Monday, April 18, 2011

An absurd government monopoly that killed a lot of people

It is against the law for private meteorologists to disseminate weather warnings, but at least one weather expert wishes he had broken the law.

Anthony Cornelius, a meteorologist with the private forecasting service Weather Watch, says he and others on the blog site predicted the extreme flash flood in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley on January 10 but his hands were tied to get the message out.

"By law we are not allowed to issue warnings and as a private meteorologist we are not allowed to contact the media or other authorities and warn them of something that the bureau hasn't warned for, but at the same time I wish I didn't obey that law that day," he told ABC Radio. "It is something, unfortunately, you have to live with."

The torrent of water hit Toowoomba and rushed down the range into the Lockyer Valley, killing 22 of the state's 35 flood victims.

Mr Cornelius said he made a submission to the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry, which is hearing evidence in Toowoomba on Monday.

He said in his submission he calls for private meteorologists to have more power. "There is a lot of things that need to be fixed throughout the warning systems and the way we get weather information out to the public," he said.

"The private meteorological companies, they can play a fairly significant role in these things, and they should be able to have the authority to be able to contact people in the know if they honestly believe there is a situation that at least warrants having somebody look at the event."


Carbon guilt trip just won't wash

Julia Thornton

FROM time to time, when governments realise they're not getting anywhere with us, they turn to the politics of guilt to get us to support their pet projects or policies. The latest is the carbon tax.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet addressed the National Press Club this week and gave six key arguments that summarise the Gillard Government's response to the climate change challenge.

The first one was Australia is one of the world's top 20 polluters and we release more pollution per person than any other country in the developed world, more than the United States even.

I used to think Americans had the monopoly on big cars and icemakers, but apparently we are worse. This explains why so many Hummer drivers have been tailgating me lately.

The first thing that came to mind is we must have a garbage island similar to that of the great toxic plastic garbage island the Americans have floating in the Pacific between Hawaii and Japan. Apparently it's twice the size of Texas.

But I know we don't have a great big toxic garbage island and being told that, as an Australian, I produce more pollution than an American annoys me.

Australia emits per capita the most carbon emissions because of our mining industry. The mere fact we open the ground up and take stuff out of it creates carbon emissions. The use of the coal in electricity produces carbon emissions.

And these are factoids which go into the statistic which says Australia is one of the world's top 20 polluters and we're worse than the Americans.

It hasn't bothered me that the Government has used guilt from time to time to get us to toe the line. We've reduced deaths on the road by reducing the incidence of drink driving and speeding, for example. But now it's getting very personal.

For all those people who have conscientiously recycled and composted, it's a statistic which doesn't do them justice. There is enough anecdotal and actual evidence in the media and on opinion pages to show Australians are highly aware of their waste and their pollution and they want to do their bit to reduce it.

Shortly after the carbon tax was announced by Prime Minister Gillard, Mr Combet offered us advice as to how to reduce the cost of a carbon tax. He suggested we avoid using airconditioning and change our high-energy lightbulbs to low-energy ones.

Minister Combet is a Victorian who spends a lot of time in Canberra. He doesn't really get Queensland, does he? Those of us who were not in the thick of flood clean-up or in the middle of a cyclone, were experiencing the usual late summer temperatures which make airconditioning not so much a luxury, but a cool relief.

Telling us we're more wasteful than Americans isn't fair. And it isn't right. Just as an example, if you've ever been to a restaurant in America, you'll be given a frosted glass full of ice with a little bit of water. At the turn of the 1900s, New York went through a heatwave unlike any before. Ice became a sign of prosperity and it remains a habit. Visit any American hotel and they have ice makers in the hallways and an ice bucket in the room.

Here in Brisbane, in high summer, I've asked for a glass of water and got a tiny little glass with a dying ice cube. And that's ok, because I am an Australian with sensitive teeth.

We need the full facts on how a carbon price will affect us and how much it will cost. We don't need the politics of guilt on this one.


Qld. Premier slams judges as 'out of touch'

Mandatory sentencing is always a second-best solution but the actions of some judges would seem to make it a better system than what we have at the moment

PREMIER Anna Bligh has accused the judiciary of losing touch with the community after two controversial decisions involving serious child sex offenders in as many days.

Attorney-General Cameron Dick has been ordered to review a decision that allowed an Ipswich man, 45, to walk free on bail after being charged with 24 offences, including four of rape and 20 of indecently dealing with a minor.

Mr Dick will also review the case last week of a child sex offender in Cairns who was jailed for seven years for raping and abusing six girls.

Ms Bligh yesterday said the State Government would do whatever it could to appeal the decisions. "People want to see these types of offenders treated very harshly and that isn't what they have seen in the past two days," she said.

Bravehearts executive director Hetty Johnston said an inquiry was needed on sex offenders. "The system does not protect children. We want an opportunity to sit down and try to find some logical solutions to a very difficult problem," she said.


Greens' wilting appeal

Miranda Devine

NOW we know that the meddling ideological extremism of the Greens cost them the inner-city seat of Marrickville in the NSW election last month. What should have been a shoo-in in one of the most barmy left electorates in the country resulted in more than one-in-three voters rejecting the Greens because of Marrickville Council's Israel boycott, according to a poll by a Jewish group.

This is a boycott that, by the Green-controlled council's own figures, will cost it as much as $4 million to stop using Israeli-linked products such as Hewlett-Packard computers (apparently used at Israeli checkpoints) and Motorola telephones.

The voters were first to show some backbone, after abiding years of Green dabbling in Middle East politics. But last week Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd slammed the boycott as "nuts" and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell threatened to sack the council if it doesn't reverse its stance.

Sensing the end of his dream run, even the Greens' supreme leader, Bob Brown, rejected the boycott and distanced himself from his failed state candidate, Marrickville mayor Fiona Byrne, although he can't help offloading blame onto what he calls the "hate media" for costing his party the seat. But he should look a little closer to home for the culprit.

Jake, a 55-year-old Jewish health professional with friends in Marrickville, was so incensed by the council's Israel boycott that he took three weeks off work to wage a guerrilla campaign against the Greens, plastering the suburb with posters late at night, accusing them of homophobia for boycotting gay-friendly Israel.

"I felt so angry," says Jake, who wants to remain anonymous. "I couldn't sleep at night, so I organised the posters, hired some utes and ladders" and enlisted the help of his son and his friends. Greens supporters harassed them, ripped down the posters, called police, and tried to intimidate Jake's young helpers, posting footage of them on YouTube.

Two nights before the election, a "black sports car with neon high beams and a pseudo photographer kept flashing his camera right up on our eyes . . . It slowed us right down."

Another night "cowboy" greenies in a Toyota Camry started following them home, until Jake confronted the driver at a roundabout. "It was like something out of a movie".

On election day, Jake and his son organised 10 friends wearing T-shirts with "Boycott the Greens" logos to visit polling booths, prompting "Zionist pigs" abuse from greenies.

"The Greens knew we were the enemy, but the Labor people all nodded and smiled and gave us the thumbs up. Anthony Albanese [whose wife Carmel Tebbutt was ALP candidate] shook my hand and thanked me. We must have had quite an effect.

"On Sunday I took the boys out to dinner. It's not often in life a private citizen can make a difference." And make a difference he did. The Greens lost to Labor by fewer than 700 votes, in a seat they were favourites to snare.

The backlash was quite a shock to the Greens, whose extremist ideological baggage is at last costing them votes.

After all, as Jake points out, if they actually cared about the environment or human rights they would realise Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and the only country in the region where people can be openly and proudly gay. Israel's neighbours, meantime, routinely stone homosexuals to death.

Israel is also the Middle East's Eden, having greened the desert with millions of trees, eco friendly exports, and superior water conservation.

And if anti-Israel Greens are so concerned about children in the Middle East why haven't they lamented the fate of the Fogel children of Samaria -- 11-year-old Yoav, four-year-old Elad and three-month-old Hadas, murdered in their beds by Palestinian terrorists just two weeks before the NSW election.

The Middle East conflict is not a game. Yet it has somehow become a vehicle for moral preening half a world way and a badge of belonging for lazy leftists whose talents are best suited to fixing potholes, which, by the way, abound in Marrickville.


Coldest March On Record In Australia, says BOM

Is this why we need a carbon tax?

Maximum temperatures nationally were the coldest on record with a national anomaly of -2.19°C. Most of Australia recorded below average mean maxima with parts of the north and south of the country recording their coldest March on record.

This was partly due to increased cloudiness across most of the country associated with the above average rainfall recorded throughout the month. March 2011 included some contrasts between the majority of Australia and the west and east coasts, which were the only areas that experienced above average daytime temperatures.

Temperatures were coolest in the central part of Australia where rainfall was most abnormal, with maximum temperatures more than 3°C below average Similarly, drier conditions matched up with areas of above-normal maxima in western WA.


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