Wednesday, November 19, 2014


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG shows what he thinks Australian business labors under

Narendra Modi and Tony Abbott reveal new India-Australia agreement

Great news that Australia is getting closer to one of my favourite countries.  Will the Leftist media call this too a "failure" by Tony Abbott?  To get major agreements with both India and China is a pretty strange "failure"

Australia and India have entered a new era of security and military co-operation based on shared values and aimed at defending a rules-based international order.

The Indian and Australian governments have now confirmed a Fairfax report this morning that prime ministers Narendra Modi and Tony Abbott quietly signed a sensitive and potentially transformative new framework agreement.

The confirmation came after China's President Xi Jinping had flown from Canberra to Tasmania.

"They have decided to establish the Framework for Security Cooperation to reflect the deepening and expanding security and defence engagement between India and Australia, and to intensify co-operation and consultation between Australia and India in areas of mutual interest," said India's Ministry of External Affairs, on its website.

The framework lays out an extensive "action plan" including annual prime ministerial summits and maritime military exercises, according to the Indian government website.

The action areas include counter-terrorism, border control and close consultations on regional and international institutions.

It even commits Australian "support for India's bid to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council".

Australian officials later "noted" the framework in a joint statement from Mr Abbott and Mr Modi, after Mr Abbott departed to join China's President Xi for an afternoon in Tasmania.

The joint statement said the new framework would guide closer bilateral collaboration across "defence, counter-terrorism, cyber policy, disarmament and non-proliferation and maritime security".

"They agreed to hold regular meetings at the level of the Defence Minister, conduct regular maritime exercises and convene regular navy to navy, air force to air force and army to army staff talks," said the joint statement.

Mr Modi first revealed the framework agreement in a media statement this morning, while standing alongside Mr Abbott.  "I welcome the new framework of security co-operation," said Mr Modi, without introduction or explanation.  "Security and defence are important and growing areas of the new India-Australia partnership for advancing regional peace and stability and combating terrorism and transnational crimes," he said.

Mr Modi's short revelation to journalists was made just minutes before he gave a historic address to a joint sitting of Parliament, the same venue where President Xi had yesterday pledged his nation to peaceful co-operation.

Mr Modi's powerful speech placed Australia at the centre of India's vision of a prosperous and regional order, at the juncture of the Indian and Pacific oceans, at a time when he said security was valued more highly than ever.

He talked of what the two countries could do working together in maritime security and counter-terrorism, in regional and global institutions, and in entrenching international norms of good behaviour.

"India and Australia can play their part in it by expanding security co-operation," Mr Modi told the joint sitting in unscripted English, when he more commonly speaks in Hindi at international events.

"What we do need is to work together, and with others, to create an environment and culture that promotes the currency of coexistence and co-operation in which all nations small and big abide by international law and norms ... even when they have bitter disputes," he said.

Mr Modi and Mr Abbott are unlikely to mention China in the context of their plans of military co-operation, at least while President Xi remains in Australia.

Nevertheless, the muscular China that has been on display in recent years has been at the forefront of their concerns.

Mr Modi has been chafing at Chinese military incursions on the Indian side of the "line of control", in the Himalayas.

Mr Abbott has been exercised by China's territorial conflicts with neighbours in its maritime periphery.

"There's an enthusiasm on both our parts for more bilateral and trilateral military exercises  and we hope to see much more of that in the years ahead," said Mr Abbott.

Earlier, Mr Modi said his visit with Mr Abbott this morning to the Australian War Memorial  had "reminded us of the need to strive together for a better world".

The new India-Australia framework dovetails neatly with both countries tightening ties with both Japan and the United States, suggesting the informal resurrection of a "security quad" or "security diamond" of democratic powers that was previously dropped due to Chinese concerns.


Abbott will soon look like a genius for refusing to drag Australia to yet another climate fiasco

Even as he continues to win plaudits from visiting Chinese and Indian leaders, the high priests and priestesses of the fourth estate are in full-throated rebellion against Tony Abbott. Defensive, embarrassing, timid, insular, clumsy, flawed, weird, cringeworthy – this is just a sampler of media comment on Abbott’s performance at the G20 in Brisbane.

But it is perhaps better to see Abbott as someone who refuses to agree at all times with outspoken, self-appointed pressure groups that breed around controversial questions. He makes an inviting rhetorical target precisely because he embodies that down-to-earth quality in our national spirit that has been all but obliterated by the modern obsession with courting fashionable opinion. His bluntness – such as his defence of Big Coal or his threat to “shirtfront” Putin – takes him where mealy-mouthed politicians fear to tread.

I say this as someone who disagrees with his stance on Ukraine. It is one thing to try to subject the Russian-backed rebels to some scrutiny for 17 July; it is another thing for the leader of a middle power to issue dire threats and warnings to a nuclear power with vital strategic interests at stake in a region that has been in its sphere of influence for centuries.

All things considered, however, Abbott’s diplomatic conduct in recent days has been defensible.

Start with the China trade deal, a major victory for our exporters that will add tens of billions of dollars to the economy. The prime minister promised to clinch unprecedented and lucrative agreements with Japan, South Korea and China by the end of the year. His foreign affairs and trade team have achieved this goal with aplomb. The three nations account for about half of all our exports.

The critics were having a field day feasting on Abbott for daring to talk about his government’s domestic policy challenges; never mind that the leaders were invited to the G20 opening session to discuss how domestic politics impede a pro-growth reform agenda.

Then there is the G20 growth agreement itself, which will dramatically improve the lives of people all around the world, so long as nations deliver on their promises. Even Michael Gordon, one of Fairfax Media’s many Abbott critics, has conceded that for the first time the world’s richest economies have committed themselves to a specific (and ambitious) growth target and they have been prepared to allow independent bodies to scrutinise their approaches.

We are told that on climate change, the G20 leaders spectacularly wrong-footed Abbott. Yet he has merely defended the national interest and kept faith with the Australian people who gave him an electoral mandate to abolish Julia Gillard’s widely unpopular carbon tax. We are also told that Paris is the moment when the world will come together to save us from an excess of greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a fair bet Abbott’s position will be vindicated at the United Nations climate talks next year.

Shortly before Brisbane, Beijing concluded a bilateral accord with Washington in which they agreed (on a non-binding basis) to begin reducing their annual emissions by 2030. The understanding is clearly that, since Obama signed up to this deal (and indeed presented it as a triumph), he will not push the Chinese any further at next year’s meeting in Paris.

Meanwhile, Obama needs to ask the US Congress to appropriate $3bn for the global climate fund. Republicans will oppose it, and many Democrats repudiated Obama’s energy agenda in the recent midterm elections. No member of the visiting Washington press corps, judging from the press conference on Sunday, evidently thinks the issue is an American priority. Congress won’t legislate a carbon tax or a national emissions trading scheme.

As for China, their leaders’ priority is to grow their economy at 7-8% annually and to reduce poverty; and the cheapest way of doing so is via carbon energy (president Xi did not even mention climate change in his address to parliament yesterday.) True, Beijing is investing in renewable energy projects and piloting cap and trade schemes in some provinces. But China is also building a coal-fired power plant every 8-10 days and its net emissions continue to escalate steadily (on 1990 levels, Australia is set to cut its greenhouse gas emission by 4% by 2020.)

Any “deal” at Paris will merely give China and India a free rein until the 2030s without any binding obligation to be monitored and scrutinised by the west on their actual behaviour. That is why Abbott is wise to make any Australian climate policies conditional on a legally binding, verifiable, enforceable and genuinely global agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol. Even the Germans have essentially done that.

What is shaping up now, as Benny Peiser of the London-based Global Warming Policy Forum predicts, is a huge blame game over the likely failure to agree to a post-Kyoto treaty. China and India will blame the west for its failure to deliver $100 bn per annum – yes, $100bn – that was promised at Copenhagen. Obama and the left will blame the Republicans. The EU will blame the Americans. Climate enthusiasts and developing nations will blame all and sundry.

