Piers Akerman – Saturday, August 20, 11 (06:42 pm)
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is not one to miss an anniversary if it provides a photo opportunity - particularly when the minority government she leads needs to divert public attention from its ever-growing mire of moral and economic failures.
Miranda Devine – Saturday, August 20, 11 (06:00 pm)
At a time when the problem of fatherless children has been rammed home by feral youth rioting in London, we saw last week an example of how the state has actively sought to exclude fathers from their children’s lives.
The law change was not flagged in the moving forward 2007 election for NSW, but the ALP weren’t held to any actual promise. So long as Mr Debnam did not wear swimwear. The press have been appalling in covering the issue. But, even so, what would anyone expect? The lifestyles are experimental and can really only be afforded by independent wealth. They don’t live the lives of poor people. They can sue for justice, but only the lawyers will win.
He has a child. If he wants to raise a child, he can adopt. Solomon had an answer. That brings the welfare of the child in sharp relief. The Solomon solution.
… is from page 43 of my colleague Dan Klein’s 1998 monograph 3 Libertarian Essays:
Liberty and dignity complement one another. Their mutual dependence helps to explain why the price of liberty is vigilance. Encroach on liberty this morning and you cause an erosion of dignity this afternoon, which itself will generate a new encroachment on liberty tomorrow, and so on. If we neglect this multiplier effect, we are apt to underestimate the hazards of coercion.
Here’s a letter to Politico:
Helen Greiner and Jared Cohon rightly sing the praises of robotics, which have unmistakably improved manufacturing processes and, as a consequence, raised people’s standard of living (“Robots are a boon for the economy,” August 19).
But their tune turns discordant when they call for more government “investment” in robotics. It’s both logically and historically fallacious to conclude that, because something is desirable, government should subsidize it.
The lone example Ms. Greiner and Mr. Cohon offer to make their case for robotics subsidies actually does the opposite. That example is of Drew Greenblatt, CEO of Martin Steel Wire Co. In 2002 Mr. Greenblatt invested in robotics for his production facilities. As Ms. Greiner and Mr. Cohon explain, “What seemed like a risky decision has paid huge dividends. Revenues increased six-fold…. Greenblatt is [now] exporting his wire baskets to China and 34 other countries.”
The profit motive clearly inspires firms that can profitably use robotics to use robotics – and, hence, inspires robotic researchers and builders to improve robotics in order to make robots ever-more attractive investments to the likes of Mr. Greenblatt. And this market-driven process is unalloyed by the partisan gamesmanship and lack of on-the-ground expertise that invariably poison political decision-making.
Donald J. Boudreaux
(HT Scott Lincicome)
Here’s George Selgin on the 1920-21 economic downturn in the U.S. His conclusion:
Proponents of Keynesian pump-priming often berate the Hoover administration for its “liquidationist” strategy for dealing with the outbreak of the Great Depression–forgetting that it was Hoover himself who caricatured Andrew Mellon, his Secretary of the Treasury, as someone who wished to “liquidate” the stock market, farmers, real estate, and so forth, and who took pride in not having followed his advice. But Mellon was also Harding’s Secretary of the Treasury; and Harding, unlike Hoover, trusted him. It is one of the greater ironies of economic history that “liquidationist” policies, including government austerity, are blamed for prolonging a depression for which those policies were set aside, while being denied credit for perhaps helping to end one for which they really were put into practice.
Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:
Charles Krauthammer criticizes Pres. Obama for serving Americans nearly three years of lies, half-truths, ruses, and excuses (“Bad luck? Bad faith?” Aug. 19). These criticisms are justified. But Mr. Obama is not unique. Expertise at fraud and passing-the-buck is part of the job description. As Will Durant noted, “it is a lesson of history that men lie most when they govern states.”
