Friday, November 09, 2012

Fri 9th Nov Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Thuy Nguyen,Kevin Andrews and John Doan. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. Those with the most birthdays live longest.

Bolt Report on Sunday

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(3:58pm)

Labor says it will use Barack Obama’s tactics to destroy Tony Abbott.  Campaign and polling guru Mark Textor on what Labor will try, how Abbott should respond and whether he can survive. Don’t miss it.
Plus blog readers’ favorite Amanda Vanstone and Richard Dennis of the Australia Institute.
Topics: the green dream popped? Treasury debauched? The faked “war on women” and plenty more.
On Channel 10 on Sunday, 10am and 4.30pm.

2GB, November 9

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(5:56pm)

On with Steve Price from 8pm. Listen live here.
Last night - Canberra wanting more politicians, the great Martin Ferguson, global warming stuff, Price pinged, service pins and lots more. Listen here.

Spectator debate

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(3:55pm)

The propostion: foreign investment is out of control. The Spectator has got good speakers, too:

AWU scandal - Gillard contradicts the evidence

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(12:59pm)

 The AWU scandal
Michael Smith is all over the latest on the AWU scandal - which is set to take a very serious turn for the Prime Minister. 
The following is drawn from his blog.
First, let’s recall this exchange in Parliament, in which Gillard is asked why she didn’t tell police about her boyfriend’s frauds, which totalled at least $400,000,:
Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin—Deputy Leader of the Opposition)

(15:04): (EDIT) Why did not the Prime Minister herself report the fraud involving the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association that she helped establish?
Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (15:05): (EDIT)

By the time the matters she refers to came to my attention they were already the subject of inquiry and investigation.
On Tuesday, Gillard was finally goaded into answering questions again. A mistake:
Let’s just, there’s issues here with the coverage, and because of issues in the coverage, there are issues in your questions. 

My role here was as a lawyer. I provided advice on the incorporation of an association. I was never connected with the operation of any fund. Never connected with the operation of any fund. I was not an office bearer of the association. I was not involved in its activities. I was not involved in any bank accounts it may have held. I was not an official of the AWU. I was not in charge of the conveyancing file. So you are effectively asking me why didn’t I report to authorities things I did not know.
Problem 1 - “things I did not know”: 
This is what Julia Gillard said about her own home renovations in the Record of Interview with her partners on 11 September, 1995.

“I can’t categorically rule out that something at my house didn’t get paid for by the association or something at my house didn’t get paid for by the union or whatever.”
...As our reader David points out in his comment on this blog this morning, 
“So even at this point in time she IS admitting that the ASSOCIATION was acting oustide and beyond its charter, which ipso facto is fraudulent activity.  She is admitting she had/may have received a benefit she was not entitled to. She is admitting that something is not right… .”

Problem 2 - “ I was not in charge of the conveyancing file”: 

THE Coalition has questioned Julia Gillard for saying she was not “in charge” of the conveyancing file for a Melbourne property purchased with money from a union slush fund she helped create in 1992 for her then boyfriend, union official Bruce Wilson.
Julie Bishop said yesterday the Prime Minister was certainly involved in the conveyance of the property in Fitzroy, in Melbourne’s inner northeast, which was purchased by Australian Workers Union bagman Ralph Blewitt in 1993.
Ms Gillard attended the auction of the property and witnessed the power of attorney giving Mr Wilson control of the asset. He lived in the terrace house while managing the Victoria branch of the AWU.
Ms Gillard, then a salaried partner at Slater & Gordon, also declined to charge Mr Blewitt the firm’s normal conveyancing fee, in a handwritten note.
She also received correspondence from the Commonwealth Bank on March 22, 1993, confirming that the building was insured for $200,000. The file shows her involvement in other legal aspects of the transaction.
“The Prime Minister’s version of events is again called into question by documents that reveal she had a far deeper involvement in the AWU slush fund than she’s prepared to admit,” the Deputy Opposition Leader said.
“The Prime Minister was involved in the conveyance of a property bought with money from the slush fund that she helped establish.”

The Fitzroy house, bought with $100,000 from the slush fund, was sold by Mr Blewitt in February 1996, before police or the AWU leadership were aware of the existence of the fund.
I think Gillard is now tripping over the internal contradictions of her story. Still coming, revelations on another front - and then Parliament resumes for questions. 


Combet’s global warming circus gets worse

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(12:18pm)

Australia will sign up to a second commitment to the Kyoto protocol, ahead of what the Gillard government expects will be a comprehensive global emissions agreement taking effect in 2020…

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet told a carbon expo in Melbourne on Friday that Australia was “ready to join a second commitment period” of the protocol, which is to be discussed at global climate talks in Doha in December.

But the protocol - which covers less than 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and only from developed nations - was not enough on its own, he said. 
The IPA’s Tim Wilson:

Sadly the government’s mad decision to ratify Kyoto II is not a surprise. They boxed themselves in when they linked the scheme to Europe’s. Europe has been pushing hard that to have international permits held against a country’s UN target they have to ratify Kyoto II. I made this point here.
What isn’t being recognised is the additional cost impact. As I argued earlier in the year, one of the key requirements is a recognition that the assessment of the cost of methane rises, adding another $230 million overnight to the cost of the carbon tax and wiping out all household over-compensation..

Meanwhile, all the other major emitters, including the Obama administration, are not signing onto Kyoto II. This is sheer economic and policy madness. 
Still this could help bring about global freezing:

“We are probably entering a new ice age right now,” Lars Franzen, a professor of physical geography at the university, was cited as saying in an online statement today. “However, we’re not noticing it due to the effects of carbon dioxide.”
From the Government which brought you this… 
... comes this brazen claim by Climate Minister Greg Combet today:
I have spent a large part of my working life representing working people. I have never done what Mr Abbott has done – stood in front of people and wilfully deceived them. It is cynical and disrespectful of people.  He is and will continue to be judged very harshly by Australians for this deceit.  
How about deceiving people that there is a global warming apocalypse, and this farcical carbon tax will help to stop it, Greg? Shame on you for such a monstrous deceit - one that will destroy the jobs of the very working people you claim to care for.
But I don’t think this was very effective at all. The line-of-the-day, no-risk approach is running thin here:

A good proposal by the Government to bring those energy prices down?


Well, this is a government which has presided over a massive increase in prices. Power prices are up 89 per cent since Kevin Rudd became Prime Minister and the carbon tax is now making a bad situation worse. I think if the Government was serious about bringing prices down, it wouldn’t be lecturing the states about what they might do. It would be doing what it could do and that is getting rid of the carbon tax and that would instantly, on the Government’s own figures, reduce prices by 10 per cent.


But the truth is that the carbon tax is only contributing a small amount to those price rises. It’s only been in since July 1 and for these proposals that the Government is putting forward to work, it does need cooperation from state governments to deregulate power prices. Now, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has already said no. We’re getting similar indications from the NSW Coalition Government. Is that because it’s actually politically convenient to keep those prices high leading up to the federal election and just keep blaming it on the carbon tax?


No one wants to see prices high. Everyone wants to see prices down. But the most practical thing the Commonwealth could do right now to get power prices down is to take off the carbon tax and, you know, the whole point of the carbon tax, Lisa, is to raise power prices. The point I keep making is every time your power bill goes up, the Prime Minister has a smile on her face because that is the carbon tax just doing its job.


Alright. Well, you’ve already promised that, should you be elected Prime Minister, you will get rid of that carbon tax. That leaves you 79 per cent of those price rises you’ve got to play with. Can you guarantee that an Abbott government will bring energy prices down beyond taking off the carbon tax?


Well, that’s a very, very good start. That is a very good start and we would have the ACCC out there making sure that businesses did not profiteer once the carbon tax was off.


Ok, but you still haven’t answered my question. How much will you bring down energy prices beyond taking off the carbon tax?


Well, we will do vastly better than the Labor Party, Lisa, because there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead…


You’re still not answering my question, Mr Abbott.


But, Lisa, I’m saying there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead and when I say that, I’m telling the truth.


So should I get from that that you don’t actually have a plan on how to bring prices down beyond the carbon tax, beyond getting rid of the carbon tax, Mr Abbott?


That’s a very, very good start, Lisa.


Ok, well, I’ll have to take it that you don’t have a plan. Unless you’re going to put one forward, it doesn’t look like you’ve got a plan, Mr Abbott.


Lisa, the plan starts with getting rid of the carbon tax.


Ok. I think you’ve answered the question.


No one who is serious about getting power prices down whacks on a carbon tax because the whole point of a carbon tax is to get prices up. If they don’t go up, the carbon tax isn’t working. That’s the whole point of a price signal, Lisa.


Ok. Let’s move on. 
Abbott should at least engage on Gillard’s poles-and-wires, gold-plating red herring. What a lot of that investment in poles and wires is for, as even Energy Minister Martin Ferguson hinted yesterday, is to ensure you have electricity on the hottest days - when you need it most. When old people could die without it. Is Labor really wanting more blackouts?
Engage. Refusing to simply suggests you don’t know the issue or are trying on a swifty.


President Hu lectures the thieves before him

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(9:15am)

How many of those before him will change their ways?

In a long and wide-ranging speech to mark the beginning of China’s 18th Party Congress, President Hu Jintao warned that the party and even the country are facing fatal challenges if it does not do more to deal with the problem of corruption.
In his final remarks as leader of the political party that single-handedly rules 1.3 billion people and charts the course for the world’s second-largest economy, President Hu had a warning for the Chinese Communist party.

“Opposing corruption and building an honest and clean government is a clear stance the party has been adhering to and is an important political issue the people have been paying attention to. If we fail to handle this issue [corruption] well, it could prove fatal to the party and even cause the collapse of the party and the fall of the state,” he said.
Nearby sat Hu’s own Premier:


Another $700,000 for alarmists torn apart by sceptics

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(8:40am)

More Australian Research Council grants go to two teams of global warming alarmists who between them last produced papers which were shredded by unpaid bloggers, forcing one to be withdrawn and leaving the other still unpublished.
Yet it’s Alan Jones alone who must be sent for re-education.
Australia as Salem, 2012.
(Thanks to reader Rocky.)


It’s the economy, after all, stupid

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(8:27am)

Obama had a great campaign. America not so: 

At the closing bell on Thursday the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 120.95 points (0.94 per cent) to 12,811.78.
The broad-based S&P 500 fell 16.99 (1.22 per cent) to 1,377.54, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite lost 41.71 (1.42 per cent) at 2,895.58.

The fall added to the Dow’s 313-point drop on Wednesday - the biggest one-day loss in a year - one day after Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney at the polls.
Reader Aussie Boy says this describes the US today - but it’s also ringing uncomfortably true for Australia: 
Alexis de Tocqueville knew what he was talking about: 
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”

“When the taste for physical gratifications among them has grown more rapidly than their education . . . the time will come when men are carried away and lose all self-restraint . . . . It is not necessary to do violence to such a people in order to strip them of the rights they enjoy; they themselves willingly loosen their hold. . . . they neglect their chief business which is to remain their own masters.”
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America Volume 2
Romney’s melancholy but useful role has been to refute those determinists who insist that economic conditions are almost always decisive. Americans are earning less and worth less than they were four years ago; average household income is down $US3800; under the 11 presidents from Harry Truman through George W. Bush, unemployment was 8 per cent or more for a total of 39 months but was over that for 43 Obama months. Yet voters preferred the president who presided over this to a Republican who, more than any candidate since the Great Depression, made his economic expertise his presidential credential. 
Our PM will have learned three things from Obama’s victory. The first is that politicians who pass unpopular taxes for which they have no mandate can still get re-elected. Obama had ObamaCare. Gillard has the carbon tax. The second is that relentlessly negative advertising works. Romney allowed his opponents to define his public image as a multimillionaire leveraged buyout merchant. Abbott is at risk of being defined as a woman-hater. The third point is related to the second. The Democrats claimed the Republicans would launch a “war on women”. Whether true or not, the claim helped swing female voters to Obama. Gillard has already played the gender card, and she’ll keep on playing it.

For Abbott the worry is that maybe voters in Western liberal democracies have stopped worrying about where the money is coming from.
 If Americans don’t seem concerned by their national debt of more than 70 per cent of gross domestic product (twice the level it was five years ago) it’s difficult to believe Australians would be any different, particularly as we face a comparable debt figure of less than 10 per cent.

With the Gillard government promising to create a national disability insurance scheme and more funding for schools and dental care, it comes across as mean-spirited to ask where the money is coming from. And the pressure will be on the Coalition to match whatever Labor pledges – because more government spending is what people say they want.
The confluence of the mendicants, the envious, the abortion lobby, what I will call the cohort of damaged women, and the social sciences know-nothings has proven a formidable combination. They are a new constituency amalgamation that will affect the politics of the United States for the foreseeable future.


Forecast: Swan to spend $122 billion he doesn’t have

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(8:20am)

A lavishly spending Government is about to run out of money big-time:

The Gillard government’s policies will create underlying budget deficits for the rest of the decade, deepening the government’s dependence on debt and making it harder to fund new education, disability and dental care programs, according to an independent budget forecaster. Modelling firm Macroeconomics will publish research today that estimates the federal budget will accumulate so-called structural deficits of $122 billion between 2013 and 2016.
The structural deficit calculation strips out potentially temporary factors, such as the terms of trade boom… Without the China boom, Australia’s budget would be in similar shape to the US and UK, which have budget deficits of as much as 10 per cent of gross domestic product, ­Macroeconomics director Stephen Anthony said.
Dr Anthony said the federal budget should be in surplus by at least $15?billion given the economy’s strong growth rates in recent years.
He predicts in today’s report that Mr Swan will fail to deliver this year’s $1.1 billion surplus promise unless he cuts spending further or increases taxes in what will be an election year.

“The Treasurer is in this predicament, mostly, because in five budgets .?.?. he has a track record as a net discretionary policy spender at around $120 billion,” Dr Anthony says.

Labor will go the Obama way: smear big, woo small

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(8:04am)

Labor’s campaign will borrow from Barack Obama’s strategy of smearing the opponent and stitching together a coalition of affinity groups, particularly women, with micro-campaigns using social media:
Labor officials believe they can learn a lot from US President Barack Obama’s winning campaign team as they seek to secure another term in government under leader Julia Gillard.

The Labor Party plans to borrow strategy and campaigning techniques from Barack Obama’s election campaign to convince key groups, including women, to reject Liberal leader Tony Abbott.
Labor figures, including members of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s personal staff, have been given access to parts of the successful Obama campaign’s inner workings and plan to adapt them for Australia.
Ms Gillard’s unusually close rapport with Mr Obama has resulted in her senior political strategist, John McTernan, linking up with the Obama camp’s lead pollster, Joel Benenson…
Labor officials believe they can learn a lot from the Obama campaign team. Sophisticated databases allowed the campaign team to identify individual voters’ concerns and target them with direct messages. This is being credited as a major factor behind the coalition of women, blacks and Hispanics who carried the election for Mr Obama…
US political analysts say one of the triumphs of the Obama campaign was that it succeeded in defining Republican candidate Mitt Romney on its own negative terms rather than the Romney team’s positive terms.
As Labor has clawed back some of?its lost supporter base and Mr Abbott’s popularity has plummeted, several Labor strategists said the party would target the Opposition Leader’s character and judgment…

“The public has always had a question mark about Abbott and in recent months that has crystallised around issues of character and negativity,’’ a Labor source said. “A?frame has been very successfully put around him and he is struggling to find a way to deal with that. Once you have successfully framed the weakness of?your opponent, you stick with it through to the election.”
Labor now fondly dreams of winning some seats:
The South Australian seat of Boothby, Solomon in the NT, and Hasluck and Swan in WA are squarely in the sights of Labor strategists as possible Labor gains.
But they will need to do better to overcome the almost certain loss of:
- two seats in Tasmania.
- Craig Thomson’s seat.
- Rob Oakeshott’s seat.
- Peter Slipper’s seat (notionally LNP anyway)
- a bare minimum of two Queensland seats.
The Liberals are also very confident of Corangamite in Victoria, while Tony Windsor faces a stiff challenge from Richard Torbay.
And that’s presuming Labor can wipe out most of its polling deficit by the election.
Reader Andrew is an optimist:
Andrew, they will win on the basis of seats in Queensland, quite easily. LNP should win anything within the 5-6% margin next election. That means Moreton, Petrie, Lilley, Capricornia, Blair, Rankin and Oxley will go. I think everything else within 3% 2pp margin will go as well. That means Corangamite, Greenway, Latrobe, Robertson, Lindsay, Banks, Deakin and Reid will go. There will probably be a few more for NSW so we can give Page, Grayndler and Eden-Monaro to the Libs as well.

Labor will pick up the seat of Melbourne off the Greens and if Baillieu continues to go badly then Corangimite and Latrobe may stay with Labor and they have a chance of picking up Aston.

I think both Windsor and Oakeshott are in trouble and so is Craig Thompson’s seat of Dobell.The best case scenario for Labor based on what I believe is that the the Coalition will pick up around 17 seats, Labor will not lose any in Victoria, gain Aston and Melbourne and both Oakeshott and and Windsor will not lose their seats.


Rudd talks. And talks

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(7:37am)

An incomplete list of Kevin Rudd’s media appearances this week:
- co-host of Channel 10’s The Project.
- starts as new monthly commentator on 3AW’s morning show.
- on Radio National breakfast on Friday.
- on Phillip Adams’ Late Night Live.
- on Sky News.


Fairfax’s big papers lose one in six print readers

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(7:28am)

The increase in on-line subscriptions is great, but I doubt Fairfax is yet making up for its huge losses in sales of its dead-trees product:
The Australian ...  had 31,241 digital subscribers in the quarter, a 16 per cent increase on its unaudited March quarter figure of 27,000 subscribers.... Fairfax Media’s The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age totalled almost 120,000 during the quarter. In a like-for-like comparison, the Fairfax titles increased their combined daily digital sales 15 per cent from the June quarter, from about 76,000 to about 88,000…

Print-only circulation continued to dwindle… Combined sales for metropolitan mastheads fell by 6.1 per cent year-on-year, national titles were down 5.3 per cent and regionals declined 6.7 per cent.

Fairfax, which is abandoning loss-making or marginal print sales and concentrating on capital city markets, suffered huge falls in its metros. The SMH and The Age were down about by 15 to 17 per cent on weekdays and Saturdays compared to the same period last year. The Sunday Age was down 15 per cent and The Sun-Herald plunged 21 per cent.


Promise filtered

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(7:23am)

Another promise gone: 
COMMUNICATIONS Minister Stephen Conroy has revealed the government is backflipping on its commitment to provide a national internet filter and will instead solely focus on banning websites related to child abuse.

Despite much talk to the contrary since 2007, Senator Conroy said there would be no “mandatory filtering legislation” and instead the government would employ powers under the Telecommunications Act to target sites on the “worst of” list of Interpol…

The internet filter was a promise from Kevin Rudd before the 2007 election.
At this rate, Labor’s election policies are a good guide to what it won’t do.


Another dud Swan forecast

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(7:15am)

You’ve got Clive Palmer, who’s taken over the LNP in Queensland holus bolus...
CLIVE Palmer has gone to war with Queensland’s conservative government, calling for the heads of the state Treasurer and Deputy Premier in an outburst that will jeopardise his life membership of the Liberal National Party.

The billionaire miner yesterday blew up his truce with the Newman government, enforced after his criticism this year of public servants’ sackings, with an attack on Treasurer Tim Nicholls and Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, with allegations of conflicts of interest, intimidation and misleading parliament.

The outburst followed Mr Seeney’s announcement yesterday that he had ordered an audit of Mr Palmer’s mining operations in Queensland after a report one of his companies, Waratah Coal, had allegedly breached cultural heritage laws by grading roads and setting-up a camp without consulting Aboriginal groups.
Clive Palmer is a boof, of course.


Two more mines face the chop

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(7:10am)

So how’s that mining boom going - the one the Government said was paying for the handouts it scattered in the May Budget?

RISING costs and weaker commodity prices have cast serious doubt over two West Australian mining investments worth a combined $7.5 billion, with Japan’s Mitsubishi yesterday firing most employees at its Oakajee project and Jupiter Mines halting work on a planned iron ore mine.
The cutbacks come after miners including BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group pared back their Pilbara expansion plans and dismissed workers in recent weeks in response to a collapse in the iron ore price and an uncertain global economic outlook.

The $5.9bn Oakajee port and rail project, which is aimed at freeing up iron ore exports from Western Australia’s promising Mid West region, has been in serious trouble for at least 12 months, but project owner Mitsubishi has now sacked about 70 of its 110 employees and stopped work. 


Ferguson winks: clean energy will cost more for less

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(6:17am)

The White Paper on Energy delivered yesterday by Resources Minister Martin Ferguson still kowtows to the green movement in way that should embarrass him. 
- Ferguson still maintains we need “clean energy” for a probably non-solution to a possible non-problem of global warming.
- He is still forced to commit to the Greens $10 billion clean energy fund, a winner-picking cash splash unnecessary under a carbon tax and certain to waste billions of taxpayers dollars.
- He still gives supprt, albeit heavily qualified, to the fiction of Treasury forecasts on “clean energy generation” based in large part on the two unproven and now troubled technologies of geothermal and carbon capture: “By 2050, most of Australia’s conventional fossil fuel power
generation is likely to have been replaced with clean energy technologies in the form of wind power; utility-scale and distributed solar power; geothermal energy; and coal- and gas-based carbon capture and storage systems.”
- He still is forced to note his Government opposes nuclear, a far cheaper and more reliable supply of “clean energy” than wind or solar.
- He insists the Government will not go so green as to hurt consumers, while doing just that.
- He still commits to throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at the trying to make carbon capture work.
It’s a intellectual crime to concede so much to unreason, but Ferguson still sneaks in plenty to frustrate green campaigners.
- Ferguson’s White Paper confronts - albeit too gently for me - the Left’s religious hatred of nuclear:

AUSTRALIA may have to decide whether to proceed with nuclear power by the end of the decade ...if new low-emissions baseload energy technology cannot be commercialised in time to meet emissions reduction targets. Given the long lead times, this would force Australia to make a choice on nuclear energy by late this decade, the paper says.
- It suggests Treasury forecasts of green energy by 2050 may be more a dream than a protection and will cost a bomb: 

Based on the recent Australian Energy Technology Assessment mid-point technology cost estimates, this suggests that clean energy technologies could provide around 40% of Australia’s electricity generation by 2035 and up to 85% (or 305 TWh) by 2050, when fossil-fuel-fired generation with carbon capture and storage (CCS) would contribute 29%, large-scale solar 16%, wind energy and household solar photovoltaic (solar PV) 13% each, geothermal energy 9%, and hydroelectricity and bioelectricity 5%.
While these long-term estimates are heavily qualified and should be treated more as illustrations than predictions, they point to an enormous long-term change.

This ambitious transformation will be achieved from a currently modest but growing clean energy base… The transformation may require more than $200 billion in new generation investment between now and 2050.
- It warns that geothermal, the green power touted by investor Tim Flannery, the Climate Commissioner, has questions marks over it: 

To put this into context, we may need an additional 286 TWh of new clean energy capacity by 2050, but no significant Australian CCS, large-scale solar, ocean or geothermal generation systems are in operation today.
- It warns that carbon capture and storage (catching the gases of coal-fired plants and burying them) isn’t quite going to plan, either, and failure will cost plenty: 
Despite slow progress to date, commercialising CCS remains critically important to meeting long?term global emissions reduction goals..  Abandoning CCS as a mitigation option now would significantly increase the cost of achieving emissions reductions to limit average global temperature increases to 2°C.
- It rejects the Greens’ myth that the government subsidises fossil fuel production. 
A number of these claims relate to the existence of various business tax deductions or specific tax treatments for activities associated with energy resource development or production. The Australian government notes that the ability to deduct business expenses does not in itself constitute a subsidy.
- Ferguson in his speech yesterday emphasised that green power would cost extra:
Domestically, we are facing pressure to move to cleaner fuel sources and at the same time the cost of delivering this energy is increasing.
- He declared he didn’t want green power to price us out of business:
And lastly, an Australia that transitions to cleaner forms of energy over time in a way that does not impede our economic competitiveness.
- He warned even more strongly than does the White Paper itself that the green power targets may be unrealisable: 
Modelling within the Energy White Paper shows that, while fossil fuels will underpin our energy security for many years to come, clean energy generation could grow to provide over 40 per cent of our electricity needs by 2035 and potentially up to 85 per cent by 2050… But these results are far from guaranteed, and a range of technologies included in the projected energy mix are yet to become commercially available
I guess Ferguson has done as best he case in a government let by politicians determined to exploit the great green scare and desperate to keep Greens support.
But reading between the lines of his White Paper, the warning is clear. This “clean energy future” is going to cost more than you thought and deliver less than was promised. Indeed, it may fail so completely that nuclear power may be the climate change scoundrels’ last hope.
Nationals Senator Ron Boswell says what Ferguson dares not: 

The carbon tax is placing an $8 billion a year burden on Australia and must be abolished. Not far behind is the RET, which Labor’s chief whip Joel Fitzgibbon rightly has questioned…
Modelling done for NSW’s Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, the Climate Change Authority and other bodies all show that households would save about $270 a year with the RET and carbon tax gone…

Renewable energy is an expensive and ineffective way of reducing carbon emissions. The Productivity Commission estimates abatement costs to be $473 to $1043 a carbon tonne for solar technologies and $60 a carbon tonne for wind. The Electric Power Research Institute estimates that wind-powered electricity costs $150 to $214 a megawatt hour and solar photovoltaic systems cost $400 to $473/MWh compared with coal-fired electricity, which costs just $78 to $91/MWh.


Witch-hunting by Google

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(6:06am)

A very dangerous game:

The Sun reports that Phillip Schofield, who presents the UK show This Morning, handed Mr Cameron the list after doing what he said was “about three minutes” of searching on the internet.
Schofield however could be in some serious trouble as the names on the list are partly visible to viewers.
Mr Cameron did not read the list and said accusations against senior members of his party risked becoming a “witch-hunt” against gays.

“I’m worried about the sort of thing you are doing right now, taking a list of names off the internet,” he said.

Phillip Schofield, the presenter has apologised for ambushing David Cameron with a list of suspected paedophiles, saying he would never have been involved in any kind of witch hunt…
This afternoon the presenter added: “If any viewer was able to identify anyone listed, I would like to apologise and stress that was never my intention.

“I was not accusing anyone of anything and it is essential that it is understood that I would never be part of any kind of witch hunt..”


Merkel: Christians “the most persecuted”

Andrew BoltNOVEMBER092012(5:46am)

Odd that the German Chancellor should not have put Jews on top of that list, but Christians wouldn’t be far behind today:
Opposition lawmakers and human rights groups are criticizing German Chancellor Angela Merkel for claiming that Christianity is “the most persecuted religion worldwide.”
Rupert Shortt says in absolute numbers, Christians are indeed the most persecuted: 
Imagine the unspeakable fury that would erupt across the Islamic world if a Christian-led government in Khartoum had been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese Muslims over the past 30 years. Or if Christian gunmen were firebombing mosques in Iraq during Friday prayers. Or if Muslim girls in Indonesia had been abducted and beheaded on their way to school, because of their faith.

Such horrors are barely thinkable, of course. But they have all occurred in reverse, with Christians falling victim to Islamist aggression. Only two days ago, a suicide bomber crashed a jeep laden with explosives into a packed Catholic church in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, killing at least eight people and injuring more than 100… Other notable trouble spots include Egypt, where 600,000 Copts – more than the entire population of Manchester – have emigrated since the 1980s in the face of harassment or outright oppression.

Why is such a huge scourge chronically under-reported in the West?… Christians are targeted in greater numbers than any other faith group on earth.About 200 million church members (10 per cent of the global total) face discrimination or persecution: it just isn’t fashionable to say so.



Tim Blair – Friday, November 09, 2012 (5:05pm)

Without Labor, the poor Mayans never stood a chance: 
Revealed: Climate change led to decline of Maya civilization 



Tim Blair – Friday, November 09, 2012 (12:14pm)

The downside of winning the Presidency:




Tim Blair – Friday, November 09, 2012 (10:30am)

In Michelle Grattan’s mind, the government’s Treasury scam raises the question about the role that Tony Abbott’s playing
This week’s row over the department’s costing of the impost on business of three Coalition policies was a textbook exercise in government spin, countered by a tough opposition fightback.



Tim Blair – Friday, November 09, 2012 (10:24am)

The art and science of photoshoppery profit, as demonstrated by Sydney man Dimitri de Angelis.
Step one – obtain an image of the Dalai Lama:


Step two – put yourself in it:


Step three – repeat the process with other celebrity images.
Step four – collect $8.5 million.
Step five – go to jail.



Tim Blair – Friday, November 09, 2012 (10:18am)

Debutante Australian batsman Rob Quiney once weighed 115kg:


He’s since slimmed down to 87kg. Impressive. But check out the colour of that Gabba pitch for today’s First Test …
UPDATE. South Africa’s Dale Steyn seems motivated:



Tim Blair – Friday, November 09, 2012 (10:10am)

Australia’s female genital mutilation trial continues: 
Sydney’s close-knit Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community is starkly divided over allegations of female genital mutilation made against some of its members, a court has heard, with debate raging in the community’s online chat forums …
Magistrate Brian van Zuylen said there was much debate in the Dawoodi Bohra community about genital mutilation practices.
“From the [police] statement of facts there appears to be very different views from members of the community participating in chat forums,’’ he said.
‘’Some seem to be supporting the procedures while other, more moderate members are vehemently opposed.’’ 
No comments.



Tim Blair – Friday, November 09, 2012 (4:00am)

George Monbiot is furious with the Guardian and various Guardian contributors: 
Why is it considered acceptable to publish … ?
Please stop publishing … Thank you.
I wrote to her twice more, questioning that response, but I didn’t hear back. So here’s why I believe it is inadequate …
Why doesn’t she say so … ?
I have been unable to find any mention of this company … in the articles she has written for the Guardian over the past year.
Buying from this company is no guarantee of sustainability.
I’m constantly amazed by the number of right-on, socially conscious people who don’t think twice …
It’s easy for people to imagine that there can’t be a problem.
I have asked Angela for a response to these points, but have yet to receive a reply from her.
I’m concentrating my fire on these papers because I believe we have to sort out our own mess if our criticisms of other media are to be credible. In this case we have singularly failed to do so. There appears to be no connection between what the Guardian and Observer preach … and what we practice.
It’s as if they have scarcely heard that there’s a problem …
I have been able to find only two mentions of the implications of the decisions he’s asking us to make.
This advice, while generally sound, isn’t in this case very useful.
I have also written to Nigel, but, again, have had no reply.
I have not been able to find a word from him about the impacts …
Most of the time I’m proud to be associated with the Guardian and the Observer. But our participation in [this] makes me ashamed.
Does that amount to “censorship”? Or is it just a sensible and minimal response to one of the most urgent threats to the natural world?
I’d like to take up the issue with a number of senior staff on these papers, to see if we can develop a coherent policy 
The cause of George’s rage? Fish recipes.



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