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.

Fairfax versus News Limited

December 1st, 2006

First, the background (from the Sydney Morning Herald):

The annual Walkley Awards for journalism were rocked by an attack on stage on Thursday night at the Crown Casino in Melbourne.

Controversial writer Stephen Mayne was attacked by Sunday Telegraph columnist Glenn Milne.

Mayne had just finished awarding the best business news report to the Australian Financial Review’s Morgan Mellish when Milne rushed up onto the stage and accosted Mayne, pushing him off the platform and onto the floor.

But how did the audience react? According to the Herald:

Milne then began berating Mayne from the stage as the audience, which consisted of a representation of Australia’s top journalists, looked on horrified.

Dear oh dear? That sounds dreadful. But I wonder what News Limited has to say:

“You are an absolute disgrace,” an outraged Milne shouted, as an audience of the nation’s media elite erupted into laughter.


The ballroom full of guests at Melbourne’s Crown Casino cheered and whistled as Milne stumbled down the stairs and, still yelling insults, was led away.

Now which of these is true? Let’s go to the video.

Yep, that’d be whistling and cheering. Bad Fairfax, trying to spin things against News Limited.

Victorian elections

November 26th, 2006

First off: I miss Jeff Kennet. I haven’t cared about Victorian politics very much ever since he left the scene.

That said, it seems that the Victorian government is just about where the NSW government was one term ago – getting a bit long in the tooth perhaps, but still with enough talent to justify another go. And judging from Saturday’s results, Victoria agrees with me. A swing of 4-8 seats is pretty much what everyone expected, and once again shows that oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them.

(What makes NSW so interesting at the moment is that both parties are competing very strongly to lose the election, with the Liberals trying just a little bit harder at the moment).

The claims that this was decided on ‘federal issues’ is laughable – every sign suggests that people have worked out the difference between State and Federal Labour…

What free trade agreement?

October 23rd, 2006

From The Courier-Mail (via Boing Boing):

THE United States has slapped a ban on Vegemite, outraging Australian expatriates there.

I don’t feel that I’m exaggerating when I say that this is the greatest outrage ever! Where’s Mark Latham when you need him?

From the Annals of Laws Certain to be Followed

May 15th, 2006

The Australian Government Attorneys General’s Department has just announced (long overdue) changes to copyright law with respect to making personal copies of television shows and CDs. Most of it seems fairly sensible, albeit long overdue. But one aspect of it strikes me as… somewhat optimistic about the willingness of Australians to comply:

The first private use exception will allow consumers to record most television and radio programs to view or listen to once at a later time (known as ‘time-shifting’). This exception will not allow a recording to be used over and over again or to be distributed by others. (Emphasis added).

So you can tape a TV show, but you can only watch it once. Sadly, the current press release does not address the important question of whether or not you’re allowed to rewind the tape to watch a bit again if someone phones you during the program. Or whether you’re allowed to fast forward the ads or not.

(And I note that the genius types at Slashdot failed to pick up on this aspect entirely…)

(And this is probably a good moment to point towards the Disclaimer over on the right).