Filed under: Australian News, Australian Politics
The Australian Labor Government is desperate for money after several years of relentless spending on stupid projects and general mismanagement.
They have just rushed through legislation to enable the transfer of all money from accounts that have not been used for three years into their own revenues. This will commence after May 31st 2013.
There is no better time to read up on one of our most popular posts – How To Find Your Unclaimed Money, and tell all your friends to retrieve their unclaimed money while they still can.
Hat tip to Tim Blair for bringing this to my attention.
Following the election of Australia’s first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard, I expected her to tread carefully by not embarking on any decisions policies that would anger the population and endanger her political survival. Sadly, I was wrong.
In a major pandering to her Greens Party coalition partners, she has backflipped on her pre-election promise to NOT introduce a tax on Carbon Dioxide emissions.
She has now announced that a carbon tax will be introduced from July 2012. The price per tonne of carbon will be fixed for a period of up to 5 years, after which market-based mechanisms will be used to set the price. Although the carbon price has not been announced, a popular figure thrown around in the media is $26/tonne. This will increase the cost of electricity across the nation, as Australia generates most of its power from coal and natural gas. The government has not announced whether petrol will also be subject to the carbon tax, but various Green party members have announced that they want it to. This will also result in an avalanche of other price increases as businesses pass on their increased costs directly to consumers.
Gillard has claimed that “low-income families” and the Agricultural sector will receive some form of compensation for the increased costs, but has not gone into details. Liberal Opposition Leader Tony Abbot has claimed that the carbon tax will result in an average electricity bill increasing by $300/year and the price for petrol increasing by 6.5c/Litre. Abbot has already pledged to repeal this tax if he wins the next election.
Regardless of one’s opinion of the causes of climate change, this tax is a stupid and pointless exercise that will needlessly punish the middle class and hard the Australian economy, whilst making no global impact on carbon dioxide emissions.
- None of the tax money is being used to replace our fossil fuel burning power stations with non-CO2 producing alternatives like Nuclear power
- We will still be exporting coal that will be burnt and converted into CO2 overseas, contributing to global emissions. No-one would ever dare suggest that we stop selling coal.
- Even if Australia ceased to exist and emitted no CO2, the growth in Chinese emissions would replace it within a few months.
- Australian households have already been forced to reduce electricity and fuel consumption in the face of skyrocketing global crude oil prices and increases in domestic electricity costs. The fact is, Australians still need gas and electricity for cooking and powering appliances and in this 21st century, no-one should have to return to a pre-industrial age state of existence. People also need to travel to work and transport their children to school. There really is little scope for further drastic cuts
- Australia goes to great lengths to protect its own agriculture sector from foreign competition, so that we can be self-reliant on food. Also, Australia is raking a fortune in from mining and resources, which generates a lot of tax revenue to fill government coffers. Both these sectors intrinsically emit a lot of CO2. Do we really want to bite the hands that feed us?
- There will be absolutely no indicator or measurement that can prove that this carbon tax is having any effect on either global CO2 levels or climate events, so it will be impossible to tell whether this policy is working. Money is effectively being thrown into a black hole.
Daily Telegraph journalist Tim Blair brilliantly demolishes the case for a Carbon Tax in his article here where he addresses a series of rhetorical questions regarding the purpose and implementation of the “Carbon Tax”:
Regardless of the outcome, no-one will ever trust Julia again.
One thing I admire about Australians is our intolerance of low quality food.
Several American food chains that are big overseas ended up closing their doors or winding back their operations in response to poor patronage or low profitability in Australia. These include:
- Taco Bell, which closed their doors in 2005. I once sampled one of their tacos in the George St store, near the Sydney CBD cinema district. I could describe that taco as resembling ground-up roadkill with grated cheese in a cheap, squashed, cracked shell. That was my first and last visit.
- Starbucks, which closed 64 its Australian stores, representing three quarters of its total operation, leaving only 23 running. Even now, Starbucks Australia is still unprofitable and is only operating due to the financial backing by its parent company in the USA. For me, their coffee was tolerable, but vastly inferior to the many small cafes which have coffee machines operated by trained baristas, who offer good coffee at a cheaper price.
