Monday, October 21, 2013


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is struck by the fact that Greenies are supposed to love trees yet are largely responsible for the bushfires that burn them down.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott joins Davidson Rural Fire Brigade to fight NSW bushfires

A manly man

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has taken a break from running the country to help fire crews fight the bushfires gripping NSW as a volunteer firefighter.

Mr Abbott worked a night shift helping back burn near Bilpinwith his Davidson Rural Fire Brigade from Sydney's Warringah Pittwater Rural Fire District.

NSW Rural Fires Service volunteer Tova Gallagher said she couldn't believe her eyes when she saw Prime Minister Tony Abbott decked out in his NSWRFS uniform.

Ms Gallagher, who herself is in the area fighting fires, said she didn't recognise the PM at first.  "I said 'that guy could be Tony Abbott's brother'," she said. "Oh wait, hang on. It's him."

Mr Abbott has been a member of the NSW Rural Fire Service for 13 years and is trained as a specialist breathing apparatus operator, chainsaw operator and tanker driver.

But his new job running the country has triggered safety concerns putting him and his Australian Federal Police security detail into dangerous situations.

Pictures circulating on social media show Mr Abbott riding in the fire truck and giving the thumbs up to onlookers before he posed for photos with fellow volunteers.


"Green" responsibility for the bushfires

MORE fingers than fire hoses are being pointed this fire season as serious bush fires burn around the state.

Even as a new blaze burned near Port Stephens on Thursday, tough-talking Mayor Bruce MacKenzie was hammering the point he personally made Monday to Premier Barry O’Farrell and RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons that he believed Green-Labor policies introduced by the Carr government were still blocking hazard reduction efforts.

He wants the commissioner to return to the district with Emergency Services Minister Mike Gallacher - who has so far been all but invisible - to face local residents at a public meeting next week when the immediate emergency is over.

Mr MacKenzie, 75, a popularly elected mayor and local identity, also has a private axe to grind with the RFS.

Last year, he clashed with the RFS over concerns it raised with the Port Stephens Council for fire safety provisions during two development application hearings.

That argument plays into his bigger criticism about the increased bureaucracy in the RFS and the red and green tape he sees as preventing more hazard reductions.

That argument is not confined to Port Stephens.  Under former Labor Premier Bob Carr, the level of hazard reductions performed across the state dropped even as larger areas of land were being incorporated into the national parks of which Mr Carr was so proud.

Green groups became increasingly influential, the environmental movement flourished, bizarre New Age fads such as eco-feminism emerged among the ignorant.

Unfortunately, the NSW Parks Department was never given a budget to match its increased area of responsibilities and inevitably, it could never meet perform the amount of hazard reduction necessary, not even the bare minimum.

It was also apparent that locking up forest areas in national parks automatically increased the level of fire risk.

Before the forests were locked up, logging tracks were kept open and the forest floor was largely cleared of fuel loads by the loggers and by the stock which were permitted to graze in the Crown reserves.

Locked forests saw the tracks rapidly become overgrown through disuse and with the removal of stock, the fuel load on the forest floor rapidly increased.

Despite what the green lobby claims, the fuel loading not global warming, is responsible for the intensity of bushfires. Increasing the fuel load by a factor of four, increases the fire intensity by a factor of nearly 20.

In recent years, particularly since the Victorian wildfires of February, 2009, in which 173 people were killed, it has been easier to obtain permission to conduct hazard reduction but the permit is only the first step.

Burning huge tracts of land today (when they may well be more fuel laden than they have been for decades) is not a simple process.

To burn safely and successfully, a range of variables have to be considered ranging from the temperature and humidity, the wind speed, the amount of fuel, the moisture content and the type of vegetation.

Coastal scrub, for example, has a very oil content which serves to protect it from the salt air environment.

The Australian bush is very site specific. Some trees and shrubs can take regular burning and will grow their seeds and thrown them into the ash of recent fires, others take years for the seeds to mature and set.


Boats will be stopped, Abbott says

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the arrival of asylum seekers by boat has dropped dramatically since the election of the coalition government.

But Mr Abbott says he's under no illusion that people smugglers will continue to test the commonwealth's resolve to stop the flow of boats.

The prime minister told the South Australian Liberal Party annual meeting in Adelaide on Saturday that in the month since the government was elected arrivals were running at just 10 per cent of the worst level under Labor.

"I don't pretend that the people smugglers won't test us," Mr Abbott said.  "I don't say that there won't be worse months as well as better months in the time ahead.  "I don't pretend that the boats have already stopped.

"But I can say to you with great confidence, they are stopping, they are stopping and they will be stopped."


In Qld., Jarrod Bleijie takes on unions, bikies and lawyers in one week

It has been an extraordinary week for the man they have labeled the Boy Wonder.

