Monday, June 30, 2008

Alexander Downer quits politics

A Great Loss!

ALEXANDER Downer has confirmed he will quit politics and work as a United Nations special envoy to help peace talks in the long divided island of Cyprus. Mr Downer, in London for private discussions about his future life after politics, said yesterday he was looking forward to the new challenge.

Earlier today, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said he fully supported his predecessor becoming a United Nations envoy in Cyprus.

Alexander Downer was an excellent Minister in the Howard Government, he became the longest serving Foreign Minister of Australia on 20 December 2004. I have included an image of Mr. Downer and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (from the U.S. Department of State Website) with whom he had an excellent working relationship.

Alexander Downer on Kevin Rudd

“Kevin Rudd works hard; he has a fascination with the media. But I think he is, at the end of the day I think he is the ultimate political opportunist. I think he is somebody who will never take a strong stand on an issue that he passionately believes in if that’s unpopular. He’ll always try to find a popular position or an easy position. So I mean I don’t think he in any way matches the if you like political strength and the political courage of a John Howard. I don’t think there’s any comparison between the two. I think he is a hard working, media fascinated opportunist.” Source: Australian Story

I am compelled to add; that is about as accurate an assessment of Kevin Rudd as you’ll get.

We wish him well in his new U.N. role.

Click here for image source

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Climate Change and Misguided Policies

Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor

The author, Dr. Roy Spencer is a noted scientist, who has served as Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and is a recipient of NASA's Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. In Climate Confusion Spencer shows that fears about global warming are vastly exaggerated and driven by politics, not truth. A global superstorm has already arrived - but it is a storm of hype and hysteria. This book combines impeccable scientific authority with great wit to expose the hysteria surrounding the myths of global warming and climate change. Spencer shows that the earth is far more resilient than we think. Learn more here

Alarmists like will use pseudo-scientific rationalizations and assessments to make connections between carbon dioxide and global warming. Even though CO2 is necessary for life on Earth, the alarmists insist on calling it a pollutant. A good example is Al Gore when he points out Venus has more CO2 in its atmosphere than the Earth does, and its surface is hot enough to melt lead. Therefore, more CO2 causes warming. So we did some research and soon learned that Mars has no less than 15 times as much CO2 as our own Earth, and its surface temperature is around 40 deg below zero!

Somebody recently told me that a little knowledge in the minds of influential and prominent figures is a dangerous thing. Care to reflect on this ...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Climate Change falsehoods

Granted that it is still too early, but soon it will be time for the liberals to begin circulating the real facts to deflate the Rudd government’s position before he decimates local industries while making ordinary Australians pay for it.

In his recent movie, former Vice President Al Gore, said: “If you look at the ten hottest years ever measured, they all occurred in the last fourteen years, and the hottest of all was 2005.”

Really? The ten hottest years ever measured happened thousands of years ago and 2005 was not one of them. Gore must be using only temperature readings from the 125 year thermometer set, a very short time to look at when one is trying to understand Global Warming, but this period of time suits the environmentalists because it is a time in which temperatures happened to be rising. Alarmists refuse to look at the big picture because it shows what they refuse to believe.

In fact climate swings are nothing new. Between 800 and 1300 AD, much of the world was several degrees warmer than today. People grew wine grapes in England, figs in Germany, assorted crops in Greenland. Then came the Ice Age, and temperatures considerably colder than today persisted until the climate warmed again around 1900. The likely cause? Changes in the sun’s energy output, or perhaps the Earth’s orbit, say Harvard-Smithsonian scientists Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon.

And let’s be clear about another scientific fact, CO2 is NOT a pollutant, on the contrary its an essential nutrient for plants. Plants absorb CO2 and release oxygen, while animals inhale oxygen and exhale CO2. Researchers have proven that higher CO2 concentrations enable plants to grow faster and give them better drought tolerance.

There is a mountain of scientific evidence that runs contrary to the tirade of environmental stupidly seemingly all around us. Sea levels have been dropping over the past year; the South Pole is icier than ever but no mainstream site will touch this. Oh, and recall Gore on Mt Kilimanjaro, who told us that the disappearance of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa was expressly attributable to global warming, well in spite of the fact that snow cover has increased markedly over the past year, the scientific consensus was that it cannot be established that the snow recession of the nineties was attributable to human-induced climate change.

Now I can assure all that you will not read about this in any Fairfax paper rather, the information stream is all going in one direction. Even as I type, another one directional alarmist story gets posted for all to soak up, hence North Pole may have ice-free period this summer: US expert this time courtesy of the ABCNews.

Dr. Kiminori Itoh of Yokohama National University calls the global warning scare "the worst scientific scandal in history." It is the sun that has him worried, read more here. I would venture to add that global warming is the perfect big-government issue, read "Dodging devastation of cap-and-trade" here

The mainstream media ought to be ashamed for consenting to, and becoming lackeys for global warming misinformation. Granted that it is still too early, but soon it will be time for the liberals to begin circulating the real facts to deflate the Rudd government’s position before he decimates local industries while making ordinary Australians pay for it. The parliament will best serve the nation by highlighting the facts as opposed to embracing today’s accepted political orthodoxy which is based on falsehoods and driven so successfully, by the left.