And Abbott will look like a genius for keeping Australia on the margins of yet another climate summit fiasco.


G20 delegates decide to make Sydney a world financial hub

Another one of Abbott's "failures", I guess

IT was a view of the Opera House at dusk that convinced the finance leaders and governors of the world’s largest economies to agree to Sydney becoming the headquarters for a potential $7 trillion global infrastructure financing network.

The Daily Telegraph has learned that a private dinner at Government House on February 22 this year, hosted by Treasurer Joe Hockey, became the venue for a secret agreement unveiled yesterday as one of the key outcomes of the G20 conference in Brisbane.

Mr Hockey told guests to look out the window down to the Opera House and seek inspiration as they retreated into groups of eight and reported back to the Australian Treasurer that the greatest global problem with infrastructure was getting the private investment funds to build it.

The result was a declaration that Sydney CBD would become the hub for a global infrastructure drive. That drive would serve as matchmaker for investors, financiers, construction companies and governments to fund the $7 trillion in infrastructure that the world is forecast to be in need of over the next 15 years.

“It came out of a working dinner we had at Government House. I pointed out to them the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge as examples,’’ Mr Hockey said. “As far as I know Australia has never been the global hub for anything.

“This is one of the most significant outcomes of the G20.’’

The hub will manage a database of major infrastructure projects around the world and provide training for project managers and bureaucrats from other countries in world’s best practice for infrastructure planning and investment.

As of late yesterday the UK, China, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Korea, Mexico and New Zealand had committed funds to establishing the hub.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the Sydney-based hub would be critical to the world’s economy. “The hub will facilitate better information sharing and collaboration between the private sector, governments, development banks and international organisations on infrastructure investment,’’ he said.

“The hub will help countries improve their general investment climates.’’


China connection to build bridge to better health in Australia

Abbott just can't stop "failing"

A new research-led Chinese medicine clinic in Sydney, better patient outcomes and the potential for Australia to tap into the $170 billion global traditional Chinese medicine market are among the benefits set to flow from an agreement signed today in Canberra in the presence of Prime Minister Tony Abbott and People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping.

The Memorandum of Understanding is between world-leading Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (BUCM) and the University of Western Sydney (UWS), which is the home of the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM). UWS and NICM have a longstanding relationship with BUCM in both research and education.

The focus of the new agreement will be the development of an Australian-first, high quality Chinese medicine integrative clinical service in Sydney, which will have a close connection to both clinical and laboratory-based research. It is hoped that the research will lead to the development of new treatments for unmet medical needs and new medicines for export around the world.

Australia is the only Western nation to have unified national registration of Chinese medicine practitioners and strict regulation of medicines, which delivers safe healthcare to thousands of Australians every year.

UWS Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover says the well-established regulatory framework and the strong international reputation for complementary medicine research at NICM - assessed by the Australian Research Council as ‘well above world standard’ (the highest rating) - provides the ideal environment for the new partnership with BUCM to deliver benefits to patients and the nation’s economy.

“Together UWS and BUCM will conduct the research and clinical trials required to validate and translate Chinese medicines into an integrated healthcare setting in Australia,” says Professor Glover.

“The connections forged with the internationally regarded researchers at BUCM will further enhance the reputation of UWS as a centre of research excellence that delivers practical outcomes for our communities.”

Beijing University of Chinese Medicine President, Professor Xu Anlong, says the educational and research opportunities for students and academics from both nations created by this partnership are extraordinary.

“The establishment of the joint centre for Chinese medicine between BUCM and UWS will provide a world class facility integrating clinical service, education and research, together, to serve the Australian people and promote Chinese medicine to the world, particularly in developed countries like Australia,” says Professor Xu.

Director of NICM, Professor Alan Bensoussan says the close collaboration with BUCM will increase the capacity of scientists and clinicians to research Chinese medicine treatments.

“This agreement is the bridge that brings the research conducted in the laboratory closer to the patient’s beside where it can make a real difference to a person’s health and wellbeing,” says Professor Bensoussan.

“The closer collaboration with colleagues in China and the integration of research into a clinical setting will accelerate the development of more effective treatments for the most pressing and costly chronic health problems facing the world,” says Professor Bensoussan.



Five current articles below

Despite opposition from Greens and farmers, NSW is pushing to get coal seam gas extraction up and running  -- as it already is in Qld

THE NSW Aboriginal Land Council will miss out on a ­series of valuable mining licences as part of the Baird government’s coal seam gas revamp.

Resources Minister ­Anthony Roberts announced plans last week to reopen the CSG industry, which has been beset by safety fears and ­community protests, in order to boost gas supplies and lower household bills.

As a first step, the government is cancelling 16 pending gas exploration applications put on ice during chief scientist Mary O’Kane’s study of the CSG industry and its extraction methods.

Six of those applications ­belong to the NSW Aboriginal Land Council and cover exploration for conventional petroleum gas deposits and possible CSG extraction sites in the state’s far west.

Land Council chairman Craig Cromelin said losing the applications was a blow to indigenous communities, who had hoped to secure a jobs and cash windfall through mining.

“We certainly think we’re being unfairly treated,” Mr Cromelin said.

“If Aboriginal people are going to break out of the ­dependency system that exists we’re going to have to be given an opportunity to prove that we can make a fist of businesses like gas extraction.”

The Land Council, which had appointed a gas industry partner to help develop its proposed mining projects, wants the government to reconsider its plan to scrap its six applications. It is prepared to accept a ban on CSG mining if it can proceed on the basis that it would mine gas using other methods.

A spokesman for Mr Roberts said the Land Council would be able to reapply, should the land where it wants to explore become available again under the state government’s new CSG regime, which is expected to be formalised next year.

“New areas of exploration will only be released after an assessment of economic environmental and social factors,” the spokesman said.


Australian uranium shipments planned for 2015 as India ramps up nuclear power

Greenies LOATHE uranium and try to stop Australia exporting it

The uranium industry is hoping to make trial shipments to India next year as the nation makes plans to move to 25 per cent nuclear power by 2050.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Indian leader Narendra Modi have discussed the supply of Australian uranium for India's nuclear power plants.

It follows their signing of a safeguards agreement in New Delhi in September, overturning a long-standing ban on uranium exports to the subcontinent.

In his address to federal parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi said he saw Australia as a major partner in his country's quest to boost electricity production and address climate change.

"(We seek) energy that does not cause our glaciers to melt," he said.  "Clean coal and gas, renewable energy and fuel for nuclear power."

The pair discussed energy security and what Mr Abbott called Australia's "readiness and willingness" to supply uranium to India for peaceful purposes.

"If all goes to plan, Australia will export uranium to India - under suitable safeguards ofcourse - because cleaner energy is one of the most important contributions that Australia can make to the wider world," Mr Abbott said.

The agreement is now being examined by the parliamentary treaties committee, which will close submissions on November 28.  There are also talks between officials on administrative arrangements.

Both the treaties process and the administrative arrangements must be finalised before Australian uranium producers can start exports to India.

Minerals Council uranium spokesman Daniel Zavattiero said the industry expected to start shipments next year.  "The industry position is things are moving okay," he said.  "We expect some point next year it will come into force and become operational, then we can start on shipments and sales."

Initial sales are expected to start on a small scale, but the outlook is strong.

The International Energy Agency estimates that while nuclear provides three per cent of India's power today, it will grow to 12 per cent by 2030 and 25 per cent in 2050.  India plans to invest $96 billion in nuclear plants to 2040, with 21 operating now, six under construction and 57 planned or proposed.  "It's very positive for us," Mr Zavattiero said.

The agreement stipulates India must only use the uranium for peaceful purposes that adhere to recognised international safety standards.  It is controversial because India has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty despite possessing an arsenal of atomic weapons.

Australia has the largest share of uranium resources in the world but currently exports only 8400 tonnes a year, valued at over $820 million.


Western Australia's EPA gives green light for new iron mine

The Green/Left loathe ALL mines, for some obscure reason

Western Australia's environmental watchdog has given Rio Tinto the green light for a new 70 million tonne a year iron ore mine in the Pilbara, amidst growing concern about a global supply glut.

The state's Environmental Protection Authority has awarded conditional approval to the greenfields Koodaideri mine and infrastructure proposal, which was submitted by Rio Tinto subsidiary Mount Bruce Mining.

If approved by the state's Minister for Environment Albert Jacob, the mine is expected to produce as much as 70 million tonnes per annum of iron ore for a mine life of 30 years, Rio's Pilbara division is on track to export around 270 million tonnes in the 2014 calendar year, so the new mine would contribute a meaningful amount to the company's production volumes as well as sustaining pressure on the region's smaller miners.

A sharp fall in the iron ore price this year to around $US78 a tonne has put serious pressure on junior Pilbara iron ore miners, many of which are struggling to break even and are blaming Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton for flooding the market and causing prices to crash.

The project is part of Rio's long-term plans to grow its Pilbara exports to 360 million tonnes per year, with seeds for the growth sewn in November 2013 when Rio revealed its "breakthrough pathway for iron ore expansion in Australia".

That pathway proposed to build cheaper brownfields expansions at mines such as Yandicoogina and West Angelas, and delay an investment decision on new, more expensive greenfields mines such as Koodaideri and Silvergrass.

The company said that an investment decision on Silvergrass has been deferred to the third quarter of 2014 and the earliest decision on the Koodaideri deposit has been postponed to 2016.

Rio has been approached for comment about whether the EPA verdict will alter its plans to hold off on a decision to develop the mine.

EPA chairman Dr Paul Vogel has set 14 conditions for the development of the mine and surrounding infrastructure including strict rehabilitation and offset requirements and the creation of an exclusion zone to protect local species. The proposal was first brought to the EPA in 2012 and was assessed under the authority's highest level of scrutiny.

Dr Vogel said Rio had actively sought to avoid, minimise and rehabilitate environmental impacts through the proposal's design and had conducted numerous studies to address issues raised in the public submissions. Five public and eleven agency submissions were received during the comment period. The proposal is now open to a two week public appeals period before going to the Minister for a final decision.


Chinese Premier came bearing gifts, Barack Obama just attacked Australia over global warming

WHO would have thought it?  A US president comes to Australia with the specific intention of damaging the Australian government politically on climate change, while a Chinese president comes here with nothing but gifts.

Xi Jinping’s accomplished, well-considered speech to parliament yesterday contained no references to climate change and no implicit criticism of Australia. After all, there are other forums for that issue, China is not committed to any carbon emissions targets and why would you go out of your way to embarrass your host?

The contrast with Barack Obama was staggering. More than that, Xi was charming, respectful and helpful to all Australians he mentioned. He completed the free-trade agreement, which is a big win for both countries. But more generally his speech was one of reassurance and reasonable ambition.

Xi touched on some of the ­issues important to him and his government: China would remain a nation of socialism with Chinese characteristics. But he presented these values in a way designed to soothe and reassure. More than that, the substance of his message was one of reassurance more generally to the whole Asia-Pacific ­region. China was a peaceful country, he said, and repeated. China had suffered bullying and ­oppression. It would not visit these indignities on other nations.

Given how robustly the Abbott government has backed Japan’s strategic re-emergence, and protested against Beijing’s declaration of an air defence identification zone around the disputed Senkaku/­Diaoyu islands, as well as declining recently to join, at least for now, China’s new infrastructure bank, many analysts in Washington and Australia had expected some overt display of Chinese displeasure.

But the Chinese seem to value their relationship with the Abbott government, certainly to the extent that they would not embarrass their host by emphasising disagreements. Of course, the Chinese are being nice to everyone at the moment, including the Americans and even the ­Japanese. The question remains whether this will be the character of Chinese attitudes into the future.

But when China is being nice, everyone breathes easy.


China, US deal on global warming a load of hot air

ALMOST everything you’re told about Barack Obama’s “breakthrough” deal with China on global warming is a con.  But, God, listen to the spin.

President Obama told ecstatic students in Brisbane on Saturday that last week’s deal to limit carbon dioxide emissions would help save our Great Barrier Reef and “I want that there 50 years from now”.

Greens leader Christine Milne insisted it showed the Prime Minister Tony Abbott “is completely out of step with the rest of the world”.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it recognised “human activity is already changing the world’s climate system”, and “we most certainly need to address climate change as the presidents of China and the United States have done”.

Red China was going green, agreed the warmist ABC, since “the most concrete target is to have 20 per cent of China’s energy produced from renewable sources by 2030”.

Hear all that?  Every claim is actually false, fake or overblown, as so often with the global warming scare.  Here are the five biggest falsehoods told about this “breakthrough”.

First, Labor is wrong: this deal proves nothing about global warming. In fact, there has still been no warming of the atmosphere for 16 years, contrary to almost every prediction.

Forget the excuse that the missing heat is hiding in the deep ocean. NASA researchers last month said a new study had found the “waters of Earth’s deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005”.

Nor, incidentally, have we seen the biennial bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef predicted in 1999 by Australian alarmist Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Second, this is not a real deal.  China, already the world’s biggest emitter, is actually promising little more than what it always planned — to let emissions keep soaring until 2030 as it makes its people richer.  China will cap its emissions only in 2030 — the never-never — when its electricity supply is deployed and its population is set to plummet.

In exchange, Obama promises to cut US emissions by 26 per cent of 2005 levels by 2025.  But Obama’s term ends in two years and the Republicans who now control Congress say they’ll try to block his deal.  Republican Mitch McConnell, the new majority leader in the Senate, said he was “particularly distressed by the deal”, which “requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years”.

And, to add to the phoniness, the deal is neither binding nor enforceable.

Third falsehood? No, this deal doesn’t show the Abbott Government is out of step.  The Government’s own planned cuts to emissions — 5 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020 — are not wildly behind the US ones over a similar time span.

If anyone is out of step it’s Labor, since China and the US plan to cut their emissions not with a Labor-style carbon tax but with Liberal-style direct action policies.

Fourth falsehood: China did not promise to get 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, as many journalists report.

The deal instead says that 20 per cent will come from “non-fossil fuels”, which in China’s case includes nuclear power.  Indeed, China plans to have at least five times more nuclear power by 2030, with Sun Qin, chairman of the China National Nuclear Corp, confirming earlier this year that “nuclear plants will play an important role in … raising the proportion of energy produced by non-fossil fuel”.

And the fifth falsehood?  The Greens and Labor don’t actually want us to follow the lead of the US and China at all.  Not when it comes to how those promises are meant to be delivered.

That’s because most of America’s cuts to emissions come from fracking, a technique that has given the US huge new supplies of natural gas, cheaper than coal and more greenhouse-friendly. But the Greens vehemently oppose fracking, and Labor wants it restricted.

As for China, it plans to have much of its non-fossil power supplied by nuclear plants and controversial dams like the massive Three Gorges project.  But, again, Labor and the Greens oppose nuclear power and fight new dams.

So without fracking, new dams or nuclear power, how could Australia possibly match the US and China?  How, given wind power is too unreliable and solar hideously expensive?

So what a con you’re being sold.  No, this isn’t a real deal.

To recap: China won’t cut emissions for another 16 years, and Congress will oppose Obama.  And reality check: Labor and the Greens actually oppose the technologies the US and China most rely upon to cut emissions.

Oh, and still the planet refuses to warm, for all Obama’s happy yammer. 


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