In their own words

Finance made easy

“It’s like buying fire insurance on your neighbor’s house — you create an incentive to burn down the house.” — A German finance expert, quoted in the February 25 New York Times, explaining the financial derivative known as credit-default swaps.

Maturity for sale

“Dr Yudhoyono has presided over a maturing of Indonesia’s government in ways that are hugely valuable for Australia.” — Professor Andrew MacIntyre of the Australian National University, explaining why the Rudd government had the Indonesian president appointed an honorary companion of the Order of Australia.

Improved experience

“[Passengers] are appreciating the improved travel experience that is being produced by the ongoing upgrade.” — A statement released by the management of Sydney Airport a few days before the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported that the airport is the worst and most expensive large airport in the country.


“They have their reputations to protect … we only hear about the ones that fail. It’s very rare for the companies to be pinged.” — A spokesperson for the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association, responding to a Sydney Morning Herald report that 38% of electrical appliances failed federal minimum energy performance requirements or understated energy consumption.