Saturday, 31 March 2007

Turnbull's challenge - climate change in Australia.

From Crikey dot
I cannot improve on this list, so I quote it exactly as it came to me, from, in an email advice.

1. Australia becoming a barely habitable hell hole. But you knew that

Thomas Hunter writes:

The federal Environment Minister last night reassured Australians that he is alert to the dangers of climate change, or at least those detailed in a soon-to-be released report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, telling Lateline :

The IPCC report is based on peer-reviewed published science, everything in there is well known to us, we know that there is the possibility or the probability of a hotter and drier future in southern Australia.

I mean we know about this, this has been published, the CSIRO has been writing about this for years so I'm glad that you think it's a revelation, I'm sorry to say that it isn't, it isn't, there's nothing new in that.

A few hours earlier, The 7.30 Report revealed what the Minister already knows about Australia’s environmental future:

  • A reduction of up to 50% in stream flows into the Murray Darling Basin;
  • Within 800 kilometres of the Australian coast, temperatures will warm from 0.1 degree to 1.3 degrees by 2020;
  • By 2050, it could warm anywhere from 0.3 to 3.4 degrees and, by 2080, the mean temperature could be 6.7 degrees warmer than it is now. As a result heatwaves and fires are virtually certain to increase in intensity and frequency;
  • Floods, landslides, droughts and storm surges are very likely to become more frequent and intense;
  • The frequency of severe tropical cyclones on the east Australian coast will increase by 20%;
  • Up to 20% more droughts … are simulated over most of Australia by 2030 and up to 80% more droughts by 2070 in South Western Australia;
  • An increase in fire danger in Australia is likely to be associated with a reduced interval between fires, increased fire intensity, a decrease in fire extinguishments and faster fire spread;
  • In South East Australia the frequency of very high extreme fire danger days is likely to rise 4-25% by 2020 and 15-70% by 2050;
  • Annual stream flow in the basin is likely to fall 10-25% by 2050 and 16-48% by 2100. Toxic algal blooms are likely to become longer and more frequent;
  • By 2050, 97% of the Great Barrier Reef will be bleached every year and, by 2080, there'll be catastrophic mortality of coral species annually;
  • Greater coastal inundation, erosion, loss of wetlands and salt water intrusion into freshwater sources, with impact on infrastructure, coastal resources and existing coastal management programs;
  • In the next 50-100 years, 21% of the Tasmanian coast is at risk of erosion and significant recession from predicted sea-level rises;
  • According to the science, the number of deaths is likely to rise from 1,115 per year at present in Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane, to as many as 6,300 per year by 2050.

Knowing is one thing. Doing is another.


My comment: Politics is all short-term vision stuff, these days. Howard cares not a fig if Stern is correct about paying much more in the future than if we start solving the carbon problems now. Howard will be out of office long before the bills start being paid, and dead, before the effects of his inaction make a terrible mess of the climate, and the economy of this country, and many others. Why then, should we expect him to care?

As I have said before, the Body Politic is ill, in Australia.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Good Friday in Iran?

I do not normally engage in speculation on forthcoming military strikes, as these matters are beyond my expertise. The thing about this "internet rumour" is that, unlike many Nostradamus stories, and rumours of the imminent end of the Earth, this one has a specific deadline of Good Friday: 4 am, 6 April, (Iranian time (Teheran) which is GMT +3:30 hrs). Then you will know whether or not there was anything to it.


WASHINGTON DC, — The long awaited US military attack on Iran is now on track for the first week of April, specifically for 4 am on April 6, the Good Friday opening of Easter weekend, writes the well-known Russian journalist Andrei Uglanov in the Moscow weekly “Argumenty Nedeli.” Uglanov cites Russian military experts close to the Russian General Staff for his account.

The attack is slated to last for 12 hours, according to Uglanov, from 4 am until 4 pm local time. Friday is the sabbath in Iran. In the course of the attack, code named Operation Bite, about 20 targets are marked for bombing; the list includes uranium enrichment facilities, research centers, and laboratories.

The first reactor at the Bushehr nuclear plant, where Russian engineers are working, is supposed to be spared from destruction. The US attack plan reportedly calls for the Iranian air defense system to be degraded, for numerous Iranian warships to be sunk in the Persian Gulf, and for the most important headquarters of the Iranian armed forces to be wiped out.

The attacks will be mounted from a number of bases, including the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. Diego Garcia is currently home to B-52 bombers equipped with standoff missiles. Also participating in the air strikes will be US naval aviation from aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf, as well as from those of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. Additional cruise missiles will be fired from submarines in the Indian Ocean and off the coast of the Arabian peninsula. The goal is allegedly to set back Iran’s nuclear program by several years, writes Uglanov, whose article was reissued by RIA-Novosti in various languages, but apparently not English, several days ago. The story is the top item on numerous Italian and German blogs, but so far appears to have been ignored by US websites.

Observers comment that this dispatch represents a high-level orchestrated leak from the Kremlin, in effect a war warning, which draws on the formidable resources of the Russian intelligence services, and which deserves to be taken with the utmost seriousness by pro-peace forces around the world.


For a background story from which this story came, check out:

Make up your own mind, or just wait and see.

Thing is, George W does need to regain the ascendency in his War on Public Opinion (sorry the "War on Terror"). So it makes sense that he would do something like this. Expect JWH to follow along, supporting Dubbya's brilliant leadership of the coalition of the stupid (willing).

The timing intrigues me: is it part of the deep cover for the "Neo-cons" in the USA, who are pretty much part of the Pro-Israel push, that they should launch this attack on Good Friday - one of the most solemn Christian holy days?

Sunday, 25 March 2007

The wider World is sick too.

The author of a book called "Bombing to Win" (now that's a title to resonate with) is advising us that the US is developing a super "Bunker-buster" bomb, just in time to bomb Iran. It will cost a mere $38, so lets hope they build lots of them.

Great news, folks. Lets see if we can precipitate a total World-wide war, as the "War on Terror" has not brought the citizens of the western countries into enough submission, yet. I mean, it worked for a while, but the effect has worn off. The Democrats in the US Congress want to set a deadline for withdrawal - September 2008.

That's right. The point of the "War on Terror" is to -terrorise us, the citizens of the "Coalition of the un-Willing".

In this regard, it is worth noting that the failure of the burghers of New South Wales to elect a Liberal Government in that State, has increased the likelihood of a fraudulent terror attack in Australia some time between now and the next Federal Election. Remember the bombing of a leading international Hotel? (Clue: think Paris)? That worked pretty well, for the Spooks. Their Organization was rewarded with a great increase in its funding, after the mandatory Inquiry.

We have a major international convention scheduled for Sydney, in September, with the next APEC summit. A fraudulent stunt around that time would help Little Johnny over the line, by scaring the citizens, prior to an election, expected late in this year. We need something more frightening than the "Be alert, but not alarmed" Fridge Magnet campaign, obviously.

Who knows, otherwise people might exercise their democratic rights to elect Kevin Rudd. That would not do, at all!

We could always invade Nauru, a la the Iron Lady's attack on the Falklands. That worked well for her. (Photo above is of Maggie mourning her great mentor, Ronald Regan).

Perhaps some of our recently arrived Sri Lankan"Boat people" could stage a riot over there, while awaiting the Immigration Dept's assessment of their Refugee Status.

That's be enough excuse for an invasion, surely, to protect the Nauruans.

Friday, 23 March 2007

The body politic is very ill indeed!

We have known for a long time that the NSW State Political scene is sick.
Quite how sick, I did not know, until just recently.

Peddling of influence is commonplace in NSW.
Our local member does not hesitate to try to put pressure on the local business chamber, to try to get me to shut up about the Kangaloon Aquifer. He complained that I was apparently advising people to vote 1 Green, 2 Liberal in Kiama. (I was present when this phone call took place - and while I heard only one end of the conversation, I do know for a fact that the call was made.)

Anyway, the allegation is wrong. What I have been saying (privately, up until now) is that it is my intention to vote that way. As far as I know, this is still (only just) a democracy, and I am entitled to vote how I want.

The fact that my friends and colleagues have been subjected to pressure, to get them to try to influence me is appalling. It just confirms me in my intention to vote in a way that would end up not supporting Matt Brown.

The Greens have decided to give their preferences to Labor (in Kiama) as they judge that over-all, the ALP is slightless bad than the Liberal Party, and that the Liberals' decision to hand over the Industrial Relations powers to the Federal Government was the deciding factor. While I understand that decision, on the full range of policies, personally, I cannot bring myself to follow that voting recommendation. So, I am voting on a "Single Issue" policy - for the first time in my life. I have previously declared myself to be a life-long Labor Voter up until this election. But that was a position formed when Labor politicians like EGW, and Tom Uren believed in Labor Party policy, social justice, and the "light on the hill". Not this mob.


Back in November, I went to my local member, Matt Brown, quietly and respectfully, and told him that the information he had been given about potential environmental damage to the Kangaloon Aquifer was wrong. He had been briefed by the Government and the Sydney Catchment Authority. He disagreed (fair enough). Except that we quoted facts and figures from SCA documents. He undertook to check it out, then came back and he still said that we were wrong. He now knows that we were indeed right (confirmed by the head of the SCA, no less), but by then, he had locked himself into a position opposed to our campaign to protect the Kangaloon Aquifer.

So there it is Matt. You were wrong. You now know it, but you do not have the decency to acknowledge that fact. But Matt's personalised pressuring my friends and colleagues, confirms my decision to vote on a "personal" basis - for just about anyone but Matt Brown.
Since I made that decision, our Kangaloon Aquifer signs have been torn down. Who stands to benefit from that action? ("cui bono" as the old Roman adage is). It isn't "rocket science". Only one party support pumping of the Kangaloon Aquifer. (Our signs were not in breach of any provisions of the Electoral Act, and they were not torn down by Council or the RTA.)
Other things are going on, as well.

The process of declaring large projects as "critical infrastructure projects" (which brings them under the provisions of "Part 3A" of the EPA Act), creates a perfect situation to institutionalise corruption within the State planning system. Developments which are controversial become subject to the decision of just one person, the Minister for Planning, Mr Frank Sartor. And the decision to deem a project subject to Part 3A is itself beyond appeal or review.

A "Part 3A" declaration lifts a project above all normal planning controls, including all Local Government planning procedures and normal State Government controls, such as environmental controls. Mining companies and large developers love this, and are beating a path to Frank Sartor's door.

No wonder! From a sociological analysis of that situation, it creates the perfect situation to promote collusion between developers and the Government (at an individual or governmental level). I am not making any accusations, merely providing a classical sociological analysis of the relationship between developers and Government.

We don't need Brian Burke in NSW, we have Part 3A.


Sunday, 18 March 2007

Democracy is dying in Kiama Electorate.

Kindly read my posting over at The Nature of Robertson about how our political freedoms in Kiama are being restricted.

Some body (or some people) have been pulling down signs opposing the pumping of the Kangaloon Aquifer.

These signs are comments on a particular engineering project which is being implemented by the Sydney Catchment Authority.

They in no way say who to vote for in the next election.
They do not contravene any provisions of the Electoral Act (we have checked).
The Council is not likely to have paid overtime to their employees, to pull down signs about a project which the Council itself opposes, over a weekend.

Some of them are made by kids, for goodness sake!
Not all of these signs have yet been removed (as far as I know). Let us hope this outrage stops RIGHT NOW!

Freedom of expression is being repressed in the Kiama Electorate. Strangely, further east from Sheepwash Road (in the Goulburn Electorate) our signs have not been touched.

When considering such an action, ask yourself: Who stands to benefit?
Well, it ain't Rocket Science.

There is only one political party which supports the pumping of water from the Kangaloon Aquifer. It does this, regardless of risks to the environment, and risks to the livelihood of local farmers.

That is the ALP.

Their representative in Kiama is Mr Matt Brown.

Kindly draw your own conclusions.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Where do I start?
  1. Kelvin Thompson's stupid lapse?
  2. Kevin Rudd's appointment of Young Ludwig as Shadow Attorney General? (a "courageous decision" in the terms of "Yes, Minister" methinks).
  3. Shelley Archer, in WA, getting caught up in the CCC investigations over there - lets blame everyone else but ourselves, eh, Shelley?
  4. Dr Heather Beattie, (Peter's wife, apparently an academic specialist in Nursing issues) about to be drafted for Lord Mayor of Brisbane. What? I can just hear the screams of anguish over that one. It didn't help Nick Greiner's Premiership, having his wife on the Sydney Council. Heather may well be a thoroughly well qualified candidate, but...
  5. Morrie Iemma's announcement of a pipeline from the Wingecarribee Reservoir (between Robertson and Moss Vale) to Goulburn. This idea was kicked around back in 2005, but nothing has happened since. Great - a mere $40 million, for a pipeline, which is supposed to be able to be constructed in 12 months. What a joke! Try 3 years, if it would take a day. The people of Sutton Forest, etc will resist this pipeline going through their Horse Studs and vineyards. But, hey, Morrie don't care about them, as there's not a single Labor Vote to be lost from there. I am not against giving the people of Goulburn a helping hand, but what happened to John Howard's announcement of a pipeline from the Googong Reservoir to Goulburn? That idea was floated just a few weeks ago. This Canberra Times report of November 2006, says coyly that Mr Iemma was "unaware" of the proposal. Cute. That's Morrie, at his best.
  6. Of course, the water from the Wingecarribee Reservoir is primarily Shoalhaven Water transferred (stolen) by the SCA, anyway. So, having been stolen by Sydney, what's to prevent Morrie giving it away to Goulburn. After all they have an independent candidate there, who was Mayor of Goulburn until a week ago. Not that I am suggesting there is any political component to this idea!
  7. And today we learnt of rumours that two coal mining groups are seriously investigating extending coal mining under the Southern Highlands. One from Sutton Forest through Moss Vale towards the catchment area. That might take them under the Wingecarribee Reservoir, and would definitely require it going under the Wingecarribee River. This is a longwall mining proposal. Subsidence issues abound. The second one is of an Indian Mining company talking about mining under the kanaloon Aquifer area itself. Terrific. There's every likelihood that subsidence will destroy the Nepean and Avon Rivers, if that goes ahead.
What a day of bad news!

Monday, 5 March 2007

The Ghost of WA Inc.

The ghostly figure at the centre of the WA Inc scandal from years ago has re-emerged at the centre of yet another scandal, supposedly to do with currying favour on behalf of clients.
Now the Schoolboy has been caught out sharing the Ghost's play-lunch, it seems.

It is a terrible mess, and of course, there is probably nothing to it (on a true ethical or moral basis). But the Little Headmaster is wanting to beat the Schoolboy's trousers. Unfortunately for him, the first person to get in the way of the Headmaster's wildly swinging cane was Senator Soup-Can (one of the Headmaster's own team).

It might look tough justice for Senator Soup-Can. However, I would favour the view that it is the very least he deserves for his failure to protect the Barrup Peninsula and the ancient Aboriginal Rock Art (petroglyphs) from the Woodside company's Natural Gas operation. I figure it is a kind of political karma, for the Soup-Can man.

Interestingly, the "holier than thou" tones being propagated out of the hauty noses of Abbot and Costello might cause embarrassment to numerous business leaders, with interests in WA (and who of them doesn't?). It is apparent that if anyone in business wanted to succeed in WA, they first hired Brian and Julian, to smoothe their path. And that means we are talking about the largest merchant bankers, and mining companies in the land. Careful, Pete. Don't let your enthusiasm for "fagging the new Schoolboy" find yourself causing embarrassment to your own partisan bank-rollers. It's just not done, Peter. Ask Ron, and some of his mates, for some advice, before you make more of a fool of yourself than normal.

If you are interested in more on the current harrumphing of politicians and media pundits, go to " The Road to Surfdom".