Tim Blair – Thursday, April 07, 11 (12:03 am)
Hit the video. Skip to 7:45. Or click to play:
UPDATE. Dipole in comments:
You want to put a tax on coal,
Of borders you have lost control,
Your cabinet has got a mole,
Abbott wants to stop the dole,
The Greens think you are just a troll,
The NBN’s a money hole,
There’s been a really awful poll,
They say your party’s lost its soul,
But it’s no excuse for hyperbowl.
UPDATE II. Must be a Labor thing:
It was hyperbole of the worst sort, or, as Senator Conroy put it earlier this afternoon, ‘hyperbowl’.
From memory, I think Paul Keating was also a hyperbowler. And current Melbourne Lord Mayor and former Victorian Liberal leader Robert Doyle might once have been accused of the syllable-short pronunciation.
Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 06, 11 (11:40 pm)
Listen for as long as you can to the Prime Minister chatting with those NovaFM morning funsters about the need for a carbon tax. Apparently the PM is a frequent guest on this program, but the audience doesn’t much care for her. At the moment only two comments at NovaFM’s site refer to the latest interview:
• “i hate carbon tax!”
• “Please get rid of Political corner. I don’t want to listen to a red headed clown like Ms Gillard. I don’t like liars.”
Also bringing the charm, Gillard’s climate change minister Greg Combet visited the Port Kembla steelworks for the purpose of making several positive-sounding but guarded and non-specific statements:
“Out of the revenue from the carbon tax we would also be using a good proportion of that to support jobs in regions like this”, he said.
Enjoy that job security, Port Kembla – or, as Combet describes it, “regions like this”. Hal G.P. Colebatch isn’t so evasive:
This is probably the first time in history, anywhere, that a tax has been imposed where stopping industrial development is not seen as a possible unfortunate side-effect, but as its express and central purpose.
It succeeds by making you fail.
Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 06, 11 (08:28 pm)
Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 06, 11 (05:19 pm)
Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 06, 11 (12:41 pm)
Four months ago:
Here’s the main problem with the NBN …
We’ve handed over the biggest job in the country to Australia’s Official Hopeless Mate: the Labor government. It can’t possibly work. Nothing this mob does ever works. Big or small, within the party or outside, they always stuff it up.
The head of construction at NBN Co, the government-owned enterprise building the $36 billion National Broadband Network by 2020, has resigned …
The country’s telecommunications industry was shocked to learn late last week that NBN Co had written to 14 construction firms announcing that after five months of negotiations, the NBN’s lucrative tendering process was indefinitely suspended.
Hinting the firms were seeking to “price gouge” the project, the NBN’s head of corporate services Kevin Brown said all the received quotes were overpriced in the “double digits”.
All going to plan, then.
Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 06, 11 (12:32 pm)
Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 06, 11 (12:25 pm)
Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 06, 11 (12:24 pm)
Controversy over the latest Labor subgroup:
Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten has rejected Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd’s suggestions that“factional thugsters” are ruling the New South Wales Labor Party.
Some background on these folk: “GHETTO PAD is where the tru thugsters live.” Well, prior to expanding their operations into Sussex St.
Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 06, 11 (12:07 pm)
Jessica Irvine, economics writer for the SMH, explains a complicated microeconomic theory:
A price increase on a certain good has an ‘’income effect’’. By reducing a consumer’s real income, it makes them feel poorer and prompts them to consume less of that good.
So now you know.
Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 06, 11 (12:02 pm)
“I know we are the Ice Bear Project,” declares Mark Coreth, head of the Ice Bear Project, “and I know we set our selves up to sculpt awareness into the plight of the Polar Bear and its environment and indeed that is precisely what the Project is doing. Easter will with a fair wind bring us and our block of ice to Sydney to carve the bear for Earth Week.”
This is what he’s talking about:
A giant bear will be carved from a 10 tonne block of ice and perched outside Customs House with a$10,000 helping hand from Sydney Council.
Called Ice Bear, the sculpture will be 4m long and 2.2m high, with the ice frozen around a bronze impression of a polar bear skeleton.
The ice will be left to slowly melt, revealing the skeleton inside …
“We are likely to lose (polar bears). I so love it,” Cr Irene Doutney said.
