Sunday, December 28, 2014

Premier Campbell Newman has delivered real results for Queensland

ON EVERY significant measure of government – from the handling of the economy to leadership, law and order, health and education, the Newman Government has exceeded expectations.

Campbell Newman was handed a broken government when he became Premier in 2012.

After years of mismanagement, economic vandalism and turmoil, the voters of Queensland declared it was time Labor disappeared for a while to rebuild itself.

Queenslanders wanted the united LNP under its energetic new leader to get a chance to set up the state up for a prosperous future.

Almost three years later, Labor is a long way from rebuilding anything and the Newman Government is a considerable way down the path to setting up Queensland for a great future.

While Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has toiled admirably with her small band of underperforming MPs carping along around her, there is no real evidence Labor has learnt anything about why it was turfed so unceremoniously from office.

Labor says it has about 30 policies already out there for public consumption.  Good luck listing them.

On the other hand, the Newman Government has set about methodically rebuilding Queensland.

In the modern political cycle, where irritating, ill-informed and at times illiterate dunderheads on social sites such as Twitter define debates, style all too often trumps substance when it comes to performance.

We are left with a silly focus on language, personality and tone setting the modern media cycle.

With the so-called serious ABC dumping its local current affairs TV show, and its radio programs more intent on prosecuting immature agendas and undergraduate conspiracy theories, Queenslanders are being sorely let down.

The Newman Government’s law and order approach is a case in point.

The Courier-Mail has been unashamedly supportive of the crackdown on outlaw bikie gangs, reflecting genuine fear among Queenslanders who were terrorised by these thugs acting like they ran the state.

For months, the ABC and other media outlets in Brisbane jumped on the ramblings of absurdly conflicted civil libertarians and bikie groups, demonising instead Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie and Mr Newman.

Both men were recently vindicated in the High Court and, of course, our streets are safer. There is not a skerrick of evidence to suggest the scare campaign was even remotely warranted. But yet both Mr Bliejie and Mr Newman have suffered at the hands of the campaigning left-leaning media outlets and their comdrades in the minority left-leaning but noisy legal fraternity.

Dishonourable campaigns waged against good public policy have, to a considerable degree, contributed to public polling that shows the Government’s apparently combative style is being judged way above its under-recognised substantive reforms.

The Courier-Mail is committed to serious and robust policy debates. While we will highlight mistakes, such as the fumbled opening of the new children’s hospital, we will also applaud the much more considerable advances health minister Lawrence Springborg has presided over, or Transport Minister Scott Emerson has driven, or John-Paul Langbroek is pursuing in education. Tim Nicholls has re-calibrated the economy in a quiet and efficient manner. Mr Bliejie has suffered a relentless campaign against him while diligently delivering significant legal reforms. And unquestionably the Premier has led from the front, taking the hits as any good leader does.

Despite being tarnished by the ongoing clumsiness of their federal colleagues, Mr Newman has overseen a remarkably bold yet deliberate government that has achieved what it has said it would, unafraid of a scrap along the way.

By any measure, that’s an A-grade result for Queenslanders.


Millions wiped out in "clean" energy failure

ONE of Australia’s highest profile clean energy companies has been placed in liquidation, wiping out at least $10 million in public grants and tax breaks and exposing its intellectual property to an offshore raid.

Wave energy developer Ocean­linx went into liquidation last week after a marine accident off the South Australian coast in March torpedoed plans for a wave energy generator designed to power 1000 houses.

The cost to investors after the demise of the clean ­energy company could be much more than $80 million.

Company chairman Tibor Vertes yesterday slammed liquidator Deloitte Australia, accusing it of failing to properly assess his bid to keep the Oceanlinx name afloat by protecting the intellectual property underpinning it.

Mr Vertes will take action in the Federal Court next month to pursue Deloitte and others in an attempt to protect intellectual property, but he believes a rival bid values that intellectual property at vastly less, and expects that the technology will be lost to Australia.

“It’s money out of the country,’’ Mr Vertes said . “It’s finished, it’s over.’’

Oceanlinx had built several prototypes of wave energy units, including three off the NSW coast and had planned to expand to substantially bigger markets in the US, Europe and Asia. At its peak, the firm had been listed by the UN as one of the top 10 clean-energy stocks in the world.

The latest reinforced concrete prototype weighed about 3000 tonnes and was designed to sit on the sea floor, transferring the electricity via cable to the electricity grid.

The company went pear-shaped when plans for a groundbreaking generator failed after it sank off South Australia while being transported.

Mr Vertes has accused the then administrators of failing to maximise the chances of Oceanlinx remaining alive, claiming that too little time had been granted to enable his interests to bid successfully for the remnants of Oceanlinx.

The preferred bidder is a company known as Wave Energy ­Renewable.

Mr Vertes’s lawyers argue that officials should ensure all bids are properly considered. Deloitte did not respond yesterday.

Earlier this month, however, lawyer Dominic Calabria defended the handling of the administration. “Our clients ... have advertised the sale of the assets of the company, fielded countless expressions of interest and conducted negotiations with a number of parties over an extended period of time,’’ Mr Calabria wrote.


Sorry history of tolerating the intolerant

AT first glance the connection between Sony last week pulling the comedy The Interview from our screens and the murders in Martin Place is not obvious. Yet both are explained by tolerating the intolerant, a deadly virus that has long infected the West.

Last Tuesday, when Australians woke to news that a gunman had murdered two innocent Australians in the name of Islam during a 16-hour hostage siege, we also woke to the lethal, horrifying cost of tolerating the intolerant. As much as we would prefer to put this behind us and get on with Christmas and a brand-new year, it pays to remember just how tolerant we are.

We allowed Iranian Man Haron Monis into our country on a business visa and then welcomed him as a political refugee. Charged with fraud at home, the Iranian government asked for him back. But we said no to the Iranians. When Monis wrote inexcusable letters to the families of soldiers who died in Afghanistan, describing them as pigs and Nazis, we excused that — delivering only a slap on the wrist of 300 hours of community service. Some called for his Australian citizenship to be revoked. We said no to that, too. We allowed Monis to remain an Australian citizen, a gift sought out by millions of refugees who are keen to embrace and respect Australia as an open, generous and free country.

When Monis asked his local MP and ex-NSW Labor leader John Robertson for a letter asking the state government to consider granting Monis access to his children — despite an appre­hended violence order that prevented such meetings — the former opposition leader agreed.

When Monis was charged with being an accessory before and after the fact to the vicious murder of his former wife — she was stabbed multiple times and then set alight — we allowed him bail. When Monis was charged with 50 acts of sexual assault, again we gave the man bail. When Monis sought to overturn a criminal conviction about the letters sent to the families of soldiers last week in the High Court, we provided taxpayer-funded legal aid for him to engage one of the nation’s most expensive barristers.

This man was known for his anti-West hatred. He told us about it. He was on our radar. He was known to our security ser­vices, federal police and NSW police. On November 17, less than a month before he took 17 innocent people hostage, he posted online his hatred of the West, he wrote about his allegiance to ­Islamic State. Still, we allowed Monis to roam free among us.

Tony Abbott is right to call Islamic State a death cult, but the question must be asked: is the West’s tolerance of the intolerant a death wish? And when many on the Left blindly refuse to identify terrorism, isn’t that furthering the death wish?

When a killer slaughters ­people in the name of Islam, we should take him at his word. Monis is the newest form of terrorist. There is no Islamic State membership card, no initiation ceremony, no formal welcoming morning tea.

Moreover, terrorism is not a numbers game. It’s not about the number of perpetrators who org­anise an attack. It’s about the motivation of the attacker. It’s done to instil fear, to attack our values, to undermine our confidence in our own culture.

The Interview, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, is a spoof about the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. When North Korean-backed hackers recently threatened harm — “remember the 11th of September”, they said — if Sony released the movie this month, Sony capitulated. Giving the anti-free speech terrorists what they wanted, Sony pulled the movie from theatres.

We shouldn’t be surprised. The West has a sorry history of tolerating the intolerant here too. Think of the Danish cartoons. Too few media outlets decided to defend our right to free speech in 2005. Instead they caved in to the demands of Islamofascists by not publishing the silly cartoons of Mohammed.

Remember too when Random House, in 2008, pulled the publication of The Jewel of Medina, a book by Sherry Jones that told the tale of Aisha, the child bride of Mohammed. The publisher had received no threats, just “cautionary advice” that publishing the book “might cause offence to some in the community (and) incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment”. Random House chose anticipatory surrender.

Following the Danish cartoons controversy, a South Park episode featured Mohammed behind a black “CENSORED” box. It was a pointed joke by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Carrying on with the joke, the 200th episode of South Park reintroduced Mohammed in a bear suit. Soon enough, a Muslim website warned Stone and Parker would end up like filmmaker Theo van Gogh — the Dutchman slain by a Muslim extremist in 2004 for his film Submission, which explored Islam’s treatment of women. And in another case of depressing anticipatory surrender, the bosses at Comedy Central inserted audio beeps and “CENSORED” block outs into the episode. That wasn’t a joke.

Neither is it a joke that many vocal Muslims claim special treatment. They don’t want an equal playing field. Those who want Mohammed fenced off have no qualms about attacking Christianity or other religions. Our reaction? We tolerate that too. A few years ago, Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, announced that Islam deserved different coverage in the media compared to other religions because Muslims were an ethnic minority.

Human rights commissions in Canada have been used to stifle free speech about Islam. Muslim-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a convert to rationalism, a believer in Enlightenment values and a critic of Islam, has been forced to live with 24-hour protection — in countries such as The Netherlands, the US and Australia. As Hirsi Ali said a few years ago, when more of us defend Western values, “there will be too many people to threaten and at that time I won’t need protection”.

Last week the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann staked a claim, too, for Western values when he said during an interview with the PM, “in a truly tolerant Western society … we would hope for a day when Islam is so integrated that it can be criticised in the way that Catholicism is criticised”. That kind of tolerance is also my hope for 2015.


A Christmas malediction to the wind industry from Australia

The wind industry is finding it harder than ever to put its case – principally because – apart from fleecing power consumers – it doesn’t have one.

In its effort to keep the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) alive and the massive wind industry subsidies flowing unchecked, the Clean Energy Council (CEC) has been pumping out a dozen press releases a day, which have become so shrill, incoherent and internally inconsistent as to be nothing short of ridiculous.

2GB’s Alan Jones has been solidly belting the wind industry since the National Rally in June 2103 – reaching around 2 million Australian voters every week-day through 77 stations around the Country.

Plenty of mainstream journos have picked up on the debacle that is Australian energy policy today: joining the growing National and International backlash against the greatest economic and environmental fraud ever committed.

2014 has been a turning point in the battle to bring the great wind power fraud to a screaming halt.

European governments have run-out of patience with the eternal promises that the wind industry will grow-up soon, and no longer need a massive pile of taxpayer/power consumer subsidies. The tap has been turned off in Spain, the Brits are putting a lid on the subsidies for new projects and the Germans have chopped “welfare-for-wind” by 25% – all in the name of trying to cut spiralling power costs and keep their struggling economies afloat.

The wind industry’s subsidy fuelled mission to cover every last corner of Australia in giant fans is in melt down.

There are a handful still being speared into a couple of spots around the Country (Bald Hills and Cape Bridgewater in Victoria; Boco Rock, NSW), but the hucksters and frauds that are seeking to pocket $50 billion in REC Tax/Subsidies at power consumers’ expense are watching their plans for fans crumble before their beady, greedy little eyes.

Power retailers haven’t signed any power purchase agreements (PPAs) with wind power outfits for over 2 years – without which wind power outfits will never get the finance to plant another turbine: FULL STOP.

STT hears from insiders that – whatever happens to the LRET during the life of this Federal government – retailers are not going to enter PPAs; the banks are not going to lend for any new projects; and the banks that have lent, are all looking to call in their loans as and when the terms of their current lending facilities expire (the bulk of them expire in 2015/2016).

After which, wind power outfits will need to refinance on terms reflecting the very real RISK that the LRET will either be scaled back, scrapped, or inevitably collapse, at some point in the near future – as the completely unsustainable economic debacle that it is. That means either substantially higher rates or no-finance at all.

This will hopefully be the last Christmas celebrated by our favourite whipping boys at the near-bankrupt wind power outfit Infigen (aka Babcock and Brown): its losses continue to pile up, it’s bleeding cash, its share price is rocketing South and its mountain of debt is fast-becoming insurmountable. In a strange way, we’ll be sorry to see them go. But – rest assured – we’ll be amongst the first to let you know when they do.



Paul said...

All of which will not stop the morons and the gibsmedats from voting Labor back in.

Paul said...

"This man was known for his anti-West hatred. He told us about it. He was on our radar. He was known to our security ser­vices, federal police and NSW police. On November 17, less than a month before he took 17 innocent people hostage, he posted online his hatred of the West, he wrote about his allegiance to ­Islamic State. Still, we allowed Monis to roam free among us."

And still no heads rolling. I stand by my belief that this was a show, permitted to happen (opposite a TV Station no less) by those we mistakenly believe are charged with protecting us.