Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Queensland government is to legislate every tenant's dream

And guess who will be most badly affected by that?  Tenants.  Like most do-gooder legislation, it will hurt most those it tries to help.

Why do landlords impose restrictions that tenants dislike?  They have to in order to remain in business.  I am a very experienced landlord (now ex) so let me give you a crystal clear example of why the present restrictions are in place

Pets:  Most landlords do not allow them.  Why?  Because pets shit and piss and even well behaved ones will occasionally do it on the landlord's carpet, which will then stink. 

So what happens when the pet owners move out?  The landlord has to try to re-let a place that stinks of pet excreta.  Very few people will move into such a place.  Smell-removing treatments achieve little so the ladlord has to rip up and replace the carpet -- costing thousand of dollars, far more than can ever be covered by a bond.  The landlord would have been better off never to let the pet owners into his place

And guess what?  The new legislation will tell landlords that they MUST allow pets

So what would every rational landlord do in that case?  Stop renting the property out. Sell it instead.  And the supply of rental accomodation will steadily dry up from that point on.

So the only way poor people will in future be able to get accomodation will be to move into accomodation that is priced to cover the risks -- at a much higher rent.  So people who once were able to afford their own house or apartment will have to share -- and thus experience a much more crowded and trying accomodation experience.

Well done, do-gooders!  An editorial from the "Courier Mail" below:

PROPOSED sweeping changes to tenancy laws in Queensland should be given close scrutiny to ensure the right balance is struck between the rights of renters and landlords. Under plans revealed in today's The Courier-Mail, tenants would get greater rights to keep pets and make changes to rental properties to make them safer or more homely.

In what are the most extensive changes to residential tenancies laws in four decades, renters would be able to improve the safety of their home — such as by installing grab rails in bathrooms, furniture anchors, child safety gates and dead locks — without seeking permission from the owner.

Tenants would also be able to make changes that make the accommodation more inviting or energy efficient such as by hanging pictures or using water-saving taps — after seeking approval from the owner. In a dramatic boost to the rights of tenants, this permission would be granted automatically if the owner does not respond within seven days.

As part of the changes, it would also be more difficult for owners to refuse a pet, but renters would also be forced to pay a pet bond to cover costs of potential damage.

These measures, to be announced today, will be introduced in two phases, the first of which will deal with safety measures, accessibility and rights for renters to break a lease to escape domestic violence.

It's encouraging that these wide-ranging reforms will be introduced in phases. But we urge close analysis of the changes to guard against unintended consequences. It may be laudable to improve the rights for tenants, who make up more than one-third of all Queensland households, but if these changes are rushed or not thought through properly, they could end up harming both owners and renters.

The State Government already concedes that rents could rise by between $5 to $18 a week as a result of the changes. The new laws will also require better communication between real estate agents, landlords and tenants.

Allowing tenants to alter the property if they make a request and do not get a response within seven days seems to be a short notice period, particularly if the owner is away or the property manager fails to pass on the message promptly.

And while safety improvements seem reasonable, is it fair to allow tenants to alter a property without at least consulting the owner? Housing Minister Mick de Brenni says the changes will bring in minimum standards inspired by Lyn and Ken Diefenbach, who lobbied for changes after their granddaughter Bella died in an accident involving a rotten floorboard in a rented property.

Its clear that landlords should ensure their property is safe. Tenants have a right to feel secure and comfortable in the homes they pay to rent. But some of these proposals appear to go much further than improving safety and verge on aesthetic and lifestyle changes, which should only be allowed with great care. What one tenant thinks is a positive change to a property may not be what the owner thinks.

If these changes go too far, they could damage the value of owners' investments, push up rents and even harm property prices just as the housing market appears to be improving.

From the "Courier Mail" of 16/11/2019

Sacked Captain Creek fire brigade sits idle as state burns

Bureaucratic nastiness at work.  The brigade commander used his own initiative to fight a fire.  How Awful! The fact that the fire was defeated does not matter to the fire service top brass.  Their control was threatened and their own pathetic power is what really matters to them

While two states burn, most of the 49 volunteer firefighters of the rural brigade at Captain Creek, Queensland, twiddle their thumbs, seething that the well-performed unit was disbanded just when it was needed most.

As he tells the story, first officer John Massurit shakes his head: “Mate, you couldn’t make this up. We are ready, willing and able to go but they have taken away our vehicles, cancelled our membership and deregistered the brigade. It’s an absolute disgrace.”

By rights Mr Massurit’s team should be out there with their weary colleagues, holding the line against the dozens of bushfires that continue to threaten life and property from the tip of Cape York Peninsula to the Shoal­haven region south of Sydney.

But the brigade’s celebrated ­effort a year ago to help save Agnes Water, on the central Queensland coast, led to a bitter dispute ­between the outspoken Mr Massurit, 53, and Rural Fire Service command. It came to a head when its headquarters at Captain Creek was padlocked on November 2.

Fourteen homes have gone up in the Cobraball blaze near Yeppoon, less than two hours away. How sorely the RFS could use the skills and experience languishing at Captain Creek.

Venting her frustration, veteran firefighter Gail Jacobsen, 58, said she was so disgusted she would never again serve in the RFS after more than 20 years as a volunteer: “We are not perfect but we are bloody good at what we do. I think their problem is that John is loud. He is very passionate. He says what he thinks and I don’t think they like it.”

The brigade’s second officer, Jim Greer, 57, said the RFS had been so determined to drive out Mr Massurit it was prepared to sacrifice the rest of the unit.

“Why they would want to get rid of John Massurit, I have got no idea. He knows more about bushfires than those pencil-pushers ever will,” he said.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services command overseeing the RFS is standing its ground, insisting on Friday that an audit of the brigade had ­revealed “poor behaviour, misuse of brigade equipment and poor ­financial management”.

The unit was deregistered ­because it could no longer provide “an effective, safe and sustainable fire and emergency service ­response”, QFES said.

The finding was rejected by Mr Massurit and his supporters at Captain Creek, a hamlet of 100.

At the height of the Agnes Water drama a bulldozer broke down, leaving its driver and a two-person repair crew stranded in the path of the flames. Mr Massurit damaged an RFS 4WD while getting to them. He then boarded a QFES chopper to direct waterbombing operations credited with halting the fire before it could break into Agnes Water.

Last December, Mr Massurit was advised by QFES that he faced a long list of misconduct ­allegations including causing unnecessary damage to an RFS ­vehicle, improperly commandeering a helicopter, lighting unauthorised fires for backburning, unnecessarily calling in “expensive” aerial tankers and historic misuse of the brigade’s finances.

He was disqualified from his leadership role as first officer. Eventually, most of the adverse claims were downgraded or dropped. After Mr Massurit challenged the fairness of the QFES process, independent workplace investigators reported in July that only three allegations had been sustained: the vehicle damage, that he “went up in an operational helicopter without appropriate authority” and that he failed to comply with a direction to leave a fire ground for fatigue management, namely his own property.

On November 2 a site meeting of the brigade’s angry members was told by a delegation of brass headed by QFES Acting Assistant Commissioner Tony Johnstone that they were being disbanded.

Police and other personnel were waiting around the corner to clear out the shed and drive away the two fire trucks. The gates were then locked.

Mr Massurit said he still had not received an explanation for the brigade’s axing at such a critical juncture, an issue taken up by Liberal National Party MP Stephen Bennett in state parliament and directly with Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford and the QFES leadership.

Mr Crawford said he had been assured by QFES that neighbouring brigades had been reinforced to cover Captain Creek. A spokesman for the agency said former members could apply to join other units in the area.


Climate alarmists are brazen opportunists preying on misery

Chris Kenny writes well below but omits what is probably the most important point:  Global warming CANNOT cause drought.  Global warming would induce more evaporation off the oceans  which would come down as MORE rain, not less. 

So the widespread claims that the fires are caused by  of global warming because global warming has induced drought are just another Greenie fraud. Drought is if anything a sign of cooling, not warming. It is true that drought does dry out the vegetation and thus encourages fires but what causes drought? 

Nobody knows exactly.  All we know is that Australia is very prone to it.  Australian farmers often go for years without seeing rain -- which is why there is a lot  of irrigation

Like a struck match in the bush, global warming is the spark that triggers a destructive firestorm in public debate. Heated on emotion, fanned by sensationalist media and fuelled by ideology, it burns through common sense, reason and decency, showing no respect for facts or rational thought.

Climate alarmists are using tragic deaths and community pain to push a political barrow. Aided by journalists and others who should know better, they are trying to turn a threat endured on this continent for millennia into a manifestation of their contemporary crusade.

It is opportunistic, transparent, grisly and plain dumb. Contributions this past week take lunacy to new levels in an ominous sign for public discourse. In this land of droughts and flooding rains — Dorothea Mackellar’s “flood, fire and famine” — we now confront an extra injury every time the weather tests us; silly and reckless posturing from climate alarmists trying to prove their point.

History doesn’t matter to them, nor the facts. Rather than consider reality they proffer an almost hallucinogenic alternative, pretending their political gestures will deliver cooler, damper summers unsinged by bushfires.

This repugnant rhetoric must be called out; facts and science must prevail. But engaging in this debate must never be interpreted as downplaying the severity of what has occurred — four deaths, hundreds of properties destroyed, lives changed and trauma ongoing. It is only to say this is the perennial horror of our sunburnt country that will bedevil this land long after all of us, our children and our children’s children are gone.

Australia’s natural history is impossible to interpret without reference to fire; plants evolved to survive bushfire and depend on it for propagation. Indigenous heritage demonstrates an understanding of fire in managing vegetation, protecting kin and hunting animals. Since European settlement our story is replete with the menacing scent of disaster and tragic episodes.

Victoria has suffered most, in 1851 with a dozen people killed, along with a million sheep and five million hectares burned. In 1926, 60 dead; in 1939 there were 71 dead and just five years later at least 15 died. In the 1960s dozens were killed in Victoria in numerous years and just 10 years ago on Black Saturday 173 lives were lost along with more than 2000 houses.

In South Australia and Tasmania there is a similar repetition of tragedy, often during the same heatwaves, only with smaller and sparser populations the casualties are lower. Still, the toll is horrific; 62 people died in the Tasmanian fires of 1967.

Wetter summers and drier winters make the NSW fire season earlier and less intense, with blazes common in late spring. Devastating blazes have been regular, taking multiple lives on multiple occasions in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

Yet so much coverage and commentary in the past week would have it that the latest tragedy is a new phenomenon. Rare as it is for the rainforests of northern NSW and southern Queensland to burn, it happens.

Back in September, Joelle Gergis of the Australian Nationa University’s Climate Change Institute wrote in Guardian Australia about how “I never thought I’d see the Australian rainforest burning. What will it take for us to wake up to the climate crisis?”

The Climate Council member wrote: “As a scientist, what I find particularly disturbing about the current conditions is that world heritage rainforest areas such as the Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast hinterland are now burning.”

But such fires predate climate change: “A bushfire in Lamington National Park today swept through a grove of 3000-year-old Macrozamia palms,” The Cairns Post reported on October 25, 1951. “These trees were one of the features of the park … the fire has burnt out about 2000 acres of thick rainforest country.” That is rainforest burning in Lamington National Park 70 years ago.

Journalists, often encouraged by authorities, have written about the “unprecedented” nature of the Queensland fires. Yet newspaper searches tell a different story. Toowoomba’s The Chronicle in 1946 reported winter fires in late Aug­ust: “From Bundaberg to the New South Wales border … hundreds of square miles of drought-stricken southeastern Queensland were aflame.” Two years later in The Central Queensland Herald there were reports on September 30 of “An 800-mile chain of bushfires fed by dry grass stretched tonight along the Queensland coast from Cairns to Maryborough.”

