Sunday, April 02, 2017

African Melbourne again

There's nothing like a bit of multicultural vibrancy

A Melbourne woman woke up to find five men armed with wooden stakes and machetes surrounding her bed – who threatened to kill her if she didn't give them money.

The woman's terrifying ordeal was revealed by her father Tony who spoke to 3AW's Neil Mitchell about the 'brazen attack.'

He said the men, who looked African, stormed into his daughter's shared house in Greensborough by kicking in the door.

Tony said the men 'kicked their door in, entered her bedroom towering over the top of her with wooden stakes demanding money.'

He added: 'They kept saying, 'if you don't give us your money, we're going to kill you.'

When his daughter handed over her money, Tony said they ransacked the property with machetes.

They also stole car keys and made their getaway in 'two or three' cars – including his daughter's.



How governments have destroyed the world’s most efficient energy market

The nation’s energy policy is in the hands of ideological tyros.

At the federal level Malcolm Turnbull is running the show with the equally green evangelist, his Departmental Secretary Martin Parkinson.

At the state level, we have a Victorian Government desperately promoting wind, to match Greens policies in the hope of retaining threatened inner city seats, while also killing coal, conspiring with the Liberals to close down gas supplies and otherwise using the electricity supply system to provide favours to key support groups.  And in South Australia we have a Premier who has drunk deeply from the well of Commonwealth subsidies, declared his jurisdiction at the cutting edge of the global renewable movement and, in denial of the evidence, is desperately trying to demonstrate the wisdom of this.

Electricity supply.

In a statement plumbing the depths of credibility, the electricity market manager, AEMO, maintains that  the closure of Hazelwood will not compromise the security of the Victoria electricity system nor the broader National Electricity Market (NEM) next summer.  Looking around it says that there are adequate supply sources available to cover the loss of Hazelwood’s 1600 MW of reliable baseload power.

Hazelwood’s closure takes out 11 per cent of the Victorian-South Australian capacity of fossil and hydro availability, 19 per cent of the total if the now short supplies of gas are excluded.  Hazelwood’s closure, having already triggered a doubling of the average wholesale price, places supply on a knife edge, especially when the 2900 MW of wind is not available.

In its final analysis of the events leading to the September 2016 South Australian black-out, AEMO re-affirms that the failure of the wind generators was the cause.  It argues that there are measures that can be taken to mitigate this.  Among these are payments to consumers to lower demand at crucial times and re-engineering the grid to accommodate the policy-induced reduction in fossil fuel energy.

One such proposed grid re-engineering is the South Australian plan to spend $150 million on short term battery storage.  But this would provide a buffer of just 4 seconds; fully supplying itself with wind energy buttressed by battery storage would according to Miskelly and Quirk cost $180 billion – about twice South Australia’s Gross State Product!

South Australia deliberately chose to close off its options of retaining a back-up supply of coal when it prevented the Northern power station from remaining open.  It now says it will build a new gas plant at a cost of $350 million to be used as a reserve unit only.  Good luck with getting the gas for this and in getting a return for the state citizen owners!

South Australia also intends to over-ride the AEMO allocation of electricity between different jurisdictions to ensure that power is delivered from Victoria in time of need.  Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosia may be clueless in the economics of electricity supply but she understands the political penalty of Victoria facing black-outs due to electricity being exported to another jurisdiction.  And so the national market would quickly unravel into state autarkies, at least until the Commonwealth invokes Freedom of Trade provisions of the Constitution (s 92) and takes over the market management.

Malcolm Turnbull’s “nation-building” proposals to create a pump storage scheme for the Snowy is an alternative to batteries smoothing the supply but, by losing 20 per cent of available energy in the pumping process, actually reduces the available resource.  Snowy Hydro already has pumped storage and has the option of increasing this but has never done so simply because it makes no commercial sense.  Turnbull’s costing of his proposal at $2 billion is ridiculous and the five year time frame would outlive his tenure of office.

Energy retailing: a smoke screen for policy incompetence

Perhaps under orders, Energy Minister Frydenberg has given the ACCC, under Rod Sims an institution marked by hostility to normal market operations, a task of finding out if the retailers are price gouging.  Frydenberg has cited an analysis from the government’s political adversaries at the Grattan Institute in support of this, saying there could be savings of $250 million a year for Victoria alone if the market was working properly.

With more retailers than in any other electricity market in the world, and with easy entry and smaller retailers going out of business, monopolistic price gouging possibilities defy rational analysis.

The cause of retail margin increase are solidly down to government regulations which involve costs that must be passed on.  Among these for Victoria are:

“Customer protection” requirements and hardship provisions
Disallowance of exit fees

Requirement to pay above market rates for solar buy-back

Support for the compulsory roll-out of “smart” metering

Various regulatory requirements to offer long life lighting and other virtue-signalling favours to customers

The fact is that government policy forcing the replacement of reliable coal plant by unreliable wind at three times the cost is at the heart of the energy crisis we face and Commonwealth measures along these lines are exacerbated by those of the states.

