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Archive for January, 2013

Old Film:: Farmer & Dogs, South West Tasmania

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Environmental portraiture seemed to be another interest in my grandmother’s photographic repertoire. This photograph is scanned from a 6cm x 9cm film negative made by my grandmother Elvie Ruth Bonner (1901-1986). The year could have been anywhere from the 1930s through to 1950s and I’m not entirely sure what decade such a farmer may have had electricity, so I’d be tempted towards later years. Especially as much of our power scheme was built with post-war migrant labour from Europe. I have no idea who the farmer is in this photograph but he was a hard working man in Tasmania’s rugged South West.

Unknown farmer

Old Film:: Auntie Betty & the Car (1950s)

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

I’ve never lived under the illusion that my father’s sisters were anything but liberated, capable and determined. My grandfather had an awful lot of girls before he produced a few sons and there doesn’t seem to be any reference to a world where women were less capable or less deserving. This photograph is scanned from a 6cm x 9cm film negative made by my grandmother Elvie Ruth Bonner (1901-1986). I am led to understand this is auntie Betty behind the wheel of a car – a Vauxhall. I don’t know if she owned it, but I’d be surprised if she didn’t. This photograph was made in Tasmania’s rugged South West sometime around the early 1950s. Betty is still alive and living in Melbourne.

Betty in a Vauxhall

The next photograph, from memory, is most likely to be Aunties Parley, Betty, Teeny and Pat (not in that order). The photograph was also taken by my grandmother sometime in the 1930s. They are a lot older than my father and he was born in 1933. I like the composition of this photograph because it would have been very simple, if unsophisticated, to the girls in the centre of the viewfinder.

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Australian Retailers & Calls for eTax Reform

Friday, January 4th, 2013

As an IT professional it saddens me to see a shallow-thinking reportage around any proposed tightening of the Australian Internet sales tax system. The Australian retail sector wants protection from a global market of cheap Internet goods. However, this is clearly a proposal to increase a non-tariff trade barrier between Australians and an international market (in contravention of where World markets are focused through the WTO).

Australian Retailers Call for a Lower e-Tax Threshold

In many ways, I’m not a big fan of globalisation when it gets hinged to obscene profit maximisation, hyper-consumerism and the exploitation of human factors of production that border on (and often include) slavery. That $7 shirt comes with a filthy cost; as does the conflict mineral coltan that winds up in mobile phones and computers as tantulum so we can have smaller, faster and cheaper gadgets. The Congolese are probably correct when they say every SMS sees blood drip from our fingertips.

That being said, I want to focus on repetitious calls from the Australian bricks-and-mortar retail sector for the Government to lower the tax-free threshold on Internet transactions. They want Australian consumers to pay more tax in the hope that it could increase Australian retail profits. Which, on the surface, is win-win for the Government and big business but hardly a win for consumers.

Current Australian law has a tax-free threshold on transactions under AUD$1,000.

If we look at some simple numbers, lowering the threshold on individual transactions to $400 would give the Government a small jump in revenue. But, due to the size of the price disparities involved, I honestly fail to see how a lower tax-free threshold could realistically protect, or even benefit, bricks-and-mortar retailers.

A Lower Threshold will not Repatriate Australian Customers

With the current threshold, a $1,000 transaction would provide $100 taxation (making the purchase $1,100 in total). This in no way off-sets the savings that can be had from an international purchase. Let’s look closely at a few smaller purchases I’ve made over recent years (below the e-tax threshold):

  1. Epson V600 photo scanner from Amazon at $300 rather than the local price of $600+ (it’s a lot extra to pay for warranty)
  2. Two hundred archival photo sleeves for under $70 when the local price would be $200
  3. Several cameras and accessories for under $500 when the local price of one camera would have been around $400

In each case these prices included shipping costs respectively of around – $40, $38 and $150. And I generally piggyback items into that shipping to maximise the savings. So, even with those shipping costs, the purchases were more than competitive in regards to local prices, options and availability. In fact, if you added a mere 10 per cent taxation onto those prices I would still purchase them online for the significant savings.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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