We are destined to suffer the insults and ill-consequences of such deception and excuse-making as long as holding high political office is attractive – which is to say, as long we continue to give such frauds power over our purses and our lives, and to regard the exercise of such power as an honorable occupation.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Tim Blair – Saturday, August 20, 11 (04:05 pm)
The Guardian‘s guide to those charged following London’s riots reveals that of 1.7 million cases heard in British magistrates courts last year, only 3.5 per cent resulted in defendants being remanded in custody. Also, only 10 per cent of violent crime cases were remanded.
Tim Blair – Saturday, August 20, 11 (03:55 pm)
A magazine unManned:
Robert Manne has for more than six years lent his professional authority, intellectual clout and left-wing political opinions to The Monthly magazine, but yesterday he resigned as chairman of the editorial board.
It’s a defining moment of our generation, kind of like when Perfect Match was cancelled in 1989, or when Lano and Woodley were appointed as Moomba Monarchs. But still bigger news awaits:
Manne last night confirmed he was stepping down in order to focus on his writing, including a new blog to be published on The Monthly’s website. He said it was important his blog writing was separate from the magazine.
Oh, absolutely. It’s the most important thing ever. Stay tuned for further Manne-ly developments.
Tim Blair – Saturday, August 20, 11 (03:50 pm)
The latest of many recent cancer comments from caring leftist Richard Ryan, most of which are routinely deleted:
Climate Change causes cancer!
Tim! how is the terminal cancer these days!
Only Crikey‘s Guy Rundle has shown anything close to the same fascination with my amusing medical history, but even he gave up a year or so ago. Richard, God bless him, just never stops.
Tim Blair – Saturday, August 20, 11 (06:47 am)
Embattled Labor MP Craig Thomson’s claim another union official repaid $15,000 in escort agency bills charged to the MP’s credit card is in doubt amid assertions no such payment was made.
A former senior Health Services Union official has told The Daily Telegraph the only person who paid back $15,000 to the union in recent years was former Victorian state secretary Jeff Jackson – and that had nothing to do with prostitutes.
The revelation comes as a former Australian Taxation Office official predicted Mr Thomson would face an investigation into his finances …
Mr Thomson issued a “no comment” yesterday when asked about the payment.
The staff at Tiffany’s aren’t saying much, either, although they’re not exactly paid to talk. (Incidentally, I live nearby to a similar establishment, and once answered the door to a confused prospective customer. The look of disappointment on his face was heartbreaking.) Laurie Oakes reports:
Things must be a little uncomfortable at the moment for Mark Davis, media adviser to Climate Change Minister Greg Combet. His job is to help the Gillard government survive, but he might have signed its death warrant before joining team Labor.
Davis, you see, is the journalist who originally broke the story that now has Craig Thomson fighting for his political life, and the government’s life as well.
It was Davis, a Fairfax journalist, who reported in 2009 that Thomson was in strife over the use of union credit cards when he was an official of the Health Services Union before entering parliament in 2007.
With Davis now in Labor ranks, it’s just as well that another observer is following this issue closely:
Parliamentary kingmaker Andrew Wilkie says he is watching ‘’closely’’ the controversy around the besieged Labor backbencher Craig Thomson.
With fresh allegations emerging this week that Mr Thomson misused his credit card while a union official, Mr Wilkie told The Saturday Age that given the uncertainty about key facts, he was not yet in a position to make definitive judgments. But he added: ‘’I am, of course, following this issue closely.’’
Keep it up, Andrew. At least you’re doing more than the Prime Minister.
Tim Blair – Saturday, August 20, 11 (05:17 am)
If they don’t want it, take it off them:
Up to a quarter of cyclists on Sydney’s busiest CBD streets are ignoring Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s controversial bike lanes and choosing to ride on the road.
Over a 12-hour period, close to 200 riders took their chances in heavy traffic on College St rather than use the designated cycleway that runs parallel to the road.
According to Bicycle NSW chief executive Omar Khalifa, the bike lanes are too slow for many riders:
Mr Khalifa said that faster cyclists preferred the road and were entitled to be there.
Once on the road, of course, cyclists slow down cars. But you can’t argue with entitlement.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (04:37 pm)
Worse and worse:
Embattled Labor MP Craig Thomson’s claim another union official repaid $15,000 in escort agency bills charged to the MP’s credit card is in doubt amid assertions no such payment was made. A former senior Health Services Union official has told The Daily Telegraph the only person who paid back $15,000 to the union in recent years was former Victorian state secretary Jeff Jackson – and that had nothing to do with prostitutes.
The revelation comes as a former Australian Taxation Office official predicted Mr Thomson would face an investigation into his finances…
A storm has raged around Mr Thomson since it was revealed NSW Labor paid more than $150,000 for legal fees after he dropped a defamation suit against Fairfax in March. The suit was over newspaper claims he used his corporate credit card for prostitutes.
Thomson denies misusing his expenses to pay for prostitutes.
THINGS must be a little uncomfortable at the moment for Mark Davis, media adviser to Climate Change Minister Greg Combet....
Davis, you see, is the journalist who originally broke the story that now has Labor MP Craig Thomson fighting for his political life, and the Government’s life as well.
It was Davis, as a political journalist, who reported back in April 2009 that ... the MP for the marginal NSW central coast seat of Dobell “faces allegations that his union credit cards were used to pay for escort services and to withdraw more than $100,000 in cash as well as bankroll his election campaign”....
“These allegations are about as serious as they come,” the Climate Change Minister’s press secretary wrote in his former role.
Now Davis has to stand by while Combet says things like: “Well, I haven’t seen any recent news about Craig Thomson, but he’s a close colleague of mine and I’ve worked with him for a number of years and I’m not aware of any more recent suggestions.”
As a defence it’s pathetic, but apparently the best he can do with anything like a clear conscience.
Worse and worse and worse:
BESIEGED MP Craig Thomson is likely to face an Australian Taxation Office investigation of his financial affairs as questions mount about cash withdrawals and visits to brothels claimed on his former Health Services Union credit card.
Could this explain Labor’s eagerness to pay Thomson a reported $90,000 or more?
Documents uncovered in the Fairfax defamation case show his signature on a credit card voucher, with his driver’s licence number.
The large bill ($2475) has prompted speculation within Labor that several people may have used the services on the day in question. There are rumours those people might have included a senior union official and senior Labor Party identity.
You wonder how the Health Services Union could be so dysfunctional? Here is a meeting two years ago of the HSU Victorian branch, where some of the allegations were aired (but not on this clip). (More here.)
(No comments for legal reasons. Thanks to readers Alan RM Jones and the Great Waisuli.)
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (03:43 pm)
Just get the hell out of our face. From the Financial Review:
(Thanks to reader Elizabeth.)
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (10:05 am)
Paul Keating does not need much invitation to hate, and his former speechwriter, Don Watson, got a lot more of it than he thought he’d invited when he asked the former Prime Minister to help launch his book:
Watson has not since worn the soft-yellow suit he wore at the launch at the suggestion of his then wife, Hilary McPhee. He was later told by Phillip Adams that Keating was outraged by his dress sense: the colour of the suit and the fact that it was crumpled. “The final insult was to his sartorial sense.”
The only conversation between the two since then came a year later, when Watson was in Sydney and rang Keating to suggest they have a drink.
“There was a long pause. And then I felt a bit like Manuel in Fawlty Towers: ‘Mr Keating, he go crazy!’ And he stopped half an hour later. I don’t know what he said. It sounded insane to me. He just shouted, ranted. Then his battery went down and he hung up and that was it. Haven’t heard from him since.”
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (09:50 am)
What blind dreamers and vandals are running our immigration program?
GANGS carrying guns, samurai swords and knives are terrorising doctors and nurses at a suburban hospital.
