Monthly Archives: September 2022

The Hardest Wordle Puzzle Yet

The solution to the New York Times Wordle puzzle on 16 September 2022 left a bad taste in the mouths of the online word game's enthusiasts. Many of these players lost their streaks because the solution, PARER, proved to be the hardest puzzle the game has yet presented.

We'll let Cracking the Cryptic's Mark Goodliffe demonstrate how hard it was by going through his thought process in tackling it:

Goodliffe's method is similar to that of many players. He starts with a test word, one that includes some of the more frequently occurring letters in the English language. He then takes the clues he gets from the game to choose the word he uses on the next line, and the process repeats until the sixth and final line is completed, if needed. Most players can solve the daily puzzle within four lines/guesses.

But a word like parer doesn't make it easy to use that process. There were too many viable options that could legitimately work, without even getting to the duplicate letter option.

So what would be a better approach?

If you recognize that the right way to measure your success at Wordle is not how many lines or guesses it takes you to reach the solution, but rather the amount of time you take to reach it, you can take advantage of a process of elimination. By using a series of test words that include the most frequently used letters in English words that are five letters long, you can extract a lot of information about the correct solution.

Recovering Physicist tapped a Scrabble-legal database of five-letter words to identify the letters most frequently used in them. Here's the list, from most common to least:


Using this information, we identified some 277 sets of three five-letter words using the first 15 characters without repeating any characters. We then scored the words in each group according to the rank of their letters, where words using the most frequently used letters would get the lowest scores. For example, the score for a word like Goodliffe's test word of GRIME would be found by adding the ranks of its letters: G(17) + R(5) + I(6) + M(15) + E(2) = 45. Surely there must be a better first choice!

If you just went by the first five most frequently used letters, that word will be AROSE (15), but you won't have any test words to follow it if that guess doesn't provide you with enough clues. To have that option, from our 277 sets of words, the set with the lowest first word score is AISLE (19), MOUND (49), and CRYPT (52).

At that point, it occurred to us that it might be better to stack as many frequently used letters as possible into the first two words, ranking them by their combined score. For AISLE and MOUND for example, the combined score is 67.

Going through our list, we found the lowest combined scores, then filtered for the lowest first word score. Following that process, we think the optimal test words for Wordle are....


ARSON (or SONAR if you prefer) has a score of 22. CITED (or EDICT) would score 39, with a combined score of 61.

Between ARSON and CITED, you should be able to identify enough clues to solve most easier puzzles. If you need to use all three of these test words to get traction for your solution, you will at least be able to confirm what vowels are being used.

In the case of PARER, you could have used all three of these test words and with a bit of luck, have solved the puzzle in the fourth line. You would have identified A, R, E, and P as used letters, and knowing the location of E, you could set up PARE_ as the solution. You could reasonably identify D, R, or S as the last letter, but because the three test words eliminated D and S, you would select R and be rewarded.

But if you set up PA_ER, which would also be reasonable, you would have to consider the letters C, G, L, P, R, V, and Y as creating valid words, before eliminating C, L, and Y because you've already found they're not used. From here, your optimal choice would be to enter a new test word using letters you haven't previously used (G and V). If you used the word GLOVE, you would be down to just two possible options, P and R, with one line to go.

Your odds of winning at that final line then would have been 1 in 2, coming down to your selection of which letter between P and R to drop into that third space. If a 50% chance of winning seems too low, remember that if you're one of the majority of people who lost their Wordle streak on 16 September 2022, your chance of winning that day's game were never that high. The method we've described would have given you a fighting chance, while also helping you work out the solution faster.

P.S.: According to Recovering Physicist, the most frequently used letters found by those who extracted all the words from Wordle's database are:


We'll leave it as an exerise to you to identify your optimal test words based on this information!

Update 9 October 2022 P.P.S.: Matt Parker has identified the five Wordle-legal words you need to know if you're willing to burn five guesses just to identify which letters are used in the solution:


If you use these words, you're really betting on being able to find the answer in one guess. Considering how many anagrams or words with duplicate letters there are, you'll probably find it's not an optimal way to successfully solve a Wordle game.

Australian Politics 2022-09-30 12:00:00


Conservatives must stop being cowards

The election victory of Giorgia Meloni and her Brothers of Italy party came as welcome news this week. Welcome news for the world’s entirely predictable mainstream media who – and this, sadly, includes even centre-right publications in Australia – immediately resorted to employing as many variations of ‘far-right’ and ‘fascist’ as they could find in a Thesaurus and squeeze into each and every sentence regarding Ms Meloni’s victory.

