Thursday, 23 December 2010

Kristina Keneally ducks for cover

Well, well, well. Kristina Keneally has ducked for cover. But she might just have given away her last vestiges of power and position - just when she needs them.

She has called on the Governor to Prorogue the NSW Parliament.

On my reading - and I stress I am NOT a Constitutional Lawyer - that means Kristina Keneally is now the Caretaker Premier.

In keeping with the style of this Labor Government, I am fully confident that they will ignore the Caretaker Conventions:
  • about NOT making major appointments, 
  • NOT making major Policy Announcements

As Richard Farmer put it in Crikey today:
  • "Just when you might have thought, with the holidays looming, that things could not get worse with the New South Wales government, along comes a decision to try and muzzle a Legislative Council committee enquiring into the circumstances of the late-night signing of agreements to raise billions from electricity assets.
  • "All this ham-fisted attempt to avoid public scrutiny will do is further reinforce the appalling reputation of this state Labor government."
This Blog pledges to monitor the actions and announcements of Kristina Keneally and her Ministers over the next 3 months until the Election on 26 March 2011 to note any and all breaches of convention, especially gross breaches which might call into question the legality of new appointments and the binding nature of "commitments made".

For what Kristina Keneally has effectively done is reduce her power from being Premier of NSW to being a candidate for re-election. So the most she can do (legally) from now on, is make "election promises". 

In my opinion, she has no idea of the full implications of what she has done.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Who really won the "popular vote"?

The "Born-to-Rule" mob in Australian Politics (The Liberal and National Parties) came close to winning this recent election.

Closer than they deserved - for the offered few real policies - just repeated mantras of carping criticism, born out of prejudice and hatred of the Labor Party, of women in power, and of anyone with a Greenish tinge to their political views.

They came closer than any self-respecting democratically inclined voter could feel happy with.

Since the results became clear - that Labor would be able to negotiate an alliance, a co-alition, with the non-conservative Members (and Senators), the "born-to-rule" mob have been claiming (falsely) that they ought be the Government as they got 500,00 more votes than Labor.

Lets look at the facts.

This was buried in side Crikey today - in the "Cock-ups and Corrections" bit.

The Australian's election coverage:

Michael R. James writes: Re. "Mungo: hey innumerates, look at the scoreboard" (yesterday, item 14). Mungo MacCallum, regarding the Coalition losing the election, wrote: "just look at the scoreboard, read about it in the newspapers". The problem is that 70% of the print media is News Ltd and political editor Dennis Shanahan wrote that Labor "failed to win the popular vote, the primary vote or more seats than the Coalition".

Though this result is still not final it was predicted last week by Peter Brent on his Mumble blog at News Ltd:

Primary Votes: AEC DATA 13 September
2010 1:46:46pm
ALP 4,711,406 37.8%
ALP + Greens 6,170,553 49.8%
ALP+Greens+3xInd 6,280,724 50.6%
LP 3,777,317 30.5%
Lib + LNQ + NP 5,370,228 43.3%
Lib+LNQ+NP+2xInd 5,431,944 43.8%

So, whichever way one cuts it, the ruling government alliance represents a majority of voters; 50.1% of 2PP or 50.6% of primary votes, compared to the potential alliance that could have put Abbott into power: 49.92% 2PP or only 43.8% of primary vote.

According to Abbott, Pyne, Brandis and their media proxies, especially Shanahan, this 43.8% of the primary vote would have had legitimacy but the governing alliance's 50.6% would be illegitimate.

Depending on how your count it, the governing alliance has 910,000 more primary votes than the Coalition or 848,000 more votes than the LNP potential (now defunct) alliance with two independents.

With both Tony Crook* and Bob Katter* now on the "unaligned" cross benches, the seat count is Labor and Coalition dead heat on 72 seats each; on votes of no confidence and money bills it is Labor alliance 76 or 77 (incl. Katter*) and Coalition 72; and one unaligned (Crook). (*Michelle Grattan wrote "Despite his support for the Coalition, Mr Katter indicated he would be reluctant to use his vote to bring down the government. 'I most certainly would see a moral responsibility to look at the issue of stability' he said.'' Phil Coorey in The Sydney Morning Herald wrote "Tony Crook, who on Monday pledged to help Mr Abbott form a minority government, withdrew that pledge after the result was known yesterday and will sit on the crossbench, unaligned.")

Clive Palmer and Warren Truss were at it again on ABC's Q&A last night, irresponsibly implying that the government is illegitimate.

LNP Senator George Brandis is a QC and so he should either bring a court challenge or shut up.

"End of Michael R James Comment" in Crikey.

Thank you, Mr James.


Denis Wilson


Friday, 3 September 2010

Greens statement re Agreement with Labor Party.

I have just received this statement from Senator Bob Brown, Leader of the Australian Greens. It is self-explanatory.

Dear Denis,

On Election Day, more than one in ten Australians voted for the Greens. Each and every vote for the Greens was powerful and here's why:

Yesterday, on behalf of the Australian Greens, I signed an agreement with Prime Minister Julia Gillard to work with the Australian Labor Party to ensure stability if it is returned to Government.

(ABC News: Damien Larkins)
The Labor party will work with the Greens to improve Parliamentary processes, like making sure private member's bills are voted on and properly debated. This means important Greens bills to introduce equal marriage, end offshore processing of asylum seekers, or to abolish junk food advertising during children's TV viewing hours can't be swept under the carpet by the Labor and Liberal parties.

For the first time, the Greens will be able to submit policies to Treasury for costing.

The Labor Party will also work with the Greens on a range of issues including:
  • better dental health funding,
  • truth in political advertising,
  • a referendum to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution, and
  • a new Climate Change Committee to work towards a price on carbon.

In return, the Greens will ensure supply and oppose motions of no-confidence in the Labor Government from other parties.

You can read the full agreement here.

It is the responsibility of all newly elected Parliamentarians to deliver stable, productive Government. That is the Greens' primary aim in the agreement signed yesterday.

Regardless of which party forms Government, the Greens in the balance of power in the Senate and our newly-elected Lower House MP Adam Bandt remain the voters' backstop for accountability, scrutiny and progressive policies in our national Parliament. The Greens have always been your voice in the halls of Parliament and that voice has been strengthened thanks to the work of tens of thousands of supporters like you.

The agreement is not a coalition with Labor, but is a constructive contribution toward stable government.

We will continue to work to propose innovative new ideas in Parliament and improve the legislation of whoever is in Government.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Brown

If you received this from a friend and want to sign up to campaign emails from the Australian Greens click here.

Authorised by Derek Schild, 8-10 Hobart Place. Canberra

To unsubscribe from these emails from the Australian Greens click here
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ref: 137485

Monday, 23 August 2010

An Act of Spite by Fairfax Media.

The Fairfax media (through "The Age") has run a mischievous piece of rubbish.

There may be some truth that some people are already framing a betting market about a change of Leader in the Labor Party.

But the real (and unstated) purpose of the story is not about betting, its purpose can only be to destabilise the Labor Government.

It is an act of spite, by a Newspaper which has been totally negative all the way through the Election campaign.

The story starts off saying:

  • "Bill Shorten, the former union boss who orchestrated the execution of Kevin Rudd from the Labor leadership, has been backed by punters to lead the party to the next election.
  • "While hundreds of punters sweat on the final election outcome, Mr Shorten, the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, has been installed as the clear favourite with bookies to topple Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who is fighting to form a minority government."
What a bastard act, to run such a story, now, when Julia Gillard is negotiating with the various independents about which party will form a minority Government.

I refuse to give a link to the story (as internet protocol would normally dictate) as that might encourage you to read the story.

Please do not read it.

Please cancel your subscription to "The Age" (if you have one). I have just done that.

ALP Blame Game has started - too late!

The knives are out for Karl Bitar and Mark Arbib - NSW-based Labor Party powerbrokers.
Karl Bitar - ALP National Secretary.
To me, as something of an outsider in the murky world of Labor Politics, all I can say is:
  1. It isn't surprising
  2. Its too late!
Mark Arbib
Senator and NSW "backroom boy".

These people have presided over a Labor Party machine which has selected candidates who either are "part of the club" - their own preferred factional allies; and they have also persuaded the leaders to only speak about things which are favourable to big business.

In that latter case, I give you the example of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. When Kevin Rudd abandoned his plan to address the "greatest moral challenge facing our generation" he lost all credibility with persons concerned about the environment.

What did Labor believe in?
  1. Being soft on the Mining Industry.
  1. Because of a string of Labor seats in Illawarra and the Hunter regions.
But the cost of not believing in anything is now being counted (and will be for several weeks). If the increased Green vote had stayed with Labor, they would not be in this position.

The Labor Party's "experts" - the guys who run the party's private polling, and feed that information to the Leadership, no longer believe in Ben Chifley's "light on the hill". The True Believers have long since left the building.

Morris Iemma, who was dumped because of back-room manoeuvering by Karl Bitar, is now calling for Bitar to resign. Hardly surprising.

Picture: Dean Marzolla Source: The Daily Telegraph

This is what the Daily Telegraph ( a truly awful paper, by the way) says today: "FORMER NSW Labor premier Morris Iemma publicly called for Labor's party boss Karl Bitar to be sacked following what he claimed was the most disastrous campaign in the party's history.

He also called for factional boss and powerbroker Senator Mark Arbib to be dumped, claiming the pair had effectively destroyed the Labor Party."

Mr Iemma lost his position as NSW Premier because these two guys shifted their support away from him. So, in fairness, it ought be recorded that Iemma has some scores to settle with them both.

I do not.
I have been a Labor voter for many years, and I personally know a number of senior Labor Party people (as one tends to do if you have lived in Canberra most of of your life, as I have done).

I have been going on for ages about the loss of true Labor Party values.
Nobody has listened to me - naturally enough.

Will they listen to the voice of the Australian People?
That's doubtful.

The late edition of the Sydney Morning Herald has now (belatedly) joined in with the story.
"Calls for Bitar's head after 'inept' campaign"

Saturday, 21 August 2010

A Well-hung Parliament - a psephologist's "wet dream"

If the last numbers from tonight's election count turn out to be accurate (or are not whittled down by the Scrutineers) then Australia will have a "Hung Parliament".

That means a balance between the major parties, where neither has a majority, and needs to negotiate (now there's an novel idea) with the block of three Independents who have been in the Parliament before, and with Adam Bandt and possibly Andrew Wilkie.

But the main impression I have from tonight's chaotic election broadcast is that there is no one more happy in Australia tonight than Antony Green, the ABC's resident psephologist. The fact that the results of this election might not be known for two weeks (thanks to our antiquated rules on postal votes, which are a hang-over from the days when mail carried by "Cobb and Co Coaches" around the country by horse and buggy).

So this prolonged electoral counting, and re-counting, and then, eventually the rounds of distribution of preferences must seem to Antony Green like a psephologist's "wet dream".

At least somebody is happy with the result.

Andrew Wilkie has been a hero of mine since he "Blew the Whistle" on the Weapons of Mass Destruction issue (in Iraq) when working for the Office of National Assessments. I personally would feel secure if he holds the Balance of Power in the next Parliament. What was it he said he hoped for an ethical Government.

What's that?

Thursday, 19 August 2010

My brother Brian sent me a cartoon he has drawn

The ABC Local Radio in Canberra (666 - the Radio with the Devil's Call Sign) has a "Fierce Quill" cartoon competition running at the moment.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

No National Rail Network in Australia

I am amazed that in the run-up to a Federal Election, we have heard not a peep out of anyone about this.
I first heard of it, when it was reported in The Age on 9 August 2010.
We have buses between Albury and Melbourne.
That means changing over at Albury.
Small seats; double handling of luggage, etc
This is a 3rd world situation.
CountryLink website confirms this (downloaded this morning) with the following advice:
Sunday 8 August- until further notice
Southern Region - Due to delays as a result of substantial speed restrictions being applied by both the Australian Rail Track Corporation and the independent regulator on ARTC track in Victoria, CountryLink advises that all services between Albury and Melbourne will be replaced by road coaches commencing from Sunday 8 August 2010 until further notice. CountryLink apologises for any inconvenience.
6 August - 15 August 2010
Southern region - Due to amended timetables all Sydney - Melbourne - Sydney XPT services will experience delays of 20 - 40 minutes.
Please visit the Trackwork for more details. (From Sunday 8 August 2010 until further notice the XPT service will be replaced by a road coach service Albury - Melbourne - Albury).

The explanation contained in The Age's report (below) blames Victoria for laying tracks in the middle of a drought and seemingly not allowing for wet conditions (reactive clay soils swell when wet).

The Age's report from 9 August.

Victoria-NSW train travel suspended: CountryLink

August 9, 2010 - 2:57PM

Train travel from NSW to Victoria has been suspended because of safety concerns.

The decision was made yesterday afternoon after the NSW-based CountryLink transport service became worried about safety on rail lines between Albury and Melbourne.

Regional centres such as Albury-Wodonga and Wagga Wagga along with smaller towns including Wangaratta, Cootamundra and Yass will be affected by the decision.

Speed limits on the lines, normally above 100km/h, have been reduced to 80km/h.

"This arrangement will continue until further notice," CountryLink said in a statement.

Safety has been jeopardised by the decision to lay concrete sleepers during a time of drought and not allow for rains, sources familiar with the issue told AAP.

One person said the safety worries would soon affect NSW tracks from Macarthur, on the southern outskirts of Sydney, through to Albury."


This is a 3rd world situation, which is unbelievable in 2010.

And in the context of a Federal Election, we have heard not a peep out of any politicians on this issue. Nothing!

Saturday, 14 August 2010


OK the heading is satirical.

There is a hot new website (launched by the Labor Party of course) where you can design you're own Tony Abbott poster.

This is mine:If you want to try your own hand, go to:

Friday, 13 August 2010

Dear Julia = Please consider the Environment.

I have sent a message to Julia Gillard, via a message system organised by the Wilderness Society
Hi Julia
Please take  a moment to consider the environment.
Coal mining is destroying NSW and Queensland (Darling Downs and all the way up to Bowen Basin), and Coal Seam Gas is likely to be as dangerous.
Many Labor voters are concerned about the Environment.
If you don't include a message (and a policy) for us, we will be forced in to the waiting arms of the Greens. You don't want that to happen.
Do not just listen to the Back room boys.
They are out of touch with the real voters.

Australia needs you to show national leadership on the environment

As Australia's most influential politicians, you personally have a critical role to play in securing and sustaining our nation's wild places and natural resources.

I am therefore looking to you for leadership on the challenges threatening Australia's environment and our future.

I urge you to demonstrate that you understand the problems we face by:

  • Protecting the forests of Southern Australia
  • Safeguarding our marine environments
  • Caring for the future of Northern Australia's lands and waters
  • Managing rivers and water
  • Developing Indigenous Conservation opportunities
  • Securing and managing nature's carbon stores - the savannahs, woodlands and forests
  • Stopping new uranium mines and phasing out existing uranium mines

I am looking for national leaders that won't go missing in action when it comes to these and other important National Environment Policies.

Our environment is our future, and the party that offers the best policies and leadership will gain my support.

I will stand up for the environment this election.

Yours sincerely,

Denis Wilson

Electorate of Throsby


Thursday, 12 August 2010

An Average Politician - Tony Abbott MP

I quote from Annabel Crabb's post on "The Drum".
  • On ABC's Lateline in November last year, with Tony Jones, Mr Abbott.... "when asked about his direct knowledge of the climate change issue, Mr Abbott told Jones that he had not read the IPCC report on global warming, and that he had started but not finished Ian Plimer's famous book on the subject.
  • "No, I don't claim to have immersed myself deeply in those subjects," he told Jones.
  • "I'm a politician. I have to rely on briefings - I have to rely on what I pick up through the secondary sources. But look, I think I am as well-versed on these matters as your average politician needs to be."

Quote of the year, I think.

Mr Abbott is just that - an average politician.

Australia needs better than that.

As Annabel Crabb says:

  • "But Tony Abbott is - through his change of heart on this issue and his subsequent annexing of Coalition policy, which until his dislodging of Malcolm Turnbull had been to support a compromise ETS - personally responsible for the fact that Australia does not have a carbon trading scheme.
  • "When the consequences of personal decisions are so profound, these decisions demand deeper research."

Australia also needs better than average "Broadband speeds", Mr Abbott.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Broadband policies are night and day

ADELE FERGUSON writing in "The Age" Business Day tells it like it really is, on the Broadband "debate" (or "non-debate" from Tony Abbott)
August 11, 2010
The Coalition's proposal to spend $750 million fixing the problems on the copper network is seven times more than it proposed to spend on the network when it was last in government.
This is throwing good money after bad because the copper doesn't need fixing - it needs replacing.
The two telecommunications policies are as different as night and day.
The Labor Party's $43 billion policy is extremely expensive but is all about building a network that will be the backbone of Australia for the next 50 years,
much like the copper-wire network was for the past 100 years. It is also about creating a level playing field for competitors by busting up Telstra's monopoly over the network.
The endgame is to create high-speed broadband to drive a service-based economy for the future.
The Coalition's policy is about tarting up what we have and making promises that its network will be capable of what the Gillard government's policy guarantees - speeds at 100 megabits per second.
This is nigh on impossible.
If you didn't see Tony's abysmal performance on the 7:30 Report, check it out here.
He kept repeating "I'm no Tech head".
Really, Tony?
You surprise me.
Its not that hard. Even to the mathematically challenged,. 100 units is bigger (faster) than 12 units, whether they be Megabits per second, or whatever.
For those not frightened of fast speed talk, check out this analysis on "Good Gear Guide"

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Greens Preferences.

In case you were wondering, if you vote for the Greens in NSW, this year, and Lee Rhiannon does not quite get a quota, then this is how your vote would be re-distributed. Obviously, if she gets a quota, then she gets elected (end of the question), but it is far from a sure thing. Kerrie Nettle was the last candidate eliminated in the 2007 election, with 11.02% of the vote (after preferences were distributed in 28 "counts"). She started with 8.43% of first preference votes.

THE GREENS (1 - 6)
GROUP K 24, 25
GROUP X 26, 27
LABOR 32 - 37
GROUP C 39, 40
GROUP B 56. 57
GROUP H 58, 59
GROUP L 60, 61
GROUP D 79, 80
GROUP R 81, 82

Electoral rules state that: "In Senate elections, a system called proportional representation voting secures the election of a number of candidates, each of whom has obtained a required quota or proportion of votes necessary for election. The quota is worked out by dividing the total number of formal votes in the election by one more than the number of places available for election."

There are 6 Senate Candidates to be elected.
So, the quota is total formal votes divided by 6 + 1 = 7.
Once that number is achieved, it is not possible for another candidate to pass the line, that's how it is worked out. Saves them having to go all the way down the list, but usually they do anyway.

So, back to the Green Preferences, it is almost certain that the Greens will come 3rd, probably with something about 11% (or if they do very well), maybe 14% of the vote.

Preferences will most likely give the first 4 seats to Labor and the Coalition (2 seats each). Then the race is on for 5th and 6 positions. As Labor is "On the Nose" in NSW I anticipate that the 5th position will go to to the 3rd Liberal/National Coalition candidate (Fiona Nash), so the Labor Party No 3 person (Steve Hutchins) will fight it out with Lee Rhiannon.

If she is finally eliminated, all the preferences for minor Parties and Groups and ungrouped candidates would be nullified, as only "live" candidates can receive any preferences, so the key thing to note is that
Greens preferences go to Labor ahead of Liberals.

So, despite all the "fuss" about preference deals, etc, that is where her effective preferences would go.

The bit which puzzles me most is, why most of these 84 candidates bother?

Time Warp - with Tony the Mad Monk

Friday, 6 August 2010

Electoral Boundaries changes in Southern Highlands

If you live in the Southern Highlands, you might have thought you were in the seat of Hume. You used be.

Now you are part of the seat of Throsby (at least, unless you live south from Exeter). The new boundary is between Exeter and Bundanoon.
This map is from Google's Federal Election 2010 site
It is based on data from the
Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

If you wish to see a more precise map, please go to the following AEC map of the Division of Throsby.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Rangas for Climate Action

How ironic is this?
As a nearly bald (post chemotherapy-follicle damage) male I have been invited to join the Facebook site of Rangas for Climate Action.

Its doubly ironic as I was castigated by my blogging colleague, Miss Eagle, for commenting upon the Ranga-status of our new Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Now, several weeks later, Miss Eagle has embraced the idea of utilising her own Ranga-status to campaign in favour of action on Climate Change.
See her "Network" website entry on this topic.

That's what has persuaded me to join this group (as an honourary "Ranga").

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Drink driver let off for living in an area with no Public Transport

This is an amazing decision which could only be made by someone with no idea of what life is like in the "bush", and who knows nothing of the dangers of driving on country roads.

Why does the RTA target speeding on country roads and drink-driving on country roads in its ads?
Why do the Police bother with crack-downs on Long Weekends in particular, on country roads?
Because it is bloody dangerous driving on bad country roads - that's why.
Denis Wilson

Drink driver let off for being over the city limit

Jasmin Henley admits she was lucky to be acquitted of a drink driving charge because she lives in an area where there is no public transport. Pictures: Lloyd Justin Source: The Daily Telegraph

Ms Henley's nearest train station from her home near Windsor in Sydney's west is at least a 20 minute drive away. Source: The Daily Telegraph

Drink driving charge dismissed without conviction
  • Woman "didn't live in area with public transport"
  • Driver says charge was her first offence

IT used to be a blood-alcohol reading that determined whether a person was convicted of drink driving - now, it's a postcode.

Sydney woman Jasmin Clair Henley, 27, escaped punishment for driving under the influence yesterday because she lives in an area with no public transport.

In a decision that could set a dangerous precedent - and put people who live in remote areas above the law - a magistrate dismissed the charges against Ms Henley, finding she had no viable alternative to get back to her home at Cattai, north of Windsor, in Sydney's west, after attending a work dinner in the Eastern Suburbs.

"If she lived in any other suburb around Sydney . . . like Paddington . . . there's no way on earth I would consider dismissing the charge," magistrate Brian Maloney said.

Ms Henley recorded a blood-alcohol reading of 0.067 after police stopped her on the Cahill Expressway last month.

Facing the magistrate in the Downing Centre Local Court yesterday, Ms Henley had her low-range drink driving charge dismissed without conviction.

Mr Maloney said he would treat the case as if he was passing sentence in a country court, because there were not enough public transport options open to people living in the northwest corridor.

"It's not like she could jump on a 333 bus to Bondi," he said.

He said the former North Sydney TAFE student ought to move closer to the city if she wanted to have a few drinks over dinner, where she could travel home without risking her own safety and that of other drivers.

"Drinking and driving causes fatalities," he said.

He also quipped that as a past employee of Riverside Oaks Golf Course, Ms Henley would've seen first-hand the ill effects of alcohol on many a drunken golfer.

The magistrate noted that Ms Henley claimed to have only had two drinks at the work function, held at the London Hotel, but he warned that alcohol could be "biased" in effecting women more than men due to their generally smaller body mass.

Ms Henley told The Daily Telegraph she was relieved to have kept her licence because she would not able to get to and from her workplace in the Eastern Suburbs by public transport.

She said she was in danger of having her licence suspended for a minimum of three months if Mr Maloney had not taken her remote address into account.

"I really need my licence, especially living out here.

"It would be too hard to get anywhere. There are no buses at all that come past my house and the nearest train station is Mulgrave, at least 20 minutes away."

Ms Henley said she has never caught a taxi home to Cattai because the fare, about $175, is too costly.

"I've never been in trouble before. This is my first offence. I know I'm really lucky."

Lionel Rattenbury, a partner at Armstrong Legal who was not involved in the case, said the sentence was not manifestly inadequate and within the acceptable range for low-end drink driving offences.

Most offenders in the low-range are fined and have their licenses suspended for three to six months, he said.

Citing the Court of Criminal Appeal, he said the significant effect of license disqualification on a person's ability to earn income and function appropriately in the community should be factored in when applying sentences.

Mr Rattenbury also believed the decision wouldn't affect any future drink driving cases.

"The judgment of one magistrate has very little effect upon the judgments of others," he said.

"The law is clear and set out in the guideline judgment."

- With Larissa Cummings and Nathan Klein at The Daily Telegraph.


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Baleful influence of "NSW Right" on ALP

Bernard Keane in Crikey has hit the nail on the head today (in Crikey's Morning Election Update).
He says:
  • "Getting rid of the baleful influence of NSW Labor on her campaign style might turn out to be a smart play by Gillard, but it’ll only be of any use if she goes all the way and removes the likes of Mark Arbib and Karl Bitar from the government’s policy process as well. That’s where the real damage has been done."
Dead right.
NSW at the State level is addicted to coal mining revenues.
The Union Movement in NSW is addicted to Coal Miners.
The NSW ALP is addicted to the belief that the coal miners keep the Newcastle and Hunter Valley seats in their "safe" hands.

Senator Mark Arbib -
"close adviser to the (former) Prime Minister (Rudd)
and his link to the New South Wales branch of the ALP.

Karl Bitar
National Secretary of the ALP

These backroom boys persuaded Kevin Rudd to abandon any serious response to Global Warming.
The rest is history.
  • Rudd is history.
  • Gillard will not touch Global Warming, as evidenced by her ridiculous proposal to randomly select 150 unqualified persons to advise the Government.
  • It remains to be seen if the Labor Government is history.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

The role of Gall Bladders in Australian Politics

My brother, knows a thing or two about Gall Bladder surgery, has just sent me a cryptic message: "Leaking gall bladders spread bile through the system and cause stomach cramps."

I was pondering this very point this afternoon, when I heard that Kevin Rudd had been taken off to hospital for urgent surgery - for removal of his Gall Bladder. The connection between Gall Bladders and bile is very direct, clear and not at all "symbolic". Or is it?

And I was reminded earlier in the day of the link between bile, gall stones and pancreatitis, the condition which famously ended the career of the former Labor Leader Mark Latham. It ended his career, but not the flow of bile.

It all makes one wonder about the health risks of being a Labor Party Politician.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Are you interested in what people think?

Today's edition of The Age has a story on the expansion of the city boundaries of Melbourne.

There are 309 comments, (before The Age Closed down the "Comments" function). That's huge.

And you should read the tone of what they good people of Melbourne are saying:

In a week when Melbourne has suffered a calamitous rail system failure, the good citizens are thoroughly pissed off.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

What's happening to the world, when you cannot trust "Hackers" not to sell you out?

Hackers turning Leakers in to the Authorities.

What's the world coming to?

    • "Suspicion has fallen on to a 22-year-old army intelligence officer, Bradley Manning, who is in custody charged with passing to WikiLeaks a classified military video of a US helicopter gunning down civilians in Iraq in 2007.
    • "Adrian Lamo, the hacker who turned Private Manning in to the authorities in May, said on Good Morning America that he suspected the officer was the source of the Afghanistan documents. But he did not think Private Manning had the technical expertise to pull off such a large removal of documents by himself."


Friday, 23 July 2010

Gillard's pathetic stance on Climate Change

Crikey's Bernard Keane has said it all for me, this morning:

"It's hard to describe just how truly wretched Labor's new climate change policy is. It makes the CPRS, its dog of an emissions trading scheme, look like a model of best practice. It is a spectacular failure of leadership.

"Julia Gillard's "citizens' assembly" has effectively outsourced responsibility for climate policy to "ordinary Australians", on whose "skills, capacity, decency and plain common sense" Gillard will rely to tell her about the community consensus on climate change. In effect it institutionalises what is already apparent -- this is a Government controlled by focus group reactions.

"Labor has been playing politics with climate change for three years and it hasn't stopped. But whereas for most of that time it used climate change to damage the Coalition, now it is having to defend itself against the issue. It will only be with the political cover afforded by this nonsensical Assembly that the Government will take any action on a carbon price.

"Rarely has so much goodwill and political capital been wasted on such an important issue."

To read the article in full, please go to this site:

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Madness of automated replies

Wonderful news - Tony Abbott has "replied" to my emailed version of the previous posting.

This what "his" reply says:
Thank you for your email to the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Tony Abbott MP

Thank you for your recent email to the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott.

As you may be aware, the Prime Minister has called a federal election.

Unfortunately, from Opposition, we do not have the resources to respond to your email in detail during the campaign period, but your concerns will be brought to Tony’s attention and that of the Coalition Team.

After three years of Labor Government failures, Australians now have a choice.

Broken promises, increased cost of living pressures, massive debt, a Budget deficit, waste and mismanagement and new taxes are all placing unnecessary pressures on Australians. Further, Labor have removed a Prime Minister quickly and ruthlessly, ignoring the wishes of Australian voters. But it is the same government with the same problems creating the same mess.

I hope you will get behind Tony in the weeks ahead as he seeks to stand up for Australia and take real action to end the waste, repay the debt, stop the taxes and ease the cost of living pressures on families.

If you would like to read more detailed policy information please go to

Clearly it is an automated reply, developed by a staffer, so that they do not have to actually read what people such as me - VOTERS - are trying to tell Tony Abbott.

Isn't it great that people actually get paid to produce this rubbish?

If Tony loses the Election, and I sincerely hope he does, he ought start out by sacking his staff who do not read his correspondence, do not "sense" that I am not really a supporter (how hard was that to detect?), and who are so stupid as to try to promote the Liberal Party website off the back of my Website?

People who perform so badly do their bosses a total disservice. They have managed to lower my opinion of him. I didn't think it was possible.

I do really hope (but do not believe) that Mr Abbott's Staff will follow their word, and that my "concerns will be brought to Tony’s attention and that of the Coalition Team".

Presumably they mean, after the election. I should imagine that the Liberal Party leadership team, and the rest of the Coalition Team will have a "think" about my idea that, ages ago, they had backed the wrong horse, and should have gone begging to Malcolm Turnbull.

Imagine the Liberal Party heavies using the hardest of all political sentences to speak: "WE WERE WRONG".

Monday, 19 July 2010

The real Election we ought have had.

The Liberal Party has lost its best chance of returning to Government.

If it had not rejected Malcolm Turnbull, when it did, what a head-to-head contest we might have had.
Gillard Versus Turnbull?
That would have been a genuine choice
Whatever one might think of Mr Turnbull, his credibility on Climate Change is far greater than Tony Abbott's or Julia Gillard's.

Strange to think that all of those of us who believe that "Climate Change" and in particular, carbon emissions, ought be serious issues in this election, have no serious candidate to consider in this Election.

If the Liberals were to abandon Tony Abbott immediately and select Malcolm Turnbull (yes I know it will not happen with a 5 week campaign already underway) but what an election choice we might have had.

Having been raised in Melbourne, under the shadow of Dr Mannix, and B A Santamaria, his right-hand man, I could not possibly vote to return to those dark days.
So, what is my genuine political option, this election?
To me, my choice appears to be between a
"Union Hack" and a clone of B.A. Santamaria.

Such appalling poverty of choice is a dreadful indictment of the state of Politics in Australia.

The Australian Body Politic is once again seriously ill.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Coal-fired power stations are death factories. Close them.

This story says much of what the people of the Hunter Valley in NSW have been saying for ages.
Coal mining towns have poor health records.
Although this fact is not mentioned in the attached report, some studies indicate that the kids in mining towns have lower IQs than their peers in non-mining towns.
As the coal mining industry is a major user of water (especially groundwater) and as the coal-fired electricity stations are huge users of water, this issue is perfectly well related to the water theme of the Australian Water Network. 
So too is the point made about the coal industry competing with the food supply industry. We need water to produce food, and there is direct competition between the two, now and into the future, which we simply cannot ignore.


The heat is on for change: coal


Article republished from The Australian  July 10, 2010 12:00AM

JAMES Hansen, the respected NASA scientist, said: "Coal-fired power stations are death factories. Close them." The medical profession has failed to address this serious health message. An urgent transition from coal to renewable energy will provide important health and economic benefits.

Research in the US has shown coal pollutants affect all body organ systems and contribute to four of the five leading causes of mortality in the US: heart disease, cancer, stroke and chronic respiratory disease.

Each step of the coal life cycle -- mining, transportation, washing, combustion and disposing of post-combustion wastes -- affects human health. In Australia, research is lacking but there is no reason to believe similar effects are not occurring in coal communities here. To deny it would be akin to holding smoking causes lung cancer in the US but doesn't in Australia.


The health burden of coal in Australia is estimated conservatively at $2.6 billion a year. There are also economic losses due to land pollution and degradation and the open mining of good agricultural land in the face of the projected world food crisis.


Morbidity and mortality are increasing in the developing world as the effects of climate change take hold of the environment. As the world's fourth largest producer of hard coal and the world's biggest exporter, from which we garner $20bn each year, our contribution to this pollution is far greater than our culpability as the world's greatest domestic per capita producer of greenhouse emissions.


Let us approach this as a medical problem. The climate change moral challenge referred to by former prime minister Kevin Rudd is even more compelling for the medical implications. For a wealthy country to fail to take necessary measures and to wait for others to do so can be seen as amoral. Communities in many mining regions are worried about pollution. They write to us expressing concern about their children's asthma.

There are a number of pollutants released from fossil fuel combustion. These include nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide, and fine particles measuring 2.5 micrometres or less, which penetrate more deeply into lung tissue than larger particles and are considered particularly hazardous to health.

In the US, exposure to these particles has been shown to reduce life expectancy. Their monitoring in Australia, especially in the areas where pollution is generated, is patchy or non-existent.

Environmental injustice can be defined as the disproportionate exposure of socially vulnerable groups to pollution and its associated effects on health and the environment, as well as the unequal environmental protection provided through laws, regulations and their enforcement. However, incomes in some coal and electricity generation townships are higher than the national average and the injustice relates not to poverty but to health inequality caused by government inaction.


For state governments to disregard pleas for action by parents whose children are suffering from pollution is a denial of their fundamental obligations to public welfare. Many in the medical profession have expressed support for the federal government's intent to improve and reorganise medical services.


The government has extolled preventive health and taken action on smoking. Pollution is an area of abject failure that government can attack. It is one of injustice and neglect, with state governments and corporations reaping the economic benefits of coal production and export.

Where states have failed to deliver on improved standards and delivery, federal intervention is needed.


The Upper Hunter region in NSW has been identified as an area where residents, civil society and local government groups struggle with corporations and state government over the burden of ill-health caused by air pollution. There is ample evidence of inaction by state authorities. There is regulatory inertia and denial of public requested air monitoring, which has extended to mines where air pollution is of concern to local communities.

At one such site, an air quality panel is finally being established after many years.


Mines cannot be closed precipitously, for unemployment has personal and family health impacts. However, Doctors for the Environment Australia, in its energy policy (available at; click on Policy on main menu) opposes any new mines, particularly those ravaging good food-producing land.

For existing mines we recognise the inevitable in terms of our future national and international commitments, and urge planning for the rapid introduction of renewable energy industries into coal mining regions.

Renewable energy industries create more jobs than coalmining; they are generally safer and much healthier for workers and communities. They will offer sustainable economic development in an area where Australia already trails other developed nations. The federal government's proposed resource super-profits tax -- now recast and rebadged as the minerals resource rent tax -- will aid this transition.


We ask why, in a wealthy, developed country like Australia, which reaps billions of dollars from the export of coal, are we neglecting the health and wellbeing of entire mining communities? Where are the health impact studies?

This is environmental injustice, with inhabitants being disproportionately exposed to pollution and its associated effects on health and their environment.


David Shearman is emeritus professor of medicine, a practising physician and honorary secretary of Doctors for the Environment Australia.


Friday, 9 July 2010

Get Up's Ad is in appalling taste

You may have heard of the GetUp ad, or even seen it on the News last evening.
They are circulating it for "a Friday afternoon laugh".
Well, I for one am not laughing.

I have sent the following message to GetUp Media Manager:
  • I thoroughly disapprove of your "Spoof Election Video". I know it is going viral and is on the News, but that is a bad thing, not a good thing.
  • I jknow why you are trying to do this - to help get young people to enrol, so they can vote.
  • But this "Spoof Ad" legitimises gun violence, and worse, takes it out of the world of "fantasy" and introduces gun violence into the real world of the Australian Political Forum.
  • Please stop that Video immediately.
  • Denis Wilson
  • Robertson NSW 2577
Dear Readers, if you don't know of what I speak, you may look at it on their website.

If you object, as I do, kindly let them know.

GetUp, who "live by the sword" of the media, ought respond to media criticism.
Let's hope so.

What would GetUp say if in the forthcoming election, someone attempted to assassinate any Politician?
They ought all resign.
Already people are throwing eggs.
And GetUP thinks this Ad is "a Friday Laugh"?
I strongly disagree.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Is Julia the answer?

Well, it obviously depends on what is the question.
The Age on-line poll does not look good for Julia and the ALP. (Go to the bottom of Michelle Grattan's report (see link above).

Poll: Are you more likely to vote Labor with Julia Gillard as leader?

Poll form
  1. Please select an answer.
  2. View results




Total votes: 102966.

Poll closes in 3 days.


These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.


Well, these self-initiated polls attract Nutters like myself, however, 102966 is a lot of people for such an on-line poll.

And so it really looks as if Julia might not be the answer at all.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Our Prime Minister is not a "Sheila" and not a "Ranga"

Our new Prime Minister is a person, and a female person - to boot.
She ought not be characterised as a "sheila" and not as a "ranga".

I will leave my original post there (below), so you can see how easily the average Aussie bloke can slip into silly errors.
It was not meant to be offensive, and I apologise that it was.

Our Prime Minister is not a Sheila and not a "Ranga"

Our new Prime Minister is a person, and a female person - to boot.
She ought not be characterised as a "sheila" and not as a "ranga".

I will leave my original post there, so you can see how easily the average Aussie bloke can slip into silly errors.
It was not meant to be offensive, and I apologise that it was.

***** ***** *****

A week is a long time in Politics. (attributed to British PM Harold Wilson, circa 1964)
Too true.

In Kevin Rudd's case, a day and a half was too long. Without support, he wilted in the sun, like a cut lettuce. He was not even prepared to call for a show of hands in Caucus.

Some say this was to limit damage to the Party. Maybe. But it shows he was not made of the same stuff as Paul Keating was.
I sent this message to my friend Leo, in Canada on Tuesday.
  • Hi Leo
    This is the most imaginative Ad I have seen from the Liberals in ages.
    Kevin's election slogan nick-name in 2007 was "Kevin 07"
    Shame it is "resonating with the public" because it might be quite effective in an election year.
    Don't be misled, however, the bastards behind this are still the same bastards they always were, under John Howard.
    Forget ethics, morality, etc.
    But credit where credit is due - to the Advertising agency.
Today I have had to update Leo with the new developments (the selection of Julia Gillard by the ALP caucus as Prime Minister).
  • Hi Leo
    That "lemon" Ad I sent you has had a remarkable effect.
    It only ran for a few days, and guess what? The Labor Party back-room boys shat themselves.
    We now have our (former ) Deputy PM, a woman, and a "ranga" - a red-head to boot, as Prime Minister designate. Likely to be sworn in today.
    Amazing stuff. It remains to be seen if the strategy will work.
  • For the Urban dictionary definition of "ranga" look here. It is amazingly frank. Be prepared to laugh a bit. Aussie humour at its best (worst).

***** ***** *****
A somewhat quizzical look on Julia's face - matching the story of
an unkind attack on her character by Senator Bill Heffernan.
She is made of sterner stuff than Bill Heffernan counted upon.
Photo: Penny Stephens, courtesy of "The Age" May 2, 2007

For a more restrained and balanced view of today's events (well, a self-professed feminist view, anyway) visit my friend Brigid's Blog "The Network".

Well, I consider myself to have been rebuked (indirectly) by Brigid in her latest posting, objecting to the use of the term "ranga".
Fair enough.

***** ***** *****

Post Script:
When I met Brigid she did not appear to have red hair, and so I was not anticipating causing her offence.
However, offence is obviously taken by not just her, but all (or any of) our red-haired colleagues.
Someone ought start stereotyping us blond-haired, blue eyed, over-weight blokes - then I might know to be more careful with my wording..