Thursday, March 31, 2011


Former Labor MP and former Queensland police sergeant Peter Pyke today slammed police commissioner Bob Atkinson over his piss-ant policy on police pursuits which he says has demonstrably stripped the police of their ability to fight crime in Queensland.
Pyke says street cops are fuming and he calls on the cops’ union to get off their lazy bums and to tell the Bligh government it is time for Atkinson to go and sit on a beach somewhere and let police do their jobs which – incidentally commissioner - includes catching criminals.

The story so far: Pyke says that around midnight on Monday 28 March 2011, this week, a white Nissan 1999 utility was stolen from Torrington, West Toowoomba. Through the good work of alert uniformed police who were nearby police quickly located the stolen vehicle driving around in Wilsonton not far from where it was stolen. This first police unit to sight the stolen ute was a marked police mobile patrol which attempted to stop the Nissan utility using their lights and sirens, that’s their job. When the stolen car accelerated away and attempted to evade police, the officers were forced to pull over and stop their marked police vehicle whilst the stolen vehicle was allowed to drive off.

Yup, that’s right, in accordance with commissioner Atkinson’s instructions, despite it being late at night and other traffic virtually non-existent, police are not allowed to pursue stolen vehicles. Full stop.

Pyke says that what followed is enough to make any Queensland citizen wonder. He says that
all police in Toowoomba were then advised directly by the Toowoomba Communications Controller that they were to ‘observe’ the stolen vehicle only but were not – repeat – not allowed to chase it.

Pyke, who monitors police radio transmissions, says that for the next 45 minutes, every police mobile unit in Toowoomba, Helidon and Gatton districts were forced to sit on their hands and watch as the stolen vehicle drove past several police cars and off into the night. He says an unmarked detective’s unit was the second police vehicle to get behind the stolen car and activate it’s lights and sirens to try to stop it but was forced to pull over when the stolen ute kept driving. A marked Dog Squad unit also got behind the stolen car but was also directed not to attempt to stop but to ‘observe’ the Nissan utility only.

Pyke says there were more than enough police units in the immediate area to have quickly detained the utility at around midnight on a Monday night when only cops, baddies and taxis are to be found driving around and the risks of a member of the public being harmed by a responsible pursuit would have been minimal.

“For the sake of a short sharp chase, the stolen Nissan utility and its offending occupants could have been stopped on Monday night within minutes of it being stolen at a time when there was no traffic about and it would have been safest for police to attempt to do that. And isn’t that what we train, equip and pay police to do?” asks Pyke.

Pyke says as if this isn’t bad enough, days later the stolen Nissan ute is still being driven around Toowoomba’s streets with impunity and has been used to commit other crimes.

“The Nissan ute now has false plates CJR-61 screwed onto it and twice on Wednesday 30 March 2011 the stolen vehicle drove into the bottle-shop of the Southern Hotel in Kearneys Spring, Toowoomba where it’s occupants happily loaded up with slabs of Jim Beam bourbon and drove off without paying. Twice, once in the afternoon and the second time at about 10.00 PM,” Pyke says.

Pyke says all this proves that Queensland cops have lost control of the streets because of their inept, incompetent and politically-compromised commissioner.

“Now what happens?” asks Pyke. “It’s a stolen car, it has stolen false plates on it, it keeps driving into bottle-shops and stealing alcohol. What are police supposed to do next time they see it driving past? Wave?”

Pyke says the Bligh government is at fault for extending Atkinson’s contract way past his use-by-date. He is calling on Queenslanders to make their own judgements about whether he is right and police have been forced by Atkinson to hand over control of Queensland streets to the criminals. He says Queenslanders who support street cops doing their jobs should voice their anger at this situation.

But Pyke says there is a twist to this matter, “In our system, all sworn police officers hold the ‘office of constable’ under the rule of law,” says Pyke. “I say no-one can tell a sworn officer he or she may not arrest a person they suspect of committing a criminal offence. In fact, anyone who prevents a sworn police officer from doing so might be arrested for obstruction or as a party to the offence.” Pyke urges cops to look it up.

Pyke says cops should ignore Atkinson and do their jobs which is to catch criminals and put them behind bars.

“I call also on Premier Bligh to explain why her government extended police commissioner Bob Atkinson’s contract when he has reduced police to mere ‘observers’ of crime,” Pyke says.


The above is a Press Release from Peter Pyke, 0427 388 598, -- of today's date

Unbelievable: Social workers leave nine-year-old boy alone at Melbourne's Coburg Lake late at night

SOCIAL workers abandoned a nine-year-old boy in a Melbourne park at night because it was unsafe for them to stay with him. The boy was left wandering around Coburg Lake in the dark until a passer-by noticed him and called police, 3AW's Neil Mitchell reported this morning

The Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu, said he had ordered an investigation.

Details leaked to the radio station piece together the night of February 25, when a group of children under the care of Department of Human Services were taken to Coburg Lake on an outing.

The nine-year-old apparently didn’t want to leave the lake when it was time to leave, Mitchell said, and DHS workers were instructed by their supervisor to leave him there. Police called the DHS unit involved but a worker told officers they were knocking off and police should take him home.

Police quizzed staff at the boy’s home as to why they had left the boy at the lake and not bothered to pick him up. The staff reportedly said it was too dangerous for a worker to stay at the lake at that time of night, Mitchell said.

Responding to the shocking case on Radio 3AW today, Mr Baillieu said he had ordered an investigation into the case as soon as he was alerted to it. “(It) is absolutely unacceptable. We will be conducting an investigation into this and dealing with the consequences,” he said this morning. “Anyone in control or guardian, parent or otherwise of a nine-year-old should not leave a nine-year-old in the dark.”

Mr Baillieu said workers who left children unattended at night shouldn’t be in positions of trust and authority.


Liberal Party immigration spokesman rejects "extremist" tag

THE opposition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, has rallied to the defence of "the mob" who oppose the carbon tax and boat arrivals and said "sound-minded" Australians were being demonised by Labor as extremists.

In a National Press Club address, he hit back at race-baiting claims and said the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, "needs to stop insulting Australians for disagreeing with her".

Reviving a theme from his election blog last August, Mr Morrison said "the mob" raised families and paid taxes. The Liberals would stay faithful to them because they were the same people as Menzies' forgotten people and Howard's battlers.

However the extremist tag has caused ructions within the Liberal Party, particularly after the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, appeared beside offensive posters at a rally opposing the carbon tax and Mr Morrison made comments on talkback radio about asylum seeker funerals.

Questions about "the moral burden" of decisions in the immigration debate should also be applied to the government's policies, Mr Morrison said yesterday.

"What we are seeing in the absolute mess and misery of our detention network - of those who are drowning at sea, or crashing against rocks at Christmas Island, or those who are wasting in camps as group after group come … I don't accept that as a morally acceptable outcome," he said.

Another boat, carrying 37 asylum seekers, was intercepted yesterday and will be taken to Christmas Island, the first since riots broke out this month.

Refugee advocates said yesterday a man held at the Curtin detention centre was in hospital after trying to hang himself.

A 20-year-old Afghan man took his life at the same centre on Monday, and another 20-year-old Afghan committed suicide at the Scherger centre in Queensland a fortnight ago.

A mental health adviser, Professor Louise Newman, has warned of "suicide clusters" in detention centres and has asked the Immigration Department to review its policy. The government has said the deaths would be investigated.

Linda Briskman, chairwoman of human rights at Curtin University in Perth, said mandatory detention had criminalised people seeking refuge.

Refugee groups expressed concern that overcrowding at North West camp on Christmas Island, which was partly responsible for riots, was now occurring at mainland detention centres. About 300 men from Christmas Island arrived at the Curtin centre at the weekend.

Ms Gillard said she was "determined" to have a mandatory detention system and it was "the right thing" for Australia.

The Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said asylum applications should be processed on the mainland because it was cheaper, easier and faster. "We have very vulnerable people locked up with very little access to information."


Another "safe" Queensland school

Will Queensland schools end up like this? The same lily-livered policies are at work

A 14-year-old boy was stabbed at Southport State High yesterday after he and a fellow Year 10 student were sent to the principal's office for fighting. Students claimed the boys were involved in a violent lunchtime brawl in a classroom and later heard screams as one allegedly stabbed the other in the stomach in the administration building.

The victim suffered damage to an internal organ but is expected to make a full recovery after surgery at Gold Coast Hospital.

Police arrested his alleged attacker near the school and seized a knife which it is believed he took to school. He was last night charged with unlawful wounding. The Courier-Mail understands police are working on the theory the incident was not gang related but may have been linked to alleged bullying.

A male student said he saw one boy "smashed against a bubbler" and thrown into a wall in the lead-up to the stabbing.

Gold Coast police inspector Geoff Palmer said yesterday he was unaware of any gang problems at Southport High but detectives from the Child Protection Investigation Unit were investigating.

Insp Palmer said the stabbing followed an "altercation" between two 14-year-old students. "There were no other children in danger and the school was not placed in a lockdown," he said. Insp Palmer appealed for any student witnesses to come forward.

Latest Education Queensland figures show 303 Southport High students were suspended in 2009, up from 160 in 2006.

In September 2009, a Southport High student was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm after allegedly bashing a fellow student. The victim allegedly needed plastic surgery after the attack, which happened just days before a Southport State School pupil, aged six, was found with a knife in his bag.

Yesterday's stabbing was the latest in a series of knife incidents at Queensland schools in recent years.

The Queensland Teachers Union last year warned that teachers and principals had to be more vigilant about knives in schools.


Incompetent Egyptian surgeon kills NSW woman

A COMPETENT surgeon should have known the reason for Heidi Clarke-Lewis' massive blood loss and been able to do something about it, an inquest into her death was told yesterday.

Professor Andrew Korda told the inquest a sharp medical tool known as a trocar had struck the 29-year-old's spine during an operation to remove an ectopic pregnancy, causing the fit, healthy patient to bleed to death.

Giving expert evidence yesterday, Professor Korda said it would have been "like hitting a nail into a wooden table" and should have alerted surgeon Dr Samy Nassief to the possibility of damage to major vessels.

Professor Korda agreed with assisting counsel Peggy Dwyer that he would have expected a "competent general surgeon" to identify the source of the bleeding, clamp major arteries and call for assistance if needed. "Most general surgeons should have enough rudimentary knowledge to repair a vascular injury," Professor Korda said.

Ms Clarke-Lewis died during the surgery for the ectopic pregnancy at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital on April 30, 2009.

A post-mortem examination found she died from an intra-abdominal haemorrhage, after injuries to her right common iliac artery and vein. Professor Korda said the trocar caused the damage to the artery, after entering her body about 2-3cm off target, and resulted in Ms Clarke-Lewis losing more than four litres of blood.

Dr Nassief should have made a larger incision to look for the site of the bleeding about 10-15 minutes into the surgery, he said.

"The appropriate response would have been to extend the incision and try and find out where the bleeding was coming from," Professor Korda said.

A second doctor called in to assist Dr Nassief made that larger incision after arriving in theatre about 90 minutes later but was not able to find the direct source of the bleeding in the time.

Nurse Cherie Anderson has previously told the inquest that she believed the trocar's safety mechanism failed, meaning that a sharp blade had been exposed within the stomach of Ms Clarke-Lewis.

Professor Korda said: "If a trocar is inserted in a manner in which it hits the fifth lumbar vertebra, no safety mechanism will protect the patient."

But he was not critical of Dr Nassief's decision to operate on Ms Clarke-Lewis because he said ectopic pregnancies were unpredictable.



Three articles below

How big an effect on world temperature will Australia's proposed carbon tax have?

Lord Monckton has been kind enough to give me the straight answer that Flannery et al will not - and his answer explains exactly Flannery's embarrassed silence:

Q. What is the central estimate of the anthropogenic global warming, in Celsius degrees, that would be forestalled by 2020 if a) Australia alone and b) the whole world cut carbon emissions stepwise until by 2020 they were 5% below today's emissions?

Answer a). Australia accounts for (at most) 1.5% of global carbon emissions. A stepwise 5% cut by 2020 is an average 2.5% cut from now till then. CO2 concentration by 2020, taking the IPCC's A2 scenario, will be 412 parts per million by volume, compared with 390 ppmv now. So Man will have added 22 ppmv by 2020, without any cuts in emissions. The CO2 concentration increase forestalled by almost a decade of cap-and-tax in Australia would thus be 2.5% of 1.5% of 22 ppmv, or 0.00825 ppmv. So in 2020 CO2 concentration would be 411.99175 ppmv instead of 412 ppmv.

So the proportionate change in CO2 concentration if the Commission and Ms. Gillard got their way would be 411.99175/412, or 0.99997998. The IPCC says warming or cooling, in Celsius degrees, is 3.7-5.7 times the logarithm of the proportionate change: central estimate 4.7. Also, it expects only 57% of manmade warming to occur by 2100: the rest would happen slowly and harmlessly over perhaps 1000 years (that's the real meaning of Flannery's 1000-year point, and it doesn't do him any favours).

So the warming forestalled by cutting Australia's emissions would be 57% of 4.7 times the logarithm of 0.99997998: that is - wait for it, wait for it - a dizzying 0.00005 Celsius, or around one-twenty-thousandth of a Celsius degree. Your estimate of a thousandth of a degree was a 20-fold exaggeration - not that Flannery was ever going to tell you that, of course.

Answer b) . Mutatis mutandis, we do the same calculation for the whole world, thus:

2.5% of 22 ppmv = 0.55 ppmv. Warming forestalled by 2020 = 0.57 x 4.7 ln[(412-0.55)/412] < 0.004 Celsius, or less than four one-thousandths of a Celsius degree, or around one-two-hundred-and-eightieth of a Celsius degree. And that at a cost of trillions. Whom the gods would destroy .

If you'd like chapter and verse from the IPCC's documents and from the peer-reviewed for every step of this calculation, which takes full account of and distils down the various complexities and probabilities Flannery flannelled about, you'll find it in this paper.

A cautionary note: the warming forestalled will only be this big if the IPCC's central estimate of the rate at which adding CO2 to the atmosphere causes warming is correct. However, it's at least a twofold exaggeration and probably more like fourfold. So divide both the above answers by, say, 3 to get what will still probably be an overestimate of the warming forestalled.


Greenie thinking converts an otherwise decent man into a Fascist

EVERY Australian family should be limited to just two children to curb the population explosion, controversial millionaire Dick Smith says. He called for a China-like quota on the number of kids, warning the growing burden on our resources was like "a plague of locusts".

Likening high-rise apartments to chicken coops, the former Australian of the Year thanked property developers at an Urban Taskforce population debate in Sydney for "not lynching" him after he attacked their drive for profits and called for an end to the growth addiction.

"It's either going to be forced on us or we are going to plan to stabilise," Mr Smith said. "I would like to see Australia stabilise at 24 to 25 million. I don't see it by force I see it by saying to parents, it's best to have two kids. I see us having an immigration intake of 70,000 per year."

Unaffordable land prices left generations of children stuck in apartments, he said. "We descended from hunter gatherers - not from termites," Mr Smith said. "We are putting our kids into high-rise because we are running out of land, because people want and need to live close to the city. We pay $50 million a year for free range eggs for our bloody chooks to be free range - what about our kids? I was a free range kid. I had a backyard. We are starting to lose that now, and it's only driven by the huge population increases."

Population growth had to slow to allow housing to become affordable again, he said, warning bad handling could lead to a recession.

Mr Smith called for an end to "stealing resources" from future generations. "We have to decide - are we like locusts that breed to huge numbers and then die off? Or are we like the majority of other magnificent natural creatures in this country which have lived in balance for millions of years?" he said.

" We have to decide we're going to live in balance or breed up and die off. There are people who say we will get to 9.1 billion and one enormous catastrophe will wipe out most of the people and if that's going to happen enjoy the advantages now. That might not happen."

Mr Smith said the economic system was built on "perpetual exponential growth". "We are completely addicted to growth. It's like the religion of capitalism but it is a false God," he said

MacroPlan economist Brian Haratsis called Mr Smith alarmist and "using scare tactics" He said population debate in Australia had been stolen by "anti-growth people with a Green sentiment". "We can triple the population of Australia if we want to and we wouldn't use much land. You only have to jump in a plane to Sydney and fly to Perth and what do you see? Not much."

Mr Haratsis said a population of 40 million was inevitable and that "the only choice is if we want a really big Australia of 40 million to 80 million".


Dam good invention the answer to our dry land's problem

I HAVE a brilliant idea for water management in Australia. What this dry continent needs is a way of storing and reticulating water to vast numbers of people in cities. I have come up with an invention that I call a "dam".

Let's build these "dams" outside each major city so that water might be stored and drawn down upon when needed. It's so simple and so cheap I cannot believe that no one in government or the bureaucracy has thought of it before. It sure would save a lot of money.

There are by my count six desalination plants either recently completed or under construction in Australia.

These things can cost in excess of $5 billion plus financing and operating costs. A "dam" on the other hand can store and deliver vastly more water at a cost of say $2bn. There, I've just saved the taxpayer $3bn and that's on a single project.

Of course, my idea for a "dam" is not new; I have nicked it from history. The last dam built to supply Sydney was the Tallowa completed in 1976 when the metropolitan population was 3.1 million.

