Thursday, May 19, 2011

News items and comments

They also know about Obama
US Defence Secretary has said he believed "somebody" in Pakistan knew of Osama bin Laden's location.

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Iraq has a bright future despite Al-Qaida
THE Iraqi army has arrested the alleged military leader of al-Qaeda's offshoot in Iraq and three of his acolytes.
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Go now or lose everything
THE US has put sanctions on Syria and urged the president to change or step down, amid more bloodshed.

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South Australia have Labor to thank
VEHICLE owners hit with defect notices will have to pay new on-the-spot fines, expected to rake in millions for the State Government.
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A new Labor leader is being grown as she speaks
JULIA Gillard has pleaded for families to have patience while she puts together her carbon tax plan behind closed doors with Greens and independent MPs.
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They can smile who have someone to blame.
THE nation's air safety regulator has laid the blame squarely on British engine maker Rolls-Royce for last year's explosion on a Qantas super jumbo over Singapore.
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Without these Obama might never have been president
AUSTRALIANS are applying for jobs using dodgy degrees "earned" online in a matter of minutes.

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Failing to build appropriate infrastructure will cost us dearly. We must dump Labor now.
A NEW Federal Government blueprint will guide how Australia's capital cities manage a population boom over the next 50 years.
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ALP bad management left no alternative.
IN one of his first major tests as Premier, Barry O'Farrell is facing a backbench revolt and the blocking in the Upper House of a plan to save $470 million by slashing the solar bonus scheme.
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I always connect him with supporting the ALP
LARRIKIN actor and screen legend Bill Hunter is gravely ill with inoperable cancer, his family said yesterday.

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Many ALP appointments seem unstable.
HE HAS laid down the law to thousands of criminals but a private battle with bipolar disorder now has one of Sydney's best-known magistrates fighting to keep his job.
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Many ALP appointments seem unstable.
HE HAS laid down the law to thousands of criminals but a private battle with bipolar disorder now has one of Sydney's best-known magistrates fighting to keep his job.
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Someone is embarrassing the principal
NAPLAN test security is being questioned after it was confirmed yesterday that once the tests are completed by students they are returned to the central marking centre by Australia Post, instead of be...

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Excellent
WALKING your child to school is not just safer, it's healthier - and no one knows that better than swimming champion Hayley Lewis.
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I hope they had fun
LAUGHING in the face of a potentially deadly wall of water, these Indian students appear to be playing a game of chicken as big waves smash into a Sydney rock platform.
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What about tea?
COFFEE helps ward off deadly prostate cancer, a major new study shows.

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It isn't science in this instance, but perception.
STRESSED out parents are at their wit's end due to conflicting advice about how to get their babies to sleep, experts say.
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We don't want any
THE federal coalition's environment spokesman Greg Hunt has revealed it would put an effective price on carbon of about $15 a tonne- only $10 cheaper than what is expected under the government's propo...
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And stay off
RUGBY league star Todd Carney has lost his driver's licence for a year after police won an appeal against his sentence for drink driving.
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There is an ongoing shooting war.
HE was once dubbed the biggest drug dealer in Kings Cross. But now Bill Bayeh - whose 15-year stretch behind bars may end within weeks - could be banned from setting foot on Sydney's Golden Mile.
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The lawyers win
A COUPLE who had a six-month romance have gone on to wage a $1 million-plus legal battle over their four-year- old daughter.
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All it takes to remove this abysmal government is one honest member of the ALP
MOTORISTS could be forced to pay a tax on every kilometre they drive as the federal government seeks to double the number of cyclists on our roads within five years.
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We aren't being told the lifestyle factors which lead to the killing.
PAUL Rogers "lost the plot" after his fiancee Tania Simpson packed up their two children and left him before their planned wedding, friends said.
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Science is just wrong in this instance. The theory supporting the assertion is wrong.
"BLACK women are less attractive than white, Asian and Native American Women. And there's scientific proof."
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Sounds like a bank error
UNTIL recently Suzanne Harper was a successful businesswoman - now she is facing bankruptcy as soon as tomorrow. And the way things are looking, her family are going to lose their home.
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Ridiculous. Had he been sober he would be alive today.
HE WAS desperate to be part of the latest craze, now Simon Hallam is paying the price.

