Saturday, March 26, 2011


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is very dismissive of "Earth Hour"

Arrogant female bureaucrats cost the taxpayer another $67m

They thought that they could get away with destroying hundreds of businesses and creating huge financial losses on the basis of mere speculation: One of the grosser examples of bureaucratic irresponsibility and abuse of power. They are all the more hateful because they paid $120 million years ago to the "big" guy whom they hurt but thought that they could stiff all the the little guys by insisting on long drawn out and expensive court action. Luckily, a legal firm came to the rescue on a contingency basis. Their costs will be a pretty penny too.

I have commented on the scum previously. Note that I am no fan of "alternative" medicine. As you can see here I think that there is too much quackery even in conventional medicine. But my attachment to the importance of evidence is obviously not shared by the TGA and the bitches who seem to run it -- depite scrutiny of evidence being their brief

And the two devious feminazis at the heart of the TGA action -- Fiona Cumming and Rita Maclachlan -- are apparently still in their jobs! Their involvement in the destruction of records should in fact lead to criminal charges being laid against them

CUSTOMERS of Pan Pharmaceuticals who sued the Federal Government after the company was shut down have been awarded $67.5 million in compensation.

The settlement, approved by Federal Court Justice Flick today, was negotiated without admissions of wrongdoing by the Federal Government, said Andrew Thorpe, legal adviser to the class of 170 former customers of Pan whose businesses suffered losses as a result of the company's closure.

"However, it does end an eight-year saga that commenced on 28 April 2003, when the Government shut down Pan Pharmaceuticals without notice," he said outside court.

"On that day, hundreds of people lost their jobs, $350 million was wiped off the Sydney stock exchange and scores of business, customers and service providers of Pan were very badly affected."

In March 2003, the Government's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) suspended Pan's licence after excessive amounts of some ingredients were found in its Travacalm tablets.

In 2008, the 170 sponsors, customers and creditors of Pan, as well as distributors and retailers of its products, filed the class action.


The Leftist approach to school discipline triumphs again

The ostrich model

SHE should be too young to know what fear is, especially at that place where little girls should expect to feel safe. School. Yet this nine-year-old, who used to skip to school and drag her mum out of the door to get there on time, has needed her mum sitting next to her in class after a series of alleged horrific sexual assaults by a classmate and his gang of friends, reported The Daily Telegraph.

One attack occurred in the school toilets. Both the girl and her attacker were just seven at the time.

The regional Sydney school has not expelled or suspended the boy, he has received no professional help and his only punishment was to be kept out of the playground for a time.

The lack of action has angered other parents whose own children have allegedly been bullied, intimidated and punched by him.

The little girl's mother, 39, has found it almost impossible to get her into another school because she has special needs. After a two-year fight with the school and education authorities, she said she was now desperate. "I am trying so hard to be a good mum and fight for my daughter but I need help," she said yesterday.

Her daughter had struggled to tell her mum what had happened because she suffers from learning difficulties.

Her mother said that, within a couple of weeks of term starting in 2009, her daughter's enthusiasm for school had ended. "She would come home from school and cry. This was not normal so I asked her what was going on. She would just shake her head and say 'I got no friends'," her mother said. Her daughter would beg her: "Please mummy, I just want to go home, please mummy."

When the mother asked the headmistress what was going on, she was told they were "just crocodile tears".

Then one of the girl's young friends grabbed his own mother outside school one day and, clearly distressed, said: "I saw something." That evening, the little girl reluctantly told her mum what had happened. "[He] hurts my bottom but I'm not allowed to tell you because he will kill me," the girl said. "He hurts me right here mum and he shows the boys."

Her mother discovered that her daughter had been lured to secluded areas within the playground, including the toilets, where she was violently sexually assaulted more than once by the boy, who got his young mates to watch and laugh at her. She was also punched, teased and choked. "He had her so fearful and he manipulated her. He told her she was not allowed to have any friends and that she had to wait for him," the mother said. "[My daughter], in her simple, fragile mind, listened to him because she feared him."

The school notified the police and what was then the Department of Community Services. The police could do nothing as the boy was under the age of criminal responsibility, which is 10. DOCS removed the boy from his mother and he now lives with other relatives.

While he went to school every day, the little girl's mother paid for her to attend a private school last year.

One day her teacher gave the class a task after talking to them about what "no" meant. They were asked to write about when they should get a "no" feeling. The girl drew a harrowing picture, which shocked the teacher who spoke to her mother about it. That picture tells a thousand words. It shows the boy with his "evil eyes" dragging a crying girl to the toilet block as other boys watch.


