Outcomes, not personality or party, is the only acceptable measure of public institutions

SMH 17.2.18 >> "Barnaby Joyce is a wonderful retail politician," Mr Abbott said. "He's been a very good Coalition partner to the Libs, and obviously there's been some pretty serious personal ups and downs, but the point I always make is we should judge politicians on how he or she is actually doing the job."
Abbott should have said: "We should judge politicians on the
outcomes they deliver". That would reflect an eye on the practical deliveries of services, prosperous circumstances, and confidence in Australian government institutions.

But no, the Abbott view is about styled personality. "A wonderful retail politician"? Woolworths is a wonderful retail politician. They deliver groceries. 

Joyce? He sweats sincerity during campaigns on television, or radio, or boozy hustings. Frankly, a Treasury should like to see Joyce's open books of accounts and assets. And Abbott's. Whatever their likeability or poses, we know their mothers loved them, but the question really is, is the nation faring well. 

There are straightforward criteria by which to assess that question, whether the nation fares well. Happiness, security, confidence, prosperity, harmony, equality, opportunity, freedom come to mind. Add others, please.

Australian administrative arrangements - the Federal system - fail the test. That raises the only real question in Australian politics, how by reference to function and purpose should the new system look, how that is installed, and can we send it back if we don't like it?

Australia Kingdom is a good first step.  AustraliaKingdom.com

Australian Catholic Church officers secret public assets

In the 2000s, many in the charity world had hoped accountability of all churches would improve under Labor’s proposed new regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) which was eventually established in 2012.

But a 2013 Fairfax Media investigation revealed how a lobbying campaign by churches - the office of then Sydney Archbishop Cardinal George Pell was a key player - had been instrumental in restricting the new regulator.

The churches had demanded of the then Labor government that the ACNC bill exempt "basic religious charities"- the large, unincorporated churches, including the Catholics and Anglicans - from annual financial reporting requirements and from the ACNC governance standards.

They argued that such reporting was an unreasonable burden on overworked local parishes, an argument that never washed with the experts. "Of course they know how much money they’ve got," says Professor Ann O’Connell from the Melbourne Law School, a specialist in charities and taxation and an adviser to the Australian Taxation Office.

Fairfax Media has obtained annual financial reporting forms that Melbourne’s parish priests are required to complete for the church's head office. They ask for at least as much financial detail as the statements the regulator requires from non-exempt charities.

But the Catholic church was not just worried about the reporting burden on parish priests. In 2013, parts of the church - the Sydney archdiocese in particular - wanted the ACNC abolished entirely, a promise the Coalition was happy to give ahead of the federal election that year.

More SMH 12/02/2018 >>

Epsilon Crucis renamed Ginan for red sack of wisdom

Until last month, the smallest star in the Southern Cross had the no-nonsense title of Epsilon Crucis – literally the fifth-brightest star of the Cross.

No longer. The International Astronomical Union has announced it will be renamed and recognised globally as Ginan, the name it has been called for thousands of years by the Wardaman people of the Northern Territory.

Ginan is about 228 light years from Earth. It "represents a red dilly-bag filled with special songs of knowledge", Monash University astronomer Duane Hamacher writes on The Conversation.

The star is one of four the astronomical union will now recognise by their Aboriginal names, as part of a wider project to give the stars in our sky proper titles. Epsilon Scorpii, located in the constellation Scorpius, has been renamed Larawag; in the Phoenicis constellation there is now a Wurren; and in Canis Majoris (the Great Dog) a star has been named Unurgunite.

More SMH 17/01/2018

See also Dear George Cardinal Pell