Thursday, April 12, 2018

Greens trying to disgorge far-Leftist

In a classical example of entryism, long-term Trotsky-ite Rhiannon, who could get nowhere on her own, decided she was a Greenie and got into parliament under their banner.  The Greenies have been trying to dislodge her for some time now, as her priorities are clearly far-Leftist rather than Green -- far enough Leftist to alienate some Green voters. IMHO she is just a poisonous old bag, though she is undoubtedly clever in pursuing her own advantage

NSW Greens senator Lee Rhiannon is facing an internal push to vacate her seat before the next election, to clear the path for her successor Mehreen Faruqi.

In a campaign designed to force her from office, NSW Greens members have circulated a memo to the party’s membership titled “thanking Senator Lee Rhiannon”, which calls on her to hand over the reins.

The proposal, co-sponsored by five NSW Greens branches, requested Senator Rhiannon to “work with the standing campaign committee and Mehreen Faruqi on a transition plan to maximise the Greens chances of winning a seat at the next federal election”.

The demand represents a further deterioration in relations between the NSW Greens' warring factions, and is timed to coincide with the party’s preselections for the NSW upper house, which are expected to see a showdown between the party’s radical left faction and its moderate flank.

The proposal was circulated to the party’s 4000-strong membership via the party’s internal website last week. Senator Rhiannon did not respond to the Herald’s request for comment.

However, in comments posted to the party's internal forum, which have been obtained by the Herald, she slammed the proposal for exacerbating disunity in the party and called for it to be withdrawn.

"I am concerned and offended by this proposal and the actions associated with it," Senator Rhiannon wrote in response. "I am committed to Mehreen being elected to the Senate, despite insinuations to the contrary."

Dr Faruqi, who is a member of the NSW Legislative Council, defeated Senator Rhiannon in a preselection battle for the party’s top Senate ticket spot in November, in a significant blow to the radical left faction, known as Left Renewal or the eastern bloc.

Five months on, it is understood Senator Rhiannon is yet to inform Dr Faruqi of her intended departure date. Dr Faruqi declined to comment on the proposal when approached by the Herald.

But in a response posted on the party's internal website, Dr Faruqi said it would be "really useful for the party to have a timeline for transition".

"There is no question incumbency does provide an advantage in terms of visibility and profile, in addition to the resources individual senators can use for their own re-election."

The proposal claimed the party would be out of pocket by as much as $300,000 if Dr Faruqi was denied the benefit of incumbency – which would give her access to an office budget and four staff members – and argued this would have a "flow-on effect" to the party’s NSW election budget.

The proposal cited several party precedents of Greens MPs resigning to allow lead candidates to contest elections as sitting members, including former party leader Bob Brown, who resigned to make way for Peter Wish-Wilson in 2013. Christine Milne also departed the Senate early to allow Nick McKim to assume the seat.

In her comments to the party’s online forum, Senator Rhiannon indicated she would not discuss the issue until after the party had concluded its upper house preselections, including the appointment of Dr Faruqi’s replacement. Voting will begin next week, with results due by early May.

Dr Faruqi plans to remain in the NSW Parliament until she can move to the Senate, meaning both she and her replacement will have to wait for Senator Rhiannon’s resignation before they can assume their seats.

The preselections are expected to be a litmus test for the hard left faction. Their lead candidate, David Shoebridge, is expected to face a tough battle against moderate Jeremy Buckingham, which could see him relegated to the precarious third spot on the party’s NSW upper house ticket.

The fight for Dr Faruqi’s state seat has already been marked by a bitter preselection dispute, which escalated to the NSW Supreme Court.

Cate Faehrmann, the recently departed chief of staff to Greens leader Richard Di Natale, was forced to seek a court order confirming her validity to nominate for preselection after the party’s bureaucracy attempted to block her candidacy on the grounds her membership was “provisional”.


Australia is a big energy exporter -- coal and natural gas

Australia’s resource and energy export earnings are forecast to reach a record $230 billion in 2017-18, driven by higher iron ore and coal prices and rapidly growing LNG export volumes.

However, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science expects export earnings to decline slightly from current levels, before levelling out at about $212 billion to $216 billion a year from 2019-20 onwards.

Department chief economist Mark Cully said this compared with average annual export earnings of $72 billion in the decade before the onset of the resources boom, validating the long-held view than the mining boom would continue to reap dividends long after the price peak in 2011.

Mr Cully said, in the Resources and Energy Quarterly report released today, over the next few years, the prices of iron ore and metallurgical coal would be weighed down by increasing supply and declining steel production in China.

However, according to the report, the price of Australian LNG, set by the oil price, is expected to increase modesty, constrained by price-sensitive shale oil production in the US, and sluggish growth in world oil consumption.

The ramp up in export volumes, driven by the mining investment boom, is expected to have run its course by the turn of the decade.

“The last of Australia’s LNG projects is scheduled for completion by the end of the year, while growth in iron ore export volumes will slow from 2018-19,” Mr Cully said.

“The story is similar for other key resource and energy export commodities, including coal, gold and several base metals.

“In this sense, 2020 will mark the end of the remarkable growth phase of the Australian resources and energy sector.”


One in two Australians highlight an issue with their phone or internet service

Nearly 10 million Australians have experienced a problem with their phone or internet service, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman will announce at the Comms Day Summit today (16.00 pm, 9 April 2018).

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman introduced a comprehensive survey for the first time in 2018 and  surveyed almost 3000 people from across Australia’s residential consumers and small businesses.

In her speech to the conference, Jones will also note 20 per cent of residential consumers had more than one phone or internet issue over the last year, and one in four issues were not resolved after four months.  For small businesses the picture is more problematic, with almost 60  per cent identifying  a phone or internet issue affecting their business.

Ombudsman Judi Jones said: "Today's results show us that everyone with responsibility for planning and delivering telecommunications service has to make things better. Phone and the internet services are essential services, making a vital difference to families, within communities and to business.

"We all have to be proactive and accessible in managing the  issues. We have to listen to residential  consumers and small businesses, understand the impact of problems, and offer quick, supportive solutions.”

Media release All media enquiries or interview opportunities to Sarah Carnoavale 0437 548 540

Why Australia imports so many veggie seeds (and do we really need to treat them with fungicides?)

Organic farmers have reacted with alarm to a draft review released last week that recommends mandatory fungicide treatment for certain plant seeds imported into Australia, including broccoli, cauliflower, radish and spinach.

Over 19,000 people have signed a petition objecting to the proposal, which is designed to strengthen biosecurity for plants of the brassicaceae [cabbages, cauliflowers, turnips etc] family. Opponents say mandatory fungicide treatment could spell the loss of organic accreditation for organic vegetable growers who rely on imported seed.

Australia’s vegetable growers do rely heavily on imported seed. But why?

The answer lies partly in where plant breeding expertise and effort is centred globally. Continuous (and often long-term) efforts in breeding have lead to the development of plant varieties with benefits like improved yield or quality, tolerance to stress and resistance to disease. These varieties have major advantages for growers (provided they are suitable for Australian conditions).

The global vegetable seed market is dominated by a small number of multinational companies. These international companies produce seeds in multiple locations around the world to reduce the risk of running low on popular varieties, and to benefit from the counter seasons of the northern and southern hemispheres.

However, seed grading, testing and treatment (including fungicide coating) is generally centrally coordinated at the company’s key global facility. These facilities are typically in close proximity to major vegetable growing regions, and thus outside Australia.

There are several companies distributing or producing vegetable seed in Australia, however most are owned by foreign parent companies and the breeding is done by them off-shore. In this case, subsidiary groups in Australia import the seed from the parent company, grow a crop for seed, and then may sell locally or return the seed to the parent company for quality control and global sale and distribution.

If seed were grown in Australia only for a domestic market, it would be a very small market without the benefits of an economy of scale. However, there are other benefits of breeding and growing crops for vegetable seed in Australia, including the scope to prioritise breeding efforts in response to local need. University of Sydney-based company Abundant Produce is addressing this gap for some vegetable crops, but not any brassicas as yet.

Can we protect biosecurity and organic farmers at the same time?
To address the dilemma faced by organic brassica growers who rely on imported seed, can the risk of diseases entering Australia be managed in organically acceptable ways?

In their draft review of the risk analysis for import of brassica seeds, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources do clearly state that alternative measures will be considered if the “appropriate level of protection” can be achieved.

These alternatives may include importing seed from areas or production sites that are designated as free of the two pathogens of concern. A further alternative is seeds that have been grown using at least two independent and verified disease control measures (either pre- or post-harvest) as part of a “systems approach” to manage pest risk.

Non-fungicide seed treatments could also be considered. Heat, applied via steam, water or air, electrolysed water, or pulsed electric fields could be used, if they achieve the appropriate level of protection and seed viability is maintained. Organically-approved seed coatings and other treatments may also be an option.


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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