Events can occur that render forward estimates in budgets obsolete in a relatively short time frame.
Given the increasing emphasis on forward estimate figures in government budgets, it is timely to examine past budgets to determine their accuracy. Take the Commonwealth budget released three years ago in May 2008. That budget projected a surplus for each of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 financial years of approximately $19 billion. The budget released yesterday now projects these figures as deficits, not surpluses, amounting to $49.4 billion and $22.6 billion respectively. Hence, the total turnaround in the budget outcome for the two years 2010-11 and 2011-12, from that projected three years ago, amounts to $110 billion.
Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend;
Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
Cigarette packages have become the last bastion of advertising for cigarette manufacturers.
The new plain package cigarettes will be presented in olive green packaging, with the only visible logo a graphic health warning. The brand of the cigarette appears in plain type and small font.
Cigarette companies promote and sell through colours, logos and images. To this end, cigarette packets are designed to reassure smokers about risk and to reinforce smokers’ self-image.
Research has shown that changing the message, picture and colour of packaging has a significant influence over choice by younger consumers.
Importantly, the research showed that changing the size of the graphic warning picture, the size and number of brand elements, and the colour of the packaging has been linked to promoting cessation of smoking amongst young adult smokers.
Does anyone have a sense of déjà vu?
From mid 2007 to early 2009, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) received an increase in complaints from consumers of more than 40 per cent. More than a third of the complaints to the TIO were related to poor customer service or complaint handling experiences. As a result of this increase in dissatisfaction with service delivery, the then Ombudsman, Deirdre O’Donnell, implemented the “connect.resolve” campaign to encourage the telecommunications industry to “re-focus on customers and their experiences.” At the start of the campaign in 2009 the Ombudsman was receiving 20,000 cases at all levels each month. By early 2010, this number was still high, but had dropped to 16,500 per month.
So, Christmas Eve wasn’t the saviour that the retailers expected. In conversations with retailers, it seems that even Christmas Eve sales were down. As one said to me, “This is the quietest Christmas Eve that I can remember.”
That said, it seems that grocery sales were up leading up to Christmas. Gluttony takes another form?
Are the days of the traditional bricks and mortar store numbered?
Probably not. What we do know is that the internet and online shopping has meant that consumers have access to more information, which is a good thing. At least for the near future (probably until we get flying cars and jetpacks), there will be people who will go to the bricks and mortar shops.
A new advertisement to be shown in Washington DC (US) made by the health lobby group, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) shows an overweight, middle aged man lying in the morgue, with a half-eaten hamburger in his hand. Some lame acting by a weeping woman (the assumption is that she is related to him) and a nodding doctor, rounds out a generally unremarkable execution.
There's a lot more to the success of Masterchef than the cooking.
During the first series of Masterchef, I remember watching a repeat episode on a Sunday afternoon, and thinking that this was going to be a runaway success. I even wrote a letter to the Green Guide editor (which was published) saying that Masterchef was a “revelation” and would be one of the great successes of 2009. It is so nice that I sometimes get my predictions correct (I’m pretty good at guessing the gender of babies in utero, as well).
It’s an appealing ad, but will the rest of the world get it?
This week the cycling world again has been plunged into controversy after doping statements made by Floyd Landis. This is a further chapter in a saga that started with doping allegations in the Festina Tour of 1998. The allegations made by Floyd Landis this week raise issues that many people believe go to the heart of world cycling – its ability to deal with doping that appears to be embedded in the sport.
It is submitted that cycling can only come out of its crisis by dealing with the issues it faces in an open, transparent and impartial manner. Nothing less will work.
Landis’ allegations have yet to be fully investigated. However they are not the only such allegations of doping and abuse of power within the administration of the anti-doping system by the International Cycling Union (UCI). These allegations evidence a growing concern that the rules are not administered in a fair and transparent manner.