Monday, June 22, 2015
In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG thinks Bill Shorten is on the way out
Questions remain on official Australian meteorology records
"Fiddling" of the records to show warming not addressed
The results of an independent review of the Bureau of Meteorology’s national temperature records should “ring alarm bells” for those who had believed the bureau’s methods were transparent, says a key critic, Jennifer Marohassy.
Dr Marohassy said the review panel, which recommended that better statistical methods and data handling be adopted, justified many of the concerns raised.
However, the failure to address specific issues, such as the exaggerated warming trend at Rutherglen in northeast Victoria after homogenisation, had left important questions unresolved, she said.
The review panel report said it had stayed strictly within its terms of reference. Given the limited time available, the panel had focused on big-picture issues, chairman Ron Sandland said.
The panel was confident that “by addressing our recommendations, most of the issues raised on the submissions would be addressed”, Dr Sandland said. The panel is scheduled to meet again early in the next year.
Dr Sandland said that, overall, the panel had found the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network — Surface Air Temperature was a “complex and well-maintained data set that has some scope for further improvements”. It had made five recommendations that would boost transparency of the data set.
Although the panel reviewed 20 public submissions, Dr Marohassy said it had failed to address specific concerns. “While the general tone of the report suggests everything is fine, many of the recommendations (are) repeat requests made by myself and others over the last few years,” Dr Marohassy said.
“Indeed, while on the one hand the (bureau’s technical advisory) forum reports claims that the bureau is using world’s best practice, on the other hand its many and specific recommendations evidence the absence of most basic quality controls in the many adjustments made to the raw data in the development of the homogenised temperature series.”
BoM said it welcomed the conclusion that homogenisation played an essential role in eliminating artificial non-climate systematic errors in temperature observations, so that a meaningful and consistent set of records could be maintained over time.
Jim Crow Hill in Australia has name removed after it was deemed racially derogatory
The name "Jim Crow" is meaningful only in the USA. There would not be one Australian in a thousand who was familiar with it
A VICTORIAN council has been ridiculed for removing the name of a hill called after an early stockman whose name was deemed racially derogatory.
The Office of Geographic Names ordered Mansfield Council to remove or change the name of Jim Crow Hill.
It said Jim Crow refers to an 1828 US minstrel show song Jump Jim Crow, where a white man blackened his face to resemble a poor Negro.
It claimed the term has been widely used in Australia to disparage black people.
But locals are angry at the decision, claiming Jim Crow was an early stockman who had a hut on the hill.
The council, located in the foothills of the Victorian Alps, contacted the local Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, who confirmed the name was offensive.
This was despite research by the council which found records of a man named Jim Crow with some connection to the Benalla and Mansfield district in the 1880s.
Landowner Philip Newton told the council he was not interested in a name change. “It has always been called this and as far as I am concerned it is of no one else’s interest what it is called,” Mr Newton wrote. “So no change under my ownership.”
“The whole exercise is pointless anyway because locals will still carry on calling it Jim Crow hill.”
Deputy Mayor Cr Paul Sladdin said the hill, near the Mansfield Woods Point Rd in Piries, was now nameless. “Unfortunately we were obligated to follow the direction of the Office of Geographic Names,” Cr Sladdin said.
“I know the locals will still refer to it as Jim Crow hill so you could argue it’s a case of political correctness gone wrong, especially as there was some anecdotal evidence of an early stockman.”
Permissiveness for a vile offender?
IT was the sort of crash that makes ambulance officers and firefighters rush home to hug their kids. Two cars head-on, late at night with a combined speed of 140km/h.
The impact left one dead, two with life-threatening injuries, two more badly hurt and the driver who caused it all, unscathed. Michael Craig Burvill was drunk behind the wheel of his Holden Commodore because he chose to chug about 12 beers. Police said he blew 0.096.
He was travelling on the wrong side of Karrinyup Road because he chose to drive.
He was speeding – 80 in a 60 zone – because he chose to.
He was on P plates, forbidden from drinking or speeding but that meant nothing to him.
He chose to ignore those laws completely.
His own, personal choices led him to kill another man who had chosen to obey the rules but that meant very little when it came to court.
Burvill was allowed to play the “stupid” card. It’s a popular one, usually sits just underneath the joker. But the judge allowed him to use it as an ace.
This is how it played out: prior to sentencing, Burvill says on the steps of court: “I just made a stupid mistake and I am going to face that now.”
Fast forward to sentencing four months later and Judge Audrey Braddock points out that “youth is recognised as a very powerful mitigating factor in the courts”, which is handy for Burvill as he’s 20 years old.
Further, she points out that the young have the capacity to “do stupid things … unexpected stupid things too”.
Her honour made no mention of how many times a stupid act is permissible which was good for Burvill because he has a PhD in stupid.
His first driver’s licence was forfeited on points after racking up “stupid” speeding infringements.
His second licence was taken away after a conviction for reckless driving – doing 129km/h in a 60 zone on the North West Highway. Speeding more than twice the legal limit probably qualifies as ultra-stupid but that’s a technicality.
The point is, how many times is one allowed to be stupid while dicing with death on our roads?
Judge Braddock thinks at least three because at just 20, Burvill was on his third licence when he exercised his right to be stupid again. And the judge was right, that next encore of stupidity was indeed unexpected.
So much so that Martin Roberts’ last words were “oh no” as his wife, Christina, held his leg and braced for the impact of Burvill’s car.
Mr Roberts’ Toyota Camry was crushed. He had the dubious honour of being the state’s first road fatality of 2015.
His close friend Gerard Brosnan fractured his spine in nine places and needed 60 stitches for a “gloved scalp”.
His wife Marguerite suffered broken arms, a shattered left knee, pelvis and nose. Their daughter Karen had fractured ribs and lacerations and a fourth passenger was also injured.
The Brosnans were holidaying from Ireland but hospitalisation and ongoing medical treatment has meant a five-month stay.
Mr Brosnan has been told he may never work as a carpenter again. His and his wife’s injuries will plague them for years to come.
As Judge Braddock observed: “Everybody in the car who was injured will never quite be the same again.”
Martin Roberts’ family’s cards have been marked – they will never be whole again either. The father of three and grandfather of one was a well-loved and popular bloke.
His daughters Catherine and Michelle have since put aside their own grief and helped this newspaper promote road safety campaigns aimed at the menace of drink driving. Trying to spread that crucial message so soon after losing their precious father was above and beyond. Quality, community-minded people making a superhuman effort to do good things.
Their compensation was to see the person responsible for the death of their Dad, rewarded. Burvill was handed a 25 per cent discount on his sentence for pleading guilty.
What else was he going to do?
Arrested at the scene, behind the wheel, I would have thought it was difficult for him to plead alien abduction? Nevertheless Judge Braddock also recognised him favourably for being cooperative with police and noted that, in going the wrong way down Karrinyup road, he “made a mistake” and “misread the road”.
As Catherine Roberts points out: “He didn’t make a mistake, he made a decision.”
And it’s difficult to think of a worse decision but for all the reasons already stated, his combined sentences were discounted, ameliorated and accumulated down tof four-and-a-half years.
Burvill was also afforded parole, which means all up, he’ll likely serve two-and-a-half years behind bars.
That’s 30 months for one death and four hospitalisations. It’s nothing short of pathetic.
On top of that, despite all the previous evidence of a total disregard for the responsibility of driving, he will still be given another chance at a licence, four years after he is released.
Michael Craig Burvill is a living reminder of why we will never change community attitudes to drink driving.
If it is not possible to draw a line in the sand for a case like this, what sort of scenario would demand the maximum penalty?
The Minister for Road Safety, Liza Harvey, is the one who cuts the cards. She needs to act decisively and formally request the State appeal against this sentence.
As it stands, the message is loud and clear: being young and stupid doesn’t deal you a losing hand even when you’ve ruined so many other lives.
Australia’s Worst Union and its grub ALP leader
Even the Marxist organ "Red Flag" does not like Bill Shorten, as we see below. Some of their complaints seem legitimate
“If you want to know how Bill [Shorten] has got to where he is now, if you had to identify one thing, I think it is that he has been prepared to make decisions and to do things that almost anyone else would not.”
– Richard Marles MP, in a 2006 interview with the Sunday Age.
What kind of union would rip off its own members, save the bosses millions and then pocket a few hundred thousand from grateful companies to fund its officials’ political ambitions?
The Australian Workers Union, that’s who, previously led by the current leader of the ALP, Bill Shorten. He was secretary of the Victorian branch from 1998 to 2006 and national secretary from 2001 to 2007.
The AWU has played a predominant and destructive role, in both the union movement and the Labor Party. It is a business union known for sell-out deals and neglect of members. It has done this both to please the bosses and to bolster its factional weight in order to put its top officials aboard the parliamentary gravy train.
While it’s nauseating to listen to dedicated union-destroyers such as Coalition MP Christopher Pyne challenge the opposition leader to answer questions about his role in the AWU – and to see the royal commission’s $80m witch-hunt moving in for the kill – there is no denying that Shorten is a grub and the AWU is corrupt.
It’s telling that not one union is rushing to support the AWU. Instead, despite some hypocritical ranting from Abbott and others, the union’s up-front backing is from Labor parliamentarians, business spokespeople and employers. That’s not surprising; the ruling class has fostered the kind of “yellow unionism” provided by unions like the AWU.
Praised by the bosses, for decades the AWU has played a particularly pernicious role undermining wages and conditions in the construction industry. The current revelations about sell-out deals on Melbourne’s East Link project show that, as Ewin Hannan wrote in the Financial Review on 18 June, “[T]he AWU business model is based on being a safe haven for employers from the CFMEU”.
Tony Shepherd, former Business Council of Australia president, told Hannan: “Bill demonstrated that it could be done in Victoria … It was a great deal for us, it was a great deal for the boys, the safety record was great, there were no disputes, everybody was happy”.
Just what did this “model” agreement actually deliver in the CFMEU’s Victorian stronghold? On the $2.5bn East Link project, it saved the developer, Thiess-John Holland, an estimated $110m and cost it a tiny $300,000 “donation” to the AWU.AWU.
The 2005 deal, described by the CFMEU as “shocking”, offered much lower site allowances and a regime of working around the clock by reducing conditions around rostering and weekend work.
While the developers argue that the pay rates were good by industry standards, big developments such as East Link are usually a chance for the unions to make major advances in wages and conditions. This deal did the opposite, lowering the bar for future EBAs.
According to a Fairfax Media investigation, “The [Thiess-John Holland ] payment was part of more than $1 million of … employer cash flowing into the AWU's Victorian branch between January 2004 and late 2007, when Mr Shorten was either state or federal secretary.
“These include almost $200,000 from cardboard manufacturer Visy industries, which at the time was run by Shorten's billionaire friend Richard Pratt, almost $100,000 from aluminium giant Alcoa, and $300,000 from chemical giant Huntsman.”
At Huntsman, the company paid for an AWU steward to be a “workplace change facilitator” while it closed all its West Footscray plants. Others have described the actual job as “stopping trouble”, delivering no “industrial problems” during the factory closures.
No wonder it has long been known as “Australia’s Worst Union”.
These and other deals make a mockery of Shorten’s claim that he can “guarantee … that we always improved workers’ conditions, full stop” and that “every day … I’ve served the interests of workers”.