Friday, August 12, 2011

News Items and Comments

Labor’s history of empty promises

Piers Akerman – Thursday, August 11, 11 (06:30 pm)

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard’s announcement of a national disability insurance scheme to be up and running some seven years in the future bears all the hallmarks of her predecessor Bob Hawke’s 1987 broken pledge to end child poverty.

AFR Thursday 11 August 2011 P3

Run nation like business:BHP head

I doubt if one government minister could run a listed ASX company yet the government is the biggest job of any country.
How many government ministers have done an IQ test to prove that they are capable of doing the job that they are given?
If you want to register for unskilled work with an agency they make you jump through hoops.

IQ (Reply)
Thu 11 Aug 11 (06:53pm)
DD Ball replied to IQ
Thu 11 Aug 11 (09:42pm)

Government ministers clearly have gifts or they wouldn’t be where they are. They don’t need to get caught for lying, they only need to be accused of it and they would be gone .. if they were conservative. Macklin can face the cameras and say she isn’t trying to wind up the intervention in 2007, although she apparently took legal advice on how to do so. Rudd can claim he has a special relationship with Timor, but a month or so in and a bungled assassination later and he is pariah, but he can face the cameras and claim he is good. Gillard can bungle every department she administers and still she has a reputation as policy queen. Swan has turned this economy around since taking treasury, and in response to questions of how Australia will proceed in dark hours. He is claiming he will cut $50 billion in spending in the next year to balance the budget. Running into an election year. I don’t believe he will. I also don’t believe this promise to the disabled will be honored. It takes ability to get away with such lies.

Over at the Age I have some questions I need support getting answered. It is free to register and vote. 7 votes for each question, if you agree.

Filthy Phil replied to IQ
Fri 12 Aug 11 (09:42am)

In NSW we’re used to Labor promises about projects in the future. Make a big promise with some media fanfare, waste a few $million on reports, studies and committees and even set up a Gov’t Dept that doesn’t really have anything to do. A 7 year promise from Labor may as well be 1000 years as this Gov’t will be dead and buried long before we’re due to see progress on this announced policy.

Caz replied to IQ
Fri 12 Aug 11 (09:46am)

Sorry, DD. I tried to support your link but I’m not on facebook. Good luck with it anyway.

DD Ball replied to IQ
Fri 12 Aug 11 (12:45pm)

Thank you Caz. Registration is free, you don’t need FB, and voting is anonymous. There are no obligations and money won’t change hands. But I would love it were that Robertson character who claims in his bio that he has headed a major company and straddles the political divide yet asks a question about recycling of Telstra .. I gather he straddles the ALP/Green divide. I would love it if his question wasn’t first.


Politically correct policing fails Britain

Miranda Devine – Wednesday, August 10, 11 (07:24 pm)


WHAT we’re seeing in London, as looters and rioters run amok and impotent police stand around watching, is the problem of politically correct policing writ large.

It is the triumph of a managerial, bureaucratic process-driven style of policing hatched in the rarefied confines of academia rather than the harsh reality of the streets.

Every now and then the two meet and you get bloody anarchy as a result.

There is reason for this tentative policing and it is political correctness. They tried to be brave and bungled a shoot to kill order, once. Tragic circumstance. This is a tragedy too. So was Cronulla, Redfern and Maquarrie Fields. I made my Picking Cotton series because I believe the issue is unrelated to political issues and strongly centered on hatred of police. But it is worse than that. Generations of privacy advocates have neutered police so as to maintain a balance involving law and order. I prefer police force.

DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Wed 10 Aug 11 (10:29pm)
Colin replied to DD Ball
Thu 11 Aug 11 (11:38am)

Sorry David and Miranda.

You are wrong in attacking political correctness as the cause.

Cause nr1: merit based promotion over experience/seniority based promotion. The unions always wanted and demanded experience/service based promotion. The Economist as liberals wanted promotion based off performance. They sugar coated this with equality an getting more women/ethnic minorities/whatever into senior positions. But the root cause Conservative Economics demanding performance based results!

You do not develop Loyality or Vocational drive by treating people as Numbers. Instead you get Career orientated head hunters!

Grow up and admit your Conservative economics is failing our public service!

DD Ball replied to DD Ball
Thu 11 Aug 11 (03:47pm)

Colin, just to be sure, you are claiming that the cause of the riots is merit based promotion among police? Was that the cause in Cronulla too? In Los Angeles? When did people develop such strong feeling about how the police were promoted? Do you think they know about NSW teaching service?

Bruce replied to DD Ball
Thu 11 Aug 11 (03:53pm)


Are these the same Conservative economics that left us with a huge surplus as opposed to the loony left economics that have put us into huge debt in just four years?

Time to stop sucking your thumb and learn to be a man instead of a mangina.

Fair and Balanced replied to DD Ball
Fri 12 Aug 11 (09:07am)

Your so Funny Bruce....

Yes it is the same conservatives that left us a surplus, care of mining boom MK1..... along with runaway interest rates and inflation. Don’t you remember why Howard got chucked...?? He over heated the economy, through greed, and bad credit, just like in the US. That bad credit meant that the first time in history, youngins in Australia, could borrow 100% of the cost of a home. Plus a four wheel drive and a cinema room...oh and a really big flat screen. Think of all that extra GST (driven by bad credit) in Howards treasuary coffers…

Oh and what happened then, care of that small government, dregulation philosophy of conservatives. The Global Financial Crisis, you know that little problem that’s brought the world to it’s knees (in 08’ when Rudd and Obama were given a HOSPITAL pass) with countries on the verge of bankruptcy. Like Ireland, Spain, Greece, Japan whose debt is 125% of GDP, the US 75% of GDP etc.etc.

Australias debt is a whopping 6-7% of GDP, the second lowest of the G20 with Germany being the only country with less debt. Except our GDP is growing faster than Germany’s.

Never mind the glowing reports from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Australia’s economic preformance. Just listen to Joe (blackhole) Hockey, he’s going to give you unbias spin and the truth is he..??. Listen and believe what you want to believe it’s easier for you that’nt it..??

Not the IMF with NO vested interest.

DD Ball replied to DD Ball
Fri 12 Aug 11 (12:56pm)

Collin, you haven’t replied yet, but I decided to re evaluate your contribution. I have decided you were giving us an example of political correctness, and re defining the observations to suit your response. Clearly that is a commendable form of satire.

Fair and balanced is wrong. Conservatives lost government after Rudd called himself an economic conservative and promised to follow similar economic measures. Rudd lied. Rudd also promised to be fair and compassionate with boat people, to improve health and education and provide affordable child care for all. Compelling promises all unrealised. - ed

Just Nonsense



A faithful Cafe patron sent me this link to a Huffington Post essay by Mary Bottari. I read it, and have nothing specific to say save that it’s nonsense from top to bottom – nonsense of a sort that elicits no reply given that not the faintest whiff of reason wafts through the essay.

Anyone who finds insight in such an essay has as much hope of being reasoned with as a tree stump has of being taught to tap dance.

I confess to suffer occasionally the urge to address every such absurdity that crosses my path. And I sincerely appreciate the Cafe patron sending to me the above link. But some such ravings – such as the above – are simply too ridiculous. Just as every verbal ejaculation by every New Age therapist professing the healing powers of crystals and stones need not be addressed by serious physicians, every shriek by pundits on the economy who know absolutely nothing about the economy need not be addressed by serious economists.


Here’s a letter to the New York Times:

Seeking to dictate what other people eat, Elizabeth Newton opines that “In a perfectly functioning economic world, all consumers would receive perfect education about good nutrition and then simultaneously demand that fast-food companies and grocery stores start offering healthy options, thus forcing Big Food to supply what the people demand. Until that happens, we need regulation of NestlĂ©, Monsanto, McDonald’s and the rest of the moguls that dictate our diets” (Letters, Aug. 11).

