Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Is the Labor Party too trusting of China?

Clive Hamilton below thinks so. He is very much of the Green/Left so that is something of a surprise but it may be part of Greenie anti-development thinking.  He actually sounds quite nationalist below -- not far from Pauline Hanson.  I don't really see what the fuss is about.  If they buy up bits of Australia nothing is lost.  They can't pick up the bit they have bought and take it back to China

Canberra is finally beginning to push back against Beijing’s long-running campaign to seduce our elites so completely that the nation kow-tows before China’s wishes.

The first phase of the pushback culminated in December with the Turnbull government introducing legislation to outlaw foreign interference operations and novel forms of espionage. Afraid that its well-made plans will be thwarted, Beijing has been making panicky claims that it’s all motivated by “anti-Chinese racism”.

Led by shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus, the Labor Party is gearing up to oppose the legislation. Dreyfus says his concern is to protect press freedom, but that is being used to undermine the rationale of the laws themselves.

Amending the legislation to protect democratic freedoms is easy. The harder task is undoing the deep penetration of the Labor Party by proxies for and agents of the Chinese Communist Party. The spectacular downfall of Sam Dastyari was one clumsy instance of a more insidious problem for Labor.

The Liberal Party has been subject to the same kind of influence operations and the party undoubtedly has a problem. Yet, going by the Turnbull government’s determination to enact the foreign interference legislation, the Liberals still remain willing to put basic Australian democratic freedoms before Chinese money.

Apologists for China in the Labor Party have been working, wittingly or otherwise, to entrench China’s structure of influence. Last week, Kevin Rudd played perfectly into the hands of Beijing by lambasting the Turnbull government’s proposed laws as an “anti-China jihad”.

The Mandarin-speaking former prime minister said that current laws are perfectly adequate. If that’s true, why have there been no prosecutions? And why are several Western nations watching events here so intently, expecting to follow the trail being blazed in Australia?

The Rudd government’s approach to China was weak and indecisive, perhaps best represented by Rudd’s disastrous decision in 2008 to wreck the emerging Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with India, Japan and the United States. His pull-out, under Chinese pressure, soured relations with India and delayed for a decade cooperation between the four democratic powers to begin acting jointly to resist Beijing’s aggression.

Rudd believes what he put in place is enough to protect Australia. Anyone who has tracked China’s growing influence over the last several years, including our intelligence agencies, knows that is laughable.

It’s to be expected that a former leader will attempt to burnish his legacy, but when he uses his residual influence to expose the nation to foreign domination he needs to be called out. Rudd’s Labor predecessor Paul Keating retains much greater influence in the Labor Party and beyond. He chairs an international advisory council for the huge China Development Bank. He regularly praises the Communist Party bosses for their brilliant achievements—“the best government in the world for the last 30 years”—and calls for Australia to loosen our ties with the United States.

Keating is the godfather of the powerful NSW right faction of the ALP that has been so corrupted by Chinese influence. Dastyari may have gone because of his unseemly relationship with Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo, but plenty of powerful Beijing sympathisers remain.

Former NSW premier and foreign minister Bob Carr has been castigated for agreeing to run a “think tank” established with a large donation from Huang Xiangmo. Carr proudly proclaimed that the Australia-China Relations Institute would adopt a “positive and optimistic” view of China.

Tony Burke, a federal leadership aspirant, is also a beneficiary of Chinese money. His election campaign was boosted by a $30,000 donation from a source flagged by ASIO as connected to the CCP.

When asked on radio about the $30,000 donation, Burke said it was donated by a family friend, whom he holds in the “highest regard”.

There are current and former Labor politicians who understand fully the danger posed by the Chinese Communist Party to our democratic freedoms and support measures to protect our sovereignty. They include Richard Marles, Kim Beazley, John Faulkner, Michael Danby, Stephen Conroy and Anthony Byrne. But the party has a cancer growing in it, and it must cut it out.


Rise of the eco-cup enterprises as war on waste steps up

I am sort of sympathetic to this. I grew up in a long-gone era where the motto was "Waste not, want not" and nothing was "disposable".  So mountains of old disposable coffee cups do seem a waste. 

On the other hand, digging big holes and filling them with rubbish is not exactly hi-tech or difficult.  And when the dump fills up it is customary to resurface it as a sports field or park.  A lot of our sports facilities originated that way. 

As it happens, I always drink my coffee out of a china cup -- because I like it that way

When Simon Karlik saw rubbish bins overflowing with water bottles, coffee cups and takeaway food containers, he thought the amount of waste was “just insane”.

“I thought, can’t we go back to, in my terms, grandma's day, where you didn't rely on this very lazy option of just using something once and throwing it away,” says Karlik.

That prompted Karlik to start Cheeki, the Sydney-based company which makes vacuum-insulated stainless steel coffee cups you can carry to your café.

Today, his company, which produces a range of eco-friendly food and drink containers, turns over between $3 million to $4 million.

Reusable coffee cups rose in popularity in the wake of the ABC’s groundbreaking television series, War on Waste, which accelerated the public debate about Australia’s waste disposal problems.

According to the program, we throw out around 1 billion coffee cups each year.

Karlik started Cheeki in 2009 with stainless steel water bottles. “The water bottle was my focus for the first year or so and then we fairly quickly went into the coffee cups. And more recently, lunch boxes and food containers.”

He says while the water bottles were well received from the outset, “the coffee cups were certainly slower in the beginning. I remember early on we had a slogan, ‘No excuse for single use’. People didn't even understand that. We tried to speak to a lot of cafes about offering a discount if you brought in your reusable cup and they just didn't really understand.

“And then it really took off with the War on Waste TV show last year. That was the big one that put it into the mainstream consciousness. But there certainly had been a groundswell leading up to that TV show.”

Karlik says he saw an instant spike in website traffic. “It has dwindled away somewhat. But for the month after the TV show, it was incredibly powerful.”

Cheeki products are available through around 1200 retailers including health stores, organic grocers, pharmacies, homeware stores, which account for 95 per cent of their sales. They are also available online.

Karlik says Cheeki focuses on “insulated stainless steel cups and mugs which keep the product very hot for a long time. We have a couple of different styles, but our most popular style is leakproof, meaning you could literally get your coffee and put it in your handbag and run to the bus or something.”

He says the company does “considerable R & D work” and the overseas market is firmly on its radar.

While Cheeki sells in the UK and European market in “a small way”, it is planning to launch properly in the US and Europe in March.

Another product surfing this trend is the JOCO coffee cup.

“The JOCO brand was created in 2008,” says founder Matt Colegate. “The concept or the basis behind the brand was developed out of a personal protest against disposable waste and plastic.”

Colegate says the goal was to have a brand with values that could create eco-friendly products and solutions that then empower those values, “and also empower the individual to make a difference in their everyday life without sacrificing any luxuries as well”.

While the brand was born in 2008, Colegate says the “first product from the JOCO brand was literally a mug I grabbed from the office where I worked. I made a lid for it and started using that at the local cafes rather than disposable cups.

“The JOCO Cup that we feature is far more refined. We didn’t start production till a few years later because it was a side project for us. We had day jobs and the development process was substantial because we were attempting to work outside of the plastic world and that proved to be a big challenge.”

The first cups from the Torquay-based company were rolled out around 2012.

“When we started developing the product, we chipped in around $2000 to work out the design and so forth. Once we got around to the sampling stage, and our first production, we invested around $40,000.”

Colegate says things picked up from there. “Every year we have seen really good growth in uptake of reusable vessels and plastic-free vessels. The business was inefficient basically due to the fact that we were operating outside the plastic world, our costs were huge.

“In the last 24 months, we have really seen a big uptake, especially within parts of Europe and Australia. And then in the last year, with the War on Waste, we have seen increases of over 500 per cent in particular regions.”

The reusable glass JOCO cups are designed, developed and produced in-house, he says. “In the development process we worked very closely with leading baristas from around the world to get the input as to what they need to make the cup a perfect tool for their processes.”


Barnaby Joyce’s greatest sin is being conservative


While less offensive than a Bob and Blanche biopic, the Barnaby and Vikki show is best viewed in a dimly lit interior. Australians aren’t prudish but the suggestion that Barnaby Joyce and a staff member had an affair on the public purse offends common decency and aesthetic sensibilities.

The Deputy Prime Minister ­arguably misused his power as the highest-ranking conservative in government by having an extramarital affair with a staffer. He is compounding the damage by refusing to resign.

His sense of entitlement is degrading public discourse and deepening the democratic deficit as people ­question whether any politician can be trusted. While it is fair to charge Joyce with hypocrisy, we should beware the double standard that condemns conservatives for ­immoral behaviour while ­exonerating their progressivist counterparts.

The Joyce affair is another nail in the coffin for Coalition conservatives. When Tony Abbott was rolled as prime minister by Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals left faction, the Nationals became flag-bearers for traditional social values in government. Many people voted for the Coalition on the basis that the Nationals would balance Turnbull’s tilt to the left. Joyce’s appointment as deputy prime minister was part of the ­balancing act.

Joyce is no titan of Australian politics but he is the highest-ranking conservative in government and campaigned for traditional marriage during last year’s same-sex marriage plebiscite. After news of his extramarital affair broke, the left was quick to cry hypocrite over his public stance against gay marriage. Fair enough.

The anger over Joyce’s protracted extramarital affair with a staffer is shared broadly. But outside of his family, few are more disappointed than conservatives. Many feel that he has made a mockery of conservative values.

The conservative disappointment with Joyce is palpable in the media, where right-leaning journalists are holding him to account. Conservative commentators are putting the principle before the side and calling for his resignation. However, sections of the pro­gressivist media are taking a markedly different approach. Somewhere along the line, Joyce’s midlife crisis became an excuse to bash conservatives. The Deputy PM is a bad boy for sleeping around but an appalling sod for being right-wing, so the story goes. The progs should beware the boomerang effect.

Barnaby Joyce, hypocrite, is an acute angle with popular appeal. And it has the easy virtue of being true. The news of a hypocrite in the House was splashed across the media left and right, national and international. London’s The Times captured the essence of the story and impending social opprobrium with the headline: Barnaby Joyce, ‘family man’ of Australian politics, moves in with his pregnant lover. Note the scare quotes and unleash the hounds.

On Saturday actor Susan Sarandon had her say about the Joyce affair in Fairfax. “It just seems as if government these days is so full of reactionary hypocrites,” she said. “It always seems it’s the guys who are the most right-wing — either homophobic or the least empathetic with women — that you suddenly find out were leading this other life.” The conflation of right-wing, bigoted and deceptive is a neat rhetorical trick. But you can’t erase Bill Clinton from history, no matter how convenient the revision might be to damning conservative politicians from the lofty heights of political purity.

It’s true that Joyce has a lot to answer for and the charge of hypocrisy will stick. If he had campaigned as a libertarian or a card-carrying member of the Sex Party, few would care if he crossed a moral line.

But he rose to power as leader of the Nationals on a family values ticket. He defended the traditional family by arguing that monogamous marriage confers higher status upon women. Then he had an affair with a member of his ­political staff ­while his wife and four kids were none the wiser.

Joyce might have got away with the affair, except he’s pro-life and the proof is plain to see. On that matter, at least, he stuck with conservative principles and ­deserves some credit for it.

There is less furore when left-wing politicians cross a moral line on the public purse. When Kevin Rudd admitted to hitting a strip club while representing Australia at the UN, his ratings went up. The public liked a bit of dirt on the clean-cut technocrat often pictured leaving church with his wife. He won the federal election in a landslide a few months later.

The extramarital affair of Labor’s longest-serving PM, Bob Hawke, with Blanche d’Alpuget posed no ­obstacle to his career. It began in 1976, with a proposal two years later allegedly cancelled because Hawke aspired to be PM. He had been married to Hazel since 1956 and they had four children at the time. D’Alpuget later wrote that Hawke said: “Divorce could cost Labor 3 per cent.”

ABC iView recently aired Hawke, The Larrikin and the ­Leader, describing him as “a man with character, humour, individuality and flaws — making him an unforgettable leader”. What have they said about Joyce’s flaws?

Perhaps the most shocking case of double standards for double-crossing politicians was the progressivist response to the allegations of sexual abuse levelled at then US president Bill Clinton. When Clinton was accused of rape and sexual assault, feminists formed a virtual protection racket around their progressive icon. Bubba couldn’t be guilty — he was a Democrat, after all.

In The New York Times, cele­brity feminist Gloria Steinem penned an opinion piece revealing feminism had become the domain of the partisan left. She defended Clinton by questioning the credibility of some alleged victims. The message seemed clear; unless you march left, don’t expect the sisterhood to have your back.

There is no doubt that Barnaby Joyce has done wrong and he has admitted as much. However he seems suspended in a deep state of denial about the gravity of the situation and the deleterious ­effect of his actions on government stability and unity. For the sake of the nation, it’s time to man up and move on.


Accidental Queensland plums a 'cracking piece of fruit'

A Queensland-born plum accidentally created by state government researchers could help Australians lower their risk of heart disease, researchers say.

The Queen Garnet plum was created in the Queensland Department of Primary Industries research centre at Stanthorpe about eight years ago in an attempt to grow a disease-resistant plum.

Brisbane-based Nutrifruit director Alistair Brown, whose company owns the commercialisation rights to the fruit, said that after a number of cross-breeds, the “cracking piece of fruit” was born.

“It was something they weren’t purposely looking for but they ended up with and certainly developed it from there,” he said.

Trials to unlock the antioxidant-rich plum's potential have been underway ever since, kicking off at the University of Southern Queensland and extending south to the University of Wollongong, where researchers were determining whether the fruit could help protect against age-related disease such as cancer, heart disease and brain function.

Initial tests were underway to determine the impacts of Queen Garnet plum juice on blood pressure, University of Wollongong PhD student Katherine Kent said. “We showed that over the short-term, anthocyanin-rich juice can significantly reduce blood pressure, over the long-term it has the potential to improve short-term memory in people who have dementia,” she said.

Mr Brown said interest in the fruit had grown since its inception, spreading from four core Queensland growers to interstate farmers keen to get their hands on the fruit. "There has been an amazing amount of interest and to be honest we have probably had more demand from growers than we have supply of trees but we have to be careful not to overplant or oversupply a market,” he said.

Third-generation fruit farmer Brendon Dunn owns a plum orchid south of Stanthorpe and has just wrapped up his eighth harvest of the Queen Garnet plum. “It was a lighter crop this year so ... we only got maybe 112 tonnes of them,” he said. “The crop itself was lighter and we had some problems with too much rain just before harvest which split the skin on quite a few of them.”

Mr Dunn said the Queen Garnet was a bit more of a “challenge” to grow than other varieties, but at about $8 to $10 a kilo, it was worth it.

“With another plum you might pick them when they are not quite ripe and they will ripen in the box or on the shelf,” he said.
“These ones, you have to let them get almost soft on the tree, that is when they get the antioxidants and everything in them, the really dark flesh.

“But all that extra time on the tree means they are susceptible to damage from storms, birds coming in and eating them and everything else. “It is a bit of a challenge to grow them but that is just the nature of them.”

Mr Dunn said that the taste of the fruit was like “describing a sunset ... it is something you have to try for yourselves".
“They are sweet, they have a good sugar content in them, they are very juicy but also they are quite mealy,” he said. “It is quite a large plum with (a) very dark...purple colour and very dark flesh, a beetroot coloured flesh.

“They are exceptional eating quality, and then of course on top of that they are quite a healthy plum as well, they kind of tick all the boxes.”

Mr Dunn sends his fruit each year to wholesalers at Brisbane's Rocklea market before pruning the trees for winter and starting the whole process again from spring.

“It is one thing to be able to grow fruit that tastes excellent, but on top of that to produce fruit that is going to be beneficial to people’s health, that is something we are really happy to be able to produce that fruit,” he said.


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

1 comment:

PB said...

Yes, Barnaby's greatest sin IS being conservative, as indeed it was his greatest asset. Its a pity he wasn't astute enough to see that himself.