Power Reform and Becoming a Third World State

David elson

David Elson is not the only one doubting the government's electricity reform agenda. It's appalling record on most policy fronts does nothing to engender any faith.

hearing the Federal Government’s electricity reform plan on the radio this
morning I had a fear, that the prediction of the much maligned Mr Lee Kuan Yew
(you know the one)
had suddenly become true and that Australia was on a path of inevitable

do I have a sinking feeling Australia is becoming a third world state?

prefer the Government (both State and Federal) spent money providing us
reliable power during the hot summer months rather than force electricity
companies to cut funding to infrastructure; with incentives for consumers to
use less.

It almost beggars belief that the Federal Government plans to reduce
power bills by reducing household electricity usage through forcing the states
to spend millions on monitoring tools while simultaneously severely cutting
back and restricting future investment in infrastructure through regulation.

According to this break down from Aurora Energy the high cost of bills are
not simply a result of the “gold plating” of infrastructure:

  • 33.4%
  • 5.8%
    Carbon price
  • 4.8%
    Renewable Energy Certificates
  • 0.4%
    Market charges
  • 13.8%
  • 33.9%
  • 7.9%

Other factors include the solar tariff scheme that many States have in
place, which gives money back to those with certain green energy systems that supplies
electricity back to the grid.

As you can see from the above it’s certainly possible to reduce the cost
of the average household’s energy bill without preventing further investment in
“poles and wires”, infrastructure I might add that is essential in delivering
reliable power to the grid and your family home.

It’s possible to simply remove renewable energy subsidies and mandates,
and the carbon tax to greatly reduce the cost of power bills and its associated
impacts on low income families without any effective impact on service provided
by power companies.

In some states the amount the Carbon Tax contributes to power bill
increases could amount to a quarter of all total increases
in power bills.

My biggest fear is that these “reforms” will be passed, but the impact
won’t be felt until the future when underinvestment in infrastructure suddenly
becomes a problem, i.e.; blackouts (or brownouts) begin occurring frequently
during the “one day a year” (according to the Prime Minister and seconded by
her loyal ABC 24 Breakfast News) when it’s hot in Australia.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I had thought we had a few months of summer
in Australia, maybe the PM is confusing Australia with her homeland of Wales?

I feel the following pics would help enlighten those unfamiliar with
this recent reform proposal:

average monthly temperatures:


future night life scene:


Headlines pertaining to other Nations with Green friendly infrastructure
policy’s (soon to also include Australia):





















Contrary to what a variety of Australia Government both left and right,
State and Federal believe, the solution to rising consumption and increasing
population is not to cut usage, or provide disincentives or punishments for use
of a service (see transportation
in Australia) but to increase investment and provision in the service; be it
road, public transport or power that people require to survive in a modern 21st
century nation.

David Elson is a senior public servant who has long taken an interest in the economic impact of Federal policies particularly those pertaining to environmental or social issues and in the cultures of Australia's Asian neighbours.  He lives in Brisbane, Queensland with his Taiwanese wife and is an avid squash player.

Migration system is in crisis.

Untitled David Elson argues the government needs to do a lot more to stop the people smuggling trade:

Prime Minister Gillard's backdown on asylum seekers and the recent agreement between the two major Australian political parties is the first step in the solution to people smuggling trade to Australia, but it's not the only step.

Further amendments need to be added and further action taken by the Government to stem the tide and to eliminate this insidious industry.

The Howard's government's original policy needs to be reinstated along with additional measures, coupled with tough talking on the part of the Government to ensure that people trafficers and their allies get the message and understand that Australia is not a soft touch.

Other potential measures that are needed include;

* Temporary protection visas rather than immediate PR/indefinite detention.

* An end to family migration and spouse migration for those who have arrived illegaly to reduce the attraction of sending vulnerable family members across on leaky boats to Australia.

* Limit illegal arrivals eligibility for welfare beyond the bare neccessities of life (ie no access to medicare, baby bonus, etc.) to almost completely eliminate pull factors for all but the most needy (and realistically most likely to be legitimate) refugees.

* End to special treatment of unaccompanied minors particularly those where parents/guardans are brought to Australia and granted express PR. In these special circumstances the minor should be removed immediately from detention and placed in care or foster home.  If conditions improve in their home nation and the possibility of reuniting with family be realised this reuninion should be funded by the Australia Government as a humane gesture.  However in these instances all claims to PR in Australia should be renounced and family migration strictly disallowed. This would  reduce both the distressing practices of families sending their underaged and unattended children on a long and perrilious journey from the middle east through Asia to Australia and the practice where young adults (and in some cases not so young adults) pretend to be significantly younger to benefit from existing legislation.

These measures are even more desperately needed when we consider that if current rates of illegal immigration to Australia continue, offshore processing centres in places like Naru will soon be full.  The death toll that has resulted from the loosening of laws in relation to illegal immigraton on some estimates stand as high as 676 since 2009. Clearly there is a strong ethical and moral rationale for changing Australia's migration laws in relation to illegal arrivals and that these changes need to be firm enough to result in a strong deterance against people trafficers and supporters of illegal migration.


Along with the human toll of deaths at sea, there's also the effect of demonising or damaging the repuation of legitimate refugees and skilled migrants in the eyes of the general public, fueled by stories such as the below:

Captain Emad's people smuggling operation run from Australia.

Asylum seekers posing as children

Indonesia allows Australia into their waters to remove boat people under a new deal

Asylum seekers call Australia for help from Indonesia

Asylum seekers behaving like pirates

These negative stories are given wide overage across the media from shock jock radio to mainstream broadsheet newspaper to ABC news broadcasts and are effecting the average Australians' perception of foreigners in general and is delegimatising Australia's policy of multiculturalism.

See the below comments from the left of the once great Australia Labor Party:

Labor Senator (former national secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union) Doug Cameron: I'm gobsmacked. I just think that in the week where Australian workers are being marched off the job in Kurri Kurri and Tullamarine, that we're marching Chinese workers on to Roy Hill; it just defies logic to me.

Current National Secretary of The Australian Workers' Union Paul Howe has called Australia's skilled migration as "lunacy". 

Don't take my word for it, further details on the labor movements racist and ongong brain snap can be found here. All this from a party which has done much to weaken the security of our borders and entice hundreds to their deaths at sea.  They are virtually proposing to slam the door shut in the face of skilled intelligent migrants looking for work whilst opening their arms (and their tax payer funded wallets) wide in welcome to those illegally arriving via Indonesia.

This has the potential to damage Australia's reputation as a place welcoming of FDI, of skilled and business migration, and further decreases the legitimacy of legal migrants.  Further action must be taken to stop the people smuggling trade.

The flip side is that due to the Asian century and the (mostly western) GFC, Australia has a golden opportunity to increase our skilled migration rates and be guranteed to have a flood of engineers, doctors, teachers and indeed many valued tradies knocking down our door to find a better life for them and their families.  And in the process hastening our economic development and better our own great nation of Australia.

David Elson is a senior public servant who has long taken an interest in the economic impact of Federal policies particularly those pertaining to environmental or social issues and in the cultures of Australia's Asian neighbours.  He lives in Brisbane, Queensland with his Taiwanese wife and is an avid squash player.

An Analysis of Paul Howes’ Latest Speech

Untitled David Elson concludes that if Paul Howes articulates what the modern ALP believes, then Australians should hope they lose office and don't regain it for a very, very long time:

There’s a lot of talk that Paul Howes National Secretary of the Australian Workers Union is the new modern face of the Australian labour movement, bringing fresh ideas and an understanding of the economic realities facing Australia in the so called “Asian Century”.

Based on Paul Howes recent National Press Club Address these complimentary commentaries are unfounded.  While there was one shining moment where Paul attempted to distance the Labor from the electorally toxic Greens the majority of his speech was pure unadulterated protectionism, unionism and economically illiterate justifications for extreme market interventions on the part of the federal government.  Nothing we haven’t seen from our current Australian federal government.

Let’s take a look at some of his points and policy prescriptions:

In his introduction Paul echoes Wayne Swan’s stance attacking “billionaires and mega corporations” [as opposed to regular corporations?] who are plundering our public resources without giving anything back.  Assuming he is referring to our states’ mineral resources this is clearly a-non-too-subtle attempt to drum up support for the new mining tax.  The fact of the matter is Australian mining companies pay plenty of taxes already and that their royalty payments have been keeping our state government fiscally afloat for a number of years now.  Attacking these companies with new taxes as China’s economic growth is slowing, and as the storm clouds of a second GFC gather on the horizon is most unwise indeed.

Paul also stated that the media alone couldn’t be blamed for the labour movements [ALPs?] current woes before going on to blame the media, even equating the Sydney Morning Herald’s 1891 hyperbole with current criticisms. He offered the following quote:

“Our greatest peril comes from the intrusion of the labour struggle into the field of politics – only the most extreme and violent men will control the situation.”

In hindsight the above appears oddly prophetic.

Paul provided statistics indicating the current and ongoing importance of China’s economy for Australia’s exports, however he then went on to equate Australia’s investment in the upcoming Olympics with the economic fallacy of  big Government “picking winners” in a free market economy.  Anyone familiar with the recent loses at Ford, the large staff reductions at Holden, the failure of Tim Flannery’s much vaunted hot rocks technology and the ongoing controversies surrounding Solyndra know that it is not so easy for a government driven bureaucracy to “pick  winners” within our current globally competitive world.

Paul then continues on in a similarly economically illiterate manner, mistakenly stating that Australia has only now become a high cost country relative to our competitors (apparently due to the high Australian dollar), ignoring that our Asian neighbours and competitors have consistently had  lower labour costs then Australia for decades if not longer.  Paul then goes on to rule out “racing to the bottom” by apparently reforming our very restrictive workplace employment laws and conditions, this is where the biggest cognitive dissonance occurs in Paul’s partisan speech.  Paul praises the market interventions of our Asian neighbours’ government into their local economics, while glossing over and at times blatantly ignoring that;

  • These countries often intervene to ensure that their cost of electricity is kept low in contrast with Australia which has implemented interventions to increase the cost of electricity.
  • The cost of labour in countries within the Asian region are often much less than that of Australia, even in those nations which are not developing nations (ie South Korea, Taiwan).
  • The organisation of labour is largely absent, despite the title of the dominate nation within the region:-  The “People’s” Republic of China.
  • That unlike most western nations, the people of China, Malaysia, Singapore, and so forth do not have a welfare entitlement mentality and set aside savings to cater for themselves and their families, freeing up a lot of tax monies for investment in public expenditure which have a real return to the government and its people.  It is no surprise that these countries are characterised by financial responsible governments with relatively low debt loads.

There was a short glimmer of hope though.  A light that was as quickly extinguished as it appeared. Paul Howes criticised, with much validity the power of the big four banks within Australia’s financial system [although it should be stressed that it is this strength along with the Chinese driven resources boom that left us largely unaffected by the GFC], Paul correctly identified that it was lack of competition within the banking sector which had led to the current state of affairs.  Sadly the most effective solution to this; relaxing key restrictions to entry and allowing large foreign banks entry to Australia’s market was not proposed, instead stipulating that the government needed to  be more active in forcing these banks to follow the government line.  One can only imagine what method he would use to accomplish this.

If this is what the next generation of ALP leaders believe, then following the next election we should hope that the ALP will be entering the political wilderness for a very long time.

The full text of Paul Howes’ speech can be found at: http://australianpolitics.com/2012/05/22/paul-howes-npc-address.html

David Elson is a senior public servant who has long taken an interest in the economic impact of Federal policies particularly those pertaining to environmental or social issues and in the cultures of Australia's Asian neighbours.  He lives in Brisbane, Queensland with his Taiwanese wife and is an avid squash player.

Defence Force Eyes Mining Infrastructure

Untitled David Elson discusses the latest battle between Julia Gillard and the mining industry through a national security prism: 

With the results of an upcoming Australian Defence Force posture review likely to recommend that more defence assets are held in the resource rich north of Australia, it’s important that the Australia Federal Government balances the laudable yet differing goals of national security and continued growth in the resource sector.  There is potential for conflict between their need for but diverge use of infrastructure in the region  i.e.; ports, rail, and airfields.

Clearly there is a need from a national security perceptive for defence assets to be relocated from the populous and relatively well defended Port of Sydney to the more sparsely populated and resource rich north; particularly with the advent of the Chinese Century and corresponding rise and rise of other Asian powers who benefit from and trade with the People’s Republic of China.  Countries within the Asia pacific are using their newfound economic prosperity to fuel the growth of their military power projection capabilities.  While no single country presents a clear danger to Australia’s nation security and most regional powers are large trade partners of Australia, it is understandably prudent for Australia to show that we are serious about defending our borders.

