Wednesday, January 28, 2015


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is amazed at the Qld. Leftist leader pandering to the Greens at the expense of jobs

NSW Leftist leader shafts rogue union

The ETU is a very thuggish union

Opposition leader Luke Foley has put himself at odds with the union representing NSW electricity workers by backing deep cuts to state-owned power company revenues over the next four years which could mean the loss of up to 4600 jobs.

On Monday, Mr Foley reiterated support for a draft determination of the Australian Energy Regulator that slashes electricity company revenues between 2014-19, arguing the cuts would lead to lower electricity prices.

Mr Foley said he backed the draft AER determination "because I support lower power prices for households and businesses across NSW."

But the statement puts Mr Foley sharply at odds with the NSW Electrical Trades Union, which has been been lobbying against the draft revenue cuts which could spell the loss of as many as 4600 jobs.

Asked about Mr Foley's support for the cuts, NSW ETU secretary Steve Butler said it was the wrong position.

"The ETU's position is that we are opposed to the draft determination and would be critical of anyone who supports it," he said.  "Obviously, we believe [Mr Foley's] view is the wrong one."

Mr Butler said the draft determination "jeopardises safety, reliability and job security".

Asked if he shared the union's concerns about job losses, Mr Foley said: "I'll leave negotiations to the electricity businesses and the unions.

"For me, the aim of the state's energy policy has to be delivering affordable electricity to consumers."

In November the AER flagged cuts of around 30 per cent to revenue that may be earned by the state-owned electricity companies Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, Essential Energy and Transgrid between 2014-19.

But on Friday, Mr Foley attacked the NSW government after the businesses responded to the AER's draft determination by proposing much smaller revenue cuts.

Mr Foley said this would mean higher electricity bills. He accused the government of trying to "push and cajole the AER into backing off their draft determination so NSW can get a better sale price for [the] businesses".

Premier Mike Baird has said he will lease Transgrid and 50.4 per cent of Ausgrid and Endeavour to the private sector if the government is re-elected on March 28.

When the draft determination was released in November, NSW Energy Minister Anthony Roberts welcomed estimates that it would lead to annual cuts of up to $210 for households and $360 for businesses.

But if the AER abides by the companies' proposals the savings would be considerably less. On Monday, Mr Roberts declined to endorse the revised proposals by the electricity businesses.

However, he said "the timeframe for delivering further savings is a crucial part of this determination process, a point which the network businesses will be further discussing with the AER."


Climate alarmists all choked up without reading the fine print

By MICHAEL ASTEN (Michael Asten is a professor of geophysics at Monash University, Melbourne.)

LAST week delivered for the global warming debate, the most anticipated data point of the decade. The year 2014 was declared the hottest of the past century, by a margin of 0.04 degC. The news has been greeted with enthusiasm by those who attribute all warming to man-made influences, (notably in the Fairfax press in Australia), but few commentators have qualified their comment with the observation that NASA put an error margin of +-0.05 C on their result.

The figure below shows global surface temperature as compiled by NASA for the past 134 years. Single data points (years) are unimportant. The 5-year moving average in red is a more useful indicator of temperature trends, and its slope shows clearly the steady rising trend from 1980 to 2000, and the temperature pause from 2000 to present. Anyone with a high-school science education can look at such a graph and form their own conclusions, but four of the most important are that

 *  The slope of the rise from 1980 to 2000 is about 0.19 degC per decade (the rate consistent with current warming models for “business as usual” CO2 emissions)

 *  A closely similar rate of rise in global temperature occurred from 1910 to 1940, pre-dating current high CO2 emissions

 *  Pauses in the rate of rise occurred from 1880 to 1910, from 1940 to 1970, and from 2000 to present.

 *  The model trend as computed by the IPCC continues upwards from 2000, but the pause is a clear break of observed earth behaviour away from the models.

The pauses are regarded by the majority of scientists (both within and outside the conventional anthropogenic global warming camps) as being attributable to natural cycles in global climate, although the two groups favour different causative mechanisms.

