Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Prospects for the global, Australian and Tasmanian economies

Launceston Country Club, 9th August 2011: Presentation to a luncheon hosted by the Launceston Chamber of Commerce



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  1. Russell

    August 13, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Hang on Mr Eslake,

    I’m always more than happy to admit my mistakes, but I don’t apologise for asking questions, questions which people like myself want to know the answers to.

    Tha fact remains that no matter how many plantations you may have seen in your life, Mr Eslake, they have all gone belly-up as a complete publicly funded MIS failure. Just think of Timbercorp, Great Southern, FEA and Gunns.

    How can anyone discussing the poor health of Tasmania’s economy ignore the impact of these failures?

  2. Saul Eslake

    August 12, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    I hope, Mr Langfield, that you’ve learned a lesson from this episode, and that henceforth you’ll be more considered and careful in what you say about or impute to others, not just me. Others might have sued you for this. I won’t. Apology accepted.

  3. Russell

    August 12, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    You are correct, Mr Eslake, on second reading reading they are Ms Davis’ words.

    My unreserved apologies to the attributions.

  4. Saul Eslake

    August 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Re #9: in pursuibng his obsession with what he imagines my views about forestry to be, Russell Langfield has made a serious and potentially costly (to him) error.

    He has – perhaps carelessly, but nevertheless faslely and misleadingly – attributed to me words which I have never spoken, opinions which I have never expressed, views which I do not hold – here, and in two similar postings on another contemporaneous thread on TT (“Tasmania is not Greece’).

    The words which he imputes to me in #9 are taken, as he says, from an article in “Tasmanian Country” written by a Ms Jan Davis, whom to the best of my recollection I have never met, and to whom I have never spoken.

    But as any one who reads that article carefully (which Mr Langfield obviously didn’t) will immediately discover, the words attributed to me here by Mr Langfield were in fact not spoken by me. They are neither in quotation marks, nor preceded nor followed by words such as “Mr Eslake said …”. They are in fact, as should be clear to any literate reader, the views of Ms Davis.

    So if Mr Langfield has an ounce of integrity in him, he will, as soon as he reads this post, offer a full and unreserved retraction of both #9 here and his two recent posts on the other thread; and if he has any decency he will also offer an unreserved apology. He will also promise to think more carefully about what he has written before he hits the “submit” button on TT (and hopefully on any other sites he inhabits).

    If he does neither, TT readers can draw their own conclusions about Mr Langfield’s motivations, integrity and character, and about the weight which they should attach to anything else he says.

    And just for the record, I would be fairly confident that, over the course of my life, I have seen more of Tasmania, including the before, now and after of forestry plantations, than Mr Langfield has ever done. The fact that I don’t pepper everything I write with opinions about forestry is obviously frustrating to Mr Langfield, as his incessant posts to that effect on TT readily attest, but it doesn’t give him the right to impute to me things I have never said, or opinions which I don’t hold.

    Ed: this comment was inadvertently published on this thread:
    The error was the Editor’s.

  5. Russell

    August 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    A very interesting article appears as an Opinion on Page 10 of this week’s Tasmanian Country newspaper which explains why Mr Eslake has been reluctanct to comment on or answer any of my questions regarding the Tasmania’s forestry industry.

    Mr Eslake says “The harsh reality is that we are not productive and our economy is not sustainable. Yet, here we are planning to destroy one of the state’s few sustainable and well-managed industries, just at the time when the economic soothsayers are warning of dire straits we enter. Tasmania has perhaps the best-sustained and managed forests industry in the world, an industry in which we plant more trees than we harvest. Explain to your grandkids, as they consume more Asian rainforest timber and while the vast estate of national park forests burns in the summer.”

    Thank you, Mr Eslake, it is suddenly all so clear now.

    Maybe Mr Eslake should go for a drive around Tasmania while he’s here and look out the window at the failed MIS plantations left totally unattended on the way to the closed down chippers and Gunns sawmills, and also come back in Autumn for our native rainforest burn-off season?

  6. Saul Eslake

    August 10, 2011 at 2:29 am

    Simon, I think you’re correct in principle – I am just not sure that it is all that significant in practice. But it’s worth asking ABS the question, and if I get the chance I shall.

  7. Simon Warriner

    August 10, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Saul, sorry if I am being thick, but if wages are reported here for no corresponding state output our productivity looks worse per wage earner than it actually is. Yes or no. I want to be clear before I bother the ABS.

  8. Russell

    August 9, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Re #5
    I have no bandwagon, Mr Eslake.

    I just can’t understand how anyone can comment on Tasmania’s poor economy without including the elephant in the room.

  9. Saul Eslake

    August 9, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Re #4, I don’t know whether Mr Langfield was holding slides 34 and 35 upside down, but to me, and I’m sure most other readers, what they show is that South Australia, like Tasmania, spends an above-average proportion of GSP on school education and, like Tasmania, gets below-average outcomes, although SA’s outcomes aren’t as far below the national average as Tasmania’s (despite having slightly fewer teaching and non-teaching staff per 100 students than Tasmania).

    South Australia is also a State with similar economic and fiscal problems to Tasmania – although they aren’t quite as dependent on GST revenues as Tasmania – and they are undertaking some significant expenditure savings measures (they even had a Commission of Inquiry into how to do it, which reported to the State Government last year).

    And no, there was no mention of forestry because, no matter how frustrating it is to Mr Langfield, I am not going to jump on his bandwagon. There’s plenty of discussion about forestry on TT without needing me to add to it.

  10. Russell

    August 9, 2011 at 11:43 am

    “the other half is due to factors such as an above-average incidence of work-restricting disabilities and below-average levels of educational attainment”

    Not a good reason to cut Education funding is it? That would only serve to excacerbate the problem.

    South Australia far exceeds Tasmania in funding Education and every other graph yet it has good eductaional outcomes. How come they aren’t an educational basket-case and how come they aren’t cutting funding for Education?

    Again, not a single mention of forestry funding and performance and its impact on the Tasmanian economy in all 36 pages.

  11. Saul Eslake

    August 9, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Simon – I don’t know, and it might be worth putting that question to the ABS. Ultimately, figures on incomes are derived from taxation statistics, so if people who live in Tasmania but fly to and from the mainland for employment purposes report their residence as Tasmania for tax purposes that’s where their income will eventually be reported. If the number is only “a few hundred” as you say, then I suspect the difference will be only marginal. I’d guess, and it’s only a guess, that there’d be more people commuting (in either direction) between Sydney and Melbourne, and of course across the country to the Pilbara (Qantas now has direct flights to Karratha from most East Coast capitals)

  12. Simon Warriner

    August 9, 2011 at 3:02 am

    Saul, what effect does people earning their wages on the mainland, but reporting their place of residence as Tasmania have on your stats. I know a growing number of fly in/fly out employees on large wages, and I am a statistical nightmare, earning meagre wages as a company director, in activities on the mainland, but reporting the business activity as a Tasmanian based operation.
    In my case I assume I decrease Karen’s apparent productivity, as my (meagre) wages produce no Tasmanian outcome.
    Over several hundred high income individuals, could this skew the stats?

  13. Dr Bob Murfet

    August 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Thank you Saul. You save me so much time not having to burrow around in the stats so much myself


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