If arrogance were calories, Ms. Newton’s letter would make a Baconator Double burger seem like a broccoli floret.

She assumes that “Big Food” earns higher profits by selling products that consumers really don’t want than by selling products that consumers really do want. This startling proposition requires for its justification more than Ms. Newton’s presumption that she knows other people’s true preferences better than do those people themselves, and better than do the entrepreneurs who, in competitive markets, earn their livings by satisfying those preferences.

In fact, the likes of Ms. Newton are simply pests preening as know-it-all “Progressives.” Her superciliousness highlights the truth of H.L. Mencken’s observation that “one man who minds his own business is more valuable to the world than 10,000 cocksure moralists.”*

Donald J. Boudreaux

* H.L. Mencken, “Another Long-Awaited Book” (1926), reprinted on pages 346-349 of Mencken, A Second Mencken Chrestomathy (New York: Knopf, 1995); quotation is on page 348.

And as GMU Law Dean Dan Polsby points out to me in an e-mail:

She [Elizabeth Newton] claims that the necessary precondition of liberty is omniscience! Apparently, only God can be free!

Dan’s is a deeper and better point than the one I focused on in my letter.

Also, Frank Stephenson from over at Division of Labour e-mailed me to point out that fast-food restaurants today do offer salads, bottled water, and other low-calorie fare. No one is obliged to buy a Big Mac or a chocolate shake for lack of lower-calorie options.


Here’s a letter sent yesterday to the Wall Street Journal:

U.S. Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) are eager to “create jobs” by spending other people’s money on a slew of top-down, bureaucrat-directed programs aimed at “closing the skills gap” (“How to Close the Skills Gap,” August 10).

My how creative.

Overlook the questionable record of government efforts to educate children and retrain workers. Ask instead: Why should anyone pay attention to what politicians say about job creation? In this case, Ms. Landrieu has been in politics since she was 25 years old; Ms. Murray – after stints as a pre-school teacher and as an environmental and education activist – has been in politics since she was 35. Apparently, the only qualification these women have to pronounce in your pages on the subject of job creation is their success at winning lofty political offices.

If the likes of Ms. Landrieu and Ms. Murray were to offer advice on how to repair your collapsed roof or on how to rid your house of termites, they’d be seen immediately for the imposters that they are. But when it comes to economics, politicians’ statements sadly are taken as serious contributions to the public discourse even though – as is the case in your pages today – those statements reflect a quality of thinking that would embarrass a twelve-year-old.

Donald J. Boudreaux



Tim Blair – Friday, August 12, 11 (10:50 am)

How did the old song go …

I love to hear those convicts squeal
It’s a shame these slugs ain’t real

Shylock Holmes in LA calls for a revival of the 10cc tradition, with particular London emphasis. That won’t impress the Guardian, now in concern-growth mode:

Concerns are growing that those involved in the riots and looting of the past few days will get rough justice because of the speed with which they are being shunted through the judicial system amidst public and political desire for retribution.

Experts also have anxieties about the ability of an overcrowded prison system to cope with the influx.

Those charged seemed perfectly fine with crowds when they were among them looting shops. One anxious expert is probation officers’ union secretary Harry Fletcher:

He said he feared that proper assessment of motivation and social circumstances would not take place.

Not losing any sleep over it here, Harry.

Magistrates, sitting through the night, have already handed down sentences in spite of having to find people at short notice to write social inquiry reports.

Just write one, then loot a photocopier. Problem solved.

Fletcher said: “Motivation is complex. We have here greed, opportunism, wilful vandalism, and intense dislike of the police.” It was not like the political and race riots of the 80s, he said. ”It is essential officers take time and are reflective before they reach conclusions. That will be very difficult to do …”

They’ve got their scheduling all backwards. It should run like this: you put these idiots in prison for several years first. Then you’ve got all the time for reflection that you’ll ever need. So will the prisoners, come to think of it.



Tim Blair – Friday, August 12, 11 (10:33 am)

Andrew Bolt’s Sunday Age subversion – the paper called for Gaia-lovin’ “directions” on climate change coverage – is the most fun had at a dumb broadsheet’s expense since Operation Clark County in 2004. Crikey earth mother Margaret Simons reports:

It was bubbling along quite nicely. One of the chief worries, of course, had to be that being online, and being run by progressive young people, the exercise would fail to reach out beyond inner-city lefties. Sunday Age editor Gay Alcorn told me this morning she had been ringing around rural organisations, such as the CWA and farmers’ groups, to try and expand the reach.

But then, starting last weekend and again yesterday evening and today, Andrew Bolt lent a hand.

Consider that reach expanded. Margaret’s readers ain’t happy.



Tim Blair – Friday, August 12, 11 (10:15 am)

AAP’s senior political writer Paul Osborne considers the government’s recent strategies:

The latest Newspoll out this week continues the coalition’s solid, election-winning lead and Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s low popularity level.

That is despite the prime minister announcing over the break a number of policies Labor strategists had hoped would be game-changers and get the party back in the running for re-election …

Astonishingly, while two in three voters say they now have a good understanding of the carbon tax package, they say the details are more likely to change their view for the worse.

How about that.

(Via Andrew P. No link available)



Tim Blair – Friday, August 12, 11 (10:12 am)

The Daily Telegraph‘s Gemma Jones, far more gentle in legal disputes even than me, recently picked up a token $30 in a settlement of some kind. She’s converted it into a Blackberry enhancement:




Tim Blair – Friday, August 12, 11 (10:11 am)

Wall Street Journal arts critic Richard Woodward reviews Senna:

Is “Senna” too worshipful? Is it sharply tilted against Mr. Prost? Should the film have mentioned the ugly lawsuits brought against Senna’s last team owners by his family? Does the documentary suffer from being authorized by them and F1’s authorities?

The honest answer is “yes” to all of the above.

There’s definitely a point, however, to Woodward’s next lines:

But to anyone who knows nothing about Senna or auto racing, or to those who are reminded by this elegiac tribute how much he is still missed, the sentimental answer will be “not at all.”

The film opened in Australia yesterday. Anyone planning on seeing it?



Tim Blair – Friday, August 12, 11 (10:09 am)

Authentic gladiator fights in Rome:

For the first time perhaps since the fall of the Roman empire, a group of centurions faces prosecution for mounting an assault on brother officers just a few paces from the Forum.

(Via Irobot, who emails: “I’d actually pay to see that.")



Tim Blair – Thursday, August 11, 11 (03:20 pm)

Andrew Wilkie in 2003:

I just don’t believe that a war at this time would be worth the risk.

In fact, a war is the exact course of action most likely to cause Saddam to do exactly what we’re trying to prevent.

I believe it’s the course of action that is most likely to cause him to lash out recklessly, to use weapons of mass destruction and to possibly play a terrorism card.

Further from Wilkie in 2003, as he warns of a humanitarian disaster in Iraq:

[Saddam] could do it with weapons of mass destruction. He’s already used chemical weapons against the Kurds, and he could do the same again.

And now Wilkie demands an inquiry into weapons he once worried about but which have evolved into non-existence:

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie wants former prime minister John Howard to explain to a parliamentary inquiry why Australia sent troops to Iraq in 2003.

At the time, Mr Wilkie was an intelligence officer with the Office of National Assessments and resigned his post because he said the Government had no evidence Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Well, except for all the evidence from Wilkie.

(Via Alan R.M. Jones)


Sergeant Smith, is that you?

Andrew Bolt – Friday, August 12, 11 (01:03 pm)


Not a disguise you’ll see in many police operations:

Police disguised as gladiators, dustbin men and members of the public raided the gang made up of seven families working with five tourist agencies.


How immigrants defended Britain

Andrew Bolt – Friday, August 12, 11 (09:41 am)


Cristine Odone says those like these Sikhs protecting their temple from the mobs have shown the British how to stand up for their community:

In Southall, west London, a crowd of turbaned Sikh men stood guard outside their temples last Tuesday night. Some held swords, others hockey sticks as they defied the looters to approach. None dared.

Over in Whitechapel, rioters were held back by 1,500 Muslim men – mostly Bengali, but also Somalis – emerging from the mosque after evening prayers. In Ealing, Monika Gnoinska, a Pole who came here 20 years ago, and her daughter Agneska, 27, decided that they couldn’t stand by and “watch these gangs wreck the country”. Armed with brooms and dust-pans, they joined their eastern European neighbours in a collective clean-up operation: “The street was full,” Monika said, “and everyone was saying, ‘We work hard, and we’re grateful to Britain for what it’s done for us. We won’t allow any more nonsense.’ “ Turks in Dalston, Poles in Ealing, and Kurds in Haringey stood up to the thieving thugs at night, then spent the day helping repair the damage.

Across the country, ethnic communities have emerged as the heroes of the week’s riots – and, in the case of the three Muslim youths who were killed as they defended their neighbourhood in Birmingham, its martyrs. They have shown themselves to be not just as law-abiding as the Anglo-Saxons, but far more inspiring…

Yet in the tight-knit enclaves peopled by Kurds, Sikhs, Poles and others, a strong sense of community does survive. Everyone knows each other and what they’re up to; and everyone shares a clear belief system… It is mutual obligations, not government incentives or punishments, that motivates members of such communities. Dependence on the state is largely seen as unacceptable…

They also know that crime is punished: not necessarily by the police, but by parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins and neighbours. In the familiar surroundings of Ealing, Southall, and Birmingham, social stigma turns rule-breakers into pariahs. Over the past few days, immigrant communities have challenged the British way of life. They have dared their hosts to revive their own moribund communities, to rebuild broken families, and to adhere to a moral code. Can the natives measure up?

(Thanks to reader Steve.


Slumming it

Andrew Bolt – Friday, August 12, 11 (06:52 am)

Andrew Gilligan finds that some London looters joining the mayhem live in homes with tennis courts:

They were, some said, the alienated poor, those without hope, lashing out in rage and despair. But as the accused London rioters started appearing in court they included university students, a wealthy businessman’s daughter and a boy of 11.

Among the accused was Laura Johnson, 19, daughter of a successful company director. She lives in a detached converted farmhouse in Kent, with extensive grounds and a tennis court. She is an English and Italian undergraduate at Exeter.

Before that, she attended St Olave’s Grammar, the fourth-best state school in the country, where she studied A-levels in French, English literature, geography and classical civilisation. On Wednesday, at Highbury, she was accused of looting the Currys superstore, in Charlton, of electrical goods worth £5000 ($7800).


She’s so good that taxpayers must fund her

Andrew Bolt – Friday, August 12, 11 (06:44 am)

ABC presenter Deborah Cameron seriously needs to get some perspective:

GEE whiz, the quicksand’s real. A few months ago Barack Obama had the scalp of Osama bin Laden and everybody thought: Wow! this guy rocks. A couple of weeks ago David Cameron nearly got the scalp of Rupert Murdoch, and everybody said: Whoa! this guy rocks.


Bob Brown just reminds Gillard of her past

Andrew Bolt – Friday, August 12, 11 (06:37 am)

Nationals Senator Ron Boswell says Julia Gillard’s past politics help to explain why she’s so open to the nonsense of the Greens:

WHEN Lateline host Tony Jones asked then deputy opposition leader Julia Gillard about her involvement in the Socialist Forum, she said, “I did clerical and administrative work, Tony. This is so long ago. It’s the days before modern computers and the internet, in the days where if you wanted to put out a meeting notice to people you wouldn’t send an email, you’d get out an envelope and put it in your IBM electric typewriter and type up the address and then get the next one.” ...