The Trump administration is pushing ahead with policies that will reduce energy costs.  Australia by contrast remains on the path of further penalizing coal and incurring additional costs to facilitate the growth of wind which already requires a subsidy that provides it a price three times that of coal power.  These policies are already exacting huge costs on consumers and industry.


Student racism ousts news editor at Australian National University paper

The unending Leftist obsession with race again

When Alex Joske was elected late last year to the board of ANU student newspaper Woroni, he was proud and excited about how as news editor he would transform its coverage to make it more professional and relevant to the students who ultimately paid for it.

Joske, a hard-news aficionado who had been a reporter on the paper covering stories such as Chinese government influence on campus, felt he could steer Woroni towards solid news-breaking and beyond what he saw as the editorial board’s preoccupation with gender politics, ethnicity, the nuances of being gay, and tips from its sex correspondent.

It all ended in tears last month when Joske decided he had no ­allies on the paper and was beating his head against a brick wall in trying to promote professional journalism. The last straw for Joske, who is half-­Chinese, was when the editorial board commissioned a special issue to be written and edited only by ­“ethnocultural self-­identifying students”, excluding any involvement of students who were white Anglo-Celts.

The plans for a non-white ­ethnocultural issue, to be published on May 1, has ignited fierce debate on campus about ­ethnicity, freedom of speech and alleged reverse discrimination, with some parallels with the storm raging in federal politics about the ­Coalition’s attempt to change section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Joske remonstrated with one of the Woroni editors. “I said, ‘most of my reporters are white’,” he said. “She said, ‘well, I’m so sorry, I guess you’ll have to get some ethnocultural reporters for that edition’.”

Joske quit; he was not going to start selecting reporters on the basis of race designated by the editorial board as acceptable.

In his letter of resignation to fellow editors, Joske, who spent part of his childhood in China, wrote of how he knew about being a bullied racial minority, having been called a “mixed-blood dumb” something-or-other. “I lived an outsider in Beijing for almost seven years and know more than a little about discrimination,” Joske wrote in his resignation letter. “It disturbs me to see Woroni leap to discriminate under the banner of a corrupted and misguided conception of ­tolerance and diversity.”

Student Nick Blood said he was an earlier victim of Woroni’s “institutionalised discrimination” when the editorial board called for opinion pieces to “break the echo chamber” following the election of US President Donald Trump. Five students sent in contributions for what was called the “Echo 360” project, which were in turn sent to each other for comments. But then the process stopped, Blood said, when “something strange happened”. The sub-editor in charge of the section said there was a concern about “a lack of diversity with the authors we had so far”.

Blood questioned the sub-­editor and established the perceived problem was “not about diversity of opinion” of the contributions, but the fact that they all came from white male students.

That was bad enough, Blood said, but it became worse, when “the discrimination I experienced individually, was extended institutionally, to a full paper”.

Woroni last month announced plans for “our very first ethnocultural edition”. It posted on its Facebook page: “For our 5th edition, we will be taking on a team of guest sub-editors who identify as Ethnocultural and we will be sourcing contributions solely from students on campus who identify as Ethnocultural.”

The issue was to be organised with ANU’s Ethnocultural ­Department. One of its members, Aditi Razdan, expanded on the call for four temporary sub-­editors in a Facebook post: “Only students of the ANU who identify as ‘ethnocultural’ (self identifies as a person of colour/minority ethnocultural background/Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander, and may have been marked by white supremacy) can apply.”

The call drew a flurry of posts, mostly negative. Ollie Webeck posted: “What kind of mental gymnastics is required to think that excluding 85 per cent of the population is conducive to constructive dialogue.” This attracted 32 “likes”.

Shamim Mazari wrote: “So basically, an issue of Woroni which excludes white contributors as a matter of principle? I don’t see how that’s a good idea.”

Jacob Li posted: “Because being marginalised just isn’t quite enough, minorities must now also be patronised … this kind of ­tokenism and gross generalisation of people is actually worse than having nothing at all.”

Many students were outraged that the Woroni editors, whom they had elected and whose salary they paid, had taken upon themselves the right to disenfranchise a major ethnic group on campus. Joske said Woroni’s $200,000 ­annual budget, which enabled the editorial board to produce a 64-page paper each fortnight and pay each editor $1500 a quarter as a stipend, was paid through the compulsory services and amenities fee levied on students.

“I did not feel it used this money in a fashion that was worthwhile,” Joske said.  “It seemed to me it was a bit of a clique of the people who ran it.”

In his early, energetic days as news editor, Joske, a 20-year-old third-year arts and economics student who wants to get into professional journalism, nurtured a team of student reporters and tried to run more online, fast-moving breaking stories about what was happening on campus.

But the rules of Woroni, in which every story had to be ­approved by six of the eight members of the editorial board, gave him little autonomy and kept power concentrated with what he regarded as the clique.

Woroni editor-in-chief Bronte McHenry said the editorial board had decided not to publish the “echo chamber” series when it found the contributors were all white males because “the purpose of the Echo 360 was to reflect different identities and different lived experiences”.

Other non-white contributions were later sought and obtained, she said, and some of the original white male contributors had their articles published.

McHenry said the ethnocultural issue would go ahead but the ban on contributions by white students would apply only to the comment section, not news, and both white and non-white sub-editors will work on it. She insisted this had always been the intention, despite the clear ­“ethnocultural-only” wording of Woroni’s original Facebook post, how it was taken by those who read and commented on it, and the experience of those directly involved including Joske and Blood. “There was a lot of miscommunication,” McHenry said.

In her fourth year at ANU studying politics and indigenous affairs, McHenry, 21, defended the motivation for the ethnocultural issue, and rejected suggestions it was discriminatory or racist. “In recent times Woroni has been a bit one-sided in its political views,” she said. “We want Woroni to be a snapshot of ANU. My definition of racism is excluding a group of people because you think another group is superior; we are reaching out to people who often do not have their voices heard.”

The May 1 issue would follow previous special issues such as one with a comment section exclusively written by gay and transvestite student contributors called the “queer pull-out”, and a further special issue would be about “unpacking masculinity”, McHenry said.


Bonsai business

Michael Potter

Do we want a bonsai economy for Australia? Everything in miniature, with growth actively discouraged. This is what many Australian politicians apparently want, through explicit government policy that supresses business growth. Payroll tax and land tax rates are higher for big business, and there are moves to restrict corporate tax cuts to small business.

This adds to the 1,001 existing small business exemptions and concessions. Big business can pay lower penalty rates, a flexibility that should be available to small business, but in almost all other areas regulations are a larger hit on big business.

But this comes at significant cost, as big business often performs better. Larger businesses pay more, provide better work conditions, collaborate more and export more. Innovation is stereotyped as coming from small start-ups, but 73% of the largest businesses actively innovate while 37% of the smallest businesses innovate.

This is not to denigrate small business, as larger businesses started out small at some stage. But discouraging business growth is the wrong approach, sending the wrong signal that the best outcomes should be penalised.

A failure to cut big business tax also ignores the fact that big business tends to be financed from global capital markets , which are more sensitive to tax rates, while smaller firms tend to be locally owned and therefore less affected by company tax because of imputation. Big business tends to use more capital, which suggests they will respond more to a tax cut.

The failure of big business to invest argues strongly for the tax cut, as investment is likely flatlining right now because of Australia's high tax on investment. And supposed excessive market power of big business enhances the case for the tax cut: higher company taxes exacerbate the distortions from market power, with the tax having a more harmful effect on wages in concentrated industries.

If the tax debate doesn't recognise the benefits of growth, Australia will need to get accustomed to our economy becoming more miniaturised, at great cost to us all.


Sir Lunchalot found guilty

Corrupt Labor party politician

AT the height of Ian Macdonald’s ministerial career, the man dubbed “Sir Lunchalot” for his love of fine dining enjoyed a salary of $250,000 and pedalled influence through a network of powerful mates.

Macdonald tucked into feasts of suckling pig and champagne in Sydney’s best restaurants, and in possibly his most colourful moment was sprung having a dalliance with a call girl named Tiffanie at a five-star hotel.

As a Labor “fixer”, the former minerals and primary industries minister carried political nicknames such as “Eddie’s (Obeid’s) left testicle” and “Della’s (John Della Bosca’s) pet crocodile”.

Now a jury’s guilty verdict on two counts of wilful misconduct in public office means Macdonald, 68, faces the prospect of joining his political bedfellow Obeid in jail.

It is a long fall from Macquarie St’s halls of power, swanky dinners at Catalina in Rose Bay and the orchard where he tended apple, pear and cherry trees in an idyllic valley outside Orange.

As a raft of allegations were levelled at him, Macdonald was forced to sell the orchard and farm and move to a cottage in the Blue Mountains.

“My income dried up as I lost potential jobs, not related to the inquiries, and I worked cleaning (accommodation) units in Orange,” he said.

“All of these attacks on me of having wealth, living overseas are absolute nonsense.

“I do not believe that I have done anything wrong or engaged in criminal activity.”

ICAC blew the lid on the seamy side of Macdonald’s life six years ago when it emerged he had accepted a night with Tiffanie as a gift from a wealthy property developer. But the beginning of the end came in 2010 when he was forced to resign from government for rorting travel expenses.


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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