Monthly Archives: June 2016

Australian Politics 2016-06-30 15:33:00

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Once again: Lies as a Leftist campaign tool

Doctor with 'no political allegiance' on anti-Liberal election TV ad is revealed to be a left-wing activist with 40 years of campaigning behind him

A doctor claiming to have no political allegiance who appears in a television advertisement urging voters to 'put the Liberals last' has been a left-wing activist for 40 years.

Dr Robert Marr from the Drummoyne Medical Centre in Sydney's inner-west features in the ACTU commissioned advertisement campaigning against changes to Medicare.  

'I'm not in any political party, but I have been a family GP for over 40 years and I've seen how important Medicare is right since its introduction,' Dr Marr says.

'But with the Turnbull government's health cuts deepening, it's getting harder to care for my patients.'

Dr Marr warns that a re-elected Liberal government will cut health care funding and force GPs to scrap bulk-billing and charge patients more. 

'I'm worried that some people won't come to the doctor any more because they simply won't be able to afford it.

'But we can make a difference. When you vote on July 2nd, save Medicare and please, put the Liberals last.' 

Although Dr Marr said he wasn't part of any political party, he has a 40-year history of left-wing campaigning, including lobbying against the Coalition at the 1993 federal election, according to News Corp.

He also appeared with Bill Shorten in May promoting Labor's health policies.

Dr Marr was unavailable for comment, but an ACTU spokesman told Daily Mail Australia that the GP was not simply 'a left-wing doctor' and he 'speaks up about issues that he cares about'. Dr Marr has also lobbied against previous Labor governments' proposed changes to Medicare, the spokesman said.

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Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton explains anti-gay-marriage lobby is concerned about children

THE religious opposition to same-sex marriage has expressed its real concerns over same-sex marriage — and they want you to think of the children.

Managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby told news.com.au this morning that concerns over the fate of Australia’s future children is at the core of its opposition to allowing same-sex marriage pass through parliament.

“The baby who is taken from the breast of her mother doesn’t have a voice in this debate, the child who doesn’t get to know their father doesn’t have a voice,” Mr Shelton explained to news.com.au.

“There’s no inequality for gay people in Australia, there is none.

“But this issue of marriage is important because the law is not just something that is a big stick to beat us all over the head, it actually has an educative effect.

“Research clearly shows the quickest pathway to poverty for a child is for their biological mum and dad to break up, that's just a fact.”

In a Facebook Live debate on news.com.au, Mr Shelton went head-to-head with Tiernan Brady, political director of the ‘yes campaign’ in Ireland, representing Australian Marriage Equality.

Mr Shelton explained his concerns on same-sex marriage created “an inequality for a baby not to know the love of their mother or father” and claimed women who were “willing to hire their body” to surrogacy had become an “ethically dubious process”.

“I can’t see how you can have marriage equality for two men without their ability to pay money to acquire a child from a woman whose willing to hire her body. “These are ethically dubious processes which have to flow as a consequence of redefining marriage.

“We’ve done a lot of work in Australia about the rights of donor conceived children to be allowed to know who their fathers are. Anonymous sperm donation is something which many women who wish to have families require because they don’t want a third person in their family, but the biological reality is a kid needs a mum and a dad, gender actually does matter to a child, and the diversity of gender matters to a child.”

Mr Brady accused Mr Shelton of causing a “deliberate misdirection” towards the argument, claiming “it’s about making sure all families are cherished equally”.

“Families come in all shapes and sizes, people in Australia know that. Our challenge at the moment is lesbians and gay people are not allowed to get married and have the same status and dignity for their relationship.

“Some people will have children, some people won’t have children. There will be lesbian and gay people raising children — as they are currently — the day after a vote no matter what the result.

“Denying them access to civil marriage doesn’t change the fact that they can be parents and they will continue to be parents. What it does do is ensure those families don’t have the same protection and dignity in law.”

