Wry & Dry #28 of FY-24. Gender Equality. Nuclear. Spies.

Ten stories you may have missed

  1. Gender: CEO WGEA Pay Equality Ambassador?
  2. Energy: nuclear survey
  3. Spies: Bond down under?
  4. Harry: the Trumpster speaks out
  5. Passing: a reflection
  6. Embarrassment: Google and Vikings
  7. Resistance: not all Muslims are equal
  8. Update: A Lenten fast
  9. Demographics: Ukraine’s tomorrow problem
  10. Unclear: on the concept

1. Gender: CEO WGEA Pay Equality Ambassador?

The rest of the world: focused on Gaza, Ukraine and/or the Trumpster’s latest rambling monologue to bovine masses.

The Australian media: transfixed by the results of the most read survey since Publius Sulpicius Quirinius carried out a census in Judea in 6 AD.1 That survey (not the one by Quirinius) was by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). It’s a shocker.

The WGEA blandly announced earlier this week that the average gender pay gap in Australia is 22%.2 And therefore, it says, for every $1 on average a man earns, women earn $0.78. On that point, it seems that men earn 28% more than women, which is the same as women earning 22% less than men. Got that?

The bigger issue is that companies reported, essentially, the base salaries of men and of women. All the data was sorted by company and industry and then added-up. And up came the 22% difference. Hit the media!

The very earnest WGEA has reduced the measure for gender equality to one metric: pay difference. It has failed to consider the very many reasons why the differences occur. It has also failed to mention its actual gender equality objectives (as noted on its website) such as workplace flexibility, and access to opportunity.

Of course, the media headlines, talkback radio and social media were full of the raw data. Which is what WGEA wanted. Especially about some dastardly companies and some dastardly industries. Doubtless rude letters will be written to The Times.

Smarter organisations overseas have adjusted the raw pay-gap data for the very factors noted above and have presented a considerably smaller pay gap. Which what WGEA should have done.

However, the WGEA’s focus is on lazy data and on bureaucracy. If Readers want an epitome of a fatuous government organisation they should go to www.wgea.gov.au and review the 36-page “Gender Equality Diagnostic Tool.”

This tool is not available at Bunnings (which has a gender pay gap of 7%). But Readers can explore WGEA’s website and tick the box, or otherwise, if their organisation, for example, has a CEO who is a ‘WGEA Pay Equality Ambassador’, or is a ‘WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation holder’. Really? Yes, really.


1 The census is the one much quoted in the Gospels of Luke to date the birth of Jesus (“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered…”). The Gospels are contradictory: Matthew places Jesus’ birth in reign of Herod the Great. But Herod died before the census was taken. Most religious scholars consider that Luke was in error; most of Luke 2: 1-5 is, in fact, historically erroneous.

2 The report is from WGEA’s annual Employer Census. Under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, all Australian employers with 100 or more employees must report their gender equality data to WGEA annually.

2. Energy: Nuclear survey

It seems weird. Some 55% of Australians3 support a proposal to replace coal-fired power plants with small modular nuclear reactors.

What’s even weirder is that 65% of respondents aged 18 to 24 supported the idea. And even 53% of Greens were in favour.

What’s going on?

Can it be that Uncle Fester Dutton has magically found a policy that has more than 50% support? Nuh. Wry & Dry suggests a survey sampling error.

What’s also weird is that Climate Change and Energy Minister, Zealot Bowen, responded by saying that the cost of nuclear power is prohibitive and that the cheapest forms of power will be wind and solar.

Does he then mean that if nuclear were as cost-effective as wind and solar, he would support it?

3 Source: Newspoll, published in the Australian 26 February 2024.

3. Spies: Bond down under?

Every former member of parliament has hit the media to deny being the politician who “…sold out their country, party and former colleagues to advance the interests of a foreign power.” Thus were the words said on Wednesday by Australia’s ‘M’, ASIO director-general Mike Burgess4 (cleverly using the pronoun ‘their’ rather than ‘his’ or ‘her’).

Mr. Burgess also referred to a spy network known as the ‘A-team’. He also said it used ‘Anglicised personas’ to approach its targets.

This story has intrigued the country. And pushed the WGEA rightfully off the front pages.

Who was the spy?

Other questions arise: Is the ‘A-team’ a pseudonym for spies from a country the name of which begins with A? Those cunning Albanians perhaps. Or those superior Austrians. Or even the beef-loving Argentinians.

Equally, the use of ‘Anglicised personas’ suggests that the perps were not from an English-speaking country. Which cuts out the Brits. And James Bond.

Wry & Dry thinks it was the French. It all had to do with selling submarines to Croesus Turnbull. How else would France have got the gig?

4 Mr. Burgess is apparently not related to Guy Burgess, one of the infamous ‘Cambridge Five’ spies, who passed UK security information to the Soviet Union during and after the Second World War. The group were recruited by the NKVD during their education at University of Cambridge. It was concluded of Burgess: “…leaving us all the more astonished that such a smelly, scruffy, lying, gabby, promiscuous, drunken slob could penetrate the heart of the establishment without anyone apparently noticing that he was also a Soviet masterspy”.

4. Harry: the Trumpster speaks

In a policy announcement up there with his proposed 60% tariff on all Chinese imports, the Trumpster has said that, “Prince Harry will be on his own.”

This is a new insight into the ability of a US president’s ability to make an ‘executive order’.5

So, what will the Trumpster do to ensure that Prince Harry will be on his own? Order that he divorce Princess Princess?

5 This is an administrative ability given to the president to direct federal agencies to undertake certain actions. Approval of Congress is not required. Yes, it is government by fiat.

5. Passing: A reflection

Former multi-hatted Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave himself the DCM from parliament, thereby paving the way for a new miracle worker to come to Canberra.

Wry & Dry has reflected long and hard on Morrison’s contribution to Australia and Australian life. And has decided upon one outstanding value-add: he rid us of the sanctimonious Croesus Turnbull. Well, almost. Croesus did lose the Prime Minister’s pulpit from which to lecture the world.

And now uses the ABC.

6. Embarrassment: Google and Vikings

Black Vikings? Well, the latest edition of the Economist reports that is the result if a Reader uses Google’s Gemini, an artificial-intelligence model, to seek an image of a Viking.

But it gets worse, George Washington is black and the pope is an Asian woman. And if asked if Hamas is a terrorist organisation, it replied that the conflict in Gaza is ‘complex’.

This is taking woke-ism to a new level. Wry & Dry guesses that it is possible to consider that maybe at some time in the future a pope will be both female and Asian. Prospective diversity is an interesting but speculative matter.

But Bridgerton-retrospective-diversity is nonsense. Is it possible that somewhere in the bowels of Google there a social engineering culture that is embedded in its products?

Just askin’.

7. Resistance: not all Muslims are equal

Readers would have read on Wednesday that Adel Salman, President of the Islamic Council of Victoria, said on ABC radio that the Hamas attacks on Israel on 7 October were “legitimate acts of resistance.”

Predictably, he was assailed for his comments. But his comments were not otherwise researched.

Wry & Dry has explored the interweb to see to if Mr. Salman has similar feeling about other oppressed Muslim groups. Has he made such strong comments against the Chinese government for its genocide of (Muslim) Uigurs in western China. There, over one million Muslims are effectively incarcerated. No comments found.

Or of the genocide of the (Muslim) Rohingyas by the military government of Myanmar. Over one million were forced into refugee camps. No comments found.

Wry & Dry dares to suggest that perhaps Mr. Salman is not so much pro-Muslim as anti-Semitic. But for clarity, perhaps someone from the ABC should ask him?

8. Update: Lenten fast

Following his well-photographed phone-call-from-the-horizontal-position, former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has sworn off the booze. Well, just for Lent. Readers will know that Lent is a period “of repentance, reflection and fasting.”

He’s got 22 days to at least repent and reflect. Wry & Dry is not so sure about the fasting bit. He is already well-upholstered, and such a significant abdominal investment needs ongoing nourishment.

As for abstinence from the sin of alcohol, Wry & Dry doesn’t mean to be pessimistic. Or churlish. But, good grief, the man is a politician. There’s no chance.

9. Demographics: Ukraine’s tomorrow problem

Before Tsar Vlad tried to park a number of tanks on President Zelensky’s front lawn, Ukraine’s population was about 41 million. Today it’s about 34 million, including the population in Ukrainian territory occupied by Tsar Vlad (e.g. including Crimea) or about 31 million within the borders currently controlled by the Ukrainian government.

What happened? Well, the decline is caused mainly by about 6.5 million refugees, mostly women and children, who have left the country, many of whom probably will not return. There is about another half million lost as prisoners, civilian deaths, or forced displacements by Tsar Vlad.

The problem in all of this is that before Tsar Vlad, Ukraine’s fertility rate was already alarmingly low: 1.16, well below the replacement number of 2.1 live births for each woman. The fertility rate is now estimated to be 0.7. Gloom.

The result is that Ukraine’s population is expected to halve by 2050. This is disastrous. A drawn-out war has four bad outcomes:

  1. a weakened ability to maintain the strength of its armed forces;
  2. a reduced capability of the population to reproduce itself;
  3. an increased likelihood of refugees not returning; and
  4. a post-war emigration surge.

And all of this on top of a post-war requirement to rebuild the economy and its infrastructure.

But this demographic crisis is not keeping President Zelensky awake at night. The insomnia is caused by what happens if the Trumpster wins, and tosses Ukraine under Tsar Vlad’s bus?

10. Unclear: on the concept

“I have never seen the Republican party so united.”

So said the Trumpster after winning the South Carolina primary.

Err, hold the phone. The vote was: Trump 60%, Haley 40%.

With that grasp of numbers, Readers can understand why he thought he’d won the 2020 election, or misvalued the properties he owned for loan assessment purposes.

Snippets from all over

1. The Trumpster has to pay up

A New York judge has denied Donald Trump’s request to temporarily stop the state’s attorney-general from collecting on a $450mn judgment as he appeals against the civil fraud ruling, an outcome that the former president’s attorneys had warned could force him to sell off pieces of his property empire. (Financial Times)

Wry & Dry comments: The lads from Ian Reid Vendor Advocates have already been on the phone.

2. Sweden joins the club

Sweden will become the newest member of Nato after Hungary dropped its objections, ending a two-year blockade in the face of a growing threat from Russia. The historic development marks the end of Sweden’s longstanding neutrality in matters of foreign and security policy. (The Times)

Wry & Dry comments: Not quite the outcome that Tsar Vlad wanted.

3. Macron raises the stakes

French President Emmanuel Macron said sending Western troops to fight in Ukraine “could not be ruled out” and that Paris would drop its long-standing opposition to purchasing emergency artillery supplies for Ukraine from outside the EU. (Financial Times)

Wry & Dry comments: Macron hauled the flag up the pole, to see who saluted. No-one did.

4. India’s boom

India’s economic growth accelerated to more than 8% in the final three months of last year, beating all forecasts by economists just months before an election. Gross domestic product rose 8.4% from a year ago. (Bloomberg)

Wry & Dry comments: And people wonder why the IPL is such a success.

5. Compensation

A woman who tried to claim €760,383 (£649,967) for injuries she suffered in a car crash lost her case after she was pictured winning a Christmas tree-throwing contest. (UK Telegraph)

Wry & Dry comments: She should also be penalised for being stupid.


  1. Australia: inflation for the year to end January was 3.4%, down from 7.5% one year ago.
  2. US: inflation for the year to end January was 2.4%.
  3. France & Germany: inflation for the year to end February fell to 3.1% and 2.7% respectively.

And, to soothe your troubled mind…

“While the Dunkley by-election won’t change the ­government, the result can send a clear message to Anthony ­Albanese

  • Uncle Fester Dutton, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s critical by-election in the federal seat of Dunkley.

The clear message is that people in Dunkley just don’t care. It’s about federal issues. And that is: “who do you least prefer, Albo or Uncle Fester? Now vote for the other guy.” It’s not about local issues, which is a pity: the Liberal candidate is a successful mayor of Frankston and has got things done. The Labor candidate is an unknown known, but at least Labor didn’t parachute in a celebrity. [Disclosure, Wry & Dry is a resident of Dunkley.]


The comments in Wry & Dry do not necessarily reflect those of First Samuel, its Directors or Associates.


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