More importantly, the victory is also welcome to conservatives and traditonally-minded voters across the West excited as well as relieved to finally hear and see a politician of the right who not only is passionate about traditional values, but has the stomach to fight tooth and nail for them.

The curse of conservatism over the past decade or two has been the almost universal lack of courage among conservative leaders to actually defend the causes they supposedly believe in. For sure, there are the occasional speeches or doorstop interviews where the typical centre-right leader mouths a few reassuring platitudes on the free market, or freedom of expression (within certain boundaries, of course!) to keep the party faithful happy, but these soothing words are never matched by full-throated, unequivocal, aggressive defence of those values that the Left has so successfully denigrated and vandalised across the West.

Those politicians who do defend traditonal values are immediately dismissed as ‘populists’ and swiftly dumped into the maverick bin. Donald Trump is and was a staunch and proud defender of most conservative values, but his theatricality and his unflinching style were viewed by other conservative leaders as something to be embarrassed about, rather than something to emulate. Boris Johnson had plenty of Trump’s flamboyant style, but he had none of his convictions, instincts or common sense. Trump announced he would build a wall across the southern states of America because he wanted to stop illegal immigrants coming across that border. Full stop. Boris Johnson announced he supported Brexit because he thought it would suit him politically. There is a difference.

Jair Bolsonaro and Victor Orbán have successfully been painted by the mainstream media as oddballs or fascists, which is clearly what Giorgia Meloni can look forward to over the coming months and years. Indeed, the week before her victory, the European Union’s unctious Ursula van der Leyen sneeringly suggested that should Ms Meloni win in Italy, the EU would employ unspecified ‘tools’ against her. So much for democracy, a plurality of points of view and so on. Within the EU mindset, Ms Meloni, like Mr Orbán, and their countries, must be punished and brought undone – rather than be accommodated or listen to – for having had the temerity to express dissatisfaction with the EU behemoth.

But the times may well suit Giorgia Meloni. This time around, it’s not climate change, it’s not immigration, it’s not welfare, although they are all still critical to her success. This time the overreach of the Left has entered the public domain and cannot be ignored. Having successfully captured all the major institutions, corporations and most of the political parties, the Left may come to regret the day they also tried to march through the bedrooms of troubled teenage boys and girls. There is no question that the sheer revulsion felt by many conservatives and traditionally-minded individuals, not to mention religious folk, at the entire transgender/pronouns/chest-binding/puberty-blocker/gender-surgery/ what is a woman? horror show, all of which can be summed up in the word ‘woke’, has driven blue-collar, solidly traditional people away from the old parties of the Left and into the comforting, motherly, Christian, family-oriented embrace of Ms Meloni. When she pounds her fist on the podium and rants to the adoring, cheering faithful, it is accompanied by words and phrases such as ‘family’, ‘mother’, ‘Italian’ and ‘Christian’. Identity politics may have finally come full circle.

In Australia, a nation where we now have almost wall to wall Labor governments, the lesson is crystal clear. Only conservatives who have the courage to not only articulate but to passionately fight for conservative convictions have a hope of cutting through to the electorate. Pandering to the Left by adopting net zero, or playing the insidious diversity, inclusion and equity game, deservedly spells disaster.

The times have changed. Conservatives must stop being cowards. The CPAC weekend in Sydney is as good a place to start as any.


Pfizer Covid vaccine caused 'debilitating' lesions om her tongue that left 60-year-old woman unable to eat for months

A 60-year-old woman suffered 'debilitating' lesions on her tongue after receiving Pfizer's Covid vaccine – with each shot making her symptoms worse.

Her side effects, which also included a dry mouth and inflammation, were so painful she was left unable to eat.

Doctors struggled to find the culprit for nine months, during which she lost 17 pounds (8kg).

By the time she was finally diagnosed, her swollen tongue had began to split open leaving deep, agonizing sores.

She was diagnosed with Sjögren's syndrome, a condition that sees the immune system go haywire and damage healthy parts of the body. Her symptoms were finally cured with a six-week course of topical steroids.

Doctors chronicled the rare side effect in a report published last month in the American Journal of Case Reports.

The unidentified patient, from Australia, received three vaccine doses in total – two of which formed the initial course, as well as a single booster.

Similar symptoms were also documented in patients infected with coronavirus, which led to the condition being dubbed 'Covid tongue'.

Oral sores are not a new phenomenon after a vaccine and have been spotted in people following flu, hepatitis B and papillomavirus jabs.

But only a handful of cases have been reported after Covid vaccines, despite billions of doses being administered worldwide.

The unnamed patient developed sores in her mouth about three days after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Her symptoms had partially abated before she received the second dose, after which the symptoms returned still more severely.