Earlier this year, former NSW fire commissioner, now ­climate activist, Greg Mullins told ABC radio: “There’s fires breaking out in places where they just shouldn’t burn, the west coast of Tasmania, the world heritage areas, wet rainforest, subtropical rainforest, it’s all burning — and look, this is driven by climate change, there’s no other explanation.”

But The South Australian Chronicle of February 1915 reported lives lost and the “most devastating bushfires ever known in Tasmania sweeping over the northwest coast and other districts. The extent of the devastation cannot be over-estimated.” And in 1982 The Canberra Times detailed a “huge forest fire” burning out 75,000ha of dense rainforest on Tasmania’s West Coast.

Terrible as our fires are — often the worst in a generation or more — they are not abnormal in our landscapes, in our climate. A sober discussion in the global warming context might argue that, across time, our endemic bushfire threat could increase marginally rather than diminish with extra rain.

But to suggest the threat is new or can be diminished by climate policy is to pile false hope and mind-numbing stupidity on top of alarmist politicking.

This week, journalists and politicians have wilfully misrepresented claims from NSW fire authorities that they had never confronted so many emergency-level fires at once. An unprecedented number of fires, especially when deliberately lit, has more to do with expanding population than climate.

There also has been much ­hyperbole about the fire rating of “catastrophic”; a new category added to the rating system after Victoria’s 2009 fires to ensure greater community responsiveness. CNN International went heavy on our fires, saying half of Queensland was facing bushfire emergency.

The US-based broadcaster ran a Nine Network report by Airlie Walsh declaring it was the “first time in history Sydney had been met with such catastrophic conditions”. This was typical of the misleading reporting; it was merely the first time the “catastrophic” category had been invoked since it was introduced a decade ago.

Back in 2009, the ABC reported how the additional category was about raising awareness: “Victorian Premier John Brumby said in the last fire season, only five days would have been classified as code red. The new fire warnings system will provide the community with a better understanding of the level of bushfire threat on any given day based on the forecast weather conditions, he said in a statement.”

CNN also used our fires as the basis for an interview with David Wallace-Wells, author of The ­Uninhabitable Earth. He was asked “how dangerous” it was that our Prime Minister “doesn’t actually want to tackle the problem”. This, in the modern parlance, is fake news.

Wallace-Wells, without resort to science, asserted Australia was ­already “suffering intensely” from climate change which, according to him, was responsible for our current drought. He also wrongly claimed our government was not taking any “meaningful action” on climate.

As a national park staffer, and having studied and trained at bushfire management, I experienced one of the Ash Wednesday infernos in 1983. Temperatures well over 40C, tinder-dry bush in the steepest parts of the Adelaide Hills and winds gusting towards 100km/h; this was hell on earth, when fires become a storm and only survival counts.

I missed the worst of it but joined the mop-up — a miserable task amid burned homes, melted cars and the smell of death — ­before helping to extinguish blazes over following days. No one who was there will ever say they’ve seen worse.

People who have seen bushfires only on television can have no idea, and those who experience the horrors of a firestorm won’t get into silly comparisons. In her nonfiction account of Victoria’s Churchill fire on Black Saturday, Chloe Hooper relays first-person accounts.

“The flames were lying down because the wind was howling through.” “It was basically hailing fire.” “It was like a jet engine, I’ve never heard a noise like it and then the penny dropped — it was the fire coming.” “Trees ignited from the ground up in one blast, like they were self-exploding.”

All of this is so lethal, terrifying and devastating — and always has been. It insults all those who have been lost before to pretend it is worse now.

Heat, wind and fuel are what drive our fire threat, and the worst conditions will involve hot, dry conditions and gale force winds across a heavy fuel load. The only factor we can realistically control is fuel — hazard reduction is crucial but often resisted.

While drought can limit the fire threat in some areas by inhibiting grass and shrub growth, the big dry has turned the forests of northern NSW and southern Queensland into tinderboxes. This situation is directly linked to the drought, so the critical question is whether there is a connection between the drought and climate change.

The most authoritative assessment of this came in June from the director of the Centre for ­Climate Extremes, Andrew Pitman. (I have inserted an additional word, in brackets, that Pitman and his centre later said should have been included.)

“This may not be what you expect to hear but as far as the climate scientists know there is no (direct) link between climate change and drought.

“Now, that may not be what you read in the newspapers and sometimes hear commented but there is no reason a priori why climate change should make the landscape more arid.

“And if you look at the Bureau of Meteorology data over the whole of the last 100 years there’s no trend in data, there’s no drying trend, there’s been a drying trend in the last 20 years but there’s been no drying trend in the last 100 years and that’s an expression of how variable the Australian rainfall ­climate is.”

Pitman is no climate sceptic. These are just the scientific facts. Yet his comments are fastidiously ignored by most media except to deliberately reinterpret them.

Mostly preferred are unfounded prognostications from people such as businessman cum green campaigner Geoffrey Cousins telling Radio National Breakfast “everyone in this country now understands the link between climate change and these fires”.

Or Greens leader Richard Di Natale telling the Senate that global warming is “supercharging these megafires”.

What a confluence: media eager to elevate a sense of crisis; political actors exaggerating to advance a cause; horrendous threats that require no embellishment; public fascinated by weather patterns; and information from official authorities feeding the frenzy (revised fire danger categ­ories; weather bureau rainfall records starting only from 1900, therefore eliminating the first five years of the Federation drought; historical temperature readings revised downwards so that this January a record capital city maximum was declared in Adelaide despite a maximum one full degree higher being recorded in January 1939).

When cold, hard analysis of facts is required, we see wild claims constantly made and ­seldom tested.

Di Natale and ­fellow Greens Adam Bandt and Jordon Steele-John stoop so low as to blame these fatal fires on the ­government, dubbing it “arsonists”. Former fire chiefs gather to suggest, with straight faces, that some additional climate change action from government could have quelled these fires. It is as ­offensive as it is ­absurd, but it is seldom called out by a complicit media.

Even Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has conceded that if we were to eliminate all our nation’s greenhouse gases (about 1.3 per cent of global emissions) it would do “virtually nothing” to the ­climate.

The real situation is even more hopeless, of course, because ­global emissions continue to rise. So, the first crucial furphy perpetrated daily by the virtue signallers is that Australian action can control the climate.

It is too ridiculous to be ­repeated yet it is, seriously, and daily. We also constantly hear, as we did on CNN, claims Australia is doing nothing; this ignores our Paris commitments, energy upheaval and the latest report from ANU experts Andrew Blakers and Matt Stocks. They found the country is on track to meet its Paris emissions reduction targets, investing 11 times the global average in renewable energy.

This has not, and will not, cool our summers or quell our bushfires. Still, even if we magically could freeze the climate — setting it permanently at whatever it was in the 1950s, 1850s or 1750s — we know we would still face catastrophic fire conditions in many, if not most, fire seasons.

Many commentators this week have done what they often do when the green left over­reaches; they say the debate has gone too far at either end.

This is intellectually dishonest; one side of this argument urges getting on with the hard task of battling our brutal and ever-present bushfire threat, the other side is playing inane and opportunistic politics.

No one has cut through the nonsense and sanctimony better than The Weekend Australian’s cartoonist, Johannes Leak. He has given us the brattish little arsonist sitting on his mother’s lap being told, “Don’t blame yourself darling, that bushfire you lit was caused by climate change.”

Then there was “Total Fire Bandt” who was fighting bushfires by installing solar panels while others confronted the flames. And Leak showed the Greens sacrificing the economy in a pointlessly pagan attempt to appease an ­ominous blaze.

The overwhelming majority of Australians, who comprehend the omnipresent bushfire threat, would agree with these points. But our debate is shaped by a media/political class far removed from practical realities, more afraid of the chill winds of the ­zeitgeist than a blistering hot northerly.


Australia’s Looming Submarine Disaster

Alistair Pope

Over the years I have witnessed both good and bad decisions concerning the structure and equipment choices made for our defence forces.  Some of the bad ones were made for reasons of expediency, due to budgetary considerations or by political direction. Only this last category partially excuses the military hierarchy from accepting full accountability for placing the national survival of Australia at risk through the failure to determine the requirements and then provide a viable, survivable and credible defence capability.  Today we have former admirals seriously advocating climate change as our greatest threat.  Not an aggressive and expansionist China, not global jihad and terrorism, not a nuclear armed North Korea. Sadly, such is the prevailing mindset these days.

This delusional thinking by senior officers and politicians outside the war-fighting box has led to a whole spectrum of failures to provide our military with the best people and equipment available.  The F-35 Joint Strike ‘do-everything, but do nothing well’ first line of air defence was a very bad decision, one I thought could never be topped. But I was wrong. The French Shortfin Barracuda submarines we have on order leave that earlier acquisition in the shade.

That Sinking Feeling …

Submarines are no longer the Das Boot-style hunters of slow cargo ships, but are themselves the hunted, as dangerous to those who sail in them as to those they target. The anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities of advanced nations are now so good that submarines are on virtual suicide missions, the best result likely to be one kill before their own crew’s next-of-kin are notified.  The statistics concerning their effectiveness on a risk-benefit analysis are not good.  There were ‘happy times’ for German U-boats in the early part of World War Two until ASW defences became well organised.  After that their effectiveness was limited.  Germany, with the largest, most technically advanced and aggressive submarine fleet found that none of those qualities was any protection. In the last 30 months of the war they lost a staggering 616 submarines!  From the beginning of 1943 until May 1945 an average of two boats went down every three days.  In four of those months they were losing more than one boat a day.

Australia currently has a fleet of five operational conventional submarines, though finding crews to sail them is proving challenging. How much harder will it be to find crews for twelve outdated diesel-electric boats that must regularly expose themselves while their batteries are being recharged?

Just for argument’s sake, let’s posit the nuclear-powered Barracuda as the best submarine in the world (please stop laughing;  we’re talking hypotheticals). But we aren’t going the nuclear route. What we are doing is asylum-quality crazy: ripping out the reactor and replacing it with an old fashioned diesel. Our alleged ‘state of the art’ submarines will have 80-year-old technology driving them at 35 per cent the underwater speed of a nuclear Barracuda. And that is but the start of the problems.

This will then require new space for fuel, plus a re-balancing of the whole vessel in order to maintain underwater trim, and all the plumbing required to achieve this. All this to be achieved in 14 years?  That whooshing sound you hear is the pigs flying by. Were this but another case of squandering billions of dollars on the wrong weapon, then that would be regrettable but understandable. We have seen such folly many times before. Unfortunately, at this point the situation deteriorates.

Underwater Horse Cavalry …

Long after cavalry had become ineffective, horsed regiments and horse-mounted cavalry continued to exist in armies.  The last charge by sabre-wielding cavalry is reputed to have been in 1939, when Polish cavalry took on German tanks.  It did not end well for the Poles. Bravery is no antidote to bullets.

Australia is staking $200 billion of its meagre defence budget on an unproven design that can only produce an outdated weapon, the first of which will not be available (if you believe in fairy tales) for 15 years.  Let’s assume the fleet of twelve all arrive by 2050, and that our enemies are sufficiently considerate to delay hostilities until then.  What are the chances our boats, led by HMAS Pyne Box, will deter our enemies?  These new boats will be quieter, able to dive deeper and will have new capabilities, but they will still not be able to function in tomorrow’s undersea battle space.  By 2035, there will be a range of rapidly evolving autonomous submarine weapon systems, such as the recently unveiled Chinese HSU drones pictured below, that are designed to find and sink them. And find and sink them they most certainly will.


 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...

Kind of began with Body Corporates being forced to become "pet-friendly". All started with Boomer retirees on the Gold Coast who started suing for the right to keep their dear wittwe doggies in their high-rise apartments. Rules and processes were put in place....which were then largely ignored. So the tennants see the old ladies strutting through the foyer with their shit and sound machines and say "I want a wittwe doggie too", and there it went.

I will never again be a landlord.