Now, Krispy Kreme donuts has gone into voluntary administration. They blame expenses, but the fact is, if their product was popular enough, it would pay for those expenses. The fact is, their product is a nutritional bomb, high in sugar, saturated fat and carbohydrates – amongst the worst of its class. Picturing a box of those in my head makes me feel sick. It is telling that one of their largest stores is in Penrith. There are other local chains like Michel’s Patisserie that offer better much better quality fare.
OK, long time no speak, but I must catch up on all recent Australian political developments before talking about anything else.
Following the Australian election, Labor PM Julia Gillard managed to form a fragile minority government by the skin of her teeth, by forming a coalition with a rag-tag group consisting of independents and greens party members with irreconcilable policy differences. For the time being, things are still working out, but I think it’s only a matter of time before there’s a serious clash that will destabilise the government and result in another election.
She abandoned her crazy idea of an unelected group of 150 citizens to determine how to “tackle climate change”. It is uncertain how things are going to proceed. Hopefully, they won’t.
She appointed the ousted former Labor PM Kevin Rudd as Foreign Minister in order to appease his anger and that of his supporters over the way in which he was ousted and sidelined.
Despite identifying herself as an atheist, contrasting herself with the religiously observant former PM Kevin Rudd and current Communications Minister Senator Conroy, she has expressed support for continuing with Conroy’s idiotic Internet Filtering scheme, but she has baulked on setting a deadline for its implementation.
Regarding the handling of boat people, she is back in talks with the East Timorese government over the establishment of a new “refugee processing centre”, after they had previously expressed reluctance. I guess the money earning potential for East Timor was too much for their government to refuse. Good on them. I still reckon reopening the existing facility on Nauru would’ve been better value for Australia. Nonetheless, to placate her Greens party coalition partners, she has agreed to a plan to release some asylum seekers, who are currently in detention, into the community. It is not clear yet who will be released and who won’t be.
All in all, I will say that she is taking all the correct measures to ensure her political survival in the current climate.
What do I think of Australia having its first female prime minister?
We are in a modern age where men and women have equal opportunities. Whether they choose to take up these opportunities is a separate matter.
I will judge Julia Gillard the same way I judge any politician or person in a leadership or managerial role – through his or her policies and competence as a leader.
At the moment, I do not expect much to change, after all, she was a key policy maker under her predecessor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Perhaps now that she has a fresh start, she can change her mind and abandon bad policies without losing face.
Since taking up the role of PM, she reached a compromise with the big miners on the controversial Super Profits tax. A compromise was expected, considering that Kevin Rudd was brought down after adopting a hard-line stance. I never knew what the truth was about the need for a Super Profits tax – all I heard was propaganda coming from both sides, so I cannot say whether a compromise is a good thing or a bad thing. Time will tell.
I do like that she in an atheist, unlike religiosly devout Kevin Rudd. Perhaps religious lobby groups and ministers like Stephen Conroy will have less influence and his could spell the end for the stupid Internet filter.
She also appears to have taken a leaf out of former Liberal PM John Howard’s successful “Pacific Solution” as a means of deterring people smugglers and their boats. She has proposed the establishment of a processing centre for boat people in East Timor, instead of the former Nauru location. Naturally, this has already generated much controversy amongst her party, but it clearly will be popular amongst voters.
In followup to my previous post Men At Work Should Pay Minimal Damages For Using “Kookaburra” Riff in Hit Song, the judge has ruled on damages.
Men at Work is to pay 5% of all royalties on their song “I come from the land down under” earned from 2002 onwards, to Larrikin Music. This was far less than the 60% share that Larrikin were seeking.
In my opinion, this is a just outcome, because it upholds copyright law, but acknowledges the opportunistic nature of the case, which I described thoroughly in my previous post.
In a recent court case, the Australian rock band “Men At Work” were found to have infringed on the copyright of a famous Australian folk song, “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree”, by using the melody as an accompanying flute riff in their hit song “Land down under”.
The lawsuit was launched by a company named Larrikin Music, who had purchased the rights to the Kookaburra song in 1990, following the death of its original creator Marion Sinclair – a music teacher, who wrote the song in 1934 for use at a Girl Guide jamboree.
Here are some media links:
I have been asked what I think of this.
The fact is that copyright law is very clear on the rules concerning the use of other people’s copyright works. Colin Hay, the lead singer of Men at Work, has confirmed that the flute riff was a homage from “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree”. If Larrikin Music are the legal owners of the copyright, they have a case in law. The question is how much should they pay in royalties. To determine what is correct, we should consider the following:
1. The song “Land Down Under” was released by Men at Work in 1981. The creator of the original song, Marion Sinclair, never raised any complaints when she was alive. The song was very popular, and no doubt if she felt that it infringed on her rights, she would have said something.
2. It took 20 years for any members of the public to find a connection between both songs. Indeed, Larrikin Music only became aware when it was mentioned on the ABC TV music game show “Spicks and Specs” in 2008 , so one could hardly argue that the connection between the songs was obvious or significant.
3. The copyright was purchased by Larrikin Music in 1990, from the South Australian public trustee, following the death of Sinclair in 1988. According to media reports, they paid several thousand dollars for the song and now Larrikin music have suggested that they want to be paid between 40-60% of the royalites on Men At Work’s song in compensation. This certainly reeks of cheap opportunism.
4. Marion Sinclair did not enforce her copyright on the song, effectively letting it be sung without restrictions, leading to the song to come to be known in Australian society like a traditional ‘Aussie folk song’. It is sung regularly by children in schools who have never been asked to pay for royalties.
For these reasons, it is my opinion that Men at Work did infringe on the copyright, but any royalties should be limited to a token payment.
The people in the following CCTV security video are wanted in relation to a large ATM-skimming operation in Sydney and Wollongong. Here, they are shown using illegally cloned ATM cards to withdraw money from Commonwealth Bank ATMs in Burwood and Bankstown.
Detectives allegedly discovered large amounts of money had been stolen from accounts accessed at ATMs in Bankstown, Parramatta, Burwood, Chinatown and Haymarket in Sydney. It is assumed that these ATM had been fitted with sophisticated skimming devices that captured the magnetic strip of the cards and the PIN number entered on the keypad.
If you recognise them, please contact Wollongong Police on (02) 4226 7899 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000:
For more info, read the following articles:
Filed under: Australian News, Australian Politics, International News, International Politics, Science
‘ClimateGate’ is the name given to the controversy surrounding the leaking of emails belonging to the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia that took place in late November. This institute is a major research centre that played a key role in promoting Global Warming Alarmism and contributing to the IPCC report on Global Warming.
There has been some coverage in the Australian mainstream media, but most of it has completely ignored the meat of the issue, and instead focussed on ‘computer hacking’ or how it could impede the Copenhagen climate summit. The most thorough coverage has been in the Australian newspaper and the blogs of News Ltd. columnists Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair.
For those of you that are unfamiliar, emails contained in these archives strongly suggest that academics at CRU have prepetrated widescale scientific fraud and engaged in highly unprofessional, if not criminal conduct. Furthermore, it casts a strong shadow of suspicion and doubt on their conclusions of future global climate catastrophe.
These practices include:
- Suppressing the views of dissenting scientists
- Mathematically manipulating climate data to hide features of the curve that disagree with alarmist opinions
- Knowingly incorporating poor quality, unreliable data into their research
- Subverting the peer review process
- Withholding and destroying information in response to Freedom of Information requests
I have no doubt that ClimateGate played a significant role in increasing opposition to the Australian ETS legislation and the fall of Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull.
Plenty of great posts have been written that explain the content of these emails and surrounding issues in depth, so I will just include the links:
Kyle Sandilands is in the news again, this time for his jibe that Australian TV comedienne Magna Szubanski could lose more weight if she were placed in a concentration camp. He has been suspended from duties at 2Day FM.
I agree that this is offensive for a number of reasons, but should this be another scandal? I say no.
Kyle Sandilands is a SHOCK JOCK – not a diplomat, politician, church leader or anyone with an important public role of responsibility. His job is to say offensive things on radio. Some radio listeners are entertained by his frequently crude and offensive remarks, and that is why he is there.
Whilst I am here, I also commend Magda Szubanski for her achievement of losing 36kg, lowering her weight from 121kg to 85kg – She is a great role model for other obese individuals who want to lose weight.