonnes of waste each year.
  28. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up 27.4% of the prison population.
  29. The Australian government has not borrowed money from overseas since 1987.
  30. Women earn 64% of the average male's wage and salary income.
  31. If Gina Rinehart earned no income, she could give away $60 million a day during 2014 and still have a billion left on new year's eve.
  32. Over 26 million cubic metres of concrete was made in 2013.
  33. Prior to the pink batts insulation scheme being introduced, there was one house fire for every 765 insulation installments. With the pink batts scheme, there was one fire for every 6,158 installations.
  34. The imprisonment rate for people born in Australia is 209.2 people per 100,000. For people not born in Australia, the imprisonment rate is 81.8 people per 100,000.
  35. Over the last 40 years, the total increase in inflation has been 762.5%.
  36. John Howard is the only Treasurer to deliver simultaneously deliver double digit unemployment, inflation and interest rates.
  37. Australia's population increases by one every 1 minute and 18 seconds.
  38. Collingwood will have an incalculable number of unfair umpiring decisions go against it this season.
  39. The average annual income for a male in Sydney in 1982 was $18,350.
  40. Total prize money for the Melbourne Cup will be $6.2 million in 2014.
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THE LATEST FROM THE KOUK

Why don’t governments deliver policies that are good for the electorate?

Mon, 21 Aug 2017

This article first appeared on The Adelaide Review site at this link: https://adelaidereview.com.au/opinion/politics/paying-fair-share/ 

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Paying Their Fair Share

It’s the age-old question: why don’t governments deliver policies that are good for the electorate? Well, the answers are numerous.

Politics and policymaking should be simple. After all, being in government and delivering what voters want — making them happy in other words — and increasing the chances of re-election seems to be the proverbial win-win scenario.

Which begs the question, why don’t political parties do it?

Why don’t they deliver policies that are good for the electorate and good for their re-election chances?

Let’s cut to what the voters, in general, want.

A policy framework where each person who wants a job gets a job is key. In addition, access to quality and affordable health care and education, from kindergarten to university to trades training is fundamental. There are other issues that are basic, simple and fair.

Voters want the government to provide aged-care services that treat the older members of society with dignity. We want decent infrastructure, especially pubic transport and roads. We want people who are doing it tough to be supported by a welfare safety net — a decent rate of pension, unemployment benefits and disability support.

So far, so good.

Australia has given up on solving unemployment

Sun, 20 Aug 2017

This article first appeared on The New Daily website at this link: https://thenewdaily.com.au/money/finance-news/2017/08/16/stephen-koukoulas-unemployment/ 

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Australia has given up on solving unemployment

 It is a sad state of affairs to realise that the current crop of Australian policy-makers have effectively given up on reducing unemployment.

Treasury reckons that the lowest the unemployment rate can go without there being a wages and inflation breakout is around 5.25 per cent.

The Reserve Bank of Australia notes something similar, forecasting that even when the economy is growing strongly at an above-trend pace, the unemployment rate will hover between 5 and 6 per cent.
The current unemployment rate is 5.6 per cent or some 728,100 people – enough to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground about seven times.

Given the Treasury and RBA estimates, it looks like Australia will never see fewer than about 700,000 people unemployed – no matter what kind of improvement we see in the latest jobless figures on Thursday.
It seems to be a peculiarly Australian issue. In the US, the unemployment rate is 4.3 per cent, in the UK it is 4.5 per cent, in Japan it is 2.8 per cent while in Germany, the unemployment rate is 3.9 per cent. And none of these countries is experiencing a wage/inflation problem. Indeed, even with the very low unemployment rate in Japan, wages are actually falling.