Sunday, May 01, 2022

Elite Greenies are out of touch

It’s easy to bang on about vehicle emissions when everything you need is on your doorstep. What about people whose school or doctor is hours from home, asks Vikki Campion.

If a nanny cares for your children, a maid cleans your clothes, a chauffeur drives your car, or a cleaner fixes the house, you are better off than most. Tick all, and congratulations, you have a brilliant resume representing Climate 200.

Harbourside heirs and heiresses will never know what it is to choose between the $8/500g mince and a $1.75 can of lentils because of budget instead of any moral ideal.

The dilemma is not what restaurant to go to, but which bill to pay.

Wealthy circles become smaller, as more of those around them become staff. Time for coffee to talk politics is easier to find when others are doing the housework.

With skyrocketing power prices from the closure of coal-fired power stations, people who could not change a tyre are apparently changing the climate.

I would never expect Wentworth’s so-called independent teal candidate Allegra Spender, who went to the $34,000-a-year private girls school Ascham and then Cambridge, to understand. Nor would I expect Warringah’s Olympic skier Zali Steggall, who grew up in the French Alps.

The galling thing is that apart from the beautiful luck of the life that fell in their lap, they believe they have the right to purchase politics as well.

Put it on the shelf between the macadamias and the Veuve.

But from North Sydney’s independent Kylea Tink, originally from Coonabarabran, I expect more.

Ms Tink backed a road user tax “charging on the odometer” in a Sky candidates forum on Thursday, claiming the biggest death rate is due to vehicle emissions, compared to “only 1200 of road accidents”.

Please, Kylea, go home to Parkes, to your old neighbouring town of Baradine where the “daycare” is a neighbour’s place and the people with the oldest, most fuel-inefficient cars, most likely to break down, live the furthest from town in the cheapest houses.

Tell Baradine, with a median household income of $771 a week, who get one X-ray day per week — otherwise, they have a four-hour return trip to Dubbo — that they need to buy an electric car, and that they will have to pay a road user tax “on the odometer”.

You patronise them by saying rural and regional communities “are incredibly resilient”, like a person thrown out of a boat by necessity is a good swimmer or drowns.

At the Baradine shop yesterday, the shearer paid $3.95 for two litres of milk and $3.95 for a no-name basic loaf of white bread. In North Sydney, the bread equivalent was $1.70 at Woolworths, while the same 2L milk was $2.60.

People in Baradine are paying Harris Farm prices for home brand.

Surely Ms Tink, a publicly-educated rural high school student, knows deep down how a policy like that would be taken at home.

A policy that works for the inner-city rich with light rail on their doorstep leaves us in the dust.

Regionalisation Minister Bridget McKenzie tried explaining this at the national Press Club this week and, perhaps proving her point, all questions from the media focused on climate change in Canberra instead of the bush.

Charging by the odometer, kids won’t go to school, doctors’ appointments will be put off, conditions allowed to worsen, and the poor become impoverished.

We can see the 100 per cent increase in wholesale power prices now, directly attributable to the closure of coal-fired power stations and the jagged road to renewables. Wasn’t all power going to become cheaper?

Shortly after a joint press conference with two Climate 200 candidates, Ms Tink denied being supported by Simon Holmes a Court, even though his website discloses he does.

The price of her support in a hung parliament, she said, would be vehicle emissions standards.

Go home to Baradine and tell that to the people whose median weekly household income is one-third of North Sydney’s. Who, between tyres, rego and third party insurance, can barely afford the car they have now, let alone buy an EV. Who put off car services in the same way they stretch out haircuts. The Climate 200 Cafe has hairdressers all the way to
the ferry.

If you are a dad who goes to work every day and has three kids at home, do you think Ms Spender or Mr Holmes a Court understands your stress? Who can take a couple of years off? Others can’t take a gap year followed by a sabbatical on paying power bills because someone else will cover for them.

If you fight with your partner about using the dryer because of the electricity bill, then welcome to the world of the rest of us.

What power you should use, what car you drive, what views you should hold and, oh, which school your child is booked into.

Welcome to Climate 200.

What separates the major parties from the independents is their life experience.

The LNP have Phil Thompson and Jim Molan, wounded veterans; Llew O’Brien, Peter Dutton, Jason Wood, Pat Conaghan, all former cops, and doctors, teachers, graziers, farmers, small-business owners — people whose life has not been cushioned by generational wealth.

Most importantly, they have people out of sight of the Harbour Bridge.

Why does no one think we are getting a carbon tax with a new focus-grouped name? The independent issues will become policies for people who hear little about the broader circumstances of life.

Labor is not getting 76 seats on its own — a vote for them is for putting the elites into power. And the elites don’t think about household problems.

Climate is only a big issue when money isn’t.


NSW government ministers have slammed 'woke' inclusion training seminars. Colleagues were told to not use word 'mate'

NSW government ministers have slammed a 'woke' inclusion training seminar after they were told they should not refer to each other as 'mate'.

The NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet conducted a series of 'diversity and inclusion' consultations this week.

The program listed a number of workplace changes including bans on drinking alcohol in the office, yelling at colleagues and gossiping about staff.

The seminars are estimated to have cost taxpayers $202,000.

Some ministers have criticised the 'Respect at Work' consultations and labelled them as 'PC ­insanity', 'straight out of 1984' and 'mumbo jumbo'.

'I use 'mate' all the time – it's as ­Australian as you can get. How can it be offensive?' one told The Daily Telegraph.

Another added: 'We're not allowed to have ­individual opinions. We have to engage in group thought … This is straight out of 1984.'

All staff must be invited out to after-work drinks to ensure 'inclusivity' while work tasks must be fairly divided between senior and junior colleagues.

The seminars lasted three-and-a-half hours and were run by an external 'diversity and inclusion' consultant.

