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.
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.
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:
Filed under: Australian News, Australian Politics
Australia is truly regressing backwards. Earlier this week, we had the stupid Liberal MP Scott Morrison tell parliament that pornography is as dangerous as firearms. Now we have this:
A young couple in Queensland, aged 19 and 21 respectively, have been commited to trial for using abortion drugs to ‘procure a miscarriage’. The story goes that the police, whilst searching their home for another undisclosed reason, came across the used packaging for the abortion drugs RU486 (Mifepristone) – commonly called the ‘Abortion Pill’, and Misoprostol. Due to meddling by religious conservatives in parliament, RU486 is not easy to obtain in Australia, even though it is widely available in other countries, including our neighbour New Zealand and most European nations.
Here are some newspaper links that tell the story in depth:
- Couple Face Trial for Procuring Miscarriage
- Doctors threaten Queensland Abortion Test Case
- Queensland Abortion Law to Spark Vexed Debate
One can infer from the above that the Queensland police did not find what they were really looking for during the search, and just so that would not leave empty handed, they came up with another petty reason to charge the couple. Apparently, this is the first prosecution for this offence in 50 years! If convicted, the woman may face up to 7 years prison and her partner may face up to 3 years.
What beefs me even more is that if the couple had gone to a public hospital or private clinic for a surgical abortion, that would have been perfectly legal, but because they took the drugs of their own initiative – obviously because it was faster, cheaper and less traumatic than surgery – they now face prosection.
In my opinion, there is no greatly cruelty than to give birth to an unwanted child who does not have parents with the will or means to look after them. This young couple had mutually agreed to abort their pregnancy and they knew they were not ready. Furthermore, they had the support of both their parents.
In what way does society gain from prosecuting this young couple?
The Food and Grocery Council, together with large Australian retailers have warned that the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will result in more expensive food and groceries, with food price increasing at the checkout by up to 7%.
What this means to you is that if this mangled, complicated and utterly useless ETS legislation is passed, food prices WILL increase by 7%, as farmers, wholesalers and retailers will have a solid excuse to justify their profiteering.
Such price increases occurred when the 10% GST was introduced in the year 2000, and you may remember when a cyclone hit a banana-producing region of Queensland, ALL banana prices went up by up to ten times – 1000% for almost a year, even though other banana producing regions were unaffected and we could have easily allowed cheap imports from New Zealand.
I am conservative when it comes to my belief in human nature. Most people will pretend to believe in something whilst they believe it is socially beneficial [cool] or financially beneficial to do so. People are happy to make token gestures like sticking a ‘go green’ bumper sticker to their car or have a fun day out at a protest rally with friends, but when it comes to pulling money out of one’s wallet, people show their true selves. We are seeing increased voices in the media questioning the basis of evidence for catastrophic predictions of climate doom.
The proposed ETS legislation, that has been the subject or negotiation (horse-trading) between the major political parties and independents is complicated and full of exception clauses for all industries with powerful political lobbies.
Its phasing in has been drawn out over a number of years to try and stem public outrage. I question whether this legislation will result in a single molecule of CO2 from being generated. If there are any savings, the CO2 emission growth of our crucial trading partner China will cover them within a week.
If talks over this legislation collapse and resulting an election. I know who’ll be getting my vote – the party that promises to rip up this worthless piece of paper.
Oh yes – the disclaimer – I will take a complete U-turn on my position once I see:
- Falsifiable scientific evidence proving that human CO2 emissions have a significant and detrimental impact on climate – i.e. an experiment that makes a clear prediction that can be tested.
- Evidence that any plan to mitigate this will be effective and based on sound science.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced a $6.2 billion dollar package to support the Australian Car Industry. This was after foreign owned car manufacturers announced plans to shut down local production in the wake of the global financial crisis.
$500 million of this money will be set aside for a ‘Green’ car innovation fund, to produce environmentally friendly vehicles.
The intentions of this plan are certainly noble. Australia has a proud history of automotive production. The industry employs many people who hold a lot of valuable know-how.
These are the problems I see with the plan:
1. It’s a large amount of money and it may only temporarily defer the problem. Foreign manufacturers will milk the government funds, artificially boosting their profits, then shut down the factories when the money has been exhausted.
2. Australian automotive tariffs are set to fall from 10% to 5% making it harder for our local industry to remain viable in the presence of low cost German, Japanese and Korean imports. Would we be merely sustaining an uncompetitive local industry out of pride?
Here are some possible alternatives:
1. Assist Australian entrepreneurs in buying out the local arms of these manufacturing firms, to ensure that the industry is under Australian ownership and that profits remain in this country.
Perhaps a new Australian company can focus on producing low cost, energy efficient vehicles that would offer something unique and provide a competitive edge on the market.
2. Use the money to pay for redundancies for these workers and retraining to allow them to get job in other industries where their skills can be adapted, e.g. Agricultural technology, military vehicles
What are your thoughts? Your comments are most encouraged.
Filed under: Australian News, Australian Politics, IT News
The Australian Labor Party Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, has put together a plan to censor all Internet traffic in Australia with the stated intention of protecting children from pornography and blocking “illegal material”.
It is my opinion that this plan is completely unnecessary and serves merely as a distraction from the real issues affecting our country at this point in time. It is also a huge waste of money, with $44 million being budgeted in this financial year alone, with more to be spent in the following years.
The are a number of readily available options available today to concerned parents. These include PC software packages, routers with in-built filtering, and Internet Service Providers who offer optional filtering services on a per-account basis.
Australians will not be able to opt out of this scheme – we will only be able to choose between a ‘child-friendly’ setting or an ‘illegal content’ setting. What is illegal or child friendly will of course be determined by the government. It has not been discussed how one would get an incorrectly blocked site removed from the list.
The adoption of Conroy’s plan will result in web browsing being slowed considerably due to the overhead of filtering.
Filtering technology is known to be highly ineffective. A recent Tasmanian trial showed that a significant number of innocent pages were falsely blocked, and similarly, a significant number of ‘child unsafe’ pages (1 in 13 clicks) got through.
Apart from the inaccuracy of the filtering, its overall impact is highly limited – it appears that the filter will only be applied to HTTP (web) traffic. P2P networks such as BitTorrent will not be filtered. Even the HTTP filtering can be easily bypassed using any number of off-shore anonymous proxy servers and VPN gateway.
If you don’t want Internet censorship forced upon you, contact your local Federal MP and let them know. If you don’t know who that is, this site should help:
And if you want to complain to Senator Conroy, here is his contact page:
The following sites are leading the campaign to oppose the filtering scheme and have detailed information:
Yet another politician’s career has been ended by committing a social faux-pas. In this case, the WA Liberal Opposition Leader, Troy Buswell, was forced to step down, due to a chair-sniffing incident with a female colleague back in 2005.
His colleagues may have had good reason to take offence, but it was a private matter that should not have concerned the media or the public, and they should have been able to resolve it between themselves.
Why this had to resurface 3 years later is anyone’s guess. I wish we lived in an age where politicians were forced to step down due to their incompetence, poor planning or managerial skills – things that actually affect the electorate!