Thursday, October 24, 2019

Scotland trip 2018 - Campbell family history

I have been researching my family tree in Australia and the Scotland.  We did a trip to Scotland in 2018 to visit some friends and locations.

Leith - Donald Campbell (1878-????) and Peter Hay Campbell (1911-1942)

We flew into Edinburgh and stayed a night in Leith, Edinburgh's port suburb.

We visited 25 Halmyre Street in Leith where my great grandfather Donald Campbell (1878-????) lived with his wife Margaret Cunningham (1878-1926) and their children:
  • James Campbell (1902-1913) - died young, possibly from cortical syncope and/or insipidus diabetes
  • Isabella Campbell (Bella, 1903 - 1990). I visited Bella in Scotland in 1985, descendents living in Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • William Campbell (1905-1968) - my grandfather who emigrated to Australia, descendents living in Australia, 
  • Donald Campbell (1907-1972) - emigrated to Australia, descendents living in Australia
  • Peter Hay Campbell (1911-1942)  - killed in WW2
25 Halmyre Street, Leith

25 Halmyre Street, Leith
We visited Peter Hay Campbell's grave in Seafield Cemetery He was a pilot in World War 2 and died when a glider he was flying crashed due to structural failure. This was probably during training for the D-Day invasion.

Sgt Peter Campbell's grave, Seafield Cemetery, Edinburgh 

Donald Campbell, from records and notes from my father Douglas, was born in Barogill, Parish of Canisbay (near Castle Mey) on 13 July 1878. He was a champion ploughman. He moved to Leith, Edinburgh around or before 1900 where he met and married his wife Elizabeth Cunningham on 1 Jun 1900. He worked as a lorryman at a flour mill. 

When living in Caithness he was a member of the 1st Sutherland Highland Regiment in Caithness with the Volunteer Rifle Corps (VRC) , then transferred to the 5th V.B. Royal Scots when he moved to Leith (information from war pension record dated 6 April 1908).  He was a good marksman.  A relative in Edinburgh sent me these photos of a medal he won in the Royal Scots.

6th Volunteer Battalion The Royal Scots

General Competition, 1st Prize, Sergt D. Campbell, 1 Coy, 1907
He was injured on the troop train that crashed in the Gretna Green train disaster during World War 1 on 22nd May, 1915. He told his men to put their feet up to avoid injury. Some 500 officers and men of the Leith Battalion of the Royal Scots Regiment were on the train.  232 were killed and 230 injured in Britain’s worst ever train crash

Donald Campbell's death date and location is unknown.

Wick - Donald Campbell (1810-1885) and Ann Ross (1809-1863)

The graveyard at Wick St Fergus Church is in a poor state.  Many of the gravestones are unreadable and broken. Harry Gray, a local, showed us around the church which is in use. A floor level has been added inside to create rooms for community use underneath the main chapel. Harry has located some religious artefacts that are now displayed in the church including the original St Fergus Font, dating from the 14th/15th century and 14th century image of the town's patron saint, St Fergus.

Harry said the structure outside with no roof was for the Earls of Caithness and that it is not well maintained as many of them were apparently hated!  It is known as the Sinclair burial aisle.  Archaeologists have recently determined that this structure is the only part of the original Kirk of St Fergus (built around 1567) that remains.

Harry has advised that the local council sent a team of workers into the graveyard during 2019 and did a great job in clearing trees, shrubbery and clearing the northern transcept of the old Kirk of St Fergus (Sinclair Aisle, burial place of the Earls of Caithness) and it now looks very much better. A  a team of volunteers lined up for spring of 2020 to do more work and make it more attractive and accessible. It is is great to see the history there being preserved.

Wick St Fergus Church

Graveyard around Cemetery at , Sinclair Burial Isle
Original St Fergus Font, dating from the 14th/15th century
14th century image of the town's patron saint, St Fergus
I found the headstone for Donald Campbell (1810-1885), my 3rd great grandfather and his wife Ann Ross (1809-1863) (the parents of James Campbell). 

Donald Campbell and Ann Ross headstone or memorial

The inscription is: 

"In memory of Donald Campbell died July 18 1885 aged 75 years. Also his wife Ann Ross died Feb 1863 aged 56 years. Erected by their sons."