Yet in a surprise twist, Mr Shelton expressed two men or two women “can love a baby and be good parents” and even in some cases they could “produce better outcomes” but questioned “is it ethical for a child to be denied the love and nurture of their mother or father? I don't think so, and we need to think seriously about this change because it affects more than just a loving couple.”

“If you redefine marriage you are by consequence redefining parenting, unless you’re going to have a form of marriage that doesn’t have children that says, ‘no we respect the right of children to have a mum and a dad so we’re just going to allow two people to have a form of marriage’. “That wouldn't infringe on the rights of a child, but I don’t believe that’s what the same-sex lobby is talking about.

“They want full equality and they want the consequences of that equality.”

When questioned over his views of heterosexual couples using surrogacy, Mr Shelton expressed his opposition, describing his views of anonymous sperm donation as “unethical”. “We’ve been consistent in that approach. Public policy should always put the rights of the child first, that should be our starting point.

“All of us have desires and things that we would like to have in life, but if those desires, those adult desires, trump the rights of a child then I think we have to ask ourselves are we really a civil society if we’re prepared to override the needs of a child for the rights of an adult.”

This morning, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the key to marriage was commitment, and if a same-sex couple has that for each other it won’t have any impact on heterosexual marriages.  “The threat to marriage is obviously a lack of commitment, cruelty, desertion,” he told the National Press Club in Canberra.

“If same-sex couples were able to describe or formalise their relationship as a marriage, we have no doubt that would not undermine ... our marriage.”

Mr Turnbull and his wife of 36 years, Lucy, will be voting yes in a national vote on same-sex marriage if his government is reinstalled on Saturday.

“We welcome couples making a strong commitment and we are very pleased to support that being described from a legal point of view, as a marriage,” he said.

The prime minister has promised to hold a plebiscite on the issue, convinced if the nation votes in favour a same-sex marriage bill will sail through the parliament.

But Labor says the nonbinding vote is a waste of money and could lead to hate campaigns aimed at same-sex couples and their children

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Shorten and Leftist hate-speech

Shorten has suddenly backflipped on the attitudes described below.  He may have realized that treating a large part of the population as evil is not a good way to win votes

After the Orlando terror attack, many claimed the gunman committed an "act of hate". Homophobia -- a supposed mental illness behind anti-gay hate crimes -- explains everything, they say.

Now Shorten has seen a chance to renew opposition to the same-sex marriage plebiscite promised by Malcolm Turnbull. A plebiscite will be a huge waste of money, says Shorten. It will also be a tax-payer funded platform for homophobia. Disagree with that, and you must be a hater.

Shorten is obsessed with hate and falls back on it as the only possible reason for why people might disagree with his progressive agenda. But hate doesn't clarify what's at stake -- it only obscures it. Hate has its roots in strong emotions and abnormal mental states. Terrorism has its roots in politics.

Shorten and the Progressive Left view same-sex marriage through the emotional lens of hatred because they can't imagine any rational objection to it. Self-satisfied with their own tolerance of others, they are unable to understand why others -- such as conservative Muslims -- shouldn't tolerate them.

Viewed like that, Orlando can only be explained by a mental disorder -- in this case, homophobia. It cannot have been a political act. Mental illness trumps politics.

By persisting with the falsehood that a plebiscite will be a tax-payer funded exercise in hatred, Shorten shows himself to be out of touch. Beyond the inner circle of the bien pensants, many Australians are perfectly accepting of homosexuality but want to retain the traditional meaning of marriage. They resent their opposition to gay marriage -- whether for political, social or religious reasons -- being dismissed as a mental illness.

This attack on the good nature of Australians might backfire on Shorten when voters go to the ballot box. Far from dismissing his opponents as mentally ill, Shorten needs to trust Australians to act responsibly when it comes to redefining marriage.

By threatening to remove the decision from the people, Shorten shows how little respect he has for the voters whose support he now desperately needs.

The Orlando Wave may yet turn out to be a reef break.

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Greenie scare fails

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef named the best place in the world to visit.  Throughout the bleaching scare, tourism operators have never had any difficulty taking people to unspoiled areas of the reef

IN a much-needed boost for the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living organism has been voted the best place in the world to visit by an influential US travel site.

