Saturday, July 31, 2010

Latest poll suggests that Australians are beginning to realize that Julia is just a bungler too

Kevvy in a skirt

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has taken a battering in the latest opinion poll which shows the Coalition would win the election if it was held now.

Support for both Ms Gillard and Labor has fallen dramatically while the Opposition has taken the lead in the Nielsen poll that was published in Fairfax newspapers on Saturday.

The Coalition is now ahead of Labor on a two-party preferred basis - 52 per cent to 48 per cent, a 6 percentage point swing against the Government since the last Nielsen poll a week ago. Labor's primary vote has plummeted 6 points to 36 per cent while the Coalition's primary vote has risen 4 points to 45 per cent, the poll shows. Ms Gillard's popularity has even fallen among women, with her 58-42 lead over Mr Abbott narrowing to 49-51.

Her approval rating fell 5 points to 51 per cent and her disapproval rating rose 6 points to 39 per cent. Mr Abbott's approval rose 6 points to 49 per cent and his disapproval dropped 6 points to 45 per cent. On the question of preferred prime minister, Ms Gillard's 21-point lead plummeted by 13 points to 49-41.

On a positive note for the Government, 69 per cent believe it will win the election while only 21 per cent back the Coalition.

Meanwhile, Ms Gillard has been accused of sending a former bodyguard and junior staff member to attend highly sensitive security meetings on her behalf.

In another damaging leak for Labor, sources have reportedly told The Weekend Australian that when Ms Gillard was deputy prime minister she regularly failed to attend cabinet's national security committee meetings. It's reported that she sent staffer Andrew Stark in her place.

A spokesman for Ms Gillard told the newspaper that Cabinet confidentiality meant she could not defend herself against the allegations.

Former Coalition foreign minister Alexander Downer said Ms Gillard's reported behaviour was scandalous. "The NSC takes decisions on life and death and is no place for a junior staffer," he said. "Such actions are scandalous."


More simple-minded Green/Left nonsense exposed

Energy star ratings in disarray and the Gillard government has no reply

LABOR'S push to cut greenhouse gas emissions through the use of energy efficiency schemes was yesterday dealt another blow when building industry heavyweights discredited the star ratings being applied to hundreds of thousands of homes.

Investigations by the building industry have found that the mandatory star ratings scheme is inaccurate and fundamentally flawed.

The Housing Industry Association and Master Builders Australia yesterday joined scientists in calling for urgent action by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency to resolve problems that are potentially having an impact on more than 100,000 houses built each year.

They said owners were not aware that mandatory software tools -- used to calculate whether a planned new house could achieve the minimum five-star energy efficiency rating necessary to obtain approval for construction -- gave vastly different results for the same house under identical conditions.

It is another setback for the government while it is still trying to quell criticism after the shelving of its emissions trading scheme, the disintegration of the home insulation program and green loans scheme, and the subsequent findings that both were fatally flawed, costing lives and taxpayers' money due to poor planning and execution.

It also comes after Labor's latest environmental announcements -- the 150-person citizens assembly to forge a national consensus on action on climate change and the cash-for-clunkers green car replacement scheme -- were widely criticised.

Opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt said last night that the government could not get its environmental programs right. "We saw that with pink batts, green loans and cancelled solar programs," Mr Hunt said. "They need to explain why home owners and builders face this confusing and potentially costly mess. "They should release all material on this to the public before the election."

Flaws in the star rating system emerged after industry bodies, private companies and scientists commissioned independent studies showing significant variations were being calculated by the three different software tools when tested on identical dwellings. The results show that the three software tools, including the original model designed by the CSIRO, were inherently unreliable.

The star ratings system was rolled out nationally several years ago and recently extended to older houses. The findings mean that in some cases houses that should be failing the energy efficiency test are being approved and built, while identical houses are going back to the drawing board for changes and costing their owners more time and money to get right.

It also means the stated objective of the federal government to cut greenhouse gas emissions in houses is in serious question.

Faulty software tools will have a greater impact from next year when the federal government's national energy strategy requires all homes being sold or leased to be star-rated and for the rating to be disclosed. Older dwellings, which will not achieve the five- or six-star minimum, may be punished financially by buyers and tenants.

The findings add weight to the concerns of energy efficiency experts that star ratings are a multi-billion-dollar debacle.

Peter Jones, chief economist of Master Builders Australia, said yesterday: "We have independent expert evidence showing us this is a real concern and it needs to be brought to light and addressed. "There are unacceptable differences between the star ratings produced by the software tools when assessing the same house. "We are drawing a line in the sand and saying, 'Look, the research is overwhelming now; something must be done', Mr Jones said.

The authorities need to come up with a solution so that consumers can be confident in the star ratings and the tools. "As builders, we do not really care (what the tool is) but we think it is bad policy when it is not working properly."

Housing Industry Association senior executive director Kristin Tomkins said the association's independent testing, which showed significant differences in energy ratings, including a variation of 3.2 stars for the same Brisbane house, were troubling and undermined the scheme's credibility. She said builders and home owners needed confidence in the mandatory energy efficiency programs that cost them time and money.

Industry sources called for an Australian Competition & Consumer Commission investigation and said some savvy energy assessors were "gaming" the star ratings and making a mockery of the scheme by switching software tools until one delivered the required result.

The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, which has recently joined the CSIRO in investigating problems with the gauges, has said it was "premature to say there is any significant impact on overall house ratings or compliance costs".

A department spokesman did not return The Weekend Australian's call yesterday to respond to the findings. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong declined to comment.


The NSW Labor government in typical form

School maintenance canned so Kristina Keneally can pay for heaters -- but schools typically have high maintenance requirements so this just cannot be done without further public outcry. That dangerous heaters continued to be installed after many warnings is also amazing. There is no doubt about the need for a fix of them

TEACHERS are up in arms over a decision by the NSW Government to defer or drop critical public school maintenance to pay for a minister's promise to replace all unflued heaters.

Last week, education bureaucrats were told funds used to fix broken pipes and holes in fences would be put on hold to cover the new heaters.

The latest embarrassment for the Government comes with Premier Kristina Keneally calling an emergency Cabinet meeting on Tuesday where she has asked all ministers to come up with five new ideas each to fix the state.

The NSW caucus is believed to be not happy with Ms Keneally and Treasurer Eric Roozendaal's performances.

Several ministers are complaining behind the scenes about alleged abusive behaviour by Mr Roozendaal towards other ministers and concern he has too great a role in running the government.

Some senior Labor sources say the Education Minister Verity Firth should resign and concentrate on winning her seat of Balmain after she was publicly humiliated over the heaters issue by Ms Keneally and Mr Roozendaal.

Ms Firth was reprimanded by the Premier and Treasurer after saying on Tuesday the Government was going to replace 50,000 heaters at a $400 million possible cost, without Cabinet approval.

Ms Keneally's handling of the Firth issue caused anger in caucus, with some MPs considering installing John Robertson in the Lower House before the election, possibly even to become leader.

A senior federal source argued the Gillard Government could not announce a major NSW transport project during the election campaign because "no one would believe" any promise involving the State Government.

Powerbroker Graham Richardson said yesterday: "The [Keneally] Government obviously isn't doing enough, you don't get a 25 per cent swing in [the Penrith] by-election, the biggest swing in history, if you are doing enough."

Principals were told this week urgent repairs for problems like broken pipes and holes in fences would be put off.

A spokeswoman for Education Minister Verity Firth said some maintenance funding would be "reprioritised", resulting in delays of up to six months.

School asset managers were told on Wednesday afternoon the money would be redirected to pay to replace unflued "low-NOx" gas heaters in 100 schools.


Another dysfunctional NSW government hospital

And they are not even honest enough to admit their problems

On the same day two burns victims were forced to wait more than 90 minutes to be treated at Liverpool Hospital a syringe bin in the emergency department's waiting room toilets was overflowing.

Mounted on the wall, the disturbing sight was enough to prompt Martin Huismann to take a photo and contact The Daily Telegraph. The freelance cameraman used the toilets on Thursday - the day two men had to wait on stretchers after suffering burns to their face and hands because there were no beds available.

About 10 ambulances queued outside the department with others advised to take patients to other hospitals because of a backlog.

"I ran in to use the toilets and saw it so I took a photo," Mr Huismann said. "I was pretty shocked and it's disturbing when you think about it that if a kid saw that or tried to reach it."

A hospital spokesman yesterday initially attacked the validity of the photo when asked to respond to questions by The Daily Telegraph. Later a statement from general manager Anthony Schembri said: "The toilets are inspected and cleaned regularly each day by allocated hospital cleaning staff. "Should a container be seen to need emptying, staff immediately arrange disposal."

Mr Huismann said he had no reason to fake the photograph. "I was in there for two minutes ... I did my business, saw the bin and took a photo. I wouldn't have had time [to fake it]," he said. "I thought it was pretty shocking that in a public toilet in a hospital you have needles spilling out of the bin."

Opposition Leader and acting health spokesman Barry O'Farrell said it was evident that cuts to frontline staff were affecting the running of hospitals. "It's simply unacceptable to have hospital staff and members of the public at risk of a needle stick injury because the Keneally Labor Government fails to clean toilets regularly enough," he said. "These are the risks which will occur when the Keneally Labor Government cuts frontline staff and fails to adequately resource hospitals."

Under NSW Health's policy, all hospitals must provide a sharps bin. A spokeswoman said there were strict protocols in place for the cleaning of the units, which were kept out of children's reach.


1 comment:

Paul said...

I'm not going to blame the hospital for the overflowing needle bin in this case, I'm going to blame the drugf**ked public who filled it. There just aren't that many diabetics out there, and there's only one other reason why such a bin gets filled. I suppose they should be thankful that the bin at least got used.