Some 35 years later Sydney's population has expanded by 1.5 million, or 48 per cent, and there's no plan to add another dam for at least another decade, if ever.

This is extremely odd. I do not recall a conversation let alone a furious public debate about the management of Sydney's, or any other major Australian city's, water future.

At what point over the last three decades was a decision made that no new dams should be built and that future water supplies should be based on more expensive options such as desalination plants and/or pipelines?

Other cities are in much the same position: Melbourne has added 1.2 million since the completion of the Thomson Dam in 1984 and Brisbane has added 1 million since the Wivenhoe was completed also in 1984.

I have never understood the anti-dam lobby's argument that "why build a dam when it will never fill?" So, if this was the case and we had two dams both at 20 per cent capacity then doesn't this deliver twice the water security of one dam at 20 per cent?

I do understand that the construction of a dam will have a detrimental environmental impact. But environmental impact statements articulate the negatives. They never properly account for the positives associated with a dam.

And, yes, there are positives. More water for an urban population allows householders to develop gardens which attract birdlife and contribute more generally to what environmentalists call "the urban forest". I'm all for urban forests -- let's deliver the water these forests need to flourish and in so doing deliver quality of life to millions.

Do environmental impact statements incorporate the health costs of old people struggling with "bucket back" caused by watering restrictions? What about the psychological impact on those who fret about not having enough water for their gardens? No, not relevant?

Another dam has not been built in Brisbane's Lockyer Valley since the Wivenhoe which in turn was partially a flood mitigation device following the 1974 floods. How much water would have been retained by a second dam had it been built in say the late 1990s or early 2000s? What degree of calamity might have been averted by the existence of such a dam?

Surely flood mitigation is a positive impact of a dam. And what is the response of those whose influential water reports of the 1990s and the 2000s argued that we cannot rely on regular rainfall in the future to fill dams? Do these experts now concede that they got it wrong? If you got it wrong then why should we rely on your advice that we should not build dams in the future?

I might add that my argument in support of dams is not entirely in the interests of the property industry. Which do you think the property industry would prefer if it was purely self-interested: a desalination plant costing $5bn or a dam at $2bn?

The Australian people are indebted to the anti-dam lobby for forcing behavioural change with regard to water usage over the past 30 years: we have evolved a long way from water profligacy. But there comes a point in a city's growth when practical and hard-headed decisions need to be taken.

We haven't built a dam to service Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane for a generation. We've had a dam-building hiatus and we've moderated our water usage, now it's time to build cost-efficient dams.

Or at the very least let's have a conversation about the subject rather than allowing various levels of government to solely pursue less efficient and more expensive alternatives such as pipelines and desalination plants.

There may well be a place for these "insurances" against another decade-long drought in the future, but we also need to be considering dams as a way of delivering baseload water supplies for our biggest cities in the 21st century.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG says the ALP government in NSW would have gone long ago except for the biased Leftist media supporting them.

Liberal Party MP says debate being stifled over 'racism' fears

THE Liberal senator widely attacked for describing Islam as a totalitarian ideology has warned that Australians at odds with the "politically correct" orthodoxy are being forced to whisper their views for fear of being labelled racists.

South Australian senator Cory Bernardi has also demanded migrants observe Australian customs and core values, urging the nation to reject a path of "isolation and separatism" by tolerating breaches of the nation's "social covenant" by newcomers.

But the nation's first Muslim MP, Sydney's Ed Husic, has rejected the comments, saying no-one needs to whisper opinions that represent considered and thoughtful argument.

Last month Senator Bernardi said in a radio interview: "Islam itself is the problem, it's not Muslims. Muslims are individuals that practise their faith in their own way, but Islam is a totalitarian, political and religious ideology."

The comments provoked a storm of critics, with Julia Gillard accusing the Liberals of "race-baiting" and demanding Tony Abbott dump Senator Bernardi as his parliamentary secretary.

Yesterday Senator Bernardi launched an impassioned defence of his stance on his website in a blog titled "The Whisper Zone".

"Those who speak publicly, - normally these are people of a conservative or traditional viewpoint - are too often shouted down, mocked and derided simply for expressing a viewpoint that does not align with the prevailing PC orthodoxy," Senator Bernardi wrote.

"This has the effect of silencing people because they are afraid of being intimidated and ridiculed.

In effect, they are reduced to whispering their views to others." Mr Husic, who holds the seat of Chifley, said Australia was a democracy where people were free to express their views.

"But in doing so, we should also be mindful that what we say, where these views may not be based on fact, can cause hurt or marginalise," Mr Husic told The Australian Online.

"People in public life have to be especially conscious of this. "I'd respectfully suggest there's no need to whisper considered, thoughtful argument."

"If one's views aren't based on fact or are indifferent to others in a rush to make a headline, then perhaps keeping those views to oneself is the best course of action."

Senator Bernardi said he was not precious or thin-skinned, but noted that it seemed publicly acceptable for Labor MPs like Kevin Rudd and Chris Evans, as well as independent senator Nick Xenophon, to express concerns about particular groups, while he was shouted down for expressing his views.

"If the cost of raising legitimate community concerns, whether or not others actually agree with the question raised, leads to lies, smears, irrational accusations of racism and bigotry, then we really do have a problem with free speech in this country," he wrote.


Pompous Warmist professor bitten by a hoax

By Jo Nova

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky may not understand much about the climate, but he is a professor of psychology — so satire, humor, and hoaxes ought to be right up his alley, right? He’s realized he fell for the brilliant Alene Composta (a master satirist) replying to her and even sending her fake request for advice to fellow blogger John Cook (who fell for it too).

Alene ticked all the headline stereotypical victim-leftie boxes, her interests included “christine milne”, “organic gardening” and “batik hangings” and lets face it, “Composta” is a red flag, rather. So she wrote to Lewandowsky begging for advice in dealing with monster commenters from Bolt and Blair, and notably pointed to him surviving my scorn and ridicule:
I recently began blogging, especially about climate change, and after a month my site was noticed. Noticed by the wrong people, sadly. Readers of Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt have swamped my site with genuinely abusive comments, many relating to my disability, which I find very hurtful. So my question to you is this: How do you deal with monsters like this?

I have read and savoured every column you have published at Unleashed, and I have read the hateful comments that, even with an ABC moderator to vet them, still make it up on the site. The worst charge is that they simply do not take me seriously, which diminishes me in my humanity. I must confess that, after the latest round of abuse, I hugged my little cat and cried for an hour.
You have not only shrugged off that abuse, you have also survived the scorn and ridicule of your fellow West Australian Joanne Nova (I found that while googling your email address). It is a species of bravery I do not know if I can tap.

I’m a fragile woman and I thought my blog, Verdant Hopes, might be a force for good in the world. Instead it has made me a victim once again.

He replied, soaking it all up. In a bold twist reminiscent of Soviet psychologists, he called the skeptics “bullies” and the attacks “orchestrated”:
Bear in mind that a proportion of those comments is orchestrated and for all we know there are only a handful of people with multiple electronic "personas" each, who are paid to create disproportionate noise.

He believes that the attacks are “paid for” and denies that thousands of real people disagree with him. Which means he’s shielding himself from the awful truth, that he might be a deluded puppet of big-carbon-finance and an apologist for big-government, which aims to trick the public out of it’s money by distorting science. Who, with any conscience or pride, could live with that?

Let’s be straight, I don’t doubt for a moment that he is acting out of genuine belief. If someone with money was going to pick a front man for the carbon campaign, they’d pick someone with more PR nous and human savvy than Stephan Lewandowsky.

Having been embarrassed, instead of just quietly vanishing, he thinks it helps his activist cause to parade his gullibility on Ad Hominem Unleashed (the ABC Drum), to show how it’s really just more evidence that humans really are changing the weather. If you can figure out the logical chain in that, do tell us. Here’s his analysis (sic) where he struggles for the word “satire”:
This raises some interesting questions: Why would anyone go to the trouble of creating an artificial persona, only to engage in correspondence under the pretence of being a real person?

And why, once having obtained a reply, would they post it on “Alene's” blog, as happened with the above exchange? There are presently no definitive answers to these questions…

He has so much trouble with logic and reason (and human behavior!) that he thinks those mocking him for his gullibility are using that to “prove man made global warming is fake” when instead they are just enjoying the comeuppance of a pompous fool who lauded himself over them, called them names, and then was tricked by pandering false flattery.
There is also something unfunny about this issue, which has now been taken up by a tabloid blog. There is much hilarity among commenters there about how anyone could be gullible enough to believe that a seemingly troubled and challenged person was actually, well, a troubled and challenged person. By some leap of logic this “gullibility”, in turn, somehow disproves the science underlying global warming.

But wait, despite his confusion,” there is much that we can learn” (he says). He thinks there is a propaganda war against him when he’s the one on the team with billions of dollars, government ministries, a UN agency, major financial houses, and university “authority” (though he appears to be working to destroy whatever is left of that last one). Albeit unwittingly, it is he who is part of the propaganda team with the big bucks.
First, the use of sock puppets has demonstrably become a tool in Australia in what has often been described as a propaganda war on science and scientists. Second, there are surely ethical issues that arise when someone impersonates a distressed and disabled person for their own purposes, be it juvenile amusement or a failed attempt to cause embarrassment.

And here’s the logical clincher… the use of sock puppets supports the argument that climate sensitivity to CO2 is high: ( h/t Mattb) Here’s the grand irony, the man who stoops to ad hominem attacks (“they’re paid hacks”) and denies 850 peer reviewed papers (“skeptics don’t have evidence”) and 28 million weather balloons (“the science is unassailable”) thinks sceptics are the ones seeking refuge from reality.

Finally, it amplifies yet again what is obvious to most of us: the fact that the climate is changing and that human CO2 emissions are causing it is now unassailable by conventional scientific means, forcing some of those who cannot accept this discomforting fact to seek refuge in the ethical twilight of internet warfare.

Stephan thinks it’s a “fact” that CO2 is too blame, but the only fact he provides is, as usual, the opinions of a committee.

We know the US government uses sock-puppets, one fan of the Big Scare admitted to using spam bots to generate fake comments, and though I can’t prove anything, there have been plenty of anonymous commenters here who returned with different names to write hate-filled messages with unsubstantiated insults. There was also even one commenter who wrote 440 comments on this blog under his real name, in business hours, from a government office. - -
I presume Prof Lewandowsky did not mean to forget the original link to the Alene gotcha page he is referring to:

And since he knows the “deniers” are misinformed, “anti-science”, and confused, it seems odd that he also deleted the link in the quote from Alene’s original article (the one his whole article is about) that shows just how nasty those vile people can be. (It’s tricky to cut and paste directly isn’t it?)
The source of the scorn and ridicule that he bravely withstood:

- -

John Cook of un SkepticalScience quotes Gandhi, and feels like a victim too:
. deniers attack everyone indiscriminately from the lowly blogger to the most imminent climate scientists in the world. In fact, the level of attack that the climate scientists receive are the greatest – death threats, dead rats left on their door, legal harassment from conservative lawyers and ad hominem attack after ad hominem attack.

Has anyone ever seen a verified threat from a real skeptic? (And was it anything more than an angry commenter mouthing off, which no publicly known skeptic encourages.)

Remember, it was the bully believers of the AGW faith (mostly with salaries too) who threatened skeptics, “we know where you live”, they’re the ones who have paid up attack sites to smear respected scientists, and made a movie blowing up our children. The real bullies cry victim, but are happy to let their own attack dogs run.

My brief comment was sent in at 12.26 WST to the ABC site… The moderators must be overwhelmed coping with all the comments, I’m sure they’ll put one up soon. ;-)

UPDATE: The ABC are running scared from real debate again. My polite comment with links to the original Composta article, and links to my analysis of Lewandowsky is another ABC_Reject. (My comment was essentially the words between – - and – - above.)


Gillard failing to explain her carbon tax

JULIA Gillard is failing to explain her plans for a carbon tax to Queenslanders. In another sign that the Government is struggling to win the debate on climate change, a new Courier-Mail/Galaxy poll found more than half of the state's voters say they do not understand the carbon tax.

But the poll suggests there is still scope for the Government to win over voter support, with the 54 per cent of respondents who did not understand the tax unable to say whether it would be good or bad.

Only 28 per cent of the 800 respondents to the poll conducted last Thursday and Friday nights said they understood "the details and the implications of the tax".

A mere 14 per cent said they thought the carbon tax was "a positive step to reducing carbon emissions" despite admitting they did not understand the plans.

The poor poll results for Labor came as the Government's climate change adviser Ross Garnaut delivered more bad news about electricity prices.

Professor Garnaut warned households would face price rises of $4-5 a week if the Government adopts his recommendation of a $25-a-tonne price on carbon.

But he said even larger price spikes were in store unless there was tougher regulation of the energy sector. "The increase for the average household resulting from the carbon price will be about $4-$5 a week," Prof Garnaut said.

In his final update to his 2008 climate change review, Prof Garnaut yesterday said the impact of the carbon tax on electricity prices would be small compared to general electricity price rises. Electricity generators were allowed to price gouge and over-invest in poles and wires because of weak national regulation, he said. Consumer electricity bills have soared by 32 per cent in real terms over the past three years.

Prof Garnaut called for an urgent investigation into price gouging by energy companies.

New capital costs and higher coal and gas prices are likely to drive even faster price rises in the coming years, Prof Garnaut said. "It's quite likely that electricity prices would continue to rise in the period ahead with or without a carbon price," he said.

Prof Garnaut called for a new energy security watchdog to regulate the sector.

Electricity generators should also be offered loan guarantees by the Government to stop them being pushed out of business by the carbon tax, he said.

The report proposed a series of measures to promote competition, including a ban on mergers of large companies including Origin, TRUenergy and AGL.


1000-year vision fuels climate fight

TONY Abbott has leapt on a declaration by Tim Flannery - Julia Gillard's hand-picked salesman for action on climate change - that emissions abatement is a 1000-year proposition to renew his attacks on Labor's proposed carbon tax.

And Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has distanced himself from Professor Flannery's concession last week that even if all carbon emissions stopped today, it would take 1000 years for the atmosphere's average temperatures to drop. While Professor Flannery, a paleontologist who is also the Prime Minister's chief climate change commissioner, has expanded on his comments to insist the need for action in climate is urgent, his admission in a radio interview on Friday has compromised Labor's sales pitch on its carbon tax.

In the radio interview, Professor Flannery said: "If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow, the average temperature of the planet's not going to drop for several hundred years, perhaps over 1000 years."

In a letter to the editor of The Australian, submitted on Sunday, he expanded on the comments, saying his observation was not "an argument for complacency". But yesterday, as the role of the carbon tax in Labor's massive loss in the NSW election dominated federal political exchanges, Mr Abbott quoted Professor Flannery as he ridiculed the tax as "the ultimate millenium bug".

"It will not make a difference for 1000 years," the Opposition Leader told parliament. "So this is a government which is proposing to put at risk our manufacturing industry, to penalise struggling families, to make a tough situation worse for millions of households right around Australia. And for what? To make not a scrap of difference to the environment any time in the next 1000 years."

Mr Combet said through a spokeswoman that the Gillard government believed in the science of climate change and was determined to act. Asked whether Mr Combet backed Professor Flannery's comment, the spokeswoman said: "Professor Flannery is an independent person who leads an independent commission."

In his letter to The Australian, Professor Flannery wrote that if all major emitters adopted a similar level of effort to reach a 5 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020, and continued to "decarbonise" after that date, the global temperature rise would be capped at 2C later this century and that temperatures would begin to drop by the end of the century. "What we do in this decade will be crucial in determining whether we have a world we can live in at the end of the century."

Yesterday, Professor Flannery said he feared Mr Abbott had "quite wilfully misrepresented" his statements by failing to mention the letter. "I am extremely disappointed with the Leader of the Opposition," he told The Australian. "It is not responsible to delay action - that would cause future action to be more expensive. If nobody acts, we are in danger of seeing temperatures spiralling out of control . . . it is urgent we act this decade to lower emissions or we risk temperatures rising 4C this century."

He said both sides of politics had only eight years and nine months to deliver on the bipartisan commitment to lower Australia's carbon emissions to 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020. This would require "calm deliberation of the best measures of achieving the best outcome for our country".


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

School information valuable, even if not perfect

Jennifer Buckingham

Few people could have failed to notice the launch of the new, improved version of the My School website earlier this month. Featuring funding information on each and every school in Australia, the website sparked a predictable wave of attacks and counter attacks from the usual suspects and who used the very same data to support very different perspectives.

The best examples of statistical subterfuge were the headlines of the two major NSW broadsheets on the day the website went public. The Australian had ‘No class divide in school spending: Public matches private,’ while The Sydney Morning Herald went with ‘Independent schools spend more on their students, My School shows.’ Same data, different slant.

Sectoral interest groups also got in on the action. The Association of Independent Schools in NSW used My School data to illustrate the wide variation in funding in both the public and non-government school sectors. The NSW Teachers Federation took them to task, saying that higher than average levels of funding in some public schools reflect the greater needs of their students. Again, both are correct. School income levels at the extreme high end of the distribution are not representative of the majority of schools in either sector.

My School, like Wikileaks, is founded on the principle that although information might be abused, that is not sufficient reason to withhold it from the public. Unfortunately, My School has not enjoyed the same support Wikileaks has received from public intellectuals. And, in a strange twist, the NSW Coalition also took up the fight with the aim of restricting how private citizens access information.

Shadow education spokesman Adrian Piccoli lamented in a recent letter to the NSW Teachers Federation that legislation against newspapers publishing league tables has not been enforced.

My School will never perfectly encapsulate the value of a school and will never please everyone. The socioeconomic index developed to classify ‘like schools’ has not mollified the anti-My School brigade; it has just become the focus of even more criticism. Provision of school finance data as part of a deal struck with My School opponents in the early days of its development has created yet another bone of contention. Arguably, that’s the point.

Information is power, and now a little bit more of it is in the hands of parents and the public.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 25 March. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.

The abominable Qld. health bureaucracy again: Defies data directive over deaths in emergency departments

QUEENSLAND Health has defied a ruling from the state's Information Commissioner to release critical data about the state's hospitals. In an unprecedented move, Queensland Health has taken legal action to keep secret the information about deaths in public hospital emergency departments.

Earlier this month, Right to Information Commissioner Clare Smith ordered Queensland Health to hand over the information to The Courier-Mail following a long-running battle to better understand the state's overwhelmed emergency departments.

The Courier-Mail lodged an RTI application in July 2009, sparking a fierce reaction from the department, which appeared to end when Ms Smith said the performance of emergency departments was "an issue of serious interest to the Queensland public" and more scrutiny would help improve patient care.

"Disclosure of the information in issue will provide details of the type and scope of review of specific emergency department incidents," she said in her decision. "It will better inform the public about review practices when deaths occur in public hospitals and contribute to debate on the performance of QH emergency departments. "In this review I am satisfied that the significant public interest considerations favouring disclosure outweigh those favouring non-disclosure."

In its decision to deny access, Queensland Health argued information was exempt on the basis that it would compromise hospital procedures and it was contrary to the public interest.

Ms Smith rejected Queensland Health's submission that it would compromise the hospitals' reporting procedures because they were "mandatory" and The Courier-Mail was also "not seeking access to information that identifies medical staff (or the names of patients)."

Queensland Health has now gone to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal in a bid to stop the release of the information and to reverse the decision. It is the first time a government department has taken that action.

Editor of The Courier-Mail Michael Crutcher said the newspaper would continue to fight for the information.

The RTI application was originally part of an investigation which uncovered that Queensland Health was publicly counting tens of thousands of patients as being treated in emergency departments when they had walked out without seeing a doctor.

"When then Attorney-General Cameron Dick spoke last year of the importance of the Right to Information process, he said that greater access to government information helped contribute to well-informed public debate," Mr Crutcher said. "We agree with him."

Premier Anna Bligh replaced Freedom of Information laws with RTI in 2009, heralding her "open and accountable" Government.


Former ALP voters in NSW 'spooked' by carbon tax

JULIA Gillard's carbon tax may have saved two high-profile NSW ministers from a Greens' assault in inner Sydney, but the move exacerbated the revolt against the 16-year-old Labor regime in its own heartland.

In western and southern Sydney, mining areas and long-established industrial towns, factory workers, two-car families and low-income households swung more heavily against Labor than the NSW average.

Echoing their federal leader Tony Abbott, incoming Coalition MPs in NSW argue that traditional Labor voters were spooked by the prospect of job losses, higher petrol prices and rising household power bills from a carbon tax.

"The people of Bathurst sent the federal Labor government a strong message on Saturday: they are opposed to a carbon tax," victorious Nationals Paul Toole told The Australian.

Mr Toole secured a 36.6 per cent swing, the state's highest, to win the seat, three hours' drive west of Sydney. The electorate is home to coalminers, factory hands, power workers and farmers, and takes in regional towns such as Bathurst and Lithgow.

"An electorate dependent on mining and manufacturing was worried about job losses and that a rise in petrol and electricity costs would severely affect their quality of life," he said. "There are many rural communities in Bathurst, too, fearing a threat of higher fuel prices under a carbon tax."

The swing in 14 manufacturing seats lost by the ALP on Saturday was 21.4 per cent, compared with the state-wide movement of 17 per cent, with some of the highest voter shifts recorded in outer-Sydney factory hubs such as Smithfield, Riverstone, Mulgoa and Camden.

After the 2007 NSW poll, Labor held 27 of the top 30 seats ranked by proportion of manufacturing workers; that number is now 13, with Labor seats such as Wollongong, south of Sydney, and Toongabbie, in the city's northwest, now on tiny margins.

Last week, BlueScope Steel chairman Graham Kraehe warned that a carbon price could be a "tipping point" for the steel industry, which could fail to survive in Australia in 20 years under the wrong carbon pricing plan. In the NSW steel-belt, the swing against Labor was 24.5 per cent in Wollongong and 17.3 per cent in nearby Keira.

During the campaign, Barry O'Farrell was aided by Mr Abbott and drive-time radio announcers in raising the prospect of higher petrol prices and inadequate compensation for families from the Prime Minister's carbon tax, which is scheduled to begin in July next year.

The anti-Labor swing was even higher in the 20 seats that have the highest proportion of households with two or more cars. Labor lost 10 seats in these car-dependent electorates, with an average swing of 22 per cent.

Commuter electorates far from Sydney's CBD, such as Riverstone (30 per cent) in the north and Menai (27.5 per cent) in the south, recorded particularly large swings against Labor.

But in inner-west electorates, Labor sources say the carbon tax played a significant role in shoring up support among progressive voters who had lost heart with the party's inaction on climate change.

In Marrickville, retained by Labor's Carmel Tebbutt, the swing against the outgoing health minister was only 5.3 per cent.

"Hard-core Labor voters were looking for a reason to stick with Labor and Carmel's personal appeal and Gillard's carbon tax certainly helped," says a Labor insider. "As did the Greens candidate's mistakes."

In Balmain, the voter shift away from Verity Firth appeared to be even less than in neighbouring Marrickville, but it may not be enough to stave off defeat for the former education minister in a seat with a 3.5 per cent margin that has become a three-horse race in a tricky count.

These inner-urban voters, who have the highest rates of public transport use in NSW and very low levels of car ownership, and tend to live in smaller homes, seemed less perturbed about the threat of higher petrol and power costs.

The federal Opposition Leader told a special sitting of parliament yesterday that Labor's "toxic carbon tax" would add $500 to household power bills.

"Nothing could be more calculated to have sabotaged the NSW Labor government's re-election campaign than this utterly maladroit intervention by . . . a Prime Minister who wants to inflict a toxic tax on the people of Australia - a tax which is not only toxic to families' standard of living and not only toxic to jobs in manufacturing industries but utterly toxic to the re-election campaign."

Ms Gillard yesterday rejected the idea that Labor's heavy defeat in NSW was due to a backlash against the looming carbon tax.

"Let's just be a little bit practical about this; we're talking about a state election after 16 years," she said. "I think NSW voters had made up their mind a long time ago and I don't think that they made up their mind on the basis of events in the last few weeks."


Australian Climate Commission shirks debate

by Bob Carter

Last Friday night, five of Australia’s six Climate Commissioners participated in the Commission’s first public consultation meeting in Geelong. They were Tim Flannery, Will Steffen, Lesley Hughes (all scientists), Roger Beale (environmental policy analyst) and Gerry Hueston (businessman); Commissioner Susannah Elliott (science communication) was not in attendance.

Australia already has an expensive federal Ministry of Climate Change, so why do we also need a new Climate Commission? Good question. The terms of reference of the Climate Commission are to:

* Explain the science of climate change and the impacts on Australia.

* Report on the progress of international action dealing with climate change.

Explain the purpose and operation of a carbon price and how it may interact with the Australian economy and communities.
Interestingly, only one of these terms of reference concerns science. Of course, if there is no science problem then by definition there is no economic or political problem. So the inclusion of two economic and political terms of reference indicates that the government’s view is that “the science is settled” – which won’t surprise anyone.

Similarly unsurprising, but nonetheless disappointing, is that all five of the Commissioners who attended the Geelong meeting manifested an alarmist view of global warming and its speculated human cause – industrial carbon dioxide emissions --- rather than presenting as even-handed dispensers of scientific and technical truth.

The scientific background to the Geelong meeting is this. Within the bounds of error, average global temperature hasn’t increased since 1995 (15 years) and temperature has actually been falling slightly since 2001 (10 years). Meanwhile, over the last ten years atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased by 5%.

The conclusion is obvious. More carbon dioxide is not causing dangerous warming. Indeed, and despite it being an undoubted greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide emissions are not currently producing any measurable (as opposed to theoretical) warming at all.

There thus being no established scientific problem, about half of what the Climate Commissioners had to say in Geelong (about carbon dioxide taxes and related industry, employment and social issues) can be put aside – for it concerned non-solutions to a non-problem in aid of which has been proposed a non-justifiable new tax.

This leaves as the key issue the matter of what the Commissioners had to say about the scientific evidence for dangerous global warming. Perhaps they were going to share with us some new evidence or insights?

No such luck. What the audience got instead was a mish-mash of misinformation, much of it derived from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and discussion of which signally failed to distinguish between the undoubtedly real problems associated with natural climate change and the hypothetical problems that might or might not result from human-caused warming - should such ever manifest itself.

To begin with, the Commissioners consistent use of the word “carbon” when “carbon dioxide” was meant, and “climate change” when “dangerous global warming caused by human-carbon dioxide emissions” was meant, indicated the degree to which their views are aligned with the Greens’ carefully honed propaganda view of the world. Using this type of prejudicial language in any discussion on global warming is a litmus test for a lack of balance and perspective by the perpetrators.

Here is a small selection of some of the other incorrect technical statements, and their implications, that were made by the commissioners.

Assertion: Human-caused global warming is continuing, and we are in danger of seeing it augmented by positive feedback loops.

Reality: There is no direct evidence that the mild warming that occurred between 1979 and 1998 was mostly, or even measurably, a result of human carbon dioxide emissions, despite the pseudo-scientific assertion to that effect by the IPCC.

Second, there has been no global warming at all for the last 15 years despite, the operation throughout of the self-same feedback loops.

Assertion: Industrial carbon dioxide emissions are currently ~300 billion tonnes annually and they need to be limited to ~700 billion tonnes in future to stabilize the temperature at no more than 2 deg. C above the pre-industrial temperature.

Reality: There is no evidence that a 2 deg. C warming (which would take the planet back to about the temperature levels of the Climatic Optimum that occurred about 10,000 years ago) would be damaging for the environment, or for human activities in any substantial way that we couldn’t adapt to.

And, even should natural global warming resume in the future, as it very well may as part of a continuing bounce back from the hostile conditions of the Little Ice Age, there is no certainty that restricting carbon dioxide emissions will do anything to halt the rise. First, because of the diminishing warming effectiveness of every increment of carbon dioxide that is added to the atmosphere, and second because the assumed efficacy of limiting emissions to 700 billion tonnes is a projection of computer models that are known to be faulty.

Assertion: The Great Barrier Reef has experienced about 7-10 bleaching events since 1979. No bleaching events are known before this, and the events result when the ocean temperature SST rises about 1 deg. above the summer long term temperature. If we keep going, the reef will bleach every year by 2030.

Reality: Bleaching events on coral reefs are caused less by regional ocean warming per se than they are by the localised warming that occurs in areas and times of low wind conditions.

Bleaching events have been reported since 1979 because it is only after that date that a network of scientific observers was established on the reef. There is no evidence that any of these events was due to human activity, and to suggest that no similar natural events occurred before 1979 is silly.

In any case, the sea surface temperature of the Great Barrier Reef shows no change over the last 30 years, and the speculation that the reef will bleach every year by 2030 doubtless represents the projection of another of those legendary, and legendarily wrong, computer models.

In his introductory remarks to the Geelong meeting, Commission Chairman Tim Flannery stressed that his commission was independent from government direction, and was “determined not to deliver political spin”. Professor Flannery added that Australia “needs a clear, level-headed debate on the core issues” of the global warming matter.

Using those statements as criteria, how well did the Commission’s performance at Geelong stack up? Readers have probably instantly judged the answer to that question for themselves, but here’s my take.

First, and remembering that THE core issue is the scientific evidence regarding global warming, while Professor Flannery may want a clear debate, some of his commissioners deny that any debate exists, or has for 20 years; collectively, their attitudes also seem aimed at continuing to prevent one. Second, most of the examples of commissioners’ arguments discussed above may not represent “political spin” but they most certainly represent “scientific spin” of the most egregious type.

In essence, Australia’s new Climate Commissioners are simply peddling long discredited arguments about global warming that have been made for 15 years by the IPCC, all of which are carefully crafted to demonize human carbon dioxide emissions. Most of these arguments carry a political overtone, and most are espoused also by Australia’s current government, which makes it a little difficult to see how Professor Flannery is going to be able to exercise his Commission’s claimed independence.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Hospitals pay $6000 for Kiwi weekend warriors

A CHRONIC doctor shortage in NSW has led to the rise of fly-in, fly-out locums from New Zealand and interstate who are increasingly covering shifts that cannot be filled with locals.

Some weekend warriors, as they are called, will fly in from New Zealand on a Friday, work two days and fly home on Monday, pocketing $6000 or more for their efforts.

Recruitment agencies that specialise in locum placements say business is booming – with most of the demand coming from emergency departments in regional NSW. The NSW government spent $59 million on locums for regional areas in the 2009-10 financial year.

Local doctors have expressed concern about the spiralling cost, saying they are willing to do locum work but are effectively stopped by NSW Health policy. Sally McCarthy, president of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, said increased regulation now required doctors working in public hospitals to seek permission from NSW Health before undertaking locum work.

"Often that permission is not forthcoming or it's extremely slow and there is a lot of paperwork involved," Dr McCarthy said. "That means for doctors who may be available to work one or two shifts, it's not worth the effort for them to ask for that permission."

New regulations on locums were introduced three years ago to prevent doctors working dangerously long hours, to exercise greater control over pay rates and to ensure they were qualified to do the work they were given.

"Effectively all it has done is make it impossible to employ locums in certain hospitals," Dr McCarthy said. "Doctors will fly interstate and work for another state if they want to do extra work. Similarly, you'll have doctors flying into NSW from other states to do locum work here. It's crazy."

The greater regulation of the locum market was introduced after a 2005 study found it was costing NSW Health $35 million more to employ locums than hire permanent staff. While there have had been benefits, Dr McCarthy said the increased paperwork required had proved to be an impediment.

"One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Australian Medical Association president Andrew Pesce said the increased regulation ensured locums were qualified for the work they performed and were not working dangerously long hours. However, he agreed it would be better to use locals.

"Obviously it costs a bit more to fly people in from other states or from New Zealand," Dr Pesce said. "In general you would think if you have a local workforce that's willing to provide a service, it would be better to use them. It really fails the commonsense test."

NSW Health defends its use of interstate and overseas locums, saying they are essential to keeping services running.

'2018;There is a worldwide shortage of medical staff that is affecting NSW as it is everywhere else in the world," a spokeswoman said. "Our priority is to provide the best possible care for patients in need and it is sometimes necessary to provide locum medical officers both from within and outside the state to maintain services, particularly in rural and remote areas and busy emergency departments."

Locums working at remote hospitals in NSW were generally paid more than twice as much as those in metropolitan hospitals. Rates for specialists were higher and hospitals were willing to cover flights and accommodation, said Kerrie Dudley, the director of a NSW recruitment agency, Antipodean Medical Recruitment.

"There are plenty of New Zealand doctors who are happy to do it," she said. "Especially consultants, they'll come over for a long weekend, no problem.

"They can leave New Zealand at 6 that morning and start a shift in Sydney or just outside in an area like the Blue Mountains, Gosford or Wyong – they can start at 10am. It's become quite a common thing."

Sam Hazledine, managing director of New Zealand agency MedRecruit, said caps on locum pay rates introduced in New Zealand last year had encouraged the flow to Australia.

"Since then, our doctors on average can earn twice as much in Australia," Dr Hazledine said. "If you take the exchange rate into account it's even more. We have seen a big net migration of locum doctors to Australia."

He said: "There is the weekend warrior phenomenon. You would have people heading over to Australia to work for the weekend, make $5000 or $10,000, and then fly back."

But now the trend was for New Zealanders to seek longer-term locum positions.

"It works out well for the doctor because they are in a place they love earning great money; it works out well for the hospital because they are securing the doctor for a long time."

New Zealander Jason Pascoe took a locum position in Port Macquarie last year and has since taken another as an emergency doctor in Bega.

"The money is better here," Dr Pascoe said. "I had plenty of friends from New Zealand who had come over here and had positive things to say, so I came over and so far it's been really good."


Anglicans lose the plot

Next thing they'll be ditching that fusty old-fashioned Bible

THE inscription on June Cameron's family prayer book commemorates her aunt's confirmation at St Clement's Anglican Church in Marrickville in 1910.

Mrs Cameron was married in the Gothic Revival-style church. So was her daughter. But most of her children and grandchildren have since left the area. And now, at 81 years old, she has finally been moved along as well.

"It's sort of devastating, all of a sudden. To have them do this," she said. "It isn't just the church's history - it's blooming well mine. And that's what I object to."

Mrs Cameron was part of the congregation at St Clement's moved out of the historic building last month, when its Sunday prayer book service was replaced with an "informal" service held in a shopfront next door.

For many among the congregation it was yet another sign that church leaders viewed them as incompatible with the future envisioned for St Clement's, which would aim to increase attendance by restyling the parish to suit a modern congregation.

Other groups, including a flourishing Chinese congregation and a "church plant", or introduced congregation that joined the parish in 2009, hold their services in the church.

"We were excluded because we didn't fit in. And our idea of a service didn't fit in," Mrs Cameron said.

The organist of 35 years was told in January her services were no longer required; the parish recently added a new jazz group.

Long-time parishioner Ken Turner said the group had shrunk from about 45 to 15, as many opted to leave rather than fight the changes - which increased following the election of last year's parish council, under its part-time rector, Reverend Campbell King.

At the annual vestry meeting yesterday, the traditional congregation did not have the numbers to get any members elected to the new parish council.

Last month the parish submitted a development application to Marrickville Council - with the approval of the diocese - to remove the pews to increase space "for standing, dancing and singing-style congregations". The application suggested the baptismal font could be moved to accommodate a cafe.

The Heritage Council of NSW this week advised council the application was "lacking in its assessment of the heritage significance of the site".

Mr Turner said he complained about the removal of the pews, and the Archdeacon of Liverpool, Ian Cox, asked him to let the matter rest.

Mr Cox said the parish was seeking new ways to connect with the community and its decisions were no different to those being made in other "rapidly changing suburbs". [Marrickville is an old suburb but it has had a lot of Southern Europeans for years. How come it is "rapidly changing"?]


Power generator tells academic climate adviser to get real

ELECTRICITY producers have called on the Gillard government's chief climate change adviser to drop "undergraduate rhetorical devices" and develop "real world" policy about power generation that doesn't damage the economy.

One of Australia's biggest electricity generators, InterGen, has challenged Ross Garnaut to change his position on not compensating power companies for asset value destruction under a carbon tax. Brent Gunther, managing director of InterGen, which produces 16 per cent of Queensland's electricity, has declared that Professor Garnaut's arguments have "missed the point" about financial damage to companies under a carbon price.

He joins several senior business figures in speaking out against the carbon tax proposed to start on July 1 next year.

Mr Gunther says, in an article published in The Australian today, that Professor Garnaut's position on compensating power companies under the Rudd government's carbon pollution reduction scheme would have resulted in "major damage to the national electricity market" and was a "prescription that will end up damaging the Australian economy".

Professor Garnaut "needs to deliver real-world solutions, not high-level principles that assume away problems", Mr Gunther writes.

Professor Garnaut will release another major discussion paper on electricity generation and the carbon tax tomorrow, but signalled last week he had not changed his position from 2008, when he argued there were no grounds for compensation for electricity generators.

He said that, although assistance to emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries was needed to avoid unfair competition between Australian emitters and those in countries without a carbon price, this should not be confused with providing support for loss of profits or asset value.

"Any fall in asset value stemming from the internalisation of the carbon externality (through pricing carbon) creates no greater case for compensation than other government reforms to reduce other externalities, such as the introduction of measures to discourage smoking, control the use of asbestos or phase out lead in petrol" Professor Garnaut said.

Mr Gunther says the comments suggest Professor Garnaut's discussion paper tomorrow will be a "prescription based on a simplistic and superficial understanding of the power sector - a prescription that will end up damaging the Australian economy".

The InterGen chief also says that asset value losses for electricity companies raise the prospect of state governments having to direct "a power station to keep operating if things ever got bad".

In 2009, as a result of Professor Garnaut's recommendations, the Rudd government indicated it would provide $7.3 billion over 10 years to the power sector for the impact of an emissions trading scheme.

This was after commissioning a report from investment bank Morgan Stanley that highlighted generators would be unable to pass on to consumers the impact of a carbon price on their asset losses.

"At a time when the economic debate in Australia is starting to refocus on how to enhance productivity, the importance of the national electricity market should never be underestimated," Mr Gunther says.

He says the energy sector wants to "develop a solution", as did Climate Change Minister Greg Combet and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson.

Last week in parliament, Mr Ferguson, said: "A highly efficient energy-driven system has been the key to the Australian economy.

"The Australian energy market is actually held up as the most efficient in the OECD world.

"It is estimated that over $17bn of capital is required for powerhouse generation assets - that is, refinancing, capital expenditure and new build over the next five years."


Straddling black fella and white fella law

Sara Hudson

Bess Nungarrayi Price, an activist against violence and chairwoman of the Northern Territory’s Indigenous Affairs Advisory Council, gave a moving talk at CIS this week about the problems faced by Central Australian Indigenous communities.

Price described a typical week in her life. How every day, a member of her family was either the victim of violence or the perpetrator of crime. How a young relative committed suicide because the boy she liked was from the wrong skin group and she was forbidden to see him. How another young woman was gang raped but no one in the community did anything about it. The perpetrators were from the right skin group, and the young woman could not report the crime to police for fear of retribution.

Women in traditional aboriginal culture are subordinate to men and Price herself has had her life threatened for speaking out about these injustices.

Too many people romanticise Aboriginal culture. The ‘Disneyland’ idea of culture is holding Aboriginal people back. It fosters the belief that Aboriginal people do not need to adapt, to learn English, and become educated. While there is much about traditional Aboriginal culture that is worth continuing and maintaining, Price feels that Aboriginal law needs to be adapted to fit with ‘white fella’ laws.

When Aboriginal people follow their own law, they break ‘white fella’ law; when they follow ‘white fella’ law, they break their own laws. Price explained how only Aboriginal people have the power to change their laws, but they need white people to help them by really talking about these issues with them.

Lawyers are using traditional culture as an excuse to get their clients off charges or to receive more lenient sentences. Recognition of traditional culture was introduced to counteract institutional racism in the criminal justice system. But it is rewarding the perpetrators of crime, not the victims.

Most of the crimes committed by Aboriginal people are intra-racial – and it is Aboriginal women who bear the brunt of men’s violence. Human rights groups protest against honour killings in other countries but turn a blind eye to the injustices taking place in their own backyard for fear of being labelled a racist.

Price’s plea was that we need to stop being afraid to speak up and to stop using culture as an excuse for crimes.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 25 March. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Earth hour

Anne and I celebrated Earth hour yesterday in appropriate style. Everybody was supposed to turn all their lights out at 8:30 pm.

So at 8.30pm I turned on every light in the house and Anne served up our dinner on my verandah. We had Forfar Bridies from Syd's, with salad, and they were of course excellent. We washed them down with some Wynn's Coonawarra Shiraz

I live within earshot of "The Gabba", one of the holy grounds of cricket. They had a well-attended (judging by the roars of the crowd) football match there last night. It was of course held under huge floodlights. And they certainly were not turned off at 8.30pm. Thank goodness for sporting Australians.

"Historic" is a much-overused word

But sometimes it is literally true. The crooks of Sussex St. have finally got their comeuppance

Barry O'Farrell vowed to make "New South Wales number one again" after securing a thumping election victory last night. With voters delivering a brutal verdict on 16 years of tumultuous ALP rule in NSW, a measured Mr O'Farrell reached out to many Labor supporters who abandoned their party in spectacular fashion.

The incoming premier vowed to govern for everyone in the state. "There are many people who voted ... who have never done anything except vote Labor," he said. "We will deliver."

The scandal-plagued Labor Government suffered a devastating record-breaking loss, described by the party's campaign boss Luke Foley as "cataclysmic - I mean it's a bloodbath". Premier Kristina Keneally conceded defeat at 9pm, and immediately stood down as leader, after presiding over the shocking defeat.

After a whopping 17 per cent swing against it, Labor could be left with just 17 MPs in the 93 seat parliament as the Coalition swept through previously safe ALP areas in Sydney's western suburbs, and in the Illawarra and the Hunter regions.

On a two-party preferred basis, the Coalition - won 63.9 per cent of the vote, compared to Labor's 36.1 per cent.

So resounding was the victory - picking up at least 29 seats - Mr O'Farrell, the 52-year-old former political staffer who has spent the past 15 years in parliament in opposition. said the Coalition "won seats we never dreamed of ever winning".

Mr O'Farrell also vowed to take the fight to federal Labor in Canberra over the carbon tax, which the Liberals claimed was a key flashpoint in many Labor electorates.


Another landslide coming up?

I am a great admirer of Major Newman. He has been a great mayor for Brisbane. He is a former Duntroon man and Duntroon men are are among Australia's finest

QUEENSLANDERS appear to be supporting Campbell Newman's bid to become premier, with a new poll indicating the opposition LNP could have a landslide victory in the next state election.

