Monday, March 16, 2009

Icing the hype

By Andrew Bolt

The ABC accepts - without question - the word of a green alarmist that the world is both heating and drowning:
BARBARA MILLER: Just two years ago the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in a worst case scenario, sea levels could rise by up to 59 centimetres by 2100. New information has now led to that figure being revised significantly upwards to a projected rise of a metre or even 1.2 metres. Dr Will Steffen the executive director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University is at the summit in Copenhagen.

WILL STEFFEN: The 59 centimetres did not take into account the changes of the big polar ice sheets like Greenland and west Antarctica because they couldn't be modelled very well at that time. We now have better information on how Greenland and west Antarctica, the polar ice sheets are behaving, and they're leading us to believe that sea level rise will indeed be more than that 59 centimetres.

But here's what the same conference was also told about Greenland - but which the ABC didn't report:
The giant Greenland ice sheet may be more resistant to temperature rise than experts realised. The finding gives hope that the worst impacts of global warming, such as the devastating floods depicted in Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth, could yet be avoided.

Jonathan Bamber, an ice sheet expert at the University of Bristol, told the conference that previous studies had misjudged the so-called Greenland tipping point, at which the ice sheet is certain to melt completely. "We found that the threshold is about double what was previously published," Bamber told the Copenhagen Climate Congress...

And what of the actual observations of this reputedly fast-warming, fast-drowning climate? In fact, sea levels haven't risen for the past two years. Temperatures haven't risen for the past decade. Hurricanes and cyclones have been decreasing in total energy. Greenland hasn't been following Europe's warming trend.

And while the ABC subcontracts its reporting of an alarmist conference to alarmist scientists and activists, it virtually ignores another conference of sceptical scientists and other experts running at the very same time. Is there a reason that so many reporters refuse to tempter their alarmist reports with cool facts based not on predictions but on observations?

When the wildest predictions at the IPCC conference are for sea level rises this century of up to 1.2 metres, will ABC science guru Robyn Williams concede at last that his own claims of sea level rises of up to 100 metres were grossly alamist and hyperbolic, with no basis in science? When will Media Watch pounce on a science journalist that can insist on something so preposterous?

More HERE (See the original for links)

Australia to reduce immigration intake

Cuts to the nation's skilled migration intake will help protect local jobs, Immigration Minister Chris Evans says. The federal government will slash the skilled migration program by 14 per cent, or 18,500 jobs, over the next three years. The cuts will be coupled with deletions to the critical skills list, which specifies which jobs are open to migrants. All building and manufacturing trades will be removed, forcing companies to find bricklayers, plumbers, welders and carpenters domestically. Employers can bring in foreign workers only if they cannot source the labour locally.

Mr Evans says the government wants to ensure migrant workers are not competing with Australians for jobs during the economic downturn. "That's (building and manufacturing) where we are seeing a drop off in demand, some major redundancies, we don't want people coming in who are going to compete with Australians," Mr Evans told ABC radio.

It is unlikely further cuts will be made to the critical skills shortage list including health, engineering and information technology jobs, he said. "I doubt they're going to be making any changes in that regard, we are down to a fairly short (critical skills shortage) list now."

The Master Builders Association says the cuts are warranted. Chief executive Wilhelm Harnisch says unemployment in the building and construction sector is rising. "We're projecting at least a loss of 50,000 jobs in this industry over the next 12 months," Mr Harnisch told ABC radio.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull said the government should be prepared to reduce further Australia's migrant intake as the economy slows. Mr Turnbull said the government has "finally recognised" the gravity of the threat migration poses to jobs in Australia. "They should be prepared to reduce the immigration intake in light of the economic circumstances," he told ABC Radio, when asked whether the government should go further than the latest announcement. "We're disappointed they have failed to do so in recent months."

But the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) says there will be trade skill shortages despite the economic downturn. "You don't want migration policy to move in high peaks and low troughs, because that does create dislocations through the economy," chief executive Peter Anderson told ABC radio. "It is far better to allow the labour market to operate in a more natural way."

Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce says there is still a need for overseas workers in the Australian workforce. Abattoirs was one example where employers were struggling to fill vacancies with local labour, he said. Senator Joyce, in cautiously welcoming the announcement, said the government still needed to be careful about cutting worker immigration, especially for the meat-processing sector where operators struggled to maintain full production. "If we take away 30 per cent of the production line, you end up closing the whole production line down," he told reporters in Canberra.....

Nationals MP Mark Coulton has described as "ironic" the decision to cut the intake, saying sending jobs offshore would be a consequence of an emissions trading scheme (ETS). He said a 14 per cent cut to the skilled labour intake was not a huge amount when compared to the numbers of jobs that could be lost to the ETS and the government's planned changes to workplace laws.appropriate industries. "Doing a willy-nilly reduction in skilled migration is problematic," he told reporters. "You need to ensure that the intakes that you do reduce are in areas where, in fact, there is going to be a reduction (of local jobs)."

Dr Jensen warned that a rushed implementation of an emissions trading scheme - scheduled to begin in July 2010 - would also cost local jobs. "It's (the ETS) going to be introduced next year... (and) next year is going to be particularly bad economically." Liberal MP Stuart Robert said the ETS would export jobs overseas. "If Prime Minister (Kevin) Rudd is going to look at immigration... he needs to look at the ETS at the same time," he told reporters.

Senior Liberal senator Eric Abetz says the announced cut is appropriate, but warned that border protection measures are being weakened. The government's immigration policy was in "tatters", highlighted by the latest arrival of boatpeople at the weekend, he said. "We seem to be getting more uninvited migrants to this country and they are busily cutting the number of skilled migrants," he told reporters...

More here

Criminals still get out of jail free in Victoria

RAPISTS, armed robbers, drug traffickers, culpable drivers and arsonists are among hundreds of serious offenders being set free by Victorian judges. Supreme and County judges handed out wholly or partially suspended sentences to 30 per cent of all offenders convicted in 2007-08. Two years after sentencing experts and the government said suspended sentences should be abolished, judges continue to hand them out in serious cases.

Among those given wholly suspended sentences were four rapists, 23 armed robbers, 44 drug traffickers, two culpable drivers, seven arsonists, 23 people convicted of sexual penetration of a child and 14 convicted of intentionally causing serious injury. Figures show 477 of the 2206 offenders dealt with by judges during the year were given wholly suspended sentences. Another 176 serious offenders received partially suspended sentences.

Sentencing Advisory Council chairman Prof Arie Freiberg said he was surprised by the new figures, which suggested the law was "not operating as parliament intended". "I am concerned that judges seem very strongly wedded to the view that the suspended sentence is a valuable sentencing option for them, and they basically maintain that view," Prof Freiberg said. The Sentencing Act was amended on November 1, 2006, to allow judges to impose suspended sentences for serious crimes committed after that date only in exceptional circumstances. The new law was intended to reduce the use of suspended sentences for offences including murder, manslaughter, intentionally causing serious injury, rape, sexual penetration of a child under 16 and armed robbery.

Offenders given wholly suspended sentences spend no time in jail unless they commit another crime during the period of suspension. They are not required to perform any community service and are not subject to supervision, rehabilitation or treatment programs or conditions such as drug or alcohol testing. The rate of suspended sentences imposed in the higher courts jumped from 27 per cent to 30 per cent in 2007-08.

Another 6195 offenders were given wholly or partially suspended sentences in magistrates' courts, which deal with less serious offences. The percentage of offenders given suspended sentences in magistrates' courts rose from 6.7 per cent of all sentences to 7 per cent -- the equal highest rate ever recorded.

The State Government announced in May, 2006, that suspended sentences would be phased out over three years and totally abolished by December, 2009. Its decision was in line with recommendations from the Sentencing Advisory Council, which said abolition of suspended sentences would result in "real truth in sentencing". But in April last year, in its "Final Report Part Two", the council changed its position and said the corrections system could not cope with the influx of prisoners if suspended sentences were abolished. Instead, it recommended changes to offer credible, effective alternatives to suspended sentences.


Claims Victorian public hospital waiting lists are doctored

THE Opposition wants the state government to launch an inquiry into allegations hospitals are fudging figures to avoid fines. The Victoria Police fraud squad is investigating claims many hospitals manipulate waiting list data to cash in on government bonuses and avoid paying fines.

Opposition health spokeswoman Helen Shardey said the practice showed the health system was "at crisis point". "The fact that these revelations have been sent to the police, the fact that the upper house is starting an inquiry to look into all of these matters of hidden waiting lists, I believe, is proof that the Brumby government is covering up, is not prepared to investigate and is concealing the truth." Ms Shardey said hospitals were forced to fudge figures to maximise every opportunity for funding because the health system had been mismanaged. "The Brumby government needs to investigate what is going on in our hospitals, where waiting lists are being fudged and where they are being altered to hide the true state of the time that people are waiting for procedures in our hospitals."

A computer expert who wrote a file carrying the alleged information - but who wants to remain anonymous - was employed to analyse patient data systems at several major Victorian hospitals. "Many of the hospitals and health services I have consulted with over the last year have admitted to me that they fudge the figures to avoid the fines and cash in on the bonus funding for meeting the reporting requirements," the file stated. The effect of the practice would mean a patient could be waiting up to a year for surgery but the file would show a much shorter wait, Fairfax reported today.

The file also alleges hospitals use two sets of waiting lists, where one is kept "in the drawer", used when beds become available or when a patient is clinically ready for surgery. Senior hospital staff privately admitted administrators want to avoid fines for not treating patients within required times and want to claim bonuses from the Victorian government for meeting targets, the file said.

The "ghost ward" claims follow allegations that a doctor at Angliss Hospital in Ferntree Gully was sacked after he submitted concerns about hospital data manipulation to an opposition-led upper house inquiry in January.


1 comment:

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

I just wanted to say that I very much enjoy this blog, and also your 'Eye on Britain' musings.

Re: Criminals still get out of jail free in Victoria

This seems to be a growing problem here, too. The government is always wringing its hands about violent crime rising and stepping up police patrols, increasing police powers even to the detriment of the public's liberty; but once violent criminals are caught, they're simply not punished adequately.

This must have an impact on soaring violent crime rates. I must say I was under the impression things were a little better on this front in Australia, and I'm distressed to hear otherwise.