Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Australia reviewing  renewable-energy mandates

Comment from the USA
It was out with the Labor Party and in with the Liberal Party in the Australian elections last September (translation: the government switched over from six years of progressive dominance to their version of conservatism).

Part of Prime Minister Tony Abbot’s campaign platform was cutting government spending and taking a more reality-based stance on the country’s green commitments (including a deeply unpopular carbon tax), and he immediately started to make good on both of those promises by getting rid of the country’s Climate Commission and freezing renewables funding (not to mention his new government’s suggestion as to where the United Nations could stick their latest attempt to rope developed countries into a mutual impoverishment pact “global climate treaty”).

Now, the government is moving forward on reevaluating the economic wisdom of their mandatory renewable energy target (RET), much to the chagrin of both Australian and global greens. Via Reuters:

The target to ensure Australia generates 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2020 has been a boon to the nation’s wind and solar producers, but has been blamed by the conservative Coalition government for increasing power prices.

“In particular, the review will consider the contribution of the RET in reducing emissions, its impact on electricity prices and energy markets, as well as its costs and benefits for the renewable energy sector, the manufacturing sector and Australian households,” Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said in a statement. …

Macfarlane said the outcome of the review was not set, though Environment Minister Greg Hunt last month proposed to delay the implementation of the target by five years. …

Green groups in Australia saw the appointment of Dick Warburton, a former Reserve Bank board member who has expressed doubt that carbon emissions cause climate change, as a clear sign that the government’s intention is to weaken or remove the target.

Which is probably a pretty good idea. The greens doth protest that weakening the target will ease investment in renewables and result in the country using more coal for electricity generation — but funnily enough, Germany’s very similar mandated energy targets of the past few years have in fact directly resulted in the country turning to coal for power generation, and a colossal waste of taxpayer money and loss of business competitiveness besides.


Brisbane Private school sacks rowing head coach David Bellamy over slang

Seeing that the word in question was my nickname in the army, I can't see what the fuss is about.  It's basically a jocular term, not offensive -- JR

ONE of Queensland’s elite private schools has sacked its director of rowing in a ­bizarre sex-talk scandal.

David Bellamy, one of Australia’s most respected coaches, was dismissed by Brisbane Boys’ College after telling rowers not to twirl their “wangas”: slang for ­penises.

Bellamy also admitted using “theatrical body movements” and waving his finger in front of his trousers to mimic a penis as he spoke to 50 rowers and coaches on January 14.

Headmaster Graeme McDonald told staff of his dismissal in an email on February 11.

Angry parents have rushed to Bellamy’s support, saying the incident was blown out of proportion and his dismissal an injustice.

Bellamy declined to ­comment, but friends with intimate knowledge of the affair said he used the word humorously when giving the boys a serious warning not to repeat the sexual pranks that had marred a previous rowing camp.

There was laughter when Bellamy told the boys: “It doesn’t matter whether you believe every wife out there has had a wanga waved at them by their husband.

“It doesn’t matter what you believe is appropriate. It doesn’t even matter what I believe is appropriate. “What matters is that the headmaster of BBC does not consider this appropriate ­behaviour.’’

The Sunday Mail understands a mother who overheard the speech complained that Bellamy’s words and actions were inappropriate in a church school.

The college, run by the Presbyterian and Uniting churches, is understood to have received other ­complaints from parents whose sons had told them about the “wanga” word.


I am, you are, we are Australian

 by Andrew Bolt

I AM an indigenous Australian, like millions of other people here, black or white. Take note, Tony Abbott. Think again, you new dividers, before we are on the path to apartheid with your change to our Constitution.

I was born here, I live here and I call no other country home. I am therefore indigenous to this land and have as much right as anyone to it.

What's more, when I go before the courts I want to be judged as an individual. I do not want different rights according to my class, faith, ancestry, country of birth ... or "race".

Blog with Andrew Bolt

I'm sure most Australians feel the same. We are Australians together, equal under the law and equal in our right as citizens to be here. That's how we've been for generations. It's why we've welcomed lawful immigrants and damned racists.

But this Australia is now under severe threat. Most incredibly, that threat is now led by Prime Minister Abbott, a Liberal. Abbott says he wants a "national crusade" to change the Constitution to recognise Aborigines as the "first Australians".

"If we had known in 1901 what we know now, if our hearts had been as big then as now, we would have acknowledged indigenous people in the Constitution back then," he said this week.

This is nonsense. The writers of our Constitution no more lacked heart than do people today.

The difference is they were inspired by the creed that all citizens - those, at least, we admitted - are as one before the law.

True, they did not always live up to that ideal (although, contrary to popular myth, they granted Aborigines the vote in all states where they had the franchise).

But even if we don't always follow our moral compass, the answer never is to break it. Changing the Constitution to divide Australians between the "first" and the rest - on the basis of the "race" of our ancestors - is not just immoral and an insult to our individuality.

Worse, it is socially dangerous. This will not "reconcile" us but permanently divide. It would do no good to a single Aboriginal in bush camps, but would concede a critical point: that Australians in our most fundamental legal document are now to be divided by "race".

Abbott insists he will not endorse any change that will have that practical effect in the courts. He means to treat the Constitution in this matter as if it were just a history book, not the foundation of our law.

But once he concedes the principle he concedes everything.

He will not get the "reconciliation" he imagines, some shiny day when we all hug each other in happy tears.

He will instead license demands from people, particularly race industry professionals, who will in some cases be satisfied with nothing less than apartheid.

Consider the history of this disastrous "reconciliation" movement. First, we were told we simply needed to say sorry to be reconciled.

As Aboriginal activist Professor Mick Dodson claimed: "The apology has the potential to transform Australia and, once and for all, to put black and white relationships in this country on a proper footing."

Prime minister Kevin Rudd duly said sorry in 2008, but then another step was needed, after all - a law to recognise Aborigines as the First Australians.

As Ballarat elder "Uncle" Murray Harrison put it: "As far as I'm concerned this is what it's all about, just being recognised would put the icing on the cake, mate."

So last year Parliament passed an "act of recognition", but that wasn't enough, either. Now the Constitution itself must change, and already we're told even that won't do.

Abbott's chief adviser on Aboriginal issues, Warren Mundine, this week said we must then negotiate treaties with each of Australia's hundreds of tribal "nations" to "acknowledge Australia's right to exist".

Pardon? Argue with hundreds of Aboriginal "leaders" over whether our nation actually is entitled to exist? Have the incendiary debate Israel has with its Muslim enemies?

What next? Well, Aboriginal leader Sol Bellear, chairman of the Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern, spelled it out on the ABC: a future in which "no Australian court has the right to sit in judgment of my people."

Indeed, we already have an "Aboriginal Provisional Government", led by Michael Mansell, with such a separatist agenda. So when exactly will we be "reconciled"? When our country is torn apart on ethnic lines, with more recently arrived groups demanding their own customary laws, too?

Stop now. Say no to racism. Say no to racial division. Say no to changing our Constitution.


The Green/Left kill another industry

Some 180 workers in western Sydney will lose their jobs when the last aluminium recycling plant in NSW closes.

"This is the next wave of blue collar job losses in western Sydney," said Australian Manufacturing Workers Union NSW Secretary Tim Ayres. "There have been jobs flowing out of the Toyota and Holden decisions and a series of closures over the last few months."

Mr Ayres said the firm is the only aluminium recycler in NSW, churning through 55,000 tonnes of scrap metal each year.  "What this means about NSW is it puts a question mark over whether we can recycle aluminium," Mr Ayres said.  "Recycling uses 5 per cent of the energy needed to produce aluminium. All of our scrap aluminium will have to be exported.  "From the recycling perspective, you'd have to be concerned about what this means."

Mr Ayres said the Abbott and O'Farrell governments had shown "hostile indifference" to the plight of manufacturing workers, which was creating a "jobs crisis in NSW and particularly in Western Sydney".

He said both governments had no plans to ensure Australia remained competitive in the manufacturing industry.  "They need to do something to make sure they are going to get into global race and compete," he said.

"Barry O'Farrell is refusing to get involved. The north west rail link is the biggest project around and there is no local jobs plan attached to it and no strategy to engage with industry to build a sense of common purpose."

The state government blamed the impact of the carbon tax on the manufacturing industry, but Mr Collison said its impact had been "minuscule".

NSW Treasurer and Industrial Relations Minister Mike Baird said the closure of any manufacturing facility and the accompanying loss of jobs is always a cause for concern.

"Through the carbon tax, federal Labor chose to remove one of Australia's key competitive advantages - cheap energy," he said.   "Manufacturing and manufacturing jobs in Australia rely on cheap energy, as we are a smaller market.

"With higher energy costs and increased manufacturing in neighbouring Asia, Australian manufacturers are clearly facing challenges in remaining open.

"It's time for federal Labor to support jobs and vote to repeal the carbon tax."

Mr Baird said the NSW government is supporting jobs by taking action to reduce electricity prices.


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