Experts undermine government's climate policy

APART from settling on a carbon tax for five years as an interim measure before introducing a flexibly priced emissions trading scheme, the other big changes the Gillard government has sought to make to Kevin Rudd's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme have been to reframe climate change politics and rhetoric.

Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan and Greg Combet have recast their own position and logic after deciding the former prime minister's advocacy of action on climate change as the "greatest moral and economic challenge of our time" relied too heavily on the moral and not enough on the economic.

As a result, much of the positive debate from the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Climate Change Minister has been framed in economic terms. The negative, emotional side of climate change politics is no longer just to run scare campaigns about rising water levels and killer storms but also to portray Tony Abbott as a climate change denier, an extremist and scaremonger.

Although Labor MPs are still being urged in their "talking points" to talk about the potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef, the Labor leaders are concentrating on economic arguments, compensation and the Opposition Leader's denial of a Liberal free-market tradition.

This approach is designed to appear reasonable in the face of "oddball" extremist opposition to a carbon tax to fight global warming and to reassure households and business that compensation will be financial and not just a warm feeling of self-satisfaction about saving the planet.

In the past week, Gillard, Swan and Combet have talked about generous tax cuts for middle and low-income earners, the Opposition's plan to rip away these tax cuts and a fundamental market-based reform to reduce carbon pollution.

Swan said on many occasions the Coalition did "not believe in the power of free markets any more" and Gillard accused Abbott of giving up the Liberal tradition of assisting good economic reform from opposition, while arguing Australia had to act on a carbon price or lose out to countries that were reforming their economies.

Yet three of the government's most senior advisers on the issue - economics professor Ross Garnaut, productivity commissioner Gary Banks and Climate Change Department chief Blair Comley - have expressed views that undermine the government's new argument on free markets, compensation share and international competitiveness.

Garnaut, whose suggestion of adopting the income tax cuts to compensate for carbon tax price rises as part of the Henry tax reforms was promoted by Gillard for days before Swan knocked it on the head yesterday, has suggested in his latest discussion paper that a greater part of the carbon tax revenue be used to develop renewable energy sources.

Garnaut's suggestion was pursued even more enthusiastically by the Greens, who suggested funding for renewables be increased four or fivefold. Given the cost of the Henry tax cuts for middle income earners and potential blowout in renewable energy funding from a finite revenue source, Swan killed off the tax cuts.

Although the government allowed Garnaut's tax-cut suggestion to run, it knew all along the cuts were unsustainable and actually pushed up the taxes of some middle-income earners.

As Swan said yesterday: "The two-tiered rate that was put forward in the Henry report . . . actually causes increases in taxation for some middle-income groups and some low-income earners. So I said that is not necessarily ideally the way to go." Thus, the bursting of the Garnaut thought bubble on Henry's tax cuts.

The Productivity Commission chief, who has been tasked to work out where Australia stands on a global scale as far as carbon reduction, trade competitiveness and economic efficiency are concerned, dealt an even harsher blow to government hopes of economic justification for a carbon tax.

As well, Banks undermined Gillard's claims about China's efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions by pointing out that countries took steps for economic efficiency that had the welcome by-product of reducing greenhouse gas emissions but that should not necessarily be counted towards a nation's efforts to cut carbon output. After an initial stumble on China's closing of coal-fired power stations, Gillard recovered to admit they were replacing them with more efficient coal-fired power stations but Banks's point undercuts the logic that Australia has to act to match China's actions.

More seriously for the government, Banks declared: "Crucially - and this point seems not to be widely understood - it will not be efficient from a global perspective (let alone a domestic one) for a carbon-intensive economy, such as ours, to abate as much as other countries that are less reliant on cheap, high-emission sources.

"It's common sense that achieving any given level of abatement is likely to be costlier in a country with a comparative advantage in fossil fuels," Banks said.

"An appropriate carbon price for Australia cannot be readily inferred from cross-country estimates of the abatement costs of existing schemes," he said. Banks has signalled his report is not going to be easy to complete nor will it contain the information and justifications many may hope.

And as Swan and Combet cited various sources backing their economic judgment on a carbon price as a free-market mechanism there was a sobering assessment from the head of the Climate Change Department sitting on the department's website.

In June last year, three weeks before Kevin Rudd was dumped - after dumping his own emissions trading scheme - the then deputy secretary of the department declared that "the key point I want to make is that carbon markets are regulatory interventions".

"At one level this is so obvious that it need not be said," the former senior Treasury official said, but he was struck by some comments about carbon markets that he wanted to correct. "The first is that carbon markets must be the right answer as it is a 'market' solution, often said in such a way as to imply that markets are naturally occurring beasts.

