Monday, 29 October 2012

US opinion polls - Make sense of them if you can


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Employment of youths falls but rises for older workers


The OECD area employment rate – defined as the proportion of people of working-age who are employed – was 65.0% in the second quarter of 2012. This figure is 0.1 percentage point higher than in the previous quarter and 0.2 percentage point higher than one year ago but still 1.5 percentage points below the pre-financial-crisis level.
Australia has fared a little better than the OECD as a whole. Its second quarter employment rate of 72.5 per cent was well above the average and only 0.7 points less than it was back in 2008.
The OECD figures show that the biggest decline in the Australian employment rate has occurred among youth aged 15 to 24. There the 2008 rate of 65% has fallen to 60.1%. For those defined as being of prime working age - aged 25 to 54 - the decline has been from 80.3% in 2008 to 79.5% in the second quarter.
For older Australian workers the employment rate has actually risen - from 57.3% in 2008 to a current rate of 61.4%

EMPLOYMENT RATE IN OECD COUNTRIES
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EMPLOYMENT RATE BY GENDER
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EMPLOYMENT RATE BY AGE
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Saturday, 13 October 2012

Who is winning the misogynist debate?

Quite a difference of opinion among the pundits about what impact the last week of parliamentary proceedings will have made on the general voting public. At Crikey we are running a little survey to see what the wisdom of our readers think will happen. I'd be happy to have your input as well.
Just fill in the form below where we are trying to determine what result the next Newspoll will show but remember we are trying to estimate what will happen to public opinion not what people think should happen to public opinion.

The Gillard past - an underplayed but still damaging Fairfax story

In the Sydney Morning Herald it only made it to page 10 while The Age had it on page three but this story will still prove damaging enough:
It marks yet another step in moving out from the relative obscurity of the internet into the mainstream the pursuit of details about Julia Gillard's past life as a lawyer and her relations with the Australian Workers Union. With the two Fairfax papers now joining, in a strangely understated way, The Australian in indicating this is a story that needs to be reported, the Prime Minister will find it increasingly difficult to dismiss it as the misogynist rantings of disreputable bloggers.
You will find the full fascinating account HERE but this extract gives the flavour:
A TRADE union association from which hundreds of thousands of dollars were stolen by a former boyfriend of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was only registered after Ms Gillard vouched for its legitimacy to authorities in Western Australia.
Ms Gillard - then a salaried partner with the law firm Slater & Gordon - wrote to the WA Corporate Affairs Commission in mid-1992 confirming that the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association was a legitimate organisation under WA law.
In August the Herald reported that Ms Gillard may have breached West Australian corporations law by her involvement in setting up an association for her then-boyfriend Bruce Wilson, a senior AWU official, because the application documents, lodged by then state secretary, Ralph Blewitt, for the association stated its purpose was the ''development of changes to work to achieve safe workplaces''.
During an investigation into her work by Slater & Gordon in 1995, Ms Gillard described the association as a ''slush fund'' that would be used to bankroll union election campaigns.
The newly confirmed correspondence contradicts claims by Ms Gillard that she did no more than provide limited professional advice about establishing the association at the centre of the corruption scandal involving Wilson.
Inside both The Age and the Herald Mark Baker provides an intriguing insight into PM Gillard's leaving the law firm Slater & Gordon.

The feature ends with this assessment of Ms Gillard by the former Slater & Gordon partner Nick Styant-Browne who was involved in determining her future with the firm:

"Wilfully blind". Words we are sure to hear much more of as the next federal election gets closer.

Some news and views noted along the way - Saturday 13 October



Twitter fiction: 21 authors try their hand at 140-character novels



Not so super when someone drives offshore with your cash

Smuggish Thoughts (Self-indulgent) from Paul Krugman


Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind - new poll from George Mason University and Yale’s Project on Climate Change Communication

(click to enlarge)

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A feisty and fiery but totally irrelevant Gillard speech before Slipper resigns

Attack is the best form of defence was the Prime Ministerial motto today when confronted with the nauseating revelations about the man she made Speaker of the House of Representatives. And it was quite a stirring speech if the subject had been the views of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. But the irrelevance of Julia Gillard's attempt to avoid the embarrassment of supporting a sleaze bag became clear when Peter Slipper resigned from the job.
Yet another example of this Labor Government's ability to manufacture unnecessary humiliations.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Avoiding El Nino?

The signs are emerging that Australia might escape the impact of an El Niño this year. The Bureau of Meteorology reports that most dynamical models it surveys suggest that sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific will maintain values around El Niño thresholds before returning to clearly neutral values towards the end of 2012 or early 2013. Hence there is an increased likelihood of avoiding the dry conditions El Niño's produce.

Monday, 1 October 2012

How people get their news - the young switching from television to on-line


As someone who no longer buys a printed version of a newspaper I was not at all surprised to find in the latest survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press that in the US the transformation of the nation’s news landscape has already taken a heavy toll on print news sources, particularly print newspapers. What did surprise me was the finding that  there are now signs that television news – which so far has held onto its audience through the rise of the internet – also is increasingly vulnerable, as it may be losing its hold on the next generation of news consumers.

Online and digital news consumption, meanwhile, continues to increase, with many more people now getting news on cell phones, tablets or other mobile platforms. And perhaps the most dramatic change in the news environment has been the rise of social networking sites. The percentage of Americans saying they saw news or news headlines on a social networking site yesterday has doubled – from 9% to 19% – since 2010. Among adults younger than age 30, as many saw news on a social networking site the previous day (33%) as saw any television news (34%), with just 13% having read a newspaper either in print or digital form.
These are among the principal findings of the Pew Research Center’s biennial news consumption survey, which has tracked patterns in news use for nearly two decades. The latest survey was conducted May 9-June 3, 2012, among 3,003 adults.
The proportion of Americans who read news on a printed page – in newspapers and magazines – continues to decline, even as online readership has offset some of these losses. Just 23% say they read a print newspaper yesterday, down only slightly since 2010 (26%), but off by about half since 2000 (47%).The decline of print on paper spans beyond just newspapers. The proportion reading a magazine in print yesterday has declined over the same period (26% in 2000, 18% today). And as email, text messaging and social networking become dominant forms of communication, the percentage saying they wrote or received a personal letter the previous day also has fallen, from 20% in 2006 to 12% currently. There has been no decrease in recent years in the percentage reading a book on a typical day, but a growing share is now reading through an electronic or audio device.
The decline of print on paper spans beyond just newspapers. The proportion reading a magazine in print yesterday has declined over the same period (26% in 2000, 18% today). And as email, text messaging and social networking become dominant forms of communication, the percentage saying they wrote or received a personal letter the previous day also has fallen, from 20% in 2006 to 12% currently. There has been no decrease in recent years in the percentage reading a book on a typical day, but a growing share is now reading through an electronic or audio device.
While print sources have suffered readership losses in recent years, television news viewership has remained more stable. Currently, 55% say they watched the news or a news program on television yesterday, little changed from recent years. But there are signs this may also change. Only about a third (34%) of those younger than 30 say they watched TV news yesterday; in 2006, nearly half of young people (49%) said they watched TV news the prior day. Among older age groups, the percentages saying they watched TV yesterday has not changed significantly over this period.