Sunday, December 04, 2016
Total dishonesty about last Thursday's blackout in South Australia
The S.A. government is shrilling that the new blackout had "nothing to do" with the previous big one in September. I suppose that there is some trivial sense in which that is true but the root cause of both blackouts is the same: South Australia does not have ANY baseload power of its own. Had they not decommissioned all their coal-fired stations, neither blackout would have happened. Their windmills are just not a reliable source of power. During the latest incident they were delivering only 6% of their capacity.
When the big wind hit in September and shut down the windmills the South Australians could easily have spun up their coal-fired generators to take the load -- if they still had them. And the same thing applies to the recent loss of supply.
You have got to have hydrocarbon or nuclear powered generators to get reliable supply and S.A. just does not have enough. All they have are some small gas-fired ones. They rely on importing power from hydrocarbon-powered generators in Victoria but Victoria has its own problems -- and will soon have much bigger ones with the closedown of the Hazelwood generator.
The South Australians were so proud of themselves for having such a "Green" electricity system but it was a fantasy. They need to get a couple of their coal-fired generators spinning again or businesses will start leaving the state and taking jobs with them. New investments will CERTAINLY grind to a halt now. See below
South Australia's electricity system separated from the national power grid overnight, prompting a stern warning from BHP Billiton about threats to Australian jobs and investment.
About 200,000 homes and businesses lost power for over an hour, but BHP’s Olympic Dam operations in the north of the state were interrupted for about four hours.
BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie issued an urgent warning to policy-makers after the latest incident, which comes two months after the statewide blackout led to about two weeks of lost production at Olympic Dam.
“Olympic Dam’s latest outage shows Australia’s investability and jobs are placed in peril by the failure of policy to both reduce emissions and secure affordable, dispatchable and uninterrupted power,” he said in a statement.
“The challenge to reduce emissions and grow the economy cannot fall to renewables alone. “This is a wake-up call ahead of the COAG meeting and power supply and security must be top of the agenda and urgently addressed.”
Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said Labor had “chased cheap and reliable power out of South Australia”.
“South Australians are now saddled with the most expensive and least reliable electricity system in Australia,” he said.
“The statement from BHP this morning demonstrates how dangerous this situation has become. The CEO of the world’s biggest mining company has singled out South Australia’s fragile electricity system as a threat to mining in Australia.
“Affordable and reliable power is critical to running a business – it’s not a luxury, it’s an essential!”
A church that is embarrassed to be a church
They are Australia's successors for the Methodists, who were notably confident in their faith. So it is sad to see how far they have fallen. They even deny Christ. The Bible has some advice for them:
Mark 8:38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." 2 Timothy 1:8 "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God". Matthew 10:33 "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
Australia's Uniting Church will avoid using religious symbols and the word 'Christ' as part of it's new advertising campaign to distance itself from child sex scandals.
The survivors of child abuse have hit back at the Uniting Church accusing the change as an attempt to 'disown' the past in a bid to avoid addressing the situation.
But the Uniting Church defended the change claiming it was the right move to no longer use 'overt' faith-based language after the royal commission into child sexual abuse ruined the image of religious institutions, The Daily Telegraph reported.
'You are right to highlight that sometimes we do not mention Christ's name in our advertising,' executive director of Uniting, Peter Worland, said.
'Since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, faith-based organisations like ours are perceived pejoratively. So, sometimes we are overt with our religious language, sometimes we are not.'
However Mr Worland said if you look closely you can still see religious symbols.
‘Sometimes we are overt with our religious language, sometimes we are not…The symbol of the cross at its heart (the ‘t’), with a person either side of it (each ‘i’) to represent this connection and inclusivity.’
Freedom fighters stop free speech. Surprised?
The Fascism of the modern Left again
Melbourne-based group Jews against fascism claims to be standing up for freedom. But stamping out free speech and intimidating fellow Australians are tactics direct from the fascist playbook.
Conservative Jewish gym owner Avi Yemini had every right to invite One Nation senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts to speak at a meeting in Caulfield.
And no surprises for guessing the topics that were likely to be discussed: Islamic immigration, repeal of s18C, Halal certification, and the rest. All fairly mainline topics in conversations around the nation.
You are perfectly free to make up your own mind on any of these issues. Surely the best way of doing so is to listen to opposing points of view and weigh the arguments.
But Yemini’s plans have collapsed into a catfight complete with flying fur, hissing and teeth. Glen Eira — where 4 out of 9 councillors are Jewish — revoked permission for the event.
That, in turn, provoked Roberts to accuse the councillors of anti-Semitism; and then peak Jewish group, the Anti-Defamation Commission, weighed in on the side of the council. It’s a mess.
Victorian Police say they “respect the right of the community to express their views peacefully and lawfully.” But now they’ve pulled the plug saying they can’t guarantee the safety of attendees.
On Facebook, Jews against fascism brag — without irony — that they’ve won a great victory for freedom. “We organised against fascism and we won.” Pardon?
In their totalitarian contempt for free speech and for democracy, and in their demagogic drive to stamp out any dissenting views, it is Jews against fascism who are behaving like true fascists.
Whatever you think of Avi Yemini, the man was doing nothing illegal. And One Nation polled nearly 600,000 votes at the federal election. Hanson and Roberts are legally entitled to their Senate seats.
But fascists are quick to identify those they brand the enemy. In Hitler’s Germany it was the Jews who were the enemy, and the engine of the Nazi state was soon turned against them.
When fascists catch the enemy’s scent, they won’t allow the rule of law to obstruct their hunt. They are contemptuous of democracy and insist on total obedience to their own cause.
Violence, intimidation, threats to personal safety, and vilification are all tactics regularly used by fascists to get their own way and to grind down the resistance of their opponents.
And that is precisely how Jews against fascism have won their great ‘victory’ for ‘freedom.’ Even the police gave up on enforcing the law to defend the right of ordinary citizens to meet publicly.
Intolerance is on the march — but it is wearing the disguise of ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’, professing to be concerned only with securing justice and peace.
It’s a lie, of course. The Left is doubling down for a long fight to defeat what it claims to be the capitalist tyranny of hatred and oppression — a fight it is determined to win.
Once victory is secured, it will build a new tyranny of its own. Who will fight against that?
Leftist educators not concerned by the poor results that they have delivered in Australian schools
The latest international maths and science results suggest that Australia is a slow learner when it comes to improving school performance. Our mean maths and science scores in the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS2015) are the same as they were when TIMSS started 20 years ago.
It’s not just the Asian ‘tiger economies’ that are beating us: England, the USA, Ireland, Russia and Kazakhstan have also improved in the last decade and are now doing significantly better than we are. Australia has dropped down the international rankings to the middle of the pack.
At the same time as the TIMSS results were released, several hundred education academics were in Melbourne at the conference of the Australian Association of Research in Education — our peak educational research body. Given that the downward trend in test results has been apparent for some time, it might be expected that the education academy would be hell-bent on seeking out the best ways to teach maths and science so we don’t end up with a third-world economy.
The pre-occupation of the academy is apparently focussed elsewhere, if the presentation topics at the conference are an indication. They included such critically important subjects as ‘Thinking and doing research on female bodies differently – ‘listening’ to moving bodies’, ‘Nietzsche on aesthetics, educators and education’, and ‘Meet the phallic lecturer: Early career research in a neoliberal imaginary’. Among the several hundred presentations, 14 titles contained the word ‘maths’ or ‘mathematics’, while 10 contained the word ‘neoliberal’, and 18 contained the word ‘gender’.
The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), which leads the TIMSS study in Australia, described the results as a ‘wake up call’. The fact is, the alarm about maths and science (and reading) went off a decade ago. We keep hitting the snooze button while other countries stopped crying into their pillows over neoliberal conspiracies, rolled out of bed, and got on with it.
Donald Trump victory shows Tony Abbott could have won 2016 election
Our political/media class seems to have conveniently overlooked the most telling domestic lesson from the Trump ascendancy. Perhaps they worry it exposes their lack of judgment.
Donald Trump’s election triumph buttresses the argument that Tony Abbott’s overthrow was unnecessary — that he would have won this year’s election. It gives weight to the claim his poor midterm polling was meaningless and that his known strengths were electorally compelling.
Those of us who have long made this case believed that, for all his faults, Abbott’s strong positions on border protection, national security, climate caution, union corruption and budget discipline would contrast sharply with Labor. The political/media class, however, declared Abbott an embarrassment and barracked for a coup.
We will never know. But everything that has transpired since Abbott’s knifing tends to bolster the position: from the way Malcolm Turnbull has struggled to display certitude to how Bill Shorten hasn’t had to duck a punch; from the Prime Minister’s own polling and near defeat to Britain’s clear statement of faith in sovereignty through Brexit; and from Trump’s focus on borders and disdain for the dominant media narrative to his victory despite the polling consensus.
Some conservative Liberals and Nationals are still seething about all this and hope for a “Lazarus-with-a-triple-bypass” Abbott comeback. It is unlikely — besides, their sense of injustice tends to overlook the needless errors, self-inflicted wounds and unheeded warnings that saw Abbott engineer his own vulnerability to Turnbull’s understandable aspirations.