"Carbon markets may be the right answer, primarily due to the way in which they harness information and utilise decentralised processes, but they only continue to exist supported by institutions," Comley said.

The government may have given up on Rudd's moral imperative on a carbon price and embarked on an economic campaign, but the finite revenue from the carbon price and the huge and growing demands for a share, plus the increasingly wobbly arguments about overseas action and "free markets" suggests there's just as many hard yards ahead.


Ferguson calls Greens basket-weavers and labels leader 'soapbox' Bob

RESOURCES Minister Martin Ferguson has attacked Labor's minority government partner the Greens as "basket-weavers" and taken a personal swipe at leader Bob Brown.

Mr Ferguson described the Greens leader as "soapbox Bob Brown" and hit out at his politics over the minerals resource rent tax and the government's proposed carbon pricing regime.

The minister said Senator Brown's push for a more punitive tax regime on the resources sector was a short-term solution, and accused him of setting aside economic realities in a pitch for votes on carbon pricing.

The Gillard government has granted mining companies major concessions in its revamped mining tax, the details of which were finalised yesterday. But with the Coalition opposing the deal, Labor must win crossbench support to get it through parliament.

Mr Ferguson said the Greens' push for a tougher policy position on the mining tax would cripple investment and force it offshore.

"Of course we're going to have people jumping up and down and soapbox Bob Brown, in terms of (saying) it's never enough in terms of taxation," he told ABC radio.

"Do you put in place a taxation system which means for a short term period you get a huge jump in taxation, but you stifle investment because capital is footloose and (there are) plenty of opportunities in places such as Africa? They're the choices companies make."

Mr Ferguson said if the government's mining tax was not supported in the parliament then "Bob Brown better start explaining to the Australian community, as should Tony Abbott, how you're going to actually get the revenue to cut company taxation, how you're going to get the revenue to assist small business".

He also attacked the Greens for engaging in populism over the government's proposed carbon tax, suggesting they were living in a fantasy land where people had no jobs and weaved baskets under trees.

"It's easier again to play to the gallery and say we should have $60, $70, $80 per tonne, pull something out of the air and suggest it without actually modelling the potential implications on the Australian community, and the standard of living that we expect," he said.

"We can all sit under the tree and weave baskets with no jobs, if that's what some people in the NGOs and the Greens want."

He played down the government's political concession to credit mining companies for increases in state royalty payments under the MRRT, saying state leaders knew there were upper limits on how much royalties could be raised.

"I think (WA Premier) Colin Barnett understands, there is an absolute limit to how much he can take in terms of royalties. Yes, you can beat the drum and play to the gallery. He's done well in terms of the recent grants commission process," he said.

Mr Ferguson said the MRRT was a crucial reform to address the impacts of the nation's two-speed economy, which were evident even in Western Australia, where the state's tourism sector was unable to get sufficient workers because of the high wages on offer from the mining industry.


Hospital was too busy to treat Glenn's earache and he died

WHEN Glenn Rubbo, 40, arrived at Lismore Base Hospital he thought he was suffering from a bad earache. Six hours later he was found lying motionless in the hospital carpark. Within 24 hours, he was brain dead.

Police are investigating the case after details emerged that the hospital's emergency department was over-run with patients on March 1.

Glenn's aunt Rosie said she had sat with her nephew for two hours on the night he died. He was numb down the left side of his body and dizzy when he arrived by ambulance about 8.30pm. "The emergency department was very busy," she said. "I remember he couldn't hear properly out of his ear so he was yelling and asking for a drink of water but he couldn't even get that."

Before Rosie left the hospital about 10.30pm, she asked hospital staff when her nephew was going to be treated and was told there were 11 people before him.

The hospital informed the family in the early morning that Glenn had suffered a stroke in the carpark.

Glenn's dad Ernie, who lives in Wollongong, arrived too late to speak with his son, who suffered from a muscle disorder. "The specialist said if Glenn had been seen in the first two hours he might be with us today," Ernie Rubbo said.

Late last year, Lismore Base Hospital emergency department staff told a public meeting they had been forced to "shuffle" patients around beds because of over-crowding. The department allegedly crammed 31,000 patients into its 14 beds last year. Both major parties have refused to fund an $80 million upgrade of the hospital in far northern NSW.


Note: I have two other blogs covering Australian news. They are more specialized so are not updated daily but there are updates on both most weeks. See QANTAS/Jetstar for news on Qantas failings and Australian police news for news on police misbehaviour

No comments: