Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Thoughts on the upcoming Carbon Tax revelation

July 6, 2011

So this Sunday the PM will deliver on prime time TV (well on ABC at least) her much awaited Carbon Tax plan. You remember the one she said would not happen whilst she was Prime Minster.

That we have got this far is a miracle, as all the Government’s ‘partners’ have been heartily sick & tired of the governments constant dribbling of information in-order to gain some sort of vague superiority over the Oppositions quite effective negative campaign against the tax. Although the Greens finally managed to slide the knife in by organising a press conference themselves proclaiming their disappointment that petrol would not be included in the Carbon Tax, however their price for that will in all likelyhood mean that non-business fuel will be affected by a carbon tax/price within the next three years. So putting the boot into the PM’s claim that it will never happen (much like a carbon tax then eh Prime Minister)!

My problem is not with the fact that we will be having a Carbon Tax (some of you will note that I’ve supported such a tax for a while now). My problem is with how it is being orchestrated and how the Prime Minster has deported herself on the matter (I’m leaving the Opposition’s  position out of this for the moment).

The PM can dissemble all she wants, but in the end she made a statement about the possibility of the Carbon Tax under a government she led. Added to the fact that it was she (along with our great world famous treasurer) who helped kill off the ETS, I cannot she why she and the ALP are surprised that outside of their few remaining strongholds there is now a groundswell of distrust about anything she says. Once the minority government was formed the PM should have made it crystal clear that part of her ability to form said government was an understanding with the Greens that she would seek to legislate for a carbon tax before the next election.

But she didn’t, so even if there is no negative aspects to the C-tax the voting public are unlikely to forgive & forget.

My other big problem with this policy is that it should be about changing how the public and business treat energy use. This should mean the following:

  • Making electricity more expensive
  • Making fuel more expensive & penalise larger non-business vehicles (yes urban 4WD & UTE owners I’m looking at you)
  • Making it uneconomic to maintain brown coal based power stations and mines.

To offset this any policy should:

  • Encourage R&D into renewable energy sources.
  • Encourage (or enforce via the BCA) that all new buildings have solar panelling to help offset energy use. This would also provide enough demand for panels to be made once again onshore rather than importing from other countries.
  • Encourage the use of power efficient appliances, along with making the costs of usage clear (in $ and cents).
  • Utilise the majority carbon tax funds to develop a sovereign fund to help with the above along with water use (Murray-Darling basin anyone), and general sustainability programs.
  • Encourage mass transport programmes (such as high speed links down the east coast).
  • Subsidise the energy consumption of those who are not able to pay (but obviously base this on energy usage, so no using that 50” plasma grandma).

The government should not be claiming however (as they are at the moment) that we will not be significantly out of pocket by the new legislation. This is for the following reasons:

  • Firstly we need to change how we act and so the stick of higher power & petrol bills hopefully will encourage us not to have big energy hogging appliances and cars. Also if the market bombs for these items then designers will look at more energy efficient models.
  • Consumers do pollute (sometimes directly sometime indirectly) therefore the consumer should contribute as well as the primary polluters.
  • It is naive in the extreme to assume that the primary polluters will not try and improve their margins when they have to start paying the C-Tax now the question is will the money the guvmnt is shoving our way cover those increases? I think we all know deep down that costs will continue to rise. So the electoral bandaid that are the tax offsets and direct bungs are unlikely to potential gaping wound.

In the end however we do need to see the reality of the policy and proposed legislation, which the PM will provide us on Sunday.

Unfortunately I feel it is already a failure.


Tony, Julia & Kevin. The Odd Couple of Menege a trios!

June 20, 2011

The Mad Monks move to try and have a plebiscite on the Carbon Tax is a smart piece of politics but a dumb move. It’s smart as he knows it’ll be applauded by a voting public that is seemingly tired with the current government and it’s policies. It’ll also be applauded as ‘sound reasoning’ by the Shock Jocks & the bottom dwelling filter feeders that read rags like the Daily Telegraph & the Sun Herald.

It’s dumb however as the government has no need under the Westminster system to seek popular support as long as it continues to receive support from the Independents and the Greens one MP.

But this is where it becomes a smart move again as the government has shown itself to be a past master as not being able to defend its position in a manner understandable to those who are not APS’s or Pollies. Also its smart, because a true progressive party would not hesitate to go to the nation on a matter of important legislation like the Carbon Tax for which it dismissed out of hand just days before last years election. But the ALP ceased to be a true progressive party many, many years ago. Julia & her Senior Ministers know that their grasp on power is tenuous in the extreme and thanks to Tony Abbotts constant electioneering, poor press and the fact that the legislation is looking like a dogs breakfast anyway, going to the voters would mean that the Carbon Tax would die a death.

There is a school of thought that states that the ALP’s desire to remain in power no matter what is good as it keeps the Mad Monk out of power. It is a continuous argument that is rehashed every day in the Comments pages of the Fairfax and ABC websites. It misses the point however that no matter what the ‘informed’ believe to be correct the ‘people’ have the right to vote how they like, and yes that means that we might yet see the Mad Monk as PM *shudder*.

This is where the next strand of this polluted little passion play comes in, at a time where the government is even more unpopular than the Rodent ever was (well according to opinion polls). It is nearly a year since our glorious Foreign Minister was removed from his previous position as Prime Minster by a collection of pollies and union powerbrokers who believed that Kevin 747 was an albatross around the neck of the Party. One can almost imagine Shorten doing a Terry Jones impression before a select band of caucus and union leaders “he’s not the Messiah he’s a naughty boy!”.

How they must have larffed!

Surprisingly The Boy Kevin has not taken his Caesar-like removal well & his current harping on & media appearances have reinforced his dislike of the PM & her supporters. The fact that he was planning to hold a party this week to commemorate his removal, shows clearly that he wants to make the party suffer. Also he believes that the PM will do nothing against him as she ‘knows’ he will resign, so triggering a bye-election which will mean the effective end of the current government.

So Kevvy can do his little song and dance routine and remain untouchable, whilst Julia’s popularity continues to drop. That Kevin seems to self delude himself that the party will remove the PM before the next election is indicative that he is still surrounding himself with yes men. His supposed damascene acknowledgement that he was a less than perfect PM, made it abundantly clear that this piece of humility is more based on his greater popularity than the PM as leader of the ALP (again according to the opinion polls), than a self realisation that he was elevated above his ability.

I still believe that the right thing for the ALP would have been not to try and form a minority government last year. It could have used the post election period to reform itself & start developing in depth some real policies to take to the electorate. Unfortunately though the movers & shakers in the party and it’s affiliated organisations, could not face removing their snouts from the trough of power and patronage.

In the end though what does this mean for us, the people who these great & lordly members of the Political Class allegedly serve? It means that we will get more and more anger against the government as it is perceived by the majority of voters as being disconnected from the realities of normal life. It will also mean that the government will resort to more and more desperate measures to try and score votes. So although the QLD ALP have voted for ‘mixed’ marriages, don’t expect gay & lesbian marriage being on the cards at the ALP conference. Julia needs the conservative Christian vote. So the ‘Malaysia Refugee Solution’ will go ahead if the Malaysians agree to the deal (even though the benefit to Australia will be minimal). As for live meat exports the government is in the cleft stick but will likely back down. It’s lost the farming vote almost completely now after the Murray-Darling debacle & now this.

Oh and the reform of the party? Forget it.

And on the sidelines Kevin will wring his hands and brief against the government whilst spending ever more time abroad & the Mad Monk will run around with his box of matches. Could be worse though at least we’ve got another mining boom on the way & we’re not Greece!

On the edge of the Abyss

August 27, 2010

Pakistan is not a materially rich country, but is rich in culture and history. It’s poverty though strikes at many levels from material to resources to politics and morality and education. It is also fractured along religious and cultural lines which is worrying for a nuclear armed state.

The current flood disaster has helped emphasise how fragile the Pakistani state is and how the polices of governments (past and present, civilian and military) have failed the nation as a whole.

The Pakistani state has been set up seeing India as the main threat to it’s survival. It has waged a proxy war in Indian controlled Kashmir for decades under both civilian and military governments. Neither government type has tried to strengthen civil society, and this has lead to the current fractured state we see today.

The military governments bolstered the primarily Pashtun Federal administered areas to the west. These areas formed the spawning grounds of the Taliban and their cultural influence straddles the uneven and very porous border areas. This quite overt handing of the city gates (effectively) to a grouping that is inimical to the ideals of the original state of Pakistan has of course come back to bite the country right in the sphincter as these areas are now the home to many groups who wish to see a wahabi style jihad not only against the West but also anyone Muslim who does not meet their religious requirements.

This in turn has lead to a secular underground war in Pakistan between various Islamic sects and of course events like the Mumbai attack. The complete non-acceptance by the Military and Civilian government of the threat to the state from these groups. This threat is not only a direct threat to govern the country but also bringing into play risks of attacks against foreign states which may bring retribution (anyone who does not believe that India was willing to flatten Pakistan over the Mumbai attacks is living on opiates).

The State has been more willing to spend money on either grand projects or military spending or both. Basic infrastructure is poor and the people just don’t believe in their leaders, thanks to the corruption of the political classes and the failure of the state to protect them, keep them healty and educate them.

This leads us to the current issue. Tens of millions of people in dire straits, the government powerless to act and into the cracks are now stepping Islamic ‘charities’. My second thought after thinking ‘this is going to be bad’ when the initial reports of the flooding happened was “where are the nukes’.

Lets face it even a first world country would at first be hammered by such a major event as this, however iot could be argued that as our infrastructure is allegedly better we can recover quicker, look at recent large scale floods in Europe for example. However it is clear that neither the government of military really know how to act. Considering the area is renowned for natural disasters you’d have thought by now the military would have an operational plan…

I’d lay good money that alot of the military is still awaiting an Indian attack and is prepared for that not for helping their fellow countrymen & women. This further weakens the state and it wil be something the Islamic groups will play on to their upmost. They will be the first to get organised (and allegedly already are), and will be spreading a hard propaganda line about the failiure of the government to help the people and the people should ‘Follow Allahs will’ etc, etc. Once the flood waters have receded these groups will be in a very strong position, and the irony is that from recent reports alot of this will be carried out using western aid. The West and its various aid agencies are usually the biggest donors and quickest however it will be the Islamic charities that will reap the glory.

There were already many displaced people in Pakistan due to the militaries much belated attempt to stem the tide of the Taliban rise to power. This was causing a fair amount of discontent especially when they were pushed back to their homes even thought they were not secure.

In the ruins of Pakistan after the floods it will become much, much harder for the state to actively defend itself against the Taliban and their allies and you are bound to see additional infiltration of the armed forces and also discontent amongst the junior ranks. And that brings forward the day of either a coup backing the Taliban or a few nukes going missing….

Either way my friends this natural disaster could not have happened in a worse place at a worse time.

By the way this should not be seen as a request not to aid those suffering in Pakistan. Please support groups like MSF, Red Cross/Red Crescent etc etc to bring aid to those hit by this disaster.

How far have we come?

August 26, 2010

This is not the blog I had planned to write. That one on the snowballing danger in Pakistan due to the floods will have a wait a while.

We have just had an election which was filled with platitudes from the Politicians seeking election. We had an incumbent government saying how much they’d done and how much of a risk the nasty, mean spirited Liberal/Nationals Coalition were and how they would wreck the country and bring back Dickensian work practices.

Well as the election hype was reaching it’s zenith in an orgy of recrimination, lies & political self interest. A mother placed her newly born daughter in a box and left the box in a garden in Sydney. Police now think the bay stayed alive for nearly a day.

I’m not going to go one about the mother or compare her with Keli Lane (who is on trial for infanticide because children allegedly didn’t suit her lifestyle), but there is a comparison in that as a society we have let these women and many others like them down.

A lack of moral and material support, a lack of medical support in either contraception or if really needed abortion. Just look at the problems in getting the old ‘morning after pill’ authorised (Thanks to one T Abbott). The wealth of self interest is quite clear in many ways. Eg the way the matter of child abuse in the NT was made solely an aboriginal problem not one that also was prevalent in whitefella society. The way that federal money for homeless housing was siphoned into the BER scheme because of cost blowouts  (I guess the homeless don’t vote ALP either eh Julia?).

The Howard years saw more money going to the middle and aspirational classes not to those who could not help themselves or needed real help.  But after three years of an alleged social democrat ALP government that has not really changed.

Social housing (or the lack of it) is a major issue and is not being addressed properly at state of Commonwealth levels. Religious belief is being used to delay science, political expediency is wrecking lives and it seems we don’t care.

When we see animal cruelty on a frequent basis along with the cruelty to the most helpless in our society you know there is something drastically wrong.

We continue to pat ourselves on our collective backs about how far we’ve come, and how we’re moving forward and to be honest I see little change from 40 years ago.

Don’t try and claim us Argentina..

February 24, 2010

(appols to Andrew lloyd webber)

History never repeats…..

Well only if we learn from our mistakes.

Unfortunately the Argentine Government has not and so nearly 30 years after the last rumble in the South Atlantic the battle lines are once more being drawn. Since the Junta was replaced with a democratic (but no less corrupt unfortunately) government the Argentineans have still maintained their ‘ownership’ of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia etc. Etc. but vowed to get their own way by Diplomatic means.

The history of these pretty forsaken islands is pretty murky but what is pretty clear is that the islands were first formally ‘claimed’ by the British and they left a plaque stating so. Other colonial countries including Spain and France had small settlements there at one stage or another but Spains formal claim was about a decade or so later than the Poms.

Once the Argentineans declared independence their 1st settlement was degraded by the Seppos. The Islands were formally annexed back in 1833 (ish) but there was no expulsion of the Argies therein in fact they were allowed to stay as long as they didn’t interfere with the crown colony. The irony being of course that many of them were from the British Isles in the first place!

So In reality the Argentineans claim to the Isles is thinner than the UK’s colonial claim, and the fact that the Islands are actually an independent province (UKIP) and the inhabitants don’t want to become Argentinean (as they are able to under the Argentinean constitution) it’s pretty much yah boo sucks to Buenos Aires.

Now considering how badly run Argentina is the question does rise how do they think they can improve the Falkland Islanders lives and governance? The answer is of course they can’t much except for improved communication links with continental South America.

The lasts stoush is about the FI having awarded an oil firm exploration rights to a potential oil field. Now I remember that Oil was always put forward as another excuse back in 1982 as a reason to defend a few million penguins and sheep. Investigations occurred in ’98 to little avail so I am pretty cynical as to the possibility of another North Sea reserve in the area. But it doesn’t take alot of cynicism to guess that potential oil riches might have raised the interest of Christina Fernandez de Kirchner as she is not popular at the moment and her government needs money desperately.

In the UK there is another unpopular government on it’s last legs.

So it is almost a re-run of 1982 with two countries with unpopular, almost broke governments one of which is due to go to the polls in the near future.

But let’s face it there is no way any British Government is going to make the Falkland Islanders become part of Argentina. So either Argentina accepts that or we get some blockades a stoush in the UN and then the Poms sending more troops and aircraft to break any Argentinean blockade which will lead to more Argentineans being killed than Poms. The Joker in the pack is of course everyone’s favourite joker Hugo Chavez who has pledged troops to the Argentina’s cause if there is a punch up. This adds a layer of complexity as IF there was another conflict or even war there is now a significant chance that the UK will invoke the NATO treaty and even just one CBG is lent by the yanks then the conflict would be even more one sided. If Hugo also got involved it would of course give the yanks a chance to remove him from power permanently.

However before any of that happens we have the Rio summit in Mexico unanimously siding with Argentina which i have no doubt will mean a few terse message flying from London to certain ex-colonies in the Caribbean.

In the end I find this very saddening as there is really little support in Argentina pushing for more territory that it can misrule, only maybe in the diseased minds of diehard Peronista’s, and this time if there was a bit of argy bargy the UK might actually declare war and then the gloves would be off. Much to the detriment of Argentina. What Argentina needs is a Gen X president to win the next election who is either a member of the Radical Party or an independent, and preferable someone who actually fought in the Falklands Conflict and therefore knows the futility of arguing over them. Then he could allow a plebiscite in the islands (which of course will be a vote for staying a UKIP) and a mutual development pact or something similar to develop oil fields in the region for both sides benefit.

Not long now til the next election..whoopee!!!!

February 19, 2010

Well as the election year moves along and the signs of another possible double dissolution draws nearer we really have to look at what ‘The Rudd Government’ has achieved.

The apology for the Stolen Generation is probably the Keystone of the parliamentary term. A historic event full of hyperbole but long, long overdue. However movement on aboriginal health, housing and education has been glacially slow and to be honest there has been very little change in performance of policy than under the Rodent. The continual screw ups made by the state governments do not help and the actual results of the NT intervention are not being highlighted, which in a country now ruled very much by spin means that, that initially well intentioned but still patriarchal policy is probably failing.

Next came the burial of Work Choices. We can all remember the apocalyptic adverts run by the ACTU on how evil bosses are and how they pick on single mothers. There was again balance in the legislation brought in by the new government and it’s probable success is based on the fact that all sides found fault with the rules brought in.

The Murray-Darling river system had been the subject of some fairly hard hitting legislation by the Rodents government and its intent was to effectively federalise the river system if the states would not play ball. This was the first of the ALP’s failures’ as the Boy Kevin it seemed would not challenge the SA,QLD and NSW state governments about their wholesale destruction of the river system. This more than the ETS, is a damning indictment of Penny Wong and a clear indication of her lack of suitability for the position she holds. It is now over 3 years since the matter was first politically highlighted and still the Federal Government has not acted decisively.

The slow motion car crash that is our health system was meant to be another defining moment for the Rudd Government as Kev 24/7 made lots of macho posturing about federalising health care if the States didn’t pull their finger out. Obviously at the time it was NSW’s health system that was most in peoples minds. So whats happened? Errr… nothing. It is likely that the Ruddbot will be launching a policy to go into the election with. So any potential improvements are at least 1-2 years away. The health system is however likely to be a main plank of the ALP’s election policy with the potential for a double dissolution in the medicare levy coming back up for a 2nd bite of the cherry in a few weeks. It seems that with the ETS becoming less and less important politically that Kevin may try and call an election on health rather than climate change. This in itself is risky as his failure to act as promised will be a big stick that the Libs will use against him.

Now who remembers the biggest issue of our time? Yes Climate Change. The ETS was another BIG IDEA that Kev 24/7 was going to sort out this term…and it’s been bounced twice by the Senate, and is more than likely be bounced again shortly. This piece of policy shows Kevin Rudd’s hubris more than any other. Rather than try and explain what was a bad piece of complex legislation (where a more simple carbon tax and sustainability investment policy would have works much, much better) the Ruddbot and his cheerleaders just happily descended into the school yard and just insulted anyone who disagreed. Why they do not see this actually puts the electorate off and encourages the climate change sceptics is beyond me. However I suppose as this is the general attitude of the majority of the so called AGW proponents I find it completely unsurprising that the general public are becoming more sceptical of the reality of AGW. Penny Wong’s assertion the other day that climate change sceptics are no better than those who didn’t believe smoking damaged your health clearly shows the depths to which the current administration are willing to plumb and why more and more people disagree with the governments assertions on climate change. That the Ruddbot refused to go for a double dissolution on the ETS shows a fragility in the government and perhaps a real weakness in their ability to argue the policy rather than just spin it.

The economy may be Kev’s rescuer. We have not suffered like most of the world over the last couple of years. However I must admit to being sceptical that the various bungs that were paid out to people could not have been better organised so that policy was created to encourage people to gain real jobs and for more job creation..say in sustainable industries. How many people remember Kevin and Swanny rubbishing the Australian economy just before the rest of the world went down the gurgler? That they now criticise that idiot Barnaby Joyce in his worries about us being able to pay off our debt is ironic to say the least. Of course in the end the reason why we in Australia have dodged the bullet is because of the PRC and India.

Education was another big Kevvy promise, well the Laptop promise became less core as time went on. Then came the education infrastructure programme that was so badly run that money had to come from the homeless housing programme to balance the books (well I suppose they think that the very poor don’t vote). The government’s inability to run big programmes became even more clear though this year.

‘Free Insulation for Everyone’ what a great idea. However rather than planning this properly and running it over a longer time period the policy was created on the fly and HAD to be finished before the next election. This has lead to the deaths of four installers and allegations that a sizable proportion of installations were done incorrectly and formed possible health hazards. I feel sorry for Peter Garrett ,but then Pete has been royally shafted by not being able to really being the passion he has for environmental causes to the fore as Penny (the polluters lawyer) Wong got the role he should have had. The Ruddbots jellyfish approach to Whaling has now been re-emphasised by giving the Japs until this November to stop whaling in our waters. I bet they’re really scared.

Then we have lack of communications, Stephen Conroy’s plan to filter out of the internet whatever he wants has been roundly slammed but the opposition has not really taken it to heart. The we have the bung to the TV stations of $250 Million that was quietly slid in this week. And finally a Grande Projet to roll out highspeed broadband across those all of Australia..that already has it. The national company set up to do this has no business plan and it seems the best way to get a job therein is to be a corrupt ALP pollie/staffer. Basically the government who allegedly was so communications savvy actually has no idea how the internet works.

The big problem is though that there is no alternative…none that it that really deserves power. The Libs may reclaim lost ground as it seems that the Mad Monk is reclaiming a lot of disillusioned floating voters so it might be that we get a narrowing of the gap. If the ALP don’t improve in the senate it’s not going to be a happy time for Kevvy over the next few years. Maybe it’s time for Julia to take over as I for one am tired of Kevin Rudd’s sermonising. I find it funny that the ALP attack Papal Skills for his religious views when the Ruddbot goes on (constantly) about his faith and cosy’s up with Fielding and the rest of the religious nutters.

Anti Development rant

January 29, 2010

Saw this add on and it made my blood boil.

Now I know that it’s not the first piece of forest to be ‘developed’ but what annoyed me was that my uncle lives nearby and the area backs onto national parkland and has a high eco-diversity. Developing this area would do nothing except increase traffic, pollution in the area and would seem to me to being just a tool by the council to increase the council levies in the area.

There are hectares of land that are not forested  and can built on, between Bonnogin and Brisvegas so why destroy this area? This is of course is hot on the heels of the Federal Guvmnt not wanting to class the Koala as ‘endangered’, as the decline in Koala numbers is linked primarily with the redevelopment of the forests they live in and of course the states where the veggie dropbear lives are under ALP control and in the pocket of developers you might be very cynical as to they the Federal Guvment is behaving in this way.

Time for a bex and a lie down I think

Crap breakfast TV now with added Krudd!!

January 21, 2010

If it wasn’t bad enough that we are entering into an election year so we’re going to be bombarded by Pollies facile and superficial media presences. it seems that Sunrise has done the ALP a big favor and will put the Ruddbot on prime time.

Now it is claimed that the ruddbot and his advisors will not know the content of the calls, but do they realy think that in an Election year the guvmnt are going to risk the glorious leader made to look like and idiot on TV? not only is this cheap electioneering but it will also be used by the ALP to create policy on the run.

And not having the Mad Monk on at the same time is just crap, putting him up against the Deputy PM is an insult parlementaryspeaking. What we want as voters is to see what the leaders of the two major parties have (or have not) got to say for themselves.

Presumably the slot will be called ‘Buen Dia Senor Presidente’, maybe the ruddbot needs to have a chat with Hugo Chavez.

Guess Chavez got a 360 for Xmas

January 19, 2010

You’ve got to hand it to Hugo Chavez despite the fact that his country is sinking under the strain of his Bolivarian revolution (the only thing revolving is Simon’s bady, in its casket everytime Chavez invokes his name for another weird idea), he’s still thinking about the important things.

He’s just devalued the currency but then told retailers that they can’t raise prices (like thats going to stop inflation) and sent the army in to make sure. He’s nationalising banks and media outlets left, right and centre. Oh and he’s letting the rest of country have blackouts so that the inhabitants of Caracas don’t have to suffer. But he still has time to slag off consoles.

Now I agree that Playstations are poison ..being a 360 fan myself. However considerin he’s militarising all aspects of Venzeulan life you’d have thought he’d want the kids to be familiar with killing via  console games and not playing with little dolls.

Oh well I bet the poor in their sqaulid barrios really appreciate hugo looing after their kids moral welfare.

An Interview with bob Hawke..excellent!!

January 13, 2010

Andrew Dentons “Elders’ series has been on the whole very good with to date my faves being David Attenbrough and Dame Elisabeth Murdoch.

But this weeks episode with Bob Hawke was truely amazing.

Now I know it is a repeat but I missed the first showing.

I loved the sideswipes at the Ruddbot and the odd subtle dig at PK. but once again it helped remind me of how much we actually do owe him and of the hard work he put in to modernise Australia whilst he was PM even though it meant going against the wishes of his former collegues at the ACTU.

It is the mark of a great nation when our PM can be described as ‘a lothesome drunk’!!