Piers Akerman – Thursday, May 19, 11 (01:20 pm)
This is our albatross, beautiful, curious, a marvel to watch as it wheeled over the ocean, dipping into the troughs of the waves, pivoting on a dipped wing tip and reaching across the vast watery waste in search of a skerrick of food.
Tim Blair – Friday, May 20, 11 (08:32 am)
Today’s open thread is brought to you by the first privately-owned atomic power plant:
Tim Blair – Friday, May 20, 11 (08:27 am)
The Herald Sun takes a stand:
We are against a carbon tax …
This brings the newspaper into general agreement with the Housing Industry Association, Clive Palmer, the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy, the Queensland Resources Council, Mt Isa mayor John Molony, Queensland Labor premier Anna Bligh (conditionally), Western Australian MP Tony Crook, cement maker Adelaide Brighton, power company Macquarie Generation, Ford factory workers, Kerry Stokes, Stephen Lowy, the Minerals Council of Australia, Western Australian energy supplier New Synergy, the citizens of Illawarra, Hafda’s Butchery, Labor senator Doug Cameron’s working people, Rio Tinto, Alcoa, dairy farmers, barley growers, insurance companies, local councils, state governments, CFOs, food and grocery producers, miners, union members, Gerry Harvey, G&S Engineering, Sam Gadaleta, BHP, Queensland Labor members, the Noosa Chamber of Commerce, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Northern Territory parliament, Santos, the Australian Taxi Industry Association, Alumina Limited, an industrial group representing Amcor, Bluescope Steel, Boral, CSR, Sucrogen, Sugar Australia, Rheem, Vicpole and Dexion, Incitec, the Taxi Council of Queensland, the Australian Agricultural Company, the Australian Coal Association, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, the Federation of Automotive Product Manufacturers and Penrith’s Sun Masamune sake brewery. Meanwhile:
Victorian taxpayers may be slugged $800 million with the introduction of the Federal Government’s carbon tax pushing the state Budget into deficit.
In a move that brings Victorian Liberals closer to Federal leader Tony Abbott’s position on the carbon tax, Treasurer Kim Wells has written to Canberra branding the carbon tax as a “poorly designed scheme” and demanding compensation …
It comes as secret Federal Government modelling shows household electricity prices in Melbourne could jump by $650 in the next three years.
And we have a new report:
The Minerals Council of Australia has published a lengthy report on the country’s proposed carbon tax, stating that an integrated policy approach is absolutely necessary for a carbon pricing scheme to be effective.
The Council views the carbon pricing scheme as a “tax grab” by the government, saying that it will generate carbon tax revenue of around AUD523 (USD557) per person in its first year.
Not bad for a tax that was never going to be introduced.
Tim Blair – Friday, May 20, 11 (08:22 am)
The Pogues are out of tune:
New York Times tech guru David Pogue and his wife have been charged with disorderly conduct following a domestic dispute Monday at their Westport home that police said turned physical.
Pogue happened to be speaking Thursday at a conference at the Shelton Marriott to benefit a charity dedicated to domestic violence victims.
The NYT tech writer (and alleged iPhone-wielding biting victim) now earns a place in Iowahawk’s famed Bylines of Brutality.
Tim Blair – Friday, May 20, 11 (07:16 am)
Tim Blair – Friday, May 20, 11 (07:00 am)
Former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew:
Freedom of the news media must be ‘subordinated to the de?nition and integrity of the nation’ and to the ‘purposes of the elected government’.
Greens leader and default Prime Minister Bob Brown:
I think the media, with some very good exceptions, can at times lose track of the fact that it’s part of the process of moving Australia into a much more secure future with a more secure lifestyle, economy and job creation prospects.
(Via Ganesh Sahathevan)
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 20, 11 (10:12 am)
Be honest, it’s easy if you are the Minister overseeing the $36 billion NBN to lose track of the odd $11 billion:
Stephen Conroy on 2UE, December 20, last year:CONROY: It’s $35.7 billion.
Presenter Michael Smith: $35bn? Plus how much are you paying Telstra?
Conroy: That’s included. It’s all included.
Smith: $35bn includes your $11bn you’re paying to Telstra?
Smith: Were you wrong or right there? What’s the go?
Conroy: I had confused two different aspects in the somewhat robust discussion we were having and the operating expenses and the operating revenue are separate.
Smith: You got it wrong by about . . .
Conroy: I’m saying you were right.
Smith: Yeah I understand that. But jeez it worries me mate, with great respect to you, you were out by about $11bn.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 20, 11 (09:59 am)
Greens leader Bob Brown yesterday:
The latest Newspoll showed the Greens’ primary vote dropped from 12 per cent to 10 per cent while Labor’s was steady on 33 per cent and the Coalition’s went from 44 per cent to 46 per cent. None of these movements are outside the poll’s margin of error and it’s only one poll.
But the Greens’ 10 per cent was the lowest primary support since the weekend after Kevin Rudd was removed as prime minister in June last year and lower than the election support of 11.8 per cent.
The Greens’ primary support has steadily fallen five percentage points, from 15 per cent to 10 per cent, since the first weekend of March, just before the NSW election. In that time, from the first weekend in March, Labor’s primary vote has gone from a record low of 30 per cent to 33 per cent, and the Coalition’s has bobbed between 45 per cent and 46 per cent.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 20, 11 (07:09 am)
Bob Brown is trying to whip up a Murdoch conspiracy theory, but it’s four jounalists from other organisations who have given him most grief these past days:
BOB Brown has described News Limited as the “hate media”, but yesterday the Greens leader was taken to task over the assertion by journalists from three other media organisations....
Senator Brown was questioned over his now frequent attacks on News Limited, publisher of The Australian, by journalists from Fairfax, the Ten Network and West Australian Newspapers....
Fairfax radio reporter Michael Pachi challenged Senator Brown, saying: “You just come out here every day and you just bag out the Murdoch press or any media you don’t like and you call them the hate press."…
This week, Senator Brown was also called to account by ABC political editor Chris Uhlmann over comments he made in 2007 calling for coal exports to be phased out. The Greens leader said it was a claim made by the Murdoch press, but Uhlmann said he was referring to an article Senator Brown had written that was published in The Australian.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 20, 11 (07:05 am)
That’s $2 billion already gone of the $5.1 billion surplus Wayne Swan was predicting for 2012/13 only two weeks ago:
WESTERN Australia has blown a $2 billion hole in the Gillard government’s predicted return to a budget surplus and threatened to wreck its mining-tax peace deal with the big resources companies after announcing it would raise iron ore royalties.
The Barnett government’s move presents Wayne Swan with a major headache after he promised the miners, including BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, he would reimburse them for all state royalties when the planned $7.4bn mineral resources rent tax starts next year. The federal Treasurer must now choose between picking a bitter fight with Western Australia by imposing heavy financial penalties on the resource-rich state or by backing down on his agreement with the mining companies to foot the bill for state royalty increases.
Mr Swan last night admitted the move would hit his budget, delivered only last week, and warned that Western Australia faced the prospect of receiving even lower GST grants through the Commonwealth Grants Commission and lower federal infrastructure funding as a result of the royalty hike.
He can lump the West Australian government’s decision, which makes Labor’s surplus target even more rubbery (and smaller) than it already is. And it would open the door to other states such as Queensland doing the same thing. “Back in the black” would become a sick budget joke.
Swan could renege on his commitment to repay miners royalty increases. That would open up the war with the miners, a highly unlikely scenario for a government under pressure. And it would represent a broken promise, which on the back of the carbon tax backflip would be political poison.
The final option is the one Swan is most likely to go for: find cuts in the commonwealth transfers to Western Australia to offset the rise in royalties.... This final option would guarantee that Western Australia was a political write-off for Labor. It could even cause the existing three federal Labor MPs in the state problems in retaining their seats at the next election.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 20, 11 (06:54 am)
GetUp members single out for silencing just one voice on a state-funded broadcaster which employs Kerry O’Brien, Tony Jones, Robyn “100 metres” Williams, Phillip Adams, Ticky Fullerton, Virginia Trioli and two presenters who have recently hosted functions to promote the Gillard Government’s most controversial policies:
MORE than 1000 people have signed an online petition complaining about the ABC’s political coverage, with many saying a tough interview by 7.30 anchor Chris Uhlmann with Greens leader Bob Brown is evidence of a lurch to the Right.
The petition to “get the ABC back to its charter” appeared on a website owned by lobby group GetUp! some weeks ago.
It says the ABC has become a “mouthpiece for political conservatives” and is “a sad version of (Rupert) Murdoch’s Fox News”.
GetUp actually wants a biased ABC. What it doesn’t want is even a suggestion of balance.
Defend Uhlmann here.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 20, 11 (06:49 am)
Director Lars von Trier has been banned from Cannes after giving the most embarrassing interview since ... well, perhaps you can think of one worse, but I can’t. Kirsten Dunst, sitting next to him, can’t either.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 20, 11 (06:22 am)
I am continually warned by my lawyers not to talk about the attempt by nine Aboriginals of pale complexion to have the Federal Court stop me from saying certain things about racial identity.
And so, while the judge considers my case, I have bitten my tongue, even though my freedom of speech is at stake.
But apparently the rules do not apply to the other side, or to Museum Victoria, which has mounted an on-line exhibition about the case by a curator. It includes false claims about the case, a repudiation of my position and an interview with one of the claimants, who discusses the powerful influence on her sense of identity of her Aboriginal grandmother, whom I get to see for the first time.
I don’t think this attempt to tip the scale in an ongoing legal case by a publicly-funded institution is appropriate. But, once again, I am unable to debate this as I would like.
(Thanks to Professor Bunyip, No comments, I’m afraid.)
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 20, 11 (06:08 am)
Do not doubt that the University of NSW is working hard to combat sceptics with irrefutable evidence that man-made warming is a terrible threat.
Why, only last week its top climate scientists produced this response to suggestions that the climate wasn’t doing what they and others had predicted:
Now UNSWTV - the university’s digital media management system - has produced this informative rebuttal to questions I’ve raised about false predictions, irresponsible alarmism and tricked-up results:
Never doubt that the University of NSW is providing real answers to pressing questions.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 19, 11 (02:48 pm)
A major meltdown by Greens leader Bob Brown at his press conference this morning. His obsession and anger with “the Murdoch press” is unnerving. But he also lashed out at - or treated with disdain - Fairfax radio reporter Michael Pachi, Andrew Tillett of the West Australian and Hugh Riminton of Channel 10.
Brown accused the Murdoch media of dragging down the debate and forgetting its true role of “moving Australia” forward, which he interpreted as backing a carbon dioxide tax.
But what was most interesting is how the once compliant media put him under intense pressure, and gave back more than it got. Video when I can find some.
(Thanks to several readers, and particularly Adam.)
Journalists’ identities have been corrected, thanks to the help of someone at the press conference I had better not identify.
GREENS Leader Bob Brown has admitted he has decided to attack the media as a political tactic to shore up support for the carbon tax....
“I think it’s very essential to take that on at the moment because I think the Murdoch media is doing a great disservice to this nation in perhaps the most important debate of the century so far, which is how we tackle climate change,” he said.
“And its negativity and its scepticism does need to be tackled....”
Senator Brown was questioned over his tactics by journalists from Fairfax, Network Ten and West Australian newspapers.
Senior Ten reporter Hugh Riminton asked Senator Brown: “In the course of this news conference you’ve called the News Ltd journalists the hate media, you’ve taken personal issue with reporting by reporters at this press conference - is this a change of tactic? Are you on the front foot?”
Senator Brown replied: “Yes, I’m being very much on the front foot here because I think the media, with some very good exceptions, can at times lose track of the fact that it’s part of the process of moving Australia into a much more secure future with a more secure lifestyle, economy and job creation prospects.”
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 19, 11 (02:44 pm)
ABC presenters are doing their damndest to sell the Gillard Government’s dodgiest policies.
THE ABC defended the right of radio host Tony Eastley to host events on behalf of the Gillard government’s Climate Change Commission.
Eastley, who hosts the ABC’s flagship AM current affairs program, chaired the first of the commission’s NSW public meetings, in Port Macquarie, on Thursday. He introduced the speakers and invited questions from the audience....
ABC TV’s Catalyst presenter Graham Phillips, a former ABC science reporter, yesterday was master of ceremonies for the launch of the NBN on the Australian mainland in Armidale.
Phillips was effusive in his praise for the concept of fast broadband. “My name is Graham Phillips,” he said in his introduction. “I’m the host of ABC TV’s science program Catalyst and I’d just like to say on a personal note broadband internet is one of my personal passions.”
Later, he gave his opinion of the need for a high-speed network.
“It’s no doubt that a high-speed network is vitally important for the future health and prosperity of our nation,” he said.
ABC unbiased? Yeah, right.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 19, 11 (02:20 pm)
James Paterson in the latest Spectator says many in the Canberra press gallery still can’t give Tony Abbott the credit he is owed - or the self-criticism they owe their readers:
Take Peter Hartcher, the Sydney Morning Herald’s political editor. After Abbott’s election as leader, Hartcher derided him as the ‘least electable’ of all possible leadership contenders. Last week, marvelling at the political depths being plumbed by the Gillard government, Hartcher gave Abbott little credit. Instead, we are told, the government’s problems stem from one man: not Abbott, but media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
According to Hartcher, the Murdoch tabloids have ‘declared jihad’ on the government, and Gillard and her ministers are terrified of them.
This is an all-too familiar tune. Other Fairfax scribes like the Financial Review’s Laura Tingle have banged this drum before.... Likewise, Crikey’s Bernard Keane — who predicted that an Abbott leadership would reduce the Liberal party to a ‘reactionary rump’ — said one of the government’s biggest problems was the ‘sheer partisanship’ of News Limited papers. This criticism completely overlooks Abbott’s central role in causing Julia Gillard’s political headaches, and is part of a long line of efforts by some members of the Press Gallery to diminish Abbott’s achievements.
The Age’s Michelle Grattan, who wrote in late 2009 that the Liberal party’s decision to oppose the emissions trading scheme was ‘ill-judged’, argued last weekend that Abbott had been ‘dealt a favourable hand’ by coming into the Liberal leadership as ‘Rudd was weakening’.
Huh? When Tony Abbott was elected Liberal leader in December 2009, commentators such as Grattan predicted Armageddon for the coalition. Voter satisfaction with Kevin Rudd’s leadership was then measured at 58 per cent, compared with 32 per cent who were dissatisfied…
Laurie Oakes, longserving doyen of the Press Gallery by acclamation — who predicted Abbott as leader would be ‘electoral poison’ — kicked off speculation earlier this year with a column before parliament resumed in February. In the Daily Telegraph, Oakes erected a false hurdle for the Liberal leader.
‘Abbott’s colleagues will be watching the first Newspoll of the year with interest,’ he intoned, ominously, and backed it up with a quote from an anonymous Liberal MP who said questions ‘would be asked’ if the Coalition was not leading the ALP in the first poll of the year. Obviously, that poll and all subsequent polls have been strong, and no moves to replace Abbott have arisen.
(No link yet to the Spectator.)