Wednesday, August 8, 2012

You're a whinger and I know it, clap your hands

First off, let me preface this post by acknowledging that in order to complain about people who complain all the time, I have to complain. But let me preface my preface by saying that there is a big difference between complaining about people who complain, and complaining about every single frickin thing out there because you are a massive sook.

The Mars Rover cost US$2.5 Billion, or AUD$2.37 Billion.
This includes spacecraft development, science investigations, and the cost of launch and operations.
The project began in the early 2000s.
The rover has an anticipated operational lifespan of 2 years, but it is powered by plutonium so it could well last longer.

Myki - Melbourne's new transport ticketing system has cost $1.5Billion.
Why couldn't we just use the Oyster or Octopus systems? They work!
Well, for starters, the fare systems are completely different.
The example being;
- a 2 hour ticket with Myki is 2 hours in a particular zone or zones. These zones are geographically based. It charges you for time spent on the network.
- a 2 hour ticket with Oyster is mode based, and each mode has its own zone, and each zone has its own fares. It charges you per journey.

You are charged per trip with Oyster or Octopus - there is no cap.
Myki is time based and implements a cap so that you are charged LESS

The network architecture of  Myki is VERY different to Octopus or Oyster.
So while Myki is a much harder system to implement, it is better for the user and more cost effective to them.
Clearly however, the $1.5Billion is still a lot of money which we as tax payers will have paid for as well.

So why am I telling you this?
Well, for some reason people are comparing the costs of Myki with the costs of Curiosity going to Mars.
And guess what - they both started about the same time and the pay-offs are both at the end of the process.

I put the complaining down to our new national hobby of whinging.
Having a sook over anything that a Government does.

Sure, no Government is perfect, many far from it, but in recent years the complaining and grizzling has increased exponentially. Here are some examples, and why you should probably STFU and get a clue.

NBN (National Broadband Scheme) - Costs too much, isn't fast enough, I can get better with wireless, the ISP will charge me a fortune.
 - It's faster than anything you have, it'll be more reliable than anything you have, yes - even wireless, the costs at present for where it has been implemented are (eg: iiNet have 100Mbs at $79 a month. Pretty affordable). As for the cost - yeah, renetworking the country tends to require a lot of money

Carbon Tax - Everything costs more, my bills have gone through the roof, it does nothing for the environment, Julia Gillard lied to me!
- Firstly, a lie is an intentional deception. The PM did not deliberately deceive people when she mentioned on a program watched by hardly anyone that there wouldn't be a Carbon Tax under a Govt. she'd lead. She actually meant it. But then there was this lovely hung parliament and she had to make deals. The deal being, a price on carbon leading to an ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme). Something all parties wanted leading up to the 2007 election, and even into 2008 and 2009, before the LNP changed leaders to Tony Abbott (by 1 party room vote) who about faced and said he didn't want it at all.
As for the costs, I've noticed nothing. no bill are higher and the shopping is virtually unchanged. Sure, electricity will go up, but then it is supposed to - but we get compensated for that price rise wrt the Carbon Tax. Why compensation? Cos WE aren't meant to be penalised, the people producing the CO2 are supposed to be penalised, and now that they are, they charge US more. That's why the Govt then hands you money as compensation - so the emitters are penalised, not the users of the product.

Asylum Seekers - Firstly, work out what you're upset about. The refugees or the method by which they are arriving?
If you are upset by the refugees, then you are clearly unaware that what they are doing is legal. It's legit. They have a right to seek asylum and aren't breaking any laws. They aren't jumping a queue, they aren't taking someone else's place. Those are all misleading falsehoods....intentional deceptions if you will.
If you are upset with the method by which they are arriving, well that's different. You'd clearly rather they'd come by plane. Let's organise that then. What? You don't want them coming by plane either? Well I'm sorry but it's boat or plane cos you can't drive to Australia.
I suspect you're probably actually back to my first point are upset by the refugees.