Watten - James Campbell (1849-1911) and family

We visited Nucleus: The Nuclear and Caithness Archive near Wick airport to research family history. They had records of the Watten Cemetery with a map of graves, on which I located the grave of James Campbell (1849-1911) and family members. James Campbell was the son of Donald Campbell (1810-1885) and the father of Donald Campbell (1878-????).  He is my 2nd great grandfather.

He married Elizabeth Donn (1850-1893) on 18 Dec 1877 in Barogill, Caithness.

We visited the Watten cemetery and located the grave which was obscured by holly. The church is no longer there, only the footings remain.

The inscription reads (information in brackets added):

Elizabeth Donn 
Beloved wife of James Campbell, Shepherd Noss.
Who died April 23 1893, aged 43 years (pneumonia)
Also their daughter Elizabeth
Who died Dec 24 1894, aged 2 years 9 months (Enteritis)
Also their daughter Mary Sutherland (myxoedema, a thyroid condition)
Who died March 16 1903, aged 17 1/2 years
Also the above James Campbell   (diabetes mellitus)
Who died 17th May 1911, Aged 61 years.

There was a lot of tragedy in that family with people dying from diseases that are curable or treatable now.

James Campbell's other children were:
  • Isabella Campbell (1888–1978) - emigrated to Australia and lived in Melbourne
  • William Campbell (1880–1962) - emigrated to Australia and lived in Melbourne
  • Annie R Campbell (1884-????) - unknown.

Refaithy, Stirkoke

Blingery Farm (top left), Refaithy (right) and Upper Refaithy (bottom right)

Donald Campbell (b1810) died at Refaithy, Stirkoke. We drove to Stirkoke to ask directions. The manor house is in ruins and is not accessible. A local gave us directions to Blingery Farm.

On the road Blingery farm we came to a farm house called Refaithy which has a retired English couple living in it. We had a cup of tea and a chat but they didn't know much about the history of the house.

Further enquiries suggested that the Campbells resided at Upper Refaithy so we drove that location.  The old house ruin was recently demolished and a new house was being built, but the original garage was intact. I have been able to find some photos of the ruin.
Upper Refaithy ruin prior to demolition
Upper Refaithy ruin prior to demolition. Shed remains.

Donald Campbell (1850-1914, James Campbell's brother) and family at Upper Refaithy in 1905
James Campbell's brother Donald Campbell (1850-1914) lived in the area his entire life and his descendants are still living in Caithness.

My oldest known ancestor is Alexander Campbell (1781-???? ), his birth place is listed on geneology records as Houstry, an old crofting village that is in ruin. We visited the location on our way south after leaving Wick.  There are ruins of stone buildings and a couple intact used as for farm storage.  There is also a broch nearby.  Alexander Campbell was the father of Donald Campbell (b1810) and is my 4th great grandfather.  The Scottish inventor Alexander Bain was born in Houstry.

Houstry ruins (right) and broch (left)

Houstry ruins with the broch behind

More information about my ancestry is here.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Kooyong ballot paper 2019 federal election

The order of candidates on the ballot for Kooyong for the 2019 federal election is:

D'ELIA Steven United Australia Party

YATES Oliver Independent

ZUBAC Angelina, Independent


STEWART Jana,  Australian Labor Party

HINKLEY Davina, Animal Justice Party

BURNSIDE Julian, The Greens (VIC)

CHANDLER Bill, Independent

Analysis of candidates

D'ELIA Steven United Australia Party - Right wing (Clive Palmer)

YATES Oliver Independent
  • Strong policies on tacking climate change and renewable energy

ZUBAC Angelina, Independent
  • Some policies on tacking climate change
  • Stood in previous 2014 election
  • Deputy Leader of Liberal Party and Treasurer
  • Very weak policies on tacking climate change and renewable energy
  • Liberal party policies and politics are now mostly right wing
  • Very few policies released for this election
STEWART Jana,  Australian Labor Party
  • Running a strong local campaign
  • Labor party policies on climate change are much stronger than the Liberals but could be improved
  • Significant policies including tax reform announced well in advance of and during the election campaign.
HINKLEY Davina, Animal Justice Party
  • Running mainly on animal rights
BURNSIDE Julian, The Greens (VIC)
  • Prominent barrister well know for advocacy on refugees
CHANDLER Bill, Independent
  • Strong policies on climate change, transport
  • Extensive experience in urban planning
How to Vote

You must number every square (candidate) on the ballot paper in order of your preference.

