Tobacco consumption free-falls after plain packaging laws introduced

Wed, 02 Sep 2015  |  

The national accounts contained the glorious news that the volume of tobacco consumed by Australians fell again in the June quarter as the mix of plain packaging laws, tax hikes, advertising bans and health awareness all kick in.

Tobacco consumption fell a thumping 2.2% in volume terms in the June quarter, bringing the total decline since the plain packaging laws were introduced to 19.5%. With population growth of around 4% over that time, per capita smoking is in free-fall. The success of the array of policies to reduce smoking is as stunning as it is fantastic. Well done to all those involved.

The facts surrounding the volume of tobacco consumed should be humiliating for the clowns at The Australian who used any array of excuses a couple of years ago to suggest that the volume of tobacco consumed went up after the plain packaging rules were introduced. More on that another day. Suffice to say chief clown Judith Sloan and her worthy assistants Christian Kerr, Henry Ergas, Christian Kerr and Adam Creighton, are not the sort of people to rely on for economic analysis.

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The Australian stock market is a global dog.

Sat, 24 Jun 2017

This article first appeared on the Yahoo7 web page at this link: 


The Australian stock market is a global dog.

At a time when stock markets in the big, industrialised countries are zooming to record high after record high, the ASX200 index is going no where. So poor has the performance been that the ASX is around 20 per cent below the level prevailing in 2008.

It is a picture most evident in the last few years. Since the middle of 2013, the ASX 200 has risen by just 10 per cent. The US stock market, by contrast, has risen by 50 per cent, in Germany the rise has been 55 per cent, in Canada the rise has been 20 per cent, in Japan the rise has been 45 per cent while in the UK, with all its troubles, the rise has been 15 per cent.

So what has gone wrong?

Tony Abbott and debt

Fri, 16 Jun 2017

With Tony Abbott and governemnt debt hot news topics at the moment, I thought I would repost this artricle which I wrote in April 2013:

Enjoy, SK


Here’s a true story. It’s about a man called Tony.

Tony is a hard working Aussie, doing his best to provide for his family. He has a good job, but such is the nature of his work that his income is subject to unpredictable, sharp and sudden changes.

Tony’s much loved and wonderful children go to a private school and wow, those fees that he choses to pay are high. He used to have a moderate mortgage, especially given he was doing well with an income well over $200,000 per annum.

Then things on the income side turned sour.

Tony had a change in work status that resulted in his annual income dropping by around $90,000 – a big loss in anyone’s language.

How did Tony respond to this 40 per cent drop in income?

Well, rather than selling the house and moving into smaller, more affordable premises, or taking his children out of the private school system and saving tens of thousands of after tax dollars, Tony called up his friendly mortgage provider and refinanced his mortgage.

In other words, Tony took on a huge chunk of extra debt so that he could maintain his family’s lifestyle. No belt tightening, no attempt to live within his means, just more debt.