Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Australia’s manufacturing decline is a story of broken promises and failed industry welfare programs

Trying to make everything in your own country is called autarky. North Korea tries to be autarkic. Their average national income per head is about one tenth of what South Koreans earn. A pretty clear lesson that Albo seems not to have learned


In his first speech to the National Press Club after the 2022 election, Anthony Albanese boasted that his reforming Labor government would transform Australia into a clean-energy superpower.

How so? asked a sceptical journalist from Bloomberg News. How would Australia compete against the US, Canada, China and other countries that are aspiring to be global leaders in green manufacturing? “By getting on with it,” replied the Prime Minister. Some 20 months later, the question remains unanswered: Getting on with what?

The two examples of promising green businesses the PM cited on that day have hardly stood the test of time. Sun Cable, Mike Cannon-Brookes’s proposal to build the world’s largest solar farm and link it by an undersea cable to Singapore, seems less likely to come to fruition than Clive Palmer’s plan to rebuild the Titanic. As for Tritium, the Australian company that promised to build the world’s fastest electric vehicle chargers in southeast Queensland, the less said the better. Tritium’s future won’t be built in Australia. It will be built in Tennessee, where the company has received generous assistance from President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, securing a sweetheart deal to build a giant manufacturing plant.

The $15bn National Reconstruction Fund Albanese promised would kickstart the industries of the future has been in place for well over a year but has yet to issue a single grant.

The PM plans to break the impasse with the National Reconstruction Fund 2.0, optimistically named the Future Made in Australia Act. Underpinning the government’s green superpower ambition is a breathtaking complacency that assumes Australia’s natural advantages in the fossil fuel-based economy can be seamlessly swapped out for ascendancy in the brave new carbon-free world. They cannot be. Our primacy in resources was based on merely having stuff. Green manufacturing is about making stuff, which is a different game altogether.

The Albanese government has placed a speculative bet on green hydrogen as the key to our export success. It makes the fatuous claim that Australia has an abundance of sunshine that can be turned into cheap renewable energy.

In October 2022, Energy Minister Chris Bowen announced a $13.7m grant to Andrew Forrest’s company, Fortescue Future Industries, to scope the construction of a 500MW electrolyser at Gibson Island, near Brisbane. Bowen described the project’s success as “critical” to Australia’s ambition to be a green energy superpower.

Last month, Fortescue boss Mark Hutchinson reinforced the project’s importance, describing it as “a litmus test for the rest of the hydrogen industry in Australia”. Yet when Fortescue announced financial approval for a string of green hydrogen projects at the end of last year, Gibson Island was not one of them. “We’ve been working very, very hard on it,” Hutchinson told The Australian Financial Review Business Summit last month. “But it’s tough based on the current power prices when we’re looking at competing globally.”

To judge from Fortescue’s investment portfolio right now, the future may be built in Norway, northern Patagonia, Brazil and British Columbia before it is built in Australia. It may even be built in Kenya and Congo. The future is already being built in Buckeye, Arizona, where Fortescue is investing $US500m ($765m) in a green hydrogen plant it says will be up and running by 2026.

It turns out abundant sun was not such a competitive advantage in the manufacture of green hydrogen. Low taxes, fiscally responsible government and cheap and reliable carbon-free energy are far more appealing drawcards for investors.

In 2023, manufacturing in Arizona grew faster than in any other state. It includes energy and water-intensive industries such as silicon chip manufacturing, with Arizona coming from nowhere to fourth place among US states. Apologists for the Albanese government might look for excuses in the global subsidy arms race unleashed by the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act. They might claim Arizona has easy access to a much bigger market.

Superpower Institute Chair Rod Sims has highlighted his concerns with Labor’s Future Made in Australia Act and its lack of detail. Mr Sims questioned what the scheme aims to achieve and what its “guard rails” are. “If you don’t explain that, you can have people thinking it’s the worst of More
Yet Arizona’s hi-tech manufacturing boom started before Biden came to power and came at the expense of neighbouring California, where manufacturing is declining.

It isn’t hard to work out why. Arizona’s top state income tax rate is 2.98 per cent. California’s is 13.3 per cent. Corporate tax in Arizona is 6.96 per cent compared to 8.84 per cent in California. For energy-hungry industries such as hydrogen and the IT sector, however, the biggest attraction is the industrial electricity price: 7.47 cents a kWh in Arizona compared to 18 cents in California.

Albanese continues to talk a big game, promising jobs, industry and prosperity will flourish under the Future Made in Australia Act. Details are scarce, but the PM told ABC’s 7.30 this month there would be new government programs attached to the Act, as well as a recalibration of old ones.

Yet the long history of manufacturing decline in the past 50 years is a story of broken promises and failed industry welfare programs. The Hawke government’s generosity in granting $36m to the Kodak film factory in Victoria in 1988 (roughly $100m in today’s money) failed to stop the introduction of digital cameras or development of the smartphone. Hundreds of millions of dollars thrown at the car industry failed to save the Holden Commodore. Indeed, evidence that industry assistance programs work as intended is difficult to find.

It’s more than three decades since Bob Hawke’s Labor government eschewed industry protectionism as a means to make Australia globally competitive. Yet governments, state and federal of both political persuasions, have found it difficult to go cold turkey. The federal government’s guide to grants lists 330 different types of industry assistance. In 2019, the last year before Covid-19, the Productivity Commission calculated total government assistance to businesses at $13.9bn in tariff assistance, tax concessions and direct grants.

That is why we can say with some certainty that more government grants are no substitute for the economic discipline practised by the Republican administrations of governors Jan Brewer and Doug Ducey or the far-sighted decision of the Arizona government in the 1980s in overseeing the construction of the second-largest nuclear reactor in the US. The 3.9GW Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station remains the backbone of the Arizona electricity grid, producing some of the cheapest power in the country.

Albanese is hardly the first prime minister to enter office who has failed to learn from King Canute, instead suffering from the delusion that getting your hand on the levers of state gives you the power to alter the tides. The outgoing tide of deindustrialisation shows no sign of abating.


Government Warned Against Alienating Men in Anti-Violence Campaign

Alienating men might produce exactly the anger you are trying to avoid

Independent MP for Fowler, Dai Le, has warned that any government campaign aimed at reducing the incidence of male-on-female violence must be “mindful of language ... because not all men are violent.”

In moving to address the increasing numbers of women losing their lives, she warned that Australia must not “alienate one group from another.”

“I’m a mother of a son. I know that we have to be mindful of our language because not all men are violent, but how we are portraying it is that men are violent against women,” she told ABC.

“How do we include the young men in our society? How do we make sure they’re educated to respect and to work alongside women? [So they] don’t feel like we are saying they’re the bad ones there.

“What language are we sending out to young men growing up in this day and age?”

She placed responsibility for the increase of violence on social media.

“We’re seeing increased violence in society, increased violence against women. And we wonder why. I think the content of social media, and I think that we need to make sure that our young people in particular are not exposed to this kind of violent content constantly because that is actually influencing them,” she said.

“In particular in this day and age whereby people are feeling so disconnected [from their] own communities, I support that kind of violent content not to be continually shared.”

Ms. Le supported the government’s position against holding a Royal Commission, saying it was not the answer.

“I don’t know if another Royal Commission would do any good. What I think the government needs to do is get the funding targeted to communities that are experiencing high domestic violence and get them implemented,” she said.

“And education to ensure that men, young boys and young girls work together to know that they respect one another as human beings.”


Deadly nitazenes drugs spark testing centres push

I hate to sound hard-hearted about this but I am not sure that testing rooms do any good overall. They may encourage involvement with drugs and thus lead to MORE deaths rather than fewer

Drug decriminalisation advocates are pushing for more supervised drug taking centres and testing facilities to be established to curb deaths caused by a synthetic opioid up to one hundred times stronger than fentanyl.

Nitazenes, a family of synthetic opioids that can be more addictive and potent than heroin and morphine, is contributing to an epidemic of drug fatalities across North America, and is now on the rise in Australia, having been detected in Victoria, South Australia and NSW.

The drug is already having deadly effects in Victoria, with the Coroner’s Court warning the opioid had been involved in at least 16 overdose deaths in the state since 2021.

Evidence suggests that nitazenes are coming from labs in China, although its origin is not restricted to one country, and are being sold off the dark web.

Experts, including Monash Addiction Research Centre deputy director Suzanne Neilson, used the World Health Summit to call for supervised injecting facilities, drug checking sites and public education on the benefits of naloxone, a medication that can reverse overdose effects, to help battle the infiltration of the drug and its deadly impact.

“We understand that in most circumstances, people are not intentionally purchasing nitazenes, what is most common is that people are purchasing other drugs,” Ms Neilson told The Australian.

“We do have some early warning systems in place, for example nitazenes that are detected in some emergency department settings … but it is quite limited at the moment in terms of testing for ­nitazenes. And because we don’t have widely scaled-up drug testing, we do get sort of limited in­formation about what’s out there at the moment.”

Ms Neilson said nitazenes can be made to be similar to fentanyl or even 50 to a hundred times stronger.

“In Australia we have had a massive increase in overdose deaths … I think there is a significant threat of a future epidemic if we do follow in the path that we’ve seen in North America and the UK,” she said.

“Once (synthetic opioids) start to enter the market, what we’ve seen is a dramatic rise in deaths. We’d really like to know what’s going on before that happens to prevent those deaths if possible.”

Global Commission on Drug Policy chair and former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark endorsed the controversial medically supervised injecting rooms in Melbourne.

“This is the kind of service that people need to stay alive, to stay healthy,” Dr Clark said.

