Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Doctor chides fussy women

The men will just get themselves an Asian lady while Miss fusspot crosses her arms and legs. Have a look around at the number of tall Australian men with an Asian lady on their arm. There are going to be a lot of "old maids" in Australia in the future, and they won't be Asian

INSTEAD of freezing their eggs for social reasons, such as waiting for their Prince Charming, women in their 20s and 30s should consider settling for Mr Not-Quite-Right, an IVF specialist says.

Director of Monash IVF, Professor Gab Kovacs, says women shouldn't be conned into thinking egg-freezing offers a guaranteed family in the fridge, The Age reports.

He says the rate of successful births from egg freezing is low and the technology is still improving.

"I think they should be working harder to find a partner or changing their criteria for Mr Right," Professor Kovacs said.

"Maybe there is no Mr Right and you have to settle for Mr Not-Too-Bad. There is no such thing as a perfect person for anybody, and even if they're perfect now, they won't be perfect in five or 10 years time."


Toughen deterrent for boats

Philip Ruddock

Philip Ruddock endorses a return to temporary protection visas and the use of the Nauru processing centre. Source: The Daily Telegraph

THE architect of the Pacific Solution, Philip Ruddock, said the steps taken by the Howard government after the Tampa crisis would not by themselves work a second time round, and additional deterrents would be required to stop the boats.

As figures from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees confirmed a 19 per cent drop in asylum seeker arrivals in the first six months of this year, the long-serving Liberal MP indicated that boatpeople arriving under a future Coalition government could expect much tougher treatment.

The former immigration minister endorsed the existing Coalition policy proposals, such as a return to temporary protection visas and the reopening of the Nauru processing centre, saying they were effective.

But, he said, more forceful measures, particularly in returning failed asylum-seekers to their home countries, may be required.

"It's going to require a lot more effort than any of the measures that are being spoken of at the moment," Mr Ruddock said. "You're going to have to use all of the measures that we used, then you'd be looking around to see what more you could do."

Mr Ruddock's comments align with views expressed by immigration officials that too much information was now public about how the Pacific Solution worked -- including that most refugees on Nauru ended up in Australia and that all bearers of TPVs ultimately ended up with permanent visas -- for the same measures to be as effective a second time round.

They also reflect a view in the opposition that any future Coalition government would probably face a hostile parliament opposed to new laws, requiring it to carry out its promise to stop the boats in a much narrower legal framework.

Mr Ruddock accused Labor of "trashing" co-operative relationships with key countries, such as Indonesia, which had been bruised by the Rudd government's handling of the 2009 Oceanic Viking stand-off.

"A number of measures necessary would be much easier for a Coalition government to pursue than this government," he said. "In my view, the big difference that is going to have to be pursued vigorously is the return of rejected asylum-seekers."

Since 2008 just 252 people -- or 2.1 per cent -- of the 11,994 asylum-seekers who have arrived have been returned to their home country.

The UNCHR said yesterday asylum arrivals in Australia for the first six months of this year were down 19 per cent, compared with last year, bucking an international average 17 per cent rise across industrialised countries. Despite the drop, both sides of politics expect boat arrivals will rise following the demise of offshore processing.

In August the High Court ruled the government's plan to deport 800 asylum-seekers to Malaysia in return for 4000 proven refugees did not comply with the Migration Act.

There is a general view that Nauru is more likely to meet the court's test, but that is arguable.

The court's ruling has been widely discussed in Coalition ranks, with most talk centring on whether reopening Nauru would pass the court's new test. Asking Nauru to change its laws and staffing the centre with Australian officers to ensure the court's stipulations are adhered to are among the options.

Yesterday, opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said a much tougher TPV regime was also essential, with the visas issued for between six months and three years.


Employers want HSC geared to workforce

THE last two years of high school need to be rethought to better engage and prepare the three in four school leavers who are not headed to university, according to a review by the NSW Business Chamber.

Praising the NSW government's scrapping of the "out-dated" school certificate, the chamber said it presents the opportunity for a much wider-ranging review of years 11 and 12.

Specifically, the chamber is seeking more core subjects for the HSC, better quality vocational courses and minimum standards for literacy and numeracy.

"The business community has a vested interest in the education system providing the right training for young people. We want young adults, when they finish their education, to have developed the skills they need to succeed in the workforce," Paul Orton, the chamber's director of policy and advocacy, said.

"Frankly, this area is too important for the state government to accept the status quo. Now is the time to have a serious community debate about how we are performing as a state in helping senior secondary students prepare for life after school.

"The last time we reviewed the HSC was in the mid-1990s at a time when very few, if any, students had even seen or been on the internet."