(But) she was not simply typing addresses on envelopes, a response that degrades her serious contribution as officially noted in publisher credits as a Socialist Forum representative on the editorial committee… She is in the main editorial game for a series of publications that set out extreme policy strategies from the Left…

For example, one of the Gillard (editorial committee) titles, The Greening of the Red, a recipe for left-wing totalitarian control via environmental activism, calls for re-regulating the exchange rate, reintroducing tariffs and reducing imports and foreign investment.

In view of Gillard and the Greens’ recent stirring about the media that coincided with disagreeable (to them) coverage, it is wise to heed what Gillard and others in the Socialist Forum wanted the media to look like in this country. They advocated public funding for media outlets to be run by co-ops and community groups rather than businesspeople, on a non-profit basis.

There would be partial public funding of publications by small groups whose views would not otherwise be heard. (Extreme candidates come to mind.)

Commercial broadcasting and advertising would be phased out in long-term anti-consumerist programs by governments. This was in order to create a tide of red-green values that would become a successor to democracy.

The following quote reveals the extent of social engineering these lefties believe in: “Mechanisms which have been proposed for value change range from enhancement of ‘green’ education to revival of those religions which respect Nature.

“Fundamental reconstruction is required in our cultural consciousness and information systems for the longer term, though beginning as soon as governments can be talked into commencing the necessary reforms.” (Page 120, The Greening of the Red)


Do activists opposed to boat people get grants, too?

Andrew Bolt – Friday, August 12, 11 (06:24 am)

Why is only one side of the boat people debate being funded by taxpayers? Were taxpayers even consulted?

WHEN Immigration Minister Chris Bowen goes looking for someone to blame for dragging the government’s Malaysia Solution into the High Court, he should look at who is behind the obvious candidate, David Manne.

Manne is executive director of Melbourne’s Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre and is the immediate force behind this challenge....Yet the source of much of Manne’s influence can be traced back to one of Labor’s key players, Victoria’s former attorney-general Rob Hulls…

Four years ago, when Labor was in office in Victoria, Hulls ... agreed to use $334,080 in public money to supercharge Manne’s legal centre and make it a national player in the debate over what to do with boatpeople.

Across two years, money flowed out of a Victorian statutory fund and into the RILC, which used it to build a special projects and policy unit....Not content with merely applying the law, the policy unit’s goal is to change the law…

The centre’s annual report for 2008-09 says the unit was intended to “improve public policy, legislation and administration in the areas of refugee and immigration law”....

The statutory fund that created the special projects and policy unit is officially administered by the Victorian Legal Services Board.

But, in reality, all grants from the fund had to be approved by Hulls before any money could flow, a condition made very clear in the board’s annual reports.

The ultimate source of that money was not the state government but thousands of unwitting consumers of legal services....Every time Victorians leave money in the trust account of a solicitor, state law requires that the Legal Services Board skim off some of the interest.


Scaremongers iced

Andrew Bolt – Friday, August 12, 11 (06:05 am)

Scrap all those claims that the Arctic ice could melt clean away by next year or the year after.

Forget you ever saw that Four Corners documentary which warned ”in 2012/13 we could have an ice-free Arctic”. Ignore Tim Flannery.

In fact, there’s an even chance now we could get more Arctic ice, not less, over the next decade or two:

Although Arctic sea ice appears fated to melt away as the climate continues to warm, the ice may temporarily stabilize or somewhat expand at times over the next few decades, new research indicates.

The computer modeling study, by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, reinforces previous findings by other research teams that the level of Arctic sea ice loss observed in recent decades cannot be explained by natural causes alone, and that the ice will eventually disappear during summer if climate change continues.

But in an unexpected new result, the NCAR research team found that Arctic ice under current climate conditions is as likely to expand as it is to contract for periods of up to about a decade.


Surplus promise becomes an “objective”

Andrew Bolt – Friday, August 12, 11 (06:02 am)

Is this indeed a weakening of a fundamental promise? I cannot believe the Gillard Government would even contemplate breaking its word on this:

THE Gillard government’s pledge to return the budget to surplus by 2012-13 became an “objective” today, with Wayne Swan appearing to modify the commitment in the face of global financial uncertainty.
The Treasurer ... told ABC radio in Perth that “we’ve been doing that and we have put in place the objective of coming back to surplus in 2012-13 because that’s important to send a message to the world”.

The subtle change in language came amid calls for the government to abandon the surplus deadline, and delay its carbon tax, to help the nation ride out the economic storm.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard was similarly equivocal yesterday, saying the government was “working to return” the budget to surplus in 2012-13.


Michelle Grattan believes the change of wording is indeed deliberate:

The government believes its promised return to surplus next financial year is likely to be unattainable. Gillard now says ‘’we are working’’ to achieve it; ‘’we expect to do so’’. This compares with her earlier unequivocal language.

If the surplus promise has to be broken, it will mean bad things are happening with the economy - yesterday unemployment rose from 4.9 per cent to 5.1 per cent - and they would feed into the government’s political troubles.

But what of the implications of breaking another high profile promise? No one needs to be reminded of the issue Gillard has with promises.

Indeed. There may be many reasons to argue that the surplus target be postponed. But Gillard has broken so many promises and botched so many programs that not delivering on this fundamental, explicit guarantee will rightly be used to judge her as utterly untrustworthy.


Dennis Shanahan:

It is perfectly reasonable, desirable, for a government to be prepared to shift on economic targets as world conditions shift and budgets have to adjust. In another climate such a shift could be achieved reasonably and with limited backlash.

The fact that Labor turned a budget projection into an iron-clad political foundation for its re-election in 2013 and has been unable to shake the impression of an incompetent government makes shifting on this surplus all the harder and more damaging.


Steel-making threatened, Coalition steeled for cuts

Andrew Bolt – Friday, August 12, 11 (05:48 am)

So into this shaky economy, why don’t we introduce a perfectly useless, world-first carbon-dioxide tax that will cost jobs?

THE nation’s biggest steelmaker - and one of the fiercest critics of Labor’s proposed carbon tax - has put the future of its historic Australian operations under review in the face of the soaring dollar and weak demand.

BlueScope Steel, whose chairman, Graham Kraehe, says the Australian manufacturing industry is “under siege”, last night announced a $900 million writedown of its asset values and signalled a review of its “domestic steelmaking production capacity”....

BlueScope - the former BHP arm that employs about 5000 workers at its blast furnaces at Port Kembla in NSW and southeast of Melbourne - hinted at further writedowns and suggested that cutting production was the only chance to get back on a sustainable financial footing.

Last night’s statement made no mention of the Gillard government’s planned carbon tax.


BlueScope’s revelation comes on the heels of warnings from analysts that the combination of the strong dollar, sluggish market conditions and the effects of the proposed carbon tax meant the company could be forced to scale back its Australian operations.

Credit Suisse steel analyst Michael Slifirski said in a research note on Wednesday that BlueScope could respond by idling one of its blast furnaces at Port Kembla and by mothballing its Western Port hot strip mill. He suggested the drastic moves could cost $200 million and 2000 jobs.

In this context, the Opposition will not be punished too much for this:

THE Coalition could shut down entire government departments as its searches for $70 billion in budget savings to fund promises for the next election, including up to $8bn in cuts to personal tax.,,

(Channel) Seven said leaked frontbench documents indicated that Tony Abbott’s plan to dump Labor’s carbon tax would cost $27bn over four years, while scrapping Labor’s new mineral resources rent tax would cost $11bn.

Added to $8 billion in tax cuts and $37 billion in existing Coalition policy commitments, a Coalition government would have to find $70 billion worth of cuts to existing Labor programs.

Not that it’s clear Labor’s new mining tax, still not settled, would actually raise that $11 billion.


Even our guardians import drugs

Andrew Bolt – Friday, August 12, 11 (05:43 am)

Can we really trust no one?

A HIGH-POWERED inquiry will be launched into the secretive NSW Crime Commission following theconviction yesterday of one of Australia’s top policemen on drugs charges.

The NSW government set up the inquiry just hours after disgraced NSWCC assistant director Mark Standen was found guilty in the NSW Supreme Court of conspiring to import $120 million worth of pseudoephedrine…

Standen, the former assistant director of investigations at the commission, organised the plot to import the 300kg shipment from his office in Kent Street, Sydney, where he worked under commissioner Philip Bradley and director John Giorgiutti.


We’re all glad to help, aren’t we?

Andrew Bolt – Friday, August 12, 11 (12:02 am)

Everyone, from Crikey author Margaret Simons to Sunday Age editor Gay Alcorn, insists with tight bright smiles that our help has been so welcome. Says Simons:

Now, here is an interesting thing. I have written a few times about the OurSay organisation, a group of young people who are using social media to enable participatory democracy. Last weekend it was announced that they had partnered with The Sunday Age in an exercise designed to allow the public to direct that paper’s climate-change reportage....

The Sunday Age exercise is partly as a result of my recommending OurSay to some key people there.... Top investigative reporter Michael Bachelard is overseeing the exercise, which is a small example of the kind of citizen’s agenda exercise advocated by US journalism thinker Jay Rosen.

And in a nice alignment of the planets, Rosen is going to be in Australia very soon now, as a keynote speaker at the New News conference, held by the Public Interest Journalism Foundation as Swinburne University (which I chair) in conjunction with the Melbourne Writers Festival.

OurSay will be involved there, too, because we are using them to crowdsource questions that will be put to media leaders, including ABC managing director Mark Scott, Fairfax’s Greg Hywood and Crikey’s Sophie Black. The author of the most popular question will join these three on a panel on the afternoon of Saturday August 27. Details here.

But back to The Sunday Age exercise. It was bubbling along quite nicely. One of the chief worries, of course, had to be that being online, and being run by progressive young people, the exercise would fail to reach out beyond inner-city lefties. Sunday Age editor Gay Alcorn told me this morning she had been ringing around rural organisations, such as the CWA and farmers’ groups, to try and expand the reach.

But then, starting last weekend and again yesterday evening and today, Andrew Bolt lent a hand.Using his blog, which has a very high readership, he advocated a vote for this question:

“The very point of Australia’s carbon tax is to reduce global warming. How much will reducing 5% of Australia’s around 1.5% contribution of global CO2 emissions reduce global temperature by? If the amount is negligible (which it is), then given the present economic turbulence, what is the probability of Australia’s carbon tax inspiring major emitters like USA, China and India to make ACTUAL cuts to their C02 emissions (as opposed to mere carbon intensity) and economic growth?"…

Well, it worked. Yesterday afternoon there were about 900 votes for this question on the OurSay site. But last night, after Bolt’s advocacy, it took off like a runaway train....

So what does The Sunday Age think about this? Alcorn told Crikey this morning that it was “great”.

But Alcorn now suggests she may not answer our questions, after all:

If good questions are asked, we will answer them.

Er, who defines “good”?

And Simons is hoping for rescue from the Left:

It has to be likely that those with views contrary to Bolt’s will now get active and compose and vote up questions.

OK. Let’s sum up what we now know.

Our question - and perhaps the other sceptical ones we’ve helped to lift into the top four - now looks like being asked in some very awkward places where debate on global warming has never been allowed. They include the Melbourne Writers Festival.

But it seems clear that Simons and Alcorn are hoping like hell that GetUp or some other Leftist outfit will come to the rescue with a mass voter turnout to stop our question from being asked.

I think you know what to do. Subvert the dominant paradigm!


Your agenda on climate change could become our agenda,’’ says the Sunday Age.

How exciting. Vote, vote, vote.

Great idea
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