Ten bucks to whoever is first to make a margarita from it.
Tim Blair – Wednesday, April 06, 11 (11:30 am)
Nuclear convert George Monbiot took part last week in a televised debate with Australian activist Helen Caldicott, whose opposition to nuclear power has a half-life of two million years. This crank-on-crank action led to a Monbiot revelation:
Over the last fortnight I’ve made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health. The claims we have made are ungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged, and wildly wrong. We have done other people, and ourselves, a terrible disservice.
I began to see the extent of the problem after a debate last week with Helen Caldicott. Dr Caldicott is the world’s foremost anti-nuclear campaigner. She has received 21 honorary degrees and scores of awards, and was nominated for a Nobel peace prize. Like other greens, I was in awe of her. In the debate she made some striking statements about the dangers of radiation. So I did what anyone faced with questionable scientific claims should do: I asked for the sources. Caldicott’s response has profoundly shaken me.
That response – and Monbiot’s point-by-point takedowns – may be found here. It’s a classic fisking:
Caldicott: Yes the mind has been boggling for some time, this to my mind is the greatest conspiritorial coverup in the history of medicine.
Monbiot: Er, right.
Do read on.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, April 07, 11 (09:53 am)
It’s bizarre. The Gillard Government claims to know the mind of East Timor’s leaders better than do those leaders themselves:
East Timor’s deputy prime minister has confirmed his country has rejected Australia’s proposal to establish a refugee processing centre on Timor’s soil…
(D)uring a visit to Darwin on Wednesday, Jose Luis Guterres said ... the processing centre cannot go ahead in East Timor because the country’s parliament has voted against it.
“It’s already know that the parliament has said no,” he said.
“All external agreements with countries or international organisations has to go to the parliament and our parliament unanimously said no to this proposal."…
Last week the Economist magazine reported that East Timor’s prime minister, Xanana Gusmao, had rejected Australia’s proposal because a processing centre in country would be socially divisive…
But Immigration Minister Chris Bowen rejected reports East Timor was not in favour of housing the centre and said the Government would not change its focus.
How offensive this must seem to the East Timorese Government, to have Australia refuse to take no for an answer to its plan to build a detention centre on East Timor’s soil.
This is worse than incompetent.
(Thanks to reader Gab.)
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, April 07, 11 (09:42 am)
The workers Greg Combet once represented as ACTU boss are furious he’s now sold them out:
At a meeting of union members also attended by Australian Workers Union (AWU) leaders, many workers were frustrated at the uncertainty.
BlueScope has said the tax could threaten the future of its Port Kembla operations.
Mr Combet, a former head of the ACTU, told BlueScope workers the details of an assistance package to help the company pay for its pollution permits were being finalised....
But he had not been speaking long before the first interjections came, and many more questions followed from workers wanting information on the carbon price system.
“Can you tell us right now what the figure’s going to be?” steelworks operator Claudio Morales asked. “How can you say you support [us] when you haven’t got a figure?”
Others feared their jobs might be at risk, or were angry the Government changed its position after the election....
Every worker should demand this answer from the Government: how much will your new tax cost us, and by how much will the world’s temperature fall as a consequence? What’s the gain for this pain?
(Thanks to reader Neville.)
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, April 07, 11 (06:58 am)
The real surprise is that anyone ever thought these targets were remotely realistic, and why the media kept treating them as serious:
Victoria’s renewable energy record was savaged yesterday by the state’s auditor-general, who also highlighted how the former Labor government had failed to perform basic checks on key projects.
Auditor-General Des Pearson found renewable energy generation as a percentage of power consumption had increased from 3.6 per cent to just 3.9 per cent over seven years. This compared with a target rate, set in 2002, of 10 per cent by 2010.
As I have warned many times, as soon as a politician calls a project “green”, he no longer bothers to check the price:
Mr Pearson found Labor had failed to properly assess or substantiate the cost and benefits of the key incentive mechanism for attracting private investment in solar energy generation.
This is precisely the story with the $12 billion in government programs nationally to cut emissions that have in fact delivered next to nothing. And it is now exactly the same story with the Gillard Government’s planned carbon dioxide tax, which will deliver vritually zero change to the temperature - giving us no gain for terrible pain:
The documented failure of Victoria’s renewable sector to supply a larger share of the state’s power and reduce reliance on carbon-intensive brown coal-fired plants will increase state government and industry concerns about the impact of the proposed carbon tax on electricity security.
The Australian revealed this week that electricity generators could be paid by the federal government to shut down high-emission coal power plants such as Hazelwood and Loy Yang B in the Latrobe Valley, which together generate about 40 per cent of Victoria’s electricity.
So many millions have been spent in Victoria, and so much landscape despoiled by wind towers, and for what?
The auditor-general’s report noted how little of Victoria’s electricity had been generated by renewable energy in 2009, with wind accounting for 1.93 per cent, hydroelectricity 0.94 per cent and solar a mere 0.05 per cent of the state’s power.
And remember how the Brumby Labor Government promised to make Victoria the “solar capital of Australia” when its key solar project had already gone bust?
Mr Pearson singled out for criticism two of Australia’s key solar power projects, which had already attracted $150m of taxpayer money.
The Gillard government said last night it was still considering using some of the $1.5 billion Solar Flagship Program funds to help advance one of the projects, TRUenergy’s Victorian Large Scale Solar Project, south of Mildura, in northwest Victoria.
This was despite Mr Pearson questioning the absence of documented evidence of why the proposed generator project was needed and a completed business case before state Labor approved a contingent investment of $100m.
He also questioned the way the government had assessed its second major solar project, the Solar Systems/Silex Project, which is in the research and development phase.
“While both involve public funding totalling around $150m, neither was supported by a business case that demonstrated both the need for the project, or its alignment with government policy,” he found.
Be warned. What is true of these solar projects is true of the far bigger - and potentially devastating - carbon dioxide tax. No cost-benefit analysis has been done. Billions will be spent for no gain to the climate. And in time we will look back and wonder how governments came to lose their senses - with so many journalists thinking it their duty not to even notice until it was too late.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, April 07, 11 (06:44 am)
The Greens’ anti-Israel sentiment (to put it politely) is so strong that all people of conscience should be deeply, deeply troubled:
TWO Greens senators have publicly supported calls for Australian sanctions against Israel over the Middle East conflict, putting them at odds with party policy and their leader Bob Brown.
West Australian senator Scott Ludlam last year demanded an arms embargo on Israel, which he described as “a rogue state”, while South Australian colleague Sarah Hanson-Young addressed a rally where protesters called on Australia to sever ties with the Jewish state.
The stance by the two senators conflicts with Senator Brown’s assurance last week that his federal party was not anti-Israel and did not support the NSW branch of the party advocating sanctions against Israel.
The Coalition last night labelled the Greens “reds”, while the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council called on Senator Hanson-Young to visit Israel before jumping to conclusions.
THE depth and longstanding nature of the Greens’ visceral hostility to Israel reveals something very unpleasant about the nature of the Greens themselves.
They are essentially a party of extremists. Like most extremists operating in a democratic space, they try to garner support on broadly populist issues while still servicing their extremist activist base with extremist positions and campaigns.
The language of a number of the Greens senators about Israel - rogue state, apartheid, should be boycotted - is the language of political sectarianism and prejudice.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, April 07, 11 (06:32 am)
Greg Sheridan finds the Gillard Government can’t even defend its proposterous plan for an East Timor detention centre:
Earlier this week I put four simple questions to the Prime Minister’s office regarding the East Timor proposal. They were: does the PM accept East Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao’s rejection of the idea; is the PM in dialogue with any other nation about a proposed centre; when was the last time the PM spoke to a foreign leader or official about it; and if the East Timor centre proposal is still alive, what’s happening on it and in what time frame can we expect any action.
After promising to respond to these questions, the PM’s office referred me to two transcripts, which answered none of these points, and said the PM had nothing more to add. That, sadly, reflects the PM’s posture on foreign policy generally: crouched in a foetal position unable to say or do anything.
Sheridan also notes the comprehensive - and deadly - failure overall of the Government’s boat people policy, as conceded even by far-Left academic Robert Manne on Q&A this week in discussion with Kevin Rudd:
ROBERT MANNE: I have to say that I think the Rudd Government made a mistake and it pains me to say this actually. I think it was a mistake to believe that if you humanised the policy you wouldn’t have a return of the boats. I think the left, generally speaking, has been dishonest about that question. In other words I think that what you did was humane but you didn’t calculate what you should have calculated, that the problem would return. In my view it would have been much more sensible not to get rid of Nauru, because Nauru wasn’t being used because no one came; rather to have increased in general the asylum seeker intake and to have done a lot more for the people in Indonesia say. In other words, you know, politics is not perfect. I think the left is wrong to say and you’re wrong to say that your policy didn’t get the votes to return.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, April 07, 11 (06:02 am)
Hyper-bowl? Does ignorance of the pronunciation signify much?
Probably not as much as the instinctive refusal to give a straight answer, which makes nearly every television interview Julia Gillard gives ineffectual at best and counterproductive at worst. If she wants to get over that “real Julia” problem, she needs to seem far more direct, candid and unrehearsed than she did again last night.
Tim Blair says communications minister Stephen Conroy is a hyperbowler, too.
Especially when discussing my reported new show.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, April 07, 11 (05:43 am)
This threatens to become an even greater disaster:
CONSTRUCTION companies pitching to build Labor’s National Broadband Network say the cost of capital works for the mammoth project could surge more than 50 per cent above forecasts to as much as $20 billion unless the NBN Co drastically revamps its bungled tender process…
The Australian has learned that the original volume rollout tender - which was indefinitely suspended late last week when the NBN Co said the firms involved were “unable to provide acceptable terms and pricing” - was to follow a design and construct model in which the successful bidder would be required to bear all the risk and liability associated with the rollout of the NBN.
The NBN Co had hoped this process would create enough competitive tension to drive the total cost of its capital works program to about $12bn - a figure that would allow it to keep to its $36bn budget. However, construction companies surveyed by The Australian yesterday placed a 50 per cent premium on that estimate and warned that costs could balloon beyond the $20bn mark unless the NBN Co took on more risk or crimped the reach of its fibre footprint.
No wonder, perhaps, that the NBN’s construction chief quit this week.
OH dear. It’s barely three months since NBNCo released its Clayton’s cost-benefit analysis—it’s so-called “Corporate Plan”—and it has already gone straight into the trash-can of history…
For NBNCo’s head of corporate services Kevin Brown was quoted as saying, that the tenders were over the top to the tune of “double digits”.
That’s not “double digits” more than the full $36 billion—sorry, $35.9 billion. Because the network construction tender covers less than half the total spend....
That, though, then raises the question of how much all the other costs, especially stringing the bits of spaghetti out to households and everything that goes with that will end up blowing out by....
Now there are two sides to the NBNCo numbers. What the network will cost to build and what it will cost to operate; and what revenue it will generate.
The Corporate Plan forecast revenue of $5.8 billion in 2021 and $7.6 billion in 2025. Just love that precision.
But, guys, was that with or without a carbon tax? Because back in December Julia Gillard hadn’t yet promised to break her election promise not to have a carbon tax....
By definition a carbon tax will increase the build cost. By definition, consumers will have fewer discretionary dollars to spend on broadband. Especially as your high-end target individual and business customers won’t be compensated.
(Thanks to reader Pira.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, April 06, 11 (01:12 pm)
So, which one do you think will end up the winner in this fight to the death?
JULIA Gillard has contradicted Kevin Rudd’s claim that the Labor Party is controlled by factional thugs, as she played down his admission that members of his cabinet wanted his emissions trading scheme killed off.
Ms Gillard distanced herself from internal party struggles and disagreed with Mr Rudd’s assertion, on the ABC’s Q&A program, that factional powerbrokers were intimidating the rest of the party.
The Prime Minister ... laughed off suggestions Mr Rudd wanted his old job back and said she didn’t speak to cabinet colleagues every time there was a “media flurry"…
Ms Gillard again refused to say whether she had argued, while deputy prime minister, to dump Mr Rudd’s emissions trading scheme a decision that fatally wounded the former prime minister.
“I am consistently on the public record as saying I don’t believe in talking about confidential discussions between cabinet colleagues,” she said.
Mr Rudd said today that while he would not elaborate on cabinet discussions, he would speak out to “correct the record” on his time as prime minister.