A blueprint, Could Do Better, will be discussed at a roundtable of key stakeholders in Parramatta tomorrow.

The primary focus is to lift the rigour, breadth and quality of vocational courses offered within the school system. The blueprint says core subjects for the HSC should include subjects such as numeracy, personal development and career planning. The number and capacity of senior colleges, and the range of subject choices available to high school students, should also be expanded.

Tom Alegounarias, the president of the NSW Board of Studies, said he was keen to listen to employers but defended the HSC as a rigorous credential that serves students and business well.

"The challenge we are facing is to ensure that every student can operate at a very high level of literacy and numeracy. This reflects the changing nature of the Australian economy, and education needs to be responsive to it," he said.

"Literacy and numeracy are inherent in being able to do the HSC but employers are looking for more explicit recognition and we are looking to respond to that."

The chamber is looking for more seamless progression between entering the final years of schooling and emerging into the labour market with a trade or significant qualification. Nine out of 10 16- and 17-year-old students enrolled in a vocational program are taking courses the chamber says will not lead to a qualification "adequate for a 21st century labour market".

The blueprint argues that what is learnt needs to lead to a qualification that is valued in the labour market. "Young people in senior high school need to be treated as young adults rather than as young children, and have a learning environment that reflects this," it says.

Mr Orton said university graduates are vital, particularly those with higher level degrees. "But let's do a better job for those who don't go to university," he said.

"We don't want them doing time, so to speak. It would be much better for them to get as much out of it as they can so that they are better equipped for whatever they choose to do."


Australia's future does not lie in "making things"

Do you sometimes worry about Australia becoming a place that doesn't "make things" any more? Let me lighten your load. Kevin Rudd used to worry about such things. In his first press conference as opposition leader in 2006, Rudd stressed he wanted to be the prime minister of "a country that actually makes things".

Today a high dollar is putting extra pressure on manufacturers while also making it cheaper for us to import things that other countries have made.

It is undoubtedly true that only a small proportion of us are engaged in making "things". Just 8 per cent of working Australians are employed in manufacturing, down from 26 per cent in 1966. Meanwhile, the proportion working in the services sector has risen by 54 per cent to 77 per cent.

More broadly, the proportion of employees working in what the Bureau of Statistics classes "production industries", including agriculture, forestry, mining, manufacturing, electricity, gas and construction, has halved from 46 per cent to 23 per cent.

In between we've largely outsourced the making of things to nimble hands abroad who will do it for less. Is that such a bad thing?

An increasingly globalised economy has not only given Australian consumers access to cheaper products, but to a wider variety of goods for purchase - Japanese cars, Korean TVs, Belgian chocolates, you name it.

The benefits to consumers of increasing trade and specialisation are often overlooked. Millions of consumers have less in common and less cause to rally than smaller groups of people employed in declining industries.

It is understandable and entirely predictable that manufacturers and the people they employ should lobby hard to save their jobs. And they have powerful representatives in unions and Federal Parliament to make their case.

But perhaps part of the reason we're not making things as much is that we're not buying things as much. Retail spending here is growing at its slowest annual pace in decades. National accounts figures show annual spending on recreation and culture is up 7 per cent and spending on hotels, cafes and restaurants up 6 per cent. We're spending more on experiences and less on stuff.

Why? Partly it's a symptom of our success. Recreation and household services are what economists call "normal goods"; that is, we tend to buy more of them when incomes rise and they come to make up a higher proportion of our total spending. Overseas holidays are normal goods, while bus tickets are "inferior goods"; we tend to buy them less when incomes rise.

The growing role of women in the workforce, while initially boosting demand for manufactured, labour-saving devices such as fridges and washing machines, has also boosted demand for domestic service employees, such as cleaners and childcare workers. These jobs are not so easily sent offshore.

When the Bureau of Statistics began conducting household surveys about people's employment in the 1960s, the most commonly reported occupation sector was "tradesman, production process workers and labourers". Today, it's "professionals". Now, more than ever, Australians make a living from the agility of our minds rather than the nimbleness of our bodies.

If you want to worry about the future of jobs growth, spend less time worrying about protecting declining industries and more time worrying about the fact that Australian government spending on higher education as a proportion of gross domestic product is one of the lowest of all member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.


1 comment:

Paul said...

A trip around our local shopping centre here in Earlville is very telling as to why there are many white men here with Asian, Aboriginal or Islander wives/ladyfriends. Fat pasty white women with stretched tattoos and foul mouths (and prams) abound, especially around the donut stand on any given day. Fertility issues don't appear to be a problem, and neither do issues income support.