Sunday, March 01, 2009

"Mandating Markets for Wind Power - a Stealth Tax on Electricity Consumers."

Statement by Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition

The Carbon Sense Coalition today accused the Federal and some state governments of imposing Stealth Taxes on electricity consumers by forcing power retailers to buy expensive power from inefficient and costly renewable energy sources. The Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition, Mr Viv Forbes, said that there were no climate benefits whatsoever in forcing consumers to buy an increasing proportion of their electricity from expensive and unreliable suppliers like wind farms. "This whole pork barrel exercise must be designed to buy green votes because it will have negligible effect on carbon dioxide emissions, and no one could measure or feel any effect on world temperature.

"The policy is obviously an insincere fraud. If politicians were sincere in their belief that there is a critical need to cut CO2 emissions, they would be investigating what France has done to generate 75% of their power from low cost reliable nuclear power, or what Norway has done to get 97% of their power from reliable low cost hydro power. Unlike wind power, these options can generate electricity cheaply with zero CO2 emissions and without needing wasteful backup from carbon emitting coal or gas plants.

"But we hear of no proposals to build a nuclear power station in the Latrobe or the Hunter valley or new hydro schemes in the Snowy, Tasmania or North Queensland.

"Obviously there are no green votes in these efficient zero-emission power options so we see politicians wasting a never-ending stream of funds from taxpayers and consumers on expensive unreliable playthings like wind farms and home-hobby solar panels.

"Are these people for real? Australia currently gets about 94% of its electric power from carbon fuels, mainly black and brown coal. Billions of dollars in community savings are tied up in these stations and their associated transmission lines, coal mines and engineering skills.

"The ALP thinks we can cut carbon emissions by 20% and at the same time cater for a growing population, all within the next 12 years. Not to be outdone, the liberals seem to be advocating tougher targets, and Al Gore and his local green disciples think we can do without coal power altogether.

"When they start fiddling with a basic industry like power generation, misleading people on the cost, capacity and reliability of wind and solar power, and threatening the sudden closure of old but reliable coal fired stations, they will suddenly find they cannot get the blackout genie back in the bottle.

"Wind farms have proved useless in providing sufficient reliable power in critical times. During the recent long frigid spell in UK, their wind turbines were becalmed like flotilla of sailing clippers on a glassy ocean - they produced 0.4% (yes, less than one percent) of total UK power requirements - reliable old coal stations were cranked up, and heat and light for shivering Britons came from: coal (50%), gas (31%) and nuclear 16%.

"Again during the heat waves in South Australia and Victoria, the contribution from wind generators was small and generally in periods of low demand. Things were even worse in West Texas, where a sudden drop in the winds on the Texas Plains caused such instability in the power grid that the whole grid was shut down.

"Denmark is finding its wind turbines a liability - they cannot use the unreliable power and have to sell it at a loss into the European power grid.

"The A$88 million half year loss reported yesterday by BB Wind Power in Australia is a sign of the future for all shareholders who subscribe funds to these financial black holes. When subsidies and mandated market shares are removed, as they will be, wind power will be revealed as a sub-prime investment. Investors will find they were relying on whims not wind.

(The Chairman of BBW admitted that BBW relies on political supports for future profits when he said: "The Australian government's renewable energy targets and encouragement of renewable energy investment in the US would drive the company's profits in the short-term". AAP 24/2/09)

"Already wind towers are being scrapped in Europe but still Australia is forcing consumers and taxpayers to subsidise these expensive playthings.

"The Carbon Sense Coalition has made a submission to one of the many enquiries running in Canberra Wonderland. This submission opposes any extensions of the renewable energy target schemes and recommends that current schemes be scrapped before they do irreparable harm. The full submission can be viewed at:

The above is a press release from Viv Forbes, Chairman, The Carbon Sense Coalition, MS 23 Rosewood Qld 4340 Phone: 0754 640 533. Email:

Mistresses can claim maintenance under new laws

Sounds like converting all relationships into prostitution to me

CHEATING husbands will be open to divorce-style litigation from their mistresses under new laws. Mistresses can now claim income maintenance, property and even superannuation funds under the Family Law Amendment (De Facto Financial Matters and Other Measures), dubbed the "mistress laws", which were passed by the Senate last November and came into effect today (March 1).

The main objective is to remove same-sex discrimination from the Family Court system, but they have left the door open for a raft of de facto relationship claims.

The laws declare that de facto couples who satisfy basic criteria - such as being in the relationship for at least two years - will be treated in the Family Court in the same way as a married couple. It also applies to same-sex couples.

The laws will change the way property is divided by enabling the court to consider the "future needs" of partners, as it does for married couples.

Men or women who have a second relationship outside a marriage are now liable to legal action in the Family Court should the second partner decide he or she deserves income support or a share of assets. This is particularly the case if a child is involved.


Government faces Senate showdown over workplace laws

The Federal Government faces a Senate showdown over its plans to overhaul workplace laws. The Opposition has signalled amendments to Labor's sweeping changes to the industrial relations landscape. A Labor-dominated Senate committee delivered its long-awaited report into the Fair Work Bill yesterday. ALP senators concluded the Bill was even-handed in the way it treated bosses, workers and unions.

But, in a minority report, Coalition senators were concerned some of the changes could be unfair and, potentially, job-destroying. The Opposition has consistently said it would not stand in the way of Labor's changes. But the Senate committee inquiry heard submissions from employers expressing fears Fair Work went much further than the policy Labor took to the 2007 election and was handing too much power to unions. After yesterday's dissenting report, the Opposition is certain to press for amendments.

Labor wants the Bill passed by the end of this parliamentary session. But calls have been growing in Coalition ranks to resist the legislation more strongly. Should that translate into more outright opposition, the Government would be forced to court votes from the seven crossbench senators - five Greens and two independents.

Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard called on the Senate to pass the Bill, saying it was "fair, effective and balanced".


Defence bureaucracy hopelessly bogged in trying to get soldiers' pay right

Even after huge pressure from Parliament

The angry wife of a crack SAS trooper has predicted defections among the elite fighting squad if an ongoing pay dispute is not fixed urgently. The woman, who cannot be named because that would identify her husband, warned that Australia's fighting capabilities would be left with a "huge hole" if the men left the squad.

In response, Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon yesterday issued an extraordinary guarantee through The Sun-Herald to the families of the country's 500 elite fighting squad that he would intervene to fix any lingering problems. And Defence dispatched a team of pay specialists to the squad's barracks in Perth to solve the problem "in the shortest possible time", Army Chief Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie said.

The urgent remedial action followed fiery scenes in Parliament after the Opposition accused the Government of continuing to dock soldiers' pay despite promising in October it would cease. The claw-back of money arose from a contentious May 2008 Remuneration Tribunal decision reclassifying the soldiers.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop accused Defence of leaving one soldier without any pay for a fortnight in late January, which Mr Fitzgibbon and Defence denied. But the upset wife who spoke to The Sun-Herald, and who is a family friend of the SAS member discussed in Parliament, backed Ms Bishop's version of events yesterday. She said the officer had been lent money by the department to tide him over after being told that, because of his debts, he would not receive any pay in the fortnight leading up to January 22. The army gave him an advance, which was clawed back in the following two fortnightly pay periods.

Mr Fitzgibbon said yesterday he could not guarantee that the "antiquated, broken [pay] system" had not deducted pay from people who should not have had it deducted. "My appeal to him, his partner and any other soldier is this: if in defiance of my order people are still having money deducted as a result of the Remuneration Tribunal decision, they should come to me. "I can guarantee they will not be disciplined, and I will guarantee I will fix their problem."

He added that if families were not prepared to come to him, he would create a position of a conciliator or an independent mediator. "Men in the field are very, very worried about the terrible impact on their families", the distressed army wife said about the dispute, which could result in pay drops of up to 40 per cent for some soldiers. "There is a drop in morale and a lack of trust [in] the chain of command [to] support these soldiers."

Mr Fitzgibbon repeated that Defence had put an immediate stop on debt recovery after he ordered that when the issue was first raised last October. The wife disputes this, as does Ms Bishop, whose Perth electorate covers the barracks.

SAS Association national president Dave Lewis said there was a serious problem to be resolved in relation to pay scales. Former Labor minister Kim Beazley weighed into the debate, saying the problems were due to a "poisonous culture" which developed in Defence under the former coalition government.


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