Archive for October, 2011

Carbon tax a non-starter

October 30, 2011

No T in Gillard’s ETS

John Baird, the foreign minister of Canada, has been scathing about the idea of international carbon trading, raising even more doubts about the dubious carbon dioxide tax of Julia Gillard.

When asked about whether Canada would be implementing an ETS, he explained that his conservative government had won an absolute majority in the Canadian parliament on an explicit policy platform of no-carbon tax and no ETS.

He also believes that that the US will not introduce one either. Worse for Gillard, he thought that it was impossible that anything remotely resembling a global market could emerge.

“There’s nothing to participate in. Where is it going on today?”

He spoke more generally about the ineffectiveness of so-called market mechanisms in dealing with greenhouse gas emissions: “Everyone just lines up to get credit. My province has a lot of forests — where do we get credit for that? At the end of the day, it’s like a pyramid marketing scheme. You don’t have to sell this dog food, you just have to get 10 of your friends to sell it and get the royalties from that.”

If Julia Gillard was too busy at CHOGM to bother responding to the call from Qantas on the grounding of their planes, I really don’t think what Canada is doing, or what their Foreign Minister says, would even show up on her radar.

Cardinal Pell on climate

October 26, 2011

A scientific and philosophical category error

Admiration goes to Cardinal Pell for his clear and courageous stand against the global warming hysteria.

He delivered a speech in London yesterday to the Global Warming Policy Forum. It is refreshingly concise and logical. It is a real challenge to those who are unable to think straight.

My appeal is to reason and evidence, and in my view the evidence is insufficient to achieve practical certainty on many of these scientific issues.

Recently Robert Manne, following fashionable opinion, wrote that “the science is truly settled” on the fundamental theory of climate change:

His appeal is to the “consensual view among qualified scientists”. This is a category error, scientifically and philosophically. In fact, it is also a cop-out, a way of avoiding the basic issues.

The basic issue is not whether the science is settled but whether the evidence and explanations are adequate in that paradigm.

I fear, too, that many politicians have never investigated the primary evidence.

Occupy Wall Street and economics

October 25, 2011

A bit of Economics 101 needed

A response by John Dawson to the anti-capitalist “occupations” of city squares around the world gives a clear explanation of the confusion about corporate greed and the demand for “giving back” to society. The article explores the concept of “corporate social responsibility” — aka the triple bottom line —  and why it is based on a confused notion of how a capitalist economy works.

Capitalists don’t take their wealth from society – they make it. Consequently they have no “corporate social responsibility” to give their wealth back to society. The billions Steve Jobs left in Apple’s coffers were not taken from anyone. Not from Intel who supplied him silicon chips – that company made more money by supplying him than it could have without him. Not from his employees – they made more wages than they could have without him. Not from his customers – they got more bangs for their buck than they could have without him. Not from Apple shareholders – they made more from their investment than they could have without him. And certainly not from the protesters who wile away their occupation of Wall Street and our CBDs listening to their iPods and chatting on their iPhones.

Clive Hamilton’s lesson in democracy

October 24, 2011

“What do we want—Armageddon!

When do we want it—NOW!”

This sweet article says it all.

Oh! What a tangled web, Professors Hamilton and Manne, you weave as the public are expected to wait breathlessly for the next prediction of doom and impending disaster.

Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest.

Doyle’s inconsequential denial

October 21, 2011

Why deny such a banal observation? 

On MTR on Thursday, Steve Price and Andrew Bolt were talking to Robert Doyle, Mayor of Melbourne, about his excessive bureaucratic regulations for street vendors and horse drawn carriage operations that contained questions on “environmental and social sustainability”. Steve helpfully suggested that Doyle should be encouraging these activities, not hinder them. The conversation continued:

SP: It makes us feel even more like the European city you keep telling people we are.

RD:I have never told people we are like a European city. Come on.

SP: Well we are.

RD: Hang on …

SP  We are.

RD:  Hang on Steve. If you are going to tell me what I have said …

SP: You’ve never compared Melbourne to a European city. Have you?

RD: No. You’ve just said, “you’ve often compared Melbourneto a European city”. No I don’t.

Robert Doyle this morning in an article by Michael Shmith in The Age.

“We’re a bit like Paris, London or Sydney – but, really, we’re like us. We don’t have a big rock or a giant prawn. We don’t have a harbour bridge. But we have sophistication on offer that is unlike other places.”

Wind farms obsolete

October 20, 2011

Gas is the new Green energy

I, like so many, have commented on the uselessness of wind farms for electricity generation. In last week’s Spectator, there was a stunning summary by Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist, of just what is wrong about Green dreams of renewables, especially wind farms, in the context of the discovery of natural gas. It is almost hard to believe that there is so much of this new, efficient energy source world wide.

The International Energy Agency reckons there is a quarter of a millennium’s worth of cheap shale gas in the world.

Peak oil? Forget it.

Ridley explains why shale gas will lead the way to a de-carbonised, hydrogen based energy source.

Yet switching to gas would hasten decarbonisation. In a combined cycle, turbine gas converts to electricity with higher efficiency than other fossil fuels. And when you burn gas, you oxidise four hydrogen atoms for every carbon atom. That’s a better ratio than oil, much better than coal and much, much better than wood.

He concludes:

To persist with a policy of pursuing subsidised renewable energy in the midst of a terrible recession, at a time when vast reserves of cheap low-carbon gas have suddenly become available, is so perverse it borders on the insane. Nothing but bureaucratic inertia and vested interest can explain it.

Bolt humiliated on ABC QandA

October 13, 2011

How to skirt around the substance in a “good discussion”

Tony Jones was very happy on Monday.

On the ABC’s weekly QandA programme, “where you get to ask the questions”, the panellists included Bill Shorten, Julie Bishop, Richard Flanagan, Ron Merkel, and Caroline Overington. They all pretty comprehensively dismissed Andrew Bolt and pretty much agreed that he got what he deserved on the basis of inaccuracies in his facts about the complainant Aborigines in his recent Federal court case on racial vilification.

This would be expected of the three panellists of the left, and of Tony Jones. It was certainly expected of Ron Merkel, the plaintiffs’ barrister, whose rotund smiling visage strangely reminded me of a very self satisfied Archbishop Desmond Tutu. But it was expected less so of Caroline Overington of the Australian and of Julie Bishop. Overington apparently knows Larissa Behrendt well and thinks her “witty, saucy and sexy”. These must have been just those qualities displayed by Behrendt with her disgraceful insults and the contempt she showed towards Bess Price. Nevertheless, Overington did concede that given Bolt “told lies about us” — Berendt’s own words — the plaintiffs should have used defamation laws. However, she steered clear of so much as hinting at any of the controversy that was central to the case.

Julie Bishop, having herself worked in defamation law, also stepped carefully around these central issues, emphasising that freedom of speech had responsibilities. She thought simply, like Overington, that the plaintiffs should have used the defamation laws.

What was being so carefully and scrupulously avoided — as is the constant practice on the ABC of course — was the subject of Bolt’s articles, the question of what constituted Aboriginal identity and also the subjective issue of “offence”. As Keith Windshuttle summarised in this month’s edition of Quandrant:

while Aboriginal people can question others’ identity with impunity, when non-Aboriginal Andrew Bolt did the same he found himself in court. In short, there is a racial double standard on this issue.

It was all the more shocking that Julie Bishop, in particular, did not seem interested, or even appear to be aware of the core issues in the defence of Bolt and free speech, notably in many well argued pieces from the likes of James AllanMark SteynJames Delingpole, and especially George Brandis, her own parliamentary colleague and the shadow Attorney General. He concluded in a recent article that:

By making the reasonable likelihood of causing offence or insult the test of unacceptable behaviour, in any political context, section 18C is a grotesque limitation on ordinary political discourse.

Bishop, to her discredit, was not even able to answer why the plaintiffs in the case chose to use the Racial Vilification Act rather than simple defamation. She simply repeated the tangential fact that Bolt had erred on things that were “reasonable, logical and factual”.

It is simple, if sadly predictable. The QandA panel was uninterested in this issue. Bill Shorten complained sarcastically that Bolt had not been censored in spite of his protestations, and Richard Flanagan added that Bolt was a “propagandist” and had been “caught out”. They all gave a sigh of relief and agreed that they had just had “a pretty good discussion”.

So much for closing down debate on important issues.

Qantas baggage handlers

October 12, 2011

What is Fair about this work?

This is extraordinary if correct. A letter today in the Australian comments on our privileged Qantas baggage handlers, and provides their list of employment conditions for this unhappy group. It would seem they are far better off than secondary school teachers, hospital staff, social welfare workers and many others with far more responsibility and skill.

It is an outrage to think they are holding the travelling public to ransom.

For starters, they get paid upwards of 20 per cent above the industry rate and earn between $70,000 to $85,000 a year including penalty rates but not overtime. Overtime is paid at double time as are any public holidays and if you happen to be rostered off on a public holiday you get a day off in lieu later on.

Read on. It is nice to learn how “the other half” lives.

Bolt haters and hypocrisy

October 2, 2011

The closing down of public debate on a vital issue of public concern

If all the Bolt haters, reinforced with a reassuring politically vegan diet of the Melbourne Age, could do just one thing and read this article, that might be a good thing. They might just start to understand the importance of an honest debate on Aboriginal issues and why accusations of offence, insult, humiliation and intimidation should be approached with more caution.

But alas, we know the hypocrisy of the lazy, moralising progressives and righteous do-gooders.

I know of communities where the government directly finances invented tribes, fabricated history, waste, petty corruption and the occasional threat of violence or death. There are no lawyers to contrive affront; there is no judge; just more government money going to the usual suspects for no benefit.



They might also like to read this piece by Chris Kenny documenting the flagrant double standards of those who support the Aboriginal industry and the disservice they do for real solutions to Aboriginal problems.

THE judicial finding against Andrew Bolt has drastic implications for free speech but it also demonstrates that in almost two decades since the landmark Mabo decision, Australia’s left-liberal political class has learned little about the important priorities in indigenous issues.

ABC Insiders taking Manne’s advice?

October 1, 2011

Not even a pretence of balance 

It would seem that Insiders’ Barry Cassidy is taking Robert Manne’s advice to heart when it comes to political commentary.

Manne said that he thought that newspapers should report only the views of a “core” of experts in key debates. Given that the key topic on Insiders, week in week out,  is their analysis and boostering of the ALP, Cassidy this week decided to ditch any semblance of token balance with their one only conservative commentator, and as far as I know, for the first time ever had all three from the left.

After all, what would any conservative know or understand or be capable of explaining to viewers about the present government’s policies on carbon taxes, balancing budgets, refugees, freedom of speech, women in the defence forces, or Gillard’s bad polling.

The result, of course, was furious agreement, and a boring and smug self congratulatory tone to the whole hour. With a Gerard Henderson, or a Niki Saava, at least we hear a voice that from time to time injects just a little counterpoint to an otherwise increasingly dull and predictable discussion.

Either Cassidy had trouble for this one day in finding an available counter voice, or it is the realisation of the ABC’s idea of a political wet dream. Finally.