However it is important that the expansion of defence force operations into areas either unattended entirely by the ADF or attended only by a bare base force take into consideration other users of land, sea and airspace, in particular in terms of the use of existing state and privately owned commercial infrastructure.  It is important that proposed ADF future use of rail lines or commercial ports not disrupt or supplant existing private uses.  Some of the statements of the Australia Federal Government would seem to imply that they would be prepared to nationalise or legislate that ADF use of mining infrastructure take priority over other users.

There is a real risk here that the government might mismanage and fail to balance divergent interests in the region (merely look at the impact of their policies on live cattle trade). The irony here is that military assets are proposed to be relocated to protect the resource rich north, but that they will be leveraging of existing infrastructure rather than investing in military specific infrastructure. In effect the ADF “posture change” has the potential to hamper and disrupt the growth of resource sector they are obstinately moving to protect.

Continued economic growth through a free and unfettered market is essential to ensuring Australia’s prosperity and like our Asian neighbours is the key to funding any future improvements in our ADF’s force projection capabilities.  Decisions likely to have a negative impact on this core objective should be avoided. Else we learn the lesson currently being experienced by USA, where a large military and large military spending is starting to be cut back due to a decline in economic growth.

David Elson is a senior public servant who has long taken an interest in the economic impact of Federal policies particularly those pertaining to environmental or social issues and in the cultures of Australia's Asian neighbours.  He lives in Brisbane, Queensland with his Taiwanese wife and is an avid squash player.

Gillard’s Foreign Policy Fold

Untitled David Elson discusses Julia Gillard's handling of relations with the U.S. and China:

In poker one maintains a poker face; a blank expression that reveals nothing as to the player's emotions and next move, leaving opponents and observers alike guessing.

In revelling in the visit of US president Barrack Obama, and trumpeting to the high heavens the establishment of a US military base in Australia, ostensibly in response to China's growing military might in the region Prime Minister Julia Gillard has played our hand and needlessly antagonised China.  Past Prime Ministers have dealt with issues relating to a declining traditional ally whilst establishing and maintaining relations with our major trade partners now primarily in Asia.

Contrast the recent circus in Darwin with the approach taken by former Prime Minister John Howard presented as he was with growing trade with the People's Republic of China (PRC) and cultural and military linkages to the United States of America (USA), two nations that due to the nature of their respective governments are not always the best of friends.  Two events best encapsulate how the Howard Government managed with these divergent allies:

An important visit and address to parliament from USA President George Bush was then later followed by a strategically important visit by PRC President Hu.  The dual visits re-affirmed Australia's friendship with and commitment to our American ally, allowed China to save face, and resulted in Australia being the beneficiary of an est. $30 billion gas deal.

It’s is no accident indeed that former Prime Minister John Howard has been a recent recipient of the Order of Merit while the highest international accolade of Australia’s incumbent administration has been from a European magazine which once awarded Lehman Brothers an award for being the best investment bank of 2006.

Australia is not the only nation attempting to balance our Chinese trade relations with dichotomically opposed nations. A prime example is Singapore, who maintains significant trading with China while also maintaining good relations, including military relations with both the Republic of China (ROC) or Taiwan and USA.

Singapore has also received an influx of military units from USA, naval assets in particular, however unlike the Australian example, you would be hard pressed to find examples of the Singapore Prime Minister pontificating upon this face in the international press.

In the words of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew

"China will pull ahead of Europe, Japan, India and Russia. US-China relations are setting the framework for East Asia. In the latter 21st century, US-China relations will become the most important bilateral relationship in the world, like the US-USSR relations during the Cold War."

Recent comments reported in the Australian newspaper support this, with Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan indicating that continued growth in China would keep Australia’s economy on track.  Bearing this in mind it’s important that Australia effectively manages both its Sino-USA relationships.

It remains to be seen whether our current government is capable of this.

David Elson is a senior public servant who has long taken an interest in the economic impact of Federal policies particularly those pertaining to environmental or social issues and in the cultures of Australia's Asian neighbours.  He lives in Brisbane, Queensland with his Taiwanese wife and is an avid squash player.

Bad Ideas As Good Ideas Applied Badly

Untitled David Elson discusses ideas from other countries being implemented in Australia: 

Australians are always going on about British whining, but Australians are the biggest whiners.  Look at how great the economy is and they are still complaining about this carbon tax” – overhead conversation between two British colleagues, comment followed by general praise for Gillard Government.

