Wednesday, October 03, 2018

The Tilt Train has been nobbled

The Tilt Train doesn't tilt any more. That's one of the most glaring proofs of how the super cautious bureaucrats at Queensland Rail have totally misused one of the few trains  that they could have been proud of.  It is one of the few bits of "modern" (it is 20 years old) technology that could have given passengers a  modern journey time. 

It chugs along at a speed averaging about 80 kmh versus the 160 kmh it is routinely capable of. It goes a little  faster than the old "Sunlander" but the "Sunlander" was REALLY slow.  You could have walked faster at some points on it.

Do the sums yourself:  The Tilt Train does the 615 km from Brisbane to Rockhampton in 7.5 hours -- which averages out at 82 kmh -- or 51 mph in the old money. Highway traffic goes faster than that. Allowing half an hour for stops still brings the average speed up to only 87 kmh

And that slow speed is why the train doesn't tilt any more.  The whole point of Tilting technology is so it can go faster.  The train does not have to slow down so much as it goes around curves.  It leans into curves the way a motorbike would.  But the Tilt Train goes so slowly around curves that it has no need to tilt. It handles  curves in the track the same way the old "Sunlander" did -- by slowing to a crawl.

On my recent trip from Brisbane to Rockhampton, there were a few spots when the train showed something of what it can do and that was rather exciting but they never lasted for long.

Perhaps the most extraordinary example of excess bureaucratic caution was the way the train slowed to a crawl for an urban  level crossing.  With red lights flashing and a boom gate down, Queensland motorists can still cross rail tracks at will.  In most of the world you risk your life by ignoring crossing warnings but not so in urban Queensland.  The train goes so slowly that the driver could probably stop in time rather than run into you. The bureaucrats  ensure that NOTHING will generate negative publicity for their train.

On my trip the train even came to a full stop for 15 minutes to deal with an ill passenger.  I have no idea how that helped.  I suspect regulations again.

So why are Queenslanders in the grip of bureaucrats who completely misuse their best asset?  I suspect it goes back to the time when the Tilt Train did tilt.  But it can only tilt so far.  And in 2004 BOTH drivers were too busy noshing to slow the train down when it entered a curve.  So they sent the train through a curve at twice the recommended speed.  It of course crashed. 

So what was clearly needed were computerized speed limiters.  Queensland Rail in fact did install such a system but to be super cautious they just slowed the whole train down forever.  A very bureaucratic and unintelligent response.  They can now enjoy their coffee breaks without a care in the world.

I must however give credit where it is due.  The food aboard is remarkably good for railway food. Their chef clearly knows what he is doing. The hot food came around hot and the cold food around came cold.  And the prices are very reasonable, though the portions are rather small. And the food carts come around with great frequency, perhaps to take the minds of passengers off the painful progress of their train.  I am guessing that the food supply is the only thing outsourced to private enterprise. What might upset international visitors, however, is that they only take cash.  Remember that stuff?  Credit cards are not accepted.


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is appalled over the treatment of judge Kavanaugh

Tas priests to be forced to report abuse

The Tasmanian government will make it mandatory for religious leaders to report child sex abuse, including when it's revealed during confession.

What idiocy.  The church has long outlasted such attempts.  Priests obey a higher law. Are they really going to put parish priests in prison?

Religious leaders in Tasmania will be forced to report child sexual abuse, including when it's revealed during confession.

Draft legislation, released by the state government on Tuesday, aims to break the seal of confession that has allowed Catholic priests an exemption from reporting allegations of abuse.

"It is important that all members of the community take responsibility for heinous crimes committed in the past ... and to make sure these serious crimes never happen again," Attorney-General Elise Archer said.

The proposed changes are in line with recommendations from the Royal Commission Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.

Religious ministers who don't report child abuse could be jailed for life, Ms Archer said.

The law would broaden the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act to include religious ministers as mandatory reporters.

It would also exclude the sacrament of confession's privilege as a defence for not reporting abuse.

South Australia has passed laws requiring priests to report child abuse, while Victoria's Labor government has pledged to the same if re-elected in November.


Shorten defies Left on national security and Home Affairs

Bill Shorten will stare down a push from Labor Left colleagues and key unions wanting to dismantle the Department of Home Affairs and will go to the election with a commitment to keep the national security super-agency intact.

The Australian understands the Labor leader will resist calls from within his ranks to break up the department created last year under the Turnbull government in a major move to shore up his national security credentials.

While no official policy has been taken to his frontbench, the Opposition Leader has privately canvassed the issue and is understood to be insisting Labor in government would not break up the department, as has been called for within sections of the party’s Left.

This would ensure that under a Labor government, immigration and border protection functions, as well as ASIO, would remain under the administrative umbrella of the intelligence and sec­urity super-agency, along with the Australian Federal Police and multiple smaller policing and sec­urity agencies or divisions.

The Shorten move will potentially close off a key line of attack from the government, which has used Labor’s political vulnerability on asylum-seeker policy to portray the opposition as “soft” on borders and national security.

A senior Labor source close to Mr Shorten confirmed there was “no appetite” to change the newly created national security apparatus or structures and acknowledged the potential for disruption to intelligence and ­security if the structures were changed again.

“Continuity on national security is paramount for us, and for the country,” the source said.

A draft ALP nat­ional conference platform circulated in April, ahead of the postponed conference now due to be held in December, contained a binding policy for Labor in government to “review” the Department of Home Affairs. This is believed to have been watered down from a Left-sponsored ­motion calling for the dismantling of the department, which not only oversees nat­ional security agencies, criminal justice, transport security, cyber security and Customs, but also immigration and border protection management, including the handling of asylum-seekers.

It is also consistent with the government’s policy of a departmental review to gauge its ­success. Scott Morrison, on becoming Prime Minister, made changes to the ministerial structure of the Home Affairs portfolio, reinstating a stand-alone immigration ministry and transferring this function from Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to Immigration Minister David Coleman.

The only difference under consideration and backed by Labor’s Right would be to elevate the ­immigration minister to cabinet.

The decision by Mr Shorten to maintain Labor’s bipartisan position on national security is likely to trigger protest from some members of his caucus and unions affected by the creation of the ­department last year.

The Labor source said there was an overwhelming view in caucus that the national security architecture, and Labor’s bipartisan approach, should remain ­unchanged.

“Why would we change it if it’s working?” the source said.

In a Newspoll conducted for The Australian in December, Mr Shorten trailed Malcolm Turnbull on the question of which leader was more capable of handling national security 25 to 53 per cent, and asylum-seekers arriving in Australia 28 to 52 per cent.

Opposition legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus is said to have privately argued that ASIO’s operational functions should be returned to the ­Attorney-General’s Department, which still has legal oversight of the premier spy agency, including the issuing of warrants.

The opposition’s immigration spokesman, Shayne Neumann, is also believed to be pushing for the removal of immigration from the functions of the super-­department, which would incur a sig­nificant cost in unravelling newly integrated intelligence units, IT systems and personnel.

This could be done by an administrative change under a new prime minister, but any move to transfer operational oversight of ASIO would require legislation.

Mr Dreyfus has raised concerns about the Home Affairs ­Department concentrating too much power in a single minister.

The Transport Workers Union and the former Maritime Union of Australia, now absorbed into the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union, are believed to have been applying pressure to Labor MPs to support a break-up of the ­department.

The unions were opposed to the Office of Transport Security being taken from the Department of Transport and absorbed into Home Affairs as the Aviation and Maritime Security Division.

The Australian understands the unions were concerned not only about the impact on the workforce from biometric scanning equipment but the changes in issuing of identity cards for workers. Some agencies were sceptical about the creation of the department, which was ­announced after a working group led by Mr Turnbull, Mr Dutton and former attorney-­general ­George Brandis.

One critical move was to shift ASIO’s operational oversight from the Attorney-General’s ­Department to the new agency.

It is understood Mr Turnbull ­described the old model as a relic of the past and said that the modern threat environment required a security minister to connect what ASIO did with the other intelligence and security agencies.

Oversight and accountability was maintained, with the ­attorney-general retaining legal oversight and power over the issuing of ASIO warrants, with the home affairs minister having operational oversight.


Pauline Hanson demands a ‘please explain’ on Paris Agreement

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has called on Scott Morrison to withdraw Australia from the Paris Agreement on climate change or “please explain” why the government would not pull out.

Conservative Coalition MPs led by Tony Abbott, who signed Australia up to the deal when he was prime minister, and Craig Kelly, chair of the government’s backbench energy committee, have been pushing for an exit from the agreement but the Prime Minister has refused to bow to pressure.

Under the agreement, Australia has pledged to reduce emissions to 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

“Often people will speak of the voluntary or supposedly non-binding nature of this deal,” Senator Hanson writes in a letter to Mr Morrison.

“Personally, I am not familiar with too many non-binding agreements that come with international debt collectors and a $400 million dollar price tag, a price tag that only looks set to grow. I don’t recall any government telling the Australian people that signing the Paris Climate Agreement would eventually lead to organisations like the Global Climate Fund acting like standover men, knocking at our door, telling us to pay up, or else.”

Senator Hanson was referring to the Green Climate Fund, which was a critical part of the Paris Agreement and received $200m from Australia between 2015 and 2018.

Josh Frydenberg confirmed to The Weekend Australian the government would not increase its commitment to the fund.

Mr Morrison has argued the Paris Agreement will not “change electricity prices one jot” but withdrawing from it could jeopardise key relationships with neighbouring countries in the Pacific and undermine Australia’s national security.

“This is the number one issue of our Pacific neighbours, our strategic partners, our strategic security partners,” he told Sky News last month.

“There are a lot of influences in the southwest Pacific and I’m not going to compromise Australia’s national security by walking away from a commitment that was made a number of years ago to that target. It’s been there for the last four years or three years, just over three years.”

Senator Hanson wrote: “I am writing today to ask you explicitly, please withdraw Australia from the United Nations Paris Climate Agreement. I am also asking you to commit to ending the large contributions of Australian taxpayers’ money to international organisations like Global Climate Fund.

“If you cannot agree to support One Nation in these endeavours then I and many other concerned Australians, would appreciate it if you could please explain why.”

Emissions for the year to March 2018 increased 1.3 per cent, driven largely by LNG production for export, according to the latest national greenhouse gas inventory.

They were 1.9 per cent below emissions in 2000 and 11.2 per cent below emissions in 2005.

Mr Morrison has insisted Australia will reach its target under the Paris Agreement “in a canter”.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

1 comment:

Paul said...

"The Tasmanian government will make it mandatory for religious leaders to report child sex abuse, including when it's revealed during confession."

I seriously doubt that most people understand to any degree the issues involved here.