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Australian Politics, Wingnutt vs Gillard and other stories.
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Be like Gough: 75 radical ideas to transform Australia | Institute of Public Affairs Australia

Be like Gough: 75 radical ideas to transform Australia | Institute of Public Affairs Australia | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
Australia's leading free market think tank. Promoting public policy based on individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peaceful international relations. Hundreds of studies, articles and publications available online.
Electric Car's insight:

 A list of the LunaTIC Right's Wants


If Tony Abbott wants to leave a lasting impact - and secure his place in history - he needs to take his inspiration from Australia's most left-wing prime minister.

No prime minister changed Australia more than Gough Whitlam.

When Whitlam took office in 1972, government spending as a percentage of GDP was just 19 per cent.

The Liberal opposition bitterly fought many of Whitlam's proposals. And it wasn't as if the Fraser government lacked a mandate or a majority to repeal them.

After the 1975 election, in which he earned a 7.4 per cent two-party preferred swing, Fraser held 91 seats out of 127 in the House of Representatives and a Senate majority.

Right of centre governments swing the pendulum to the right. But left-wing governments do so with greater force.

Europe's bloated and debt-ridden governments provide ample evidence of the dangers of big government.

If he hasn't changed Australia in his first year as prime minister, he probably never will.


1 Repeal the carbon tax, and don't replace it. It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy. But if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefits will be undone.

2 Abolish the Department of Climate Change

3 Abolish the Clean Energy Fund

4 Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act

5 Abandon Australia's bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council

6 Repeal the renewable energy target

7 Return income taxing powers to the states

8 Abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission

9 Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

10 Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol

11 Introduce fee competition to Australian universities

12 Repeal the National Curriculum

13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums

14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be 'balanced'

16 Abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to the common law

17 End local content requirements for Australian television stations

18 Eliminate family tax benefits

19 Abandon the paid parental leave scheme

20 Means-test Medicare

21 End all corporate welfare and subsidies by closing the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

22 Introduce voluntary voting

23 End mandatory disclosures on political donations

24 End media blackout in final days of election campaigns

25 End public funding to political parties

26 Remove anti-dumping laws

27 Eliminate media ownership restrictions

28 Abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board

29 Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency

30 Cease subsidising the car industry

31 Formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction

32 Rule out federal funding for 2018 Commonwealth Games

33 Deregulate the parallel importation of books

34 End preferences for Industry Super Funds in workplace relations laws

35 Legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP

36 Legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit

37 Force government agencies to put all of their spending online in a searchable database

38 Repeal plain packaging for cigarettes and rule it out for all other products, including alcohol and fast food

39 Reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities

40 Introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools

41 Repeal the alcopops tax

42 Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including: 
a) Lower personal income tax for residents 
b) Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers 
c) Encourage the construction of dams

43 Repeal the mining tax

44 Devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states

45 Introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax-free threshold

46 Cut company tax to an internationally competitive rate of 25 per cent

47 Cease funding the Australia Network

48 Privatise Australia Post

49 Privatise Medibank

50 Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function 
51 Privatise SBS 
52 Reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784

53 Repeal the Fair Work Act

54 Allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them

55 Encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors

56 Abolish the Baby Bonus

57 Abolish the First Home Owners' Grant

58 Allow the Northern Territory to become a state

59 Halve the size of the Coalition front bench from 32 to 16

60 Remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade

61 Slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the United States

62 End all public subsidies to sport and the arts

63 Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport

64 End all hidden protectionist measures, such as preferences for local manufacturers in government tendering

65 Abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification

66 Rule out any government-supported or mandated internet censorship

67 Means test tertiary student loans 

68 Allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement

69 Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built

70 End all government funded Nanny State advertising

71 Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling

72 Privatise the CSIRO

73 Defund Harmony Day

74 Close the Office for Youth

75 Privatise the Snowy-Hydro Scheme




Whitlam's vigour in government came as a shock to Australian politics.

Worse, governments acclimatise to being in government.

The time pressure on a new government - if it is to successfully implant its vision - is immense.

The National Curriculum centralises education power in Canberra, and will push a distinctly left-wing view of the world onto all Australian students. But it has been met with acceptance - even support - by the Coalition's state education ministers. This is because a single National Curriculum has been an article of faith within the education bureaucracy for decades; an obsession of education unions and academics, who want education to ‘shape' Australia's future.

The only way to avoid such departmental capture is to have a clear idea of what to do with government once you have it.

There's no way Tony Abbott could implement all of them, or even a majority. But he doesn't have to implement them all to dramatically change Australia.

We do not mean for this list to be exhaustive, and in many ways no list could do justice to the challenges the Abbott government would face.

The culture of government that threatens our liberty is not just ensconced in the ABC studios, or among a group of well-connected and publicly funded academics.

We should be more concerned about the Australian National Preventive Health Agency - a new Commonwealth bureaucracy dedicated to lobbying other arms of government to introduce Nanny State measures - than about bias at the ABC.

We should be more concerned that senior public servants shape policy more than elected politicians do. And conservative governments should be more concerned than they are at the growth of the state's interest in every aspect of society.

In doing so, he'd probably secure a couple of terms in office for himself and the Liberal Party. But would this be a successful government?

It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy. But if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefits will be undone. 2 Abolish the Department of Climate Change 3 Abolish the Clean Energy Fund 4 Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 5 Abandon Australia's bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council 6 Repeal the renewable energy target 7 Return income taxing powers to the states 8 Abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission 9 Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission 10 Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol 11 Introduce fee competition to Australian universities 12 Repeal the National Curriculum 13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums 14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) 15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be 'balanced' 16 Abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to the common law 17 End local content requirements for Australian television stations 18 Eliminate family tax benefits 19 Abandon the paid parental leave scheme 20 Means-test Medicare 21 End all corporate welfare and subsidies by closing the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education 22 Introduce voluntary voting 24 End media blackout in final days of election campaigns 25 End public funding to political parties 26 Remove anti-dumping laws 28 Abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board 29 Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency 30 Cease subsidising the car industry 31 Formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction 32 Rule out federal funding for 2018 Commonwealth Games 33 Deregulate the parallel importation of books 34 End preferences for Industry Super Funds in workplace relations laws 35 Legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP 36 Legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit 37 Force government agencies to put all of their spending online in a searchable database 38 Repeal plain packaging for cigarettes and rule it out for all other products, including alcohol and fast food 39 Reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities 40 Introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools 41 Repeal the alcopops tax 42 Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including: a) Lower personal income tax for residents b) Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers c) Encourage the construction of dams 43 Repeal the mining tax 44 Devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states 45 Introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax-free threshold 46 Cut company tax to an internationally competitive rate of 25 per cent 47 Cease funding the Australia Network 48 Privatise Australia Post 51 Privatise SBS 52 Reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784 53 Repeal the Fair Work Act 54 Allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them 55 Encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors 56 Abolish the Baby Bonus 57 Abolish the First Home Owners' Grant 58 Allow the Northern Territory to become a state 59 Halve the size of the Coalition front bench from 32 to 16 60 Remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade 61 Slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the United States 62 End all public subsidies to sport and the arts 63 Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport 64 End all hidden protectionist measures, such as preferences for local manufacturers in government tendering 65 Abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification 66 Rule out any government-supported or mandated internet censorship 67 Means test tertiary student loans 68 Allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement 69 Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built 70 End all government funded Nanny State advertising 71 Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling 72 Privatise the CSIRO

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Gmail - Julie M, Lindy Asimus, and 6 others have Tweets for you

Gmail - Julie M, Lindy Asimus, and 6 others have Tweets for you | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |

"Typhoon" Tony Abbott and Christopher "PyneOcchio" Pyne re the Gonski education agreement.

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Tony Abbott is weaker than Labor's crisis suggests

Tony Abbott is weaker than Labor's crisis suggests | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
Tad Tietze: What if many Australian voters parked with the Coalition were desperately looking for a reason not to vote for the right?
Electric Car's insight:

What if many voters parked with the Coalition were desperately looking for a reason not to vote for the right, but that Labor in its current configuration was too entrenched in crisis to give them one?


A closer look at polling data suggests that Abbott is in a much weaker position than the two-party preferred vote would indicate.


Voters often tell pollsters the conservatives are “better economic managers” than Labor, but Newspoll reveals that over six Labor budgets, there was never a majority of people who thought the LNP would’ve done a better job in the same economic conditions.


While Joe Hockey bemoans subsidies to save jobs in car manufacturing , according to Essential a majority of Coalition voters think it is important


“Australia has a car manufacturing industry, even if it costs hundreds of millions of dollars each year in government support”.


Given the gap between social attitudes and Coalition policy, it is unsurprising that more voters expect many social and economic indicators to get worse if Abbott wins than those who expect things to get better — including their own financial situation. Moreover, some of Labor’s key policies are strongly liked despite the party’s poor standing.


Ironically, the Gillard camp’s demonisation of Rudd may have boosted his outsider status, which he successfully used during the “Kevin07” campaign – and which could destabilise a disliked conservative insider like Abbott.


And even if Abbott wins, the Coalition’s fragile position won’t be resolved simply because he is prime minister.

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A shameful week to be a man

A shameful week to be a man | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
Mostly I dig being a man. It’s awesome. And being a middle class white man? Holy crap. I don’t need to buy a lottery ticket because I won all the things just by turning up. But sometimes ...
Electric Car's insight:

I don’t need to buy a lottery ticket because I won all the things just by turning up. But sometimes … I dunno.


Sometimes I am ashamed to have a dick, and I’m not talking about that time I woke up in a crowded train carriage with a gigantic travel stiffy. This last week, it’s been a shameful dick week.


Yes, Sattler, I’m looking at you. And your mate, Akerman. And that restaurant owner with the sub-moronic sense of humour. And the misogynist fools the Chief of the Army is talking to here . And that slobbering waste of human skin married to Nigella Lawson. And seemingly 95 per cent of the communters on Youtube. And the army of dickless wonders stinking up Xbox Live. And the celebrated rapists of rugby league.


And that soccer coach with the delightful Dark Ages twist on marital relations. And and and …


Or you don’t, because you are a misogynist dickless wonder who thinks the last week is all just a feminazi PC plot, or even worse just a bit of fun, or just what everyone is saying anyway.


At least Sattler had the nads and the lack of sense to front Gillard personally and destroy himself in an explosion of shameful stupidity.


Your smarmy, weasel words on the ABC’s Insiders, basically gargling and spitting up Sattler’s word vomit all over again don’t even get the grudging Jackass points that his suicidal performance demanded.


Maybe the way out of this strangely primitive cultural moment in which we find ourselves isn’t to talk to, or even consider the actions of the so-called men in question.


Because the truth is the world is not solely populated by misogynists and homophobes and embittered, deeply stupid and potentially violent males.

It’s also full of calmer, gentler, more intelligent and wiser men who know better than these fools and who are perfectly capable of standing them down.


Men who want better for women because so many of the people they care most about in the world are women.


Where are these blokes when a man puts his hands around a woman’s neck and starts to squeeze?


Where are they when some idiot demeans and disrespects a prime minister, not because of what she’s done, but because of what she is?

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The Dangers Of Fiscal Science Fiction

The Dangers Of Fiscal Science Fiction | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |

Last week the International Monetary Fund, whose normal role is that of stern disciplinarian to spendthrift governments, gave the United States some unusual advice. “Lighten up,” urged the fund. “Enjoy life! Seize the day!”

Electric Car's insight:

In its more formal statement , the fund argued that the sequester and other forms of fiscal contraction will cut this year’s U.S. growth rate by almost half, undermining what might otherwise have been a fairly vigorous recovery.


And these spending cuts are both unwise and unnecessary.


Even while urging us to run bigger deficits for the time being, Christine Lagarde, the fund’s head, called on us to “hurry up with putting in place a medium-term road map to restore long-run fiscal sustainability.”


No, it isn’t. And in practice, focusing on “long-run fiscal sustainability” — which usually ends up being mainly about “entitlement reform,” a k a cuts to Social Security and other programs — isn’t a way of being responsible. On the contrary, it’s an excuse, a way to avoid dealing with the severe economic problems we face right now.


In particular, projections of huge future deficits are to a large extent based on the assumption that health care costs will continue to rise substantially faster than national income — yet the growth in health costs has slowed dramatically in the last few years, and the long-run picture is already looking much less dire than it did not long ago.


As I like to point out, the conventional wisdom on these things seems to be that to avert the danger of future benefit cuts, we must act now to cut future benefits. And no, that isn’t much of a caricature.


Do you really expect those same Republicans to reach a deal with the president over the nation’s fiscal future, which is closely linked to the future of federal health programs?


Either way, the time for big decisions about the long run is not yet. And because that time is not yet, influential people need to stop using the future as an excuse for inaction.

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At Last, A Man Fights In Women's Corner

At Last, A Man Fights In Women's Corner | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
Just when I was about to throw my hands up in despair, along came a feminist hero from the most unlikely source.
Electric Car's insight:

It has been a rather unsettling week if you are a woman.


While I do not think of myself as naive about gender politics in this country - or, sadly, any country - I confess I was gobsmacked by the level of rudeness and disrespect displayed by men in senior positions about one woman in particular, while using language that insulted all women in general.


Indeed, I have done a bit of it myself.


Every woman I have spoken to this week, via social media or face to face, regardless of age or political point of view has been open-mouthed at the level of prejudice uncovered.


I have often said that most women underestimate just how much some men hate them; however, even I was unaware of just how deep the contempt can run.


I started to feel rather sick, literally nauseated, as I thought of the breadth and depth of the hatred that appears to be out there.


I am not talking now merely of the much-publicised menu and interview, I am also talking about comments and responses on social media - aimed at our Prime Minister and at all sorts of women, but particularly those with opinions.


It hasn't been so easy in the past couple of days. But just when I was about to throw my hands up in despair, along came a feminist hero from the most unlikely source.


Lieutenant-General David Morrison has single-handedly reminded me that most men are decent and compassionate people who recognise women as fellow human beings and reject the dark seam of misogyny and sexism that appears to run through our culture.


He blamed the men under investigation for the demeaning emails, not the women demeaned. This remains unusual.


His blunt statement that those who don't like the idea of a more inclusive and merit-based culture in the armed services should just ''get out'' is exactly the sort of no-bullshit statement women appreciate.


Indeed, sometimes it isn't until you hear a good and fair-minded man get outraged on your gender's behalf that you realise how much you have longed for just such a response.


Julia Gillard must have fortitude and strength of character like no other, and, I suspect, a damn good man in her corner. But we all get tired of feeling that because of our gender our words have been twisted, our hurt unacknowledged and our ambitions, efforts and ideas not taken seriously.


David Morrison, thanks to his strength and fortitude, has given us something we are often starving for: encouragement. That means he has quite literally passed on some courage. A quality, by the way, he seems to have in plenty - as befits a soldier.

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Just Don't Write Crap

Just Don't Write Crap | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
My observations of both the mainstream and independent media over this past week show just how far removed one is from the other. Stories that might be - should be - damaging to the Opposition are ...
Electric Car's insight:

My observations of both the mainstream and independent media over this past week show just how far removed one is from the other.


Stories that might be – should be – damaging to the Opposition are brushed off by the mainstream media (MSM) as mere leftie conspiracy theories, or, worse still, are somehow the fault of the Prime Minister or her party. Look at the menu-gate issue if you need further evidence of this.


Or look at the reaction to the Prime Minister’s misogyny speech in Perth a few days ago.


Both are treated as nothing more as the Government playing dirty, divisive tricks.


The MSM and the right-wing fan club are going to great pains in attempting to discredit those individuals with the integrity to reveal the menu-gate affair; allowing freedom to the perpetrators of this heinous act.


Those in the independent media are more interested in the story and holding the offenders to account. And in doing so, ie, wanting to put on the table the actual story and the players involved, they are immediately pounced on by the right-wingers as belonging in a loony bin.


Instead of asking if it is true – if they are indeed interested, which I doubt they are – their immediate reaction is to attack the innocent messenger. This site has been hit with a deluge of right-wing snipers, disturbed that we don’t toe the line of the right-wing press which must obviously provide them with a comfort zone. “How can you be independent when you religiously present a left view?”


It bewilders me that the right-wing protagonists find nothing wrong with the crap written by the media, yet they have no compunction in finding fault with the truth that fills the pages of independent media sites. Like their media heroes, I guess they have one interest only: ignore the truth and if it doesn’t go away . . . then distort it.


Three articles that should encourage one to ask: “Why should I have a problem with independent media while evidence abounds that when compared with the MSM, they don’t write crap?”


The first was titled


The shout heard round the world in response to Julia Gillard’s ‘attack’ on a misogynist Tony Abbott in Parliament last year.


To the Australian media, misogyny wasn’t a bad thing and neither was Tony Abbott’s display of it.


In one corner we have the international media, the social media and social analysts supporting her speech while in the other corner sits the Australian mainstream media going alone in its condemnation. Yet in the Australian media all we hear about are the opinions of the Australian media.


Where, in the Australian media, will you read such honesty as this?: When Australia’s prime minister, Julia Gillard, told the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, this week that if he wanted to know what misogyny looked like he should pick up a mirror, it was seen by many women as a defining moment for feminism in the country.


“I almost had shivers down my spine,” said Sara Charlesworth, an associate professor at the University of South Australia. “I was so relieved that she had actually named what was happening.


Prof Barbara Pini, who teaches gender studies at Griffith University in Queensland, said it was a watershed moment. “It’s incredibly significant to have a prime minister powerfully state that she has experienced sexism and even more powerfully state that she will refuse to ignore it any longer,” Pini said. “That the sexism which is so deeply embedded in the Australian body politic was named may give some women licence to express and seek to counter the sexism they have experienced in their working lives.”


Response was in stark contrast to much of the commentary in social media and conversations between women around the country, which were alive with praise for the prime minister’s stance. “Leader writers are generally white, middle-aged men and they have no perception of gender bias,” North said. “They don’t want to acknowledge that it happens within their newsrooms and they certainly wouldn’t be open to challenging some of those positions and changing the public discourse either.


Tim Dunlop, in his fabulous article on The Drum, The gatekeepers of news have lost their keys takes up the fight against the Australian media – one of the few in the media to do so – as he tackles the local bias: The authority of the media – it’s ability to shape and frame events and then present them to us as “the” news – was built upon its privileged access to information and the ability to control distribution.


The OECD’s latest economic survey of Australia released today shows once again that our economy stands tall amongst its peers, with 21 consecutive years of growth, robust economic fundamentals and a positive outlook in the face of acute global challenges.


The OECD commends the Government’s “exemplary handling of the global economic and financial crisis” avoiding recession in 2008-09. Although the OECD notes our economy is not immune from risks in the global economy, the survey notes that “[t]he current monetary and fiscal policy mix is appropriate to sustain recovery, and Australia is in a good position to respond to risks.”


As an aside, I’ve never supported the need for such a quick return to a surplus as I believe it has been the Government’s hasty response to pressure from the media, the public and the Opposition.


When the Prime Minister suggested that the media would gain some credibility if they didn’t write crap, it is clear that only the independent media heeded her call.

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Kiribati, the Canary Isle, proves air, land, and water pollution is REALLY HAPPENING

Kiribati, the Canary Isle, proves air, land, and water pollution is REALLY HAPPENING | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
The delegation of parliamentarians from four tropical Pacific Islands nations braved the Canberra cold last week, and that wasn't the only climate shock they suffered.
Electric Car's insight:

They watched the impressive intellectual exchange of question time in the House of Representatives on Wednesday and then moved on. But almost as soon as they left, Parliament started to debate a motion on whether the science of man-made climate change was real. This came as a bit of a jolt to the legislator visiting from Kiribati, a country of about 100,000 people on 33 small, low-lying islands strung along 5000 kilometres of the equator.


"Climate change is real in our places," Rimeta Beniamina, a government MP and vice-chairman of his parliament's climate change committee, told me, expressing surprise at what was going on in the chamber a few metres away.


"A few years ago it was not taken very seriously. But now quite a few villages are experiencing hardship. Beaches are eroding, houses are falling down, crops are damaged and livelihoods are destroyed. "The intrusion of salt water is very evident.


The sea level may be rising millimetres a year, but it is still rising.


Once the salt water enters the land, that's it.


Trees are falling along the coast, crops dying, pigs and chickens are affected." A US study published at the weekend in the journal Nature Geoscience found the global sea level had risen by 16.8 millimetres between 2005 and 2011.


Clark Wilson, a co-author of the study and geophysicist at the University of Texas at Austin, says: "There was an increase in the melting rate in Greenland starting in 2005 and that is probably the underlying story why," according to the Wall Street Journal. The academic study was funded by NASA and the US National Science Foundation.


The rising seas are whipped up by increasingly severe El Nino weather cycles, damaging the coastlines of countries including Kiribati, pronounced kee-ree-bas. "Some communities have been forced to move backward from the coast," Beniamina says. "The problem is, there is not much land to move back to."


People are jamming into the overcrowded main island, Tarawa. Its centre has a population density estimated at three times that of Tokyo, says an April report by Australian journalist Bernard Lagan in the Global Mail. Fresh water supplies are at risk and there is not enough land to bury the dead. Kiribati President Anote Tong has declared a policy of orderly evacuation that he calls "migration with dignity".


The nation is a proverbial canary in the carbon emission coal mine, and the prognosis is unhappy. Beniamina says: "I'd be very surprised if people here were not aware of the science of climate change." But, of course, it's not awareness that is in question in the Parliament but conviction. The Parliament was debating a motion put by NSW independent Rob Oakeshott to try to clear that up:


"That this House expresses full confidence in the work of Australia's science community and confirms that it believes that man-made climate change is not a conspiracy or a con, but a real and serious threat to Australia if left unaddressed". Why did Oakeshott think it necessary? "I thought it was important to get everyone on the record.


Some of the Coalition members run around the country playing to an audience of conspiracy theorists and deniers." The record does show that about a quarter of the Coalition's federal MPs have, at some point, expressed disbelief or outright denial that man-made climate change is real.


Among them is Tony Abbott, who, before becoming Opposition Leader, said he was "hugely unconvinced by the so-called settled science on climate change", and famously called it "absolute crap".


The proportion of scientific papers published on the subject that reject the man-made origins of climate change is, however, far smaller than the proportion of sceptics on the Coalition benches. Of about 12,000 scientific papers published worldwide in the 20 years to 2011, only 1.9 per cent did, a survey last month by James Cook University showed, and 97 per cent argued that climate change was real and man-made. But when the Oakeshott motion was put to the House, the sceptics were nowhere to be seen. No one spoke against it in the bright glare of full national scrutiny:


"We accept the science, we accept the targets and we accept the need for a market mechanism; we just happen to clearly, absolutely, fundamentally disagree over the choice of those mechanisms," Coalition spokesman Greg Hunt said. Prime among them, the carbon tax. And when it came to the vote, the motion was carried on the voices, without dissent.


This is taken as a unanimous vote. It "positions the deniers and the conspiracy theorists where they should be - on the fringe", Oakeshott says.


The topic of what to do about climate change is returning to the centre of the agenda for the world's two biggest economies and biggest carbon emitters, the US and China. It's one of the half dozen top issues at their coming California summit.


The problem will not go away for the planet, even after the Australian election, even if some would prefer to ignore it, although it's probably too late for Kiribati.

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Qld Government unlikely to sign up to Gonski school reforms by June 30 deadline - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Qld Government unlikely to sign up to Gonski school reforms by June 30 deadline - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
The Queensland Government appears to have ruled out any agreement to the Gonski school funding reforms ahead of this month's deadline.
Electric Car's insight:

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman wrote a scathing letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Friday warning any agreement was "impossible" without substantial change.


In the letter, Mr Newman says officials in the Prime Minister's department and treasury were "intransigent" by failing to negotiate constructively.


Mr Newman has called for indexed funding for early childhood education beyond 2014 and a review of funding cuts to universities. However,


Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek says although he agrees with the contents of Mr Newman's letter, there may be still room to negotiate. "We still got the rest of this month to negotiate but the Premier has been very clear and very firm in that letter," he said. "It's obvious that we're very concerned by the way the Prime Minister has been dealing with us on this issue."


LNP frontbencher Christopher Pyne says the Prime Minister's funding offer is a swindle. "Campbell Newman is quite rightly calling her out on that," he said. 'Extremely mischievous'


Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett says the door will remain open for talks with Queensland, despite Mr Newman saying he will not sign the Gonski reform package.


Mr Garrett says he is disappointed with Mr Newman. "Queensland is one of the states that would do well from the Gonski reforms," Mr Garrett said.


"I just cannot believe that the Queensland Premier won't do the right thing for Queensland - they've cut education.


"Scaring people in Queensland about alleged cuts to education, where in fact it's their Government that has been cutting education.


"We're proposing to provide additional investment and the Premier has been extremely mischievous this morning by misrepresenting what's on offer."

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How Australian Coal is Causing Global Damage

How Australian Coal is Causing Global Damage | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
I read it with the mild incomprehension one brings to the politics of any foreign country.
Electric Car's insight:

All of a sudden an email arrived with a link to a story in the Australian Financial Review: “Revealed: Coal Under Green Attack”


The federal resources minister, Martin Ferguson, was most concerned of all: “Reports of elaborate strategies designed to destroy Australian industries and jobs are very disturbing.”


Meanwhile, the head of the Australian Coal Association, Nikki Williams, was blaming “offshore bodies” in the US for the plan, adding “we have real concerns for safety”, and the head of Rio Tinto was describing it as “economic vandalism”.


Climate change, after all, is basically a big maths problem, involving the quantity of carbon we want to burn and the capacity of the atmosphere to contain it.


The secret document obtained by the intrepid reporters appeared to be a funding proposal from Greenpeace and some other groups called ‘Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom’ that had as its first priority “to get in front of critical projects to slow them down in the approval process”.


To do this, it would work to “gradually erode public and political support for the industry” by, among other things, “lodging legal challenges”, providing “training, strategy and support for community groups” and “using a powerful visual communications strategy to tell the story of the impacts of coal and to articulate a different vision for the future”.


So why were they in such a flurry at the prospect of a “training and mentoring program for community organisers”, a “powerful narrative about the global importance of the Galilee Basin”, and a “large number of different voices combining together into a beautiful symphony”?


Then it occurred to me that perhaps this was the first time anyone had dared to say the obvious out loud: Australia’s massive deposits of hydrocarbons were a menace to the planet, and would have to be left in the ground if the world had any hope of avoiding catastrophic global warming.

Climate change, after all, is basically a big maths problem, involving the quantity of carbon we want to burn and the capacity of the atmosphere to contain it.


All those massive Australian coal deposits are just the remains of old carbon-based life, hundreds of millions of years’ worth of it.

It’s not a hard and fast scientific line, of course. “There [are] no hard numbers to support 2 versus 2.2 or 1.8 degrees,” said Josep Canadell, the executive director of the Global Carbon Project.


James Hansen, a former NASA scientist and the planet’s most prominent climatologist, puts it like this: “What the paleoclimate record tells us is that the dangerous level of global warming is less than what we thought a few years ago.


Australians may be forgiven for having a similar opinion – after all, the slightly-less-than-one degree by which we’ve already raised the global average temperature allowed your recent “angry summer” of flood and fire.

Averages hide extremes: all over the world we’re seeing government weather services adding new colours to their charts to describe new conditions.


Rather than citing all the records that have fallen across your continent in recent times, it’s probably enough to point out that when you have hundred-year floods every few months, something is seriously out of balance, and that when droughts are crashing koala populations, it’s a signal that something very new is afoot.


In the end, political realism bested scientific realism, and the world settled on the two-degree target – it’s essentially the only thing about climate change the world has settled on.


By 31 January 2010, which was the deadline for signing on to the Copenhagen Accord, 141 countries, representing 87.24% of the world’s carbon emissions, had endorsed the two-degree target, and many more have been added since.


Those mines contain enough carbon that, were the recoverable coal to be mined and burnt, it would fill up 6% of the remaining buffer between us and two degrees.


At present, Australian coal burnt overseas already produces considerably more carbon emissions than every-thing Australians do at home.


A recent report from the Climate Institute shows that if Australia builds up its coal exports as currently planned, it would produce 30% of the carbon needed to push global warming beyond two degrees.


In other words, if you were serious about slowing down global warming, you might argue it misses the point to focus mostly on the behaviour of ordinary Australians, and not on the behaviour of Australian mine owners.


I don’t wish to be misunderstood: it’s very important that Australia has put a price on carbon, and very important that this measure not be overturned as a result of the next election.


Getting Australians to rein in their carbon burning counts for something, but it’s at least as important – and in mathematical terms far more important – to rein in the huge expansion of Australia’s coalmines.


If you were serious about global warming, you might argue it misses the point to focus on the behaviour of ordinary Australians, and not on the behaviour of Australian mine owners.


The global coal, oil and gas industry, even before it opens new mines and drills new wells, already has more than five times as much carbon in its reserves as we can burn: equivalent to 2795 gigatons of CO2 against the 500 gigatons even the most conservative governments would allow.


Much of the coal is already being burnt in China, and a lot of the new supply, to judge by the companies supplying the financing, is heading for India. But of course the atmosphere doesn’t care where carbon comes from – it mixes freely around the planet in a matter of days.


There’s some truth to it: cheap energy has been one of the factors pulling people out of poverty at a rapid rate. But by now it’s obvious to anyone looking at the air over Beijing that it’s at best a mixed blessing, even before you figure in the climate effects.


A World Bank report late last year made it very clear that there was no chance of “development” in a world with fast-rising temperatures.


Whereas Craig Emerson might fear “mass starvation” if people “lodged legal challenges” to Australian coalmine expansion, the current thinking of agronomists, expressed in a study by Stanford and University of Washington researchers, is that each degree rise in average global temperature from now on will cut grain yields by 10%. This is an easy enough scenario to contemplate in the US after last summer’s devastating drought.


The need to keep all this oil in the soil, all this coal in the hole, is precisely why we need to envision the planet as a planet, not just a collection of nations, each pursuing its own advantage.


Wind power, as I said, is now as affordable as coal in Australia, not to mention the power from the sun that shines on your continent, the geo-thermal power bubbling beneath it and the tidal power at its fringes.


There’s no mystery here at all, and that’s why I think the reaction of Australian leaders to the news that someone might oppose the country’s coal expansion owed very little to logic.


One of the stories I found, as I tried to unravel the mystery of why politicians were so upset at any challenge to coal exports, concerned a mining magnate named Clive Palmer, who explained that the whole plan was actually a CIA plot.


I even Googled enough to figure out that some folks defended the Greenpeace plan despite the government’s tantrum. The former head of Rothschild Australia, Peter Martin, for instance, said, “The hysterical comments by politicians and companies are clearly self-serving. [Greenpeace and friends] are just trying to protect the interests of future Australians from exploitation.”


He used to be a climate sceptic, calling global warming “pop science”, but now believes that there is “no doubt” about the link between carbon emissions and global warming.


But it will require, first and foremost, telling the truth about where we stand. 

The truth is that Australia’s coal has to stay in the ground, along with Canada’s oil, and the huge reserves of gas in the US, and so on. If that carbon is poured into the atmosphere, the equation laid out above won’t work, and the planet will overheat disastrously.

It’s climate change, not protest, that will cause “mass starvation”, raise “real concerns for safety” and count as “economic vandalism”.

You could almost say it’s “completely irrational and destructive”.

And yet it’s under way.




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Rob Oakeshott responds to Christopher Pyne

Christopher Pyne has written to the Independents asking their support for a no-confidence motion in the Gillard Government that would bring the Federal election forward from September 14 to August 3. This is Mr Oakeshott's reponse.
Electric Car's insight:

At 8.39am today I received first notice via an email from Christopher Pyne that he has written to me on a No Confidence motion.
I have spent the week in Canberra with him, and he made no mention of this issue.

No MP from the LNP mentioned this issue. The only Confidence issue in Parliament this week was the Liberal National Party, including Christopher Pyne and Tony Abbott, voting in support of the science of man-made climate change.

I am pleased they expressed full confidence inthe science community of Australia, and now openly accept man-made climate change asreal and in need of a serious policy response.

This week, no journalist mentioned anything about a no confidence motion from the LNP. This is despite conversations with The Australian newspaper’s Lauren Wilson about 6pm last night, where I indicated a view on the paper’s anti-NBN campaign that asbestos issues inpits and pipes are an issue for Telstra management and shareholders, and this is exactly why it would be madness to buy these pits and pipes as is current Liberal National Party policy on NBN. 

I note these comments didn’t make the paper. Yesterday afternoon, I also spoke with Sid Maher from The Australian about another story.He has my personal number, and I am surprised he chose to run this No Confidence trick story from Chris Pyne, without checking facts or offering a right of reply. 

Only 12 hours earlier, he used my phone so he knows it works.Chris Pyne also has my personal phone number, and at times he and Sid Maher have used it at their convenience. It is telling that neither chose to use it when designing a page one story that further destabilises Government based on the story alone.

Onto the guessing game of the substance of this letter from Chris Pyne – my first responseis “how pathetic”.

If Mr Abbott and Mr Pyne, and his colleagues truly believe this to be the worst governmentin the history of the world, and their alternative option as the key to world peace, then Iinvite them to put their case on the floor of the Parliament. 

Grovelling to the crossbench,and giving letters to journalists before they are posted or emailed, and threatening to do something for week upon week upon week, builds the view that this is just the shallowtactics of destabilising, and has nothing to do with the substance of the most serious charge they are making.                   

If the no confidence motion is because of “the carbon tax”, then I ask Tony Abbott and Chris Pyne why they personally voted in full confidence in Parliament last week for the science of man-made climate change? 

Why would I now support a Coalition carbon tax that costs taxpayers more and does less? 

If the no confidence motion is based on the budget, then we have that vote on Monday.

There will be a vote on the Budget Bills on Monday, which are considered, in parliamentary terms, a confidence motion in Government.

If Chris Pyne and Tony Abbott are in any way serious about this tactic of theirs, they will back up their ongoing tactics and vote against the budget bills on Monday. I don’t think they will, and I will watch closely before replying to this newly received letter from Mr Pyne.

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Qld's electric shock - 22.6 per cent rise

Qld's electric shock - 22.6 per cent rise | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
QUEENSLAND households will pay an extra $268 a year for electricity from July 1 - the most significant increase since 2009.
Electric Car's insight:

QUEENSLAND households will pay an extra $268 a year for electricity from July 1 - the most significant increase since 2009.


The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) announced the higher than expected 22.6 per cent hike on Friday.


The typical household bill will rocket from $1184 to $1451.


"It's a very significant rise and we do appreciate it's going to strain many family budgets," QCA chairman Malcolm Roberts told reporters.

"It'll also have an impact on businesses."

Unions and welfare groups say families and pensioners will struggle.


"Many workers and families will simply not be able to cope with this enormous increase," Services Union acting secretary Jennifer Thomas said in a statement.


The union called for the state government to provide financial assistance to struggling families, and rebates to offset the increase.


Shadow treasurer Curtis Pitt accused Premier Campbell Newman of betraying Queensland families by breaking his pre-election promise to lower power bills.


"Campbell Newman and the LNP promised they could control the cost of living, and they said they would be able to control electricity pricing," he told reporters.


"Not only haven't they done that, they've also walked away from their loose commitments they made in February to try and stem what we would have thought was a 21.4 per cent rise."

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Is this an election or a handover? - The Drum - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Is this an election or a handover? - The Drum - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
Australia, it seems, is not having an election on September 14, but a handover. Never before has there been this level of expectation that a government is about to be thrown out. But is the Opposition in danger of displaying distasteful hubris?
Electric Car's insight:

Australia, it seems, is not having an election on September 14, but a handover.


Never before has there been this level of expectation that a government is about to be thrown out, writes Barrie Cassidy.


Tony Abbott's near tearful tribute to the departing former government minister Martin Ferguson was properly, and widely, acclaimed for its generosity and bi-partisanship.


Consider the phrasing: "I regret that he is unable to remain in the current government. The government, his party, the parliament and our country will be the poorer for his absence". And then the conclusion: "Well may we shed a tear… for things which were, which should be, but which are not".


He was none too subtlety implying that Labor under Julia Gillard was no longer the party that "over the years, made a monumental contribution to this country… at its best, a nation building party".


For all its generosity to the individual it was also an obituary to what he regards as a dead government.


That same morning, the lead story in The Australian newspaper detailed how the Government is continuing to write green loans in defiance of the Coalition's call for the contracts to cease.


Had they forgotten that the Coalition wrote to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation way back in February asking them not to write any more loans after July 1? "It is unconscionable," protested the Coalition's finance spokesman, Andrew Robb. "We have been crystal clear in our opposition to the CEFC and in our resolve to abolish it."


Australia, it seems, is not having an election on September the 14, but a handover.


Never before has there been this level of expectation that a government is about to be thrown out.


Witness Tony Abbott's admission that he had already thought about his victory speech, only to add rather lamely a day later that he had also thought about a speech in defeat. "This is the sweetest victory of them all", in the right breast pocket; "Men and women of Australia, thanks for nothing", in the left.


This is not so much hubris on the Opposition's part, though that is a danger as the many weeks between now and the election are counted down.


"There will be NO GST under a Government I lead",OR "Work Choices is dead and buried" OR "I promise not to touch Medicare" OR "Climate Change is crap" or "I will scrap the Carbon Tax Compensation"


Expect MOAR.

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The role of government versus the role of our government

The role of government versus the role of our government | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |

“The government of a democracy is accountable to the people. It must fulfil its end of the social contract. And, in a practical sense, government must be accountable because of the severe consequences that may result from its failure. As the outcomes of fighting unjust wars and inadequately responding to critical threats such as global warming illustrate, great power implies great responsibility.”

Electric Car's insight:

A great article that needs to be spread far & wide. It concisely details what is happening and what is at stake.


Abbott is effectively dismantling democracy. That will become even more apparent as time goes on. He will be allowed to do this due to the apathy and inertia of Australians


Government will simply become a tool for select multinational corporations and a handful of billionaires.Government as such will be nothing more than an administration responsible for the military, police, and building roads.

In this new dystopia order will be maintained through the use of brutality. Any sense of collective action will be crushed. People will be banned from gathering to protest. Fear and paranoia become a vicious cycle and feed on each other until the cannibalistic winner is the one left standing.


The state is reduced to being nothing more than the convenience with which the totalitarianism of corporate capitalism achieves its endgame of complete and utter control of the populace. If Australia sticks with its present path and its current government then a Police State becomes mandatory. 


There would be no other way to maintain observance of the new ‘order’.


What happens within the Liberal Party over the next few months is crucial. If there is enough discontent within the party by the more moderate forces then calamity may be averted. A sensible middle ground may be re-established.


This would of course require the elimination of Abbott from the prime-ministership. If the moderate forces within the Liberal Party don’t act and Abbott is retained as leader then Australia is headed for a monumental shit-storm.

The result of the TPP negotiations become critical. The ISDS provisions have the potential to turn Australia into a complete provincial backwater.

The Liberal Party at the end of the day are a minority political party who can only form government with a coalition of another minority party. When they are no longer able to form this coalition they will no longer be able to form government democratically.


The driving interests of the big financial donors to the Liberal Party are essentially anti-democratic. They are also anti-social and anti-humanist.


They are pro-war, pro-oil, pro-tobacco, pro-disease, pro-suffering, pro-Serco profiting from human misery and suffering. It is no longer merely the realm of a fantasists imaginative creativity to consider that the Liberal Party may seek to gain control of Australia for Australia’s own good. I.e. if the forces that fund the Liberal Party cannot achieve influence by democratic means then the overthrow of democracy becomes essential.


What happened in Chile with Pinochet provides a precedent. The same forces are at work.


Hard-core neoliberalism – which is basically extreme social conservatism tied to economic radicalism. This results in a return to feudalism and a situation of life being “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”.


The paternalistic Abbott and the patriarchal tyranny insistent on a ruthless hierarchy that creates absolutist divisions of master and slave was always going to be a disaster. The big question now is what lengths will he go to so as to keep power.


Malcolm Fraser was right in his assessment of Tony Abbott.

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Climate: some reasons for our failures

Climate: some reasons for our failures | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
Robert Manne: Long read: The nations of the earth are doing very little to avert an impending, entirely foreseeable catastrophe. There are many reasons why – some obvious, others less so
Electric Car's curator insight, July 22, 2013 1:45 AM

Twenty five years ago, scientists with an interest in the climate were moving towards a consensual understanding, that primarily through the burning of fossil fuels human beings were responsible for potentially catastrophic global warming.


We know that if we continue to use fossil fuels as our primary energy source, the conditions of life on the earth for our own species and for others will be damaged perhaps beyond repair. And yet, eyes wide shut the nations of the earth are doing very little to avert the impending, entirely foreseeable catastrophe.


Only when they think the national interest is served will they form alliances or involve themselves in broader schemes of international cooperation. ' The action required involves a series of domestic economic revolutions—transferring the source of energy from fossil fuels to clean alternatives in a relatively short time'.


Very occasionally, as with the Montreal Protocol, international cooperation to solve an environmental problem through economic self-denial is successful. But such action is always merely on the margins of an economy and in no way even a possible threat to the pursuit of national interest.


The action required involves a series of domestic economic revolutions—transferring the source of energy from fossil fuels to clean alternatives in a relatively short time. This necessarily involves some sacrifice of national self-interest in the short and the medium term.


Robyn Eckersley is doing important work in this area, examining the different national climate change rhetorics of a series of critical nations, beginning with her comparison between Norway’s self-conception as a “good nation” and Australia’s “realist” belief in the futility of any action if isolated to a few states.


China has recently announced a pilot emissions trading scheme and that it will consider placing a cap on its emissions in its next Five Year Plan. Yet China will for a long-time remain heavily dependent for its energy needs on coal of which it has vast reserves.


No nation is more important in the struggle against global warming than the United States. However, because of its self-conception, no nation is less likely than the US to subordinate itself to the international community or less likely to agree to trim its independent decision-making in cooperation with other nations.


When however it came to consideration of the only promising global warming international agreement thus far, the Kyoto Protocol, the roles were reversed with the United States Senate, effectively deciding against ratification in a vote of 95 to 0.


Even though President Obama “gets” the climate change crisis, his important proposed actions foreshadowed recently in a major speech at Georgetown University will of necessity be restricted to executive action and working with the Environmental Protection Agency.


Nor is it only the two economic super-powers which are systematically resistant to the kind of subordination of national self-interest necessary for concerted and radical action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.


As the problem of global warming is an historical product of the early industrial nations, it is almost impossible to convince the largest newly emerging and fast growing economies—like India or Brazil or South Africa—that their overriding obligation is to act in the interests of the earth and not in the immediate, short-term interests of their own people.


Unfortunately, however, the atmosphere of the earth is indifferent to arguments of historical or social justice. Similarly, it has been, and will continue to prove, impossible to convince the fossil fuel-reliant economies—like Russia and the oil producing nations of the Middle East—to sacrifice supposed national economic self-interest in favour of the future wellbeing of human and other species.


Because of our vast coal reserves, we are not only one of the largest per capita carbon dioxide emitters but also one of the most important greenhouse gas exporters in the world. And yet in Australia, the question of the development of the coal industry is un-discussable among the major political parties, with the exception of the Greens.


At a time when the earth is facing a climate crisis, Australia is involved in a grotesque scramble to open up vast new coal developments especially in the Hunter Valley and the Galilee Basin in Queensland.


Based upon three or four year electoral cycles and upon either two party or multi-party competition, such political systems are peculiarly unfitted for the long-term decisions to revolutionise their energy sources and the national sacrifices that are now required.


In Western democratic nation states with powerful fossil fuel industries—like the United States, Canada and Australia—there are few legal impediments to the use of money for lobbying and for buying interest in the political parties so as to influence electoral outcomes.


For all these reasons, the domestic political systems of the nation states potentially of greatest importance in the struggle against global warming–that is the advanced Western democracies—tend to paralyse the possibility of necessary emergency action.

Global warming poses a far greater emergency than, say, Islamist terrorism. Yet because it is a long-term threat with no galvanising event equivalent to Pearl Harbour or 9/11, a Micawber-like policy of infinite delay in the hope that some solution will eventually just turn up, has proved attractive to politicians and the citizens of the Western democracies.

In the countries of the Anglosphere—the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom—one response to the looming catastrophe of global warming has been the emergence of a movement of opinion where the consensual position of the relevant scientists, that group on whose authority all contemporary societies routinely rely, has been comprehensively denied.


Perhaps even more challenging however will be the investigation of the far more common and dangerous pattern, to which almost none of us is immune: namely denialism in everyday life, or the ways in which so many citizens, knowing what they do, manage somehow to live their lives in parallel universes, on one level of existence accepting intellectually that the threat of catastrophic global warming exists, and on another finding ways of living and thinking, calmly and comfortably, as if nothing of great moment was happening that was placing the future of humankind and of other species in gravest peril.


It has only been very recently that the global climate change movement has generated a fruitful political tactic, largely through the work of US activist, Bill McKibben and his global political movement,, whose genesis is outlined in his new book, Oil and Honey. This movement has three prongs: the identification of the problem through the trope of the climate budget—the discrepancy between the known fossil fuel resources on the books of these corporations and the climate scientists’ estimates of the giga-tonnage that can be burned if we are to remain within a 2oC temperature increase; the targeting of what is described as the “rogue-industry” enemy—the fossil fuel corporations; and a clear political strategy modelled on the anti-apartheid struggle—a global-wide, consciousness-raising divestment movement: aimed at encouraging institutions like universities, churches and pension funds to withdraw their moneys from the major multinational fossil fuel corporations.


First, the negotiation of bilateral agreements between what used to be called in the twentieth century the super powers—the United States and China; and/or multilateral agreements between what in the nineteenth century used to be called the great powers: the United States, China, the European Union, Japan and maybe Russia and India.


In world history a fundamental turning point was the so-called industrial revolution that began in the United Kingdom in the late eighteenth century and that has expanded since that time to Europe, North America, Japan, East Asia and more recently to China and India.


A quarter of a century ago we learnt that one fundamental source of that prosperity—the burning the fossil fuels buried under the earth’s surface for hundreds of millions of years—was threatening to devastate the stable climate in which human civilization had flourished during the Holocene over the past ten thousand years.


A rapid, global-wide, consciously engineered transition from a fossil fuel to a clean energy civilization would involve one of the largest transformations in the history of humankind.

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NBN stats: Australia's broadband future and why the Coalition's alternative 'won't work' – Blog – ABC Technology and Games (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

NBN stats: Australia's broadband future and why the Coalition's alternative 'won't work' – Blog – ABC Technology and Games (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
The latest figures show how the explosive growth of wireless and wired internet traffic requires an overhaul in infrastructure at almost every level. The political ramifications are discussed too.
Electric Car's insight:

The findings illustrate a requirement for fibre optic cable "deep deep into the infrastructure" both for wired and wireless broadband connections.

The global study carries with it political ramifications in Australia where the opposition Coalition parties maintain that the optic fibre-based infrastructure currently being implemented by NBN Co is not needed to fulfil the promised benefits of the NBN and that suggesting so is "one big lie."


However, the study further illustrates, using measured figures and reasonable growth curves, how the Coalition's alternatives won't just be unable to support the benefits to health, education, power distribution, business and society that NBN Co's current planned infrastructure will provide, but also that they won't be able to support the regular organic growth of the general internet requirements that we have now - within just four years!


As such, the numbers coming from the last few forecasts, with their continued astronomical growth have huge implications for Australia's broadband infrastructure requirements with observations that broadband connection requirements will outgrow the current infrastructure by 2016.

In these roles he briefs governments and network operators from around the world on infrastructure, what to expect from future data requirements and modes of broadband usage based upon traffic stats and growth curves.


That a fibre to the node infrastructure which relies on a 'last mile' premises connection using Australia's current copper infrastructure, current HFC networks or fixed 4G-like wireless won't have the symmetry, contention ratio, bandwidth or latency to keep up with demand by 2016.

Mobile network/3G/4G/macro network - are all terms used to describe wireless data flowing over the mobile phone network.


Global internet traffic will increase 4x from 2011 to 2016 and break the Zettabyte barrier for the first time - that's 10x more than all internet traffic generated in 2008 and is equivalent to one trillion gigabytes or 38 million DVDs per hour.


In Australia, internet traffic reached 120 Petabytes per month in 2011 which was up from 93 Petabytes per month in 2010. This was in line with global trends. However, Australian internet traffic will grow 6-fold from 2011-2016 while the global trend is 4-fold.


Pepper says, "Australia is about three years behind America and Western Europe in its consumption pattern." This is not entirely surprising considering the non-ubiquity of broadband access in Australia and that our market has only very recently started to remove strict data allowances on internet plans that didn't exist elsewhere in the world. "It won't work... look at the figures."


He added that copper can be used for fixed connections in some circumstances but that it would have to be short, high-quality and with a low contention ratio - of around 8 connections per node. This rules out Australia's existing copper infrastructure and its HFC networks, which have much higher contention ratios , for being able to cope with the growth in demand either.


A good analogy used here is that this is the equivalent of lobbying for a one-lane Sydney Harbour Bridge as that was all that was needed in the 1930s. However, while it took several decades to congest the Harbour Bridge and subsequent Harbour Tunnel the current copper network will likely be congested in just four years and fibre is the only technology capable of coping with the demand and future growth.


Pepper says, "Network requirements for each level of cloud application are usually 2-3Mb/s per application. So each household or business needs multimegabit symmetrical connections [to allow for] these applications to stack up and be used simultaneously. But advanced cloud services require less than 50ms of delay. No networks can currently meet this. The Japanese and Korean networks almost can. "The FCC looked at differences between fibre and copper and found that fibre had about half the latency of copper .


If Cloud is growing this rapidly, and we have cloud as a core component of the use of internet broadband going forward, advanced cloud services [those requiring under 50ms latency] are going to require low latency which translates as fibre to the premise or fibre very very very deep in the network." Pepper went on to point out that Latency was originally thought just to affect high definition video conferencing.


But it's also about collaborating over networks and performing basic functions for small businesses and enterprise-level businesses alike. At a consumer level it's required for VoIP calls, Facetime, Skype, telepresence health and education services. These also require fast upload speeds.


Should anyone want some further reading on cloud, Parallels recently released its SMB Cloud Insights Report which describes how "the market opportunity for cloud services will grow to a total of $865 million in 2012." It goes on to say that "15% of Australian SMBs report using hosted servers, a 28% increase from the previous year.


All towers are going to have to have fibre connections in order to accommodate multiple users and multiple connections." Offloading is also happening in the UK with BT Openzone . There, phone and internet subscribers can seamlessly access BT's mesh of WiFi hotspots when out and about. Pepper went on to say, "Offloading at home is important too" and spoke about Femtocells. These are being given away in some countries


They're already appearing in Australia . They sit in a home or office and your phone automatically connects to them like a regular mobile network. They boost mobile signals for those with weak reception and automatically channel data traffic off the network and onto your wired broadband connection.


With the massive increases in data being consumed by 4G users, these may soon become more common in Australia. Why is offloading so important? Apparently the following graph shocks every telco that sees it:- Pepper says that the 2015/16 jump represents 4G adoption. The jump in data between 2015 to 2016 is 3x the total amount of global mobile data in 2012. He points out that what's driving demand is an increasing number of users, an increasing number of devices, massive video growth and increased speed demands. "In the first year of usage, the average 4G user consumed 28x more data than other users.


But history shows early adopters have always led where others followed." Back in Australia... [Note: the sub heading should read Australian mobile traffic will increase 14x from 2011 to 2016 - typo] Pepper points out, "Australia currently consumes 3x the mobile data of in China.


But the China market will grow more quickly due to an increasing number of connected people and devices." The breakdown for consumer versus business is as follows:- What devices are we using? :- How much data are we consuming on them? By 2016 we'll be consuming 2.5GB per month on smartphones. 4GB on tablets and 7GB on laptops. Apparently the new iPad may skew things further. Pepper says, "Apple keeps blowing up our models every year and [due to the 3rd gen iPad's penchant for HD content] it could be higher." He adds, "In 2011 90% of mobile devices were laptops.


Smartphone growth is 200%." What will we be doing with our devices? :- A sobering stat for Australian telcos is as follows: In Australia, by 2016, 59% of mobile users will be generating more than one gigabyte of mobile data traffic per month. In 2011, 0.9% of mobile users cracked a gigabyte. Pepper says, "That's a huge increase.


Two thirds of the traffic is video." He adds, "Furthermore, two-thirds of the mobile data we use will be sitting in the cloud":- More alarmingly, after examining the first year of 4G traffic in the USA, the average connection generated 2.8GB per month which is 28x more than non 4G traffic which averaged 86MB per month. Of particular note is the following. Pepper says he talks to governments all over the world. "Is it going to be fibre or 4G?

[You can avoid that inefficient trip] by sending it [locally] over WiFi." "12% at least being offloaded in Australia by 2016 and it could be even more"


They've not been announcing changes yet because the infrastructure for offloading isn't ready or required - indeed, it's still spruiking its phenomenal-when-it-works 4G system. But Cisco maintains that even Telstra realises that future growth demands and increased 4G adoption mean the networks won't be able to cope with all that traffic without offloading it via WiFi. The amount being offloaded in 2015 might look small, but it closely resembles the entire amount of mobile traffic for 2012! A WiFi future Spectrum With so much talk about the growth in wireless and wireless futures it's easy to forget that WiFi is simply a way of accessing the nearby wired network, wirelessly. As Pepper puts it:- "There is no such thing as a mobile network... the network is not mobile.


The network is fixed" The theme of Cisco's report is incessant - the growth of data size, data speed and latency is so huge for all forms of broadband connection, be it wired, 3G/4G or WiFi, that ultimately everything is connected to the same fibre network with as much traffic being offloaded from the wireless networks as possible. Another important reason is because when many wireless devices communicate with networks or other close-by devices the airwaves become full and performance degrades. The more people, the more devices, the more data required, the bigger problem this is. We've already seen how regular mobile phone networks will struggle with the massive imminent growth in mobile traffic. However, there are issues and challenges on the wider and smaller wireless scales too.


Congestion is less problematic in sparsely-populated areas like rural Australia where 'Fixed Wireless' is being applied as part of the NBN's fibre to the node policy. But Pepper says, "It's absolutely clear that there is a huge need for the mobile operators to have more spectrum for the outdoor macro cells which is why the digital TV transition is so important.

Radio is going to be great in rural areas, because there isn't going to be that contention... you can do point to point [connections]...


Radio, especially at 600 -700MHz, over long distances, [has good] propagation characteristics." Time will tell how true this is. It may be that NBN Co's imminent Fibre Extension Program, which offers people who have been assigned a fixed wireless NBN connection the ability to upgrade to a fibre connection , may influence matters, but we'll deal with that elsewhere. But there are potentially significant close range problems. Pepper says, "All tetherless devices... are going to overwhelm the traditional methods of connecting devices.


In addition for needing spectrum for traditional networks we also need to open up more frequencies for short-range devices." Kevin Bloch continues to describe the problem, "The more users connecting things like their televisions means you get very poor performance." Bloch points out that in January we got our first glimpse of Super High Definition "4K" televisions. These require 300Mb/s of compressed data to operate. If there are three in a house, then wireless transmission is going to be out of the question. "These aren't the future.


They're here now." Add to this the fact that many televisions and other devices have built-in cameras and add to it the growing trend of people interacting with phones and tablets while a television show is running , and everything points to congestion at a domestic level. The brand new 802.11ac WiFi standard which is faster and more-efficient than current WiFi will help but the more spectrum there is available to spread the device signals across, the better. Machine to machine wireless communication is only going to increase. We already see examples of cars communicating with iPods and phones and people beaming video from their mobile devices to their televisions in the same room.


Pepper sums it up by saying, "The statistics illustrate the need for WiFi connecting to very close fibre... Symmetrical bitrates are also going to be more important." The Korea/Japan conundrum The report also illustrates why, despite fast infrastructure, online services had not flourished as expected in countries like South Korea and Japan . Cisco uses the World Economic Forum's The Global Information Technology Report to explain why. This immense study describes each country's physical ICT infrastructure in addition to the quality of the ICT Ecosystem in which it operates. A summary of the criteria can be seen here:- Pepper says that "In many ways Australia is ahead of Japan and Korea.


For instance, it's been a struggle to get small businesses to use broadband in Japan... It's difficult to start a business in Korea and there are taxation issues." Comparison between countries with similar per capita income. Sweden currently comes top for both infrastructure and ecosystem. An example of its innovative broadband usage can be seen with this electric car charging program which makes use of a power distribution 'smartgrid', mobile communication and location based services. Australia currently could do better for infrastructure but has different geographical issues compared to most other countries. The NBN should also rocket the country to the right of the graph over the coming decade. However, it may be that, in isolation, NBN-ready Tasmania could be viewed as a global leader on its own .


There is significantly more detail in the report which I won't dwell on here. Summaries and advice Pepper says, "All roads lead to fibre.

"Our only advice to network planners is that fibre is going to have to be pushed very very deep, whether it's to the premise or the cabinet right outside the premise. The question is, "What do you do from the node?" If the node means using existing twisted pairs... it's not going to be good enough. If the node means coax and it's close, it might be good enough. But if I'm going to have to replace the node to the home anyway, it may as well be fibre."


When asked, "What about 4G?" he said, "If it's a dedicated fixed radio link with no contention, you probably can make that work. But on a 4G mobile network that's not the case because the whole neighbourhood is going to share that. If each of us is on 4G and we are going to be consuming 28x [what we are now] and if each of us are going to be consuming multimegabit in our homes... in point to point mode, in the bush, where there are multiple flavours of 4G [it can work]. But if I'm talking about suburban Sydney, that's not going to be enough.


"From what we see based upon the data...


If Coax is already there, HFC hybrid that connects to fibre - where there are eight homes off a fibre - that works." Australia's existing HFC networks don't match this standard. The point however is moot with the ACCC recently agreeing to allow NBN Co to decommission Optus' HFC network Neither HFC network offers over 2Mb/s upload speeds anyway. "Globally, the dominant way that devices will be connected will be fixed WiFi.

Over half the world's IP traffic will come from WiFi in 2016." "We are going to need fibre deep deep into the network, going to need increased 4G spectrum and really going to need to address the unlicensed spectrum inside and around buildings.


When Malcolm Turnbull recently told Katherine Danks at The Telegraph that "The promotion of the NBN is based on one big lie - that the benefits of super-fast broadband can only be achieved by a fibre to the premises network whereas in truth the undoubted benefits of broadband can be achieved sooner and at much less cost with alternative technologies" he was already on shaky ground.


The fast, reliable, high-bandwidth, symmetrical, low-latency broadband connections that are required for the NBN's significant enhancements to Australia's health service, power distribution, education system, business, cloud requirements and social benefits all require performance and infrastructure that goes beyond fibre to the node.


Reading between the lines, it appears that the Coalition is sticking to its famous "12 megabits is enough" stance and believes that rolling out a cheaper infrastructure which relies on existing technology, infrastructure, data sizes, speeds, latencies and symmetries is all Australia needs. But even if Cisco's forecasts were to double in time before coming to pass, any fibre to the node infrastructure is not going to get completed before it is overwhelmed.

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By 2015, Video Traffic Will Be 81% of ALL Traffic

By 2015, Video Traffic Will Be 81% of ALL Traffic | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
Electric Car's insight:

The world's foremost internet traffic study and growth forecast, which historically has been proven very accurate, describes a further explosion of internet traffic around the world and in Australia. 

The findings illustrate a requirement for fibre optic cable "deep deep into the infrastructure" both for wired and wireless broadband connections.

Will the LNP #fraudband sysem cope? ANSWER - NOPE.

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We've wasted three years on economic phantoms

We've wasted three years on economic phantoms | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
Throughout this parliamentary term, Australia’s real position has been forgotten as our representatives rave about economic non-issues. And the settings are in place for a post-election repeat.
Electric Car's insight:

The difficulty Australia now faces is that genuine political and economic issues have been sidelined by a structure of lies that began with Abbott, supported and mentored as he was by Australia's cardinal, launching into an attack on Climate Change Science, and on the Australian Government, and Opposition under Turnbull attempting to formulate policies to deal with the accelerating environmental problems.


Abbott turned Australian politics into a structure of personal attack, with the clear motive of seizing the Prime Ministership for himself.

He can hardly now say "Oh I've changed my mind" It is Abbott who has validated the propagandist liars of shock jock media in a mutually beneficial relationship.


As countries, including China, press ahead with emissions control measures - in China on a vast scale, and increasingly being planned in the USA, for example - Abbott cannot sit on the Denial benches without making himself and his nation look utterly ridiculous in the international arena.


His industrial policies are ludicrous in an industrial environment where the comparison between low wages and professional fees has now reached thirty to fifty times when calculated on hourly rates - between under twenty dollars an hour for low wages and fee scales of $650 and over $1000 per hour.


This is an abyss that removes any justification for austerity and repression exercised on wage earners - they won't tolerate it.


In a mess of this size it is small Business that will most be affected initially.

Repressing one class to benefit a higher one in fact deprives the higher one of the source of its prosperity.


If working people are further reduced to a level at or below subsistence there will be no money for small business.


A big lie needs to be exposed - that protecting the middle class means repressing the workforce.


In reality he is setting us on a course to become a Third World Country, with poor quality services and infrastructure, supplying raw materials and cheap labour - and dominated by a Corporation based rich elite.


Forget the middle class - for most of it Abbott's push for power spells the end of it.


We could save ourselves as a nation a lot of pain if the Opposition came to its senses - recognised the unreality of its stance and present worldview - and made that change now.


Not every business could survive the post election chaos that is likely to be what ultimately brings the nation out a period of political madness.

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The Failed Estate: The Mate Media

The Failed Estate: The Mate Media | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
Electric Car's insight:

What we rarely point out in return is that Australians, for all their relative wealth, have an unevolved appreciation of women in power. This blogger spent a week in his native NZ the week before last, attending a funeral of a loved aunt who had a family of seven daughters and two sons.


So it was a shock to return to Australia and a series of events, all of which suggested this country is in a process of devolution in gender politics: A menu prepared for a fund-raising dinner for the conservative opposition that featured crude and juvenile references to the female Prime Minister's body parts, a shock jock who questioned the PM to her face about the sexuality of her life partner and a chorus of apologists - male and female - who sought to normalise this trashy, lowbrow, ratings-chasing outrage-mongering.


Whatever the merits of Julia Gillard's political effectiveness as prime minister, it is now blatantly obvious that a large chunk of the electorate - egged on by a overtly sexist media - cannot or will not deal with a woman in power.


The media, as Wendy Bacon has recently revealed in her series on women in the media, is still controlled by men.


That it has become so says a lot about the nature of politics in this country, which is clearly hellbent on importing the manufactured and idiotic culture wars that have paralysed the American political landscape.


So under the guise of 'freedom', powerful voices seek to belittle or suppress the voices of those who traditionally are under-represented in our media - those from other cultures, the disabled, the gay and lesbian, the agnostics, the adherents of faiths other than Christian, and, the biggest group of all - women.


It's time all of us -women AND men - to put an end to it by demanding of those who hold power in the media and the advertisers who fund them that we will no longer accept as "OK" language that demeans anyone because of their gender, race, sexuality or faith.

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Ten Brutal Findings from the Republican Party's Report on Young Voters | Politics News | Rolling Stone

Ten Brutal Findings from the Republican Party's Report on Young Voters | Politics News | Rolling Stone | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
Millennials slam the GOP's 'racist, rigid, old-fashioned' policies
Electric Car's insight:

The College Republican National Committee has commissioned a report examining the party's dim prospects with millennials, who gave Barack Obama a five-million-vote edge over Mitt Romney in the 2012 election. The focus-group reviews are in – and they are brutal. Here are the 10 most scathing quotes from the admirably frank report, titled "Grand Old Party of a Brand New Generation."


1. "Young 'winnable' Obama voters were asked to say what words came to mind when they heard 'Republican Party.' The responses were brutal: closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned."


2. "Asked which words least described the GOP, respondents gravitated toward 'open-minded' (35%), 'tolerant' (25%), 'caring' (22%), and 'cooperative' (21%)."


3. "For the GOP, being thought of as closed-minded is hardly a good thing. But if the GOP is thought of as the 'stupid party,' it may as well be the kiss of death."


4. "A Hispanic voter in the San Diego focus group harshly laid out how she thought Republicans viewed social mobility for immigrants: '[They have] that mentality that you're born like royalty and the peasants stay peasants.'"


5. "An outright majority of young people still think those Republican policies are to blame [for the Great Recession] – hardly an encouraging finding."


6. "If young voters primarily thought the Republican Party's policy plan in 2012 was to prevent gay marriage and to ensure very low taxes for very rich people . . . it's understandable that a large majority voted the other way. . . . Opposition to gay marriage is a 'deal breaker' to one out of four young voters."


7. "Our focus on taxation and business issues has left many young voters thinking they will only reap the benefits of Republican policies if they become wealthy or rise to the top of a big business. We've become the party that will pat you on your back when you make it, but won't offer a hand to help you get there."


8. "Perhaps most troubling for Republicans is the finding from the March 2013 CRNC survey that showed 54% of young voters saying 'taxes should go up on the wealthy.'"


9. "When asked if they thought any Republican policies were making them personally worse off, one replied, 'Arizona comes to mind, all the laws that they've passed there regarding immigration and being allowed to pull somebody over just based on how they look.'"


10. "It is not that young voters are enamored of the Democratic Party. They simply dislike the Republican Party more."

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McKibben vs Bernardi – science vs anecdote

McKibben vs Bernardi – science vs anecdote | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
Last night's Q&A program pitted environmentalist Bill McKibben against anti-climate science Cory Bernardi, in a familiar climate debate. The AFR's Michael Stutchbury's position however, shows why tackling emissions will be a great challenge.
Electric Car's insight:

On one side you had Bill McKibben, who has dedicated his life to the cause of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He is trying to put the fear of God into investors that money in fossil fuels is like investing in the horse and buggy industry at the dawn of the motor vehicle. 


In the other corner was Cory Bernardi, one of the ring leaders behind the toppling of Malcolm Turnbull because of his support for an emissions trading scheme, who believes global warming is a fraud.


But on top of this, and perhaps more interesting, was the involvement of Michael Stutchbury, editor of the Australian Financial Review and former economics editor at The Australian. While not at the same extreme end of the debate as Bernardi, his comments illustrate the extremely difficult task confronting those who want Australia to take serious action to reduce emissions.


The debate was a highly familiar one to those that have been engaged in the climate debate for the last few years.  


 Bernardi’s argument was along the lines of:

‘Well, the Earth’s climate changes all the time, always has, always will and this happened well before we came along burning fossil fuels. Oh and by the way the world stopped warming since 1998 and I just saw an article the other day saying Chlorofluorocarbons were the real culprit of warming not CO2. Lastly and very importantly fossil fuels are really useful and Bill until you can fly over to Australia in a plane operating off wind power, I’m not really interested.’

McKibben’s response delved down in physical and mathematical specifics:

‘It has been known for a very long time that the molecular structure of CO2 traps heat which can be measured in a lab.  Even at the turn of the 19th Century Arrhenius managed to calculate that rises in CO2 would have a significant warming effect. The entire Arctic is melting before our eyes. If you stick a pH strip into the Sydney Harbour today it is 30 per cent more acidic then it would have been 40 years ago. The atmosphere holds 5 per cent more moisture leading to more extreme droughts and then floods. Peak scientific institutions like Australia’s own Academy of Science back the view that we’re causing global warming. We can only afford to burn 560 gigatonnes of fossil fuel carbon if we’re to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees.’


Then Stutchbury was brought into the conversation. His view paraphrased:

‘Yep, I have to accept that the bulk of scientific evidence suggests global warming is real. But Australia is making a lot of money from selling fossil fuels that underpins our standard of living. Also we should be proud that this is helping the poor of China and India out of extreme poverty. If we didn’t sell them fossil fuels they’d get it from somewhere else anyway.’

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Campbell Newman sorry for soaring power prices, wants debate over solar bonus feed-in tariff

Campbell Newman sorry for soaring power prices, wants debate over solar bonus feed-in tariff | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
PEOPLE who have invested thousands of dollars in solar panels to reduce their electricity bill will not face extra charges in tomorrow's budget.
Electric Car's insight:

Overnight, it was reported that Premier Campbell Newman had vowed to rein in the "mind-blowing, excessive" increase in electricity prices, flagging likely new charges for households with solar panels.

PEOPLE who have invested thousands of dollars in solar panels to reduce their electricity bill will not face extra charges in tomorrow's budget.

Energy Minister Mark McArdle has ruled out any immediate changes to the solar feed-in tariff but repeated his comments that a debate on the issue must take place.


"Ninety-two thousand homes don't pay any power bills at all in Queensland," Mr McArdle said.


"I don't believe that was the intent of the scheme and the debate must be had about who should pay what in regards to power bills, when you consider a large number of people don't pay power bills at all."


But Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said people who had installed solar panels to take advantage of the 44 cents a kilowatt hour feed-in tariff should not be penalised.


She said the Premier's comments about the scheme had created a lot of concern across her Inala electorate.


"On Friday I had over half a dozen people come into my office very concerned that they had invested heavily into the solar tariff and now it's under question by this government," said Ms Palaszczuk.


"It was something that was not discussed before the election and now they are feeling once again let down by this government."

Ms Palaszczuk said the Premier now wanted to "move the goalposts".


"He was aware of all of these facts and figures before they got into office and now they want to change the goalposts and what we're going to see is Queenslanders hard hit the most come tomorrow with rising costs of living which they simply cannot afford," she said.

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Will my kids have a better school?

Will my kids have a better school? | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
We have until June 30 to convince the state and territory leaders to sign up to Better Schools, the biggest investment in school education in a generation - or else our kids will miss out.
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Julia Gillard's Dothraki tweets translated

Julia Gillard's Dothraki tweets translated | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
Lenore Taylor: The Prime Minister is an avid Game of Thrones viewer – but is that the only reason she's taken to tweeting in the Dothraki language?
Electric Car's insight:

The Prime Minister is an avid Game of Thrones viewer – but is that the only reason she's taken to tweeting in the Dothraki language?


Why is our Prime Minister tweeting in Dothraki?


Dothraki, for the uninitiated, is the fictional language developed by the Language Creation Society for a warrior tribe of the same name in HBO’s world-wide hit television series Game of Thrones.


The Prime Minister’s “addiction” to the fantasy series was revealed on Monday in a Guardian Australia interview in which she said she was “barracking for” the khaleesi – the title of the Dothraki female warrior queen, Daenerys Targaryen, who rules her people with the aid of a couple of dragons. But that was just the start of it.


Twitter was quickly full of the Prime Minister’s newly-revealed addiction, with a Perth fan enthusing : "Julia Gillard confirms she is addicted to Game of Thrones. ONE OF US! ONE OF US!".


Gillard, warming to the Game of Thrones theme, replied to her fellow fan "Not addicted - me allayafa anna!" "It pleases me".


Twitter was already busy casting members of parliament as characters at #GOTparliament – a game that was fun, but filled with potential for libel given the show's fondness for murderers, rapists or practitioners of incest.


Radio stations were running a campaign for the Prime Minister to be cast in the show’s next season, prompting her second tweet in Dothraki last night, “ Yer chomoe anna - but being Prime Minister keeps me pretty busy.


It's fun, of course – but what’s the Prime Minister doing here?


Well behind in the polls, with a restless caucus and an election campaign to plan, she presumably has a few things to do other than learn the fictional language of the mother of dragons.


Perhaps it’s not so much Dothraki as GOT fandom she is counting on to deliver her and voters a common language. And she’d be by no means the first leader to have tried that tactic.


By March 2012, the show’s British star Damian Lewis was invited to the White House with yet another fan, British Prime Minister David Cameron.

In any event Gillard’s genuine enthusiasm for GOT delivers her a handily apolitical topic on which to strike up a new conversation.


And Dothraki – according to the helpful website Dothrawiki ;– provides us with some some possible responses.


Ki fin yeni! What the fuck! Ezas eshna gech ahilee! Find another hole to dig!

Or the one Gillard might be looking for: Anha vazhak yeraan thirat.

I will let you live. Politically speaking.

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We won't help Abbott turn back boats: Indonesia

We won't help Abbott turn back boats: Indonesia | Imaginary Icons  #auspol |
Indonesia has said in its clearest terms yet that it would not work with a future Abbott government on the Coalition's vow to turn back asylum-seeker boats.
Electric Car's insight:

Indonesia has said in its clearest terms yet that it would not work with a future Abbott government on the Coalition's vow to turn back asylum-seeker boats.


The country's ambassador to Australia, Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, said in Canberra on Friday that, as a transit country, Indonesia was also ''a victim of the situation'' and would probably not collaborate with the Coalition on such an approach.


''So I think it's not possible for the Coalition to say that it [the flow of boats] has to go … back to Indonesia, because Indonesia is not the origin country of these people,'' he said. ''We don't know the situation ahead of us right now but I think … no such collaboration will happen between Indonesia and Australia … I don't think that it will happen.''


Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has steadfastly maintained that a key plank of his asylum-seeker policy would be to have the navy turn back boats when it is safe to do so.


Mr Kesoema said Mr Abbott would be welcome in Jakarta but that he did not think the issue of turning back boats would ever be discussed. ''I don't think this issue will be asked by Mr Abbott,'' he said. ''We never talked about it.


Shadow foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop rejected Mr Kesoema's suggestions that the issue had not been discussed with the Indonesians.


''We have held wide-ranging discussions at the highest levels in Jakarta and in Australia and I'm confident that, if we're elected, we will be able to work constructively with the Indonesian government on the issue of people smuggling,'' she said.


In the same interview, Mr Abbott suggested he might not need Indonesia's consent to turn back boats.


Asked whether the Coalition would go ahead and turn back boats even without a deal with the Indonesians, Ms Bishop said: ''That's not a scenario that I'm going to discuss because I believe we will be able to work constructively with the government of Indonesia.''

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