Leaving aside the merits of implementing the ALP-Green coalition’s Carbon Tax, I feel the above points to an even bigger issue.  Why is it that even bad ideas from overseas are commonly touted and accepted by the Australian public (or at least promoted by our media) without question as to the result of this idea in its country of origin? Or if it had been a success, without considering whether this said idea is applicable to Australia given the particular set of conditions present here? The only qualifier on the previous statement is usually the idea has to have been implemented somewhere else; the more “developed” relative to Australia the better.

This is not to say that all of these ideas brought to Australia from abroad are without merit.  In fact one of the benefits of Australia’s multicultural past and high immigration intakes is its exposure to new cultures and new innovative ways of doing things.  Indeed many of the ideas being poorly expounded to the Australian public are actually good ideas in the right context or if implemented appropriately.  Such examples abound, and I’ve listed a few of them below.

  • Carbon “Pricing” (Tax).
  • High Speed Rail.
  • Daylight Savings.
  • Suburban Metro system.

Carbon pricing is a policy that is being heavily marketed both within Australia and internationally, however those that promote it often have no nationwide carbon price (USA) or have a lower price for permits then those proposed for Australia. Australia also faces a number of structural obstacles in meeting emissions reduction targets, which most European nations do not face.  For example moving goods across Australia’s vast landscape incurs significant (fossil fuelled) transportation costs, and our mining and agricultural sectors are also heavily exposed to risk under a Carbon tax system (not withstanding that the exportation of coal is one of our largest industries!). Additionally many European nations benefit from past government support for  nuclear power, the UK for example has up to 20% of their power provided by nuclear alone.  An advantage that mineral rich Australia does not share!

Anyone who has ever visited continental Europe, Japan, Taiwan (Republic of China) or the Peoples Republic of China would be familiar with the concept (if not having experienced firsthand!) of high speed rail.  It’s a fast, convenient and relatively cheap way to travel those long long distances from A to B.  So it’s a no brainer, right?  High speed rail is right for Australia?  The initial feasibility study would suggest that some routes (i.e. Sydney-Melbourne) would be viable due to the number of commuters, however there is reasonable doubt suggesting that lines connecting all capital cities would be impractical not just due to the tyranny of distance but due to insufficient traffic and competition with airlines, which over the longer distances would be cheaper and faster.

Daylight  savings is another great idea, imminently suitable for the wintery climes from which it originated, and adept at clawing back another 1 or 2 hrs of daylight that are lost to seasonal changes during the year, usually to be experienced in doors either still in the office or inside watching TV. Obviously in more sunny well-lit climes the usefulness of such time altering policies are a little more limited.

Similar to high speed rail (HSR) suburban subway systems are also a very convenient public transportation option, suitable however only for short distances.  Currently Australian capital cities meet this short distance public transport need by a variety services usually; trains, trams, ferries and buses.  The issue with a subway or metro system within the context of Australia, aside from the expense (and political difficulty) in acquisitioning privately owned land, is that these systems are usually reliant on heavy usage and commuter traffic over short distances in order to break even on running costs.  Thus metro systems are frequently used in heavily centralised cities with high population densities and less common (and less feasible) in cities with smaller more sprawling populations.

Other bad ideas (or good ideas applied badly) I’ve noticed recently:

  • Congestion charges proposed for cities, with enviably low congestion (all things relative).
  • Bill of Rights, as an entitlement rather than as freedom.
  • Desalination plants, in lieu of dams
  • Greater restrictions on immigration, impacting only skilled migrants.

Do you have any examples of a potentially positive idea misapplied?

I think the Australian public in general and the Australian media in particular need to be more cynical when presented with proposals of the “next great thing”.  We as a people need to cut through the spin and look to the results of any given policy or proposal. We need to be prepared to consider that we as a country are beset by unique conditions and that a superbly excellent policy that might work well, for sake of argument, in Finland may do no good here.  Let us look at their results, not just in their own nation, but look to other nations’ examples on the same issue.  Do they cynically promote an idea but not actually implement it? For example China making solar panels for export to the west whilst reliant on coal-fired electricity.  Or do they both promote and believe to the death in the efficacy of policy even as it is dismantling their own country, as in the recent Greece example in relation to their Government unsustainable (and ongoing) spending and public debt problems.

Sometimes there are benefits in not following the flock.

David Elson is a senior public servant who has long taken an interest in the economic impact of Federal policies particularly those pertaining to environmental or social issues and in the cultures of Australia's Asian neighbours.  He lives in Brisbane, Queensland with his Taiwanese wife and is an avid squash player.

Turning Point

Untitled David Elson asks: Do we follow the rising economic path of Asia or mirror the decline of the European economies?

Australia has reached a cross roads in its development.  We are a relatively wealthy and well endowed nation, with high standards of living, high wages, a large public sector, access to modern health care and enviable levels of government welfare and assistance.  Unfortunately the flipside of all this wealth is a sense of complacency, a feeling that the good times will continue to follow and that we are prosperous enough to afford drastic regulatory changes or excessive spending without ill effect.  Examples include but are not limited to; the education "revolution", the pinkbatts insulation disaster, the creation of the NBN monopoly and various green subsidies.

The rising growth and prosperity of our regional neighbours presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to further Australia's development and cement our prominence with the region’s newest powers.  Coincidently there has been a parallel and unrelated rise in influence of the green movement, which I believe now, has an unprecedented influence upon the Australian economy.  The Australian government now has a choice; take action to guarantee our future prosperity by understanding and benefiting from the changes in Asia, or to inflict upon the Australian people greater taxation, greater regulation with all its predictably dire effects on jobs, growth and overall prosperity. 

Australia has a high cost of labour which when combined with flattening labour productivity is of some concern, labour productivity being intrinsically linked to standard of living.  An additional economic stress factor from the demand side of the market is the willingness (and ability of) Australian consumers to pay relatively high prices, keeping the cost for everyday items high and putting pressure on inflation.  Australian rate payers and businesses also face relatively high costs for access to electricity and water.  

To these already formidable constraints the Federal Government will add its flood levy, mining tax, reductions in tax concessions and a great big carbon tax.  The implementation of the latter which Prime Minister Julia Gillard has stated will place us in line with our competitors with inaction leaving us lagging behind even developing nations such as China.

In contrast with the above Asian economies are generally defined by flexible labour laws, cheap electricity and an absence of carbon taxes.  We are in danger of being left behind but it is a failure to liberate our economy and capitalise on the economic boom in South East Asia rather than action on climate change that will leave us behind our competitors.   I believe we can avoid this by;

  • Reducing restrictions on skilled immigration.
  • Investing in real infrastructure.
  • Scrapping the monopolistic National Broadband Network (NBN).
  • Creating certainty in the electricity market.

The benefits of skilled immigration are almost self explanatory.  Not only does skilled immigration benefit Australia economically and culturally but it also provides a net tax benefit to the government.  Obviously in order to avoid infrastructure issues such as congestion and overcrowding the government would need to invest heavily in infrastructure.  Where could the funding come from? The government could divest itself from other failed projects, such as the unnecessary school halls program or the extraordinarily expensive NBN.

While a recent OECD report was supportive of the Australian government investing in telecommunications infrastructure in Australia it was highly critical of some aspects of the NBN particularly that it represented a "restoration of a public monopoly over the supply of wholesale internet services".  It’s worth noting here that in almost all other developed countries, whether Japan, Korea or Germany that there exists significant competition at the level of telecommunications infrastructure.  Something unlikely to exist anytime soon in Australia under the NBN.

Internet, computers all require electricity and the energy sector is another bone of contention with the Australian public and yet another area where the present government has failed to act in an economically responsible manner.  Currently there is a great deal of the uncertainty and a lack of investment in Australia’s energy sector.  The best way to provide certainty and to increase private investment would be for the government to release firm details on its proposed carbon price or infinitely more preferable, delay the carbon tax until such time as our competitors and neighbours adopt similar methods of  "transforming" their national economies.

The rationale for the above is simple.  Not only will a more free Australian economy equate with a more prosperous Australian people, but it is only with a strong economy that we will have the wealth to be able to take action on social and environmental issues, and that includes man made global warming.

David Elson is a senior public servant who has long taken an interest in the economic impact of Federal policies particularly those pertaining to environmental or social issues and in the cultures of Australia's Asian neighbours.  He lives in Brisbane, Queensland with his Taiwanese wife and is an avid squash player.