Thursday, September 07, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is mocking Bill Shorten

Dick Smith to campaign against ABC bias on immigration

If nothing else, housing prices tell us that Australia's population is rising too fast

Dick Smith is launching an advertising campaign against ABC TV news and current affairs, which he says has warped the debate he has tried to spur over Australian population growth.

He claims both Labor and Liberal politicians have told him they agree that Australia needs to cut its immigration intake to avoid future social and environmental fracturing, but they say they cannot say so publicly because the ABC will label them racist.

"Endless growth and endless greed will mean more and more poorer people," the entrepreneur says as he launches an ad campaign to curb population growth. Vision courtesy Nine Network.

"This is warping our democratic process, it is basically treasonous," the businessman and publisher told Fairfax Media.

He claims ABC television's news and current affairs has deliberately ignored his campaign over the issue. In recent weeks Mr Smith has spent $1 million in advertising promoting his campaign to have Australia adopt a policy that would slash immigration numbers to around 70,000 - around the levels of the Hawke and Keating era - in order to see population level off at around 30,000,000.

A spokesman for the ABC said, "The claims by Mr Smith concerning ABC News are untrue and not supported by any evidence. The ABC has no position on the issue of population growth, has no ban on reporting on this subject, and has issued no decrees or any other type of instruction to staff about reporting on this issue.

"The ABC has frequently reported on Mr Smith's views, including in long-form interviews, news stories and a documentary."

As part of his efforts to draw attention to what he views as the dangers of overpopulation, Mr Smith has also announced he will donate $2 million to marginal seat candidates in the next election who can demonstrate that they have a policy to limit Australia's long-term population growth.

So far, he says, the only candidates likely to qualify for his funding are from One Nation.
But he says he expects Labor and Liberal will develop population policies - which he says are overwhelmingly popular.

"If they don't, I'll keep getting One Nation candidates elected," he said.

Mr Smith rejects any suggestion the campaign is racist, pointing out that he supports increasing Australia's refugee intake, and would not vote for One Nation himself because he disagrees with policies that reject climate science and would ban Muslim immigration.

He said he was running the campaign to "take away the ABC's credibility" on the issue, and that he expected to spend money from donations on print media advertising that alleged bias on ABC TV.

Quoting the author Mark O'Connor, who wrote a book about Australia's population and accused the ABC of refusing to cover the issue, Mr Smith asked if there was "institutional bias" or a "few well-placed bigots" preventing coverage of the potential impact of high-growth population policy.

Asked to clarify this he said, "I'm not the expert, I'm just a car radio installer." Mr O'Connor did not respond to a call for comment.

Mr Smith said he was opposed not only to high population growth policies, but also those which encouraged unchecked economic growth and attendant unchecked demands on energy and resources.

He is also calling for an increase in taxes on Australia's wealthiest 1 per cent.


PM throws weight behind coal power

Malcolm Turnbull has sought advice on how to extend the life of a number of coal-fired power stations which are scheduled to close over coming decades.

The advice, to be compiled by the Australian Energy Market Operator, comes amid confusion over the future of the Liddell power station in NSW. Owner AGL told the stock market on Wednesday it would close the Hunter Valley plant in 2022, reaffirming a decision announced in April 2015.

"AGL will continue to engage with governments, regulators and other stakeholders to deliver appropriate outcomes but notes that the company has made no commitment to sell the Liddell power station nor to extend its life beyond 2022," the company said.

However, the prime minister said AGL had told him it was prepared to "discuss the sale of the power station to a responsible party".

Mr Turnbull said the government had been advised that after 2022, when the Liddell plant was scheduled to close, there would be a 1000MW gap in baseload, dispatchable power generation. The Snowy Hydro 2.0 project would not be available in time to fill the gap.

"What are now doing is ensuring that we put in place all of the options that we can examine to make sure that that 1000 megawatt gap in dispatchable power is not realised," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

It was too early to speculate whether AGL, which would meet with the government next week, would be offered financial incentives to keep the Liddell plant running. Mr Turnbull said keeping Liddell open was one option, but "no doubt there are others".

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said another part of the solution lay in a "strategic reserve" of electricity which was estimated to cost $50 million a year to stave offload shedding.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce earlier said AGL was open to selling the plant in order to provide electricity to NSW residents and businesses until 2027.

Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon, whose seat is in the NSW Hunter Valley, accused Mr Turnbull of offering false hope.  "Liddell is almost 50-years-old; no-one would be happier than me as the local member to think that we could extend the life of Liddell but it's not going to happen," he said.

Nationals senator and former resources minister Matt Canavan predicts people would be lining up to buy the station.


AGL cops shock criticism from Government over plans to close a major power station

"Green" policy has caused so many coal-fired power stations to close that the government is now desperate to keep an old worn-out generator going.  Blackouts will happen otherwise.  Reviving the LaTrobe generators would be a better bet

GIANT electricity generator AGL today is under extraordinary pressure to cave in to Government pleas for an old Hunter Valley power station to be kept open.

It is being told its corporate plans could add to electricity bills and reduce the reliability of power supplies in coming years.

Angry senators have made their views clear: Former Resources Minister Matt Canavan called AGL hypocritical and cross bencher David Leyonhjelm declared he was taking his account away from the company as a protest.

“AGL should be operating with a modicum of the national interest in mind, not just trying to maximise their profits,” said Senator Canavan.

The sharpest blow came from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who pointedly noted the big profits electricity generators such as AGL have been making.

“I make no observation other than to say that the principal beneficiaries of the recent — well, the only beneficiaries, frankly — of the recent increases in electricity prices have been the electricity companies,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

He accompanied this with the comment on AGL: “The responsibilities are different, OK? Our responsibility is to the Australian people.”

And Mr Turnbull renewed his endorsement of coal power saying he would welcome construction of a high-efficiency, low-emission plant.

At issue is the fate of the Liddell power station in the Hunter Valley of NSW which is 45 years old and which AGL wants to close by 2022. It announced the closure plans in 2015.

But the Government has abruptly called for the coal-fired facility to be kept open for another five years at least because of projected energy shortfalls over the coming two summers which would be worsened by its closure.

Liddell produces around 1000 megawatts of power which is the shortfall in the national energy market anticipated in a dramatic report to the Government this week by the manager of the electricity network, the Australian Energy Marketing Operator.

“A strategic reserve of around 1000 megawatts of flexible dispatchable energy resources is required to maintain supply reliability in South Australia and Victoria over next summer,” said AEMO in the report.

And the longer-term prospects for blackouts are also dim, certainly in the coming four years.

AEMO said: “New mechanisms to deliver these reserves must be identified and in place in time for 2018-19.”

Mr Turnbull was embarrassed yesterday when he told Parliament he was talking with AGL to keep Liddell running — only to be contradicted by the company’s chief executive Andy Vesey.

Mr Vesey tweeted: “We’re getting out of coal. We committed to the closure of the Liddell power station in 2022, the end of its operating life.”

And he followed this with: “Keeping old coal plants open won’t deliver the reliable, affordable energy our customers need.”

The Prime Minister last night toned down the aim of the talks with Mr Vesey.

“He says AGL wants to get out of coal, but he has said that he is prepared to sell to a responsible party and that’s what we’re talking about,” Mr Turnbull told reporters.

But today AGL issued a statement saying it had made no commitment to sell the plant, and that it had revealed the closure plans two years ago to “avoid the volatility” created by the sudden exit of a major power station.

The company said it recognised the concerns about energy security.

But it noted “that the company has made no commitment to sell the Liddell power station nor to extend its life beyond 2022”.

It is unlikely there would be a ready buyer of the power station, given the costs involved in updating it — it is already near the end of its functional life — on top of paying AGL.

Mr Turnbull today declined to discuss with reporters whether the Government would help finance the expenses of a new buyer.

“We are getting way ahead of ourselves here. We will have further discussions with AGL about it,” he said, referring to talks with Mr Vesey next Monday.

But the Prime Minister said it was cheaper to adapt an existing facility than build a new one, but he also supported establishment of a new coal-fired power station.

“A new one will, firstly, take a long time to build and, of course, have to wear all of the capital costs of its construction,” said Mr Turnbull.

“I would welcome an advanced high-efficiency, low-emission coal-fired power station built in Australia. I think with a big coal exporter, it would be great, just from a marketing point of view if nothing else.”


The ABC’s deal with Al Jazeera compromises the credibility of the national broadcaster

The Al Jazeera network is owned by Qatar’s ruling family. Qatar harbours Taliban leaders and reportedly supports other Islamist interests that Australian troops are fighting in the region.

David Kirkpatrick wrote in The New York Times: “Qatar has for many years helped support a spectrum of Islamist groups around the region by providing safe haven, diplomatic mediation, financial aid and, in certain instances, weapons.” The Egyptian media reports that: “Qatar is using groups such as the Taliban, Islamic State … for its own protection.”

Since 2001, Australia has fought its longest war to liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban. By May this year, 42 Australian personnel had died. The US Department of Defence reports that 2216 American lives have been lost in the struggle to free Afghanistan from jihadism. Among them 1833 were killed in action. And the Taliban hasn’t stopped killing our allies. This month, US troops were killed by a Taliban suicide bomber attacking a convoy. Islamic State has emerged in the country also. When Western forces retreat, jihadis strike. The US and Australia have sent additional troops to consolidate democratic nation-building efforts in Afghanistan, taking the number of our personnel to 300.

We might expect Australia’s publicly-funded media to ride with us in the war on international jihad. Yet the ABC’s Al Jazeera coverage of the Western war on terror often seems to align with Qatari foreign policy. It promotes porous Western borders and mass migration from Islamist states to the West while casting our military action to prevent Islamist incursion in a negative light. It frequently plays down the risk that the movement for international jihad poses to the free world. Israel is commonly demonised while some of the Islamic world’s worst violators of human rights are liberated from sustained scrutiny.

Qatar’s relationship to the Taliban is highly problematic. In 2013, the Taliban Afghanistan Political Office was opened in Doha. Qatar’s assistant foreign minister cut the ribbon at the official opening ceremony of what has become known as the Taliban embassy. Obama administration officials supported its establishment. Under a subsequent prisoner swap deal between the US and Qatar, the administration freed five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for a US soldier being held by the Taliban, Bowe Bergdahl. He was feted by Democrats despite allegations that he might have deserted his post in Afghanistan before being taken by the Taliban. Bergdahl will stand trial in October for desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy.

Republican senator John McCain described the “Taliban five” freed by the Obama administration as “the hardest of the hard core. These are the highest high-risk people.” Notably, the UAE rejected the administration’s proposal to take the Taliban five because the Taliban would not agree to three conditions stipulated by the US. In a letter to The New York Times, UAE ambassador to Washington Yousef Al Otaiba listed the conditions as, “the Taliban must denounce al-Qa’ida and its founder, Osama bin Laden … recognise the Afghan constitution … renounce violence and lay down their weapons”. Qatar reportedly accepted the jihadis without requiring the Taliban to observe any of the conditions.

The relationship between Qatar and the Taliban raises the question of credibility and bias in regard to the Al Jazeera network. Last month, Jewish leaders raised specific concerns in News Corp papers about the ABC’s coverage of Israeli affairs. Executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council Colin Rubenstein wrote in this paper: “Qatar’s ruling family, the owner of Al Jazeera, is one of the main supporters of Hamas — a terror group committed to Israel’s destruction.”

In June, Lateline host Emma Alberici interviewed Iranian academic Mohammad Marandi after jihadis attacked the Iranian parliament. Despite Islamic State taking responsibility for the attacks, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shifted the blame to Saudi Arabia and Donald Trump. Half-way through the interview, Marandi hadn’t mentioned Trump. Alberici prompted him twice. After her second prompt (where she called Trump’s condolences to Iran “provocative”), Marandi unleashed a tirade against the West. He said: “The United States is the country that created this whole mess. They helped create the extremists in Afghanistan with the Saudis. 9/11 was blowback … the whole region is collapsing and this is largely due to American policies … if there’s one country in the world that’s responsible for … the export of terrorism across the world, it is the United States. It chooses Israel which is an apartheid regime.” Alberici didn’t correct him.

It is unclear why the government is not addressing potential political bias produced by Al Jazeera’s partnership with the ABC. Perhaps the matter is complicated by the government’s reluctance to list the Taliban as a proscribed terrorist organisation. It is clearly dishonourable to make Australians pay for the distribution of news financed by a state that backs our military enemies. Under conditions of war, such material might be called propaganda.

What are we to call it?


Weekend penalty rates of Bunnings, KFC and Coles Liquor workers slashed

THE weekend penalty rates of thousands of low-paid Queensland workers employed by four corporate giants have been slashed under deals struck by the Australian Workers’ Union.

The dud agreements, which were struck by Queensland AWU state secretary Ben Swan and expire this year, have left weekend workers hundreds of dollars worse off each year and bear similarities to deals struck by Bill Shorten when he was head of the AWU.

In some cases, workers banking on Sunday penalty rates had more than one-third stripped from their hourly rate, making them almost $8 an hour worse off.

But in a move described as a “higher level of hypocrisy”, Mr Swan has authorised a union campaign to attack Malcolm Turnbull for cutting penalty rates.

The poster says, “Tell Malcolm Turnbull why penalty rates matter”.

The Courier-Mail can reveal the deals struck with Masters (now defunct), Coles Liquor Group, KFC and Bunnings gave weekday workers a marginal pay rise but it came at the expense of weekend workers, who are less likely to be members of a union.

The agreements affected up to 14,000 workers but it is unclear how many people were worse off and how many were better off because it depended on their roster.

The Masters agreement cut the Sunday hourly rate by more than $5 an hour — from $38.88 to $33.27. The Coles agreement cut the Sunday rate by $7.09, KFC by $7.97, and Bunnings by $1.55.

Labor insiders say unions are willing to sacrifice the rates of casual weekend workers because they are less likely to join a union.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash accused Labor and the unions of trading away workers’ rights when it suited them.

“The campaign by unions and the Labor Party on penalty rates has now reached a higher level of hypocrisy,” Senator Cash said.

“Despite aggressively condemning a decision by the Fair Work Commission to reduce award penalty rates, Bill Shorten and now Ben Swan have each negotiated and signed deals that cut penalty rates for thousands of workers.

“While they pretend to be outraged at penalty rates decisions by the Fair Work Commission, they seem to believe that cutting penalty rates is fine if it is done by a union, and that union is also a generous donor to Labor.”


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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