Listen up! The Hon Greg Hunt - Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Urban Water ...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Embrace Nuclear Energy: No not Howard - Bob Carr

“The head of Australia's biggest blue-collar union, Paul Howes, and former NSW Labor premier Bob Carr have called for Australia and the Rudd Government to purge its prejudices and embrace a nuclear power industry … Their advocacy at the annual Australian American Leadership Dialogue in Washington after a debate on climate change signals a campaign to persuade the federal Labor Government to rethink its policy on nuclear energy.” Read the rest here

And from Paul Kelly’s blog, “Australia’s energy policy debate is about to erupt. The emissions trading system pledged by Kevin Rudd looms as a policy nightmare that means higher energy and transport prices … And now an old demon has re-emerged, with demands Australia should go nuclear... The corridors of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue were infected this week with multiple sources of this alarm. The unease is profound. It is as though Australia is sleepwalking into the biggest restructuring of its economy for a generation, with a popular culture that thinks climate change solutions are about light bulbs and carbon-free concerts.” More here

John Howard revealed his vision to increase uranium mining and explore the nuclear power option years ago. Announcing a strategy for the future development of uranium mining and nuclear power in Australia he added, "… In light of the significance of global climate, change and as the world's largest holder of uranium reserves, Australia has a clear responsibility to develop its uranium resources in a sustainable way,".

A task force was announced and led by former Telstra chief executive Ziggy Switkowski, to explore the viability of nuclear energy. Read Switkowski’s November 2006 uranium mining, processing and nuclear energy draft report speech to National Press Club here

Contrary to dissenting views it’s a debate that's long overdue. Listen carefully and you will soon hear the screams; remember Three mile Island and Chernobyl? Anti-nuclear parties do little but engage in scaremongering, proudly citing these two examples when so so much has changed in the past 30 years. Chernobyl was built by commissioned by the Soviets in 1977, even by standards then, it was hardly a work of art.

More importantly it might just save our economy from the excesses of environmentally friendly folly as led by the white liberal bourgeoisie and self righteous environmentalists with their narrow unenlightened views - ALP and Green Party aficionados amongst others.

’Climate change’ is merely another cause the left pursues. In the 1980’s it was about nuclear disarmament, then came the end of the Cold War, thanks to a great conservative in Ronald Reagan. In the 90’s it was PC and Aboriginal land rights, then we had the refugees. Today anyone who doubts climate change is demonized. I suspect in a few short years they will move on to another cause. .. By then however, we will ALL have paid for the follies of the Rudd government.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Iraq: History is written by the victors

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

The Iraq War is vanishing from the front pages. That’s probably because situation on the ground no longer fits any of the narratives that were so confidently projected in 2006 and 2007. Written off as a morass rapidly descending into chaos, Iraq is threatening to become a regular country. And that’s not the sort of news many newspapers are interested in.

Read the rest at Belmont Club

One never knows, one day history may view Bush and his strong proponents Howard and Blair in a new light ... Refreshing to see an article arguing for a powerful Bush historical legacy.

History will say that we misunderestimated George W Bush ... And Alexander Downer and John Howard ...

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

Edmund Burke

What would Rudd have done, emulated Chamberlain? Read this ...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How Rudd feeds from disinformation and Howard’s moral consequences of wealth ...

It been written that Governments that successfully nurture the economic well being of a nation can write their own electoral tickets. Seemed sensible enough, and yet, John Howard’s Liberals, who crushed inflation, unemployment, kept interest rates largely in check, and presided over a period of greater engagement with Asia than any of his predecessors suffered a significant and well documented election loss.

This was the subject of our discussion yesterday. Sadly, definitive answers went begging. It was suggested that the role of governments is to facilitate the greatest level of happiness for its constituents and that voters care little about wealth, prosperity, economic growth or other economic factors. Could it be possible that voters had become so comfortably numb? Are Australians happier now?

When Howard said that "working families have never had it so good," he alienated many and gave Rudd a label that soon became a catchphrase for a triumphant campaign. Over a year has passed has he, (Howard) not been vindicated, or do some believe that working families are better off now? Let's cast our minds back to October last, anyone who suggested that Howard may have been correct was bluntly told that they were, “out of touch".

Blank stares all round, perhaps then, Harvard Political Science Professor, Benjamin Friedman and author of the, Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, had a case in point when he wrote that prosperity encourages voters to embrace progressive policy. The premise being that over time many come to take prosperity for granted, when this happens we worry less about our own circumstances and become more open to the notion of helping others, more receptive to policies that advance humanitarianism - thus more Liberalist, but in the Trotskyist method of the left; an argument linking economic prosperity and moral behavior. The more prosperous societies are and the more growth they experience the more generous and compassionate or Liberal they become.

Someone offered a far simpler explanation, disinformation; of a kind driven by an increasingly Liberal media and nurtured in our educational institutions. Roughly a third of voters will always be liberal, and another third always labor with the balance deciding the winner. This “malleable” balance is focused on the policies and issues of the day and the personalities involved. They are, in the words of a friend, “not as bright as we’d like” and remain susceptible to all forms of disinformation.

Perhaps this disinformation premise has some merit. ACTU surveys conducted over the past month show that many voters believe that the Rudd Government has already scrapped WorkChoices, no doubt the catalyst for the new ACTU advertising campaign. Perhaps too, many voters believe that the Rudd Government has, through signing Kyoto, saved the environment, and that the oceans whales have also been saved. Or that ALL the troops and ADF personnel have been returned home from Iraq. Only last week we overheard a conversation on a Melbourne train, that seemed to suggest a belief that Rudd has put in place a process that WILL eventually rid the world of nukes … Flourishes of disinformation.

Interesting …

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Rudd's Flawed Hybrid Vehicle Policy

Spend $35 million to drive down jobs, put upward pressure on inflation and in turn interest rates. That’s essentially what the Rudd Government will achieve through its flawed hybrid car policy.

It goes something like this. At present Toyota’s Altona production facility is running at full capacity thanks in some measure, to Middle Eastern orders. Accordingly, the propsed 10,000 hybrid Camry’s will be produced within the existing mix of units assembled on the line coming at the expense of locally produced petrol Camry’s. As a consequence, there will be less demand for the Australian built engine and this in turn will impact jobs in Toyota’s engine assembly plant - bear in mind the hybrid engine is an import and owing to efficient industry practice expect no compensating increase in labour within the plant as it simply, not required.

Given also that the 10 percent tariff will apply to the imported engines the price for our locally built cars will be higher putting upward pressure on inflation and therefore interest rates. It’s not rocket science!

Contrary to the Governments view the policy does nothing for local green car technology and only serves to enhance the profits of the world’s number two car manufacturer at the expense of local jobs and skills development; an unintended consequence I am sure.

For related posts click here and here ...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Talent Stalk: Rosanna Capolingua

She mounted a first-rate attack on the Governments $275 million plan for “one stop shop” Super Clinics, arguing that the plan would compromise public benefits by putting pressure on existing private medical facilities.

She warned of lower standards of care if Nicola Roxon’s proposal to curb G.P. roles as a patient’s first point of contact is realised.

She blistered the Governments plans to raise the income threshold for the 1% Medicare levy from $50,000 to $100,000 for singles and $100,000 to $150,000 for families as a sure way of driving, a “million” people from private health cover.

It was the AMA Presidents most stinging attack on the Rudd Governments Health policy yet, continuing on and consistent with, criticisms of labor’s approach to health in the lead-up to last years federal election.

Said, Rosanna during her National Press Club Address, Advocating for Patients in Health Reform:

"Labor has a history of removing supports for private health insurance … If this is the Government’s first decision in relation to private health insurance, what will be the second?

Read Dr. Rosanna Capolingua's AMA speech in full here

The Social Conservative Tony Abbott

I became an admirer of Tony Abbott after the conscience vote of 2006. As the former Health an Ageing Minister, he (and previous Health Ministers) had regulatory control of the abortion medication RU486, Abbott was steadfast in his belief that this remain the case adding,

"... we have a bizarre double standard, a bizarre double standard in this country where someone who kills a pregnant woman's baby is guilty of murder but a woman who aborts an unborn baby is simply exercising choice."

Instead, he called for funding of alternative counseling as made available through church groups.

Last week he once again demonstrated his conservative thinking. In an article appearing in The Weekend Australian Magazine, The Mission he outlines the pontiff’s challenge in terms of widespread secularism in Australia ahead of a visit to Sydney for this years World Youth Day; a commendable excerpt:

“The Australia that will welcome Pope Benedict is as relentlessly secular as any other western country. In 2006, the national parliament passed laws further extending scientists’ capacity to experiment on human embryos (despite the opposition of the then prime minister, deputy prime minister, prime ministerial heir apparent and alternative prime minister). When Cardinal Pell questioned the Catholic credentials of NSW MPs voting in favour of embryo experimentation laws, he was threatened with being called before the parliamentary privileges committee.”

“Before the last election there was a flurry of excitement among the religious-minded when then opposition leader Kevin Rudd claimed Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer as his political inspiration and called for religious faith to be in the centre of the “public square”. Earlier, the Howard government had overturned the Northern Territory’s euthanasia laws, legislated against gay marriage, enabled a big expansion of Christian schools, improved the financial position of single-income families and funded a national phone hotline to provide women with alternatives to abortion. Critics duly denounced the rise of the “religious right” even though, quite correctly, all of these positions were argued on secular grounds. Post election, it’s secular politics as usual with Rudd reassuring the ABC’s new Q&A program that religious views are “not relevant to the (political) equation”.”

As a right inclined social conservative, he is also opposed to embryonic stem cell research, therapeutic cloning, and a defender of the constitutional monarchy.

Visit Tony Abbott's website here

Thursday, June 19, 2008

IR's Rearward Drive

Julia Bishop is to be applauded for seeking a guarantee from the Prime Minister that under Labor’s proposed 10 minimum standards no worker will be worse off. Though it was hardly surprising that Kevin Rudd, refused to offer such a guarantee.

Known as, the 10 National Employment standards (NES) they form part of the Governments new IR system due by, Jan 1, 2010.

Pity the selling of WorkChoices was mismanaged. Aside from the political fallout that followed, John Howard’s IR concept was correct, it allowed employers to reward the best and brightest over and above the mediocrity. I never noted anything unfair about this, on the contrary its smart and if we are going to be a “smart country”, it’s the best and brightest and those willing to put in the hard yards to attain such, that need to be cultivated in our workplaces. WorkChoices empowered the individual, enabling one to negotiate a remuneration and benefits package commensurate with ability.

One could not help but notice how often the term “reasonable” and “unreasonable” appeared in the wording of NES. Need we say more … expect many a legal challenge when the boss refuses a union defined, “reasonable” request. As Ms. Bishop correctly pointed out, "Businesses will have to engage a lawyer to help them work out what is reasonable or unreasonable in dozens of circumstances."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Governments Environmental Spin

Mark Twain once said, “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”

I’m confused and I’m not alone" writes a former minister.

Barry Cohen, environment minister in the Hawke ministry presents a creditable argument in relation to the Governments green contradictions.

“For eons environmentalists have been rabbiting on about our dependence on coal, oil and the carbon emissions they produce. “Let's go solar," was their cry, for the one thing Australia was not short of was sun. And we have the skin cancers to prove it. With our engineers and scientists in the vanguard of solar technology it appeared the way to go. I was convinced to go solar many years ago.”

Not that I am sold on climate change! I believe that the cost of “doing something” substantial about global warming will in due course cause us to reexamine the science. Just how certain are we that recent warming really has been caused by 4WDs spewing carbon dioxide. The science of global warming is vague, mostly because it is a whole lot easier to make scientific measurements than it is to figure out what those measurements are telling us about how the natural world works. Mark Twain once said, “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” As

As I wrote at American Interests, "the problem is, in some measure, man made. However, and I want to be quite unequivocal about this point, I will promptly dismiss the doomsday predictions put forward from greens and leftist quarters. The environment and the mystery surround it is a classic liberal temptation, and I can both hear and picture them writing off solutions consistent with those proposed by the Bush administration or any other related proposals in preference for, binding Kyoto style caps.” Secondly, in relation to Kyoto, and for the benefit of those familiar with my earlier writings. I was initially drawn to the convention, arguing that in spite of its obvious flaws, it represented a foundation point for addressing the problem and, whilst I remain loyal to its aims and values, I now see it as little more than a symbolic expression of Governments concern; one that ultimately fails as an instrument for achieving emission reductions. In addition, some recent writings by European experts convinced me beyond doubt, that it was time to authenticate the U.S. position in relation to technology based solutions. "

Back to the Cohen piece; so what does the Government do?

“The dream ended when the budget restricted rebates to those with incomes of under $100,000. Overnight, 90 per cent of orders were cancelled. The industry, unable to sustain that level of cuts was, to put it mildly, thoroughly pissed off while environmentalists are having difficulty recognising the Government that received a standing ovation in Bali.”

And Garrett’s response …

“He told the house that the program, "was oversubscribed and would have overheated and produced, in the solar industry, demand fluctuations such that it would have made this industry very difficult to be sustainable. Compressing the plan for five years to three years the industry would have greater sustainability."

If that went over your head it did so here too .... If anyone can interpret that in relation to the budget decision please email me...

To say I was perplexed by the Governments decision is to put it mildly.

“The decision, we were told, was an exercise in cutting down on middle-class welfare. However, the rebate was not welfare but an incentive to encourage as many people as possible to go solar to cut carbon emissions. What difference does it make if those that do are rich, poor or middle class? The result is the same. If anything, the more affluent are likely to use more electricity and produce more carbon emissions.”

Cohen also raises questions about the Government decision to boost immigration to record levels at a time when supposedly individual demand is fuelling global warming and climate change. Read the rest here

Deep down I suspect Cohen is only attempting to stir the Rudd Government into more credible action but in doing so, he has enlightened us all …

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Australia to put man on Mars by 2023 - Rudd

June 16 - In an extraordinary parliamentary speech in Canberra, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called for tens of billions of dollars to fund an Australian Space program to get the first man on Mars by 2023.

He asked for an initial one billion for immediate research on developing ideas on getting an Australian on Mars within 15 years and added that Australia will form a commission to review and study ways to achieve the goal within the timeframe …

Now if you believe that you may also believe that:

  • Mr. Rudd is going to create an Asian Union similar to the E.U. and that
  • Mr. Rudd is going to secure a seat for Australia at the U.N. Security Council and that
  • Mr. Rudd is going to rid the world of nuclear weapons

The master of distractions!


Australian Labor: Poor Imitation of the Real Deal

Labor frontbencher Craig Emerson has outlined what he says is the future direction of Rudd Government philosophy to provide for a fairer society that is not reliant on welfare. In a speech to the Sydney Institute last night, the Minister for Small Business said the promotion of a free market did not sit in contrast to prosperity and opportunities for individuals. "Some say competitive markets bring out the worst in us - greed and avarice. Oddly they don't say the same about the Olympic Games, football or cricket, netball, music and dance competitions, all based on our most competitive instincts," he said. Emerson said the policy approaches of the Hawke and Keating governments are being continued by the Government but also need an overhaul for the 21st Century. Read more here ..

One suspects that the electorate will soon come to realize the inexact, to and fro populist nature of the Rudd Government. Aspiring Treasurer and Minister for Small Business, Craig Emerson sounded distinctly like a Liberal Coalition member when giving a speech last week – free markets, small Government, more tax cuts and less middle class welfare seemed the order of the day. Unlike previous Labor Governments this Government believes it can occupy a middle of the road please all position and yet appear credible. For how long one wonders …

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Australian Economy is landing ... with a thud

"A lack of confidence in the Rudd Government’s ability to manage the economy and uncertainty about the return of unfair dismissal laws and compulsory collective agreements is contributing to a further weakening in employment. Today’s ABS statistics showing a fall in employment of 19,700 jobs is further confirmation that Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan have successfully talked down the Australian economy and this has led to a collapse in consumer and business confidence. Kevin Rudd must explain the reasons behind the Budget forecast that 134,000 jobs will be lost in Australia by June next year and to identify the sectors of the economy that can expect to be hardest hit by the policies of his Labor Government. The Sensis Business Index for Small and Medium Enterprises, released on 5 June, reported that business confidence has plummeted and expectations about the economy over the next twelve months are at their lowest point in 15 years." Read more here ...

What a week!

Tuesday 10th saw a sequence of bad economic news: business confidence falling, job advertisements falling and house borrowing also falling.

Wednesday 11th revealed a sharp fall in commercial borrowing as well as steep falls in consumer confidence.

Thursday 12th saw the first fall in job numbers in 19 months indicating some 20,000 fewer people in the workforce.

At Core Rudd is No Conservative

Kevin Rudd may not be overtly leftist and yet, contrary to the eloquence of his ’07 pitch, he is at best a conservative of convenience, happy only to assert a conservative streak to mainstream Australia.

Last years shrewd sell may have worked but the Governments quest of appearing to be all things to both people and business is looking shaky. The reverberations caused by the clash of symbols, more precisely, signing Kyoto, saying sorry and courting like-minded elites to a Canberra summit have all but died down.

Working families are working harder and doing it at least as tough as they were during the height of Keating’s engineered recession. Oh, but we were talking about conservatism were we not. Here the Iemma Governments plan to privatize electricity has clearly exposed the Prime Minister’s shortcomings or should I say limitations. Recall he was never going to be bullied by unions! That was in ’07, fast forward February ’08, impressively he re-stated his total support to privatize but come May, he advises Iemma to seek compromise with those opposing the privatization process, namely unions. Interestingly, the current price of NSW’s electricity assets stands at around $15 billion or $9 billion less than Victoria’s grid when it was privatized in the 1990’s. Pity unions killed off Bob Carr’s attempt to privatize when it was valued at $35 billion! It now appears as though they cost NSW working families around $20 billion that is, 20 billion that would have proved useful for much need infrastructure expenditure.

Not surprisingly, matters of political convenience also drive Prime Minister Rudd’s self-hailed social conservative qualities. We understand and appreciate the Governments rejection of gay marriage but unlike John Howard, you would be hard pressed to have the normally articulate Mr. Rudd provide a convincing argument as to exactly why they reject it, suffice to add, it’s “our party’s policy”. Ok, we know, but why? Because it’s “our party’s policy’ stupid! Howard on the other hand routinely outlined his reasons. Referring to marriage he once said, “Marriage, as we understand it in our society, is about children, having children, raising them, providing for the survival of the species, and I think if the same status is given in our society to gay unions as are given to traditional marriage we will weaken that bedrock institution.” This is an example of how our former prime minister put his innermost convictions above politics, a fact that revealed much. Expect no such integrity from Kevin Rudd.

Rudd is an economic and social conservative all right, in as much as he wishes to conserve his place in Australian political history.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Toyota deal raises questions

"The Federal Opposition says the grant handed out to Toyota to build hybrid cars in Australia amounts to a $35 million photo opportunity for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Mr Rudd announced the subsidy yesterday in a news conference at Toyota headquarters in Japan. Opposition industry spokesman Eric Abetz says comments from Toyota officials show the company would have begun hybrid car production at its Altona factory in Victoria even without the multi-million grant from taxpayers. Reports in today's newspapers say Toyota had already decided to build a hybrid version of its Camry sedan." Read more here ...

Questions abound. Do we really know if the Hybrid Camry will make a difference to our greenhouse emissions? The Productivity Commission says: " (it) will likely encourage some buyers to switch from taxed, more efficiently produced, imported, hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles to subsidised, higher-cost, locally produced ones - without markedly increased green car sales overall." Read more on this here.

Aside from the federal grant of $35 million how much will Victorian taxpayers contribute? While $35 million is touted we can only wonder what the final figure will be, especially given a commitment to purchase 20,000 of them. Using a nominal figure of $25,000 per unit this alone represents $50 million and that’s without taking into account running costs including maintenance. The Toyota Motor Co. is one the globes most successful companies so it seems a waste to offer so much to help offset start costs. Perhaps the money would have been better spent on bringing the eventual price down. Industrial innovation run-off is also questionable; it appears that the motor will be a imported as a whole at a cost of $3,500 per unit, more subsidies perhaps? Thus the hybrid technology itself is a complete import.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Labor's Moral Crusade is about to bite ...

"Kevin, we need to talk. We need to talk about our future. Don’t get me wrong. The early days of carefree symbolism were fun."

Signing the Kyoto Protocol provided a nice, cost-free inner glow to our collective conscience about climate change. Turning off our lights for Earth Hour was a similarly low-cost bit of climate change fun, as we sat by the dreamy glow of candlelight. And who can forget going to the movies to watch Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, shedding tears for humanity and those poor polar bears? Now that the gimmicks are over, we need to get serious about our relationship. Our relationship with climate change. We need to talk about cost. Yes, I know, money is such a gauche topic. But we need to talk about just how much confronting climate change is going to cost us. Kevin, isn’t it time to start telling us how it will affect petrol prices, the cost of our groceries and our electricity bills?" Read the rest here ...

