Archive for the 'Australia' Category

The exchange rate according to today’s Apple announcements

October 21st, 2009

Apple announced some shiny new things today. Given that the Australian dollar is around 92 cents, we’d hope for a good exchange rate. What has Apple actually done?

  • iMac 22-inch: US $1,199, AUS $1,599
  • iMac 27-inch: US $1,699, AUS $2,199
  • Mac Mini Base: US $549, AUS $849
  • MacBook: US $999, AUS $1,299
  • MagicMouse: US $69, AUS $99
  • Apple Remote: US $19, AUS $25

It’s important to remember that the US prices are before sales tax, so I’ve taken the GST (10%) off the Australian prices to work out the exchange rates.

When we do that, the exchange rate ranges from 71 cents (on the Mac Mini, which is sad because that’s the one I want to buy) to 85 cents on the MacBook. The average is pretty much 81 cents. Clearly there’s some rounding going on to hit nice price points.

Why is it so much lower? Because Apple (like most other companies) isn’t silly. They know that the exchange rate fluctuates, so they don’t set prices based on what it is this week. Rather they look at longer run averages. And if you look at the average exchange rate over the last six months (excluding October, as they would have set prices a few weeks ago) it’s also around 81 cents.

Stupid, stupid policy

January 8th, 2007

From ABC News is this brain dead bit of policy:

Australian Young Labor is calling on the ALP to adopt a policy of not taxing people under 18.

Young Labor president Sam Crosby says it is unfair that those aged under 18 have to pay tax even though they cannot vote.

OK, let’s ignore the ‘taxing people under 18’ bit. Let’s just think about the ‘cannot vote’ thing and what that implies:

  • only citizens have to pay taxes;
  • people who don’t pay tax can’t vote; and
  • people who don’t live in Australia don’t have to pay tax.

Stupid, stupid justification for the policy. If you’re going to advocate new policy (and it’s an idea interesting enough to debate), please don’t try to justify it using this fairness argument that a 3-year-old could see through.

Year of the Election

January 8th, 2007

2007 will be, almost certainly, the year we see the next Federal Election.

According to the timetable published by the AEC the election has to occur between 4 August 2007 and 19 January 2008. A double dissolution can occur any time, but those are the only dates that avoid a half-senate election too, something we can be pretty certain no one wants to see1.

There’s never been an election in January, so we can safely rule it out. Since 1950 there’ve been none in August or September, 4 in October, 4 in November and 5 in December (none later than 13 December). So we’re now down to 10 possible dates. My guess would be that the PM might call an election shortly after APEC ends on September 9. The minimum time between issue of writs and the election is 33 days, which would put the election on October 13 or 20, probably more likely the 20th, which would require the PM to call the election by Monday 17 September.

  1. The last half-senate election was held in 1970, and resulted in severe losses for the Government of the time. 


December 12th, 2006

From Barista is this incredible photo of the Victorian fires:


Labor leadership: It’s on

December 1st, 2006

Exciting times:

Kim Beazley has put his job on the line by announcing a caucus leadership ballot for Monday morning. Ballots will also be called for the deputy leadership as well as all positions on Labor’s frontbench.

(From the Herald).

I don’t know who to go for here. Beazley has shown himself to be serially inept, but I’m not sure that Rudd would be a lot better. Still, I suppose that it would be hard to be much worse than Kimbo, so I guess I have to go for Rudd (or Gillard, who may yet declare). But would Beazley have done this if he didn’t think he had the numbers?

Will I live longer because I live in Canberra?

December 1st, 2006

News Limited reports:

The Australian Capital Territory record the highest life expectancy for males and females at 79.9 and 84 years respectively.

Which they headline ‘Live longer, live in Canberra’. But of course, this is the wrong way around. Living in Canberra is very unlikely to do anything for you. But the kind of people who live in Canberra, especially those with higher income levels, tend to live longer. Which is quite sad, when you think about it.