She underwent a cadre of blood tests to rule out other diagnoses such as HPV and other infections.

She was referred to an outpatient rheumatology clinic with suspected Sjogren syndrome, an autoimmune disease which causes the immune system to attack glands that produce moisture in the eyes, mouth, and other parts of the body.

Doctors first prescribed a topical version of clonazepam, a benzodiazepine that when ingested orally, can treat burning mouth syndrome.

When that did little to alleviate her symptoms, doctors prescribed an oral steroid which caused symptoms to improve 60 per cent, but treatment stopped because it was causing the woman abdominal pain.

Doctors finally settled on a lower dose topical iteration of the steroids dissolved in water and taken consistently for about six weeks until symptoms abated.

The condition was not easily diagnosed and doctors were puzzled at first. While oral symptoms can be associated with the Pfizer vaccine, they are uncommon and likely under recognized by providers who do not specialize in oral healthcare.

Writing in the journal, the doctors said: 'A subsequent review of the timeline of history and medications, including vaccinations, identified a clear relationship between the exacerbation of oral symptoms after each [Pfizer-BioNTech] vaccination.'

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) database for Covid vaccine side effects does not include oral symptoms.

A major caveat is that reporting the adverse effects is voluntary and therefore cases may be underreported.

'This case demonstrates that oral symptoms can be associated with BNT162b2 vaccination, which is likely under-recognized by practitioners outside the field of oral health,' the doctors said in the case study.


The "voice" for Aborigines will be powerful

Some recent events in Melbourne and in the Federal Court have shown us what is in store for us if the Aboriginal Voice is implemented. First, poor Daniel Andrews. He must feel that the whole world is against him. All he did was announce that his government will massively expand the Maroondah hospital in Melbourne and rename it the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, as a suitable monument to mark the reign of our late Queen. It was therefore a proposal that he would do something worthy and decent and undoubtedly within the proper role of an elected government.

But now, he has been set upon by the entire left-wing establishment who have demanded that the re-naming of the hospital be abandoned and that it keep its present name of Maroondah, which is a perfectly good Aboriginal word meaning ‘throwing leaves’. And the proposed new name has sent the Left and its camp followers into a frenzy. For them, to rename the Maroondah Hospital after the monarch is an endorsement of colonialism, imperialism, racism and all the other horrors that allegedly come with our history and our present system of government. No Aboriginal, it is said, would feel safe going into a hospital with such a name.

In one sense it serves Andrews right that he is in such trouble. He was trying to capitalise on the upsurge of sentiment and sympathy for the monarchy and the outburst of love and respect for the Queen. He was trading on this development and bathing in its reflected glory when, suddenly, the whole issue rose up from nowhere, turned on him and has given him an almighty kick in the backside.

He is now under siege from his own cabinet and party, the wider Left and their hangers-on, and the sycophantic media, all of whom have told him to revoke his decision. If he does, the Left will claim it as a great victory and manoeuvre for more such victories; he will then be putty in their hands and lose all authority. If he sticks with the decision, he will galvanise the entire left-wing apparatus against him and, with the state election only three months away, anything could happen. So, perhaps it serves him right. Let him squirm!

But far more significant than Mr Andrews’ travails and embarrassment is the fact that the whole issue shows us what life would be like if the Voice were put into our constitution, passed by legislation and set to work. It will intimidate elected governments until it gets it own way.

And, to complete the equation, we have the second significant event of last week, which can only increase the likelihood that the Voice will not just be a debating society, but will exercise real power to change the decisions of elected state and federal governments.

That is because a federal court judge has just handed down his decision in the Santos Barossa case. Albanese has said many times that litigation will not be able to change government policy. But the court has decided, even without the Voice to back it up, that the giant, $3 billion Barossa gas field cannot go ahead because Santos, according to the judge, did not adequately consult with those who have ‘spiritual connections’ and hunting and gathering rights over the ‘sea country’ of the Timor Sea. If litigation can stop a major project of this size and importance, even without the Voice, how much more ferocious will the litigation war become with the Voice in full flight as it moves to stop major developments. How many projects like Barossa will be stopped when the Voice starts baying for blood?

To show us how this will happen, let us return to the ‘throwing leaves’ among the sylvan groves of Maroondah, but imagining a time when the Voice is fully operational. The elected government decides to double the size of the Maroondah Hospital to cater for the vastly expanded population and to rename it the Queen Elizabeth II.