US News and World Report’s World’s Best Places to Visit for 2016-17 ranked the Reef No.1 ahead of Paris and Bora Bora in French Polynesia.  Sydney also made the list — at 13th.

The site described the Reef as “holding a spot on every travellers’ bucket list”.

“The Great Barrier Reef is a treasure trove of once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” said the description.  “Whether you’re gazing at marine life through a scuba mask, letting the tropical breeze unfurl your sail, or in a plane gliding high above it all, the possibilities for exploration are nearly limitless.”

It comes after a series of sinister reports about the Reef’s future following a major coral bleaching event found to have affected extensive areas.

Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Leanne Coddington said the Reef’s first placing on the list, was a vote of confidence in its worldwide tourism appeal.

“The Great Barrier Reef is a living treasure and a major tourism drawcard for visitors to Queensland,” Ms Coddington said. “It is an unrivalled experience that tens of thousands of people are enjoying every day.”

Other destinations to make the top ten included Florence in Italy; Tokyo, Japan; the archealogocial capital of the Americas — Cusco in Peru; London, Rome, New York and Maui.

Cape Town in South Africa and Barcelona in Spain finished ahead of Sydney, the only other Australian location on the list.

“Expert opinions, user votes and current trends” were used to compile this list.

Last year London was No.1, Bora Bora No.2 and Barcelona third — while Sydney was placed fifth.

Ms Coddington said this year’s result reaffirmed just how important the Reef was to Australia’s tourism economy.  “It’s ours to protect and share,” she said.  “Experiences like the Great Barrier Reef help inspire visitors to experience Queensland, the best address on earth.”

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Refugees: We don't want to come to Australia

Several refugees and asylum seekers detained on Nauru say they no longer want to come to Australia after becoming disillusioned by the government's treatment of them as they spend years waiting for their claims to be processed.

One father, who spoke of the frustration at telling his family they would be moving somewhere better for three years, said he no longer wanted to go to Australia.  'Three years (ago) I liked, but now, never,' he told the Nine Network.

An Iranian man, named as Mustapha, has opened a restaurant called Bondi Beach, but that is now the last place he wants to see.  He said he can't return to Iran and wanted to move to another country like Canada or New Zealand.

Two other men living on the island expressed similar sentiments.   'Don't like Australia, another country OK,' one told Nine's A Current Affair on Monday.  'My government very bad and coming to Australia, government Australia very, very too much bad.'

A young refugee who gave his name as Masoud has spent three years of his mid-20s on Nauru.  The now 27-year-old said Australia doesn't believe in human rights when it comes to foreigners.  'Because of racists, I know this,' he said.

'Liberal Party is racist. I feel Malcolm (Turnbull) is maybe a bit better than Tony Abbott but Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison, most of them, I know if they could they put us in the ocean really easily.'

A Pakistani man who's been on Nauru for three years said there was 'no humanity on the island' and that locals were robbing those housed in the camps. 'Nauru's not a living country. Small island, it's nothing island,' he said.

The asylum seekers and refugees also stage daily protests, placing themselves behind security fences in compounds from which they are allowed to come and go as they please.

Despite complaints from the asylum seekers and refugees, the Nauruan government says they are safe and well treated. 'They're very much well looked after and they're welcome here,' President Baron Waqa said.

His justice minister, David Adeang, told Nine the asylum seekers and refugees had it better than the locals.  'They don't pay for utilities, their water and their electricity is for free, they don't have to pay for rent, their houses are new and we give them employment,' he said. 'It's not much to complain about.'

SOURCE

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here



Fifth Guatemalan journalist killed this year

I condemn the killings of Diego Salomón Esteban Gaspar and Álvaro Alfredo Aceituno López,” the Director-General of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, said in a statement. “Violent crimes must not be allowed to limit media workers' freedom to carry out their work, which is important for society as a whole.”
Guatemala's been a rough place for journalists for quite some time. However, there seems to have been an even greater uptick in violence against them since last year's corruption scandals led to the removal of the country's president and vice-president. While some outlets were involved in Perez Molina's organized crime racket, others have begun to ask dangerous questions about the links between organized criminal groups and political and economic elites.

I can't say directly as a result, but a fifth journalist was just killed in Guatemala. Radio reporter Álvaro Alfredo Aceituno López was shot and killed in the municipality of Coatepeque, Quetzaltenango on June 25. Freedom House and the United Nations have condemned his murder as well as the four that occurred earlier this year.

See also my 2013: A democratic setback in Guatemala for Al Jazeera. That year was considered the worst in recent memory for journalists.

The U.S. Military’s Local Economic Impact

The Pengagon - Source: https://www.hirono.senate.gov/tours

Not long ago, we built a tool to estimate the economic impact of new jobs, where we focused on what the economic footprint that particular industries might have if they were to start doing business in a community. Shortly after that, we uncovered just how much of the GDP of the United States has come about in recent years from contractors supporting U.S. military operations and civilian government activities overseas.

That got us wondering about the economic contribution of the U.S. military within the United States to the communities where it maintains bases, so we wondered if we could rework our original economic impact tool to do that math.

So we did! We estimated the number of jobs that are generated within communities that have a significant military presence, coming up with a figure between 4.0 and 4.6 per active duty personnel.

That's high compared to what we saw for the private sector oil and aerospace industries, but that also reflects the unique nature of the military's activities, which require higher levels of support for its labor and logistics-intensive operations that often involves highly specialized equipment and ordnance.

That high figure also accounts for why local and state elected officials vigorously compete to put military bases within their districts and states, and also why they just as vigorously fight military base closures so fiercely.

The rest of the economic impact math is pretty similar to what we did previously with our new jobs economic impact tool, so we've simply dropped some military specific values for a small community as our tool's default values. If you have a specific scenario you would like to consider, just swap out our default numbers with ones that apply for your situation. In case you're reading this article on a site that republishes our RSS news feed, please click through to our site to access a working version of the tool below.

New and Existing Job Data
Input DataValues
Number of Active Duty Personnel Being Added to the Community
Average Annual Income for New Jobs Being Directly Added by the Military
Average Annual Income of Other Jobs in the Community
Number of Other Local Jobs That Will Be Generated for Every Active Duty Service Member
Military's Projected Economic Output for Work Done in Community

Economic Impact of New Jobs in Community
Calculated ResultsValues
Total Annual Income from Jobs Directly Provided by the Military
Estimated Number of Additional Other Jobs Created in Community
Total Annual Income from Additional Jobs Generated in Community
Combined Annual Income from All Jobs Added to Community
Total Annual Economic Contribution of the Military to the Community

As with our private sector economic impact tool, our military economic impact tool will also consider the cost to a community for a base closure or reduction in active duty personnel stationed within the community.

But for the communities that score new military facilities, there's big reason for excessively elaborate ribbon-cutting ceremonies!

Dignitaries join Oregon Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, The Adjutant General, Oregon (center), for the official ribbon cutting ceremony during the open house at the MSG Gunnar Larson Armory in St. Helens, Ore., Oct. 22. Source: https://www.oregon.gov/OMD/pages/pressrelease/2010/10-22-10press.aspx


Australian Politics 2016-06-29 15:50:00

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Shorten does a complete backflip on homosexual marriage issue

Bill Shorten told religious leaders and Christian voters in the final days of the 2013 election campaign that he was "completely relaxed about having some form of plebiscite" on same-sex marriage.

In video footage ­obtained by The Australian, the ­Opposition Leader outlined a position that is in stark contrast to his claims ­yesterday that a plebiscite would be a taxpayer-funded platform to give a "green light" to ­homophobia and hate.

Mr Shorten told the Australian Christian Lobby forum in his electorate that he preferred "the Australian people make their view known" to the 150 MPs in federal parliament. "Personally speaking, I’m completely relaxed about having some form of plebiscite," he said. "I’d be wary of trying to use a referendum and a constitutional mechanism to start tampering with the Marriage Act.

"But in terms of a plebiscite — I would rather the people of Aust­ralia could make their view clear on this than leaving this issue to 150 people."

He told the Christian forum, which was webcast, he supported same-sex marriage and did not support a referendum but he did not think parliament would act.

Mr Shorten said "gay marriage" was not the reason he ran for parliament and that "I would rather that I didn’t have to address the question". He said he preferred a vote in parliament but he could not see it voting for change for a long time. "I believe that you should allow the parliament, if that’s what has to happen, to make a determination on this question," he said.

He then explained that he was relaxed about a plebiscite.

Mr Shorten, the then education minister in the Rudd government, made his comments in his Melbourne seat of Maribyrnong at the Essendon Baptist church in the final week of the 2013 election campaign. Last night he told The Australian he had changed his mind on a same-sex marriage plebiscite since the last election.

In recent days, as he faces increasing pressure on economic plans and budget costings, Mr Shorten has turned opposition to the Coalition plan for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage into a key priority along with his Medicare scare campaign.

Mr Shorten used his final election address to the National Press Club yesterday to pledge Labor’s first act would be to introduce a same-sex marriage bill into parliament and accused Malcolm Turnbull of settling for a "second-best option" of a plebiscite because of a "grubby deal with the right wing of the Liberal Party". He repeated his attack that the proposal for a same-sex marriage plebiscite would be a "taxpayer-funded ­platform for homophobia" and ­refused to say if Labor in opposition would pass the proposal through the Senate.

He also used the plebiscite commitment — made by Tony Abbott as prime minister and adopted by Mr Turnbull — to accuse Mr Turnbull of weakness and allowing a "green light" for homophobia and hate. "Why on earth can’t the Liberal Party just let their politicians do their day job rather than (spending) $160 million (on a plebiscite) to make up for Mr Turnbull’s deal to become the leader of the Liberal Party," he said. "Mr Turnbull knows that he’s come up with the second-best ­option. He knows if he had his way, if he was genuinely leading the Liberal Party, if he was actually the man in charge rather than simply the guy who is the front for the Liberal Party, then he would go for a vote in parliament."

Mr Shorten said last night he had changed his mind because of the experience overseas, particularly in Ireland, where "hateful" campaigns had been run.

"Over the last few years, I’ve seen harmful advertising campaigns run off the back of plebiscites and referendums overseas — I can’t ignore that," he said.

"The Irish experience convinced me that a plebiscite is the wrong way to go over here. The debate has moved on since 2013 — there’s no doubt whatsoever Australians now overwhelmingly support marriage equality, we don’t need a plebiscite to tell us that. As leader, I’ve learned how significant this issue is for so many Australians. Malcolm Turnbull thinks so too, he’s said as much. It’s just he’s not prepared to do anything about it," he said.

At the ALP national conference last year the left wing of the Labor Party agreed to change the policy on offshore processing of asylum-seekers and consider boat turnbacks in return for right-wing support for same-sex marriage.

Mr Shorten pledged yesterday: "The first piece of legislation I introduce into the 45th parliament will be a bill to amend the Marriage Act. I promise Australians that if and when we’re elected, within the first 100 days we will legislate for marriage equality, it will be a conscience vote and it will happen. No $160m plebiscite, no hurtful, hateful government-sponsored advertising campaign for us."

Mr Shorten said there would be "civil war" in the Liberal Party over the plebiscite if the Coalition were re-elected and Mr Turnbull could not convince his cabinet ministers to abide by the plebiscite decision. Scott Morrison, who is opposed to same-sex marriage said he supported a plebiscite and would accept the national result.

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Thuggery from members of Victoria's extremist firemen's union

THREE firefighters have ­allegedly threatened to tear down a sign supporting the CFA and calling for voters to "Put Labor Last" in an intimidating move just days out from the federal election.

The officers, wearing station uniform, barged into a poultry business in Dandenong on Monday and the owner says they demanded the business remove the sign.

The owner, who speaks little English, was left frightened and directed the fireys to a nearby garage, saying its owner had organised the sign.

Security footage obtained by the Herald Sun shows the trio enter the workshop at 2.47pm where they confront the owner, allegedly demanding to know how he votes and reminding him "who puts your fires out".

The owner said he had helped secure the space for the 2m x 4m sign but that it wasn’t his sign to remove.

"It was pretty clear what they wanted," the businessman, who did not want to be named, said. "They said, ‘you take it down or we will’."

When he tried to take a photograph of one of the firefighters on his phone, he said the man tried to snatch it.

"I couldn’t believe it. They came in all nice and sweet but that quickly changed," he said. "It just came out of the blue."

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Greens self-serving Trots: ex-PM Keating

Keating is right about that. The Greens are full of ex-Trotskyites

Former prime minister Paul Keating has used a Labor rally to turn his caustic wit on the Greens Party, labelling it "a bunch of opportunists and Trots" splitting the progressive vote.

In his first public address of the 2016 election campaign, Mr Keating told the Sydney crowd the Greens were reducing Labor's ability to form government.

"They're a protest party, not a party of government, but their game is to nobble the party of government that can actually make changes," Mr Keating said.

"You can't be a government when you've got a bunch tearing away at you, trying to pinch a seat here and there, all to make themselves look important."

Mr Keating addressed the rally in aid of fellow Labor stalwart Anthony Albanese, who is under pressure in his inner-western Sydney seat of Grayndler.

The seat has come under sustained Greens attack after AEC redistributions cut the traditional working-class stronghold of Marrickville, as well as Mr Albanese's home and office, from the electorate.

He is facing Greens candidate Jim Casey, a former firefighter and Fire Brigade Employees' Union secretary.

Mr Albanese, who labelled Mr Keating "Australia's greatest treasurer", said the Greens were taking the public funding from every NSW seat solely to attack him.

"They're outspending us two to one in this seat. There's billboards everywhere," Mr Albanese said.

Mr Keating castigated the Greens for positioning themselves as the true Australian progressive party, saying it was Labor who introduced legislation to protect the Daintree, Jervis Bay and Antarctica.

The Greens had also failed the environment by blocking Labor's emissions trading scheme (ETS) in 2009.

"They purloined the name Greens. We're more green than they are," he said. "Ratting on Rudd with the ETS scheme and walking away from the Malaysia Solution, things that required a bit of courage ... they could've been the Yellows."

Turning to the economy, Mr Keating said leaving the economic lifting to central banks through monetary policy had become increasingly ineffective.

He said the onus now fell on governments to intervene with infrastructure spending and public service provision.

"Governments have tucked themselves away and let central banks lower interest rates in the hope, like lighting a match, if you strike it enough there might be a flame," Mr Keating said.

"The market system which I participated in as treasurer, where we opened the economy up, we basically reduced the size of government to let all these forces go.

"We're now at a point in economic history in Australia and around the world where that system is going nowhere."

Mr Keating's appearance comes just a day after criticising the government's proposed company tax cuts in a letter to the Australian Financial Review.

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Andrew Bolt's book triggers staff. Bookshops now safe spaces, it seems

Disappointing, but not at all surprising, that some Australian bookshops are making Andrew Bolt's new book hard to find for customers. The purported reason is that it offends some of the poor snowflakes working there. I'm sure that's true in a lot of cases. There are many students and young 'uns employed in these shops, after all. They have grown up being fed PC BS, and accept it as gospel. They see Bolta as the quintessence of eeevil.

But I think it might also be partially a top down directive. Booksellers often have cozy relationships with the big international publishers after all. And Worth Fighting For is published by Wilkinson Publishing. They've been around a while but they seem to be a local outfit. Maybe there's a desire to not be seen as rocking the boat by pushing an independent's product?

The reason I say this is that the traditional offline book business is being eaten alive by Amazon and other online booksellers. So the big publishing houses are feeling very anxious and threatened. Also, Bolt himself cites the case of global warming skeptic Ian Plimer, who had all kinds of retail related trouble with his books. As well as being politically incorrect, they were published by Connor Court, another small, independent outfit.

But in the end I think it's probably the ideological aspect that has most to do with this stealth campaign to sabotage Bolta's sales. And it's certainly not a new phenomenon. Way back in the nineties I remember hearing about a Paul Sheehan book called Among the Barbarians. It caused controversy at the time, and for many of the same reasons Bolt does now. I didn't have any trouble finding it in the St Kilda bookstore I bought it from. But I will always remember the disgusted reaction from the guy behind the counter!

So typical of sneering hipsters. But so silly! I mean, it's a business. They're shooting themselves in the foot by acting like this.

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Greenies determined to hamstring Northern development

The opportunities for viable development in Australia's "empty North" are few but Greenies still want to block them all.  They will find some frog or insect that would be inconvenienced by development projects and thus stop everything

Ahead of the election, the major parties have released different visions for developing northern Australia. The Coalition has committed to dam projects across Queensland; Labor has pledged to support the tourism industry.

These pledges build on the Coalition’s A$5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, a fund to support large projects, starting on July 1.

The Coalition has pledged A$20 million to support 14 new or existing dams across Queensland should the government be returned to power, as part of a A$2.5 billion plan for dams across northern Australia.

Labor, meanwhile, will redirect A$1 billion from the fund towards tourism, including eco-tourism, indigenous tourism ventures and transport infrastructure (airports, trains, and ports).

It is well recognised that the development of northern Australia will depend on harnessing the north’s abundant water resources. However, it’s also well recognised that the ongoing use of water resources to support industry and agriculture hinges on the health and sustainability of those water resources.

Northern Australia is home to diverse ecosystems, which support a range of ecosystem services and cultural values, and these must be adequately considered in the planning stages.
Sustainability comes second

The white paper for northern Australia focuses almost solely on driving growth and development. Current water resource management policy in Australia, however, emphasises integrated water resource planning and sustainable water use that protects key ecosystem functions.

Our concern is that the commitment to sustainability embedded in the National Water Initiative (NWI), as well as Queensland’s water policies, may become secondary in the rush to "fast track" these water infrastructure projects.

Lessons from the past show that the long-term success of large water infrastructure projects requires due process, including time for consultation, environmental assessments and investigation of alternative solutions.
What is on the table?

The Coalition proposes providing funds to investigate the feasibility of a range of projects, including upgrading existing dams and investigating new dams. The majority of these appear to be focused on increasing the reliability of water supplies in regional urban centres. Few target improved agricultural productivity.

These commitments add to the already proposed feasibility study (A$10 million) of the Ord irrigation scheme in the Northern Territory and the construction of the Nullinga Dam in Queensland. And the A$15 million northern Australia water resources assessment being undertaken by CSIRO, which is focused on the Fitzroy river basin in Western Australia, the Darwin river basins in Northern Territory and the Mitchell river basin in Queensland.

Rethinking dams

New water infrastructure in the north should be part of an integrated investment program to limit overall environmental impacts. Focusing on new dams applies 19th-century thinking to a 21st-century problem, and we have three major concerns about the rush to build dams in northern Australia.

First, the process to establish infrastructure priorities for federal investment is unclear. For instance, it’s uncertain how the projects are connected to Queensland’s State Infrastructure Plan.

Investment in new water infrastructure across northern Australia needs to be part of a long-term water resource plan. This requires clearly articulated objectives for the development of northern Australia, along with assessment criteria that relate to economic, social and environmental outcomes, such as those used in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Second, the federal government emphasises on-stream dams. Dams built across the main river in this way have many well-recognised problems, including:

*    lack of environmental flows (insufficient water at the appropriate frequency and duration to support ecosystems)

*    flow inversion (higher flows may occur in the dry season than in the wet, when the bulk of rainfall occurs)

*    barriers to fish movement and loss of connectivity to wetlands

*    water quality and temperature impacts (unless there is a multi-level off-take).

As a minimum, new dams should be built away from major waterways (such as on small, tributary streams) and designed to minimise environmental impacts. This requires planning in the early stages, as such alternatives are extremely difficult to retrofit to an existing system.

Finally, the federal government proposals make no mention of climate change impacts. Irrigation and intensive manufacturing industries demand highly reliable water supplies.

While high-value use of water should be encouraged, new industries need to be able to adapt for the increased frequency of low flows; as well as increased intensity of flood events. Government investment needs to build resilience as well as high-value use.

Detailed planning, not press releases

In place of the rather ad hoc approach to improvements in water infrastructure, such as the projects announced by the federal government in advance of the election, we need a more holistic and considered approach.

The A$20 million investment for 14 feasibility studies and business cases in Queensland represents a relatively small amount of money for each project, and runs the risk of having them undertaken in isolation. The feasibility studies should be part of the entirety of the government’s plan for A$2.5 billion in new dams for northern Australia.

Water resource planning is too important and too expensive to cut corners on planning. Investment proposals for Queensland need to be integrated with water resource planning across the state, and across northern Australia, and with appropriate consideration of climate change impacts.

Fast tracking dams without considering ecosystem impacts, future variability in water supplies, and resilience in local communities merely sets the scene for future problems that will likely demand another round of intervention and reform.

SOURCE

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here



A New Post Bubble Trend for New Home Median Sale Prices

Although the data for recent months is still preliminary, it appears that the rapid inflation phase of the second bubble for new home prices in the U.S. ended in September 2015.

The second bubble for new home prices in the U.S. had gone through two primary phases. The initial inflationary phase of the second U.S. housing bubble saw the trailing year average of median new home sale prices escalate by $25.37 for every $1.00 that U.S. median household income rose in the period from July 2012 through July 2013. After a brief transition period, the second U.S. housing bubble entered into a second inflationary phase, where median new home sale prices rose by $11.17 for every $1.00 that U.S. median household income rose in the period from January 2014 through September 2015.

But since September 2015, it appears that the rate at which median new home prices are rising with respect to median household income is consistent with the rates that we've observed for the U.S. housing market outside periods of housing bubbles.

U.S. Median New Home Sale Prices vs Median Household Income, Monthly: December 2000 through May 2016, Annual: 1999 through 2015

Since September 2015, the trailing year average of median U.S. new home sale prices has been rising at a rate of $3.26 for every $1.00 that median household income has increased. This current average rate of increase with respect to median household income compares to the following non-bubble growth rates for median new home sale prices that we've observed in the historic data:

  • December 2010 to July 2012: An increase of $3.34 for every $1.00 that U.S. median household income increased.
  • 1987-1999: An increase of $3.60 for every $1.00 that U.S. median household income increased.
  • 1967-1986: An increase of $4.07 for every $1.00 that U.S. median household income increased.

The following chart shows all the available median new home sale price and median household income data we have going back to 1967.

U.S. Median New Home Sale Prices vs Median Household Income, Monthly: December 2000 through May 2016, Annual: 1967 through 2015

In terms of affordability, a median new home costs over $103,500 more in 2016 than what the median new home built in the pre-U.S. housing bubble years from 1987 through 1999 would have cost if not for the inflationary impact of the U.S.' two inflationary housing bubbles in the years from 2000 through 2015, most of which would seem attributable to the U.S.' most restrictive local housing markets.

Data Sources

U.S. Census Bureau. Median and Average Sales Prices of New Homes Sold in the United States. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 27 June 2016.

Sentier Research. Household Income Trends: May 2016. [PDF Document]. 23 June 2016. [Note: We have converted all the older inflation-adjusted values presented in this source to be in terms of their original, nominal values (a.k.a. "current U.S. dollars") for use in our charts, which means that we have a true apples-to-apples basis for pairing this data with the median new home sale price data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.]