Warring Asian, Sudanese, Somali and Pacific islander gangs had taken their battles into the emergency department.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (09:44 am)
Just one more snafu with the Gillard Government’s Malaysian solution - and one that would not have occurred had it stuck with Nauru instead:
THE Gillard government’s Malaysian “people-swap” agreement has been undermined by the arrests and likely deportation to China of a group of asylum seekers registered with the United Nations in Kuala Lumpur…
it will undermine one of the government’s central claims - that Malaysia is a suitably safe place to send asylum seekers - when the full High Court hears a challenge to the people-swap deal on Monday. Amnesty International ... said the arrests cast doubt on a cornerstone of the people-swap deal - that those sent to Malaysia would not be refouled (sent back) to the countries from which they had fled.
But to call it the Malaysian “solution” is actually wrong:
THE quota under the Federal Government’s Malaysian solution is almost half-full without a single asylum seeker having left the country, following the arrival of another boat.
HMAS Ararat intercepted a boat with 71 asylum seekers and two crew off Christmas Island.
This will take the number of asylum seekers who have arrived on the island in the three weeks since the Government signed its Malaysia deal above 330.
The future of the deal - which would see up to 800 asylum seekers traded for 4000 confirmed refugees from Malaysia - is unclear.
A full bench of the High Court will hear the case of refugee lawyers and the government on Monday in Canberra.
(Thanks to reader CA.)
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (09:08 am)
Yet another wild and desperate promise by Julia Gillard turns sour:
EMBATTLED NSW Labor MPs are quietly distancing themselves from the government’s promise to introduce mandatory pre-commitment for poker machines, describing the impact of a Clubs NSW grassroots campaign against the measure as ‘’worse than the carbon tax’’.
Almost every NSW MP attended a private meeting this week with the Families Minister, Jenny Macklin, and Ben Hubbard, the chief of staff to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, about the measure, promised to the Tasmanian independent, Andrew Wilkie, as part of the deal to win his support for Labor to form government. A second meeting was held with concerned Queensland MPs.
‘’The mood was toxic,’’ one backbencher said. ‘’The general view was that this is bigger than the carbon tax. It is hurting us much more than the carbon tax.’’
Clubs NSW has held rallies in clubs across the state to protest against the mandatory pre-commitment by gamblers of how much they intend to bet, which it claims will force job cuts and reduce the cash that clubs can invest in sporting organisations and local causes…
Mr Wilkie says ... he will bring down the Gillard government if it is not legislated by next May.
During the winter break Clubs NSW held scores of ‘’Save our Clubs’’ rallies as part of a campaign targeting the electorates of 25 Labor MPs, 15 of them in NSW.
Long-term local members found themselves being booed and jeered by hundreds of club patronswho believe the government’s plan to stop problem gambling by introducing mandatory pre-commitment for bets of more than $1 a time on poker machines will destroy the clubs where they go for a cheap meal and a flutter.
The crowds, sometimes numbering in the thousands, were egged on by a video message from the broadcaster Alan Jones, in which he says their message to Julia Gillard should be ‘’go away, get out of our lives, we’ve heard you, we don’t like you’’.
At least two of the MPs - backbencher Craig Thomson, who is under pressure over allegations of using a union credit card to pay for prostitutes, and Daryl Melham, who is president of the Revesby Workers Club - were so flustered by the angry attacks they responded in kind and were later forced to apologise.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (08:54 am)
IT shocks me how little the Left seems to care about the scandal slowly engulfing federal Labor MP Craig Thomson.
Don’t they realise Labor’s apparent cover-up doesn’t merely trash the Labor brand?
It also injects poison straight into the carcass of our culture.
You think I exaggerate?
Then before I detail the case of the brothel expenses charged to Thomson’s union-supplied credit card, let’s see what the Left rightly said this week about another expenses scandal.
In Britain, dozens of MPs were exposed two years ago as having fiddled their expenses. Six were jailed.
Britons got a toxic message: the people lording it over them and setting the rules were themselves thieves and frauds, all covering up for each other.
So why be honest yourself?
Labour leader Ed Miliband recalled that scandal when trying to explain last week’s astonishing riots, in which thousands of people went looting in a dozen English cities.
“It’s not the first time we’ve seen this kind of me-first, take-what-you-can attitude,” Miliband said.
“The bankers who took millions while destroying people’s savings: greedy, selfish, immoral. The MPs who fiddled their expenses: greedy, selfish, immoral.
“Let’s talk about what this does to our culture.”
Yes, let’s. Let’s talk about the Thomson scandal and what it does to our culture. Craig Thomson has been the Labor member for Dobell, on the NSW coast, since 2007.
Before his election he was national secretary of the Health Services Union, which gave him a union credit card, which he used over the years to withdraw more than $100,000 in cash.
That credit card was also used twice to pay a Sydney brothel, as the Opposition’s shadow attorney-general, Senator George Brandis, told Parliament this week under parliamentary privilege.
“On two occasions—on April 8, 2005 and August 16, 2007—calls were made from Mr Thomson’s mobile telephone to the telephone number of Sydney Outcalls, an escort agency.
“On April 9, 2005, and August 16, 2007, the HSU credit card issued to Mr Thomson was used to pay for services provided by Keywed Pty Ltd, which is the corporate entity which trades as Sydney Outcalls.
“The payments were in the amounts of $2475 and $385 respectively. The credit card vouchers were signed in Thomson’s name, and a driver’s licence number, which corresponds to the number of Thomson’s driver’s licence, was endorsed upon the receipts.”
What’s more, the signature on the credit card voucher also seems to match the one on Thomson’s driver’s licence.
You may think you now know the story here, but Thomson insists he did not pay for prostitutes and his credit card was used by another man—one he won’t identify—who repaid the union $15,000.
Yet he admits to having approved, as the union boss, the payment of the $2475 charged to his account by this man, although he says he didn’t know it was for a brothel.
At this stage, most of the questions are for the union and Thomson. As in: why didn’t they call in the police, if only to charge the man Thomson claims fraudulently used his card?
The only investigation now under way is by Fair Work Australia, which is investigating the union’s finances under Thomson.
But here is where Labor and the Gillard Government become tainted.
Thomson two years ago sued the Sydney Morning Herald, which first reported these details. But last year he dropped the case before it went to trial, which left him with not only his costs but the paper’s.
Those costs are said to be more than $200,000, and early this year the NSW Labor Party gave Thomson $90,000 or more to help him meet them.
This is an incredible use of cash raised from Labor members. Thomson was given Labor money for a private legal action he launched over something he allegedly did as a union leader, not a Labor politician.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (08:46 am)
How utterly insane is this Government to plan to send $57 billion a year overseas, just to buy permission to keep our coal-fired power stations running? Terry McCrann explains:
BY 2050, Australia will be sending $57 billion a year overseas just for the right to keep our lights on, as a direct consequence of Julia Gillard’s carbon dioxide tax and consequent emissions trading scheme.
Let me make it perfectly clear. We won’t be getting anything tangible back for that $57bn.
It doesn’t buy us windmills or solar panels made in China. It doesn’t buy us technology or licensing rights. It’s not even a (carbon dioxide) tax, that would at least generate revenue for the government. It just sends money to foreigners for “permission” to keep a few of our coal-fired power stations operating.
That is to say, it will be an entirely artificial cost, imposed on all Australians, by this Gillard-Brown government, with not the slightest offsetting benefit. It has the same economic consequences as taking $57bn and just shredding it. Every year.
This extraordinary “fact” is in detailed Treasury modelling of the proposed carbon dioxide tax.
It’s astonishing that a government could blithely commit to throwing away—it’s not even like foreign aid—$57bn a year of our national income.
It’s even more astonishing that the formerly credible Treasury department could conclude that throwing away that money every year would have almost no negative impact on our economy.
And even more startling yet that all this is of no interest to the media or the broader commenteriat.
I am not aware in the weeks that have elapsed and all the hundreds of thousands of words and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of learned commentaries on the issue, that anyone other than Henry Ergas in this paper on August 3, has even noted, far less discussed, this bizarre and simply insane aspect of the carbon dioxide tax.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (08:23 am)
IT has been a busy week for global warming alarmists, but you’ve probably been too freaked about the economy to panic about the climate, too.