What is surprising is that, instead of reading the multiple patterns in such a graph, enormous global publicity has followed on that single point of 2014 — even though we won’t know for a decade whether it represents a break from the current “pause” trend. Thus John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute, greeted the 2014 result with the comment “This data shows not only a series of alarming years but decades of warming to make an undisputable trend”, which suggests a lack of awareness on his part of the steep warming trend which occurred from 1910-1940 without significant man-made assistance, and the pause from 2000 which occurred despite current CO2 emissions.

Will Steffen of the Climate Council also finds cause for alarm in the 2014 data point, using the occasion to release a document titled “Off the charts: 2014 was the world’s hottest year on record” in which objective graphical analysis as we teach in high schools is replaced with poetic subheadings personifying the climate as “Angry Summer”, Abnormal Autumn” and “Scorching Spring”.

We can also look back to 2007 for a fascinating morsel of history; the figure shows at that year there is a clear hint of the start of the pause, although not statistically significant at that time. When Bob Carter, a former head of the Department of Earth Sciences at James Cook University, called attention to the discrepancy between the changed temperature trend versus the modelling predictions, Andrew Ash (then acting director of the CSIRO Climate Adaption Flagship), stated “Professor Bob Carter claims that ‘no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998’. This is an unethical misrepresentation of the facts”.

I suggest this is an incredible accusation to make against a scientist who has read (correctly, as history shows) a trend in a global temperature data set. When comparing Carter’s observation with pronouncements prompted by the single 2014 warm temperature point, we see a disturbing double standard in how scientific commentary is received. (In defence of the management of CSIRO I note that CSIRO has not issued a media release related to the 2014 temperature data point).

Some climate scientists will counter my views with claims that 21st century temperatures are cause for great concern because they are “the hottest ever”. Multiple lines of geological and historical data show they are not. Observations of past surface temperatures constructed from chemical composition of clam shells as far apart as Iceland and the south China Sea point to global temperatures of medieval times (800-1300AD) being warmer than those of today, and those of Roman times even warmer. The message is, the Earth can and does cool and warm on time scales of decades to millennia, and CO2 emissions are not the dominant driver. Our grandchildren will be best served if we devote our Direct Action strategies towards robust protection of communities from effects of drought, fire and floods. All have been a part of our history. And history guarantees all will be a part of our future.


Jo Nova comments

"We skeptics get excited about unusual things. The Australian published Michael Asten today in the Op-Ed pages, and took the extremely rare step of publishing a scientific graph (!) with a few error bars and everything. Newspapers publish economic graphs all the time, so it’s nice to see the scientific debate getting a bit more sophisticated than just the usual “deniers are evil, government climate scientists speak the word of God” type of stuff. (In the Enlightenment, data was a greater source of authority than any human; how we pine for those days.) The only thing the story should have added was a note that reminds us that the not only was the “hottest” record not beyond the error bars but that it did not occur in satellite measurements. I’m sure a lot of people mistakenly think that NASA might use satellites, but they prefer highly adjusted ground thermometers next to airport tarmac instead.

The headline on that graph could have been “Climate scientists don’t know what caused most of the big moves on this graph”. Some mystery effect caused the warming from 1910-1940. In ClimateScienceTM it is OK to call that “natural variability” and pretend to be 95% sure whatever it was has now stopped.

S.A.: Police Complaints Authority report found Constable Norman Hoy was unprofessional bully who was rude, arrogant and harsh to drivers

Nasty old goat got let off a charge because his form was not revealed

CONSTABLE Norman Hoy was a threatening, harsh, unfair, arrogant and rude bully whose insulting, unprofessional behaviour breached regulations, according to a damning Police Complaints Authority report.

The Advertiser today can reveal details of 11 Police Complaints Authority inquiries into Const Hoy, who was acquitted by a District Court jury last Friday of assaulting millionaire Yasser Shahin.

Within hours of the not guilty verdict being handed down by a jury, Const Hoy’s legal team, accompanied by SA Police Association President Mark Carroll, served an injunction on The Advertiser banning publication of the complaints.

That gag order was to remain in force until a hearing in the District Court today — however Const Hoy’s lawyers advised, just after 8am, they would not be pursuing their action.

Judge Paul Slattery formally dismissed the injunction just after 11am. He ordered Const Hoy, through the Police Association, to pay The Advertiser’s legal costs.

