Thursday, June 09, 2011

Now the ALP geniuses have put Indonesia offside

Disrespecting our huge near neighbour really is clever. ALL Australian governments have given high priority to maintaining good relations with the Muslim giant

INDONESIA is threatening to take Australia to the international trade umpire over its "discriminatory" decision to suspend live cattle exports.

Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig today banned cattle from being sent to Indonesia for up to six months following a public outcry over their mistreatment in local abattoirs. But the ban has earned the ire of Australian farmers and exporters, and now Indonesia.

"We hope that this is not mainly a special policy for Indonesia," its deputy agriculture minister Bayu Krisnamurthi said. "If only applied to Indonesia, this is discriminative and we will submit (a complaint) to the WTO (World Trade Organisation). "There are several other countries importing from Australia facing the same (animal welfare) situation."

Senator Ludwig was on the phone to Indonesia prior to making the decision, but Australia's ambassador to the southeast Asian country, Greg Moriarty, has been called in to explain it again, a sign bilateral relations may already be under strain.

Senator Ludwig is also under fire for failing to answer calls for compensation, given concerns over existing contracts and the thousands of cattle waiting to be exported at Australian wharves.

The minister couldn't say how many shipments might be affected, but the industry insists there are major questions about how to proceed. Asked if industry players could expect compensation, Senator Ludwig said that he was keen to sit down and talk the issue over with stakeholders. "I do accept that there's been impacts to industry, but let's not, let's not divert from where we are," he said in Brisbane. "We are here because of the animal welfare outcomes."

Although some have applauded the move, others, including the Australian Greens and independents Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon, say the Government should go further and end all live animal exports. They plan to launch private Bills in parliament during the next sitting, which begins on Monday - the Greens wanting an immediate ban, and the independents happy with a three-year phase-out.

Former police officer turned animal activist Lyn White, who shot the original footage that sparked the whole debate, said she won't rest until all live animal exports are stopped. "We're still sending animals to about a dozen other countries where there are no laws to protect them from cruelty," she said.

But Senator Ludwig has hinted ending the entire $1 billion live export sector was a step too far, arguing a sustainable industry is the government's key priority. He defended his rejection of a livestock industry plan to send only cattle to Indonesia's top 25 abattoirs, five of which use the preferred method of stunning prior to slaughter.

Senator Ludwig, who admitted he was not an expert on the livestock industry, said it was important the entire supply chain got a good going-over. He would not comment on reports Indonesia would be looking elsewhere to fill its large beef void, saying he wasn't going to speculate about another government's actions.

A spokeswoman from Senator Ludwig's office later said Australia stood by the suspension, despite Indonesia's threats. "Australia has the right under World Trade Organisation rules to take actions to ensure that Australian cattle are treated in accordance with international standards on animal welfare," she said in a statement.

She also noted that the suspension could be lifted early or as soon as Indonesia's slaughter processes are brought up to standard.


Kill a feral camel and claim a carbon credit

LOL! Can you imagine the animal lovers steaming over this idea! How to put yet another group offside

THE Federal Government is considering awarding carbon credits for getting rid of feral camels under an initiative to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Although the Carbon Farming Initiative has yet to pass parliament, three proposals are undergoing formal assessment, including one to "manage" Australia's feral camel population. The other two options include early burn-offs and inoculating cattle to stop them burping.

Tim Moore, the managing director of Adelaide-based Northwest Carbon who proposed the camel cull idea, said more than 1.2 million camels are roaming Australia's rangelands, covering Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia and NSW.

Already considered a pest produce an average methane equivalent of one tonne of carbon dioxide a year, making them one of Australia's big emitters. One camel produces 45kg of methane a year which is equivalent of one tonne of carbon dioxide. It is the same amount of carbon dioxide produced by a plane on a 7000km flight.

In comparison a cow produces 35kg of methane annually or 0.8 tonnes, while the average car emits four tonnes when driven over 20,000km annually.

"They live anywhere from 30 to 50 years in the wild, there's 1.2 million of them and that figure is doubling every nine years, so it's a huge problem," Dr Moore said.

Under his proposal, camels would be shot from helicopters or four-wheel drives, or mustered and then sent to an abattoir for either human or pet consumption.

He estimates that given their lifespan, every animal culled would save around 14 or 15 tonnes in abatement. Dr Moore said one of the best things about the scheme is that it would be market driven, potentially living outside the troublesome political cycle. He added the plan provided real scope to provide real jobs for indigenous Australians.

Dr Moore is confident the unusual proposal, which has already caught the attention of the British press, will get the go-ahead. "We're a nation of innovators and we find innovative solutions to our challenges - this is just a classic example," he said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change Mark Dreyfus said the government was considering various proposals to reduce carbon pollution on the land, including Dr Moore's. It will be waiting until the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee reports back before making a final decision.

Legislation helping set up the Carbon Farming Initiative is due to go before the parliament in the next sitting, which starts on Monday.


Waste on steroids: 560 NBN customers, $132m bill for staff

THE cost of staff for the National Broadband Network has reached $132 million a year against revenue of only $3 million this year.

Executives are on big salaries - 34 NBN Co staff are on between $300,000 and $400,000 a year, putting some of them ahead of Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Another 13 earn more than $400,000, including four executives on more than $700,000 a year for the project overseen by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy. NBN Co chief Michael Quigley earns more than $1.8 million a year.

And, in the face of the salaries, the NBN has only about 560 customers throughout the country. By the end of this month, NBN Co is expected to have 1000 staff, which will mean almost two employees for every customer. None of its customers is paying to access the broadband network. The service is free to internet service providers during a trial period.

"This is a start-up business, but unlike every other start-up business, there are no financial constraints at all," Opposition communications and broadband spokesman Malcolm Turnbull said yesterday. "I have heard so many stories in the industry of people being lured from other employers with pay rises of 50 to 100 per cent."

Initial modest rises in forecast revenue will see the NBN Co bring in $205 million by the next election.

An NBN Co spokeswoman said operating costs would exceed revenues in initial years, but it would have revenue of $5.8 billion in a decade. By 2025, revenues would be $7.6 billion and positive net income would have been achieved by 2021.

The spokeswoman said the salaries were a reflection of start-up costs for a business. "Executive and senior managers were hired first as they were the ones creating the organisation ... and making critical decisions about the future of the business," she said.

Michael Sparksman, from Open Network, said staff were being lured from the industry on high wages. "We know they are able to attract staff away from us as they are paying such high rates," he said.


Australia's Left-leaning elitists sneer at the working class

'There is still a subconscious idea that if you aren’t living in a street with a view of Centrepoint, you are disconnected from the radiant beacon of city culture.'

I had 13 years as a Sydneysider. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I went west of Auburn.

In those days, I probably would have looked a little askance at Summer Hill. Returning from work in Darlinghurst or after classes at the University of Sydney, I might occasionally stay on the train and go to Rockdale or perhaps even some distant burg like Blacktown, just to see what was there.

I did not hate "westies", as they might have been known, but I certainly feared and shunned them in any interaction where they did not recognise Newtown as the sun to their Pluto.

I was a snob, and my only defence is that the snobbery was, and largely remains, pervasive. But I was beginning to escape my middle-class illusions about the superiority of life at the centre. There is still a subconscious idea that if you aren't living in a street with a view of Centrepoint, you are disconnected from the radiant beacon of city culture - the only culture worthy of the name in Australia.

I'll always be middle-class, but I am no longer inner-city, having relocated to a suburb 20 kilometres from central Melbourne. Now I see the snobbery from the other side, and it is not pretty. Inner-city elitists in Australia continue to project views about large groups of otherwise diverse people simply on the basis of their location.

Today it's not the westies but the bogans. The word has murky origins, possibly related to the region and the river in central NSW, then popularised by Kylie Mole on The Comedy Company to become a nationally understood synonym for what were known in Brisbane as bevens, Hobart as chiggers, and Perth as bogs. Whatever: to my mind, it's code for "working class". I am reminded of the Kurt Vonnegut novel Breakfast of Champions in which a well-to-do couple have a secret code that allowed them to discuss African-Americans in front of their "coloured" maid: they discussed the "reindeer problem".

The word is "just a joke", some will say defensively, pointing to TV comedies such as Rebel Wilson's Bogan Pride - in which, incidentally, many of the funniest characters weren't bogans but "nerds". Some argue bogans are a "culture" not a "class". But ask them what's the difference, and the derisive term is laid bare: it's a new way to sustain class resentment, to pigeonhole people and places. They've created this creature that is a lesser human being to express unmentionable class hatred.

So poorly defined is the term, it's difficult to criticise its use in everyday life: it's applied to Julian Assange and Julia Gillard, and then to violent criminals. Publicising my book on talkback radio last week, many callers were adamant that bogans existed because they'd seen them: even listening to the multitude of definitions did not seem to deter audiences from the firm belief that their prejudices affirmed their experience.

I'm just happy to see the conversation take place. I want to see Australians stop demonising "bogans" who dwell "out there" on the suburban fringe, so commonly described in anthropological terms as though there was some kind of sub-species prone to antisocial behaviour. I would also be quite happy if those who describe themselves as "bogan" recognised that to identify as such is to demonstrate too much awareness to be truly a "bogan" in most people's minds. I would also be very happy to see an end to the assumptions that comedy and film - for instance, Angry Boys and Snowtown - are truthful representations, rather than extreme amplifications of the suburbs.

Is all of this ranting against the word "bogan" a plea for political correctness? Possibly, but not the way PC language is usually discussed. It's a plea for precision: it's about calling the disenfranchised, or marginalised, what they are - rather than a reindeer. Besides, if Assange, Gillard, Shane Warne and Eric Bana (yes, the charges have been laid, not just because he once played one on TV) are all bogans, who isn't a bogan? Is it praise, blame or demonisation? Some clarity in the argument might grease the wheels of the discussion, and who knows, we might just get somewhere for a change.


Climate Hoax Scientists Freak Out Over Schoolyard Taunts

These are all personal attacks! It's awful! You freaking deniers, who should be locked up and hung, are just big meanies!
Several Australian climate scientists have released email extracts that demonstrate the vitriol that fills their inboxes daily, saying the number of abusive emails has increased since the carbon tax was proposed.

Climate scientists from the Australian National University, the University of Queensland, the University of NSW and the University of Melbourne have reportedly received emailed death threats, threats of sexual assault and threats of attacks on family members from critics opposed to their findings.

Really? Can we see them?
Now several of the abusive emails have been published on a blog by environmental writer Graham Readfearn, after the scientists agreed to release the poison pen letters.

Oh, goody.
Most are little more than swearing and insults,

but several correspondents had a more chilling message for the scientists.

“Just do your science or you will end up collateral damage in the war, GET IT,” reads one email.

“If we see you continue, we will get extremely organised and precise against you,” reads another.

That's it, folks. That's the best the alarmists can offer as proof of "death threats." Except, for that second one, let's check the full text
If we see you continue, we will get extremely organised and precise against you. We will not do so if you rightfully argue against our points from a science view. But we will if you choose to stray into attacks on us as people or as a movement. The institution and funders that support you will find the attention concerning.

So, not a personal threat, just one to go after funding.

Jo Nova: To a climate scientist, *swearing* equals a Death Threat (no wonder these guys can’t predict the weather)

And Tom Nelson asks

  • Do these scientists notify the Australian Federal Police every time they get the finger for cutting someone off in traffic?

  • Do they demand to be rushed to a secure location every time they hear that "monster" making a tapping sound in the basement?

  • No wonder these people think every weather fluctuation is a harbinger of global doom...

Personally, I'm not sure why so many "deniers" are upset at scientists who push junk science which could result in heavy taxation, reduced prosperity, more government control over their lives, all so that these scientists can get more government research funding.


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