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News Ltd papers have been running a number of stories in the last week claiming that there is a huge “baby milk scam” involving Chinese nationals buying baby formula in Australia, shipping it back to China, and selling it for a profit.

Here’s one recent article

Chinese milk it in baby formula scam ( 5/1/13)

A CHINESE webpage advertising bulk orders of infant formula to buyers in China is getting its supplies from a major supermarket chain.

News Ltd reported this week that pharmacy and supermarkets shelves have been cleaned out of Australian and New Zealand name-brand powdered infant formulas after several health scares in China.

The Chinese website advertises that Karicare Aptimal Gold Stage 1 tins can be bought at Woolworths in Box Hill, Melbourne, for $22.49 each retail with the site organiser selling to buyers back home at about $37, an extra $15 per tin, or $90 profit per case of six. Express shipping costs another $63…

…As News Ltd reported yesterday, traders stand to benefit up to $700 a week, or more than $36,000 tax free from the scheme.

So what they are describing is this

1. Somebody buys a wanted product in Australia
2. Exports it to China
3. Sells it at a small profit to locals (I have no idea about shipping costs but the $15 per tin quoted it net not gross profit.)

I regularly shop on eBay. I see people do this regularly

1. Somebody buys a wanted product in China
2. Ships it to Australia
3. Sells it a profit to locals

We’d call the second example free market enterprise, and yet News Ltd labels the first example a “baby milk scam.”

Exactly how is buying products here and shipping them overseas for resale illegal….oh wait, it’s not. 

China, like Australia imposes tax on items imported into the country; in Australia you pay tax on items valued at over $1,000; in China, as best as I can find, you pay a 10% import duty on baby formula (Section 3 part 2 Tariff zone 1 Customs Duties of the Luggage and Mailed Articles.)

The import and export of such products, presuming such taxes are paid, is 100% legal in BOTH countries.

Once again, where is the scam exactly?

You can’t help but think there’s a touch of old fashioned “yellow menace” xenophobia in such absurd reporting, because if the Chinese are involved it must be a shady scam right…I mean that’s what the so-called journalist is trying to make the story into, when it’s clearly nothing of the sort.

That Australian product is in such demand in China is a good news story and yet the paper completely ignores the export opportunities; this is a huge opportunity for Australia formula makers to expand their product and to export their product China, the fastest growing market economy in world. Exporting this product would create jobs at home, help farmers, increase Government coffers through increased company and personal taxes, and help the trade balance.

Oh wait, that wouldn’t make a sensationalist scaremongering xenophobic headline though, would it 😉

Someone who I’m happy to call a friend, Helen Perris, who has been a long time actor and music instructor in Australia, has finally decided to stop sharing her amazing voice with few, and share with many.

Helen is touring Australia, and I’ve already booked tickets to her Melbourne gig.

Her details and booking stuff here:

A highlight below. It’s only a touch on her ability, and if you’re in a touring city, I’d encourage you to go.

My hair looks shocking! 🙂

Thx to Creeky as always for having me on.

I’m back (sort of)

May 26, 2011

I haven’t taken a proper break yet post sale of The Inquisitr, but I’ve taken a few days off reading and sorting a few things out. My plans to sit on a beach for a couple of weeks have been delayed to late July, so although I’m still in semi-retirement for the time being, I thought I might start writing here again on far more regularly than I have for years.

But what about?

Twitter is for the more mundane things in life in 2011, so I won’t bore you with that side. I still have to deal with a number of personal issues but being able to not work and not worry about money for the months, even if I play it conservatively, years ahead, helps a bloody lot.

I guess it comes as no surprise to anyone who read the press release on The Inquisitr sale that I’ve already worked out what I’m doing next. I have no intention though of disclosing what that is. I own over 100 domains, so if anyone wants to play detective, you won’t find an answer. I could be going into anything from porn through to online analytics, but it naturally won’t be any of those things.

I will confess three things though

1. The Inquisitr will do much better without me, and I hope and indeed perhaps know that it will thrive under new ownership.

Because of my personal life distractions (not the least was having to deal with a divorce and custody issues) I haven’t given it the time and attention it really deserved for some time. That site should have been pumping out 12-15 million page views by now had I been running it more hands on (and I’d expanded the content as was in my original plan)

2. I really need a break. I had a semi-break post b5media, but never actually stopped working in a proper sense. Bar a week in Cairns and a couple of work related trips to the States (with a coupe of side trips) I haven’t really stopped working properly online since 2005-2006ish.

3. I was starting to become a bit bored by The Inquisitr, although this wasn’t the reason for the sale, it was profitable and ran itself, what more could you ask for in a site.

I want to address point three though in more detail: it’s not that I disliked the content on the site at all, indeed even today The Inquisitr produces high quality content, particularly in tech areas and sport, that people often ignore. Even the celebrity content (although not always to everyone’s taste) was often first rate and we were always quick on stories.

But I knew what worked, and the content that worked best wasn’t particularly in areas I was passionate about or held a great deal of interest in personally. But one example: our biggest day ever came from me writing one post on the Royal Wedding, then me subsequently live blogging it.

I am taking it easy for a while, but in the mean time I thought I might start to write here about blogging, my thoughts on the industry, its ethics, and even managing a site. It will be (I would hope) both interesting, and will help me get my head around my next project…without disclosing what it is naturally.

I’ll only say that I’m naturally going to return to online publishing, and I’m going back to my roots. Something I can dig my teeth into so to speak, and a new challenge (and anyone who knows me knows that I thrive on new challenges.) Whether it works or not time will only tell, but time to prepare and plan is something I now have plenty of.

Stay tuned for more, and thanks to everyone for their support and well wishes.

I can honestly say in the last few months (between the personal issues and the site sale) that I am truly humbled by the support I’ve received. I may have had a reputation as being a bastard who upset people at a time (think TechCrunch) but I take solace in knowing that many of you may actually find some value in me.


So peaceful….

June 3, 2010

I’m not completely justifying what the Israel Government did. But likewise, the anti-Israeli media coverage is just beyond amazing. Where is the coverage of the above video on or the Fairfax sites?

The truth is always some where in the middle. I suspect it is here, but you wouldn’t know it from the Australian press

The Left May Well Implode

April 29, 2010

The debate about saving the environment and rapid population growth/ immigration are intrinsically linked. You can’t seriously have both.

So how is it possible that groups like GetUp are both running open door immigration campaigns and save the environment campaigns?

You can’t rapidly increase population without the services to support the population. That means further development including roads, buildings, water and power.

Even if you won’t build new dams, you’re going to have to eventually increase water supply. Sure, there’s gray water, but that’s not going to supply all the water you need.

You need desal, and what does desal consume a lot of?

And then you have the contradiction of Australia being anti-nuclear power. Wind and sun doesn’t provide base load electricity, so you’ve got gas and coal left.

I could go on, but you get the idea.


Did someone say theocracy? 🙂

SMH: ‘Raunch culture’ worries government

The federal government says young people need to be more vigilant when it comes to sharing raunchy images of themselves.

Minister for the Status of Women Tanya Plibersek says there’s a lot happening in the youth culture that “completely passes adults by”.

She is especially worried about the “raunch culture phenomenon”.

Anyone would think there was an election this year and Chairman Rudd was chasing the elderly vote 🙂

Anzac Day 2010

April 25, 2010

My Great Grandfather

My young son asks me…

My young son asks me: Must I learn mathematics?
What is the use, I feel like saying. That two pieces
Of bread are more than one’s about all you’ll end up with.
My young son asks me: Must I learn French?
What is the use, I feel like saying. This State’s collapsing.
And if you just rub your belly with your hand and
Groan, you’ll be understood with little trouble.
My young son asks me: Must I learn history?
What is the use, I feel like saying. Learn to stick
Your head in the earth, and maybe you’ll still survive.

Yes, learn mathematics, I tell him.
Learn your French, learn your history!

Bertolt Brecht


This has to be a joke, right?

The Age: Review for house market

THE federal and state governments are moving to ease the pressure on house prices by commissioning a review of factors curtailing the supply of new houses and artificially pushing up the demand for housing.

They should pay me to head the review, or my 7 year old son who clearly has a better grasp of supply and demand than either the Victorian and Australian Governments.

Problem is two fold:

-not enough land available for housing
– builders artificially restricting supply to keep prices up even when there is land (this was particularly so in WA)

Both restrict supply in a market that due to natural and artificial growth (specifically immigration) has a never ending upward trend in demand.

Land is like water in many ways: we lack in neither, but the supply of both is restricted by Government action, or inaction as the case may be.

And no Government in this country is going to change a thing, because the moment house prices start seriously coming down due to an increase in supply, every man and his dog with a mortgage or who already owns a house is going to be beyond pissed, and politicians don’t risk that many votes.

The Age: India warns on student attacks

INDIA has warned the Brumby government over continued attacks on Indian students in Melbourne, complaining about a lack of official data on the nature of the violence.

The Human Resource Development Minister, Kapil Sibal [said]..”Though the incidents have been on the decline, they still continue to happen, and this is a matter of deep, deep concern to us,” he said.

”We do not have the benefit of the data, and we would expect the state government to actually share that data with us.

Let met get this right; VicPol and the Victorian Government are addressing the issue and the attack rate is seriously down (actually, the murder rate is up but only because Indians keep killing each other here), but that’s not good enough because the Indian Government believes that VicPol should be providing data on the ethnicity of attack victims in Victoria to them.

Which part of non-discriminatory policing don’t they get? Or is it a case that the Indian Government believes its citizens are somehow more important than citizens from other countries in Australia, or even locals?

And here’s another thing: attacks continue to happen in Victoria to everyone….just like they do in places like….lets see….India. No one likes it, but it’s a sad fact of life in a modern society…even a place like Victoria which doesn’t have a caste system.