A Galaxy poll in The Sunday Mail says that with Mr Newman as leader, the LNP has extended its two-party preferred lead over Labor to a massive 16 per cent.

The 58-42 result follows recent internal polling by the LNP which put them ahead 52-48 with former leader John-Paul Langbroek at the helm.

If the boost was to be translated at the next election, due in March next year, it would result in the government losing 33 seats. An overwhelming majority of those polled also preferred Mr Newman over Anna Bligh as premier. Mr Newman recorded 51 per cent support in the preferred premier stakes compared with Ms Bligh's 38 per cent.

The leadership switch has knocked the wind out of Premier Bligh's comeback following the cyclone and the floods. Only late last month a poll showed she gained 23 percentage points as preferred premier to hold a 58-33 lead over Mr Langbroek.


A nation-shaping event?

Piers Akerman

NSW delivered a tectonic shift in Australian politics yesterday - a shift so dynamic it has the capacity to alter the cultural course of the nation for the next decade and longer.

Most noticeable will be the obvious power shift between the states and the Gillard federal government.

On Friday, there were two conservative state governments. Tomorrow, there will be three - and they have the palpable capacity to dominate the national debate.

Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania are no match for Western Australia, Victoria and NSW in terms of economies, populations or sheer competence and governance.

The shift in political gravity provides the opportunity for a reversal of the Green-Left cultural drift that has been accelerated with the connivance of the Rudd-Gillard governments and their cohorts of morally self-righteous doctors' wives and culturally detached inner-urban activists.

During the last week of federal parliament, Gillard and her minions demonstrated their understanding of this new reality.

The Prime Minister led Labor into a series of responses to her fatally flawed carbon-dioxide tax from a wholly reactionary position.

Her huge election lie on the tax was just a part of it.

In so markedly moving from her "there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead" position, she felt it would be timely to attempt to project a whole series of new political and moral positions, all of them totally contrary to her previous stances on the same issues.

The woman who for many years was a member of the Communist-inspired Socialist Forum now maintains she is actually a cultural conservative.

The atheist politician who presided over the formulation of a curriculum that would strip the discussion of the influence of Christianity on Western civilisation from the school system now says all schools should teach stories from the Bible.

Gillard has even argued for the sanctity of marriage, even though she hasn't entered into matrimony with the man she lives with in The Lodge - perhaps the polls haven't fallen far enough for that paradigm to shift.

She wants the public to believe she thinks the Greens are extremists, but is unwilling to distance herself from them because she needs their support to hang on to power - while at the same time, she excoriates Opposition Leader Tony Abbott for appearing at a rally at which a handful of odd bods held up dissonant posters, and shrilly shrieks that he must dissociate himself from such uninvited attendees at a mass rally.

Gillard is fighting from an uncomfortable corner. She cannot claim any mandate to introduce a carbon-dioxide tax because both parties pledged not to introduce such a tax at the last election, and both parties said they would not introduce an emissions-trading scheme until the country indicated it was ready.

The Coalition made it clear it would not adopt a new tax that would harm the economy.

Labor said it would wait until there was a "consensus" and hired climate alarmist Tim Flannery to head a propaganda team to run its fear-mongering campaign.

Gillard broke her promise and adopted the position of the Greens, who hold just one Lower House seat and favour a number of policies that most Australians would find nauseating.

Her reversal has nothing to do with the environment, as it's now accepted by every economic expert, including those from Treasury, that a carbon-dioxide tax in Australia will have no effect on the planet's temperature.

Gillard's position, and that of her government, is designed wholly to attack Tony Abbott and destroy his leadership of the Opposition. So far, it has had the opposite effect.

Apart from the two or three disaffected malcontents who would be happier in the left wing of the ALP, the party room is revelling in the Opposition's higher profile.

The doctors' wives being courted by Gillard are probably too preoccupied with self-serving good works to understand this or the true rancid nature of the Greens, but the inner-urban Green-Left activists know full well the repellent content of the revolting Green agenda.

In the outpouring of faux outrage that followed Wednesday's No Carbon Tax rally in Canberra, Greens leader Bob Brown sent a note to Gillard in which he confected an apology on behalf of unnamed Australians who may have been offended by a few posters.

As stunts went, it was low-grade, but it served to remind observers, including Tasmania's Senator Eric Abetz, that Brown had not only insulted US president George W. Bush when he visited Australia but that Brown and his party have embraced anti-American, anti-Israeli conspiracists who maintain the fiction that the terrorist attack the World Trade Center towers was a US-Zionist plot.

The Greens voted against a motion in the Senate on Wednesday that acknowledged Israel is a legitimate and democratic state and a good friend of Australia, and denounced the boycott of Israel by the Green-dominated Marrickville Council.

Brown and the NSW Greens have also attempted to deny their support for the boycott of Israeli products, even though ex-Communist and Greens senator-elect Lee Rhiannon was responsible for a motion supported at the NSW Greens' conference last December.

It proposed that Australia and its government "boycott Israeli goods, trading and military arrangements, sporting, cultural and academic events".

Such is the sheer insanity of Gillard's reliable partners in government.

This is the culture that has corrupted much of the nation's education system. This is the culture that must be reversed. Restoring NSW is the first step; restoring Australia must be the goal.


Unrepentant education bureaucrats in NSW

Casey Heyne's school, Chifley College, cleared in wake of viral video. The bureaucrats think it is enough to give a kid "support" after he has been attacked when what is needed is protection from attack. And they're not backing down one bit. Let's hope the new NSW government enforces more compassionate policies

THE Department of Education has cleared Chifley College of condoning a bullying culture, despite its principal allowing more than 60 incident reports involving Casey Heynes to stack up.

The Year 10 student shot to international fame last week when a video of him fighting back against a schoolyard bully at his western Sydney public school went viral. The 16-year-old is seen pressed against a wall taking punches and taunts from a small Year 7 boy, Ritchard Gale, before snapping and throwing him to the ground.

During an interview with A Current Affair, Casey claimed he wrote between 60 and 70 incident reports to the school about the bullying, yet never got a break from the harassment.

A department spokesman said Chifley College principal Tim Jones would not be disciplined because he had done nothing wrong, The Sunday Telegraph reports.

The spokesman admitted there were students who had been repeatedly abused by bullies but said the department was satisfied the Doonside school provided adequate support to the victims. "Students who are subject to repeated bullying receive regular specialist and individual support," he said. "The school supports students who report being bullied. The students are supported by a full-time counsellor, additional year advisers and peer mediators."

The department has also gagged the media from asking questions directly of Mr Jones or any teachers at Chifley College about the 60 reported complaints of bullying. But speaking on the condition of anonymity, a school source said Casey's incident reports had been ignored.

The department spokesman said every report filed to the principal had been addressed. He would not detail how these had been addressed or how many reports had been received, but said the school had several ways to resolve instances of bullying. These included disciplinary action, self-esteem programs, counsellor intervention and support and learning plans, as well as access to community support agencies. [Bullsh*t, in other words]

Despite none of these methods helping Casey, the spokesman was adamant the school had done nothing wrong and had no need to overhaul its response to bullying.

The video has sparked calls for stronger supervision. "The overwhelming bulk of bullying happens during recess and lunchtime, when students are not being supervised. We need more supervision, more staff in the playground," Parents and Citizens Federation spokeswoman Sharryn Brownlee said.

"The duty of care is all day, not just in your classroom."


Baby dies after expectant mother waits five hours for a room at Osborne Park Hospital

THE Health Department is investigating whether the tragic death of a baby at a Perth hospital could have been averted. It is alleged the expectant mum, known as Lilli, was forced to wait in an emergency department after her waters broke, only to be told five hours later when she finally got a room that her baby had died inside her.

President of the National African Women's Council of Australia, Casta Tungaraza, was supporting Lilli as she left hospital today. Dr Tungaraza said the heavily pregnant 21-year-old was attending an antenatal clinic at Osborne Park Hospital on Tuesday with her two-year-old son when her waters broke. She was surprised because her baby girl wasn’t due for three weeks.

She got to the emergency department at about 11am and doctors asked that she be put in a room and monitored, as is the practice with women who have gone into labour. However there were none available and she was told to wait in the emergency room while experiencing contractions. She remembers her baby was still kicking and seemingly fine.

Five hours later when a room became available, an ultrasound was taken and it was discovered that the baby had died.

Lilli had to be induced to give birth to her baby daughter despite the fact she had died. Lilli believes if she had been in a room earlier and the proper checks were being made her baby could have been saved.

She was being comforted today by members of Perth’s African community

A spokesperson for the North Metropolitan Area Health Service told PerthNow: “We express our condolences to the family for their loss. "Due to patient confidentiality we cannot comment on specific patient details at this time. However, we are now in the process of fully investigating this matter.”