There are many days when I wish I had been born a corporate psychopath. Watching Marissa Mayer’s first interview since giving birth to her son Macallister two months ago just reaffirmed those feelings.
Mayer is the former Google executive who controversially became Yahoo CEO while six months pregnant and returned to work after two weeks maternity leave.
“The baby’s been easy - way easier than everyone made it out to be,” Mayer told the mainly female audience at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women event this week.
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Last night, ground-breaking band Yothu Yindi was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.
Their music has had a huge impact in raising public consciousness of the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
It’s fitting that they seized the opportunity – being recognised by the music industry – to talk about the importance of Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
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We men have been given short shrift by the fashionistas who dictate office fashion.
Why is it that women can wear skirts which barely conceal their buttocks while men who work indoors are forced to cover thighs, knees and shins? It is bare-legged hypocrisy.
The long and the short of this issue is that men should be allowed to wear shorts to work.
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How much income tax did you pay last week, even within a few hundred dollars? You don’t know. Approximately how much GST did you pay last week? Again, you don’t know. Australians’ utter and rampant cluelessness about the amount of tax they pay is the single biggest reason our governments have ballooned to such monstrous and inefficient sizes.
“Fiscal illusion” is the reason voters do not have an apoplectic fit every time politicians proffer yet more open-ended, feckless spending schemes, that history shows are guaranteed to be delivered late and over budget.
By accident or perhaps design, governments have become masters of obscuring the true tax burden from voters, tricking them into seeing value in government spending where they should observe gross inefficiency. Keynes, whose name is routinely invoked to promote yet more spending, wrote in the 1920s that a level of taxation at 25 per cent of national income was probably “the maximum tolerable proportion”.
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Tony Abbott yesterday failed to make a case that Julia Gillard had acted in a manner unbecoming of a prime minister by allegedly lying over her involvement in the AWU slush fund scandal. And given the Opposition Leader has actually made the more serious allegation that the PM may have in fact committed a crime, the onus is on him to prove that she did.
But this was never the object for Abbott. To use the parlance of the pugilist, Abbott is an infighter, not a slugger. He doesn’t go for the knock-out punch. And in this fashion, while Gillard remains on her feet, the internal damage may have already been done.
Where Abbott succeeded yesterday was in delivering on his strategy of leaving Gillard’s leadership battered and bruised as parliament rose for its three-month summer recess. Her plans of going to Christmas with her caucus solidly in her corner, and a new-year election agenda in front of her, have been left a bloodied mess on the political canvas.
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OK, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Two and a Half Men qualifies for the dictionary definition of “filth”, as it’s been branded by its resident “half man”, 19 year-old star Angus T Jones (Jake). But if you heard the young actor’s rambling quasi-religious rant, and dire warning that TV as he knows it “rots your brain’‘, you may think he a bit of a point.
Jones’ impressionable young mind has marinated for more than half his life on the set of a show about a sexually-opportunistic, cynical, self-satisfied lothario who uses women like tissues - playing himself - and the experience appears to have turned the earnest young guy to God.
It’s no wonder he sounds a bit confused, given the life lessons his character, Jake, took in with his Twinkies while in the care of randy Uncle Charlie (Charlie Sheen) and his “hen-pecked” divorcee dad, Alan (Jon Cryer). Here are a few examples:
A good woman is an ignorant woman (if you can’t find a dumb young one to play with, keep the one you can find in the dark):
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Julia Gillard had two big goals for the second half of 2012 and was on track to achieve both of them. The first one was simple enough: to survive. If a doctor’s guiding dictum is “do no harm,’’ the political equivalent is “being there’”.
For any leader, and particularly an unpopular one, merely making it through the closing days of parliament – the so-called “the killing season’’ - is something of an achievement.
The second goal was to finish off the year well allowing Labor to hit the ground running in 2013. That too seemed to be working. Progress through the second half of 2012 had been steady and encouraging just as she promised.
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It has come to the attention of the authorities that school is placing some youngsters under so much pressure that it might be safer to abolish it entirely and replace it with a network of self-esteem centres where the kiddies are told that they’re all doing a great job with everything and should be really proud of themselves.
This would be the logical end result of the research released this week which found that the NAPLAN tests for grades three, five, seven and nine were placing so much pressure on students that some of them are crying, getting tummy aches and even vomiting ahead of these apparently onerous exams. About 90 per cent of the teachers who responded said that stress was an issue.
I am not setting out to rubbish the research, conducted by the University of Melbourne at the behest of the Whitlam Institute, but to question whether the intention of the teachers who filled in the survey was coloured more by an industrial agenda than a focus on learning for kids and transparency for parents.
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Finally, 20 years after Cancer Council Australia first recommended plain packaging on the basis of evidence that branded packaging influences smoking take-up, its time has come. From tomorrow, all tobacco retailers in Australia will be required by law to sell only tobacco products in plain packaging.
What a great day for public health.
Some readers will disagree. Not the majority – surveys show most Australians support plain packaging. But having written on this topic before, I expect criticism from sceptics, anti-“nanny state” crusaders and tobacco industry trolls masquerading as both. So let’s pre-empt the arguments against plain packaging with some facts.
1) Plain packaging won’t work.
Why then have tobacco companies thrown tens of millions of dollars at stopping plain packaging, in the small Australian market alone?
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Our justice system is broken. The way we deal with crime simply isn’t working any more.
Over the last 30 years, the number of Australians in prison has tripled. It has grown year on year four times faster than the Australian population.
This is unsustainable and is placing extraordinary strain on Justice Department budgets around the country. In fact, we now spend $3 billion dollars a year keeping people in prison.
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