So this post-Trump observation is worth making not to stir enmities, settle grievances, delegitimise Turnbull or encourage a leadership rethink but, rather, to help identify the lessons Turnbull must heed to succeed.
It is another reminder that contrary to the urgings from the political/media class, Turnbull cannot afford to change the policy direction of the Coalition by softening important policies or drifting to the left. It reaffirms the warning not to believe his own publicity. On climate policy, borders and national security the sensible centre of politics wants the prescription already laid down by the centre-right Abbott government. Turnbull messes with that compact at his peril.
There are encouraging signs he understands this: his new focus on energy security over renewable energy gestures; his strong words in New York on terrorism; and his push for a lifetime ban on unauthorised boat arrivals to help prevent his humanitarian US visa deal from undermining border security. Despite the Senate frustrations, fiscal restraint, budget repair and economic reform must remain top priorities.
Turnbull’s ability to pass his double-dissolution trigger bills and some modest budget reforms enable him to end the parliamentary year with baby steps of purpose — as foreshadowed in this column almost three months ago.
It also provides some vindication for his strategy. Many critics have mocked his double-dissolution strategy because it produced a menagerie of a Senate. This is disingenuous because no serious observer would have said the Coalition had any chance to win a Senate majority.
Turnbull’s Senate reforms, also planned under Abbott, are worthwhile and will eliminate accidental senators in the future. And, notwithstanding shambolic negotiations and side deals, the Coalition is getting some reform through the parliament.
Those who slam the double-dissolution strategy need to ask what Turnbull would have run on without it. He had a thin agenda, was out of time and was losing standing with every dawdling day.
Without this strategy built around the union accountability measures he would have limped through the budget to a predictable spring election, struggling to outline a cause. Instead, he seized the agenda, created a purpose for the election and managed — just — to hold on.
And now he has ushered the trigger bills through the Senate, along with a backpacker tax arrangement. With his team, he shows the adaptability to do deals with One Nation, Nick Xenophon, Derryn Hinch and others, as well as the Greens. The only immovable object (after some early savings co-operation) appears to be Labor.
Turnbull’s error this year was not his double-dissolution strategy but that he didn’t use it months earlier to capitalise on his honeymoon. Also, he ran a poor campaign. The Coalition failed to attack the Opposition Leader and failed to put the most pertinent questions into the daily campaign rhetoric — what was the risk of a return to Labor on border chaos, electricity prices, union behaviour and deeper deficits?
The reason all this is relevant now is that these questions remain palpable for Turnbull. Now that he has begun to display a modicum of governing ability, he must look to accentuate the choice between the Coalition and Labor’s alternative.
Again, thanks to its crack cocaine-like addiction to polls, the political/media class is writing off Turnbull. But, at the risk of repetition, the polls are almost meaningless right now.
Certainly, to become PM, Turnbull exploited the polls and, unwisely, even cited them. But he needs to recognise that conceit now (and hope everyone else does) while comprehending that what matters are policies, conviction and performance.
The most bankable quality for governments is competence. In difficult circumstances — and no doubt with more stuff-ups to come — Turnbull at least has started to claim some ground on this score.
Aside from more of this, he needs to work hard to appear in touch with voters: more interviews, more mainstream public events and more listening.
His budget strategy is vital; Scott Morrison must deliver fiscal restraint and economic reform significant enough to begin the repair task and satisfy ratings agencies, but moderate enough to pass the Senate. It won’t be easy but the welfare reforms being touted by Christian Porter and Alan Tudge provide fertile ground by embedding the mutual obligation and personal investment concepts that are working well in New Zealand.
This is a true centre-right approach and underpins long-term budget recovery.
Under Shorten, Labor has dug itself further in on the wrong side of crucial arguments. On climate policy, it offers a national 50 per cent renewable target that will escalate costs and undermine energy security. On border protection, it has a record of capitulation and mismanagement and it has abandoned its pretence of bipartisanship by rejecting temporary protection visas and the lifetime ban. On national security, Turnbull needs only to utter the words “Islamic extremism” to demonstrate he understands our current threat and smoke out an Opposition Leader unwilling to name our enemy. On union corruption, Labor appoints tainted unionists to the Senate and promises to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission for a second time. And on budget repair, Labor is committed to higher taxes and deeper deficits.
National politics and government are monumentally difficult any time, especially in the contemporary age of hyper-fascination, rampant demands and strained resources. But any right-of-centre government that cannot explain its rationale, embed its policies and win re-election against that Labor agenda has only itself to blame.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here