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All it takes to end this government is one honest member from the ALP.
THE federal government risks losing the support of key independent Andrew Wilkie because its controversial poker machine cap is under threat by a Labor MP who heads a major Sydney club.
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Well Bowen? You had no problem killing some. Why not separate them from their parents?
ALMOST 700 children remain in immigration detention - seven months after the federal government promised the majority would be transferred into the community.
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This issue is far older than NAPLAN I recall a child in high school who couldn't speak. His parents wouldn't enroll him in an appropriate school for fear of labeling him. Schools have always vetted kids from outside their catchment area.
HIGH schools are using Naplan test results to identify students they don't want to enrol. But in a backlash by parents, some are refusing to let their kids sit the test, fearing the results will be us...
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We must not bow to a pushy minority

Miranda Devine – Wednesday, May 18, 11 (07:25 pm)

THE push to introduce sharia law into Australia by the country’s peak Muslim body is a vindication of Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi, who was vilified last year for warning of creeping infiltration by the Islamic legal system.

You correctly position it but there is still a long way to go before this Sharia Law debate becomes what people fear. I don't mind the Halal label as it shows me where not to shop.

As for the wider debate, I don't think Australia will ever accept the wider implications of Sharia. Not even so called Islamic nations fulfil the guidelines on blinding and mutilation. But then that isn't what is being debated right now. The issue of separate law, ala Aboriginal code, is ridiculous and divisive.

What happens with banking regulation is really just banking regulation. So long as corrupt practice isn't accepted.

As a Christian I don't like idols being imported to Australia. But I believe that the founding fathers anticipated some of the issues and have provided us with sufficient within our constitution to defend our way of life and allow prosperity and the growth of my faith. I accept freedom of religious expression without really liking it. And were I to have achieved public office I would have represented Islamic peoples as well as Hindu, Buddhist and any of many other peoples as best I could in a secular fashion.

But for the fact that the ALP has bungled the issue to threaten the possibility, Senator Bernardi's assertions would be hyperbolic. -ed

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CARBON CASH

Tim Blair – Thursday, May 19, 11 (06:04 am)

Tim Flannery – finally returned to his part-time government-funded climate tax promotion job after several weeks in Canada and California – already costs us $180,000 per year for his role in the government’s $5.6 million Climate Commission. Ross Garnaut has thus far cost us another $5 million:

Freedom of Information documents show that is the cumulative cost of the climate change reviews conducted by Ross Garnaut, the government’s chief climate change adviser.

The FOI request, conducted by Institute of Public Affairs climate change policy director Tim Wilson, shows Professor Garnaut’s latest review has cost more than $964,000

The cost of the latest review is in addition to the $2.3m cost to the federal government of Professor Garnaut’s original 2008 review and the $1.6m contributed by state governments for the 2008 study as former prime minister Kevin Rudd formulated the carbon pollution reduction scheme.

Among the costs for the latest review are $600,519 in salary, superannuation and leave; $183,970 for contractors; and $14,848 for consultants.

Just like Flannery, Garnaut is a part-timer:

The documents show Professor Garnaut is paid the equivalent of a senior executive service band 3 salary of between $265,700 and $312,400, employed on a part-time basis equal to half a full-time position.

More than $140,900 has been spent on travel; $7128 on advertising; $3351 on general office supplies; $2369 on official hospitality; $524 on IT, communications and office equipment; $1046 on administration; $4561 on accommodation; and $5663 on publications.

All of this has been spent with the intention of making you poorer.

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THE NBN SEVEN

Tim Blair – Thursday, May 19, 11 (05:45 am)

These people are going to be just great at running a carbon tax:

The government company rolling out the National Broadband Network has more staff than it does customers.

NBN Co, which has 784 staff, has at most 607 customers after Julia Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy launched the first NBN site on the mainland in Armidale yesterday, with just seven users. And none of the network’s users is a paying customer yet.

It’s another triumph for Australia’s Official Hopeless Mate.

UPDATE. Amos Aikman road tests the NBN:

Sites of newspapers such as The Australian, The Times and The New York Times loaded almost immediately; videos on YouTube loaded quickly and played without interruption. But there was no satisfying sense of having scratched an itch that had gone unscratched for a long time - perhaps because internet connections in most metropolitan areas, and indeed mobile broadband services, are already pretty good.

At least it hasn’t burned down any houses. Yet.

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412 DAYS UNTIL LABOR’S FACE OF FEAR TAX

Tim Blair – Thursday, May 19, 11 (05:18 am)

Soothing words from a calm climate change minister:

Federal climate change Minister Greg Combet told a Gippsland conference today they should not fearthe proposed carbon scheme.

Who could doubt this reassuring fellow?

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Combet is also urging an investigation:

A detailed risk assessment of Australian greenhouse programs will be undertaken, amid concerns they could be rorted by organised criminals.

It’s a bit late now. They’ve been in power since 2007. Meanwhile, mining firm Xstrata will close its copper operations in Mount Isa and Townsville. Queensland Resources Council director Michael Roche:

What I’m concerned about is that this might be a taste of the future for other mineral processing operations when a carbon tax comes in over the top.

Mt Isa mayor John Molony claims a more direct link between the tax and the planned closures, and Queensland Labor premier Anna Bligh is now giving herself a carbon tax get-out clause:

When all of the details are released we will make a judgment about it and put people first. If the details do not protect Queensland industry and don’t protect Queensland consumers then we won’t be supporting it.

Western Australian MP Tony Crook has already jumped ship:

Tony Crook has previously said he would be open to a carbon tax but yesterday said he will vote against it.

He says it would be against the interests of his Goldfields and south coastal constituents.

Cement maker Adelaide Brighton and power company Macquarie Generation now also stand against the tax. But in Seddon, Victoria’s hotbed of leftist radicalism, support grows:

The Western Climate Action Now group will meet with people interested in taking action against climate change at the Dancing Dog Cafe, May 21, from 3pm to 5pm.

Co-organiser and Seddon resident Katerina Gaita said she was spurred into action when she realised that Gellibrand Federal MP Nicola Roxon was one of just a few Cabinet Members who didn’t have an active climate group in their electorate.

Alene Composta would be proud.

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NEW CHINA

Tim Blair – Thursday, May 19, 11 (04:32 am)

The great leap backwards:

Motorists could be forced to pay a tax on every kilometre they drive as the federal government seeks to double the number of cyclists on our roads within five years.

In its latest attack on carbon emissions, the government is also encouraging people to drive green cars – despite only two of 20 cabinet ministers driving a hybrid themselves.

The National Urban Policy vows to raise the number of people commuting by bicycle, currently just 1.56 per cent of workers, twofold by 2016 ...

Just say NUP.

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BASTARD IN THE SAND

Tim Blair – Thursday, May 19, 11 (04:11 am)

Skip the first two minutes, then turn it up and sing along:



(May be offensive to ABC types and other scared people. So turn it up some more.)

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COMMUNIST COLOSSUS TOWERS ABOVE HISTORY

Tim Blair – Thursday, May 19, 11 (03:45 am)

North Korean tyrant midget Kim Jong-il is wearing high heels again.

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Ambassador whacks Rudd

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 19, 11 (07:49 am)

This the area we’re told Rudd understands best:

AUSTRALIA’S ambassador in Beijing has launched a thinly veiled attack on Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd in a speech rebuking those who speak Chinese but “do not understand how China works”.

Geoff Raby, whose term as ambassador ends on August 5, did not name his Chinese-speaking boss, but pointedly observed that “one of the biggest challenges has been managing my own team [including] politicians and officials”.

“To speak Chinese is not to know China,” Dr Raby told a high-powered gathering of more than 400 Australian corporate leaders in Beijing yesterday ...

“Many examples can be found of people who speak Mandarin to a high level but who do not understand how China works,” he said. “They may have learnt their Chinese shut up in their study reading the Analects.”

Mr Rudd studied Chinese at the Australian National University under sinologist Pierre Ryckmans, who translated the Analects of Confucius.

Last night a supporter of Mr Rudd suggested Dr Raby would now have time to also read the Analects: “It might be worth the while of the now-unemployed ambassador to shut himself up and read the book."…

Last month, the state-owned Global Times blamed Australia’s “Chinese-speaking former prime minister” for a series of conflicts during his term, including over his hawkish 2009 defence white paper.

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The damned Uhlmann again

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 19, 11 (07:14 am)

The Greens really don’t like the ABC finally asking the tough questions.

(Thanks to reader Adam.)

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Next they’ll tell us it’s not warming that fast, after all

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 19, 11 (07:04 am)

They were alarmists? They exaggerated? Gosh, I am surprised:

THE pace at which humans are driving animal and plant species toward extinction through habitat destruction is at least twice as slow as previously thought, according to a study ...published in Nature.

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Ferguson lays on the bad news

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 19, 11 (06:56 am)

I don’t think this is the way to sell a new tax on electricity, which may be why Martin Ferguson thought of it:

Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has warned that over the next three years household electricity prices are expected to jump 30 per cent, even without factoring in any cost increases associated with the carbon tax…

The minister added that any delay in establishing a carbon price will cost between $1 billion and $2 billion annually, rising has high as $5 billion by 2025, due to delays in electricity generation investment as companies, state governments and international players put off investment decisions until the carbon tax issue is resolved and cost certainties are established.

