23 April 2013

Australia's coastal surveillance

For those who think Tony Abbott's going to stop the boats, a primer by a former Admiral on the challenge of coastal surveillance.

And where would you take the Sri Lankan boats back to? Would Indonesia accept them?
Armidale class patrol boats were designed to conduct boarding operations in support of immigration and fishery laws, but it's over 5000km to Sri Lanka from Australia's north west coast; the Armidale class does not have enough fuel to escort the boats back to Sri Lanka, and refueling at sea is not a viable option.
Larger ships such as the ANZAC frigates could possibly reach Sri Lanka, but depending where it started its journey, an ANZAC frigate may require a refueling ship or port visit to complete the operation. Assuming you use a refueling ship, the cost-benefit analysis of such an operation for a Sri Lankan boat carrying 200 people would be prohibitive.

17 April 2013

Spoilt by China, Australia grows lazy

Great article on where Australia should be heading:

Australian leaders should instead be using this time to prepare the country for the day when Chinese demand inevitably begins to dry up. The government should be taking advantage of the lowest benchmark rates in 53 years to borrow and invest. Funds are required to rebuild crumbling infrastructure and upgrade the education system, to encourage a shift to higher value-added manufacturing and to promote innovation.

Australian industry, too, must find ways to remake itself:... As Swiss and German companies have, Australian firms must seek out value-adding niche industries that are more reliant on human capital.

Australian firms also should use the brawny dollar to start acquiring companies overseas. ...
If the Chinese can use their strengthening currency to acquire corporate gems, why can’t the Australians? Executives should zero in on the technology, science, finance and transport names they fancy and go after them.

07 April 2013

Democracy gone wild: Where excellence is punished

Questions from colleague at the Brookings Institution, where he [former Reserve Bank board member Warwick McGibbon] is a senior fellow, were “very worrying”. One of these was “why is a country that had withstood the worst of the global financial crisis suddenly switching direction and following the Latin American model?”
H/t: Glover Cottages blog

Endangered bilbies

Bilbies are threatened, especially by cats, but also by foxes and by their competitors, rabbits.

A roo shooter, Frank Manthey, head of the Save the Bilbies Fund, is leading the effort to conserve them.

We have shot 3,000 cats and [sic] something like 16 days just around where the bilbies are and we're running out of money like our government, the Queensland Government I hound the doors in there. We've spent about $55-60,000, we the bilby fund are trying to do what we can.
There are apparently 23 million feral cats in Australia. We'd all need to just kill one each.