So here’s a quick update.
First, the good news. Queensland’s Office of Early Childhood Education and Care is already creating future citizens to help us avoid a climate apocalypse.
Remember how pre-schoolers dreamed of being nurses, police, farmers, truckies and soldiers? No more. Now they’re being trained to build our new green future.
The OECEC’s latest video burbles that the “experts of tomorrow are in kindy today”, and shows them, handily labelled—the eco-tourism guide, solar panel installer, urban planner and motivational speaker, no doubt to take over from where Tim Flannery will, please God, leave off.
It reminds me of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which Arthur is picked up by a space ship transporting frozen humans.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (08:00 am)
Former Prime Minister John Howard, in this extract from his updated Lazarus Rising, tells how Labor went so wrong:
Rudd’s first big political error was to read too much into his strong personal approval ratings. He didn’t understand that although initial public support for him was broad, it was not very deep. Thus began his imperial treatment of the Labor Party.
A taste of this was his arrogant insensitivity to Labor feelings in choosing to visit the newly mothered Cate Blanchett in hospital in preference to attending the funeral of John Button. Button was a revered Labor identity… Rudd’s action must have caused many Labor MPs to begin to wonder whether or not their new PM believed that loyalty in a political party should flow both ways…
So in the shadow of a remarkable political victory were sown the seeds of an even more remarkable and highly dysfunctional relationship between the senators and members who comprised the federal Labor caucus and their leader, which culminated in the abrupt and ill-advised removal of Rudd as PM on June 24, 2010.
Rudd’s implosion continues to haunt federal politics. It, coupled with Gillard’s failure to win in 2010 in her own right, has denied her a quality crucial for any prime minister—authority....The broken promise on a carbon tax has added to her burden…
The whole episode served to reinforce the sense of irrelevance felt by ordinary party members.
If Rudd had stayed PM then Labor would have won the 2010 election. Those who organised Rudd’s demise not only panicked, but showed contempt for Labor’s foot soldiers.
The Labor caucus may have blundered in ousting Rudd, but he carries immense blame for becoming vulnerable to his colleagues’ brain snap.
He treated them and the public service contemptuously; he travelled abroad far too much in his early months, thus creating the impression that he had no serious domestic policy agenda.
Ironically, so far from Rudd saving Australia from the global financial crisis, the reverse was almost certainly the case.
Reacting to the economic plunge of 2008 gave him a challenge to respond to. Before that he had begun to appear as a prime minister in search of a rationale.
As early as June 2008, there were rumblings that Rudd had no reform agenda and reports emerged of the chaos in his private office. In a little over six months he had shown a capacity to establish inquiries but not bring about change.....
Rudd’s overkill response to the GFC caused Labor ongoing damage. Not only were millions wasted on pink batts, school building programs and ill-directed $900 cheques, but in the process this Labor government acquired the indelible mark of profligacy. The Australian people believe that it wastes money.
Howard rightly adds that Rudd “fantasises” about sweeping back to the Prime Ministership, but warns that his colleagues still loathe him. As for the polls:
No doubt Rudd is mesmerised by the polls, which rate him ahead of Gillard. He should take a reality check. Those polls reflect the public’s disillusionment with Gillard more than enchantment with Rudd.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (07:51 am)
How often have the Greens told us to “respect the science”:
Senator Christine Milne ...said The Greens were committed to evidence-based policy… Of that famous (and unpublished) climate change commentator, Lord Munkton (sic), who will be visiting Australia soon, she said: “He will collect the last of the climate science denialism left in this country and take it with him when he flies home.”
But how anti-science they really are was soon obvious when Greenpeace protesters destroyed a crop of genetically modified wheat grown by the CSIRO, falsely claiming it was a threat to human health:
ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury used to work for Greenpeace and says he is not surprised the group has taken such action.
“It’s always very controversial these sorts of actions, but you have to stand up for what you believe in sometimes,” he said.
And now, more science denialism:
QUEENSLAND Premier Anna Bligh has lashed out at the Greens, saying they cannot cherry-pick the science of climate change to suit their ideology and accused coal-seam gas critics of relying on misleading research. ...
“The CSIRO, which I think is one of the most well-respected science organisations on the planet, considered this issue in 1995 and, I think, put beyond any doubt that the emissions from coal-seam gas are considerably less, between 50 and 70 per cent, than coal-fired generation,” Ms Bligh said.
During the week, Greens leader Bob Brown said the “jury was still out” on whether gas was “cleaner” than coal when used for power generation and his deputy leader, Christine Milne, said there needed to be more scientific study into gas.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (07:19 am)
SOMEHOW, 20 or 30 years ago, we managed to get by without lots of laws telling us not to say anything that might upset someone.
Somehow, we managed to act more or less decently without them.
I don’t remember race riots, for instance, or migrants so upset by the unbridled rudeness of the unleashed masses that they wrote in tears to their relatives warning them never to come to this vicious place.
But one of two things has since changed. Either we’ve turned the country into a barrel of gunpowder, so tense with new or imported tensions that the slightest flame, a single hard word, could blow us all to hell.
Or some professional authoritarians have managed to impose on us a whole lot of needless and offensive laws to bully us out of saying what they find inconvenient.
The truth may be a bit of both, since it’s only in the past decade, for example, that we started having to jail people for terrorism offences—every one of them adherents of a faith that’s only lately grown to any significant numbers.
But I suspect the bigger problem is the rise of a new class of totalitarians, creating laws that licence the intolerant, who can now force others to shut up even when they speak fair.
The very latest example of the kind of person caught in such snares is Michael Smith, a former policeman and managing director of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra who now is a radio presenter on Sydney’s 2UE.
Smith is being investigated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority for having stated in an interview with a Muslim activist that the Muslim prophet Muhammad ‘’married a nine-year-old and consummated it when she was 11’’.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (12:06 am)
Scenes of despair. A reader writes:
This week in Canberra Labor MPs gave up pretending that things were going to be OK and were quite vocal amongst themselves about the plight they were in and what might happen at the next election whenever it is called.
Labor Senator Mark Bishop from Western Australia did not even care that Liberal staffers were in ear shot when he told colleagues very loudly in the corridors that Gary Gray in the Perth seat of Bland was finished and he can’t possibly win.
His colleagues just seemed to nod and accept their fate.
Gary Gray is a good and capable man, and a friend. What a loss to Labor he’d be.
So why the hell don’t these people rage against the dying of light? Block the carbon dioxide tax. Get in a hardheaded new leader. At least go out with pride.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (12:04 am)
Reader Kate reports on the progress of the Convoy of No Confidence, on its way to Canberra from 11 parts of Australia:
We have just had a message from our son who is co-driving a truck from Charters Towers to Canberra.
On their way through Clermont this morning the convoy were presented with a donation of $13,000.00 to help with the cost of fuel!! Now that is passing the hat around, particularly for a town of less than 2000 people.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, August 20, 11 (12:03 am)
Reader B warns:
There has been nothing mentioned in the media about the “Carbon Tax’s” effect on refrigerant, so I feel compelled to inform you as a refrigeration wholesaler, that the impact of this useless tax will be massive.
In a nutshell, the price of refrigerant, which keeps all of Australia’s food fresh, will rise a minimum of 300% at the wholesale level. This is based on each refrigerants GWP (Global Warming Potential) multiplied by the carbon tax per tonne. eg. R404a has a GWP of 3862, which multiplied by $23/tonne equals $88/kg TAX.
The average supermarket has approximately 250kg of R404a in it to run all its fridges and freezers. So, after July 1 2012, the tax alone on the main supermarket gas, R404a, will equate to around $22000.00 for just 250kg, not including the cost of the gas itself, if they have a breakdown and lose their gas. Refrigerant leaks are a common problem in the trade.
Every new installation or breakdown will be affected. These costs will have to be passed on, or many businesses will simply have to close. The impact will be huge!