The state’s 31-year-old Attorney-General pushed three pieces of contested legislation through parliament this week, taking on the unions, the bikies and law firms in one fell swoop.

Jarrod Bleijie, the royal loving, rock and roll dancing, proudly Christian Member for Kawana was finally able to tick some bugbears off his list.

He was given open slather to bring motorcycle gangs to their knees.  He responded by crafting laws some have labeled “medieval”, while others rang talkback radio shows to applaud.

He took the power to determine when certain offenders – namely sex offenders, such as Robert John Fardon, a particular bane of his, left jail, out of the judiciary’s hands and into, effectively, his own.

And he went against his own committee’s advice not to apply a common law threshold to workers’ compensation claims and did just that. Which, as Attorney-General, he has every right to do.

Those laws all passed this week, just days after they were introduced into Parliament, in some cases, just weeks after ‘we are looking at doing this’ media releases were sent out.

He did it while less flattering nicknames ‘The Article Clerk’ [an old taunt, calling back to his days in a Maroochydore law firm doing just that, while he completed his law degree] and ‘Vlad the Legislator’ [a new name gifted to critics by the naming of the Vicious Lawless Associated Disestablishment legislation passed this week] were muttered under breaths, lawyers threatened to de-rail MPs re-election prospects and the unions shouted.

But the unions always shout. It was the response of the Law Society which was most telling.  Seemingly brought to the brink by Mr Bleijie’s ‘Plan B’ for keeping 64-year-old Fardon in jail, president Annette Bradfield, as circumspectly as she could, questioned whether the state’s “fundamental principle of democracy”, the separation of powers, were at risk.

Privately, Queensland’s lawyers are combing over the new legislation looking for holes.  Publicly they are calling for Mr Bleijie to declare his confidence in the judiciary.

While shadow Attorney-General, Mr Bleijie said he would never attack a judge, he has said he would have no problem questioning their judgment.  “Our judicial system needs to hand down sentences that government requires them to,” he said in Brisbane Legal in 2011.

The amendments to the Criminal Amendment Act, which allow the Attorney-General to effectively overrule a release order issued by the courts, once all appeals are exhausted, now allows him to ensure they do.

It is a hard job to argue against keeping prolific sexual offenders in prison.  So the Opposition was left with attacking the urgency of the law’s passing and the blurring of lines between state and judiciary.

Still, there was no question of the law passing.  Thursday’s late sitting debating the legislation was almost as wasted as Tuesday’s marathon effort when the anti-bikie laws went through.

When it came to WorkCover, that was easier to argue.  Mr Bleijie said Queensland’s statutory cover would mean all workers would be covered, regardless of whether they had been judged to have less than a 5 per cent injury impairment.

But Queensland has a short-tailed scheme, which means once the WorkCover statutory cover runs out, there will no longer be any further avenues an injured worker can take for compensation, if they fall under that 5 per cent threshold.

Personal liability lawyers have estimated that will be about half of all WorkCover cases.

Business groups had lobbied intensely to have journey claims removed from the legislation, which means employees would have lost the right to claim for injuries which occurred to or from work.

Mr Bleijie said he “found the balance” by keeping journey claims, but adding the common law threshold.

That “balance” meant lawyers and their staff joined union supporters outside Parliament House on Thursday, calling for “Bl-liar” to come out.  But business, that all-important sector the government vowed to listen to, are, if not entirely satisfied with the changes, content that some of what they wanted was done.

But the laws created this week to “break the spirit” of motorcycle gangs are what legal sources expect to create the biggest headache for the government, long after the hyperbole has died down.

Mr Bleijie, though, who despite the long hours in the lead up to this week has maintained the shiniest shoes in parliament, and has not faltered in matching his pocket chiefs to his tie, doesn’t seem to care.

He says when the laws are challenged – not if, because he knows that it is a foregone conclusion – he’ll just keep tweaking the legislation until the courts hands are tied.

And he’ll do it with the full support of Premier Campbell Newman, the government and the LNP.

“Not only does he have my personal support, but also he has, without question, the unequivocal, 100 per cent, rock solid support of the cabinet and those honourable members of the LNP in this place … he has the total, unequivocal support of the LNP state executive and I am confident, almost all of the 14,000 members of the LNP across Queensland who worked hard to get a government that would be strong on these law and order and safety and security issues,” Mr Newman said.

“This Attorney-General has the ticker and the guts to actually stand up to entrenched interests right across this state without fear or favour and to do what is right for Queenslanders, do what is right for Queensland families, do what is right for Queensland businesses … I could go on and on.  He has done the right thing by Queenslanders.”


1 comment:

Paul said...