Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Western Sydney Liberal Party  MPs reject climate 'scare tactics'

You would think that the Warmists would be embarrassed to use  Flannery as spokesman, given his unbroken record of false prophecies.    But it is the big lie at work here so I suppose he fits in well with that

LIBERAL MPs in western Sydney electorates say predictions the region will suffer more ill-effects from climate change than the city's east are "alarmist" and politically motivated.

Member for Macarthur Russell Matheson said the Tim Flannery-headed Climate Commission was trying mount a favourable case for the government's looming carbon tax.

“They're trying to justify the carbon tax,” said Mr Matheson, whose seat takes in parts of Campbelltown and is one of Sydney's most westerly urban electorates.

He said the “doom and gloom” prediction was not borne out by recent experience.  “I think people are waking up to the fact that we're actually going through a cooling period at the present time,” Mr Matheson said.

“You've only got to look at aerial photographs of aerial Sydney to know we've been progressively greening the area.”

Liberal MP Craig Kelly, who represents the neighbouring electorate of Hughes, branded the Climate Comission's findings as “nonsense”.  “It's just more of the alarmist scare tactics we've heard from Mr Flannery,' he said. “That's what he seems to be employed for. He is just ramping the scare tactics al the time.”

He said while western Sydney suffered during hot weather, it also experienced colder conditions than other areas of Sydney because it was further from the coast.

The Climate Commission report finds heatwaves are increasing in length and intensity and that the number of hot days in western Sydney rose by 60 per cent since the 1970s.

This was making the state more susceptible to bushfires and putting coastal areas at risk from sea level rises, it warns.

Mr Flannery, launching the report in Sydney, acknowledged the report had drawn criticism.  “Look, this is a hot political issue in Australia, there's no doubt about that,” he said. “I hope people will take a common sense approach to this and see that this is something we need to do.”

Fellow climate commissioner Professor Lesley Hughes said the report's aim wasn't to scare people but to prepare the public for the health risks associated with climate change.

Acting NSW Premier Andrew Stoner said the state government would consider the report, but said most people would view the commission's findings as “alarmist”.


Peak oil debate is over, say experts

THE debate about peak oil is over and the world has used just a fraction of the petroleum it will be possible to extract, an expert believes.

Speaking at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) 2012 conference in Adelaide, oil major Total's chief executive Christophe de Margerie said new sources of petroleum, such as tight gas and shale oil, meant that the world had ample supplies of petroleum.

Mr de Margerie said while there were economic and environmental issues which would affect how quickly resources were exploited, there was "definitely not a concern about reserves''.

His comments were echoed by Saudi Arabia's Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali I. Naimi, who told the conference new technology would continue to drive the petroleum sector.

"It is estimated that the world has consumed something like one trillion barrels of oil since the industry started in the nineteenth century,'' he said.

"It is thought there are at least five trillion barrels of petroleum potentially recoverable.

"But it is not just that oil continues to be discovered. It is that technology, partly driven by prices, enables ever greater reserves to be booked, and eventually recovered.

"The world has plenty of reserves, and they will continue to fuel prosperity and growth around the world for many decades.''

Mr I. Naimi said the petroleum sector sector did need to be supplemented with other forms of energy such as solar and other renewable sources.

"The challenge for all of us is to use our technology and ingenuity to create a low carbon future,'' he said.

"I call for greater collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Australia on this, but also among all countries.''


Brisbane tent "embassy" vows to sit tight

There is a stand-off between council officials and Indigenous activists who are claiming sovereignty in Musgrave Park at South Brisbane.   Delegates from the tent embassy in the park say they are prepared to go to court and jail in their fight for sovereignty.

The Brisbane Sovereign embassy was set up two months ago in the park, which is a traditional meeting place for Indigenous people in Brisbane's inner-city.  Organisers say it is there to promote the political rights of Aboriginal people and is not a protest.

They have refused to pack up their camp today and move from the park ahead of the weekend Paniyiri Greek festival.

Negotiations have now broken down and council officers have closed the park and directed the protesters to leave with their possessions immediately.  Council officials and police have been at the site trying to negotiate with the group of largely Indigenous people.

Tent embassy members say the Greek festival does not have a problem with them being there.  Embassy spokesman Wayne Wharton says Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has shown no respect.  "Under our law we are here as guests of the Juggera people," he said.  "Under law to stand uninted and defend first nation's rights to our sovereignty.

"Now if it means going to jail under that law, and going to courts under that law, and we have to defend it, so be it."

The embassy says any attempt by police or the council to forcefully remove them will only jeopardise the festival, because the incident will escalate into a major protest.

They say Aborigines will converge on Musgrave Park in support of the tent embassy.

The embassy says it has attracted thousands of residents to cultural events in the park since it started and are not interested in a violent confrontation with police.  They hope the council will resume talks over the issue.