“When you go to a centre like the safe injecting room, people bring in the stuff they’ve bought on the street corner (and it’s) tested, no one is going to die.”

She voiced her support for a second supervised injecting room in the CBD to go ahead, a measure the Victorian government committed to in 2020 but that has been met with backlash from the community and local businesses.

“The bottom line is that people that are using drugs need to be safe, and that’s why the centre is so important,” Dr Clark said.


Shareholders Reject Petroleum Giant Woodside’s Climate Plan

Shareholders of Australian petroleum giant Woodside Energy have turned down a climate plan proposed by the company’s management amid pressure from climate activists.

During Woodside’s annual general meeting on April 24, its shareholders voted on a number of issues, including the chairman position and an action plan to help the company transition to net zero.

While the incumbent chairman, Richard Goyder, was re-elected with 83.4 percent support, 58.4 percent of the shareholders turned down its climate plan.

Despite the vote on the climate plan being non-binding and purely advisory, it showed that most of Woodside’s shareholders disagreed with the company’s vision about its decarbonisation toward net zero emissions.

According to the most recent version of Woodside’s climate action plan (pdf), the company achieved a reduction in direct and indirect (scope one and two) emissions of 12.5 percent below the starting base in 2023.
The petroleum producer set targets to slash its scope one and two emissions by 15 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030.

It also planned to lift the amount of investment in new energy products and lower carbon services from $335 million (US$218 million) in 2023 to $5 billion by 2030.

After the vote, Mr. Goyder expressed his disappointment with the shareholders’ decision.

“Naturally, we’re disappointed, but respect the result,” he said.

“The vote reflects the challenges and complexities of the energy transition, and today’s outcome is one that we take very seriously.”

The chairman also noted that before the April 24 meeting, he had over 80 meetings with Woodside’s shareholders and proxy advisors in the past year where they had honest and open discussions on the climate action plan.

“We would love to be investing more money in renewable energy right now, if only we had the customers, and current customers were prepared to make the trade-offs, particularly financial,” he said during the meeting.

Nevertheless, Mr. Goyder acknowledged that many of Woodside’s customers were incurring substantial costs due to their energy transition.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Monday, April 29, 2024

Greens want free IVF, label Liberals policy 'conservative and exclusionary'

This is a step in the right direction, given the falling birthrate. To support an ageing population, Australia needs all the babies it can get. And we know that IVF babies will be well treated and so fulfil their potential. It is however odd that the Greens support the idea. They used to be in favour of population reduction

The ACT Greens want assisted reproductive services to be free, condemning the Canberra Liberals policy as "conservative and exclusionary".

The Liberals announced this week they would pay up to $2000 towards IVF and certain fertility treatments for those who are deemed medically infertile.

The territory government has already fired back and said they are working on their own policy, after promising to explore options in late 2022. Labor is also expected to reveal a policy as part of its health commitments in the election campaign.

The Greens say they believe assisted reproductive services should be included in the public health system and it should be free.

"Assisted reproductive healthcare is expensive. Whether you have fertility issues, have a disability, are in an LGBTQIA+ relationship or no relationship at all, everyone should have choice and free access to start a family," ACT Greens health spokeswoman Emma Davidson said.

"The ACT Greens want a fairer public health system - where assisted reproductive services are available to everyone, for free, without the emotion toll that comes from fitting into an exclusionary definition of infertility."

Under the Liberals scheme, same-sex couples and individuals will only be able to access the rebates if they are medically infertile.

However, Ms Davidson said this would mean a person would be put through a distressing process and treatments such as IVF should be available to everyone.

"The ACT Liberals policy relies on a conservative and exclusionary view of what a family is. Canberra is incredibly diverse, and we need initiatives that reflect this to create a truly inclusive and fair community," she said.

"Not everyone can fall pregnant and it's not always because they are medically infertile. Under the Liberals policy, people will still need to go through a costly and lengthy process to be considered medically infertile which can be distressing on the individual, their partners and family."

The proposed rebates from the Liberals will cover out-of-pocket expenses of up to $2000 when undergoing IVF or certain assisted reproductive technology and up to $1000 for intra uterine insemination. The party says they are not considering a public service as part of their pitch to voters.

Opposition health spokeswoman Leanne Castley said the party had chosen to only open the scheme to those who were medically infertile as it was the biggest cohort in need of assistance.

"This is open for all Canberran families that have fertility challenges," she said this week.

"We hear from families who are struggling with infertility and believe that's the biggest cohort who do need assistance and it's just a small way we can help those families who are struggling with infertility."


Financial Help for Uni Students on Placement Floated

Financial help might be offered to university students completing unpaid placements as part of their degrees, as unions warn failure to provide support will result in greater workforce shortages.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the federal government was considering relief for people with university debts and students undergoing required practical placements in their courses.

“We are looking at both of those things for the budget,” Mr. Chalmers told reporters on April 22.

Students studying nursing and teaching are among those required to complete unpaid placements to finish their degrees, and can be left struggling to pay bills especially during the cost of living crisis.

Last week, the prime minister suggested Labor was looking to reduce the rate of student debt indexation to stop money owed growing by more than four per cent in 2024.

Higher Education Loan Program (Help) debts are indexed to inflation, which resulted in a 7.1 percent jump in people’s debts in 2023.

Mr. Chalmers said the government acknowledged that students were under pressure.

“If we can afford to do something to help on that front, that’s obviously something we'll consider as we finalise the budget,” he said.

The Universities Accord report, released earlier in 2024, recommended the Commonwealth ensure student loans did not outpace wage growth.

NSW Nurses and Midwives Association assistant general secretary Michael Whaites said he strongly recommended paid placements for nursing and midwifery students.

They must carry out up to six months or 800 hours of unpaid clinical work in NSW, which carried immense financial pressure and at times placed students in poverty, he said.

“Failure to address this will continue to contribute to the workforce shortages that currently exist in nursing and midwifery, and this is untenable if we are to continue to deliver high quality health care in our health systems,” Mr. Whaites said.

“We hear a lot of stories of people having to ultimately drop out because they’re just not able to maintain the full amount of unpaid work, which can be as much as six to eight weeks in their final year of study, which is devastating after already having undertaken more than two years of study.”

The budget will be handed down on May 14.


Ideology, education will not protect women from violent men

Only a Leftist with his childish belief in government as a cure-all would think that governments could reliably predict and stop men who kill their women


A 28-year-old NSW woman, Molly Ticehurst, was found dead in her home last Monday. Two weeks prior, a man who had been charged with stalking and raping her appeared before court.

The police prosecutor charged him with a series of serious crimes and told the court his behaviour was “indicative of features in domestic violence offenders that we see often come to light after the most disturbing conclusions to their conduct”.

Despite this warning, he was released on bail.

Ticehurst is among 26 women who have been killed in the first 114 days of 2024. If the rate of violence continues, 2024 will be one of the worst years in recent memory for major crimes against women – with one woman murdered every four days. Despite the cries from the community to do more, and despite Anthony Albanese joining weekend rallies, there is a lack of leadership on what must be done. The current strategy isn’t working, and we need to understand why.

For the past decade or so, the focus of Australian governments has been on “primary prevention” – that is, preventing violence before it occurs. Ad campaigns that encourage boys and men not to slam doors or tell sexist jokes, as well as educational efforts in schools on “toxic masculinity”, are meant to have made a difference. But have they? It doesn’t look like it.

A recent essay co-authored by Walkley Award-winning journalist Jess Hill and UNSW criminology professor Michael Salter offers a sustained criticism of the primary prevention approach, arguing that our national strategy “outsources its results to future generations, and thus gives politicians the cover to adopt platitudes and evade accountability”.

Their central argument is a brave one: reducing inequality between men and women does nothing to reduce violence against women. The axiomatic claim that violence will disappear once inequality disappears is not supported by the evidence. They show that governments’ decades-long focus on gender equality has not moved the needle in terms of reducing violence against women. In fact, the opposite may be true.

The Nordic countries provide a warning. Those nations are all ranked higher in gender equality than Australia and other EU countries, yet also record higher rates of domestic violence and physical or sexual violence against women.

Through its National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032, the Albanese government has made the bold claim that it will work to end gendered violence in just one generation through attitude change, which is measured via surveys. But there are several problems with this plan. One of them, according to Hill and Salter, is its blanket focus on all boys and men – instead of identifying those most likely to offend.

Assigning guilt to the entire male sex may be a waste of time: “Situating all little boys as potential perpetrators not only risks diluting much-needed resources and effort, but it also invites confusion and potentially backlash from boys and young men who were never at risk of hurting their partners in the first place,” the authors write.

One reason it may be a waste of time is because the link between attitudes and behaviour is not clear-cut. We all know examples of high-profile figures (think Harvey Weinstein) whose public behaviour does not match how they act behind closed doors. Similarly, there is no good reason to think responses to a pencil-and-paper survey on attitudes will capture the future likelihood of violence.

To explain why this approach is inadequate, Hill and Salter draw attention to an alarming, yet under-reported trend. Young people aged between 16 and 24, are the most likely cohort to reject problematic attitudes regarding violence against women. Yet within this very age group there has been an alarming increase in sexual offending.

In the past, a child who had experienced sexual assault was most likely to have been targeted by an adult. Today, when a child is sexually assaulted, the perpetrator is most likely to be another child (or adolescent). If attitudes correlated directly with behaviour, we would not be seeing this trend.

Another failure of the strategy is to imagine everyone is equally capable of changing their behaviour as a result of changing their beliefs. “In our current prevention model, there does seem to be a default middle-class subject sitting at the centre of our interventions; a tabula rasa upon which we can imprint the right beliefs and attitudes,” write Hill and Salter.

Such an outlook disregards the harsh realities faced by many boys who later resort to violence. Boys who grow up to use violence are often raised in environments where violence, drug and alcohol abuse are commonplace, and where a general lack of impulse control means beliefs and attitudes are of secondary importance.

Much like teaching table manners to a person with no food, teaching proper attitudes to a person who has failed to develop self-control will be an exercise in futility. If we want to get serious about reducing violence against women, ideological attempts to assign collective guilt need to be discarded. Efforts should instead be redirected into identifying high-risk groups, and providing supports for drug, alcohol and trauma recovery. Perpetrators who have already offended, and who are at risk of reoffending, need to be locked up. They shouldn’t be let out on bail.

Believing educational materials alone can stop violence before it happens is naive. It’s unfair to victims who need governments to take real action to prevent future violence against women by perpetrators who have already been violent.

Commenting on the fact that Daniel Billings was released on bail after being charged with sexual intercourse without consent, stalking and intimidation, NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said: “I’ll say from the outset that police share the sentiment of the community. This shouldn’t have happened. And sadly, it’s not an isolated case.”


Payments for coal plants and urgent reform needed for renewables switch

Governments are facing the fact that they cannot do without coal power. Renewables have cut what coal generators can earn by selling electricity so they have to be subsidized to enable them to cover their costs and stay in business

Inadequate preparation for the energy transition and years of ad-hoc political interventions have badly damaged Australia’s electricity market, leaving governments little choice but to keep cutting deals to prop up coal-fired power plants to avoid price rises and blackouts.

When the National Electricity Market was created in 1998, coal generators dominated the energy mix, accounting for more than 80 per cent of the grid’s electricity. While the fossil fuel still makes up to two-thirds of the supply, the rollout of cheaper and cleaner renewable energy is increasingly undercutting the economics of ageing coal-fired power stations, which have been bringing forward their closure dates and are expected to have nearly disappeared from the grid by the first half of the 2030s, according to the most-likely energy market forecasts.

Governments are becoming increasingly nervous that not enough new renewable energy and storage projects are being built to keep power supplies and prices stable as the wave of coal generator closures draws closer.

The Grattan Institute’s Keeping the Lights On report warns that the energy transition is happening so quickly, and the preparation has been so haphazard, that state and federal governments must “accept this as a period of muddling through, with as many Band-Aid fixes as are necessary, to keep the lights on and prices down”.

“Australia’s great energy transition – from fossil fuels to renewables – is not going well,” said Tony Wood, the Grattan Institute’s energy director and the report’s lead author.

“Governments have lost faith in the market being able to deliver enough electricity to the right places at the right time, consumers are fuming about high power prices, and investors have been spooked by frequent and unpredictable government interventions.”

Across the eastern seaboard, officials are worried about a repeat of 2017, when the Hazelwood coal plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley gave just five months notice before it shut, citing unfavourable market conditions. The warning was too short for other companies to build replacement power generation, and a period of higher wholesale electricity prices followed.

Victoria has since struck secret financial deals with two other Latrobe Valley coal plants, Yallourn and Loy Yang A, to ensure they don’t close unexpectedly. NSW is in talks about doing the same with the Eraring plant in the Hunter Valley.

Wood expects both Victoria and NSW to cut at least one more deal to delay an impending coal closure but said governments should not continue Victoria’s practice of keeping the financial arrangements confidential. He nominated AGL’s Bayswater plant in the Hunter region, which has a scheduled closure date of no later than 2033, as a potential target for government support.

“I also wouldn’t be surprised if the government does something with Loy Yang B in Victoria,” he said.

Coal closure dates in Queensland can be directly controlled by the state government, which owns the generators in its jurisdiction.

To accelerate the build-out of vital new transmission infrastructure to link up often-remote wind and solar power regions to Australia’s major cities, Wood said governments must also urgently agree on “coordinated, pragmatic actions ... to remove roadblocks and bottlenecks to new projects proceeding”.

In addition to ensuring a smooth transition away from coal, adding more renewable energy to the grid is also a key plank of state and federal targets to reduce the output of planet-heating greenhouse gas emissions.

The Albanese government has set a legally binding target to cut emissions by 43 per cent by 2030. To do so, it aims to reach 82 per cent renewable electricity supply by the same deadline. Victoria is chasing 95 per cent renewables by 2035 and NSW is aiming for 70 per cent renewables by the same deadline.

However, Grattan argued that the seemingly counterintuitive move to prop up coal might help the clean energy switch in the long term, warning that public support for policies to cut emissions by reducing fossil fuels will wane if power prices rise and reliability falls.

Wood said the 2018 ditching of the National Energy Guarantee was a prime example of the energy chaos that contributed to the lack of preparation for coal plant closures.

The scheme was intended to coordinate the rise of renewable energy with dispatchable power from large-scale batteries, pumped hydro, or gas peaking plants, which can be deployed to rapidly fill gaps when solar and wind power aren’t available. However, the former Coalition government abandoned the policy after the party split over the role of fossil fuels.

The National Energy Guarantee followed a seismic policy shift in 2014 when the Abbott government abandoned the carbon pricing scheme imposed by the Gillard government in 2012.

Most recently, state and federal governments could not form a consensus on how to back up intermittent energy supplies from wind and solar farms, with Victoria agreeing to the use of gas-fired power in publicly funded schemes.

Wood said Australians would “not forgive our political leaders if they mess up the post-coal era”.


Albo's Help to Buy home scheme Unrealistic

The proposed income tests for first-home buyers hoping to take advantage of Anthony Albanese’s shared equity scheme will significantly fall short of the price caps set for Australia’s two largest ­cities.

While new buyers could theoretically buy a home with the federal government’s Help to Buy scheme at $950,000 in Sydney and $850,000 in Melbourne, it would be near impossible for them to get a loan to cover the remaining mortgage if earning the scheme’s maximum eligible incomes of $90,000 for singles and $120,000 for couples.

Analysis by Loan Market for The Australian suggests those low to middle-income families would not meet banks’ stringent eligibility criteria to take on such high levels of debt.

The most expensive home a single on that income with no debts could purchase is no more than $408,163 in today’s interest rate environment. If they have the average university HECS debt of $24,700, their top price falls to $357,143.

Couples with a $120,000 household income and no kids were best placed to take advantage of the scheme, being able to purchase a property worth $524,490. But a family with two kids maxes out at $436,224.

The Help to Buy scheme will see the government offer a 30 or 40 per cent equity in the stake in the property, while the homeowners must be able to prove to their bank they can cover the remaining portion after providing a deposit of as little as 2 per cent.

Even after the government’s help, borrowers would have to prove to a bank they can support a loan of at least $570,000 in Sydney and $510,000 in Melbourne.

Analysis by PropTrack shows that while affordability for couples is fair, especially when compared to the rental market, the housing researcher’s senior economist Paul Ryan said it was a “moot point” if buyers simply can’t borrow those amounts.

“It might be touch and go for serviceability … I suspect that a lot of people will have to try and find homes at a lower price,” Mr Ryan said

“I mean, the median home price in Sydney is over $1m. Our Affordability Index shows there are increasingly fewer properties that you have to choose from.

“People looking to access the scheme are going to have to make concessions probably on property price and location. But, it is a very generous scheme from the government if you’re able to access it.”

Banks assess all new mortgage borrowers at the current interest rate with a 3 per cent buffer on top, to ensure repayments could still be made if interest rates were to rise. Brisbane-based Loan Market mortgage broker Mick O’Shea said this aspect would likely become the biggest challenge.

“It’s hard for first-home buyers to gather a deposit while they’re renting elsewhere,” Mr O’Shea said. “This (scheme) provides some relief there but doesn’t alleviate the challenge of borrowing capacity being where it is, when we were putting a 3 per cent buffer onto actual rates.

The Help to Buy scheme has enough spaces to facilitate 10,000 purchases annually over four years, with many in Sydney and Melbourne likely to only be able to afford units.

Promised by Labor during the last federal election, the scheme currently looks unlikely to pass the Senate without the support of the Coalition or the Greens.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Sunday, April 28, 2024

‘Climate denial’ ad pulled from "The Australian" after being labelled ‘deceptive’

Coverage of this bit of censorship appears to have been censored. I can find no mention of it other than in the article below from the Green/Left "Guardian", sometimes derisively known as the "Grauniad". Censoring censorship is of course truly troubling.

The Graham Readfearn mentioned below is a long time climate alarmist. The Institute of Public Affairs is a respectable conservative think tank. The Climate Study Group appears to be a loose grouping among IPA staffers. The Ad Standards community panel "is the centre piece of the advertising self-regulatory system."

The panel appears to have found the advertisements in error on the basis of a reference by Redfearn to "attribution studies" Attribution studies are proof of causation that you have when you have no proof of causation. They fly in the face of the most basic principles of science and logic. The only way of proving cause known to science is "before and after" studies but we have only one globe and no ability to time-travel so we cannot in principle prove what causes global warming

In 1972 I had an analytical philosophy paper on causation published in an academic journal so I have some awareness of the issues here. I found no fault with Humes's idea of constant conjunction but to have constant conjunction you have to have many examples of the event and that is precisely what we do not have with global warming

It is of course much easier to prove a theory wrong than it is to prove it right. As Einstein once observed, it would take only one predictive failure of his theory to prove it wrong. And there have been many failures to correlate in the history of climate change research. So what the Guardian called a "Gish gallop" (a series of faulty claims) would more accurately be called a gallop of disproof. It is a pity that the Ad Standards body ignored so many facts in favour of a nonsensical theory

So the foundation of the conclusion that the IPA was wrong is built on sand. There was no scientific evidence to say that the IPA erred and much to say that they were right. Their withdrawal of their ads would appear to be a courtesy to a voluntary body probably underaken to avoid a legal ban

For almost a decade, "The Australian" has been running “climate science denial” ads from the Climate Study Group (CSG) that claim burning fossil fuels is hunky dory and even necessary for life on Earth.

But the latest ad has been “discontinued” after Ad Standards found it contained misleading or deceptive environmental information.

Way back in 2015, Graham Readfearn (then at DeSmog, now Guardian Australia’s environment reporter) was writing about CSG’s advertisements (and their links to the Institute of Public Affairs).

Last year, Readfearn took a forensic look at some of their claims about atmospheric carbon concentration.

Someone complained to Ad Standards that CSG had “published climate denial [and] disinformation in The Australian” and that it was “indistinguishable from editorial content”.

In its judgment, the Ad Standards community panel found the ad was sufficiently marked as an ad, but “considered that the advertisement was making the environmental claim that fossil fuels can be used without concern that they will have a negative impact on the environment”.

It found the claim was “misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive” and therefore breached the environmental code.

CSG, in its defence, dished out a gish gallop of claims – essentially repeating the claims it had initially made. But in the end it acquiesced and said it would discontinue the ad.


Federal government to spend $161million on an Australia-wide gun register after two police officers were murdered on a remote property

What alot of tokenistic nonsense! Canada tried this and had to give it up as ineffective. And Australia already has strict gun control laws

The Albanese government is set to establish a National Firearms Register - a new countrywide database designed to bolster community safety - following the tragic Wieambilla shootings in 2022.

In the federal budget, scheduled for May 14, $161.3million will be invested over four years to establish the register, with state and territory firearms management systems upgraded to be compliant with the new Commonwealth database.

The commitment follows an agreement by national cabinet in December, though the funding arrangements had become a sticking point for the reform to progress.

It is understood that South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT could each require as much as $30million to connect to a new federal database.

The tragedy at Wieambilla, Queensland in December 2022 was the catalyst to making the reform, after it was originally recommended following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre response.

On April 28, 1996 Martin Bryant killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania, and another 23 people were injured. At the time, it was considered one of the world's worst massacre.

Byrant is serving 35 life sentences and more than a thousand additional years' jail without parole.

Constables Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold, and neighbour Alan Dawe were shot and killed by three Christian extremists, Gareth, Nathaniel and Stacey Train, at their remote property in Wieambilla, 300km to Brisbane's west.

One of the perpetrators was a licensed firearms holder.

The register will allow law enforcement to assess firearms risks by providing frontline police officers across the country with near real-time information on firearms, parts and owners.

Firearms information will also be linked to other relevant police and government information, including data from the National Criminal Intelligence System.

'Once established, police will know where firearms are, who owns them, and what other risks to the community and police may exist,' a statement released by Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said.


Do Fact-checkers Check The Facts?

Government should never have the power to determine what is or is not the truth, let alone silence dissenting views. However, what would be even worse is if unelected, unaccountable activists had this power instead.

But that is what the federal government is contemplating under its proposed internet censorship laws.

In private correspondence, released under a Freedom of Information request last year, Federal Communications Minister Michelle Rowland let slip to the Prime Minister how the government’s proposed ‘misinformation’ Bill would operate. The proposed law would empower the Australian Communications and Media Authority to impose huge fines on social media companies that do not censor ‘misinformation’ to the federal government’s satisfaction.

Minister Rowland confirmed that ‘fact-checking’ organisations are expected to play a central role in this new regime, so much so that Acma will be given the power to request information from ‘other persons such as fact-checkers and third-party platform contractors to monitor compliance with misinformation codes, standards and digital platform rules’. Rowland informed the Prime Minister that ‘the draft bill would give effect to this suggested change’.

The Minister has given the game away. It won’t be the social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube or X charged with the censoring. It won’t even be the faceless public servants at Acma. No, it will be these so-called ‘fact-checkers’.

Today, there are three main, self-appointed organisations in Australia claiming ‘fact-checker’ status; RMIT FactLab, AAP FactCheck, and RMIT ABC Fact Check. These organisations already have arrangements with social media companies in which they investigate ‘misinformation’ and if they render a ‘false’ verdict, the social media platforms will censor that content.

But based on Minister Rowland’s comments, ‘fact-checkers’ will in the future play an even more prominent role, as the enforcers of the government’s internet censorship laws. They, in effect, will be given the power of law to be the official arbiters of truth.

These ‘fact-checkers’ are signatories to a code of principles requiring them to be fair and neutral. This includes that they ‘not concentrate their fact-checking unduly on any one side’ of a debate. Last year, the Institute of Public Affairs investigated how well they complied with this requirement during the Voice referendum campaign. Not surprisingly, they failed miserably.

The IPA reviewed 187 fact-checking investigations which related to the Voice referendum, an enormous 91 per cent (i.e. 170) of which concerned the No campaign. 99 per cent of these were deemed ‘false’. Barely half of the other 17 investigations (concerning the Yes campaign) were deemed ‘false’. RMIT FactLab was the standout, worst offender with every one of its 41 investigations concerning the No campaign.

The IPA expanded its research to other policy areas, which revealed the Voice was not some aberration but, rather, confirmed the left-wing bias of these organisations is systemic and entrenched.

In respect to fact-checks about Australian politicians, there have been 249 investigations conducted over the past five years. 65 per cent of these investigations could be seen as favourable to the political left. Only 35 per cent could be seen as favourable to the political right. A 30 per cent margin of difference, in political terms, is enormous.

The research also looked at ‘fact checks’ into Covid-19, and climate change and energy policy. Of the 534 investigations into claims about Covid-19, a staggering 94 per cent targeted critics of official government responses, with just 6 per cent targeting advocates of the official line. So much for holding government to account!

Climate change and energy were no better. Of 153 investigations, 81 per cent were targeted against critics of the official climate change and energy agenda (that is, man-made carbon emissions are harming the planet, and we need to abolish fossil fuels and mandate alternatives in response). Every single one of these were deemed ‘false’, misleading, or missing context. Yet, remarkably, of the 20 investigations conducted by AAP FactCheck into advocates of the climate change agenda, 76 per cent were deemed ‘true’.

Again, RMIT FactLab was the worst. All of its Covid-19 and climate change investigations – 100 per cent – were targeted at critics. A level of consensus any North Korean dictator could be proud of!

It is clear Australia’s so-called, and self-appointed, fact-checkers have no interest in shining a spotlight on official government policies. Rather, they aim to attack critics and amplify official narratives.

This is not journalism. These are some of the most hotly debated and controversial areas of public policy, yet apparently to ‘fact-checkers’ only one side is worthy of investigation.

Predictably, the left-wing media have leapt to the defence of the ‘fact checkers’. An article that appeared in Crikey on 9 April claims that debunking a conspiracy theory doesn’t favour the political left or right but benefits the whole community. Miraculously, the enrichment of society so graciously offered by the ‘fact-checkers’ just so happens to involve targeting politicians on the political right, compared to the left, to the tune of two to one.

It is no surprise that left-wing journalists will attack any criticisms of ‘fact-checkers’. The utopia of the elite class – one that celebrates the modern media, academia and politics – is a world run by experts. Whether dictating where you can move during the Covid-19 pandemic, or deciding what can be said on the internet, the experts know best. With zero self-awareness, the same Crikey article claims, ‘Everything is a team sport to the outlets and politicians waging a war on fact-checkers in which “truth” becomes a trophy to be awarded rather than a fact to be established’.

But hang on, isn’t it the political left which is advocating for a system in which a select group decides on what is, or is not, ‘misinformation’ for the purpose of censoring alternative viewpoints?

Of course, the defenders of ‘fact checking’ would feel differently if these organisations were populated by conservatives. But, proving yet again the modern left is beyond parody, the author of the Crikey article once worked for AAP Fact Check!

These will be the people who determine what is true or false, and what you can or cannot say on social media.

It will, of course, be mainstream Australians who are silenced online if the federal government gets its way.


Supreme Court Win for Police Constable Who Refused the COVID-19 Jab

A senior constable in Victoria who faced charges for not taking the COVID-19 vaccine has won his battle in a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court. This decision could set a precedent for others impacted by vaccine mandates in the state and around Australia.

The case centered on whether the requirement to provide evidence of vaccination status necessitated receiving a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Constable Simon Peter Shearer had been charged with a breach of discipline for failing to comply with the COVID-19 vaccination requirements outlined in the Victoria Police Manual.

The officer’s decision not to receive any dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Aug. 16, 2022, led to an internal disciplinary inquiry initiated by the Victorian Police chief commissioner.

However, Victorian Supreme Court Justice Michael McDonald concluded this charge was unjust and should be quashed.
“The plaintiff’s failure to receive a dose of COVID-19 vaccine by 16 August 2022 did not constitute a breach of the Victorian Police Manual,” Judge McDonald said.

“Consequently, the DIO [disciplinary inquiry officer] did not have power to reprimand the plaintiff for a breach of discipline.”

In addition, the judge said the plaintiff was denied procedural fairness for two reasons.

“First, the charge did not provide adequate notice of the case the plaintiff was required to meet,” Judge McDonald found.

“Second, the DIO failed to disclose to the plaintiff issues critical to his decision to find the charge proven.”

Constable Shearer, who had been working in the legal services department of Victoria Police as a lawyer since 2013, had a medical exemption for vaccine requirements due to Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition impacting the thyroid.

According to court documents, this exemption expired in 2021.

Further, the constable went on long service leave from December 2021 to July 2022. In July 2022, Victoria’s chief police commissioner issued a new policy manual on vaccine requirements.

The constable argued that he was not required to provide his vaccination status to the police or be vaccinated to perform his duties in order to return to work.

However, on September 21, 2022, he was charged with a breach of discipline for failing to comply with the vaccine requirements of the Victorian Police Manual.

The judge has now nullified the charge, and both parties will have the opportunity to make submissions on costs.

“My provisional view is that the defendant should pay plaintiff’s costs on a standard basis, to be taxed in default of agreement,” the judge stated.

Case ‘Reaffirms Our Faith in the Justice System’: Lawyer

Principal lawyer Irene Chrisopoulidis described the result as a significant win for the plaintiff and the individuals and families affected by such policies. She said many of these individuals were unfairly and unjustly treated during one of the most challenging times in our history.

“The lives of these employees and their families, impacted by such organisational policies and decisions, resulted in lifelong effects,” Ms. Chrisopoulidis added in a LinkedIn post.
“This case not only reaffirms our faith in the justice system, it reflects the courageous and tenacious character it takes to stand up for your rights in pursuing justice. It has been our honour to represent the Plaintiff in this matter.”


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Thursday, April 25, 2024


ANZAC DAY is the High Holy Day for the entire Australian people. The Left try to portray it as a celebration of militarism. All the troops marching through the streets can give that impression. But they overlook that on this day we actually celebrate a military DEFEAT. Pretty poor militarism. Two typical ANZAC day scenes below. Note the big crowd turnout.

image from https://www.theepochtimes.com/_next/image?url=https%3A%2F%2Fimg.theepochtimes.com%2Fassets%2Fuploads%2F2024%2F04%2F22%2Fid5634357-GettyImages-1484996594.jpg&w=1200&q=100

image from https://i.dailymail.co.uk/1s/2024/04/25/02/84062399-0-image-m-1_1714007779782.jpg

ANZAC commemorations are stlll widely embraced in Australia. To the undoubted chagrin of the Left, there are marches in most of our cities and crowds turn out to watch them and applaud.

What we are really doing on ANZAC day is remembering and thanking our war dead. And as demographer Berard Salt rightly notes, No family was untouched by the two world wars. Some of my relatives were among the dead.
The deaths among the ANZACS at Gallipoli were among the more insane of the military engagements of that war so we rightly praise the grit and endurance of those who participated.

I personally see war as the greatest of human follies. To have men marching into gunfire seems barely sane. Yet it happened and still is happening in Ukraine. Chapter 1 of the Bhagavad Gita makes most sense to me of any writing on the matter.

Yet I am not a pacifist I volunteered for service in the Australian Army and reached the rank of Sergeant. I served in both the CMF and the ARA back in the 60s. I can see why some wars probably have to be fought, WWII, particularly. But WWI can be understood in the context of its times


I exist, however because both my grandfather and father never went to war. My grandfather was excused because he provided a highly skilled essential service. He was a bullocky. And transport is in huge demand during a war. My father volunteered but was rejected on medical grounds. He had a slight limp. I volunteered for the Vietnam war but failed to get a posting there. So here I am still kicking at age 80.

I think it is worth noting that the Gallipoli engagement was greatly marred by the cowardice of the British generals involved. The first landings were unopposed. The Turks were taken by surprise. But instead of charging to take advantage of surprise as any German general would gave done, they decided to wait in place for reinforcements to arrive. The Turks used that warning well. If only the British generals had studied Vom Kriege in their staff colleges

Below is a commentary on ANZAC day by somepone who is far better qualified to speak than I am: Heston Russell, a special forces combat veteran.



Let the ANZAC Spirit Unite Our Divided Country

You don’t have to revel or revere the ANZACs, that is your choice. But we should always remember and respect what they did for us and all of Australia.

Throughout World War I, at a time when the population of our nation wasn’t even five million strong, nearly half a million young Australians decided to volunteer and fight for the freedoms of our allies on shores far away.

To board boats and sail waters never before travelled by so many, who were so young, with almost a quarter of their number to never return.

They went to fight for what we still hold dearest today—freedom. To help those in need and in such a way that they left the fingerprints of our island nation on the great places of history.

From the famous charge of our light-horsemen to what is modern-day Jerusalem, to the great Arc du Triomphe in Paris, where they still commemorate our ANZACs every day.

Their ultimate example on display for all who were there, our ANZACs stormed the shores of Gallipoli in a battle that etched the “Cooee“ echo of our soldiers forever in the history pages of the world.

Our Australian soldiers fought with such spirit and inspiration that it caused monuments to be made to the men they were—through their actions and attitudes facing perils I pray we will never again see on this earth.

But sadly, our military might was again needed to defend our homeland in World War II.

Again it was their actions, not simply their words, that defined their identity and that of modern-day Australia. As they fought without fear for themselves, to protect each other and the lands of our allies we wanted to protect.

Selfless service is epitomised by the blood and lives lost too young. So many in number that it would literally impact the gene pool of Australia for generations to come.

Regardless of what you may think of the ANZACs—truth, myth or any other opinion—their spirit is real and carried by those who carry the standards for Australians today.

Will you do what it takes to be counted in this number?

The greatness of our great nation depends on the strength of all our people and tribes put together.

Australia was once overpowered, colonised by those stronger in weapons, united in purpose, and resourced to do so.

The greatest lesson we must carry forward from this time is to reflect upon the risks we expose ourselves to, as people and a nation, should we continue to become separate tribes in conflict here at home. To provide the potential for these fractures and fault lines in our society to be exploited by those with sinister or selfish intent.

It is our actions and attitudes each day that will be the true mark of respect for our nation and all our people.

Let us show a truer love for our sunburnt country, protect our land of the sweeping plain, and progress all of our people and tribes together—inspired by the blood and spirit of our ANZACs that courses through our veins.

This is the ANZAC day message I want to carry forward. The competence and character of our champions fought with fury and respect for all including their enemies. Their example has set the standard for us to remember, reflect, and lead with, from today and each day forward.

I ask all Australians to please RESPECT the ANZACs—and let this value be the measure for how we treat each other, and ourselves, each and every day we share together on this earth.

Lest we forget.


Christian Bishop Wants Video of His Stabbing to Remain Online

This will put the cat among the pigeons. It will make the authoritarians of Left and Right who want to censor us explain WHY they want to ban this video. To my simple mind I cannot see any intelligent rationale for the ban. It happened so let us show it. People need to know what is going on, Not have it covered up. Bravo for the bishop

The Assyrian Christian bishop who was attacked during a live-streamed sermon has said he does not want footage of the incident removed from the internet.

The video of the multiple stabbing attack, is at the heart of an ongoing war of words and a legal battle between Australian authorities and X owner Elon Musk.

On April 22, lawyers for the eSafety Commission applied to the Federal Court for an injunction to compel the social media platform to block all videos of the incident across IPs globally—a request, X says, extends far beyond the jurisdiction of local authorities.

On April 24, during a case management hearing, X representative, Marcus Hoyne, provided an affidavit from injured Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel who said the video should not be censored.

“There’s recently been an affidavit … from the bishop, the victim of the attack, stating that he’s strongly of the view that the material should be available,” Mr. Hoyne said.

Mr. Hoyne also said the attempts by Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant to implement a global ban on the spread of the video was “exorbitant.”

He further said the footage was now subject to the “Streisand effect”—the unintended consequence of attempting to hide, remove, or censor information—and instead, resulting in even more publicity.

Any move to remove the video would now be pointless because it had spread beyond the few dozen URLs initially identified by the eSafety commissioner.

The judge ordered the matter to be heard again on May 10 when X could supply more detailed arguments.

The attack occurred in the Western Sydney suburb of Wakeley with footage showing a 16-year-old walking up to the bishop during a live-streamed sermon, before the young man began repeatedly striking the church leader with a flick knife, which appeared to malfunction.

The incident occurred barely two days after a knife attack spree in the east of Sydney, at the sprawling Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre, that resulted in six deaths.

Both incidents have spurred authorities to crackdown on “misinformation” and related videos on social media.


Jacinta Nampijinpa Price slams move to ban tourists from Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre after traditional owners' request - as she makes bombshell statement about Indigenous culture

Indigenous senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has slammed a proposal to ban visitors from Australia's biggest lake to protect its Aboriginal cultural significance.

Thousands of tourists flock to Lake Eyre in South Australia's far north every few years when flooding rains moving down from Queensland transform the normally arid lake bed into into a spectacular kaleidoscope of colours, and attracts animals from far and wide.

It's also a sacred site for the Arabana people, who have lived in the region for millennia and are the lake's native title holders.

Under a proposed management plan, all recreational access to the lake bed will be banned out of respect for Arabana culture.

Swimming, driving, boating and landing aircraft on the lake are already banned, but the new plan would prevent visitors setting foot on its bed without permission.

Senator Nampijinpa Price slammed the move claiming that Indigenous culture had become the 'new religion' and that Australia was 'locking up' tourist hotspots around the country.

The shadow minister for Indigenous Affairs is concerned that another of Australia's natural wonders may soon be put off limits, with access determined by race.

‘There’s this trend going on around our country, where we’re locking the place up from visitors being able to see our own backyard,' Senator Nampijinpa Price told 2GB's Ben Fordham on Wednesday.

'We all belong here as Australians, we all belong to this country, we all have a significant connection to this country, especially if we’re born here, regardless of racial heritage.

'We’re shooting ourselves in the foot if we continue down this path where we’re going to limit access for the potential for tourism, growth and all other things.'

The senator also referenced the tourist ban at Mount Warning (known as Wollumbin by Indigenous people) near Murwillumbah in northern NSW.

The tourist spot once welcomed more than 120,000 visitors every year, but it has been off limits since 2020 despite some Indigenous elders questioning its cultural significance.

In the Northern Territory, tourists have been banned from climbing Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock, since October 2019.

Senator Nampijinpa Price believes Australian and international visitors should not be deprived access to such sites for no other reason than not possessing the right heritage.

'It opens the opportunity to for those who take advantage of the situation to create their own stories, control the narrative and control access to these places,' Senator Nampijinpa Price continued.

'I don't understand to what end really, why this has to take place.'

'It's almost become a new religion and everyone has to respect it.

'We've all got different cultural backgrounds as Australians and yes, we should respect it in our own way.

'But I was brought up that it was about sharing. It's about sharing understanding and knowledge and having something to be proud of.'

Lake Eyre is one of a number of culturally significant sites in SA to enforce strict rules around entry to visitors, including Koonalda Caves in the Nullarbor, Sacred Canyon in the Flinders Ranges, and Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park.

The public can have their say on the proposed management plan until July 19 on the SA Department for Environment and Water website.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Police failures, racial bias cited at inquest for Indigenous teenagers who died almost 37 years ago

Claims that Aborigines have been badly treatd are no doubt true in some cases but this case is a stretch. There is no doubt that what happened was a road accident but there is some possibility that the driver in some ways behaved badly. And in response to that accusation the police brought the driver to trial and he was found not guilty. So how is that a police failure? It looks to me that the police went out of their way to be fair in the matter. The girls died in a road crash. How did racial prejudice cause that?

And if the driver did behave badly after the crash what evidence do we have that he would not have behaved similarly if the girls had been white? If such behaviour matters

A state coroner has found that racial bias within the NSW police impacted on what was an “inexplicably deficient” investigation into two Indigenous girls found dead on a lonely stretch of ­highway in NSW’s outback more than 36 years ago.

State coroner Teresa O’Sullivan on Tuesday handed down her findings in the Bourke courthouse – the same court where the man accused of killing Jacinta Rose Smith, 15, and Mona-Lisa Smith, 16, in a devastating road crash, and of molesting Jacinta’s dead body, was acquitted in 1990.

He died in 2017 without ever having spent a day in jail over the girls’ deaths.

She said the concerns raised by the families “on a number of occasions over the last few decades” about the “inadequacy” of the police investigation, which were repeatedly dismissed, had been “entirely vindicated” by evidence received in this inquest.

Mona’s sister and mother, Fiona and June Smith, and Cindy’s sister and mother, Kerrie and Dawn Smith, were in attendance on Tuesday. The coroner acknowledged their “unrelenting advocacy” for their “inseparable” young girls, calling the inquest their “final hope” for answers about the circumstances of their deaths, “albeit decades too late”.

“The grief and anguish of their tragic passing remains raw for their families,” the coroner said.

On December 5, 1987, Jacinta, a Wangkumara girl known as Cindy, and her cousin, Mona-Lisa, a Murrawarri and Kunja girl, died hours after they accepted a lift from Alexander Ian Grant, a 40-year-old white excavator driver.

Mona and Cindy, described as “young, bright girls sparkling with life and excitement”, entered the vehicle sometime after 8pm hoping to get a lift a short distance to the levee, but were instead “plied” with alcohol by Mr Grant whose conduct was described as “predatory and disgraceful”.

Ms O’Sullivan found that both girls died in the early hours of December 6 after sustaining injuries caused when the ute, travelling north on the Mitchell Highway between Bourke and Enngonia, ran off the road, and rolled over. The girls weren’t wearing seatbelts and were ejected from the vehicle, which “rolled onto” them, causing critical injuries including severe internal bleeding.

She found that Mr Grant was driving the car despite his initial claims to officers, and by his lawyers at trial, that Mona had been driving the manual ute when it crashed. She said “contributing factors” of the single-vehicle crash included “intoxication, fatigue, road speed and lack of lighting”.

Ms O’Sullivan also found, “horrifyingly”, that there was “some form of sexual interference by Mr Grant” including touching Cindy’s breasts or genital area “after she had passed”.

In a 1990 trial, Grant was charged with indecently interfering with Cindy’s corpse and culpable driving causing the deaths of both girls but was acquitted by an all-white jury.

The coroner found that it was “clear beyond doubt” that the initial investigation “suffered very serious deficiencies” such that vital evidence, such as Mr Grant’s truck, was not secured at the scene.

She said these “failures” in the hours, days and weeks following the accident had an “irreparable impact” on the investigation and its use in any future criminal prosecution.

The coroner also found that there was racial bias within the NSW police force at the relevant time and that “impacted upon the investigation into the deaths”, saying she had “little hesitation” in making that finding.

She placed “great weight” on the evidence of June and Dawn Smith “of their treatment in the aftermath of the girls’ deaths, and the numerous distressing failings they endured, which started with the manner in which they became aware of the girls’ deaths from other family members, rather than being formally advised by police”.

An officer at the scene also blindly accepted Mr Grant’s account that Mona had been driving the vehicle, which she said “cannot be understood without imputing level of unconscious bias on his part”.

The charge of sexual interference with Cindy’s body had been withdrawn by prosecutors at the 1990 trial because of a technicality - that the precise time of a victim’s death cannot be ascertained - without the family’s knowledge.

Ms O’Sullivan said she would write to the Attorney-General to “draw this issue to his attention” as to whether legislative reform may be warranted.


Unions’ vile anti-Israel diatribe

As Jewish families leave an empty place at their Passover tables in memory of the hostages still missing at the hands of Hamas, comments by ACTU president Michele O’Neil and secretary Sally McManus about Israel are ignorant. The pair have ignited a battle with Australia’s Jewish community, calling for the Albanese government to end military trade with ­Israel, enforce sanctions against Israeli government officials and ­inject a further $100m of humanitarian aid to Gaza and the West Bank. Bob Hawke, a former ACTU president who warned “If the bell tolls for Israel, it won’t just toll for Israel, it will toll for all mankind”, would be horrified.

In demanding immediate recognition of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, the union bosses do not appear to understand why a two-state solution is out of the question until Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation that controls Gaza, is defeated. Or does it not bother Ms O’Neil and Ms McManus that Iran is running a war to annihilate Israel through proxies, including Hamas, and is an implacable opponent of the US and its allies? The ACTU is living in “an alternative reality”, Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler said.

The union bosses’ views are immoral in view of the brutality and values of Hamas, seen in the unprovoked attack that killed 1200 people in Israel on October 7 and in the terrorist group’s kidnappings of 250 Israelis. The comments are contrary to Australia’s strategic and economic interests, and could help fuel anti-Semitism that has reared its ugly head in the past six months.

Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy, has superior military technology and outstanding intelligence capabilities. It has been a staunch Australian ally for more than 75 years and has “shared intelligence with us and thwarted terrorist attacks against our own interests, including against members of the Australian Defence Force”, as Peter Dutton said in his Tom Hughes Oration in Sydney a fortnight ago. In July 2017, a tip from Israeli intelligence helped authorities stop a plot to blow up an Etihad Airways flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi with a bomb smuggled in a meat grinder. Two brothers behind the plot were sentenced to 40 and 36 years’ jail.

Nor is the ACTU’s opposition to Australian companies supplying parts used in supply chains for F-35 fighter jets legitimate. Doling out bad advice on foreign and strategic policy is not the ACTU’s role, which is promoting the pay and conditions of its members. Rank-and-file workers deserve better from highly paid leaders who are remote from the interests of the nation and its allies. The Albanese government should ignore these officials’ rantings.


Peta Credlin slams Anthony Albanese over major problem with immigration after country reached worrying milestone

Sky News commentator Peta Credlin has taken aim at Anthony Albanese after a record number of immigrants were welcomed into Australia in just one month.

More than 100,000 immigrants came to Australia in February, after 765,900 arrived throughout last year, another all-time record.

The massive influx has raised fears it will strain the crippled housing and rental markets with new housing proposals being accepted at the lowest rate in 11 years.

This is despite the Albanese Government promising to bring immigration down to 300,000-per-year and build 250,000 homes.

Credlin said the inaction was also abetting social disharmony.

Ms Credlin, in her weekly column, said successive governments have 'increasingly sent signals to migrants that the culture of the country they’re coming to is built on a history of shame, illegitimacy, and racism'.

'Is it any wonder that some migrant communities become reluctant to integrate or insistent that Australia must change to accommodate their preferences, when weak officialdom will only fly our national flag apologetically, in company with two other flags representing people with a particular racial heritage?' she wrote.

'Or when our civic culture now seems to revolve around indigenous ancestor worship while denigrating the Judaeo-Christian basis of our fundamental institutions like the rule of law.'

She added that it is 'hardly the fault of immigrants' who chose to come to Australia, but that of governments who failed to 'insist on (them) joining Team Australia'.

'It’s way past time for governments at every level to start stressing unity over diversity, to rebuild a patriotic love of Australia, rather than to preside over the diminution of our national symbols, like Australia Day,' she wrote.

Credlin claimed the 100,000 migrants who came to Australia was 'significant'.

She compared the figure to the Howard government era where 110,000 migrants came on average every year during that period.

'It’s no secret then, why housing is unaffordable, wages are flat, and roads and public transport are clogged because that’s just what happens when you don’t have a population policy and instead, use migration as a way to make the budget bottom line look better than it really is,' she wrote.

Institute of Public Affairs deputy executive director Daniel Wild said high immigration rates with few properties being built is a recipe for a housing crisis.

'The data proves that the federal government’s unplanned mass migration program is unsustainable,' he said.

'It actively undermines Australians who are struggling to find a home as increasing demand and a lack of supply is pricing them out of the market.'

Australia's median capital city house price of $956,782, based on CoreLogic data, is well beyond the reach of an average, full-time worker on $98,218.

That's because banks are only able to lend 5.2 times their salary to someone with a steady job and a 20 per cent mortgage deposit.

The average wage would only be enough to buy a $639,000 home, which in greater Sydney would only buy a unit or a house 100km away from the city centre.

Renters are also suffering with 175,960 international student arriving in February, adding to competition for somewhere to live.


Sims: don’t saddle nation with high cost solar panels, wind farms

Former competition tsar Rod Sims has warned that embracing an ad hoc “Made in Australia” approach to the net zero transition by 2050 could “destroy” the chances of Australia becoming a clean energy superpower.

In an address to the Melbourne Economic Forum, the former chair of the ACCC warned against the nation embracing flawed approaches to achieving net zero and took aim at those who belonged to the “Made in Australia” camp as well as those whom he regarded as “market fundamentalists.”

Mr Sims, the chair of the Superpower Institute – a body dedicated to helping the nation capitalise on the opportunities of the green energy transition – used the address to warn against saddling the nation with high cost solar panels and wind farms.

But he also made clear there was a role for government in helping the nation make the most of the coming green revolution. However, he said any government support needed to be finely geared towards areas where Australia had a comparative advantage – such as in green iron.

He also listed a series of conditions that would be needed to govern any taxpayer support for industry.

First, he said assistance should be aimed at the so-called “superpower industries” where Australia “has or will have a comparative advantage due to the net zero transition.”

READ MORE: ‘Made in Australia’ sets new, dangerous course for Labor | What’s the point of PM’s flagship policy? | Future budget deficits to be Made in Australia | PM ‘betraying Hawke reforms’ |
Second, the purpose of any assistance needed to be clearly defined to address well-understood problems.

Third, there should be clear “qualification rules” for assistance and, fourth, support needed to be fully funded to ensure the nation maintained a strong budget position.

Mr Sims used the address to take aim at the proponents of the Made in Australia philosophy, arguing it was unclear – at this stage – what the policy was about or how it would work.

“We have the ‘Made in Australia’ group. The problem here is that it is unclear what this group seeks. Make everything we need, import nothing? What is the framework in this slogan for deciding what Australia does, and does not, make in Australia?”

He expressed grave concerns that simply throwing money at any green energy project would “destroy the Superpower opportunity.”

“Should government support be provided to ensure we make our own computers, cars, clothing?” he asked. “Without a clear framework Australia will take a series of ad hoc measures that invite rent seeking by businesses, raise Australia’s cost structure and lower our productivity.”

“The government’s current rhetoric around “Made in Australia” suggests there is a focus on projects relevant to the net zero transition. But again, what does this suggest we do? Is it ‘any green project deserves taxpayer support?’”

Mr Sims asked how the nation could achieve “low cost renewable energy if we are saddled with high cost solar panels, wind farms and electrolysers through a ‘buy local’ imperative?”

“Under this form of “Made in Australia” approach, Australia will not achieve the lowest cost inputs to the supply of such goods, so Australia will not be cost competitive in their supply, and the green traded products will not be as cost competitive with existing fossil fuel-made products.”

Mr Sims said such an approach would be damaging for three reasons – it would remove Australia’s ability to make the most of its comparative advantage in making green energy-intensive exports, it would displace budget dollars that could be better allocated and force labour into unproductive areas of the economy during a worker shortage.

His preferred approach to making the transition to net zero would only allow for goods to be made in Australia “where the economics have ‘flipped’.”

For example, Mr Sims said Australia was a leading exporter of iron ore, coal and gas.

“The “Made in Australia” camp, as some are expressing it, would have us use all these Australian ingredients and make iron metal in Australia now,” he said.

“There is no logic to government intervening in the choices the market has made; it seems best for Australia in the fossil carbon world to do as we are.

“We would undermine the advantages of other industries and see lower wages by having workers in always struggling industries who would be constantly lobbying government for help.”

But Mr Sims said it was sensible to make green iron in Australia, because this was an area where the nation had a comparative advantage.

“Green iron will very likely need green hydrogen as the reductant that gets the iron ore into iron metal,” he said. “Green iron should be made in Australia because the economics flip.”

“All overseas studies that I am aware of suggest that Australia is likely the cheapest place in the world to make green iron. And those seeking to make green iron by importing hydrogen, those studies say, will be uncompetitive.”

Mr Sims concluded that the world needed Australia to make many green products because the nation had more low cost renewable energy resources than its needed. By contrast, Japan, Korea, most of Europe and China did not have sufficient renewable energy resources to make all the electricity they needed.

“They will need to either import renewable energy, ammonia as a derivative of hydrogen and/or use nuclear energy – all at great cost – to meet their domestic electricity needs,” he said.

He concluded by arguing the government had not clarified what it meant by its “Made in Australia” agenda.

If it amounted simply to a suite of ad hoc measures that invited rent seeking by businesses and raised Australia’s cost structure while lowering productivity, the Made in Australia vision would only “kill the superpower ambition.”

“Australia cannot afford to follow this lead. Nor will it suit the world for this to happen,” he said.

“If the government is ... targeting producing goods in which Australia now has a comparative advantage in the net zero world, through clear qualification mechanisms that address well defined market externalities, the government must be applauded.”

“We will wait and see on May 14, budget night, which group they are in.”


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Teachers’ group to focus on Palestine on Anzac Day

This is a lot of nonsense. The charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba and related action was against the army of the Ottoman Turks, not Palestinians. It was incidentally the last successful cavalry charge in history so is well worth remembering as an achievement of Australian troops. And there is no doubt that charging into the guns of 1,000 Turkish riflemen in an entrenched position was heroic, if heroism matters any more

A pro-Palestine teachers group has excoriated the Anzac legacy just two days before Australia commemorates its military history.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Teachers and School Staff for Palestine group called for the Anzac legend to be “dismantled” and linked a slaughter committed by World War One Anzac troops to the current war against Gaza.

Secondary schoolteacher Lucy Honan said it was important for students to understand Australia’s role in the Middle Eastern conflict.

“It is so important that students know that the Anzacs left a long and violent historical imprint in Palestine and in Sarafand al-’Amar in particular,” Ms Honan said.

“The British created a prison camp for Palestinian activists at Sarafand al-’Amar.

“The residents fled or were evacuated in the 1948 Nakba, and the site then became one of Israel’s largest military bases.

“This is a legacy to dismantle, not to glorify.”

The group has developed an educational resource for classrooms, aiming to redress current Anzac narratives and “enable rigorous, critical and empowering education”.

Primary schoolteacher Bill Abrahams said it was important to use objective teaching resources rather than relying on information from parties with vested interests in Israeli weaponry.

“Rather than depending on teaching resources published by the Australian War Memorial — which is funded in part by weapons companies implicated in the genocide in Gaza, like Boeing, Thales and Northrupp Grumman — we will use resources that help us and our students reflect critically on Australia’s military involvement in Palestine,” he said.

Teachers have been encouraged to foreground the massacre of as many as 137 people in the Palestinian village, Sarafand al-’Amar, committed by ANZACs in 1918.

The booklet is a 40-page resource featuring explanations about how Anzac Day relates to Palestine, the British Mandate, the Sarafand al-’Amar massacre, the 1948 Nakba, and many primary and secondary historical sources.

The group has connections within hundreds of schools around Australia.

Secondary schoolteacher Pippa Tandy, a member of TSSP, said the booklet was in line with curriculum requirements and was age-adaptable for different grades.

“People talk about Anzac Day as being about Australian identity, but a lot of people are feeling that we want an identity arising out of truth and honesty, rather than lies and obfuscation,” Ms Tandy said.

“We actually find by looking at the curriculum, looking at the outcomes we’re supposed to be achieving in school, we’re finding that talking about Palestine is actually not something we should be prevented from doing.

“It’s quite legitimate to talk about Palestine in the classroom.

“Obviously, we’re not promoting a particular point of view, but we are committed to the idea that there is no neutrality in genocide.”

She said while it was possible there could be backlash from parents, criticism had always been outweighed by support.

“If parents raise issues with us, we talk to them – and that’s the only way through,” she said. “Ultimately, by informing students about this piece of history, all we’re doing is educating them.”

An RSL Australia spokesman said the matter was “more for education authorities” but emphasised the importance of commemorating the lives of veterans.

“Whatever the political, constitutional and international treaty obligations prevailing at the time (WWI), the RSL’s role is to represent our veterans and remember and honour their service, commitment and bravery, and encourage all Australians to do the same,” they said.

“We do this continually, but particularly on Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and on other key commemoration dates.”


Victorian senator shares banned footage of church stabbing

There is certainly a widespread view that this footage should be censored but nobody has said why. The event happened and it is surely important that people know that such things happen. Censoring vision of the event will not make it go away. It is some sort of ostrich effect and its wisdom is highly debatable. Kudos to Senator Babet for being a voice of reason and free speech in the matter. He is our libertarian voice in Federal parliament. He was elected as a voice of free speech and he is being true to his mandate

Communications minister Michelle Rowland has accused UAP Senator Ralph Babet of “appalling behaviour" after he reposted a video of the Wakeley church stabbing to X with the caption: “To the Australian government and the eSafety commissioner go f**k yourselves”.

Senator Babet uploaded the video – which is currently subject to an injunction order – alongside a six-minute monologue in which he vowed to keep the video up and called the Liberals, Labor, and the eSafety commissioner a “threat to democracy”.

In a statement to Guardian Australia, Ms Rowland had harsh words for the Victorian senator, who was elected under Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party banner in the 2022 election.
“The Albanese government supports efforts by the eSafety commissioner to have this content removed from digital platforms in Australia,” she said.

“This is appalling behaviour by a serving senator and he needs to explain why he’s sharing this harmful content.”


WA Liberals to ban transgender drugs for kids

A pledge by Western Australia’s Liberal leader to ban the use of puberty blockers in children could be the start of a nationwide political battle on the issue, with party leaders in other states confirming they were scrutinising practices in the wake of a landmark United Kingdom review.

Libby Mettam on Monday declared that the Liberal Party, if elected, would ban the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone treatments and surgical intervention for children under 16 for the purpose of gender transition.

She said her decision was based on the recent findings of the UK Cass Review – handed down this month – which recommended the National Health Service exercise “extreme caution” in prescribing masculinising or feminising hormones to under-18s.

The NHS England had already stopped the routine prescription of puberty blockers in the weeks leading up to the release of the Cass report, while two Scottish health boards have since said they were pausing the prescription of puberty blockers for children. The likes of Sweden and Finland had earlier introduced restrictions on the use of the drugs.

Ms Mettam said the Cass Review was the largest of its kind and had identified the long-term and permanent harm caused by interventions being used in WA.

“When experts are saying that the permanent side-effects can be liver disease, heart disease, obesity, infertility and other conditions, we must act,” she said.

“We owe it to the next generation of Western Australia to utilise and listen to the best evidence.”

Around 100 children a year are treated by WA’s Gender Diversity Service, according to data tabled in state parliament, and the youngest child to receive treatment last year was 10. There were 63 young people on puberty blockers in WA at the end of March, representing just 0.03 per cent of 12-17-year-olds in the state.

WA Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson accused Ms Mettam of politicising young people “to appease extremists in the Liberal Party”, and noted that a 2021 review of the state’s Gender Diversity Service found it to be sound and appropriate.

“The decision to use puberty blockers is rare and not made lightly. The decision is made between clinicians and families, after a comprehensive mental health and multidisciplinary team assessment,” Ms Sanderson said.

“It is not appropriate for politicians to interfere in clinical decisions.”

Ms Mettam denied the policy position was driven by ideology, instead arguing a precautionary approach was needed at a time when restrictions were being put in place in countries around the world.

Other opposition leaders on Monday echoed Ms Mettam’s concerns about the latest findings on gender treatments.

A spokesman for Queensland’s Liberal National Party said the party was very cognisant of the concerns around the “questionable practices” around gender services in the state.

The Queensland government earlier this year launched a review into the state’s Children’s Gender Service, which treats around 1000 patients a year, after several pediatricians called for a moratorium on gender treatments on children.

“We are awaiting the findings of the inquiry that the government promised would be completed by April,” the LNP spokesman said.

“We are calling on the government to release the terms of reference for the inquiry, and the inquiry report in full once it is completed.”

Victorian Liberal opposition health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier confirmed she too had been examining the findings out of the UK.

“The Cass Review is an important review that should not be dismissed,” Ms Crozier said.

“There are a range of medical views into this matter that need to be taken into consideration, and we will be guided by those medical and health professionals.” Dr Hilary Cass’s review this month found “remarkably weak” evidence around treatments such as puberty blockers, with results of studies either exaggerated or misrepresented by people on all sides of the debate to support their views.

The reality, Dr Cass wrote, is that there was “no good evidence on the long-term outcomes of interventions to manage gender-related distress”.

The findings of the Cass Review and the election commitment by Ms Mettam have been criticised by advocacy groups.

Equality Australia chief executive Anna Brown said matters of gender transition were deeply personal decisions that should be left to young people and the doctors and parents who support them.


Zombies cast fear across renewables dreamland


Last Thursday, the Queensland parliament passed a law committing the state to reduce carbon emissions by 75 per cent by 2035. Debate resumed at 11.44am, and the Energy (Renewable Transformation and Jobs) Bill was done and dusted in time for lunch. Back-slaps all round.

At 4.32pm on Friday, Ark Energy announced it was withdrawing its application to install 42 wind turbines at Chalumbin in far north Queensland following advice that the federal Department of Climate Change and Energy was about to reject it.

The meagre odds that Queensland can meet its legislated emissions target using renewable energy are now too small to be visible under a microscope.

For the wind industry, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s rejection of Chalumbin is its Franklin Dam moment. It was a test case of the federal government’s willingness to weigh the environmental cost of installing turbines against the assumed benefits of low-carbon electricity.

Last July, when I drew national attention to the Chalumbin proposal in The Australian, I opened my column by noting that it would destroy 1000 of the remaining 8000 hectares of wet sclerophyll forest, the buffer zone between the rainforests and the open plains to the south.

Nine months later, the minister reached the same conclusion, telling The Guardian at the weekend the forest “provides a vital habitat for many birds, plants and animals, including the spectacled flying fox and the northern greater glider”.

Her decision measures how far the wind industry’s fortunes have sunk since June 2022, when the Queensland government approved the Chalumbin proposal under the corner-cutting assessment process. It applies to anything with the word “renewable” attached.

Bulldozers were ripping swathes through hundreds of hectares of remnant native forest at nearby Kaban, blasting 330,000 tonnes of rock and dirt from the sides of hills to build access roads and turbine pads bigger than football fields.

All of this was occurring without a squeak from environmental groups, every one of which appeared to have swallowed the renewable energy Kool-Aid and, in some cases, its cash.

Energy Minister Chris Bowen set a target of installing a giant 7MW wind turbine every 18 hours until 2030. He boasted of the number of projects in the pipeline, the implication being they were just a short step away from approval.

Today, the renewable energy industry has a name for projects that slip off the back of the pipeline: zombie projects. Last year was the worst year for the financial approval of renewable energy projects since 2016 and the worst for wind since 2015. The latest Green Energy and Investment Markets Review reports the window is closing fast on the government’s 2030 target.

Assuming an average of two years for construction, 8GW of new projects must receive financial approval every year from 2024 until 2027. That is almost five times higher than the amount approved in 2023.

Bowen could ill-afford the 400MW Chalumbin project to fall into the zombie zone, particularly since it was backed by Korean Zinc, a cashed-up corporation keen to get a slice of Australia’s renewable energy action.

Chalumbin signals to renewable energy speculators that the Dirty Harry days are over. The environmental costs of wind, solar, hydro and transmission will no longer be overlooked because of their assumed noble goal.

Now Plibersek has knocked back Chalumbin, it is impossible to see how she can approve the Upper Burdekin project in an equally sensitive area 4.8km from the boundary of the Wet Tropics World Heritage area.Global tech giant Apple read the writing on the wall a year ago when it walked away from an agreement to buy power from the proposed plant. Andrew Forrest, whose WindLab company is behind the project, might as well throw the towel in today.

The odds must be rapidly closing against Mt Fox, a 350MW wind turbine project in mountainous remnant forest on the edge of the wet tropical Girringun National Park, 50km southwest of Ingham. From there, the ruler must be run through cascading proposals hugging the Great Dividing Range to the Darling Downs. Few, if any, will be situated in already degraded environments since developers seek ridge lines that are unprofitable and, in many cases, impossible to farm. The remnant bush line has provided sanctuary for enough vulnerable and endangered creatures to fill Noah’s ark.

The Chalumbin precedent subjects every proposal to potential trade-offs. How many hectares of bulldozed koala habitat are too many? Which species are so unlovely, small or insignificant that we are prepared to sacrifice them in order to save the planet? If the same rules that apply to mining were applied to wind, solar and pumped hydro, the jig would be up.

Plibersek will be aware of her decision’s taming effect on the animal spirits of renewable energy speculators. On Saturday, she issued a keep-calm-and-carry-on press release announcing she had approved 63 wind turbines at the aptly named Mt Hopeful in central Queensland. “I’ve now ticked off 46 renewable energy projects … and we have a record 130 renewables projects in the approval pipeline.”

Yet the minister’s tick does not make Mt Hopeful immune from zombification. The developer, Neoen, still struggles to make the numbers stack up. Costs are ballooning as it discovers that making a project work on a spreadsheet is very different from making it work on planet Earth.

Even the environmental movement is waking up to the realisation that wind turbines might not be the answer to their prayers. Bob Brown, the father of the green movement, led the campaign to stop turbines chewing up birds in his home state of Tasmania. In Victoria, wetland conservation groups opposed the proposed terminal for offshore wind construction at the Port of Hastings, which Plibersek blocked in January.

The Chalumbin decision brought Queensland conservationists scurrying out of the woodwork to make out as if they had opposed the proposal all along. A year ago, all the Queensland Conservation Council was prepared to say publicly was that the issue was “complicated”. On Friday, the Council declared the Chalumbin decision as “welcome”.

“Today, our community breathes a sigh of relief as those important bits of nature remain intact,” said Lucy Graham, director of the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre.

It is too early to declare that the renewable craze has peaked, but that moment is a step nearer in Queensland, where expectations rise of an LNP victory at the state election in October. LNP leader David Crisafulli’s decision not to oppose Labor’s legislated target invites an intriguing question.

Since the LNP has pledged to pull back Labor’s renewable excesses, might Crisafulli be the first Coalition leader to seek an electoral mandate for lifting the ban on nuclear?


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs