Friday, July 15, 2016

South Australian "green" energy faltering

When they shut down their last coal-fired electricity generator, S.A. crowed about how their electricity was now wholly "green". That was a typical Greenie lie from the beginning. They rely on importing electricity from Victoria when the wind isn't blowing. And that electricity is generated by burning "dirty" LaTrobe brown coal, the most polluting form of coal.

They thought they could get away with that but now they are hitting problems.  The interconnector from Victoria can only supply so much power and that is often not enough.  So they jack up the prices of their electricity when the wind is not blowing.  They equalize supply and demand by penalizing and hence restricting demand from big users -- businesses. 

That's such an attack on business that they have begun to backtrack.  They are now asking for more output from a big private generator, powered by  -- guess -- a "fossil" fuel -- natural gas.  The Green is now pretty brown at the edges and it will get browner as the folly of "sustainable" power makes itself felt.  Blackouts are waiting in the wings

A private power station in Adelaide has been asked to boost its output because some of South Australia's biggest businesses have been struggling to cope with a huge jump in their electricity prices at times of peak demand.

The owner of Pelican Point Power Station in Adelaide's north-west, Engie, has been asked by the SA Government to provide an extra 239 megawatts of supply.

The Government said a planned outage of the Heywood power interconnector with Victoria, higher gas prices and severe cold weather were to blame for price volatility in the local energy market.

Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said there was little the Government could do reduce price fluctuations because of past privatisation of the state's electricity assets.

But Opposition frontbencher Rob Lucas blamed the SA Government's reliance on renewable energy for the surge in electricity prices at times of peak demand.

    "The massive rush into wind energy and alternative energy in South Australia, without ensuring the continuation of base load power, is the major problem that we've got here in South Australia," he said.


Left’s stance on Hanson is hypocritical

Jennifer Oriel points out that it is the Left which is discriminatory

The rebirth of Pauline Hanson has sent left-wing men into a state of mass hysteria. Greens leader Richard Di Natale denounced her as divisive. NSW Labor MP Ron Hoenig taxed logic by correlating Hanson with the Holocaust.

The Lebanese Muslim Association called her a hate preacher. Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane compared her with Brexit and Donald Trump — all proof of xenophobia and racism.

The leftist party line is settled; Hanson is racist and divisive. Three words come to mind. Pot. Kettle. Black.

Western civilisation has been transformed from the love child of Christianity and the Enlightenment into a malformed neo-Marxist culture where minority groups manufactured for political purposes are bestowed with special privileges by the state.

As I have written in these pages, most citizens designated minority status under Australian law are not political minorities. They are numerical minorities who have equal and often superior rights to their fellow citizens under discrimination and affirmative action measures.

To justify the special privileges regime, activist organisations such as the Australian Human Rights Commission change the meaning of inequality to “historical disadvantage”. In the absence of substantial evidence to demonstrate existing disadvantage, the Left creates imaginary friends like unconscious bias to replace objective fact with subjective feelings as the evidentiary standard of Western law and public reason.

We have arrived at a point in Western history where thought crimes justify a regime of codified prejudice that privileges manufactured minorities while censoring dissenters who dare cry the emperor has no clothes.

Well, the emperor is butt naked and minority fundamentalists know it. In Queensland, 9 per cent voted for Hanson’s One Nation.

The same state has played host to a case exemplifying the absurdity of minority politics. In the race case before the Federal Circuit Court, students were barred from a computer lab at the Queensland University of Technology because of their race. One would presume the prima facie case of race discrimination would be against the person who barred their access. But the staff member who turned the students away, indigenous woman Cindy Prior, filed a complaint against them under the Racial Discrimination Act.

Prior claimed that the computer lab in the Oodgeroo Unit was reserved for “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students only” and described the unit as “culturally safe space”.

The arguably racist presumption that people who are not indigenous make a space culturally unsafe has gone unchallenged by the activist Left. In a recent submission to the court, barrister Anthony Morris QC, acting on behalf of the students, lampooned the absurdity of the premises of the case and criticised the AHRC’s handling of it. He asserts that the commission has not upheld the students’ right to be equal before the law.

The case exposes the meaning of equality in Australia and, I would argue, its perversion by minority activism. The requirement to treat all parties to a complaint equally and impartially means treating the complainant in a discrimination case — typically a member of a state minority group ­— equally to respondent/s.

But the modern human rights movement has substituted universal human rights with minority rights. The result is a system of codified privilege for manufactured minorities and codified prejudice against citizens excluded from minority groups.

The AHRC is well known for its political activism and prosecution of the minority rights agenda.

Its commissioners commonly advocate positions aligned with Greens and Labor Left policies. In the wake of the federal election, Soutphommasane made the sweeping generalisation that Brexit, Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson all are manifestations of racism or xenophobia.

He has criticised nationalist groups allegedly for promoting violence at rallies, but appears less inclined to identify the ideological origins of the militant Left. In a recent tweet, he made the categorical error of classifying left-wing violence as a right-wing phenomenon: “People can repudiate far-right extremism without adopting the far-right’s violence.” That communist regimes murdered millions of their own citizens because they dissented from the Left party line appears to have eluded him.

Soutphommasane declined to comment on the QUT case as it is before the court, but cited “special measures” in a brief statement.

The commission promotes special measures as “positive actions” that “protect disadvantaged racial groups”. It justifies the measures “as an exception to the general rule that all racial groups must be treated the same”.

It is evident that affirmative action is not an exception to the general rule of racial equality in Australia, however. The general rule of race politics in Australia is the codification of racial inequality in discrimination law and affirmative action.

The codified bigotry of the Racial Discrimination Act and censorship of dissent under s18C offends the principles of equality and fairness that made the modern West. The cultural Left has repudiated the Enlightenment by substituting minority rights for universal human rights, subjectivity for objectivity, and politically correct speech for free speech. It has failed to protect the legacy of the Enlightenment and instead introduced a new tribalism under manufactured minority politics that embeds a combustible combination of privilege and prejudice in the heart of the state.

Hanson represents a form of prejudice no more extreme than that defended by the minority Left. She advocates fewer rights for minority groups while the Left prosecutes superior rights for them. Hanson and the minority Left represent the polar opposites of a corrosive politics whose resolution lies in the full restoration of equality under law.

Formal equality should replace discrimination legislation. The list of protected attributes should be reduced to two: people with disabilities and primary carers for the disabled, the young and the elderly. The welfare net should be generous enough to prepare people mired in poverty for gainful employment.

State-made minorities, women included, need to become mature members of liberal democracy by cultivating independence from the state and genuine equality with fellow citizens. The Trumps and Hansons will set forth and multiply as long as minority groups demand special rights and superior privileges under Western law. Equality or backlash. It’s our choice.


Time to remove the rose-tinted glasses when it comes to Aboriginal culture

It is NADOIC week, with activities taking place across Australia to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  And there is much to celebrate. However, Aboriginal culture, like any culture, also has its dark side, as Jacinta Nampijinpa Price harrowingly described in the inaugural CIS Helen Hughes Lecture for Emerging Thinkers last week

In her speech -- Homeland Truths: The Unspoken Epidemic of Violence in Indigenous Communities -- she said anyone who denies there are aspects of traditional Aboriginal culture that need to change is "...either far removed from it, don't live it and have no idea what they are talking about, or they are the ones who can't bear to see their old ways disappear."

I am reminded of this as I walk to work past a Circular Quay pillar that  booms out a recording explaining how I am on Gadigal land and that in Australia it is customary to do a welcome to country speech acknowledging the traditional owners of the land and agreeing to uphold and respect their culture and laws.

After hearing Ms Price's lecture, I wonder what cultural laws we are meant to be respecting and upholding: the traditional custom of arranged marriage and child brides? As she pointed out, these practices have resulted in shocking sexual abuse and rape cases.

We need to acknowledge there are aspects of Aboriginal culture that need to be kept firmly in the past. No culture is static and unchanging, and the belief that Aboriginal culture needs to be frozen and preserved in time is preventing many Aboriginal people from moving forward and embracing modernity.

European culture has evolved, and it is fallacy to believe that Aboriginal culture should not have to do the same. Indeed, in the not so distant past (prior to the 1980s) there was no such thing as marital rape in Australia.

It is time to abandon romanticised notions of Indigenous culture and really listen to what brave people like Ms Price are saying:

"Help my people understand the necessity and value in constructive criticism and self-reflection. Please don't encourage us to remain stagnant, instead encourage us to ask questions and challenge long held beliefs so that we may determine the way forward, with that, which enriches our lives."


Australia's building an epic number of apartments

Australia is in the midst of an epic residential construction boom. Or, to be more correct, we’re building up, not out, at unprecedented rate.

There’s no better demonstration of it than in the chart below, supplied by UBS’ Australian economics team consisting of George Tharenou, Scott Haslem and Jim Xu.

It shows the number of private dwellings under construction in Australia at present, using data supplied by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as part of its quarterly building activity report, released on Wednesday. The black line shows the number of houses under construction, the blue line high-density dwellings, namely apartments.

Yes, if you couldn’t tell by the skylines of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, apartment construction is going nuts. Like a rocket lifting off, it looks like it’s heading to the moon, and perhaps beyond.

According to the ABS, there were 150,706 “other” residential dwellings under construction in the first quarter of 2016, up 10.9% on the prior quarter and 32.4% higher than the levels of a year earlier. From five years ago, that extends to an increase of 135%.


UBS describe the current trend as a “super boom”. With so much supply hitting the market, let’s hope that’s not going to be followed by a “super bust”, whether in terms of construction levels or apartment prices. [It will be. Nobody has so far managed to repeal the law of supply and demand]


The election proves that Australia is still the lucky country

THIS is the second national election in six years where voters have delivered no clear winner.

Australians appear near-equally divided over the relative merits of the major parties. A mishmash of a Senate will be returned, as citizens vented their frustrations about how the country is being run on that large white ballot paper.

The fact that Australians can deliver such an uncertain electoral outcome and then wait patiently, peacefully for a final decision is truly remarkable.

At the risk of sounding like an unusually patriotic Pollyanna, it makes me proud to call Australia home. A country where free and fair elections are something we assume as given. A country where the most controversial thing about Election Day is some posters being vandalised, or your democracy sausage being served with diced instead of sliced onions.

Throughout the world there are many nations where the outcome of an election can mean life or death for groups of citizens. The murder of MP Jo Cox in the Britain shows that the developed world isn’t immune from this sort of politically charged violence. It puts our relative political turbulence in stark perspective.

An unknown number of days without a real government lay ahead for Australia and yet nobody was particularly worried. Of course, many of us passionately believe that either Turnbull or Shorten would make the better Prime Minister.

But there was no sense that the country is in danger — that our citizens are in danger — simply because one will ultimately prevail over the other.

On Monday night, our neighbours back home in Australia generously pushed our greens bins outside and onto the kerb and the rubbish was collected by morning. The mail is still being delivered, the 4G phone signal remains strong and an internet connection, although slow to download the latest episode of Game of Thrones, means I can Skype my dad for his birthday from the other side of the world.

Earth-moving equipment at construction sites roared into action as normal on Monday morning. Nurses and doctors continued their work free of political pressure to prioritise one patient over another. Public school teachers are preparing their materials for term three. Ships are docking at ports, delivering what we have bought and departing once more, packed with what we want to sell. Planes take off. They land. Young people leave for new adventures abroad and families are reunited once more.

Peek outside your window and you’ll see no violent mob of discontented voters ransacking or vandalising shops to express their displeasure. No armed militia patrolling the streets to enforce peace.

Whether the view is of farmland, a suburban park, beachside shops or the bustling inner city, the chances are you haven’t questioned your safety since the uncertainty of this election outcome made itself apparent on Saturday night.

Not a single bullet has been fired in anger over this result. No lives were sacrificed.

It’s easy to forget that compared to so much of the world, this makes Australia unusual. Despite political uncertainty, our country plods along peacefully. There isn’t even a hint of expectation to the contrary. Life goes on as normal. A fact that proves this not-so-little island in the middle of the Pacific is anything but.


1 comment:

Paul said...

"And there is much to celebrate.."