Compromise needed

Mr Quirk says he did not have a problem with the tent embassy until it expanded.

He says he has forged good relations with the Aboriginal community and wants that to continue.

However, Mr Quirk says the tent embassy has to compromise and move to an adjoining site to make space for other activities.  He says local elders have also expressed concerns about the direction being taken at the campsite.  "The embassy has grown in numbers - there are a lot of people now sleeping there overnight," Mr Quirk said.

"Council was prepared to allow a peaceful protest to continue but it would need to be scaled-down basis and in another location.

"My relationship with Indigenous elders in this city remains strong and from my point of view that will continue."

Mr Quirk says the council has offered to move the embassy several hundred metres to an adjoining site.

"I am not going predict what might and might not happen in the future," he said.  "I will just say this that my position was made very clear on Saturday and I am giving every opportunity for this to occur.

"We will just wait and see so that area of land is needed and again I have made an offer for an alternate site."

'Time to move'

Mr Quirk says it is time for the protest to move because there are several festivals and events coming up in Musgrave Park, including NAIDOC Week.

"I made it clear when I met with them last Saturday that while we had shown patience as a city," he said.  "[However], it was time for them to move - to do it on a piece of Indigenous-related land which is further up - only a few hundreds metres from their site where they are at the moment.  "But again, it would need to be a scaled-down process."

Queensland Greens spokeswoman Libby Connors says a confrontational approach will almost certainly lead to a violent showdown.  "The Lord Mayor should resume negotiations and calm everybody down," she said.  "People are gathering because they are getting worried that their right to use the park is under threat.  "We know for years the Aboriginal community has accepted and respected Paniyiri."


Talks over cattle export ban compo

A year after animal cruelty in Indonesian abattoirs brought the live export cattle trade to a standstill, the industry is in secret compensation talks with the Federal Government.

But people within the industry say the Meat and Livestock Association should be the focus of any claim, alleging it was aware of the problem well before footage aired on ABC's Four Corners program.

With new and stronger auditing requirements the trade has resumed, but according to the industry in the Northern Territory the damage is still being felt.

"It's still pretty tough up here. Cattle production isn't like retail or manufacturing where you can just close the doors and reopen the doors later on," the Northern Territory Livestock Exporters Association's Kevin Mulvahil said.

"Producers normally put the profits they make into next year's production, so from their point of view it's a very tough year this year."

Official surveys at the time revealed more than 300 employees were laid off at farms across the Top End, but Mr Mulvahil says the job losses represent only a small portion of the damage.

"Everyone involved lost significant amounts of money - from stockfeed suppliers, holding yards, trucking companies as well as producers, the live exporters, ship owners and right down through the chain to the people in feedlots in Indonesia where they rely on the live export industry to provide income for hundreds of thousands of people," he said.

Now, a statement of risk from the federal budget papers shows a potential class action has been received from a law firm on behalf of 21 clients.

"The Australian Government may become liable for compensation following the decision by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to suspend the export of livestock to Indonesia for a period of one month in 2011," the papers said.

Minter Ellison is the law firm leading the negotiations.

None of the claimants will comment on the negotiations and most people in the cattle export industry know nothing about it.

But 7.30 understands the group is making a claim for hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation from the Government.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has also received a claim under the scheme of compensation for detriment caused by defective administration, from a law firm on behalf of three of its clients.
'Someone has to pay'

The case has not reached the courts but is instead a direct negotiation with the Government.

To this day, Indonesia's quota of cattle from Australia is well down on what it was before the ban and independent federal MP Bob Katter says someone has to pay.

"There are many cattlemen up here, their losses would've been close to $1 million or pretty close to it and there would've been a lot of them," he said.

"As I understand it, Indonesia has said 'we've had a gutful'."

Mr Katter likes the chances of a class action but says it should be directed at Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), not the Government.  "The body that was paid a $100 million a year to look after our interests quite frankly had done nothing whatsoever," he said.

"So I mean there's a magnificent case for a class action, but I would think that the MLA would be caught in the action here."

The MLA is not the target of this action, but other industry lawyers agree they should be.

Cattle industry lawyer Norman Hunt says the industry body knew of animal cruelty but failed to stop it.  "They had the knowledge, in a joint report published in 2010, and really failed to let the industry know there's a time bomb ticking - they allowed the time bomb to explode," he said.

Mr Hunt is advising his clients to wait for the negotiations with the Government to be resolved before taking action.

"I think the claims could be significant. I'm not sure if it really is hundreds of millions of dollars, but there are lots of people who had bought properties in the Top End specifically for the live export trade," he said.

"The value of those properties dropped as a consequence, a lot of people got caught with cattle ready to go that they couldn't send, and had to sell at a huge discount on the domestic market so the potential claim could be quite significant."

Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig says he cannot talk about the class action.

In the past he has steadfastly maintained he did the right thing in ordering the export ban, but behind the scenes the case is far from closed.


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