Tim Blair – Saturday, April 09, 11 (04:12 am)
An unnamed Gillard cabinet member tells Paul Kelly:
Large sections of Australia’s rich are engaged in a conspiracy to screw the poor in the name of saving the planet.
That is essentially politics in Australia right now. Even some at the highest levels of the Labor party realise it.
Tim Blair – Friday, April 08, 11 (10:57 pm)
The Age reports:
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet says there’s “general support” for putting a price on carbon among business leaders but concerns remain about the tax’s design and industry support.
He says a meeting with industry heavyweights including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and BlueScope Steel at Parliament House on Friday morning was “constructive and fulsome”.
Fulsome: “Offensively flattering or insincere … offensive to the taste or sensibilities.” Great. We’ve got a Prime Minister who can’t pronounce words and a Climate Change Minister who doesn’t know what they mean. It’s qualities like these that have helped us join the weak government club.
Tim Blair – Friday, April 08, 11 (12:52 pm)
Behold the Birmingham bicycle boulevard:
There is no chance of cyclists feeling saddle-sore on this bike lane.
For the route in Birmingham is around 50ft long and critics say it stops almost before it starts.
Still too long. By the way, if Birmingham’s bike lane providers were charging Sydney rates – $7 million per 3.2 kilometres – those 50 feet would come in at more than $30,000. By the looks of it, a cheaper contractor got the gig …
Tim Blair – Friday, April 08, 11 (12:34 pm)
Koch Brothers paranoia reaches the ABC, where they are described as super-rich global warming “sceptcis” who “santise”. According to the ABC’s terror cartoon, the frightening brothers have spent $196 million on various causes since 1990 – which sounds like a lot, until you realise that it’s less than five per cent of the ABC’s budget over the same period (and they still can’t afford spellcheck). Monolith media hates opposition.
PROPAGANDA UPDATE. Evil banks are hiding coal in their offices! Also, coal in its raw form causes children to choke for some reason.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 09, 11 (10:03 am)
James Delingpole is another conservative - like Mark Steyn, Geert Wilders, Ezra Levant and now Tim Ball - who critics tried to silence or combat legally rather than counter through argument. Luckily, this attempt has failed:
I wasn’t going to crow, really I wasn’t. But I’m afraid I can’t resist, especially since it’s my last blog post for a while and this is an event of some significance. I’m talking about the Press Complaints Commission’s ruling on a complaint brought against this blog by our old friends at the University of East Anglia. They lost. We won…
Because I’m about to dash off to Devon for some vital surfing R & R, I’ve only time to sketch in why this matters so much. Basically the UEA were trying to use the PCC as a way of gagging this blog from speaking unpalatable truths about the shoddy goings-on in its notorious Climatic Research Unit.
Go to the link for the judgment. I’m glad for James, but the problem is that even when you win, you lose. I can only guess at the stress and cost James has suffered. Who’d dare to go through that themselves?
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 09, 11 (09:42 am)
Gerard Henderson details the startling - and no doubt utterly unthinking - bias of the taxpayer-funded Sydney Writers’ Festival:
Certainly this function will appeal to those ABC fans who are used to forums where everyone agrees with everyone else and who have no time for “dark forces”....
- Believe it or not, there are no fewer than four sessions on Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks controversy. Speakers include Barbara Gunnell, Julianne Schultz, Andrew Fowler, Guy Rundle, Robert Manne, Suelette Dreyfus, Cameron Stewart, Christopher Warren and Jeff Sparrow. Not one is critical of Mr Assange and the WikiLeaks phenomenon from a conservative perspective.
- The session on Australian politics titled “A Good Leader Is Hard To Find” will hear from Lenore Taylor, Bob Ellis, George Megalogenis, Bob Carr and Barrie Cassidy. Kerry O’Brien will chair this session.
Mr Carr is a former Labor premier of NSW. Messrs Cassidy and O’Brien once worked for Bob Hawke and Gough Whitlam respectively. Bob Ellis is a former speech writer for Labor politicians – he was the only commentator to predict an ALP victory in last month’s NSW State election. Lenore Taylor and George Megalogenis are fine journalists but neither has been accused of being close to the conservative side of politics. Apart from Bob Ellis – the False Prophet of Palm Beach (See Issue 88) – none of the participants are leftists. However, there is an oversupply of social democrats and a complete absence of conservatives.
- The session on asylum seekers titled “For Those Who’ve Come Across The Sea” consists of Robert Manne, Waleed Ali and George Megalogenis. According to the Official Guide, they will “canvass alternative options” to the Gillard Government’s policies. The SWF will not hear from one speaker who supports the current policy of Julia Gillard – let alone Tony Abbott.
- AWU national secretary Paul Howes will talk about his book Confessions of a Faceless Man with former Labor operative Graham Richardson. Superannuated Howard-hater Alan Ramsey will talk about his book The Way They Were with Labor senator John Faulkner. How frightfully chummy.
- The “Australia On The Couch” session will hear from Australia’s “most esteemed political and cultural analysts” – Robert Manne and Hugh Mackay, no less – who will discuss “our new complacency”. The problem is that they essentially agree with each other. It would seem that there are no such “most esteemed analysts” among political conservatives in Australia – or certainly no one that the SWF can make contact with.
- The session “Online Journalism” should be re-classified as “Online Left-Wing Journalism”. Two panellists are from leftist publications – Jeff Sparrow (Overland) and Marni Cordell (New Matilda). The remaining panellists are also men-of-the-left. Namely, Guy Rundle (a former editor of the Marxist journal Arena) and Antony Loewenstein. Once again, SWF staff could not locate an online conservative journalist – despite the fact that there are quite a few.
- And then, of course, there is the session “The Israel Question”. Here Palestinian doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish will be interviewed by anti-Israel political activist Antony Loewenstein. Enough said.
Then again, maybe the organisers have an excuse. After all, we all know the risks today in putting a conservative point of view.
But go to the link for much, much more of this astonishing closing of the minds.
A question: how can the Left be proud of winning debates from which conservatives are excluded?
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 09, 11 (09:38 am)
THIS is the Age of Seeming, when it’s more important to say the “right” thing than to do it.
This also means you can say the most idiotically impractical thing, as long as it sounds “nice”.
Example? Well, take the “renewable energy targets” that Victoria’s former Labor Government used to announce, to the omms and aahs of the media.
In 2002, for instance, Labor promised Victoria would have 10 per cent of its electricity produced by lovely green wind farms, solar power stations and the hydroelectric dams it actually had no intention of building.
The target always was green pie in the sky and, indeed, nine years later what’s happened?
As Auditor-General Des Pearson this week revealed, after spending hundreds of millions of dollars on this “green” power (and forcing us to spend even more on higher power bills, plus those ads starring black balloons) Labor got renewable energy up from 3.6 per cent of supply to just 3.9 per cent. Yes, a miserable 0.3 per cent increase in nine years.
The reason it flopped? Because wind power is expensive and intermittent and solar so useless that it produces just 0.05 per cent of our supply.
Yet now the Gillard Government is promising to have the whole country on not 10 per cent renewable energy, but 20—in just nine more years.
See? Seeming good—which today means seeming green—allows you to promise the most stupid things, without fear of being asked whether you can deliver or should even try.
Auditor-General Pearson proved that in noting the former state government hadn’t properly checked the cost and benefits of its shiny schemes to lure investment in solar.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 09, 11 (09:34 am)
THE wrong question is now being asked of an increasingly desperate Labor.
Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd?
The right answer is neither. But thanks to weakness, cowardice and a failure to read clear signs, Labor’s choice is rapidly being narrowed to either a failure or disaster.
That Gillard is finished as Prime Minister is today far more obvious than it was when I first suggested it last November. Indeed, Labor’s hopeless position can only become catastrophic if she’s not replaced.
Gillard has now taken Labor to its lowest level of support in eight years of Newspoll surveys - just 45 per cent of the preferred vote to the Coalition’s 55.
Worse, the big signature crusade she launched to show her leadership cred - her planned carbon dioxide tax - is crashing in a humiliating heap.
Voters seem to be realising this tax will be all pain and no gain; that they will pay a lot more without making any difference to the world’s temperature.
Already this tax is so unpopular that Climate Change Minister Greg Combet, a former ACTU boss, was heckled this week by Port Kembla unionists when he tried to tell them it wouldn’t cost them their jobs or a chunk of their wages.
Selling a hated tax when you’re on the nose would doom even a competent government with a credible leader. But this Government is not competent, and this Prime Minister not credible.
Everything Gillard has touched has turned to dross. Count them off.
Her big mining tax is still not a done deal, nearly a year on, and seems certain to raise billions less than she’d hoped.
Her promised detention centre in East Timor is a farce, with East Timor refusing even to discuss it and Gillard having to open a centre in Tasmania instead, as the boats keep coming.
The big health deal with the states that Gillard trumpeted in February seems now off again in April, with the election of a new government in NSW.
And this week the rest of the Gillard edifice started to collapse as well.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 09, 11 (09:25 am)
Paul Kelly notes the same signs of Julia Gillard’s political death, without making the obvious prognosis that I do above:
THIS week Kevin Rudd assumed a new status: it became apparent that his inexorable political revival is occurring at the expense of Julia Gillard’s credibility as leader and as climate change reformer.
Gillard seems powerless before this new nexus.... The Rudd factor only adds to the crushing burden Gillard now faces to devise an effective carbon pricing policy and win its political acceptance…
Have no doubt, Rudd’s entire persona radiates an obvious yet unspoken message, that the faction chiefs and the caucus made the wrong call in June 2010 when they deposed him for Gillard… Does he want to return to the leadership? Only a fool or somebody ignorant of Rudd would doubt the obvious answer…
The caucus, unsurprisingly, is clueless about how to handle the Rudd revival. Some MPs pretend nothing is happening, others express outrage at what Rudd is doing and some say he is only answering questions when asked. The caucus is impotent…
Meanwhile the task facing Gillard only grows more daunting. To be viable her carbon pricing scheme must win the backing of the Greens, the independents and the bulk of the business community. This is a difficult coalition to construct and hold together. It can only be achieved from a position of strength. That must be underwritten by the coming budget because business sentiment towards the Gillard government is now highly equivocal…
Gillard’s core political problem is that Labor’s base is already disillusioned.... The workers and battlers are leaving Labor, deserting in Western Sydney, the regions, the Hunter and the Illawarra. The risk is the carbon tax only affirms this trend…
For too long Labor, state and federal, has pushed ineffective green schemes at high cost as part of pro-green gesture politics… This week’s report from the think tank, the Grattan Institute, showed a litany of failed schemes from Labor and the Coalition. Grant tendering programs worth $7bn and rebate programs totalling $5bn were judged as wasteful and producing little abatement…
The point is that Labor, for too long, betrayed its base with green programs that were regressive and ineffective.
I guess now that Kelly makes these arguments, that they are acceptable. If only they’d been accepted when we still had a chance to stop this colossal waste.
Heavens, maybe Labor might even have saved itself. But what did we “flat-earthers”, “deniers”, “shock jocks” and “Right-wingers” know?
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 09, 11 (09:19 am)
Gay conservative Christopher Pearson hears the dog whistle that most Canberra commentators refuse to acknowledge - when blown by Julia Gillard:
On the subject of moral high ground, let me turn by way of a coda to the lowest note of Gillard’s Gough Whitlam Oration. “The Greens will never embrace Labor’s delight at sharing the values of everyday Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush, who day after day do the right thing, leading purposeful, dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation.”
What, I wondered at first, if anything, did this slop mean and could her speechwriter, my old friend and sparring partner, Michael Cooney, really have been responsible for it? The speech’s opening cadences and the allusion to Walt Whitman were clearly his work.
When her office let it be known that she’d been closely involved in the writing of the text, it became clear the offending sentence must have been her own work. Cooney avoids hyperbole (as well as knowing how it’s pronounced). What’s more, while he’s of the old-fashioned Catholic Right, he’s not given to homophobia and when boiled down this was a pointed comparison between the Greens and ordinary people driven by love of family. No wonder Bob Brown was ropeable.
I repeat, if Tony Abbott had said something so crass, the media would have feasted on his liver. But when Gillard says it…
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 09, 11 (08:36 am)
GREENS leader Bob Brown has been accused of double standards after declaring it “undemocratic” to judge politicians on the company they keep at rallies and other public forums.
Opposition frontbencher Andrew Robb yesterday accused Senator Brown of “hypocrisy writ large” over his attack on Tony Abbott’s appearance at an anti-carbon tax rally last month, where placards portrayed Julia Gillard as a “witch”, a “bitch” and a “frump”.
Senator Brown on Thursday defended the actions of Greens senators Sarah Hanson-Young and Scott Ludlam for appearing at rallies in 2009 and last year, respectively, where protesters called on Australia to sever ties with Israel. “If you’re saying there that members of parliament should not take the stage or be on a rostrum or be at a rally or go on (television program) Q&A if you are going to be judged by the people you are there with, then we’re getting to a very undemocratic path, aren’t we,” Senator Brown told ABC radio.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 09, 11 (08:25 am)
Business leaders - including a very, very senior one I met this week - are increasingly contemptuous of the Gillard Government. Some now don’t mind saying so publicly, either:
ONE of Australia’s most powerful business leaders, ANZ chief executive Mike Smith, has delivered a savage attack on Julia Gillard, declaring her party was part of the “weak government club” of the world.
In an extraordinary Sydney speech, Mr Smith criticised every major government policy—especially tax, carbon tax, infrastructure and Labor’s association with the Greens. The British-born Mr Smith labelled the Australian tax system as “Byzantine”, complex and discouraging of inbound investment into Australia.
The current Labor plan to price carbon, he said, would not change consumers’ behaviour because of Ms Gillard’s planned income tax offsets. “We don’t need something that just clips the ticket and puts on a few more public servants to oversee it,” he said.
On one front after another, the incompetent Gillard Government now finds itself at war with a business sector that was until 18 months ago eating out of Labor’s hand:
(Treasurer Wayne) Swan and Climate Change Minister Greg Combet used a meeting with industry representatives to table a paper on assistance that discussed Mr Rudd’s $1.5 billion compensation deal, sparking speculation the package, attacked by miners as inadequate, would form the backbone of the new compensation package.,.
Yesterday the Treasurer told a feisty climate change business roundtable that business must accept that a carbon tax was going to happen sooner or later.
Despite insisting no final decisions had been made, Mr Swan faced robust opposition from the steel, coal and gas industries. After Mr Swan told the meeting the carbon tax would be a productivity-enhancing economic reform, business leaders hit back, arguing it would disadvantage Australian industries compared with overseas competitors.
Then there’s this new battle:
JULIA Gillard’s hopes for a quick implementation of uniform national workplace safety laws are in doubt as some of Australia’s biggest companies warn that the new regime could saddle them with extra costs and give excessive powers to workers.
While the Prime Minister has promised the laws would boost productivity and slash business costs, major companies including Rio Tinto, Woolworths and Xstrata Coal are demanding changes to the draft regulations that will underpin the new laws.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 09, 11 (07:38 am)
WHEN Michael Lavarch was attorney-general in the Keating government, he designed the legislation now being used by his domestic partner, Larissa Behrendt in a class action against Herald-Sun columnist Andrew Bolt.
Professor Lavarch, who is executive dean of law at Queensland University of Technology, said there had always been a debate about whether the provisions he added to the Racial Discrimination Act would stifle free speech.
There are many people of the Left now advancing arguments in the media why I deserve to be sued and silenced, or why I at least deserve no sympathy. They include that in 2001 I was allegedly cross on radio about having been stopped in the street by a critic; that I hadn’t supported a Bill of Rights; that I sighed in the witness box; that I’d said that one of the dozens of people I’d cited actually had a German father rather than grandfather; that I madeunspecified factual errors; that I don’t accept a generation of Aborigines was stolen simply for racist reasons; thatI’ve never explained my own background; that I once said a magistrate had bullied a prosecutor when some other judges insisted she hadn’t; that I’m rude myself; that people need to be taught about new forms of Aboriginality and that debate is better without my kind of intervention.
Others of the Left argue that I should not be sued and silenced. Their arguments include that it makes a disgusting man a martyr; that racists should be free to speak; that I enjoy being attacked and that my poison will get more publicity.
To all these arguments, advanced publicly - mainly through the ABC and Fairfax outlets - while the judge is considering my case, I can say nothing on legal advice. I cannot allow comments, either.
I’ve had cause to remember the cheer at 19:30 from members of the Q&A audience when Communications Minister Senator Steve Conroy, on explaining his internet filter and secret black list, said this:
STEPHEN CONROY: At the moment there is the classification board and people will sometimes say, “I agree with the decisions they’ve made,” or “I disagree with the decisions they’ve made.” But by and large there’s a public confidence that the board makes reasonable decisions. Not always ones that everyone agrees with. So I’m keen to make sure people have confidence that as we move to a new scenario that the classification board continues to have the paramount role, and I’m happy to make sure and discuss ideas about making sure that an ACMA official, who I don’t know the name of, just in case anyone’s worried I’m phoning them and saying, “Hey, put Andrew Bolt on the blacklist.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah.
I’ve also had cause to rethink the trust I expressed…
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 09, 11 (07:15 am)
If the facts are as stated, the treatment of this 18 year old is truly appalling
Defence Force Academy boss Bruce Kafer sat across from an air force cadet in his office this week.
He is a powerful, decorated, senior military officer. She is a slender young woman, barely 18, who had learned just days before that an army cadet with whom she had slept had broadcast the event via Skype to half a dozen fellow cadets sitting in a nearby room. Pictures snapped by one or more of the voyeurs had been distributed around the ADFA campus.
The news had made her physically sick. Worse was the advice that had come down to her that there was no possibility of police action. The young men would be dealt with at a misdemeanour level…
The cadet, who we have named Kate to protect her identity, chose to go public. She knew no one in the media. She rang and left a message on a general number at the Ten Network…
Commodore Kafer assured Kate that she had the support of ADFA staff. Kate nodded. In her meeting with him on Tuesday night, she says, the ADFA boss told her she “needed to think about how (the media exposure) would affect” the young men involved in the Skyping incident.
Kate tells me Commodore Kafer told her that his concern was not just for her welfare but for theirs. Further, Kate maintains that during that conversation, Commodore Kafer said “he’d like me to address my division (of cadets) because they’ll be angry”. Specifically, she says Commodore Kafer said “it might help if she apologised (to her classmates) for bringing the division into disrepute by going to the media”.
She dreaded having to do this but early the following morning, she fronted up before her division.
The assembled cadets were first told by an officer present that because of the media attention, journalists would be hanging around outside the academy and they were not to say anything.
During this address, one cadet yelled out “name and shame the dirty slut”. Other cadets took up the cry, yelling “Do it!”
The officer present cancelled Kate’s planned address, fearing the cadets’ mood was too volatile.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, April 08, 11 (11:05 am)
For some bizarre reason, the leaders of the far-Left CFMEU - a union representing miners - has tried to persuade its members that backing the anti-coal Greens and demanding action to “stop” global warming will make them better off, rather than cost them their jobs:
Hasn’t worked, to tell by this CFMEU on-line poll:
Awkward. That poll quickly vanished from the CFMEU website.
(Thanks to Jason Morrison.)