The Voice will have control, so Albanese has told us, of ‘matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’. Clearly, extending a hospital, part of the public health activities of the government, and giving it a name that is said to make Aboriginals feel unsafe, is a matter relating to Aboriginals. A cavalcade of organisations and individuals have told us so. Accordingly, the Voice has the right to object to it and to advise the state government to reverse its policy, which Andrews is now being told. The government considers the whole thing all over again and decides to proceed with the re-naming.

The Voice could not fail to be emboldened by the obvious willingness of the federal court to do as it did in the Santos Barossa case and set aside a government decision because there was inadequate consultation with Aboriginal interests. Nor could the Voice fail to be emboldened by the willingness of the High Court to find that Aboriginals are not subject to the regular law because they are Aboriginals and above the regular law. The matter goes through the courts which have no difficulty in finding that the government did not consult properly or fully with the local ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’. Moreover, the court will say that the Voice has immense and powerful standing because it was passed at a referendum and the decision to re-name the hospital should therefore be set aside. That clearly is what will happen because it is what is intended to happen.

Will this be the end of democracy? No, but it will be a fundamental and immense upheaval to our democratic system of government as competing interests are locked in litigation over every decision of significance and race will determine how those decisions are resolved. Is that what we really want for Australia? I hope not.


Fantastic lies about white settlement of Australia

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has thrown his support behind truth-telling as a softener for the emotional campaign for the Voice to Parliament referendum. Let’s hope he’s not relying on the SBS series "The Australian Wars" billed as ‘the documentary that reveals the truth of Australia’s history’.

The first episode of the show, produced by Rachel Perkins, daughter of the late Charles Perkins, made a number of claims which cannot be verified but serve to vilify the nation’s European colonisers.

In the introductory episode the staggering claim is made that 100,000 Aboriginals were murdered by troops or settlers in wars which lasted a century.

There is no evidence presented to justify this statement and even the final findings of the eight-year long Colonial Frontier Massacres Digital Map Project (elements of which have been successfully challenged) conducted by University of Newcastle emeritus professor Lyndall Ryan do not support this figure. The Guardian, which supported Professor Ryan’s flawed project, analysed the data and found that between 11,000 and 14,000 Aboriginal people died.

Which leaves a credibility gap into which Perkins’ 89,000 to 86,000 alleged deaths have fallen.

War is usually defined as a state of armed conflict between two countries or different groups within a country but it clear that there was never a state of war between Great Britain and an Aboriginal nation as there were no Aboriginal nations, no matter how nation is defined.

Further, the groups of Aboriginals who resisted European settlement did not constitute a coherent body.

Wars is too strong a term for what were at best deadly skirmishes between soldiers and a handful of Aboriginal clan leaders initially and later between small Aboriginal bands and police or settlers.

The claim is also made that children were taken as ‘slaves’ and that women and children were the most valuable commodities in the nascent colony though there is no evidence that slavery was ever practised by the colonisers and certainly no evidence that women and children were traded as commodities.

The wars, according to the documentary, were brought about because Governor Arthur Phillip bypassed an ancient legal system on his arrival.

This is Bruce Pascoe humbug on steroids. There was no Aboriginal legal system covering the continent. It was very much different strokes for different folks depending upon which clan or tribe they belonged to. In much the same way as some Aboriginal oligarchs today sequester all the royalties arising from mining in their areas and deny funding to those who aren’t part of their clan or kinship group.

Another of the many demands the Voice makes is for a treaty with Australia, which not only supposes that there is an actual cohesive Aboriginal nation and that such a nation could have a treaty with the nation that it exists within, which is patently nonsensical, but it also begs the question why didn’t any Aboriginal seek a treaty as the Maori had done when the tide of European settlement reached New Zealand?

I put this question to Sir Tipene O’Regan (now Ta Tipene O’Regan) twenty-three years ago at his Auckland home during the 1999 APEC conference.

O’Regan, who was named 2022 New Zealander of the Year in March, is the son of an Irish surgeon and activist Rolland O’Regan and Rena Ruiha, who was a member of Ngai Tahu tribe.

As the driving force behind a number of successful land and sea fisheries claims for the Ngai Tahu with legendary negotiating skills, his views on indigenous claims are worth listening to.

He told me that there were vast cultural differences between the Maori and the Aboriginals. All indigenous people are not the same. He said he had attended international meetings of indigenous groups and felt closer to Native Americans from the Pacific Northwest (in particular the Kwakiutl), than the Australian Aboriginal representatives.

‘We are both seafaring people, when Europeans arrived we understood trade and treaties, culturally we are similar, we carve, we had complex oral histories detailing our heritage.’

The Maori nobility, he said, were able to recite their family lineage and this oral recitation of genealogy (whakapapa in Maori) was essential to define who was privileged and who was a slave.

