Sunday, February 12, 2017

Perth has second-wettest day ever

One recollects prominent Australian Warmist Tim Flannery predicting that Perth would become a ghost town because its rains will dry up.  He hasn't got a clue about climate.  He is a palaeontologist who knows a lot about ancient kangaroos but not much else.  He's just another Green/Left false prophet

Perth has come close to having its wettest-ever day as heavy rain in WA's southwest caused flash flooding and left more than 9000 properties without power.

Perth had more than 114mm of rain in the 24 hours to Friday morning, which is slightly shy of the record 120.6mm that fell on February 9, 1992.

The unseasonal weather also resulted in the city reaching only 17.4C on Thursday, making it Perth's coldest February day ever.

A Western Power spokesman there 2900 homes were still without electricity on Friday morning.

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Catherine Schelfhout said there would be risks of flooding in the upper Swan River in coming days.


SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis ignored warnings about "green" power

The Weatherill government was warned eight months ago about the conditions that led to this week’s South Australian blackouts. A confidential internal briefing paper said forecast low reserves of electricity generation were likely to lead to such power cuts.

The report notes there are “low reserve conditions in South Australia for summer 2016-17”, with a corresponding graph showing peak power generation reserve shortfalls between January 30 and February 14.

The report warned that given the closure of South Australia’s last coal-fired power station last May, “there are times when maximum daily ­demand is projected to exceed supply from scheduled generation in South Australia”.

“At these times, the region will rely on imports (via interconnection) and wind generation to meet operational demand,” the report by state Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis’s Department of State Development says.

“Under lower wind conditions, there would be supply shortfalls in the state if additional imports from Victoria were not available. The level of imports will be subject to the availability and capacity of the interconnector, and the coincidence of high demand in Victoria.”

The report from last June, ­obtained under freedom of information laws, notes that in South Australia between 2004-05 and 2014-15 there had been an average annual growth in wind power of 44.1 per cent, while rooftop solar had grown an annual average of 89.2 per cent between 2008-09 and 2014-15.

“Wind and rooftop PV actual generation capabilities are highly dependent on weather conditions at any given time,” the report says.

The Treasurer yesterday said he was unaware of any such warnings, though the ­report was ­released by his ­department. “I haven’t seen the forecasts,” he said.

Up to 90,000 properties in Adelaide and across regional parts of the state lost power in sweltering heat on Wednesday when the Australian Energy Market Operator ordered electricity distribution company SA Power Networks to reduce demand by 100 megawatts.

AEMO manager David Swift told a Senate inquiry in Canberra yesterday that demand for power in South Australia had risen from 1800Mw on Tuesday to more than 3000Mw on Wednesday as temperatures soared. At the same time, three thermal generation plants went offline, wind generation fell dramatically and solar power started to wane.

State opposition energy spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the Weatherill government had ignored repeated warnings of potential blackouts.

“The government’s own ­department warned that they were heading towards crashing into a brick wall, but it wasn’t until they hit the brick wall that they ­decided to take drastic action,’’ he said.

But Mr Koutsantonis yesterday dismissed concerns about supply, saying South Australia had nearly 3000Mw of thermal generation and “abundant renewable energy in solar and wind”.

Mr Koutsantonis yesterday claimed representatives from Adelaide’s Pelican Point gas-fired power station had phoned AEMO officials on Wednesday to offer extra generation but that AEMO had refused because it was more efficient to load shed. But Pelican Point operator Engie denied it had ­offered a second generator to the market on Wednesday.

The AEMO last night said that based on its investigations it “does not accept public statements being made questioning AEMO’s capability or that we didn’t manage the power system in a safe, secure state”. “Further, AEMO does not accept the assertions that some generators that were available to enter into the market could not do so,” it said.

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg last night said: “AEMO has now exposed Labor’s desperate and shameless attempt to shift blame for their own policy failures.

“It’s been their ideological pursuit of renewables at any cost which has contributed to the instability of the energy system.’’


Australian Energy Market Operator won’t take responsibility for SA blackouts

THE besieged national power grid operator has firmly rejected accusations it did not allow Pelican Point to generate extra electricity to avert power cuts to 90,000 homes and businesses.

In a statement issued Friday night, the Australian Energy Market Operator said Wednesday’s emergency load shedding was a last resort following a combination of factors near the evening power peak.

“Based on where our investigations are at, AEMO does not accept public statements being made questioning AEMO’s capability or that we didn’t manage the power system in a safe, secure state,” the statement says. “Further, AEMO does not accept the assertions that some generators that were available to enter into the market could do so.”

Federal Labor energy spokesman Mark Butler and state Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis have accused the market operator of choosing not to turn on a second generator at Pelican Point on Wednesday afternoon, saying this would have stopped the blackouts.


Bill Shorten: high-flying fake or workers’ champion?

Bill Shorten first became a household name in 2006, surfing a wave of favourable publicity when the news broke that two men had survived the dreadful Beaconsfield mine disaster.

It was a brief burst of fame, still more than a year before Shorten resigned as head of the Australian Workers Union to enter parliament and have a shot at realising his dream of becoming prime minister one day.

Beaconsfield nonetheless remains the classic example of what Malcolm Turnbull was talking about this week in targeting Shorten as a “hypocrite” for his cosy links to Melbourne billionaires.

Dick Pratt, the super-wealthy cardboard industry king, was Shorten’s enabler on that occas­ion. It was a Sunday night and all hope of finding survivors of the mine collapse was lost. Shorten was stranded at home in Melbourn­e when the stunning news came through — he’d just returned­ from the mine site and there were no domestic flights back to Tasmania until the next day.

Shorten’s first thought? Natur­ally, call Pratt and ask to borrow his private jet parked at Essendon airport. In quick time, Shorten was back in Beaconsfield.

With the mine’s management falling silent, he happily filled the void for an inform­ation-starved national media. From start to finish­, he relayed details of the rescue operation and the con­dition of the men trapped beneath the earth.

It was a mark of Shorten’s closeness to one of Australia’s richest men that just a phone call to Pratt could secure his private jet free of charge. But that was far from the first, or last, time that Shorten would fly Air Pratt.

He and his then wife, Deborah Beale, flew to the US on board Pratt’s jet for family holidays at the packaging magnate’s New York apartment. One of Shorten’s more exotic adventures aboard Air Pratt was a trip to Cuba.

Defenders from Shorten’s circle­ claim that Turnbull’s brutal spray in parliament this week — unusual in its intensity, especially after the Liberal PM declined to lay a glove on him during last year’s election campaign — was a cheap tit-for-tat. The multi-million­aire PM’s patience was wearing thin at Shorten’s jibe, borrowed ironically from Tony ­Abbott’s former chief of staff Peta Credlin, that Turnbull was “Mr Harbourside Mansion”.

Privately, Shorten has always been keen to say the Pratt connect­ion was because of Beale. He is right, to an extent. Those close to Shorten say he conveyed the impressio­n, indeed encouraged the idea, that Pratt was Beale’s godfather. The late Pratt and his widow, Jeannie, were especially close friends of Beale’s parents, former Liberal MP Julian Beale and wife Felicity. Pratt adored Deborah, having doted on her when she was a child.

Shorten was brought into the family fold when he and Beale married after a whirlwind romance­. Their engagement party was held at Pratt’s mansion, Raheen­. It was a lavish event with singers Vika and Linda Bull and a stand-up comedian. Shorten sold his half-share in a beach house he’d owned with former partner Nicola Roxon to help pay for the engagement ring.

The marriage to Beale, say Shorten insiders, offered much more to a man who relished mixing with the rich and powerful. The bright, likeable Beale helped open doors. Whether by accident or design, her links to the Melbourne establishment assisted with introduct­ions for Shorten to captains of industry.

It was a positive for his early career­ as he tried to model himself on Bob Hawke, pitching himself as a moderate union leader who shunned class warfare.

Corporate chiefs became cur­ious, wanting to meet the man who, according to rumours that Shorten encouraged, was destined to be Labor’s leader. While secretary of the AWU’s Victorian branch, before taking on the union’s national secretary­ position as well to generate a national profile, Shorten was introduced to transport magnate Lindsay Fox by then ACTU secretary Bill Kelty, a Fox mate. Shorten had few members in transport but Fox liked to size up union up-and-comers.

Shorten built buddy relations with members of the rich Smorgon steel family, an industry where he did have members.

He also got to know retail­ giant Solomon Lew. The Lew relationship was based in large part on their shared pro-Israel stance. As leader of the right-wing AWU in Victoria, Shorten devoted much time to battling the Left over Israel. He mixed easily with Lew and other Australian Jewish businessmen. It was good politics, too, for Shorten, to win the support of Melbourne’s Jewish business community.

One Shorten acolyte put it this way: “Bill’s gregarious. He could just as easily be in Toorak, intoxi­cated by the company of rich ­people, and then travel to the western suburbs for a union barbecue with chemical workers.”

Turnbull got at least one thing wrong this week when he called Shorten, among many harsh things, a fake and sycophant for “tucking his knees under the tables of billionaires’’ during his past union career. The Liberal PM also claimed “everyone knows that”. Voters now have an inkling, thanks to Turnbull, that it is rich indeed for Shorten to needle him about his wealth. But it’s doubtful that voters yet know much more than a broad outline of Shorten’s alleged hypocrisy.

That is why, as Peter Dutton has signalled, the Turnbull assault on Shorten’s character is most likely only the start: political ­messages require repetition and reinforcement.

Inside Labor, Shorten’s blueblood past has been a concern for some time: he is often criticised for acting like Labor royalty. During the recent election campaign, party funds were allegedly used to help pay for child-minding and clothes worn by Shorten­’s wife, Chloe Bryce, daughter of the former governor­-general.

Election-night festivities had two classes of guests: red wrist bands for downstairs and silver ones for elite guests upstairs.

One insider said: “An element of criticism of Bill is unfair, becaus­e he met people through his first wife. At the same time, he has since decided to go to the Left publicly and launch anti-market attacks that contradict his past ­positions.

“Turnbull was right to say he’s been a sycophant to the wealthy, but Bill has left himself wide open.

“He doesn’t begrudge people who’ve made wealth, so why not say that? He’s never been a working-class hero, so why create a fake persona now? The problem is (he) always takes the low road, the easy way. He’s the one who usually lets himself down.”

What Shorten really thinks was given an airing six years ago in the worldwide release by WikiLeaks of US cables that proved embarrassing to many public figures.

According to a leaked 2009 cable, when Shorten was a parliamentary secretary for Kevin Rudd, the then US consul-general in Melbourne heard Shorten­ be “highly critical of current Australian union leadership”. He talked up his pro-business cred­entials, his MBA from Melbourn­e University and his closeness to the late Pratt.

Turnbull this week seized on Shorten’s alleged duplicity by noting­ his firm oppositio­n to company tax cuts because “Malcolm is helping his rich mates”. This positi­on is starkly at odds with Shorten running the case in past times for reducing corporate tax.

In his diaries, Mark Latham highlighted what he regarde­d as Shorten’s duplicity on free trade with the US from a conversation they had when Latham was Labor leader and Shorten led the AWU.

“Little Billy was in my ear about the FTA, telling me the party has to support it. I said I thought both he and his union were against it, to which he responded: ‘That’s just for the members. We need to say that sort of thing when they reckon their jobs are under threat.’ ”

The Pratt association tops political conversation about Shorten’s rich links because there is much available information highlighting dual allegiances. There is, however, much other negative Shorten material that Turnbull has shown an inclination to exploit. One is Shorten’s loyalty, to the puzzlement of many, to Kimberley Kitching, recommended for possible criminal charges but promoted by Shorten to the Senate, and to her husband, Andrew­ Landeryou, a former bankrupt who seems to court trouble.

The other is the Coalition’s increasing references to companies such as Cleanevent from Shorten’s tenure at the AWU’s Victorian branch: Shorten was happy to cut a wage deal for low-paid Cleanevent workers that slashed their penalty rates, while the company contributed funds to his union, including the payment of members’ dues.

When Shorten’s branch negotiated a three-year deal for members­ on Melbourne’s East Link freeway project for Thiess­-John Holland, the construction consortium agreed to a union-­requested payment of $300,000 that went straight into AWU coffers. Shorten escaped criticism over this and other ­arrangements involving payments to his union in the 2015 findings of the royal commission into union corruption.

But Turnbull and his frontbench have started gnawing at commission evidence that does not show Shorten in a favourable light. It was nasty for Turnbull to claim Shorten was unfit to be prime minister. A worse slur was to accuse him, a man meant to put workers’ interests first, of “selling out”.


An outback Queensland police officer has avoided a conviction for pulling a gun on a speeding motorist while he was suffering from PTSD

Senior Constable Stephen Flanagan was on Friday fined $1500 for assaulting motorist Lee Povey outside Longreach in May 2015.

Flanagan was captured on dash-cam video screaming "f***ing pull over now, c***" and drew his gun on Mr Povey as he threatened to "put a f***ing hole in you".

The 46-year-old officer was in December 2016 found guilty of common assault and deprivation of liberty by Brisbane Magistrate Paul Kluck.

Mr Kluck found Flanagan was motivated by his condition and anger rather than a belief that Mr Povey had a gun or that the car was stolen.

But the court heard on Friday it was not uncommon for people with post-traumatic stress disorder to be unaware they have the condition or the extremity of their reactions.

Prosecutor Jodie Wooldridge said Flanagan's behaviour had a "significant" impact on Mr Povey, who feared his complaint about a gun-wielding police officer would not be taken seriously. "It was an abuse of trust that had been placed in him by the Queensland police service and the community," Ms Wooldridge said.

Barrister Stephen Zillman said Flanagan, who has been a police officer since he was 19, would find himself on the "employment scrapheap" if he lost his job over the incident. "That's been his life," Mr Zillman said.

Mr Kluck said he would not record a conviction but it was up to the police disciplinary board if Flanagan kept his job.

Flanagan is appealing the guilty finding.


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

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