The injunction temporarily stopped The Advertiser from publishing details of a 2009 Police Complaints Authority report which concluded the “common theme” of complaints from members of the public against the 59-year-old traffic cop were descriptions of him as:

THREATENING, harsh, unfair and unfriendly.

ARROGANT and rude, someone who looked down on drivers.

A POLICE officer who made drivers feel like second-class citizens.

A QUITE aggressive, frightening bully.

ANGRY, confronting and intimidating while yelling at and embarrassing drivers.

One complaint, in 2008, arose from Const Hoy pulling over and defecting a luxury car because its front passenger window’s tint was too dark — two years before his clash with Mr Shahin over the tinting of his Rolls Royce.

In a sequence of events similar to those involving Mr Shahin, Const Hoy told the driver to “shut your mouth” and “don’t have a hissy fit”.

Last week, a District Court jury cleared Const Hoy - described by SA Police Association President Mark Carroll as a “hero cop” for preventing a serious crash on the South Eastern Freeway - of assaulting Mr Shahin, one of South Australia’s most successful business figures.

Prosecutors had alleged he exceeded his lawful authority by grabbing Mr Shahin while defecting his 2008 Rolls Royce for apparently having windows which were too dark.

Mr Shahin’s family company, Peregrine Corporation, owns several of the state’s most profitable retail businesses, including On the Run, Smoke Mart and Krispy Kreme.

During the trial, Mr Shahin told jurors Const Hoy was “hostile” and “hellbent” on bullying him, and had “shoved and grabbed” him during the traffic stop in the Adelaide CBD in September, 2010.
Mr Shahin denied he did “everything in his power” to ensure he was charged.

In his evidence, Const Hoy said he had “no choice” but to grab Mr Shahin because the “intimidating, threatening” businessman would not obey his directions.  He denied he engaged in “a power play” with Mr Shahin to show that he “was the boss”.

After 75 minutes’ deliberation, the jury found Const Hoy not guilty.

It can now be reported Mr Shahin’s complaint, to the Police Complaints Authority, was the 12th matter filed against Const Hoy.

The PCA report did not form part of the evidence against Const Hoy in his trial.

According to the report, another driver recalled an encounter with Const Hoy in 2008 where he felt the “rudeness and aggression” displayed toward him was “totally unacceptable”.

“Const Hoy said ‘look, do you want me to explain this to you or not?’ and when the driver said ‘no, I don’t’, he replied ‘well shut up then!’”.

The PCA report, written in 2009, says that when Const Hoy felt the driver was showing “further agitation he said words to the effect of ‘don’t have a hissy fit, let me finish what I was saying, will you?’”

Const Hoy told the authority he was merely seeking to “control” the driver, who was “verbally bullying me”.  He said he “made a deliberate choice” of those words to “have him (the driver) comply”.  “I believe (the driver) was rude to me and verbally trying to bully me,” the report quotes Const Hoy as saying. “He showed no respect for my position and I believe he was trying to influence my decision by his actions.”

The PCA disagreed.

“I find it ironic that Const Hoy should accuse (the driver) of using bullying tactics,” its report says.

“This is the very thing that (the driver) and numerous other, quite separate independent members of the public have accused Const Hoy of over the past 18 months.

“I recognise that not all of these complaints have been substantiated, but I also recognise that SA Police management have concerns that there may be a performance problem underlying this series of complaints.  “I share those concerns.

“In the past 18 months, Const Hoy has been complained about on 11 occasions ... most, if not all, of these complaints (describe him) as rude, threatening and/or aggressive.”

The report is critical of Const Hoy’s handling of the 2008 matter.

“Having considered the evidence, I have formed the view that Const Hoy handled this situation poorly and that his use of the words ‘shut up’ and ‘shut your mouth’ were both unnecessary and unprofessional,” it says.  “In my assessment, (his) conduct breached Police Regulation 17 in that it was both insulting and disrespectful to this complainant.”

The report notes SA Police management had advised Const Hoy would be counselled and receive further training.

“I propose to simply reinforce and support the need for the speedy development and implementation of an appropriate intervention strategy,” it says.  “In the event he continues to generate complaints of this kind, then any future recommendations I make will be more punitive in nature.”

The report seen by The Advertiser was obtained from a complainant to the Authority, not from Mr Shahin, his family nor anyone connected with them or their business interests.

When Const Hoy was approached for comment last week - through the Police Association - his lawyers responded with a letter warning they would sue for defamation.  Const Hoy’s legal team then applied for the interim injunction, which prevented publication of the story until today.

The Advertiser has again approached Const Hoy, through his lawyers, requesting his comment on the 2009 PCA report.

In a statement his afternoon, Police Association president Mark Carroll said it was “quite common” for police to receive complaints from motorists. “Drivers who commit traffic offences hardly relish receiving fines for their transgressions ... high emotion often accompanies their reactions,” he said.

“For this reason, and in the interests of full transparency, many traffic officers like Const Hoy purchase and use their own body-worn video or audio devices - as he did after he was the subject of complaints to the PCA.”

Mr Carroll said the evidence gathered by such devices was “usually compelling”, as “was the case” in Const Hoy’s trial. “It was surely a huge reason for the jury’s not guilty verdict,” he said.

“Cases like this illustrate why the Police Association has, for many years, lobbied strongly for body-worn video to be standard issue for all frontline police.  “We shudder to think what the outcome of this case would have been without Const Hoy’s audio evidence.”

Mr Carroll also urged the public keep “perspective” about the matter.  “Let’s remember that Const Hoy was shown by the unanimous decision of a District Court jury - and the subsequent comments of Judge Paul Rice - to have conducted himself entirely lawfully in his interaction with Mr Shahin,” he said.


Gillian Triggs warned against reliance on foreign rulings

THE federal government has warned Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs that it “fundamentally disagrees” with the way her organisation has ­relied on foreign rulings that have no legal force in Australia.

The warning is contained in a letter that also accuses the commission of adopting “an expansive reading” of its own jurisdiction that “overlooks its legislative underpinnings”. It says the government is particularly concerned about the commission’s “reliance on jurisprudence from other states’ domestic legal systems and other documents which are not binding on Australia”.

The concerns are in line with last week’s criticism of the commission by Deakin University law dean Mirko Bagaric, who believes the commission was wrong to base a decision in favour of Indonesian killer John Basikbasik on an international treaty that does not have legal force within Australia.

Professor Triggs had recommended that Basikbasik, who has been assessed as a danger to the community, should be released from immigration detention and paid $350,000 compensation for a breach of his rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The government’s letter to the commission came three months after the Basikbasik case when the commission was about to conclude another case in which it proposed to rule against the government over what it said were breaches of the ICCPR.

The Australian Human Rights Commission Act requires the commission to protect all human rights but parliament has not enacted a law making it possible to enforce rights outlined in the ICCPR. The government’s letter says the commission can arrive at its own views on the nation’s obli­gations under international treaties but it “fundamentally disagrees with the commission’s interpre­tations of Australia’s international human rights obligations”.

The government’s letter indicates that Professor Triggs is likely to face a broader range of questioning at Senate committee hearings next month. Liberal senators have already said they plan to ask her to explain the Basikbasik determination as well as the commission’s “whole agenda”.

Coalition senators are expected to again ask about a decision to delay the commission’s inquiry into children in immigration ­detention until after the election.

The growing criticism of the commission is at odds with the views of 25 human rights lawyers and academics who last week published an open letter supporting Professor Triggs and stating that the “relentless attacks” on her had been based on a misunderstanding of the commission’s role.

The case that triggered the latest flare-up concerned four Aboriginal men with disabilities who were being housed in a Northern Territory prison. Three had been unfit to face trial and the fourth had been found not guilty by ­reason of mental impairment.

The government’s letter accuses the commission of trying to hold the federal government responsible for the actions of the Northern Territory government and this failed to pay due regard to the allocation of responsibilities under the Constitution between commonwealth and states and territories. It also “overlooks the legislative underpinnings of the commission as a creature of commonwealth law and as such attempts to bring any human rights matter within the jurisdiction of the commission”.

This meant the commission’s report on the Aboriginal men was “glossing over the allocation of powers between the commonwealth and the government of the Northern Territory to arrive at a view that the commonwealth is responsible for the government of the Northern Territory. As we do not accept such an expansive reading of the commission’s jurisdiction, we have not ­addressed the merits of the arguments raised in any detail,” the letter says.


No comments: