Wednesday, June 29, 2011

News items and comments


Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (12:31 pm)

Ray Hadley reworks a Petula Clark classic in honour of Greens leader Bob Brown, whose latest views are instructive:

The mining boom is creating massive problems for other parts of the Australian economy.

All that money. All that progress. Such a massive problem.



Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (11:59 am)

Say what you will about North Korean commie tyrant Kim Jong-il, but his tertiary education policies are outstanding:

Reports in South Korea indicated that the government in Pyongyang on Monday ordered all universities to cancel classes until April of next year. The only exemptions are for students who will be graduating in the next few months and foreign students.

The reports suggested that the students will be put to work on construction projects in major citieswhile there are also indications that repair work may be needed in agricultural regions that were affected by a major typhoon recently.

(Via Brat)



Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (02:39 am)

Women’s Weekly editor Helen McCabe thrills to climate change minister Greg Combet’s legislative heat:

He is trying to introduce a carbon tax, he is a bit brooding, unknown and mysterious.

He is sexy. He is dangerous. He is aware of the need to use a cheaper-to-run hot water system and change the light bulbs.



Tim Blair – Tuesday, June 28, 11 (12:35 pm)

The ABC reports:

It has been revealed young people with hangovers are placing extra pressure on Tasmania’s hospital emergency departments.


Quotation of the Day…

by DON BOUDREAUX on JUNE 28, 2011


… is the closing two sentences of Thomas Sowell’s 1980 magnum opusKnowledge and Decisions; for many years this quotation adorned my office door:

Freedom is not simply the right of intellectuals to circulate their merchandise. It is, above all, the right of ordinary people to find elbow room for themselves and a refuge from the rampaging presumptions of their “betters.”


Quotation of the Day…

by DON BOUDREAUX on JUNE 27, 2011


… is from page 242 of what is perhaps the most indispensable volume on my bookshelves, A Mencken Chrestomathy; Mencken is here writing about T.R. Roosevelt – the paragon of a modern politician:

What ailed him was the fact that his lust for glory, when it came to a struggle, was always vastly more powerful than his lust for the eternal verities. Tempted sufficiently, he would sacrifice anything and everything to get applause.


End this cruelty now

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (09:46 am)

Imre Salusinszky:

LIVE exports of Labor MPs from parliaments across Australia have been suspended following reports that some of the MPs are conscious before being politically slaughtered.


The cruelty of Labor’s good intentions

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (09:42 am)

Janet Albrechtsen on the difference between seeming good and achieving it:

When Labor came to power, there were four unauthorised boat people in detention. There are now almost 7000 in Australia’s detention system, including more than 1000 children. In the late 90s, the number of people arriving by unauthorised boat rose from 660 (from 19 boats) in 1996 to more than 5000 (from 43 boats) by 2000. The Howard government’s immigration policies reduced that number to 148 (arriving in 5 boats) in 2007. Since then boat arrivals have jumped to 2856 (and 61 boats) in 2009 to 6889 people (and 135 boats) in 2010. The fair-minded would recognise that softer border protection policies have delivered harsher, not more compassionate, outcomes.


The demonising of another Republican woman

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (09:33 am)

Even on Fox, you’ll see the character assassination of Michele Bachmann, a woman who dares to be a Republican and thus gets all the hostile media attention that Barack Obama is excused.

Wallace has since apologised, and Deomcratic pollster Pat Caddell explains the strategy and the double standards:

(Via Catallaxy Files, rapidly becoming a major centre of conservative and Right-on-centre intellectual thought.)


We’ll give China the coal we’ll ban for ourselves

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (07:00 am)

CHINA isn’t just buying up the farm here - literally - but is rubbing our face in our suicidal stupidity.

The fuss this week about the purchase of 43 farms in the Liverpool Plains by Chinese miner Shenhua Watermark actually ignores the biggest warning.

Politicians are suddenly panicking that foreigners could own much of our best farmland, with our crops no longer our own in an increasingly hungry world.

Yes, it’s a worry, especially when the new owners are not shareholders, open to the best price, but an aggressive state. But we’re still talking about only 43 farms, bought for $213 million.

So, no, by far the biggest worry is that these farms, 500km northwest of Sydney, actually lie over a big coal deposit.

That’s the message. China has decided it doesn’t just want to buy our coal exports, but the mines themselves, to make as sure as it can that it will have coal for decades to come.

Has the penny dropped with you yet?

That’s right: China has shown that the Gillard Government deceived you in selling its carbon dioxide tax.

It actually plans to burn a lot more coal, not less, because only an idiot would “de-carbon” the economy, and switch to ruinously more expensive sources of power.


Who took away Australia?

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (06:52 am)

WHAT do they know of Australia, who only our cities know?

And what can they love?

I ask - warn, actually - because we in the cities have stopped romancing the country.

Suddenly, the bush has almost vanished from our television screens, as well as from our art, our poetry and even the songs of our country singers.

It’s gone, just when we most need to remind our children how much there is to love that lies beyond their suburbs.

Two news items from yesterday’s papers hinted at why we should worry.

The first told of yet more self-loathing from within the depths of the town hall of our oldest, biggest and most tightly packed metropolis.

Meeting just a loudhailers’ screech from the Western Distributor Freeway, Sydney city’s councillors voted nine to two to henceforth refer in official documents to European settlement of Australia as an “invasion”.

Like weeds. Or rabbits.

And, indeed, as these councillors tried that night to nose their cars back into that great hooting, honking, brake-lit sewer of traffic, they may have felt the smug burn of justification.

Who could love all this concrete, these scurry-scurry pavements, these airless streets, these office blocks plucked from the catalogue of some international Towers-R-Us, supplying these same giant boxes to conurbations from Istanbul to Bangkok?

Well, me, actually, but it’s fashionable among the urban elite to say sorry for white man’s works here.

But how mad it is now to make the European presence seem illegitimate - a stain on the landscape and a blot on our history. How dangerous, too, to make this place seem more like a hostel than a home.

You see, younger Australians seem to have been shown a lot less of this country to love, and given fewer reasons to call it theirs.

For instance, yesterday’s papers also reported that Arabic-speaking Australians tend not to do so well.

Dr Rosemary Suliman, a senior lecturer at the University of Western Sydney, tried to explain why: “Arabic-speaking people do not enjoy a very high status in our society and that has a very negative effect on students.

“It makes them have a very strong ethnic identity, a refusal to be part of the whole and an opposition to other groups ... “

A refusal to be part of the whole? An opposition to other groups?

This isn’t healthy, surely, and especially not when this is the very moment we’ve stopped showing ourselves what’s so uniquely ours about this country - when we’ve stopped reminding ourselves of a grander Australia that transcends petty differences of “race” or ethnicity.

Just where did Australia go?

Look at your blank television screens. Thirty years ago there were the Leyland Brothers, Mike and Mal, reporting to us from the Birdsville Track, Willochra Plains, Fogarty’s Claypans and the Lava Tubes.

Just the names of such places told you that here were stories - stories that, on hearing, would open your horizons, and bind you more to this great continent.


But where is the Leylands’ kind today? Where is today’s Malcolm Douglas, who first showed us the art of catching crocodiles up north or of searching for the big barra?

Where is a new Bush Tucker Man, a Les Hiddens, hunting for bush food at Prince Regent Gorge or showing us where settlers struggled and died?

Who’s replaced Steve Irwin or Troy Dann, to dive into waterholes or cruise among crocodiles? And where is another Harry Butler, or a Bill Peach, who didn’t just show us the country, but the view of it that made it lovely?

It’s not just the guides to our land who have walked off the set. So have the story-tellers.

Once the biggest story told on television was A Town Like Alice, back when the Alice was another word for romance, and not the location for yet another documentary on Aboriginal drunkenness and squalor.

The Flying Doctors took in even more of that vast outback and, before that, the ABC’s Blue Hills, the longest-running radio serial, immersed a generation of listeners in the ways of an archetypal town called Tanimbla.

Where is this Australia now in our popular culture?


Worked for a killer? Then come to Australia

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (06:39 am)

We really are dupes, exploited even by the cronies of a genocidal dictator:

A MUSICIAN who wrote propaganda songs for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and performed at his drunken parties has been recommended for asylum in Australia.

The man, whose name has been suppressed, initially had a claim for asylum rejected by the Immigration Department.

But that was overturned after he gave an impromptu concert before the Refugees Review Tribunal, which then concluded: “He is a professional musician.”

The man, who arrived in Australia last August on an entertainment visa, claimed he would be assassinated by Americans or anti-Hussein forces if sent home.

By the Americans? The RRT believes this stuff?

He admitted being a member of the Baath Party since 1979. He became famous with the party’s backing, appearing on state television and performing for the country’s elite.

He told how he would be collected in the middle of the night to perform at Saddam’s boozy parties and “was required to compose music to lyrics of political songs”.

Immigration officials noted he had lived in the United Arab Emirates on and off since 1998 and despite claiming to be the target of hit squads, had returned to Iraq at least eight times and continued to put out CDs in his name.

Iraq is so dangerous for this guy that he returns eight times? He’s been safe in the UAE for more than a decade? And we’re obliged to give him a home here?


Foreigners being hunted down in Kabul hotel

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (06:22 am)

Afghanistan will suffer:

Several attackers stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capital, Kabul, Tuesday night, and witnesses said shooting and a loud explosion were heard as Afghan security forces rushed to the scene.

... a Western security official said that early reports indicated that there were as many as six attackers — armed and believed to be wearing suicide vests — and that 10 people had been killed in the attack…

The Taliban took responsibility for the attack saying they were targeting foreigners and Afghans, Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman for the north and east, said in a statement.

“Our muj entered the hotel,” he said, referring to Taliban fighters, “and they’ve gone through several stories of the building and they are breaking into each room and they are targeting the 300 Afghans and foreigners who are staying.” His claims could not be immediately confirmed.


Not Buddhists, of course. Or Hindus or Christians

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (06:16 am)

How did we import such trouble? What is the origin of this particular us-against-them culture? What is the lesson for our immigration and refugee policy?

VICTORIA’S top cop has vowed to end the gang crisis gripping Melbourne’s northern suburbs after another wild street shootout.

Armed thugs defied a police crackdown, trading gunfire from speeding cars as they roared through Glenroy last night.

It was the sixth shooting incident since February suspected of being linked to friction between warring Middle Eastern families...

Former top NSW cop Clive Small, who led that state’s assault on Middle Eastern gang warfare last decade, said: “If you don’t get on top of it quickly, it will escalate and escalate.”


Gillard’s Malaysian deal founders as Rudd dallies with Kyrgyzstan

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (06:09 am)

Two months after Julia Gillard announced it, the Malaysian deal still isn’t signed - and still has big holes:

AUSTRALIA may have to shoulder responsibility for deporting failed asylum-seekers from Malaysia under the terms of the Gillard government’s proposed refugee swap, according to an official government briefing received by opposition frontbencher Scott Morrison…

On his last day in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Morrison was briefed by two Home Affairs officials: senior deputy secretary-general, immigration, Alwi Ibrahim and undersecretary Muhud Khair Razman Bin Mohamed Annur.

Mr Morrison said Australia might have to bear responsibility for removing failed asylum-seekers from Malaysia, a potentially onerous undertaking.

“The issue of what do they do with the ones that aren’t refugees seems to be quite problematic,” Mr Morrison said of the discussions, which were witnessed by three official from the Australian high commission. “The issue is: Does Australia repatriate them, does Malaysia repatriate them, are they allowed to stay, are they going to regularise their status?”

So the non-refugees among the 800 we send in exchange for 4000 may come back to us, after all.

And another boat deal seems to be falling apart:

... the government last night pondered the implications of Michael Somare’s permanent departure from Papua New Guinea politics, which has thrown into doubt Canberra’s plan to reopen the refugee processing centre on Manus Island...

So where is the Foreign Minister, when the Gillard Government is up to its neck in foreign policy disasters?

On the sidelines of the Islamic Foreign Ministers Conference being held in the Kazakhstani capital, Astana, Yousef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, (Oman’s) Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs today met separately with Kevin Rudd, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia, Ruslan Kazakbayev, Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain and Dipu Moni, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh.

The meetings discussed bilateral relations, issues of common concern and the latest regional and international developments, in addition to discussing topics listed on the agenda of the 38th session of the Islamic Foreign Ministers Conference.

Could Oman take Gillard’s regional processing centre for migrants? Or is Rudd trying to save the beef industry by sending our cattle to Kyrgyzstan instead?


Windsor buys where the “carbon polluters” search

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (06:04 am)

Just putting it on the record:

Tony Windsor has spent almost $5.9 million in recent months buying three northern NSW farms in a region targeted for coal-seam gas exploration.

The independent MP’s family company, Cintra Investments, bought the properties in Coonamble, about 100km west of Gunnedah, between January and March.

Mr Windsor, who sold his main property to a coalmining group in February last year, said he had bought the Coonamble properties for his family to farm…

Petroleum giant Santos and natural and coal-seam gas group Eastern Star Gas hold an exploration licence covering thousands of hectares around Coonamble.

Mr Windsor said he “wouldn’t have a clue” whether the Eastern Star Gas and Santos licence—petroleum exploration licence 434—covered his properties…

“...that’s not what’s driving me.”..

According to property searches, Cintra Investments bought one of the properties, a 459ha farm, for $964,000 in January. A year earlier, the same property had changed hands for $544,400. Mr Windsor said ... strength in the price of grain had boosted property values recently…

Cintra Investments paid $785,100 for a second parcel of land, covering 373ha, also in January. That parcel had last changed hands for $461,000 in late 2007. Cintra paid $4.14m for a third Coonamble property in March.


Coalition ready. Almost

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (05:47 am)

Ready for battle:

The opposition frontbencher Andrew Robb, who is in charge of policy development, said that by tomorrow, the Coalition would have 40 policies ready to go ‘’in the event of the government collapsing’’.

However, this plan did not include an industrial relations policy.


Well, give Peter Reith credit for at least being a one-man ginger group after his one-vote loss in the ballot for the party presidency:

Mr Reith plans to continue the advocacy with a weekly website column and other activities. He said Mr Abbott had to get over the WorkChoices bogey and promote reforms to Labor’s laws that replaced WorkChoices.

He proposed changes to the provisions giving unions right of entry into a workplace, re-introducing Australian Workplace Agreements but with a no-disadvantage test and giving more teeth to the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner.

Seems fair enough.


Brown demands: tax, tax, tax

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (05:42 am)

Has Brown ever seen a tax he doesn’t like?

THE Greens leader, Bob Brown, is to increase pressure on the government to strengthen its mining tax just days before his party assumes control of the Senate, which will give it the final say on the shape of the policy…

The new tax will apply only to iron ore and coal. Senator Brown will argue for it to be extended to gold and uranium…

Despite being concerned about the non-mining sector, Senator Brown will demand again that the corporate tax cut, worth $2 billion a year, be scrapped and the money put into a sovereign wealth fund.

And then there’s the spending - on utterly useless green symbols:

The Greens have been pushing for a raft of “complementary measures” under the carbon tax package, including assistance for wind and solar power, to compensate for a low starting price of the carbon tax.


Go, Mo

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (12:04 am)


I’ve had dealings with Mohammed Elleissy (right) in the past, and recommend his latest article. Yes, focus on what unites…


Dreyfus: no cut in temperature under our tax

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 29, 11 (12:04 am)

Reader Mark asked this question of Mark Dreyfus, the Gillard Government’s Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency:

Can you provide details on how much the global temperature will drop with the introduction of the this tax in 2020 (~5years)/ 2025 (~10years) /2065 (~50 years)?

Now, let’s make clear the ordinary meaning of the question. By how much will the world’s temperature fall from the business-as-usual scenario if we pay Labor’s tax? And the answer Dreyfus gives is…



Wrong figure given for non-existent compo for unresolved tax

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 28, 11 (05:42 pm)

Whatever the real figure is, it probably isn’t anyway:

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has been forced to backpedal from a promise that seven million Australian households won’t be worse off under Labor’s carbon tax.

Ms Gillard today told ABC Television that “seven million Australian households won’t see a cent lost through carbon pricing”.

But when asked about that pledge her office was quick to clarify.

A spokesman said that Ms Gillard meant to say that of the nine out of 10 households to receive assistance, the “vast majority” wouldn’t be out of pocket.

How could they know anything, anyway, without even having figured a price?


Let’s have your costings, too, Treasurer

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 28, 11 (03:26 pm)

Treasurer Wayne Swan makes an offer to Tony Abbott:

I write to formalise the offer made by the Prime Minister yesterday, to make available the full resources of the Commonwealth Treasury to provide an accurate costing of the Coalition’s current ?scal position combining any already-announced positions and opposition to key savings before the Parliament with the impact of any so-called ‘direct action’ climate change policies to reach the bipartisan emissions reduction targets, and the income tax cuts Mr Abbott promised on Saturday… To assist the debate I will release this correspondence into the public domain.

Professor Sinclair Davidson makes an even better offer:

The rub of any policy is opportunity cost. The Coalition should ask Treasury to cost their plan relative to the alternatives. The alternative plans being the federal government’s tax that will evolve into a cap and trade, and the Greens policy of shutting down the coal industry. The Coalition should explicitly specify that the employment costs and the regional impact of all three alternatives must form part of the analysis. Of course, keeping with Swan’s kind offer the results should be placed in the public domain.


More wires snipped

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 28, 11 (02:45 pm)

With every breakthrough, wireless technology becomes an even bigger threat to the Gillard Government’s $36 billion fixed broadband:

British mobile bandwidth hogs won’t have to curb their data enthusiasm anytime soon if a scheduled ‘super WiFi’ trial minds it manners. Led by Microsoft and backed by the UK’s biggest TV providers, this roided-up wireless network surfs along the spare 150MHz spectrum that terrestrial television avoids. Christened the ‘white spaces,’ networks abroad (and in the US) maintain these unused frequencies to prevent signal interference, but with MS’ Dan Reed calling spectrum “...a finite natural resource,” operators don’t have much else to mine. Set for testing in Cambridge—chosen for its dense cluster of buildings old and new—this repurposed TV signal walks through walls its weaker mobile brethren smack into (at up to 16Mbps, no less!). With a similar British Telecom rollout already underway in Scotland, we’d say the tech has an imminent Anglo-future—pity the US can’t seem to unravel the red tape fast enough for a homegrown build-out.

Lots of links at the link. This still doesn’t mean wireless can become the dominant national technology, but does suggest that the business case for the Government’s behemoth could fall to pieces.

(Thanks to reader Simon.)

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