The Victoria state government has warned the federal government that the carbon price may cost state taxpayers as much as $800 million due to agreements signed with Alcoa to protect the company against rising prices...

UPDATE

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet tries to reassure power station workers about their jobs - by promising to buy into the power generation industry again:

Mr Combet said the prospect of the Government buying Hazelwood was ”being kicked around”.

Meanwhile, a little taste of your future:


TICKY FULLERTON, PRESENTER: Mining giant Xstrata is to shut its copper operations in Mount Isa and Townsville in Queensland. The company says it’s becoming too expensive to compete with cheaper production by Chinese companies and it’ll scale back its Queensland-based refinery and smelter over the next five years....

MICHAEL ROCHE, QLD RESOURCES COUNCIL:...What I’m concerned about is that this might be a taste of the future for other mineral processing operations when a carbon tax comes in over the top.

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If these guys could be ripped off by mere insulation installers…

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 19, 11 (06:46 am)

Who’d have thought a trade in hot air could lure an army of rorters?

A DETAILED risk assessment of Australian greenhouse programs will be undertaken, amid concerns they could be rorted by organised criminals.

Following a spate of overseas scams, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet recently called for an urgent briefing on the risks of carbon fraud in relation to the government’s greenhouse registries and its planned Carbon Farming Initiative.

His department’s response, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, reveals a high level of concern over the vulnerability of climate registries, which record carbon offset investments.

“Cyber attacks on the European Union emissions trading scheme highlight the potential threats to climate change registries in Australia and the need for effective security and anti-fraud measures to safeguard the integrity of the programs they support,” the February advice says.

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Acknowledging the rest of us, too

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 19, 11 (06:37 am)

A divisive, racist and utterly empty ritual is rightly abandoned by the Baillieu Government:

PREMIER Ted Baillieu will no longer force ministers and public servants to acknowledge traditional Aboriginal land owners at official events…

Brumby government ministers had to acknowledge the “traditional owners and custodians of this land”.

Mr Baillieu believes Labor’s stance was dictatorial and has told his ministers that such acknowledgments aren’t compulsory…

Mr Baillieu still acknowledges traditional owners at indigenous functions, but uses a new form of words at mainstream events.

“Can I particularly acknowledge all of those, past and present, including our indigenous communities, whose love of this land has made this a place we treasure and a state we all seek to nurture,” he said at the recent inauguration of Governor Alex Chernov.

I’ve long worried that the acknowledgement subtly delegitimises the presence of everyone else and makes the country feel less like their rightful home. I do not think that healthy or uniting.

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Treacherous Turnbull

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 19, 11 (06:25 am)

No one is asking Malcolm Turnbull to repudiate his global warming faith. But the Liberals are entitled to ask that, as is convention with front-benchers on both sides, that he stick to talking about his own portfolio and stop running down his team’s collective position in others.

Yet here he is on Lateline, where he spelled out at length his admiration of the British Conservative Prime Minister’s much more extreme (and utterly unachievable) global warming policies:

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, it is - the British Conservative Party has got a very different approach to climate change to the Liberal Party of Australia, which of course is its counterpart…

And the conservatives and David Cameron in particular take the view that there is an enormous opportunity to get onto the front foot and get into a leadership role in terms of clean technology, low-emission technology, that this is a coming technological revolution, it’s going to be - just like the information revolution or the industrial revolution, the green tech or clean tech revolution will be as significant as that as we hopefully move to de-carbonise the world’s economy.

Now, that is a very important technological shift. Britain has a prime minister with vision who wants to be part of that change.

TONY JONES: The obvious takeaway, political takeaway in Australia, is that you don’t believe your leader, Tony Abbott, your party, your conservative party, has vision.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Oh, no, I think there is a lot of vision. It’s just a question of whether you agree with it, or whether you find it appealing. And that’s something that, you know, obviously people will decide at the next election.

Normally, this is a sackable offence, especially for a repeat offender.

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Does anyone else have that sinking feeling?

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 19, 11 (06:12 am)

For $36 billion, you’d expect a little more grattitude - and a lot more customers, even at this early stage:

The government company rolling out the National Broadband Network has more staff than it does customers.

NBN Co, which has 784 staff, has at most 607 customers after Julia Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy launched the first NBN site on the mainland in Armidale yesterday, with just seven users. And none of the network’s users is a paying customer yet.

These ratios don’t look good:

WITH the press of a button, a rumbling of sound and a light show, the Prime Minister flicked the switch on the National Broadband Network in NSW yesterday.

But with just seven customers in Armidale connected, Julia Gillard could have visited every premises, pushed the button at each and still been home for lunch.

Instead, there were more politicians and their staffers in the town than NBN connections.

Check for yourself. Here’s yesterday’s launch:

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Meanwhile, back in Tasmania:

NBN Co confirmed yesterday that there were about 600 “active services” in Tasmania - a take-up of about 15 per cent of the 4000 premises the network had passed in the towns of Smithton, Scottsdale and Midway Point since it started last July.

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A faith led by hypocrites

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, May 18, 11 (05:25 pm)

But of course:

THE Federal Government is proving to be full of hot air when it comes to slashing greenhouse gases, with just two out of 20 Cabinet ministers choosing fuel-efficient “hybrid” cars.

Despite insisting Australia must reduce carbon emissions, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Climate Change Minister Greg Combet are among scores of Labor MPs driving gas-guzzlers.

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And will the CFMEU members stop working for crooks?

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, May 18, 11 (03:22 pm)

Which makes his members the accomplices of criminals:

THE head of a South Australian union representing workers in carbon intensive industries, says major polluters should be taxed and jailed.

Martin O’Malley, state secretary of of the SA branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, ... told protesters ”carbon polluters shouldn’t just be taxed they should be jailed”…

In South Australia, the CFMEU represents workers at OneSteel in Whyalla and Nyrstar in Port Pirie, two of the biggest carbon-emitting industries in the state.

No doubt O’Malley, as a man of principle, will tell his members to stop working for such criminal organisations.

(Thanks to reader David.)

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“Everybody” in Armidale means just seven

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, May 18, 11 (03:12 pm)

Remember, the NBN is costing taxpayers at least $36 billion:

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has switched on the first site of the National Broadband Network on mainland Australia.

Ms Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy turned on the site at the Presbyterian Ladies College in Armidale, northern New South Wales.

But the Government was forced to deny the site, which is in the federal seat of New England, was chosen to appease key local member and independent Tony Windsor…

Mr Windsor says people are “generally delighted” with the rollout in his electorate… “Everybody wants to be part of it,” he said…

Head of product development at NBN Co, Jim Hassell, says the initial testing will start with just seven customers in Armidale, which he says is not enough.

But never mind:

A Telstra spokesman told iTnews that it had a “handful” of existing customers connected in the Armidale first release site.

We expect this to increase to around 40 once the trial is in full swing,” the spokesman said.

UPDATE

How did Armidale survive without the NBN? How will the NBN survive without customers who actually pay?

Just seven customers had been connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN) trial services in Armidale ...

iiNet and Internode have started with two customers each, while Primus had one customer and Telstra said it had “a handful” of customers with NBN services. Each telco had connected to the National Broadband Network on a trial basis with no cost to the customers

One of the iiNet customers, Peter Erskine, is a researcher at the University of New England, and said that he would use his new NBN connection to work from home.

I, for one, am glad that my taxes have helped Peter to work from home.

UPDATE

Shadow Minister for Regional Communications Luke Hartsuyker:

In a joint media release from the Prime Minister and Senator Conroy, it was claimed that ‘Armidale has embraced the NBN with more than 87 per cent of people signing up to have fibre connected to the home or business.’…

This is just pure spin and fantasy,,, At the media conference in Armidale, the Prime Minister confirmed that only seven customers have signed up to the NBN, despite the fact that NBN Co had installed equipment to 87 per cent of the 2,900 eligible customers. The facts are that 2523 customers now have the capacity to receive a fibre connection in Armidale but only seven have agreed to receive it.

(No link to Hartsuyker press release.).

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Only this Government could get in trouble giving better TV to blind people

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, May 18, 11 (12:22 pm)

If it had simply sent out vouchers instead, as the US did, the Gillard Government would not now be in the farcical situation of being asked to remove dud set top boxes it installed to help blind people watch TV:

VISION Australia has called on the Gillard government to replace hundreds of free set-top boxes it installed in homes of vision-impaired pensioners across Victoria and South Australia because they cannot fully operate them.

The peak body for the blind community urged Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to swap them in the future with new “text-to-speech” devices the government is trialling as it rolls out the Household Assistance Scheme to help pensioners make the switch to digital TV by 2013.

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