How to vote cards handed out by parties and candidates only provide their suggestions on how to allocate your preference.  The choice is yours.

I am considering supporting independent candidate(s) then putting Jana Stewart (Labor) ahead of Josh Frydenberg (Liberal Party) due to Labor's more progressive policies as per below.

If you want your preference to go to the Morrison government then put Frydenberg above Stewart, but you can still vote for independent candidates before them.

If you strongly support the Greens, Labor or the Liberals then give them your first preference.


Monday, April 29, 2019

Victorian Senate ballot for 2019 federal election - how to vote card

Here is my analysis of the Victorian Senate ballot for the 2019 federal election.

In my assessment there are considerably more right wing political parties on the ballot.

These ratings take into account climate change policies.

Note that while the Health Australia Party has reasonable climate change policies they oppose mandatory vaccination.

You can vote "above the line" by numbering at least 6 parties on the top row of the ballot paper.

You can vote "below the line" by numbering at least 12 boxes below the top row of the ballot paper.

See: Practise voting - Senate - Australian Electoral Commission 

See also: Senate Preview: VIC - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Leave any feedback in the comments below.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Fraser Anning calls for "White Australia" and "Final Solution" for refugees

Senator Fraser Anning, elected as a One Nation senator after getting 19 votes, called for "White Australia" and a "Final Solution" for refugees in Australia during his speech in the senate on 14 August 2018.

Anning is now with the Katter Party.

He also said the reasons to ban Muslim immigration were "compelling and self-evident", labelling them welfare-bludgers and criminals.

His speech is completely unacceptable in the Australian parliament, he should be expelled.

The Senators that shook his hand after his speech were:
  • Mathias Cormann, Liberal, WA
  • Bridget McKenzie, National, Vic
  • Matt Canavan, National, QLD
  • Nigel Scullion, Country Liberal, NT
  • Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Liberal, NSW
  • Cory Bernardi, Australian Conservatives, SA
  • Derryn Hinch, Independent, VIC
  • Tim Storer, Independent, SA
  • Barry O'Sullivan, Liberal QLD
  • David Leyonhjelm, Liberal Democrats, NSW
  • Amanda Stoker, Liberal, QLD
  • James McGrath, Liberal National OLD
  • Jonathon Duniam, Liberal TAS
  • James Paterson, Liberal, Vic
  • Peter Georgiou, One Nation, WA
  • John Williams, National, NSW
  • Dean Smith, Liberal WA
  • David Bushby, Liberal, TAS
  • Anne Rushton, Liberal, SA
  • Stirling Griff, Centre Alliance, SA
  • Rex Patrick, Centre Alliance, SA
In doing so they have endorsed racist hate speech.  None of them are fit for office.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Oslo airport with rail link is superb

Norway has got it right with Oslo airport, arrival and departure are fast and efficient. Its really well organised and efficient.

There are many shops with a wide selection of food  travel goods, books and souvenirs.

Connections to trains inside, its very easy to get to Oslo. My favorite airport.

Let's hope we see facilities like this in Melbourne!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

EMMA ALBERICI. There’s no case for a corporate tax cut when one in five of Australia’s top companies don’t pay it.

There is no compelling evidence that giving the country’s biggest companies a tax cut sees that money passed on to workers in the form of higher wages.
Treasury modelling relies on theories that belie the reality that’s playing out around the world.
Since the peak of the commodities boom in 2011-12, profit margins have risen to levels not seen since the early 2000s but wages growth has been slower than at any time since the 1960s.
It’s also disingenuous to talk about a 30 per cent rate when so few companies pay anything like that thanks to tax legislation that allows them to avoid paying corporate tax. Exclusive analysis released by ABC today reveals one in five of Australia’s top companies has paid zero tax for the past three years.
And while the Treasurer and Finance Minister warn that Australia’s relatively high headline corporate tax rate means Australia remains uncompetitive and companies will choose to invest in lower taxing countries, the facts don’t bear that out. Business investment in Australia has been at historically high levels over much of the past decade despite our comparatively high headline corporate tax rate.
There’s more to investment than corporate tax rates
Before Donald Trump cut the US corporate tax rate earlier this year, it was 5 to 9 percentage points higher than Australia’s. That hasn’t deterred Australian companies from seeking opportunities in America instead of Ireland, where the corporate tax rate is less than half ours (12.5 per cent), or Singapore (17 per cent).
In truth, businesses make decisions about where in the world to park their money based on myriad reasons, possibly least of which is the headline corporate tax rate.
Will I be closer to my main customers? Where is the best talent located? What are the labour costs? How onerous are the regulatory hurdles to investment? Is the culture and language easy to navigate? Is the country politically stable and is there respect for the rule of law?
When Incitec Pivot chose to build a $1 billion factory in Louisiana rather than Australia, it did so due to America’s strong productivity levels and its speedy approvals processes. Tax was insignificant on the pros and cons list.
Tax rates don’t matter if you’re not paying tax
High-profile chief executives like Qantas chief Alan Joyce are adamant that investment decisions rest largely on the rate of a country’s corporate tax. But it’s hard to see how a lower tax rate is an incentive for investment when one in five of our biggest companies haven’t paid any corporate tax at all in at least three years.
Qantas is about to clock its 10th year tax free. Qantas won’t pay tax again until its profits exceed the tax losses recorded since 2010. Only when all the accumulated losses are offset will a lower tax rate mean a higher cash flow. Besides, regardless of where the corporate tax rate sits, the airline has already indicated an intention to invest $3 billion across 2018 and 2019.
The overwhelming benefit of higher profits flows to shareholders. A zero corporate tax bill at Qantas has certainly seen one significant wage rise at the company — the chief executive’s. The benefit to workers has been less pronounced.
According to the Australian Services Union, representing just under half of all Qantas workers, the average pay rises for staff since the airline has returned to profitability have barely kept pace with inflation.
Alan Joyce, on the other hand, has seen his total salary close to double from $12.9 million in 2016 to $24.6 million last year thanks to a huge jump in the value of shares provided as part of a bonus scheme.
Linda White, Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Services Union told the ABC she is far from convinced about the value for workers of a corporate tax cut:
“While Qantas workers have seen pay rises of less than 3 per cent on average over the past decade, we’ve seen the CEO’s salary balloon to almost $100,000 a day — much more than most workers earn in a year. It doesn’t trickle down — it trickles up, and the rules need to change to give workers a better deal in this country.”
The apples and apples comparison
When drawing comparisons with experiences in other countries, Canada provides a good like for like profile.
Australia and Canada share a similar history and are both resource rich economies. Our financial and political systems are also on par.
Canada cut its corporate tax rate from 42.4 per cent in 2000 to about 26 per cent in 2011, where it has remained. In 2000, Australia cut its corporate tax rate from 34 per cent to its present 30 per cent.
Business investment rose in both countries during the mining boom but it rose more in Australia, despite a corporate tax rate that’s four percentage points higher than Canada’s.
Economist Saul Eslake says:
“It can be argued that the mining investment boom was bigger in Australia than Canada but now that it’s over in both countries, it’s worth noting that business investment as a share of GDP was 2.4 per cent higher in Australia in 2016 than in 2000, as against only 1.5 per cent higher in Canada, despite Canada’s massive cut in company tax.”
It is also worth noting that wages have risen by about 20 per cent more (in nominal terms) in Australia than in Canada since 2000, despite Canadian companies having had a much bigger corporate tax cut.
Do workers really win?
The White House claims the recently legislated cut in the US corporate tax rate will translate to higher wages for the average worker of between $4,000 and $9,000 a year, but there is no credible evidence to support that boast.
In fact, the opposite has been true in practice when you compare business activity in Britain and America. Between 2006 and 2013, while British businesses were paying increasingly less in tax (from 30 per cent to 19 per cent), wages went down not up. UK wages have started to grow over the past four years but at a much slower rate than in the United States where corporate tax rates had remained high.
Some commentators have seized on a study from Germany to support their theories about corporate tax cuts trickling down to workers. Saul Eslake makes the point that the German economy is not all that similar to Australia’s:
“Among other things, workers’ representatives sit on the ‘supervisory boards’ of large German companies so there is probably a different debate within German boardrooms as to how the benefits of any cut in the corporate tax rate in Germany might be shared among employees and other stakeholders.”
In his speech last week, the Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe reiterated the need for Australia to pursue an internationally competitive tax system but he did not specify which, if any parts of the Tax Act, might need amendment. He kept his comments on the topicvague:
“The issue of how the tax system affects the competitiveness of Australia as a destination for investment is one of ongoing political debate.”
The headline 30 per cent rate is misleading
Adding to this debate is the issue of average and effective tax rates. Effective tax rates are said to drive investment decisions and take account of what companies actually pay once deductions, depreciation and other tax minimisation strategies are considered.
According to a report published last year by the US Congressional Budget Office, Australia’s effective tax rate, at 10.4 per cent, is among the lowest in the world.
The average rate paid by American companies in Australia is just 17 per cent.
The Treasurer’s office takes issues with these figures, claiming they are out of date because they are based on data from 2012. The Government prefers a study by Oxford Universitythat puts Australia’s effective average tax rate at 26.6per cent and at the higher end of the scale.
Several analysts consulted by the ABC disagree. Managing director of Plato Investment Management, Don Hamson says:
“Whilst the data used in the 2017 CBO report is from 2012, it is the best analysis available and I don’t believe the Australian company tax landscape has changed significantly since 2012.”
Dr Hamson has worked in banking and finance in Australia, as a university professor in Australia and the United States and has served on the ASX Corporate Governance Council.
Regardless of which effective tax rate you prefer, both the Oxford and the CBO data demonstrate the folly of focusing exclusively on the headline corporate tax rate of 30 per cent.
Do tax cuts boost investment?
Chris Richardson from Deloitte Access Economics told the ABC’s Q&A that there was a “consensus” from the experts about the macroeconomic benefits of a corporate tax cut.
He said the cut represented $20 billion a year in growth for the Australian economy with two out of every three dollars showing up as higher wages. Those figures (and experts) came from Treasury who provided modelling on behalf of the Government.
The numbers are based on the widely, but not universally, accepted theory that cutting the company tax rate will raise investment, which should in turn boost productivity and lift wages.
Apart from the obvious point that all else is not equal in practice, not all investment boosts labour productivity.
According to other Treasury-commissioned modelling, if the rate is lowered from 30 per cent to 25 per cent then gross domestic product will double by September 2038 as opposed to December 2038 without the cut. Both models predict that in 20 years’ time the unemployment rate will be 5 per cent regardless of whether we spend $65 billion on company tax cuts or not.
In truth, it is hard to find real-world evidence to support these economic theories, so the Government might be wise to heed the words of Plato: “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.”
Dividend imputation often overlooked
The other issue often overlooked is the impact of Australia’s dividend imputation system. Australia and New Zealand are the only two countries in the OECD that grant companies the right to attach tax credits to dividends paid out to investors.
In most countries, companies pay tax and then shareholders pay tax on their dividends. Australia taxes just once. Cutting the company tax rate therefore doesn’t result in a higher after-tax return on investment to Australian shareholders in Australian businesses so Treasury’s theoretical model doesn’t hold.
Experts including economist Saul Eslake estimate that Australia’s 30 per cent corporate rate with dividend imputation raises about as much tax for the government as a 20 per cent rate without dividend imputation.
The principal beneficiaries of a cut in Australia’s corporate tax rate are overwhelmingly foreign companies and foreign shareholders in Australian companies. There is no guarantee at all that cutting the tax they pay in Australia will lead them to increase the level of business investment in Australia.
Can Australia afford to spend $65 billion?
The last time a government splashed around cash in the form of tax cuts the treasurer was Peter Costello, who had no debt and no deficit to contend with, thanks to oversized profits and attendant corporate tax flowing from the mining boom.
In 2018’s Australia, it’s hard to imagine how a government could ever again manage to give away the equivalent of Mr Costello’s $170 billion worth of tax cuts while still protecting the surplus.
It’s been 10 years since the Australian budget was last in surplus. With a debt of more than $600 billion, many are questioning the merits of prioritising a $65 billion giveaway to big business in the form of a tax cut.
Back in November 2016, the president of the Business Council of Australia, Grant King was warning the Government not to put the country’s AAA credit rating at risk by ignoring budget repair. He told ABC’s AM program:
“We are seeing indications that the deficit is deteriorating so it is going to be a challenge.”
Yet today the BCA and its high-profile members like Mr Joyce are insisting on a company tax cut that would blow a massive hole in the Government’s revenues and push the budget and national debt further into the red.
Emma Alberici is the ABC’s chief  economics correspondent.  This article first appeared on the ABC website.