The sessions were aimed at fostering 'inclusive leadership', 'unconscious bias and mindful inclusion', 'gender equity' and 'cultural inclusion'.

Ministers were also taught how to properly report allegations of sexual abuse to the department.

A Department of Premier and Cabinet spokesman said the consultations were held in response to a report into bullying and harassment.


Another statue under attack

Proud premier or unprincipled pariah? That is the verdict about to be delivered on William ­Lodewyk Crowther, 137 years after this death.

The 15th Tasmanian premier was a lauded naturalist and valued surgeon, praised for his free treatment of the poor.

However, the man enthusiastically cheered after his death in 1885 as “a grand old doctor and premier” had an indelible stain on his reputation.

In 1869, embroiled in an unseemly competition to secure the remains of William Lanne, seen then as the “last full-blood” Tasmanian Aboriginal man, Crowther was accused of severing and stealing Lanne’s skull.

Even at the time, such acts were beyond the pale, resulting in an inquiry and subsequent loss of Crowther’s hospital position.

Now the Hobart City Council must decide whether his actions of 1869 warrant the removal of his statue in 2022.

The large, elevated sculpture that dominates a corner of Hobart’s busy Franklin Square was erected in 1889 by “a grateful public and sincere personal friends … to perpetuate the memory of long and zealous political professional services rendered to this colony”.

“Perpetuate no longer” is the cry from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, which is demanding the monument to a “grave robbing … racist” be “removed and destroyed”, an option on the table as the council deliberates its future.

“Crowther’s statue symbolises the atrocities committed against Aboriginal people of the time ­because of their race,” said the centre’s campaign manager, Nala Mansell.

“Anyone who supports the glorification of such racist and barbaric actions by demanding the statue remains can only be seen as supporting such actions.

“Anyone with any sort of conscience would understand why the statue of Crowther needs to be removed and destroyed. His actions were solely based on his racist idea that Aborigines were somehow inferior.”

The council funded a series of “truth telling” art installations at the statue last year, with some ­alleged historical inaccuracies. Acting lord mayor Helen Burnet said the council must now decide the statue’s permanent fate.

“The project has revealed a strong desire from the community for further information in Franklin Square about William Crowther, William Lanne and the interaction between them,” she said. “The future of the monument will be determined by the council following extensive consultation with relevant individuals and organisations.”

Ms Mansell and others would like to see Crowther’s statue replaced with a memorial to Lanne, a popular figure and pioneering whaler also known as “King Billy”. This would belatedly ­afford Lanne the respect he was so heinously denied by Hobart’s “gentlemen” bone hunters after his death on March 3, 1869.

Crowther wanted Lanne’s ­remains for the Royal College of Surgeons, London, while colleague George Stokell wanted them for the Royal Society of Tasmania.

According to accounts, Crowther invited Stokell to his house at 8pm the day after Lanne’s death. While Crowther’s wife kept Stokell talking, Crowther and his son Bingham were in the “dead house” removing Lanne’s skull. Stokell and Royal Society allies responded by severing Lanne’s hands and feet and later exhuming and stealing what was left of his body, de-boning it and drying the bones on the hospital roof.

Despite the grisly saga, some historians are fiercely opposed to the removal and destruction of Crowther’s statue.

“It’s an outrageous suggestion,” said local historian Reg Watson. “History is a science and should remain free from political influence. There are aspects of Crowther’s career that were shady but he’s part of Tasmanian history.”

A compromise could be the creation next to the statue of a monument or plaque that memorialises Lanne and explains Crowther’s ill deeds. “But it has to be historically correct, and free of political input,” Mr Watson said.

Fellow historian Scott Seymour agreed. “We can’t remove these people from history, ­regardless of how much we’d like to,” Mr Seymour said.


Election 2022: $50bn hit if Labor axes construction watchdog

Anthony Albanese’s plans to abolish the construction watchdog could deliver a $50bn hit to the economy, add to inflation and cut up to 4000 jobs a year, according to an independent report ­detailing the costs of removing the industrial relations safeguards for the critical sector.

The damning findings into Labor’s pledge to dismantle the Australian Building and Construction Commission found that the policy would have significant impacts for rebuilding the post-Covid economy but also damage key sectors including housing, ­defence and health while undermining plans for a sovereign manufacturing revival.

It would also add to inflationary pressures and lead to an ­estimated $10bn blowout in the cost of state infrastructure ­pipelines, which would be borne by the taxpayer.

The report by Ernst & Young and commissioned by Master Builders Australia warned that abolishing the ABCC would ­severely impact housing costs and have an inflationary impact from rising industrial action across critical sectors that rely on construction.

Its findings will further fuel the Coalition’s election attacks over Anthony Albanese’s pro-union industrial relations policy and raise doubts about Labor’s claims to address inflationary pressures.

The report modelled three ­potential impacts ranging from a low to high range. The high range suggests economic losses of up to $75bn by 2030.

The mid-range scenario would result in a fall in the output of the construction sector of about $16.3bn by 2025 and a decline in overall economic activity of $18.4bn by 2025.

It predicts a fall in manufacturing output of $4.8bn by 2025 and $13.1bn by 2030, and a decline in services output of $5.9bn by 2025 and $19.5bn by 2030. The flow-on effects to the broader economy would be significant, it warned, considering the key role the sector plays in the productive capacity of the economy.

“To the end of the next decade, and based on the potential industry impacts, abolishing the ABCC could lead to significant economic losses,” the report said. “Output in the construction sector could fall by around $35.4bn by 2030 as higher cost inflation makes fewer projects possible, and capital is ­reallocated to other economic ­activities. Overall economic ­activity could decline by $47.6bn by 2030 as higher costs and lower productivity act as a handbrake to other sectors.”




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