Tuesday, August 09, 2011


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG says that your superannuation may not be safe from the grasping hands of government.

Fibre network obsolete before it is built!

THE federal government has dismissed suggestions wireless technology is a threat to the national broadband network as Telstra plans to boost mobile internet speeds.

The telco giant aims to have the new 4G technology ready in capital cities and some regional areas by the end of the year.

Telstra chief executive David Thodey says demand for mobile data is doubling each year as more Australian opt for smartphones, mobile modems and tablets.

Fourth generation wireless can deliver speeds comparable with the NBN in areas where there is good mobile reception. The potential could threaten the viability of the government's $36 billion NBN.

Telstra's vow to improve its mobile technology also comes only a day after a report commissioned by the Gillard government said wireless technology was a key risk to the NBN business case.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has downplayed this suggestion, and welcomed Telstra's announcement. "Far from being a threat to the national broadband network, wireless is an important complementary technology to fibre," Senator Conroy said in a statement today.

Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull said wireless would become a competitive force and undermine the case for installing optical fibres to Australian homes. "The government shouldn't be putting all of its billions of dollars of subsidy into one technological basket," he told Fairfax Radio.

The Australian Greens defended the government against criticism that it backed the wrong technology. "If you wanted to have all-wireless strategy, you'd have one of those mobile phone towers on every street corner and you only get top speed if you're standing right next to the tower and no one else is using it," communications spokesman Scott Ludlam told Sky News.

Telecommunications consultant Paul Budde said the NBN would still be viable even with strong growth in wireless services. Sectors such as health, education, media and energy, will favour the NBN's fibre-optic technologies. "Yes, there will be an overlap ... but there are applications that are impossible to run over a wireless network," Mr Budde told ABC radio.

The heat on the NBN began on Monday, when a government-commissioned report identified wireless technology as a key risk to the project. Corporate advisory firm Greenhill Caliburn said the competition from mobile-centric broadband would challenge take-up forecasts of the NBN.

The government aims to connect 93 per cent of Australian households with high-speed optical fibres by 2020.

NBN Co, the company building the network, has ambitions to deliver broadband speeds of 100 megabits a second, which would rise to 1000 megabits in the longer term. As this happens, Telstra will decommission its copper network.

But far from being a collaborator, the corporate behemoth is emerging as a key NBN competitor. Announcing Telstra's plans at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Mr Thodey said his company wanted to remain Australia's technology leader, a title the commonwealth is also vying for.


Malaysian asylum plan sinks as High Court hands down injunction

THE Federal Government will make a desperate bid to fast track a High Court challenge to its botched asylum seeker swap deal as the Malaysian solution languishes in legal limbo.

The Gillard Government was last night scrambling to defend its immigration policy after the High Court threatened to shred its legal credibility.

A two-week injunction imposed yesterday will prevent the deportation of the first wave of asylum seekers to Kuala Lumpur until the High Court can consider the policy's legality.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen last night said he was confident of the Government's legal footing despite judge Kenneth Hayne earlier ruling the policy posed a "sufficiently serious question" warranting the scrutiny of the full bench on August 22.

The legal questions surround the human rights and lack of legal protection for the Malaysian-bound asylum seekers and the deportation of unaccompanied minors.

The Government was last night battling to contain the political fallout as up to 100 asylum seekers remain in legal limbo on Christmas Island.

Adding to the embarrassment, Justice Hayne complained about the Solicitor-General's tardiness in presenting legal documents, describing the Crown's response as "half-baked".

Mr Bowen said the Government was on "very strong legal grounds".

"I'm confident that when the full bench considers the case the injunction will be lifted, the transfer will occur and the arrangement will be implemented," he said. He admitted the uncertainty created by the High Court injunction had "the danger of playing into people smugglers' hands". "I think it would be better that the case was heard as soon as possible," he said.

Meanwhile, an ambulance was called yesterday to treat three Malaysian-bound asylum seekers on a hunger strike on Christmas Island.

Lawyers for the 41 Afghani and Pakistani asylum seekers behind the current legal challenge say their clients are "petrified" about being sent to Malaysia.

David Manne argues their claims for protection should be continued in Australia and disputed the Government's claim Malaysia had sufficient human rights and protections for refugees.

"We'll be challenging that because the consequences here, of course, are very grave," he told the ABC. "The minister could declare any country to have adequate human rights standards or protections without a review by the court."

Despite the uncertainty with the people-swap policy, Mr Bowen said Australia would accept the first of the 4000 refugees from Malaysia as part of the deal. "I'm not going to put these people's lives on hold."

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the High Court injunction showed the Government could not get its immigration policies right.


Progressive and conservative lifestyles in Australia

Not necessarily reflected in voting

AGE and income don't necessarily determine whether Australians are progressive or conservative. Rather, personal decisions such as having children, adopting technology, or connecting with friends are having a far more powerful influence on people's state of mind, behaviour and happiness.

A lifestyle trends survey commissioned by KPMG found rapid social, behavioural and technological shifts are creating classes of progressives and conservatives.

The first group were people with many friends, the latest technology, several credit cards and a propensity to take regular holidays.

At the opposite end of the spectrum were conservatives who did not have the latest gadgets, were not connecting online, and did not eat out or take holidays.

Demographer Bernard Salt said there were now two Australias: "the edgy, the connected and the modern lifestyle-inclined - and then there are the conservatives."

Survey findings include:

THE richest households usually have KIPPERS (Kids in Parents' Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings).

THE poorest dwellings are typically made up of 18- to 24-year-olds, who are most likely to be students, or pensioners aged over 65.

PARENTS often could not afford to eat out.

GEN Y and baby boomers are frequently on holiday, but baby boomers are the heavier credit card users.

The survey revealed why many Gen Ys are so keen to stay in the family home. "When they move out they transition from the richest households in Australia to the poorest," Mr Salt said.

He said the secret to happiness came down to having the self-discipline to manage modern life's excesses. "The things that make Australians happy are not being in debt, not being overweight, having an exercise regimen, and having friends," he said.


Mining boss slams 'soft' Australians

A workforce dominated by soft, satisfied idealists is "pissing away" Australia's position of economic strength and taking the nation backwards, according to the head of a Chinese-controlled mining company with multiple projects in Australia.

Andrew Michelmore, the head of MMG, which has headquarters in Melbourne but is dominated by China, said Australia was suffering from "rich country's disease" and would devolve into a welfare state unless workers rediscovered a hunger for excellence.

Addressing the Australian-British Chamber of Commerce, Mr Michelmore, the former head of Western Mining Corporation, lamented the immobility of the Australian workforce and the resulting skills shortage in remote areas like Western Australia's Pilbara region.

"People can't be bothered moving 25 kilometres to get a job because they will live off social welfare instead, and it's a real worry for me watching Australia have a luxurious time at the benefit of our relationship with China," he said.

More older people and women should be returned to a workforce which was dominated by people with "airy fairy", "idealistic" and "altruistic" attitudes.

"We need to get the grey hairs back into industry and working, we need to get more women involved in work," he said. "We need to get some hunger and drive back into this country, we are becoming soft."

A lack of workers has long frustrated the resources sector as it tries to develop billions of dollars worth of projects over the next decade.

MMG has its headquarters and three mines in Australia, one each in Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union's national president, Tony Maher, rejected Mr Michelmore's comments. He said they were "a trojan horse for a Chinese labour debate".


1 comment:

Paul said...

"Andrew Michelmore, the head of MMG, which has headquarters in Melbourne but is dominated by China, said Australia was suffering from "rich country's disease" and would devolve into a welfare state unless workers rediscovered a hunger for excellence."

I think we have found our next Prime Minister.