Good to see Janet continuing to hold Kevin and Labor to account. Howard’s former battlers now known as “working families” will soon be made to pay for our glorious leaders “good” and righteous crusade. Expect another committee to report on how best to assist those struggling under the weight of higher utility prices and fuel.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rudd's main 07 election strategy in shambles

Kevin Rudd’s plea to oil-producing nations to increase production to stave off further petrol price increases is another sign of his desperation, the Shadow Minister for Business Development, Independent Contractors and Consumer Affairs, Luke Hartsuyker, said today (Tuesday). “Motorists facing paying $1.70 a litre shouldn’t expect any help from this quarter,” Mr Hartsuyker said. “They’re not going to listen to this plea from the Prime Minister, particularly as he’s out of step with the Group of Eight major industrial nations who are concentrating instead on improving fuel efficiency. “Having led the voters during the election campaign to believe he was going to reduce petrol prices, it’s another sign of his desperation on the issue. Read more here ...

Wrote Time Blair:

Meant to deliver cheaper petrol, this $20 million baby - due for launch in December - is believed likely (by four government departments) to instead make petrol more expensive. The way FuelWatch works, see, is that petrol stations all tell a Big Government Website what their prices will be for the next 24 hours - this is locked in, which is the problem - and you drive home whenever you’re low on fuel and check out the site and then drive over to wherever the cheapest petrol station is. You know, if there was such a demand for a cheap-fuel site someone might already have come up with one. And they have! According to (a private site that gets by on advertising) the cheapest petrol in my area is $1.53 per litre at the Caltex on Alison Rd. MotorMouth has been around for eight years. It was previously known as FuelWatch.

Similar to FuelWatch, except it will apply to turnips instead of unleaded. Unlike previous generations, who knew nothing about grocery prices except if they picked up a daily newspaper and looked at full-page ads, lucky Ruddlings will one day be able to dial up a Government-funded website to get all the latest chicken and noodle news. It’s conceivable that a nationwide army of grocery monitors might cost something themselves. Labor senator Kate Lundy ran her own little GroceryWatch site before the 2007 election, focusing on a few ACT supermarkets. She apparently gave it up on October 9 after reporting that the Woolworths in Dickson was charging $4 less for bread, milk, eggs, bananas and lamb chops than it had in mid-August.

Visit Tim's blog here ...

Recall the language of Kevin '07:

"This morning Mr Rudd pledged to give the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) power to monitor the rising cost of groceries and to publish the average prices. Formally launching his policy this morning, Mr Rudd said the rising costs of grocery bills, child care and petrol were hurting Australian families. "The increasing cost of living is felt most sharply by families at the local supermarket," he said. "While the prices of many goods and services go up and down, over the past five years families have generally seen the prices of everyday goods like bread, fruit and vegetables go up, and up and up. "When families fill up their basket and trollies at the local supermarket, they should not have to fear they're getting a raw deal through inflated grocery prices."

It was Kevin Rudd's main election strategy - to ease pressure on household budgets - a strategy that's all but collapsed just six months into his administration. Fuelwatch, GroceryWatch ... More like RuddWatch!

Rudd and his Nuclear Non-Proliferations and Disarmament Commission

"You know as eerie as this may sound, atomic devices probably saved the planet from a third and even fourth major world conflict."

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced the creation of a new international body that will push for nuclear disarmament. Mr Rudd says Australia will set up a body to be known as the Nuclear Non-Proliferations and Disarmament Commission. Read the rest here ...

You know as eerie as this may sound, atomic devices probably saved the planet from a third or even fourth major world conflict. It is simple really, nuclear arsenals are extremely potent weapons, thus there deployment was essential in order to threaten an enemy (think Soviet Union) so at to prevent the use of the same weaponry. My friends, it was known as nuclear deterrence, a military doctrine also known as Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD, and it worked.

Moreover, here is Andrew Bolt’s way of viewing it, “with one bomb, the Allies averted countless more deaths. Without the atomic bomb, how many more American soldiers and Japanese civilians would have died? And without the bomb, what more would the Soviet Union have dared?”

Anyone with some historical knowledge can tell you that reduced aggregate casualties due to the atomic bomb are fact.

Back to the newly proposed commission (another word for committee!), dare I say it, but the odds of success, to rid the globe of nuclear weapons are, zero and none.

I was also drawn to a certain Warwick A’s comments on Bolt’s blog, “Next he’ll visit Sandarkan and demand “a fair days pay for a fair days work” and then lobby to establish an International Railworker’s Union.”

Another commission aye, is Mr. Rudd an out of control egomaniac?

Our Prime Minister is a commitee freak, see also:
A committee set up every four hours by Rudd team, and Art of government lost as committees multiply

Monday, June 09, 2008

Iraq pullout is Rudd Propaganda

The Opposition says Government claims that Australia's combat commitment to Iraq is over are pure spin. More than 130 soldiers from the Overwatah Battle Group, who had been based in the south of Iraq, arrived back in Brisbane early this morning. Labor promised to end Australia's combat presence in Iraq during last year's federal election campaign. Read it here ...

Says Alexander Downer, "What is encouraging about the new Australian Government is that for all its bluster about the evils of getting rid of Saddam, it is at least leaving a warship in the Gulf to protect Iraq’s oil terminals (the central source of Iraqi prosperity), and it will also keep an RAAF air bridge into and out of Iraq to maintain supplies to our allies. Australia will still have about 1000 defence personnel in Iraq. But it’s an interesting decision from a Government that says it was wrong to send forces to Iraq and said we had to withdraw them to focus on our own region." If the war was so illegal, immoral and generally heinous, why is the Rudd Government still contributing?

Typical Rudd Government spin, bring the troops home, really means leaving most of them there, tear up WorkChoices really means keeping up to 80% of it. Kevin Rudd's got it down to an art form... Oh and another thing, would it be correct to say that a doctor is not a doctor unless he/she is practicing in a hospital, or that a politician is not a politician unless he/she is actually sitting in the chamber? A combat troop is a combat troop no matter what the assignment.

John Howard Queens Birthday Honours and other awards ...

Former prime minister John Howard tops a list of political and business heavyweights to receive the highest awards in the Queen's Birthday honours. Among 458 civilian awards, Mr Howard becomes a Companion of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the Parliament of Australia. Mr Howard's citation recognises his contributions to economic and social policy reform and his role in "fostering and promoting Australia's interests internationally and the development of significant philanthropic links between the business sector, arts and charitable organisations". Read it here ...

The Canberra Times put it like this, "After a year of disappoint-ments, former prime minister John Howard has finally received some good news and will join the select group of Companions of the Order of Australia."

There was in fact, other good news for Mr. Howard. In March this year he accepted the Irving Kristol award, let's revisit that very fine speech he gave, "I speak to you tonight as an unapologetic and continuing advocate of the broad conservative cause, restlessly conscious, as you are, that the battle of ideas is never completely won and must always command both our attention and our energy". Read it here ...

Personally, I would have loved to see our former Prime Minister receive an Order of the Garter ...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Julia Gillard and Labor State Government failures

Parents will not find out the results of how their children performed in this year’s national literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) tests until the end of the school year, Senate Estimates has revealed this week. Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training, Tony Smith, said the whole reason the former Coalition Government introduced the tests for Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 students was so parents could have information about how their child was performing in a timely fashion. “Students sat these tests in May, but parents won’t find out the results until term four this year,” Mr Smith said. “It is ridiculous that parents and teachers won’t know if a child is struggling until they are just about to progress into the next year. “This means we could be sending some students into the next school year without picking up they are functionally illiterate.” Mr Smith said the tests were introduced by the Coalition Government so results could be given back to parents within a matter of weeks and they could then get extra help for their kids through the $700 tutorial vouchers. Read more here ...

Why the delay in releasing the results? Said Mr Smith, "Julia Gillard should stop being an apologist for state Labor government educational failures and put the interests of parents and students first."

Health Insurance Premiums will rise

Thanks to flawed policy - new Medicare levy thresholds - nearly one million Australians will opt out of Private health Insurance.

"THE predicted flight from private health cover will be double that tipped by the Rudd Government. In a major embarrassment for the government, Treasury officials admitted they failed to count children when calculating the impact of new Medicare changes. The blunder means at least 700,000 people -- not 484,000, as stated by the Government -- are expected to leave the private system. In a further blow, Australia's biggest insurer, Medibank Private, expects to lose 7-10 per cent of its members under new Medicare Surcharge thresholds." Read it here ...

See also, Government underestimated effects of Medicare changes: Hockey

Premiums will no doubt skyrocket as the estimated exodus will leave private health funds short by around $500 million in the medium term ... And who was behind the flawed policy? A certain Stephen Duckett; somebody correct me if I am wrong but was he not behind Medicare Gold policy?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The arrogance of Penny Wong

Unpleasant display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride...

To be more precise it's Hanyu Pinyin:Huáng Yīngxián. I was drawn to comments made at Andrew Bolts blog by a certain big al:

"If you think petrol/goods/grocery prices are bad now,wait till the pig-headed arrogance of agenda pushing Wong forces them up even higher through her ideology driven carbon trading B.S. scheming scheme."

Senator Wong recently told a "small groups of chief executives from major power and other energy-intensive companies that the Rudd Government's election promise of a renewable energy target was "not negotiable". Read more here ...

Arrogance: Unpleasant display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Whew! That's powerful stuff! If you know Penelope, you'll know this is true... Oh we know she's smart alright, it's where she directs her intelligence that concerns us...

Green Car Innovation Fund Productivity Commission and Rudd Spin

Mr. Rudd's gullible acceptance of the hypothesis of global warming will ensure that the $500 million, (supposedly for low-emission car manufacturing) will just be a hand-out to unions.

"Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he is determined to see green cars made in Australia, despite the Productivity Commission's warning that subsidising their production will not bring down greenhouse gases. The Federal Government will spend $500 million from 2011 to encourage low-emission and fuel-efficient car manufacturing in Australia." Read more ...

"The union representing car industry workers has backed the Federal Government's $500 million plan to help the industry build more energy efficient cars. The Green Car Innovation Fund has been criticised in a Productivity Commission study which says it will do little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The study also found a reduction in Government assistance to the automotive industry would benefit the economy. But Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) spokesman Ian Jones says the Productivity Commission analysis is not credible. We have grown to expect this sort of rubbish from them, they have historically been anti-manufacturing industry," he said.

Mr. Rudd's gullible acceptance of the hypothesis of global warming will ensure that the $500 million, (supposedly for low-emission car manufacturing) will just be a hand-out to unions. It would be good for all concerned if he took his own spin less seriously and asked why temperatures are not rising in line with carbon dioxide. Typical Rudd style over substance message; you know how it goes 'change' rather that 'policy', probably where Obama's getting his cues.

See also, Green car fund to hurt economy

Air Traffic Controllers seek 63pc

"It continues a pattern of aggressive wage claims since the election of the Rudd Government, with this week's three-year, 27 per cent claim by university staff emboldened by the deal secured last month by Victorian teachers - all at a time when the Reserve Bank is warning of "considerable uncertainty" about the outlook for inflation." Read more ...

Civil Air, the union representing 1,000 employees, says there's a shortage of air traffic controllers and the rise could help increase the number of people in the profession.

Get used to this! Arresting inflation involves a two pronged attack, cutting spending and curbing wages rises. The test of Kevin Rudd and the ALP will be how he manages both, not one or the other.

See also, Unions, Rudd Government and Strikes

Friday, June 06, 2008

Kevin Rudds Heart Attack

"Kevin Rudd has attempted to joke his way out of his latest scare. When The Daily Telegraph put to the PM rumours swirling within NSW Labor that he had had a minor heart attack in early May, he said that he had in fact been laid low by a "dodgy dagwood dog" at a sports venue. But after The Telegraph confirmed that dagwood dogs were not available at the venue, the Mr Perpetual Motion of Politics this morning said it was a "party pie, something like that”. The PM admits he can’t recall exactly what made him so ill after the Broncos-West Tigers clash at ANZ Stadium. But he says whatever it was, the consequences were “graphic”. “I think it was a party pie, something like that,” he said this morning on his way to an engagement." More here ...

Go easy Kevin, no need for a food committee or for that matter another enquiry of sorts. And please, refrain from hiring a full time food taster OK ... That's what butlers are for ...

Unions Rudd Government and Strikes

..."The fact that almost as many days have been lost in the due to industrial disputation in the March quarter 2008 as in the entire previous year..."

"The union movement has celebrated the election of a Federal Labor Government with a wave of industrial unrest and strikes. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released today reveal that 42,800 working days were lost due to industrial disputation in the March quarter 2008. Working days lost through industrial disputation for the whole of 2007 were 49,700. This was the lowest number since this data series began in 1959."

"After years of industrial peace, Australian business is under siege from unions which invested tens of millions of dollars to get the Rudd Government elected and are now seeking a return on that investment. The fact that almost as many days have been lost in the due to industrial disputation in the March quarter 2008 as in the entire previous year is a taste of what lies ahead for the Australian economy."

"Strike action under the last Federal Labor Government, peaking at more than 1.6 million working days lost, is estimated to have cost the economy $1.5 billion per annum." Read more ...

See ABS figures here

Welcome to the bad old days guys; Teachers, Principles, Qantas engineers, bank employees, who is next. Kevin Rudd is presenting industrial relations rhetoric that looks to the past, a trend toward uniformity and centralisation at the expense of flexibility and competition.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

How good is Kevin Rudd

"Has Kevin Rudd, and Wayne the Swan been put on Earth to remind us how good Peter Costello and John Howard were?"

The cost of living is going up! Interest rates, shopping bills, fuel, private health insurance, cost of utilities and, if you think fuel is expensive now, you won't know what hit you when its added to the emissions trading scheme. Can't wait for that June 30 Climate Change review draft.

The labor party juggernaut is finding its feet, all in the name of the lowest common you know what. Has Kevin Rudd, and Wayne the Swan been put on Earth to remind us how good Peter Costello and John Howard were? Oh, and for those wondering how much fuel will go up if added to the emissions trading scheme the answer is around, 25 cents per litre. Imagine the flow on effect!

Abortion aid ban

"The Federal Government is considering overturning a ban on Australian aid being spent on abortion advice in developing nations. Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith has the power to change the guidelines and has asked Labor to debate whether the 12-year ban imposed by the former Coalition government should be lifted." Read more ...

Silly progressives, Pell ain't gonna be happy!

Labor slogans and sybolism

John Roskam writes: "Labor is caught between slogans and the need to act when it comes to petrol. Two things stand out about the Rudd era of Australian politics. First, there is the Prime Minister's love of slogans - "working families" and "education revolution" are political slogans par excellence. Second, there is the Prime Minister's talent for symbolism. We've had a signing, a summit and an apology."

"It was inevitable that the slogans and the symbolism would collide. Climate change policy is the first big test of which of the two will be triumphant. Kevin Rudd has a dilemma: does he maintain his promise to working families and do everything possible to keep down the price of petrol? Or does he implement his election commitment to cut greenhouse gases, which could result in petrol prices going up by 25 cents a litre? That increase is a conservative estimate of the effect of the carbon emissions trading scheme Labor has said it will introduce within the next two years." Read more ...

What an interesting and perfectly expected outcome, that “slogans and the symbolism would collide.”