Mining Tax - Guess what. Mining companies don't own the minerals they dig up. Just like if you find a HUGE gold nugget on your ain't yours. It's owned by the Commonwealth.
So when Mining Companies dig up squillions of dollars worth of minerals, they are obliged to pay taxes on the money they make.
And guess what? They already paid these taxes - to the states. But in case you hadn't noticed, not a lot of mining takes place in some areas of the country, so the royalties on Mining in certain states is less.
The Mining Tax abolishes the existing royalties scheme and spreads the tax more evenly around the country as well as increasing it to a level which is on par with the massive increases in profits being gathered by the Mining Companies. After all, as you earn more money, you pay more tax...fair is fair surely?
So when we see Mining Magnates like Gina Rinehart et al complaining that the Government is trying to kill Mining in Australia and are seemingly standing up for their mine workers, perhaps reread the point of the tax. It is a tax on the profits of the Mining Companies, not the workers.
Miner's make a lot of money, I worked in a mine for a while and made a lot of money. But they aren't affected. Gina Rinehart is affected. Gina Rinehart's net worth has risen from $1.8B in 2006, to nearly $30B in 2012. And the reality is, good for her. We should encourage enterprise and hard work. But not at the expense of paying your share in taxes, and this is why we have a Mining Tax.

Remember, when someone complains about the Mining Tax, they are complaining that the people who own the Mine will have to pay more and that it will be distributed more evenly amongst the country's population. Also, it hasn't stopped companies investing in Australia....cos you know, the minerals are still actually here. It's not like changing Fish 'n' Chip shops cos you can get cheaper chips elsewhere.

So really, we don't need to be whinging about these things. There's a lot going on in the world, but having faux outrage (or fauxtrage as I like to call it) over the cost of a transport ticketing system whilst fatuously comparing it to the cost of a Mars Rover program or the cost of the NBN does nobody any good and serves zero purpose at all other than stirring up the foaming mouthed sooky la la's in society.

Opposition to projects for the sake of opposition is not leadership or particularly revolutionary, but it's the way we seem to be going, and it's a path that's both stupid and reckless.

I feel dumber for witnessing the blind acceptance it is receiving.


  1. Your comparison of Myki and Oyster isn't apples to apples.

    Oyster has pay as you go (which you are describing), as well as weekly, monthly and yearly season ticket options. There are 6 zones in concentric rings out from the centre of London. You decide what zones you wish to be covered for. Oyster covers all forms of public transport in Greater London - all trains (Underground, Overground, 3rd-party operators like SouthWest Trains), trams, and all bus services.

    If you use a PAYG Oyster service there is a daily cap on what you are charged - you will never be billed higher than the daily travel card rate for the zone(s) you travelled in, no matter how many journeys or forms of transportation you took.

    Oyster is easily adapted to any fare system and the equipment is already road-tested on moving vehicles. Oyster was offered to the Victorian government but vested interests and blatant corruption awarded the contract to the Myki consortium.

    London Transport still sell paper tickets and you can pay cash on buses. If you use an Oyster card you get a discount on the cash rate (about 20%). Travel for all kids 16 and under in full time education is free. Travel for all adults over 60 is free.

    One other thing I love about Oyster - I have a zone 1 and 2 ticket on mine. If I have to travel further out (to Zone 6 say) I just get automatically debited a small zone extension charge as I swipe in.

    Then again trains come every 5 minutes, and I can catch 3 different 24-hour bus routes outside our house alone, with a bus every 10 minutes at the latest :-).

    tl;dr - Oyster kicks arse.

    I can't wait to come back to Melbourne.

    1. Where your ticket will cost less...yeah, looking forward to seeing you ;)

  2. ..But now everything costs more than living here! Bring on another recession and lower the dollar before next year :-)

    1. I heard that actually. Funny how we used to always point at meat costing a squillion dollars and now if we want to buy some lamb we have to take out a second mortgage - and the place is TEEMING with sheep.