‘Because knowledge of your whakapapa was essential, the Maori embraced writing to set down their family trees so they would not lose their identities and within the first century of the arrival of Europeans, the level of literacy was higher among Maori than among the settlers.’

The Maori, he said, were pressed for space and resources and each tribe or iwi had clearly defined boundaries which required the development of a diplomatic code if there was not to be perpetual war.

When Europeans landed, the shore dwellers could not retreat as they would be encroaching on the tribe up the hill. They had to negotiate a settlement with the new arrivals and arrangements for them to collect wood and water. They could not retreat.

Aboriginals, on the other hand, in his view, had almost unlimited opportunities to withdraw and they did.

I was unfortunately unable to contact Ta Tipene through the University of Auckland to seek his view on the Voice but as we don’t yet know in what form the Labor government proposal will be presented, the questions would be hypothetical.

Perkins and her crew are in no doubt about the need for a Voice, treaty and truth-telling.

Perhaps they could just start by telling the truth and letting the nation decide whether the rest is necessary.




Future Dividend Watch at the End of 2022-Q3

What does the future hold for the dividends of the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) now that we're reaching the end of the third quarter of 2022?

We're now in the gap between when the index' dividend futures contracts for 2022-Q3 have expired and the actual end of the calendar quarter. We find the outlook for the S&P 500's quarterly dividends per share improved since we checked them near the end of 2022-Q2. What's more, we also have a first look for dividend futures data extending through the end of 2023. The following chart reveals those expectations before the start of trading on Monday, 26 September 2022:

Past and Projected Quarterly Dividends Per Share Futures for S&P 500, 2021-Q4 Through 2023-Q4, Snapshot on 26 September 2022

Here's how the dividend futures forecast has changed for each quarter for which we presented data at the end of 2022-Q2:

  • 2022-Q3: Up $0.29 per share.
  • 2022-Q4: Up $0.63 per share.
  • 2023-Q1: Up $0.73 per share.
  • 2023-Q2: Up $0.40 per share.

As interest rates rise and recessionary pressures increase, we're starting to see firms like Fedex dial back their earnings forecasts, though not yet their dividends. It's an open question of how long that state of affairs can continue.

About Dividend Futures

Dividend futures indicate the amount of dividends per share to be paid out over the period covered by each quarters dividend futures contracts, which start on the day after the preceding quarter's dividend futures contracts expire and end on the third Friday of the month ending the indicated quarter. So for example, as determined by dividend futures contracts, the "current" quarter of 2022-Q3 began on Saturday, 18 March 2022 and will end on Friday, 16 September 2022.

That makes these figures different from the quarterly dividends per share figures reported by Standard and Poor, who reports the amount of dividends per share paid out during regular calendar quarters after the end of each quarter. This term mismatch accounts for the differences in dividends reported by both sources, with the biggest differences between the two typically seen in the first and fourth quarters of each year.


The past and projected data shown in this chart is from the CME Group's S&P 500 quarterly dividend index futures. The past data reflects the values reported by CME Group on the date the associated dividend futures contract expired, while the projected data reflects the values reported on 27 June 2022.

Australian Politics 2022-09-29 09:22:00


A major overhaul of Queensland’s energy sector will involve construction of the ‘world’s biggest’ pumped hydro project

This is nonsense. For pumped hydro you need TWO dams, at astronomical cost. Where is the money going to come from? Will it reduce the funding for hospitals, police and pensioners? Realistic cost estimates and realistic statements about how other spending will be affected are needed. There is no sign of either.

When there are so many other needs for funding (ambulancees, housing etc.) already crying out, this proposal is verging on criminal. And for what? To replace s perfectly good electricity supply that we have already. It will buy a few votes from Greenies, that is all

A major overhaul of Queensland’s energy sector will cost $62bn over 13 years and involve construction of the “world’s biggest” pumped hydroelectric power plant project, ending the “reliance” on coal in the state’s publicly owned power plants by 2035.

The goals of the Queensland Energy Plan include hitting a new, higher renewable energy target of 70 per cent by 2032, though the state’s emissions reductions target of 30 per cent below 2005 baseline levels will not change.

The targets will be legislated.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk released the state’s long-awaited 10-year Queensland Energy Plan at her annual state of the state address on Wednesday afternoon, saying the “race was now on” to secure “clean energy supply chains”.

“We must invest now, not just for our climate,” she said. “We must address this issue at the same time we focus on new job opportunities to bring everyone along with the clean energy industrial revolution at our doorstep.”

Ms Palaszczuk confirmed Queensland’s plan was to get 70 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2032, and 80 per cent by 2035.

Natural renewable resources are energy sources with an endless supply so they can be continuously replenished. Some examples of renewable resources include the wind, sun, geothermal heat and water.

Part of the plan will include building two new pumped hydroelectric plants — one west of Mackay and the other at Borumba Dam by 2035.

There will be a new “SuperGrid” built to connect solar, wind, battery and hydrogen generators across the state.

“The super grid brings together all of the elements in the electricity system with the poles and wires that provide Queenslanders with clean, reliable and affordable power for generations,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“That super grid delivers around 1500 kilometres of transmission lines from Brisbane up to North Queensland and out west to Hughenden.”

Publicly owned coal fired power plants, which make up the majority of the state’s coal fired assets, would be “converted” to clean energy hubs from 2027. And their “reliance” on coal would be stopped by 2035.

Ms Palaszczuk said this would be “done in a measured way”. “We won’t convert coal power stations until there is replacement firmed generation,” she said. “We will keep our coal fired power stations as back up capacity until replacement pumped hydro energy storage is operational. “We will be able to turn the stations back on if something goes wrong.”

The state will also build a “hydrogen gas ready turbine”.

The energy plan will cost an estimated $62bn between now and 2035, with the funds to be spread across state and federal governments and the private sector.

“By 2035 Queensland … will have no regular reliance on coal and be at 80 per cent renewable energy,” Ms Palaszczuk said. “That’s because we will have more pumped hydro energy storage than the rest of Australia combined. “Today is about being bold with an energy and jobs plan that has tangible aims and palpable outcomes.”

The latest data shows Queensland’s energy mix in 2021/22 was 21.4 per cent renewable, up from 19.6 per cent between August 2020 and July 2021.

The state government has been ramping up its energy-related announcements in the last week, with Ms Palaszczuk travelling out to South Burnett on Monday to reveal a $780m commitment to building Australia’s largest publicly owned wind farm. The Tarong West Wind Farm in the South Burnett would create enough electricity to power up to 230,000 homes.

At a press conference this morning, Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said it would power “the size of the Gold Coast”, and would be the “equivalent of taking 230,000 cars off the road”.

He said existing cattle farmers located near the wind farm would be able to operate as usual.

The project will include up to 150 turbines and generate 500MW, with 200 jobs created during the construction phase and 15 ongoing roles when the farm up and running.

Earlier, the Greens said Queensland risked being “laughed out of the room” over its climate policies, with the party urging the Palaszczuk government to accelerate the closure of coal-fired stations and adopt a transition plan for the workforce.

Greens MP Michael Berkman said Queensland risked breaching its Paris Agreement unless it includes the closure of the state’s power stations by 2030.


Albanese government would ‘absolutely’ welcome a Tesla manufacturing plant

Australia had a long history of making cars. It stopped because it was uneconomical. It just bumped up the cost of living. Would Musk's Australian factories be able to compete with his factories in China? Not likely. Not without a nice little subsidy out of the pocket of the Australian taxpayer

Infrastructure and Transport Minister Catherine King says the Albanese government would “absolutely” welcome Tesla opening a manufacturing plant in Australia.

Her comments come after the company’s most senior executive in Australia hinted the electric vehicle giant could expand its manufacturing capabilities here.

Board chair Robyn Denholm told the National Press Club in Canberra earlier this month the company wanted to have manufacturing capability on every continent.

She said Tesla needed to “be in all of the major markets” in order to compete in a world moving towards the widespread use of electric vehicles and lithium-ion batteries.

Ms King said on Wednesday the “incredibly disappointing” winding down of the Australian car manufacturing industry had implications for research and development across the manufacturing sector.

The Albanese government has been enthusiastic about ramping up local manufacturing and indicated this could include making cars once again.

But Energy Minister Chris Bowen was noncommittal when asked on Wednesday if he thought it was realistic to expect cars to be made in Australia again.

“We’re very excited as (Ms King) said, right up and down the supply chain,” he said.

“The economics of electric vehicle manufacturing are very different to traditional internal combustion engines, whether it’s full vehicles or those components of vehicles along the way.

“And as I said at the outset, the more we have an electric vehicle market in Australia, the more that will support electric vehicle component and indeed, potentially in due course, manufacturing.”

Mr Bowen and Ms King made the comments as they unveiled the federal government’s consultation paper, outlining the framework for a new national electric vehicle strategy.


Camp fees spark fears popular Straddie beach spot Blaksley will close under native title

Restrictions on access by others nearly always result from a grant of native title

Boaties and campers to a popular beachside camping site on Minjerribah, North Stradbroke Island, fear the introduction of camping fees by the state government could lead to the closure of their holiday hideaway.

The $7-a-night per permit fee, or $28 for a family, was put in place last week, on the first day of the September school holidays, when the state government also set out stringent regulations for the beach site.

The site will be limited to 10 tents and bookings capped at seven nights with permit fees paid to the state government prior to arrival.

Despite the site being a remote bush setting with no inroad, campers must abide by check-in and check-out times with no arrivals before 2pm and all vacated by 11am.

Further regulations will be implemented this week, when the state will remove all rubbish bins and make it mandatory for each camping booking to have its own Australian-standard portaloo.

Long-time visitors pegging out tent sites last week were surprised to see a new billboard advertising the fees and announcing the “new campground” rules.

Blaksley Slip is on aboriginal land and is part of the Naree Budjong Djara National Park, jointly managed by the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, known as QYAC, and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

Traditional owners and departmental officers worked together to develop the visitor management policies.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment and Science said the introduction of overnight permit fees was not a precursor to closing the site. “We need to be able to monitor the site to make sure that campers are being respectful in the area,” the spokesperson said. “Having people buy permits makes patrolling a lot easier.

“Native title exists at this site and it is aboriginal land under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 but QPWS has no plans to close this site in the near or distant future.”

The spokesperson said because the camping area was in the national park, land, flora and fauna was protected and it was illegal to disturb, remove or destroy it.

The permit system, introduced this month, followed concerns unregistered campers were unlawfully bringing pet dogs and illegally cutting down trees for firewood.

But Cleveland resident Luke Seaborne, who has been visiting the campsite for 30 years, said he believed the new regulations were designed to drive people away and has started a petition to keep the area public.

He said it was not the first time changes to rules at public campsites on the island had been made over school holidays with the worst occasion in July 2020 when the island’s five main caravan parks closed.

Adder Rock and Adams Beach campgrounds closed in 2020 for maintenance work while Bradbury’s Beach site, at Dunwich, remains closed to the public.

A year later, campers were astounded when the island’s Minjerribah Camping banned tents at three of the island’s main campgrounds over Easter.

Caravan sites at Amity Point, Adder Rock, Thankful Rest, Bradbury’s Beach and Adams Beach all closed to tourists for the two weeks despite the state government easing Covid restrictions the week before.

Mr Seaborne said taking away the bins and introducing permit fees would deter tourists.

“Having a maximum of 10 tents is ridiculous and limiting camping to one week is also a way of driving people away,” he said.

“My friends and I will pay the fees but we are furious with the limits on tents and booking times and we believe they are designed to get rid of campers.

“Taking away the bins will inevitably mean rubbish is left on the beach.


Peta Credlin says Australians are being treated as if 'we're all but racist' if they don't support the Voice to parliament

Australians are being 'morally shamed' into voting for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, a conservative columnist argues.

Peta Credlin, the former chief-of-staff for Liberal prime minster Tony Abbott, said the proposed Voice will be a race-based body that is more about 'power than recognition' but this is not how it is being sold.

'It will be pitched to voters in oversimplified terms: as being for or against Aboriginal people,' Ms Credlin wrote in The Australian.

The Voice is a proposed body of representatives from First Nations peoples across Australia that will advise federal parliament on matters concerning Indigenous people.

Its creation will require a change to the Australian Constitution that will have to be brought in by a successful referendum vote.

As an example of 'oversimplification' Ms Credlin pointed to the launch this week of what she called the 'big business' campaign for a 'yes' vote, which is backed by the Uluru Statement Group.

The ad features Indigenous playwright and actor Trevor Jamieson telling rapt children the hopeful story of how First People are allowed a 'say' in matters affecting them, which they haven't had.

'The "feel-good" yarning to children around a campfire, is a sign of things to come,' Ms Credlin wrote of the minute-long commercial, which will be mainly targeted at online audiences.

She noted that for previous referendums the federal government had funded campaigns both for a yes and no vote, but Ms Credlin doubted that would be done this time by the Albanese government.

'Labor will rely on big corporations to deluge us with the Yes message and hope, without the millions to match them, that no one picks up the arguments of the No side,' she said.

Ms Credlin accused those pushing for a Voice of being deliberately vague about what the body will do.

'The voice has to make a difference or what's the point of having it?' she wrote. 'Yet that difference can't be spelled out without almost certainly dooming it to defeat, hence the lack of detail.'

Ms Credlin believed Indigenous people already have a substantial say in the nation's affairs, pointing to the number of MPs who identify as Indigenous.

'Why establish a separate Indigenous voice to the parliament when it already includes 11 individual Indigenous voices that were elected in the usual way, without any affirmative action or race-based selection criteria?' she wrote.

'Why give one group of people, based on race, a special say over the actions of our parliament and our government that's denied to everyone else?'

She argued the Voice was really a grab for power. 'There's abundant reason to be cautious about entrenching in our Constitution a race-based body that even Malcolm Turnbull once described as a third chamber of the parliament,' she wrote. 'It’s easy to see where this could end up going – down the path of co-governance.'

Ms Credlin said the Voice had not really been 'thought through' and the danger is that Australians would be morally shamed into voting a 'race-based' Voice 'based on a vibe'.

'A couple of decades ago, we would have marched in the streets about a race-based body in our Constitution,' she wrote. 'Now we’re told we’re all but racist if we don’t support it.'

Will Australians vote for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament?
A poll by the Australia Institute in July found strong support for the Voice to be added to the Constitution.

The poll found 65 per cent would vote yes, up from 58 per cent when the same poll was run in June. Some 14 per cent said they would vote no, with the other 21 per cent undecided. Support was highest among Greens voters, but even 58 per cent of those Coalition aligned would vote yes.

For a referendum to succeed, a majority of the states must also vote yes, but the poll showed that was also easily covered.

All of the four biggest states had comfortable majorities with Victoria on 71 per cent, Queensland 66 per cent, WA 63 per cent and NSW 62 per cent.

Support was highest at 85 per cent for Australians aged 18-29 but those over 50 were still above 50 per cent yes.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has indicated the Voice referendum question is likely to be: 'Do you support an alteration to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?'

Three lines would be added to the Constitution to create the advisory body; one stating it may 'make representations to parliament' on issues concerning Indigenous Australians; and that Parliament may legislate how it works.

To succeed a referendum must both get an overall majority of votes and a majority of voters in the majority of states.

Polls conducted in July indicated Australians strongly support the Voice to parliament with 65 per cent of respondents saying they would vote yes.




U.S. New Homes Market Cap Peaks in July 2022, Drops in August 2022

U.S. new home sales unexpectedly rose in August 2022. Here's how Reuters covered the most important numbers in the story:

New home sales surged 28.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 units last month, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. July's sales pace was revised higher to 532,000 units from the previously reported 511,000 units....

The median new house price in August was $436,800, an 8.04% increase from a year ago.

What Reuters didn't say is that August 2022's new home prices fell $29,500 (-6.3%) from its revised level of $466,300 in July 2022. That previous month's median new home sale price was itself revised 6.1% higher from the $439,400 it was initially reported to be a month earlier.

At the same time, mortgage rates dipped slightly from July to August 2022, falling from 5.41% to 5.22%. The unexpectedly high number of new home sales would appear to be the result of homebuyers recognizing that respite would likely be very short lived, who then scrambled to lock in the month's combination of lower mortgage rates and lower sale prices.

We'll take a closer look at what those changes mean for new home affordability next week, but for now, we'll look at what the combination of revisions and new information involving new home sales means for the U.S. new home market. Political Calculations' initial estimate of the trailing twelve month average market capitalization for new homes in the U.S. in August 2022 is $29.81 billion, down 5.1% from our initial estimate of $31.40 billion for July 2022.

Meanwhile, our revised estimate for July 2022 is $31.47 billion, a 0.2% increase from our initial estimate, confirming this month represents the peak for this measure in 2022. The large, upward revision in new home sale prices almost fully accounts for that outcome. The latest update of our chart shows U.S.' new home market cap's shifted trailing twelve month average.

Trailing Twelve Month Average New Home Sales Market Capitalization in the United States, January 1976 - August 2022

The next two charts show the latest changes in the trends for new home sales and prices:

Sales continued trending downward:

Trailing Twelve Month Average of the Annualized Number of New Homes Sold in the U.S., January 1976 - August 2022

Upward price trend is slowing:

Trailing Twelve Month Average of the Mean Sale Price of New Homes Sold in the U.S., January 1976 - August 2022

We've included the raw monthly data for new home sales and their average monthly sale prices in these latter two charts to illustrate the month-to-month noise in the data. The data for new home sales is typically finalized some three months after it is first reported.

Looking forward, we anticipate September 2022 will see both fewer sales and lesser affordability given the spike in mortgage rates during the month. The next data release for new home sales will come on 26 October 2022.


U.S. Census Bureau. New Residential Sales Historical Data. Houses Sold. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 27 September 2022. 

U.S. Census Bureau. New Residential Sales Historical Data. Median and Average Sale Price of Houses Sold. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 27 September 2022.