The challenge of renewables


Later this year a conference will be held in Paris that will determine the global response to climate change. While the international jockeying has commenced, it seems there is a ‘tipping point’ that, if exceeded, will ensure that the world will never be the same again. Australia’s contribution is being keenly watched.

Australia was one of the first to introduce an Emissions Trading Scheme (misnamed by both sides of politics as ‘the carbon tax’) and certainly the first to almost ditch it. The ALP at its recent conference has committed to generating 50% of Australia’s electricity using renewables by 2030. It seems the current government has yet to make up its mind. Given that the world’s environment is warming and 2014 was the warmest year on record, doing nothing is not an option — and if the worst result is that fossil fuels last longer, is that a bad thing?

The ALP’s commitment to 50% renewables made some people happy but others were claiming the costs could be excessive. Abbott went as far as claiming that the ALP policy would cost $60 billion — pity the claim was based on a calculation ‘on the back of an envelope’.

The reality is that, according to the International Monetary Fund, Australia will subsidise coal, petroleum and gas consumption to the value of $41 billion during 2015.
Australia's current electricity mix can supply power at about $30 to $40 per megawatt-hour, according to estimates provided by the Grattan Institute.

If we were to build new fossil fuel power plants today they would produce power at about $50 to $75 per megawatt-hour based on the same Grattan model. New wind power would cost about $80 to $90 per megawatt-hour, while large-scale solar would be about $180 (Estimates by other groups put the cost of new coal power at higher rates.)
As the article points out, this is just the cost of generation — not the cost of the environmental mitigation required from burning fossil fuel.

Not everyone agrees on the costs. Alan Jones claimed on Q&A during July that:
“Eighty per cent of Australian energy comes from coal, coal-fired power, and it’s about $79 a kilowatt hour,” he said. “Wind power is about $1502 a kilowatt hour.”
He was spectacularly wrong (and to his credit he did apologise for the error), but there seems to be a trend here of plucking numbers out of thin air and constructing an argument to ‘demonstrate’ the economic madness of renewable energy.

While the IMF has new coal-fired power stations at a slight cost advantage (before the ‘on-costs’) over renewable power, Bloomberg has a different view:
By Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s most recent calculations a new wind farm in Australia would cost $74 a megawatt hour.

“A new large-scale photovoltaic project would cost $105,” says the firm’s Australian head, Kobad Bhavnagri. “A new coal-fired power station would cost $119. And a new gas base-load station would cost $92. So both wind and solar are already cheaper than coal.”

What’s more, says Bhavnagri, the cost advantage of non-polluting energy is rapidly increasing. “Wind is already the cheapest, and solar PV [photovoltaic panels] will be cheaper than gas in around two years, in 2017. We project that wind will continue to decline in cost, though at a more modest rate than solar. Solar will become the dominant source in the longer term.”
The Saturday Paper reports that Bloomberg has determined global spending on the construction of renewable generation capacity since 2013 has been higher than coal, gas and oil combined. The trend is likely to escalate. On top of that, electricity demand across Australia is reducing. Stanwell Power in Queensland closed down two generation units at its Tarong Power Station — citing lack of demand in 2012. Renew Economy reported:
The closure of the two units at Tarong follows the closure of the ageing 600MW Munmorah power station in NSW, Stanwell’s 125MW Swanbank B power station in Queensland, and the 240MW Playford B and the 520MW Northern brown coal generators in South Australia. Energy Brix has also reduced output. Northern recently reopened and will operate in the immediate future only in summer, when demand is higher.
Climate Works Australia, a partnership between the Myer Foundation and Monash University, has prepared a report, housed on the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, that discusses the probability that Australia could effectively be ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050 while maintaining current economic growth. Denmark is targeting to be completely free of fossil fuel by 2050. They are well on the way, having around 40% renewable energy on their electricity grid now. The New York Times reports that there are a number of practical problems in the transition to a completely fossil-free future, from winter nights with little wind through to ‘range anxiety’ for electrically driven vehicles.

The Danes are now subsidising fossil and nuclear power stations to remain on-line to cover eventualities such as still nights, as the cost of fossil or nuclear electricity production exceeds the price the generators can sell electricity for. Believe it or not, some Australian states are having the same issue. In Australia, electricity is traded on a ‘market’ across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Queensland and South Australia have excess generating capacity so they can sell surplus electricity into the market, which acts, as economists will tell you, ‘rationally’ (the price paid for surplus electricity is governed by the demand for the product). Electricity generators make decisions on how much electricity they will produce based on the expected return from the market meeting or exceeding the cost of generation. If the generators miscalculate the demand, the price paid for electricity increases rapidly, causing generators to increase production. If there is a surplus of electricity available, the price goes down. Those that can change production quantities quickly make more money than those that can’t. On occasions during the middle of the day in July 2015, the wholesale price for electricity in Queensland was a negative value rather than the ‘normal’ $40 to $50 per megawatt hour. While not the sole cause (the infrastructure allowing Queensland to ‘export’ power to Southern States was not working at full capacity):
The influx of rooftop solar has turned this model on its head. There is 1,100MW of it on more than 350,000 buildings in Queensland alone (3,400MW on 1.2m buildings across the country). It is producing electricity just at the time that coal generators used to make hay (while the sun shines).
If Queensland has excess power during the time that is usually profitable for power generators, and South Australia has the capability of operating entirely from renewable energy, as occurred late in 2014, the world is changing without waiting for the government to change.

Ergon Energy in regional Queensland (which is owned by the Queensland government) is conducting a trial of battery storage for the power generated from solar panels in a domestic environment which, if successful, will allow the use of domestic solar panel generated power at night or if it’s raining heavily. The Queensland government is also planning to install a number of renewable energy powered electric vehicle chargers along the Bruce Highway, which runs from Brisbane to Cairns.

Clearly the world is changing. It is conceivable that in the not too distant future we will be able to power our houses using electricity generated on the roof and stored in batteries under the house. Our cars will be plugged into a charging point each night and when we do want to travel further than the battery capacity, there will be a recharging station en-route (in a similar way to filling the car at the petrol station). Both of these fundamental changes will reduce our need for fossil fuels as well as infrastructure such as power lines. These fundamental changes will also reduce the business plans of a number of companies to historical artefacts. These companies are in a similar position to the tobacco companies were some years ago when the evidence that smoking is hazardous to health was overwhelming but before cigarette packet warnings and education programs were introduced.

The problem for energy companies is that if they don’t adapt, they will gradually fade away. However, there is an economic problem here — who will be the first to try and adapt to a new business model that addresses the rise of renewable energy, potentially giving their competition a ‘free kick’? The first to withdraw from the traditional generate, distribute and retail business model will leave a hole in the market that others will attempt to fill, so unless the strategy is planned and executed correctly, the early adopter could fail completely. While Ergon is conducting a trial of battery storage, they are a government owned business with a legislated supply area and no competition — so they effectively have a monopoly. The business and economic risks of the trial are significantly less in Ergon’s case than they would be in the case of Origin or AGL.

This doesn’t explain the Abbott government’s reluctance to support renewable energy. The Abbott government has reduced the RET (Renewable Energy Target), instructed the CEFC (Clean Energy Finance Corporation) to remove funding from ‘established’ renewable technology — which was profitable to the agency and the government — and launched various hysterical campaigns on wind farms, emissions trading schemes and aspirational targets for the move to renewable energy by the country over the next 15 years.

It is even harder to understand Abbott’s responses when it is considered that Pope Francis (the spiritual leader of all Catholics — including Abbott) has released an encyclical that not only acknowledges climate change caused by humans burning fossil fuels, but demanded immediate action to stop the world becoming ‘an immense pile of filth’:
In the encyclical, titled Laudato Si (Praise Be), On the Care of Our Common Home, Francis advocated a change of lifestyle in rich countries steeped in a "throwaway" consumer culture and an end to an "obstructionist attitudes" that sometimes put profit before the common good.
Not that Abbott is alone in ignoring the Pope’s ‘teaching’. Father James Grant is an adjunct fellow of the IPA (Institute of Public Affairs) and wrote an article in The Australian (which is paywalled) on 10 July entitled ‘It’s unchristian to oppose coal generated power’. However, we can all read the smackdown of the article and the government’s lack of action written by Neil Ormerod and published in Eureka Street. Ironically, Eureka Street is published by the Australian Jesuits, the Catholic order that Abbott tried to join when younger.

The scientific and moral debate on climate change is over. Climate change is real — we are all are causing it. So why do Abbott and other conservatives continue to ‘fight the fight’? Is it, as Pope Francis commented, because profit outweighs the common good? Abbott is probably finding it hard to justify to other countries why they should purchase greater quantities of Australian coal at the same time that our national consumption is reducing dramatically. Or is it that the government is so bereft of capability to devise and implement cutting edge policy that the easy option is (with apologies to 1914 ALP Leader Andrew Fisher) resist to the ‘last man and the last shilling’ with a determination to (in the words of Churchill) ‘never, never, never give up’.

What do you think?
As 2353 points out, the world is changing. Why can’t Abbott accept the reality when even his beloved markets are reading the writing on the wall, are reacting to climate change and the challenge of renewables? We are seeing more investment banks divesting some of their fossil fuel assets as they foresee that they will, in future, become stranded assets. And yet Abbott continues to live in a different reality and will fight the changes to the last man. How can one man be so obstinate and ignorant and yet lead our country?

Next week Ken returns to his theme of the bankers versus democracy in his piece ‘Bankers 3 Democracy 0 with Abbott running the sideline’.


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30/08/20152353 What a lucid account you have written of the state of play of fossil fuel power generation versus that being generated now and projected to be generated from renewables in the near and distant future. Why is it that, apart from in a few specialist publications, so little detail is written in the MSM for the ordinary reader to digest? Why is it that so few journalists make the case for a phasing out of fossil fuels in favour of renewables, as you have done? Why do so many writers avoid detailing the perils of global warming? There seems to be a mental block that prevents many conservatives from accessing and analysing the mass of information that is available on this subject, and drawing from it the conclusions you so logically draw. It seems that their desire to hold a contrary view is so strong that logic and reason is not possible. Is this the result of long held beliefs that, like some religious beliefs, are simply not challengeable? Or is the reason the determination to maintain the coal industry in the face of increasing evidence that it is doomed in the long run, and possibly sooner? Are the resisters aware of what they are doing, or are they so blinded to reality that they can blithely ignore it? The question intrigues me. It may write something about this soon. If only Greg Hunt and Tony Abbott would read what you have written with an open and receptive mind, one capable of being persuaded to a different view. Sadly, that seems almost as impossible a task as persuading some religious extremists that the universe is over 14 billion years old, not the 6,000 years they insist it is. The enigma of the unpersuadable mind remains! Thank you for challenging the minds of those who obstinately stick to an untenable position.

Pappinbarra Fox

30/08/2015It is a sad and sorry fact that we have been sent back probably about 10 years in terms of progress against anthropogenic global warming. My place near Wauchope ran on photovoltaic cells and batteries from 1981. The quality of batteries and cells in those days was not what it is now the system I had set up operated perfectly well to run lights, stereo system, and other small incidental power consumers. We were get back on track until this disastrous Abbott government is drummed out of office. I have been mischievous and deceitful at the very least in claiming to have set a goal of 28% reduction against the 2005 emissions. Those emissions are of course the highest on record and included a quite dramatic leap from the previous years. I'm sick in my heart of the way the direction of this country is going. But we must persevere and join together to overthrow this rabid government.

Pappinbarra Fox

30/08/2015Okay couple typos in the last comment. Obviously I haven't been mischievous I meant to say they have been mischievous. And I meant to say we won't get back on track.

patriciawa

30/08/2015AA and 2353, does it really need a willingness to access the huge amount of information available on the science of climate change? Isn't common sense enough? We live in a sunburned country with an abundance of natural energy obvious to us all. Coal is dirty to mine, to use and leaves smoke, soot and ash in its wake. Ask any one of the millions who have migrated to sunny Australia escaping from the foul fumes and smog of English industrial towns. It's not blindness nor ignorance which resists the obvious here. It's greed. The vested interests which promote fossil fuels against renewable energy won't give up so long as they can mine and sell dirty coal at profit. Fortunately time and progress seem against them.

Pappinbarra Fox

30/08/2015Oh and I meant to say good job 2353. We have to keep talking about this sort of stuff otherwise it does go out of the average person's mind.

Casablanca

31/08/2015[b]REALLY DIRECT ACTION[/b] 1. Teens sue Obama over climate, asking why future generations' rights are not respected David Hodgkinson & Rebecca Johnston August 27, 2015 3.54pm AEST This month’s decision by 21 young American citizens, mostly teenagers, to sue President Barack Obama and various branches of the US government over climate change has highlighted a crucial issue that is all too often overlooked: the tendency to value current generations' well-being much more highly than that of future generations. https://theconversation.com/teens-sue-obama-over-climate-asking-why-future-generations-rights-are-not-respected-46470

2353

31/08/2015Sorry Ad, I don't think Abbott or Hunt will be reading this blog any time soon! Logic and argument (rather than dogma) aren't something they are known for. Pappinbarra Fox - welcome back to the comments and thanks for the compliment. Batteries and panels have become better and cheaper over the years which will in turn create even more efficiencies. Solar panels are everywhere on house roofs in SEQ (where I call home) and with companies like Tesla now selling batteries I suspect the day will come soon where panels and storage will be common. A car can run from Darwin to Adelaide solely on solar power - so the technology is there already. The problem is that mainstream consumers will not accept anything less than the air conditioned vehilce that is capable of doing twice the speed limit with the stereo blasting, power steering and so on. Solar cars will come too - maybe the first implementation will be solar panels on plug in electric cars to run the stereo etc. PatriciaWA - Common sense should be enough - however when the likes of Bernardi hijack that term for their blog there is a problem! Thanks for your compliment.

Ken

31/08/20152353 Very good piece which I think actually gives reason for hope -- not from this blind government but from the energy generators who are beginning to change their business models. There was an article on the ABC website that showed how NSW was now coming last in terms of renewable energy but energy companies in NSW are making changes. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-30/nsw-lagging-behind-in-renewable-energy/6733366 AGL is building its own solar power plant and plans to close its coal mines by 2050. Various state and territory governments already have renewable energy targets. While, as patriciawa says, greed is still in play and there will be efforts to make as much money as possible from coal mining, companies also know that if they want to make money into the future, it will not be from coal and will involve a different business model. I have friends on a property outside of Braidwood in NSW and they have operated on solar and wind power for many years (it was cheaper than the cost of paying for the wires to be run from the nearest point to the house). It was not cheaper, however, than the costs I pay for electricity. The storage batteries have a limited life and have to be replaced after a number of years at a signficant capital cost -- when that is amortised over the life of the batteries, it turned out their electricity was costing about the same as my wife and I were paying to an energy company. That is changing and the battery and solar technology is becoming cheaper. I think energy companies now need to think about providing solar panels and batteries perhaps on a leasing basis, so that the energy company maintains the system and replaces batteries at appropriate times, and that is what the consumer pays for, rather than the actual electricity. As your articles states, this means there is less need for the 'poles and wires' and so reduces overall costs. All in all, I think changes are taking place but they are being driven by the energy companies, not the government. The changes will only take place slowly while the Abbott government continues its current approach but it is clear that the companies are ready to move more quickly with just a little more incentive added by the government -- which Labor can do when it comes to power next year.

2353

31/08/2015Here's a bit more fuel for the fire. <blockquote>The costs of solar panels are expected to halve in the next few years while the price of wind energy is projected to continue to fall steeply. Battery storage is likely to be another major game changer, allowing households to go off grid and increasing incentives for both households and businesses to install renewable energy. But what is really exciting is the level of commitment from the global heavyweights. Fifteen G20 countries have committed to renewable energy targets that represent a 70 percent increase in renewable energy by 2025. These targets are enormous drivers of progress, which will probably accelerate change faster than we can anticipate. Earlier this year, Germany produced half its electricity from renewables. When it did so the price of electricity fell to zero. India has stated it intends to become a "renewable energy superpower" while China will add more clean energy capacity in the next 15 years than its entire existing coal fire fleet. </blockquote> http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/amanda-mckenzie/australia-can-become-a-re_b_8047398.html?utm_hp_ref=australia Clearly if India is planning to be a 'renewable energy superpower', things like Adani's Carmichael Mine in Central Queensland will not be needed for the 30 years that Abbott, Hunt and co are telling us is guaranteed.

Casablanca

31/08/2015Jonathan Green ‏@GreenJ 2h2 hours ago 'Like a cat struggling to avoid a bath, Tony Abbott has been scrabbling for purchase’ @Drag0nista’s latest http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-31/matthewson-desperate-abbott-struggles-to-maintain-control/6736594 … 2. Desperate Abbott struggles to maintain control Opinion Paula Matthewson 31 August, 2015 Bombing Syria, cutting taxes, and dumping Joe Hockey as Treasurer - the latest ideas coming out of this Government suggest Tony Abbott is desperately scrabbling for anything in the hope of escaping his dire situation http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-31/matthewson-desperate-abbott-struggles-to-maintain-control/6736594

Casablanca

31/08/20153. How do we ‘change everything’ as Naomi Klein suggests? Let’s start by getting ‘adversaries’ to listen to one another Amanda Tattersall August 31, 2015 2.13pm AEST Klein’s argument is that climate change threatens every dimension of our life on Earth – the result of an abusive relationship between people and planet, made possible by a voracious hyper-capitalist economy. Fixing climate change means changing how that economy works at its core. That may seem a rather all-encompassing observation, but the persuasiveness of her argument comes from the insight that climate change isn’t just another “issue” on a shopping list of social problems. It’s an epidemic whose cure offers an opportunity to turn around myriad injustices perpetrated in the name of the economy. https://theconversation.com/how-do-we-change-everything-as-naomi-klein-suggests-lets-start-by-getting-adversaries-to-listen-to-one-another-46800

Casablanca

31/08/20154. [b]Here is a 2 page summary of Dyson Heydon's self justification. [/b] http://resources.news.com.au/files/2015/08/31/1227506/276514-aus-file-summary-of-reasons.pdf

Casablanca

31/08/2015REFUSAL OF RECUSAL 5. Dyson Heydon won’t step aside as royal commissioner, ACTU considers further action Labor News • 31st August 2015 The head of the trade union royal commission Dyson Heydon won’t step down, prompting Labor to slam the royal commission as “high farce” and call for it to be replaced with... https://www.laborherald.com.au/politics/dyson-heydon-not-stepping-down-as-royal-commissioner/ 6. Dyson Heydon says addressing Liberal Party fundraiser does not mean he supports the Liberal Party Anna Patty. August 31, 2015 - 4:31PM http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/dyson-heydon-says-addressing-liberal-party-fundraiser-does-not-mean-he-supports-the-liberal-party-20150831-gjbear.html#ixzz3kNGLnbbg 7. Royal commissioner Heydon rejects calls to stand down from trade union inquiry Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra Dyson Heydon has dismissed the unions' application that he quit the royal commission into trade union corruption on the ground of "apprehended bias". https://theconversation.com/royal-commissioner-heydon-rejects-calls-to-stand-down-from-trade-union-inquiry-46871 8. Its About Bias Not Reputation John Lord. August 31, 2015 So the point I am making is that with all this information it had to be apparent to him that his was not a normal RC but a highly sensitive politically charged one. Surely he couldn’t have been blind to all this. The accusations that Abbott had initiated the commission for his own political gain were widespread. http://theaimn.com/its-about-bias-not-reputation/ 9. Dyson Heydon to stay on as trade union royal commissioner; reveals he is 'incapable of sending or receiving' emails Jane Norman Dyson Heydon has announced he will remain as head of the trade union royal commission (TURC), despite pressure from unions and the Labor Party for him to stand down. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-31/dyson-heydon-rules-to-stay-on-as-royal-commissioner/6737614

Ken

31/08/2015I have read Justice Heydon's decision. I think that the main thing it proves is that he is incompetent and cannot mount a genuinely rational argument. If he believes the reasoning he used to show that there is no bias, then it follows that he could have gone ahead and delivered the speech -- but he didn't, therefore his own reasoning is either invalid or there must be apprehended bias. He knocks down some of the case put to him with that sort of logic but doesn't apply it to himself. What I also found interesting is some of the things said by the lawyers for the unions in putting their case. It is so obvious that there is a 'legal club' in which you cannot criticise a judge, that you must accept the rules under which they operate, and so Heydon is able to use some of their 'praise' to justify himself. Maybe there's a piece in this.

Bacchus

31/08/2015Got a lazy $370,000 lying around 2353? http://www.businessreviewaustralia.com/technology/1817/Aussie-startup-EVX-is-creating-first-solar-powered-sportscar

Ken

31/08/2015Bacchus It's still only in the design stage. Can I get it cheaper for buying "off the plan"?

Bacchus

31/08/2015If only Ken, but it's interesting to see what's going on in our research institutions in this area. Will this be another case of our business, and especially our government, not supporting our local innovations? Will we see a company like Tesla producing a commercial version by about 2020?

Ken

31/08/2015Bacchus Unfortunately, as you say, it is both business and government that doesn't support such ventures. Venture capital is notoriously short in Australia and many Australian innovations (even by the CSIRO) are basically 'sold' to overseas companies for commercial development. Profits that should be flowing into Australia from these innovations, instead flows mainly to foreign investors.

Casablanca

1/09/2015REFUSAL OF RECUSAL (cont) 10. Heydon rejects apprehended bias claim, stays on as royal commissioner Anna Olijnyk Dyson Heydon didn't accept that merely agreeing to give the Sir Garfield Barwick lecture could create an appearance of bias. Judges and royal commissioners are allowed to have political views, he said. The Abbott government has been straining at the bounds of satire for some time now. But the slapstick shows no sign of abating. https://newmatilda.com/2015/08/31/outside-dyson-heydons-court-trade-union-royal-commission-looks-political-ever#sthash.kx7B76Ap.dpuf 11. Outside Of Dyson Heydon's Court The Trade Union Royal Commission Looks As Political As Ever Ben Eltham. 31 Aug 2015 The embattled judge has cleared himself of bias and his commission of politics. Few outside the courts will be inclined to agree. https://newmatilda.com/2015/08/31/outside-dyson-heydons-court-trade-union-royal-commission- looks-political-ever FARCE + FIASCO + FRACTURES + FIBS 12. There's More Than One Genius On Team Australia Xannon Shirley. 30 Aug 2015 You might not like them, but there's nothing stupid about the ruthless prosecution of an extreme agenda.... Cursing Abbott has become a daily mantra for those Australians who value science, the arts, social progression, renewable energy, multiculturalism, human rights and our stunning natural ecosystems etc. Our PM has suffered some of the worst public approval ratings in recent history (at one stage as low at 24 per cent). He doesn’t care. If he did, he’d act differently. Tony Abbott has realized that he doesn’t need to care anymore; for the simple reason that our disapproval doesn’t affect his ability to assert his agenda. Recognizing that is his genius. https://newmatilda.com/2015/08/30/theres-more-one-genius-team-australia 13. Australia's treatment of asylum seekers was bound to lead to something like Border Force Richard Flanagan 31 August, 2015 As history teaches us, tyranny condoned against some will finally become a tyranny visited on us all. Tony Abbott cannot distance himself from this... It was news to me, as I suspect it was to many Australians on Friday, that there had been created in our country a paramilitary force that seemed not answerable to the legal limits and public expectations of our police and military forces, but only, and directly, to politicians – those same politicians who of late seem to have little respect for the rule of law, the truth, or the necessary independence of the judiciary. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/31/australias-treatment-of-asylum-seekers-was-bound-to-lead-to-something-like-border-force?CMP=ema_632 14. The border farce wasn't a social media beat-up Greg Jericho When the Border Force says it will do something outside the law, and the Minister responsible won't comment, it's a special breed of journalist which calls the resulting furore an over-reaction http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-31/jericho-social-media-and-the-border-farce/6738140 15. Border force announcement went to Peter Dutton's office twice before release Lenore Taylor. Press release about random visa checks in Melbourne was received on Wednesday, spokesman confirms, but sources say it was also sent on Thursday http://click.mail.theguardian.com/?qs=e7ef158aa9d57b11a1bc73ce42fcb8048d6acdbfc884c43e215925853b900b03 16. Desperate Abbott struggles to maintain control Paula Matthewson Bombing Syria, cutting taxes, and dumping Joe Hockey as Treasurer - the latest ideas coming out of this Government suggest Tony Abbott is desperately scrabbling for anything in the hope of escaping his dire situation. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-31/matthewson-desperate-abbott-struggles-to-maintain-control/6736594 17. Arthur Sinodinos says Abbott ministers leaking on Hockey should be sacked Lenore Taylor. Former minister says colleagues should be working to win Canning byelection rather than backgrounding against treasurer ‘to scapegoat a potential loss’ http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/31/arthur-sinodinos-says-abbott-ministers-leaking-on-hockey-should-be-sacked?CMP=ema_632 18. I Urge You All To Bomb Syria While We “Make Up Our Mind” and Other Assorted Comic Gems! Rossleigh. August 31, 2015 Anyway, as Andrew Bolt pointed out nothing happened and the Border Force was never going to do anything wrong, but thanks to those protesters, the ABF never got to not do anything wrong when they didn’t check nobody’s papers. Confused? Don’t worry. We have Julie Bishop urging European countries to help bomb Syria, which might seem a little hypocritical when we’re still making up our minds whether we should do it or not. 19. It’s official. The people have spoken. Christopher Pyne has won the inaugural People’s Choice Snoutie. Kate M. 30 August, 2015 Voting for the People’s Choice Snoutie Award kicked off last weekend, and closed yesterday. For a while Senate Leader Eric Abetz was a serious contender for the title – but Pyne, like the poodle with a bone that he is, took the lead fairly early on and eventually streaked ahead to claim victory by a significant margin. http://theaimn.com/christopher-pynes-greatest-hits-of-2015-winner-of-the-peoples-choice-snoutie/ 20. Border Farce! Austasi police gangs rumble into Melbourne Tess Lawrence 30 August 2015, Thus, by the powers invested upon me by the Christian God, the Commonwealth, Her Majesty and Emperor Napolitony Abbott, I am entitled to question, apprehend indefinitely and kill at whim with complete impunity. https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/border-farce-austasi-police-gangs-rumble-into-melbourne,8110 ENVIRONMENT + RESOURCES 21. Australia Can Become A Renewable Powerhouse Amanda McKenzie A decade ago, just a few thousand Australian households had rooftop solar and they were people that lived in remote locations or were sustainability enthusiasts. But as electricity bills continued to skyrocket and the cost of solar PV fell more than 75 percent over five years, middle Australia has driven a suburban energy revolution. Now the sun powers over 1.4 million Australian households. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/amanda-mckenzie/australia-can-become-a-re_b_8047398.html?utm_hp_ref=australia 22. Our Race Towards Climate Disaster Is Like A Scene From The Movie Speed Godfrey Moase. 30 Aug 2015 The more things change in our society, the more they stay the same. Which is a problem when it comes to climate change. https://newmatilda.com/2015/08/30/our-race-towards-climate-disaster-scene-movie-speed 23. Atmosphere of Hope: Tim Flannery on #climate engineering at #MWF15 – @takvera John Englart Professors Clive Hamilton and Tim Flannery on the morality, necessity and possibilities of engineering the climate by carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies. A Melbourne Writers Festival event, Saturday 29 August 2015. I attended the discussion between Professors Clive Hamilton and Tim Flannery at the Melbourne Writers workshop on Saturday morning. Climate change has been a http://nofibs.com.au/2015/08/31/atmosphere-of-hope-tim-flannery-on-climate-engineering-at-mwf15-takvera/ 24. Coal Vs Koalas: Shenhua's Watermark Mine Faces Legal Challenge Over Environmental Approval Thom Mitchell. 31 Aug 2015 The contentious mine could come unstuck over claims the planning authority failed to consider its impact on local Koala population. https://newmatilda.com/2015/08/31/coal-vs-koalas-shenhuas-watermark-mine-faces-legal-challenge-over-environmental-approval 25. Oil prices slide as Obama lets Shell drill in the Arctic Climate News Network . 31 August 2015, 10:00am As the giant Shell oil company begins highly controversial and risky exploration drilling in the Arctic, the price of crude continues to [...] https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/oil-prices-slide-as-obama-lets-shell-drill-in-the-arctic,8111 FEDERALISM + DEMOCRACY 26. Beyond federation: Who are we and where do we want to go? Klaas Woldring 29 Aug 2015 In a recently published book, Beyond Federation, a collection of essays argue the case for abandoning federalism and replacing it with a major constitutional change.... The Reform of Federation Paper ‘A Federation for Our Future’, recently published by the Abbott Government to generate a White Paper, is another reincarnation of “co-operative federalism”. https://independentaustralia.net/australia/australia-display/beyond-federation-who-are-we-and-where-do-we-want-to-go,8095 27. The Flailing, Failing Radical Right And The Strangling Of Our Social Democracy Geoff Davies. 31 Aug 2015 Australians continue to resist our neoliberal path to social misery... The current disarray of the Abbott Government may mark the end of a decades-long experiment in radical social engineering... Neoliberalism is neither liberal nor conservative. Its vision is to break society down to competing individuals, the flip side of communism’s vision to submerge our individuality with the masses. The one is as extreme, and as dysfunctional, as the other. Neoliberalism is extremist, and its imposition is radical. The experiment has yielded deepening social divisions, an antiquated, colonial-style economy and little capacity to deal with the dramatic challenges of the near future. https://newmatilda.com/2015/08/31/flailing-failing-radical-right-and-strangling-our-social-democracy#sthash.k1udqMUm.dpuf 28. What has become of our national character? Matt Hurley Australians are blessed with a unique and enduring national character, forged in our relatively short history by events, people and folklore. A world famous stereotype, we are thought to be laid back, easy going larrikins; proponents of the “fair go”. Pity that it is fanciful at best. In contemporary Australia our national character is an ironic hypocrisy, and a demonstrable fallacy. http://theaimn.com/what-has-become-of-our-national-character/

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1/09/2015No Bacchus I don't. BUt it is an interesting development. While renewably powered homes, factories and shops are getting to the stage where it isn't a novelty anymore - the big challenge is renewably powered transport. Electric trains are a proven technology (had to get that in) which depends on how the electricity is generated for the 'greeness' of the system - in Australia mostly from coal so all its doing is moving the pollution from pont A to point B. But there is a lot of debate about Hydrogen power versus some form of electric power for the rest. There are rechargable 'on the move' electric buses running in Europe and North America that I know of which is a start, and a lot of technology migrates from heavy transport vehicles down to cars over the years. There is also some are testing solar panels in roads and bike paths that feed the grid - and there is a suggestion that some form of induction vehicle charging from the road surface may be possible; either way there will be a need for a lot of infrastucture change to create Hydrogen/Electiric filling stations that look and feel like the current petrol stations. Who knows - when I'm in my dotage my kids will send a driverless car to pick me up from the nursing home, take me to one of their houses which is 100% renewably powered where I can spoil their kids rotten and then leave on the return trip. The car picks up information and power from the road to avoid traffic and get me to the destination, goes and does some other jobs and returns to take me home. It is an interesting future.

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1/09/2015DYSON: I AM THE VERY MODEL OF A FAIR-MINDED OBSERVER 1. Heydon is staying, so what will the unions do next? Karen Middleton The unions could challenge Dyson Heydon's decision to stay on as royal commissioner, but that comes with serious risks. Instead, they may continue their attack on the process and take it to the court of public opinion. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-01/middleton-heydon-is-staying-so-what-will-the-unions-do-next/6739486 2. He's staying! No-bias Dyson Heydon slices his reasons deli-thin Richard Ackland To the commissioner’s way of thinking, his invitation to a Liberal party fundraiser was merely a dinner speech on legal matters to a group of lawyers... Maybe, some of these missing elements will be discovered if the unions make a section 75 application to the high court in its original jurisdiction. No doubt union lawyers are holding Heydon’s reasons up to the light to see what cracks appear. http://click.mail.theguardian.com/?qs=de33aac633aaf963b31db7e46fa1bbcb0e10df807a6cb15af67de85f72e99c63 3. Trade Union Royal Commission: Dyson Heydon saves his own skin Damien Murphy. August 31, 2015 - 8:36PM The fact Mr Heydon's actions have created wide division around Australia may be construed as a sad coda to a distinguished legal career when obituarists come to summarise his contribution to public life. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/trade-union-royal-commission-dyson-heydon-saves-his-own-skin-20150831-gjbv1t.html#ixzz3kSEDnn6a 4. Dyson Heydon, #BorderFarce and Captain Abbott's last days in the Lodge Barry Everingham. 1 September 2015, 10:00am With the Dyson Heydon debacle and the Border Force farce, Team Australia Captain Tony Abbott can't take a trick these days and may only have weeks left in [...] https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/dyson-heydon-borderfarce-and-captain-abbotts-last-days-in-the-lodge,8116 5. Trade Union Royal Commission: Dyson Heydon shows why judges really are a breed apart Mark Kenny. August 31, 2015 - 8:31PM A welter of evidence clearly establishing a widespread public perception of bias on the part of the royal commissioner into trade union corruption has been brushed off as irrelevant by the highest legal authority charged with assessing it: the royal commissioner himself. http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/trade-union-royal-commission-dyson-heydon-shows-why-judges-really-are-a-breed-apart-20150831-gjbmw6.html#ixzz3kSF1DmLe 6. Dyson Heydon: Who is the royal commissioner being urged to resign over Liberal links? John Barron. 19 Aug 2015, 6:21pm In 1989, Justice Heydon, along with the late Roderick Meagher QC, conducted an inquiry for the NSW Liberal Government into the "Duties and Fiduciary Obligations of Officials of Industrial Unions of Employers and Employees". Their report called for improvements in the governance of trade unions, and for union officials to be equated with company directors, and overseen by the corporate regulator — now ASIC.... Justice Heydon had given a speech published by Quadrant Magazine earlier that year, equating what he described as the "illegitimate function" of the "furthering of some political, moral or social program" through judicial rulings to the "death of the rule of law"... His comments were seen by many as effectively a job application to a Howard government weary of "landmark" rulings. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-19/dyson-heydon-who-is-the-trade-union-royal-commissioner/6706416 DUTTS ARMY 7. Border Force is over. Give it up for Van Squad! First Dog on the Moon Put it in a memo and send it to the minister’s office twice so he may or may not read it: Border Force needs a rebrand http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2015/sep/01/border-force-is-over-give-it-up-for-van-squad 8. Border Farce: eight ways the government and bureaucratic spin is riddled with holes Nicole Hasham. August 31, 2015 - 6:37PM Australian Border Force's blighted involvement in a Melbourne police operation last Friday was triggered by what Prime Minister Tony Abbott called a "badly worded" press release. But the confusion, abstraction and contradiction proffered by official sources did not stop there, leaving many unanswered questions and creating doubt about who, and what, the public should believe. Below are some examples. http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/border-farce-sorting-fact-from-fiction-out-of-government-and-bureaucratic-spin-20150831-gjbfl3.html#ixzz3kSJDOqhQ 9. Australian Border Force raid massage parlours Janelle Fawkes 31 August 2015, 4:00pm A mass protest in Melbourne stopped Border Force harassing people in the streets over their visas, so why don't people care that the same laws are being used to raid and harass sex industry businesses and workers? https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/australian-border-force-raid-massage-parlours,8112#.VeP9YcIIqo4.twitter 10. Fairfax leading jihad to bring down Abbott Government, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says Susan McDonald and Tom Iggulden Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has lashed out at Fairfax Media for leading what he calls a "jihad" against the Government... Mr Dutton accused some journalists of overstepping their responsibilities, adding Fairfax was "being helped by the ABC". http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-01/fairfax-abc-trying-to-bring-government-down-dutton-says/6739158 TORTURE DETENTION 11. Naomi Klein tells Q&A: Australians should rise up in protest over Nauru detainees Oliver Milman Treatment of those held is ‘tantamount to torture … I find that more shocking than they fact they were going to check papers on the streets of Melbourne’ http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/sep/01/naomi-klein-tells-qa-australians-should-rise-up-in-protest-over-nauru-detainees?CMP=ema_632 EMISSIONS OMISSIONS 12. Fact check: Why Tony Abbott's claims on emissions targets get mixed verdicts Updated 56 minutes ago The Government has announced that Australia will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030, ahead of the Paris climate change conference in December. • Claim one: Tony Abbott says Australia's per capita emissions targets for 2030 are "the best in the developed world". • Verdict one: Australia's per capita emissions targets are behind the developed nations of Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. Mr Abbott is incorrect. • Claim two: Mr Abbott says that Australia's absolute emissions targets for 2030 are neither "leading" nor "lagging" the field. • Verdict two: Australia is behind a number of western nations, but sits in front of both Japan and South Korea, and is comparable to New Zealand and Canada. Mr Abbott's claim is justified. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-01/tony-abbott-emissions-reduction-targets-paris-2015/6711330

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1/09/2015Casablanca What a varied collection of material you have given us to ponder, which I have completed while babysitting. Richard Flanagan's piece on Abbott's paramilitary 'Border Force' was profoundly disturbing. If only Abbott and Co. would read and digest what our Man-Booker prize winner had to say. Geoff Davies' piece on the invasive dogma of neoliberalism too is alarming. We face the danger of moving so far down the neoconservative track that retreat becomes less and less possible. Operation Fortitude had all the hallmarks of fascist behaviour, yet our conservative government tried to pass it off by insisting, to use Abbott's words, that 'nothing happened'! Times become more dangerous for us every day of the Abbott government.

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2/09/2015Folks You might be interested in a new post on [i]TPS Extra[/i] titled: [i]Is the Abbott government sociopathic? You decide![/i]: http://www.tpsextra.com.au/post/2015/09/01/is-the-abbott-government-sociopathic-you-decide

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3/09/2015• [b]Suffer the little children[/b] John Menadue. 03/09/2015 The lifeless body of a child near the Turkish resort of Bodrum, early Wednesday 2/9/15 (Huffington Post) http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4494 • The Horrific Toll Of Europe's Refugee Crisis Nick Robins-Early. 02/09/2015 Europe still does not have a unified policy for responding to the rising numbers of refugees and migrants. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/drowned-child-refugee-photo_55e70c46e4b0c818f619e0dd?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000017&section=australia&adsSiteOverride=au

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4/09/2015[b]Time for a Bi-partisan and Community Response[/b] Arja Keski-Nummi & Josef Szwarc. Syrian/Iraqi Refugees: 31/08/2015 Harrowing images and reports in our daily media give a human face to the grim words of the UN refugee agency: the number of men, women and children forcibly displaced by persecution, war and human rights violations is the largest on record. Nearly 60 million at the end of 2014 and greater since then. [i]This proposal offers a practical and bi-partisan way to help the people who are displaced or who have fled Syria and Iraq. Could readers of this blog consider approaching Members of Parliament, community and faith groups to offer support and encouragement. Frank Brennan has suggested 7,000 places. Could we make it 10,000? Let’s do it. John Menadue [/i] http://johnmenadue.com/blog/?p=4466#comment-47930

Ken

4/09/2015For those who missed it, here is Clarke and Dawe with radical ideas for government - competence and reason. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-03/clarke-and-dawe-radical-suggestions-from-an-insider/6747214

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4/09/2015OFFSHORE, OFFMIND 1. A Little Brown-Eyed Babe Washed Ashore Liz Conor. 4 Sep 2015 The past history of our treatment of people seeking asylum has a much longer - and darker - past than most realize https://newmatilda.com/2015/09/04/little-brown-eyed-babe-washed-ashore 2. Could You Look An Asylum Seeker In The Eye As You Push Them Back Out To Sea? Lydia Shelly. 4 Sep 2015 The images of a tiny boy's body washed up on a beach in Europe are heartbreaking. Which begs the question, what has Australia been doing for the last decade? https://newmatilda.com/2015/09/04/could-you-look-asylum-seeker-eye-you-push-them-back-out-sea 3. Offshore detention removes scrutiny and accountability for those who need it most Joyce Chia, Monash University Offshore detention facilities exist precisely to allow Australia to do things abroad that it could not do at home. https://theconversation.com/offshore-detention-removes-scrutiny-and-accountability-for-those-who-need-it-most-46990 4. New York Times: It Would Be 'Unconscionable' For Europe To Follow Abbott’s 'Inhumane' Refugee Policies Max Chalmers. 4 Sep 2015 In a sternly worded editorial the paper encouraged Europe not to follow Australia's poor example. https://newmatilda.com/2015/09/04/new-york-times-it-would-be-unconscionable-europe-follow-abbott%E2%80%99s-inhumane-refugee "SECURITY" ANNOUNCEABLE 5. Total Border Farce: The dud minister and the Twitterati David Donovan. 1 September 2015, 3:00pm Unless the Government and Border Force are utterly incompetent, a lot of people are lying about Operation Fortitude... LAST WEEK, we saw a pleasing display of people power and democracy in action — one, of course, that our Murdoch media overlords are calling "mob rule" brought on by the terrifying extreme left-wing "Twitterati".... https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/total-border-farce-the-dud-minister-and-the-twitterati,8119 6. Bordering on contempt: Operation Fortitude and the right to exclude Patrick Stokes. September 1, 2015 1.31pm AEST One detail you might have missed in the recent uproar over the Australian Border Force’s involvement in “Operation Fortitude” was the ABF’s understanding of what a border is: [i] "We consider the border not to be a purely physical barrier separating national states, but a complex continuum stretching offshore and onshore, including the overseas, maritime, physical border and domestic dimensions of the border".[/i]That language set ABF up for obvious lines of parody https://theconversation.com/bordering-on-contempt-operation-fortitude-and-the-right-to-exclude-46926 7. Border Force Keystone Cops no laughing matter Kerry Murphy. 03 September 2015 While we can shake our heads and laugh at last week's farce in Melbourne, we should be more concerned about the many ways this government is punishing refugees in the law, using language to demonise people and and setting up systems geared to rejecting applications. We don't need black uniforms and guns, or any form of militarisation and politicisation of Immigration. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45426#.Vekyupf4hM4 8. Operation Fortitude aftershocks Andrew Hamilton | 07 September 2015 Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre Actions taken in the Immigration Detention Centre after the 28 August aborted Border Force operation involved the use of force and intimidation on people who are being detained. Not for their misdeeds or any threat they pose, but for the convenience of the Department. And they disclose what happens when ABF officers are permitted to to use any force they think necessary without proper accountability. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45142#.VekzWZf4hM4 9. Force cuts through the fence of law and due process Andrew Hamilton | 03 September 2015 Australian Border Force officer from behindLast week the Reform Summit and the Australian Border Force's aborted Operation Fortitude were responses to the the perceived paralysis in Australian politics and public life. The Summit was a commendable initiative demonstrating that organisations with diverging agendas can talk together and reach consensus. It offered a chastening example to the political parties that currently emphasise their areas of disagreement and prefer to smash through — rather than think through — the obstacles to Australia’s prosperity. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45154#.Vekzr5f4hM4 ABBOTT 10. Light a fire and then whine about heat Mark Kenny. 1 September, 2015 A faltering government is lashing out, blaming others as the accounts of its own dysfunction pile up. This seems too familiar. And too rich an irony....Bereft of goodwill, a directionless Abbott government has fallen prey to the siege it has invited.... The Australian has frequently lamented the government's woeful performance, lashing Hockey and bemoaning a mystifying absence of political wit within the Abbott brains-trust. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/peter-dutton-media-jihad-claim-government-lights-a-fire-then-complains-about-heat-20150901-gjcnv8.html 11. Managing the stench of the growing Abbottaroma Bob Ellis. 3 September 2015, 11:35am The Liberals have liked to wreath their political enemies in the odour of criminality but now the same aroma is coming after them. Will the Canning by-election result show how foul that stench is https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/managing-the-stench-of-abbottarommanaging-the-stench-of-the-growing-abbottaroma,8127 12. Revising the idea of Santamaria as Tony Abbott's mentor John Warhurst There is always an appetite for anything linking Tony Abbott and Bob Santamaria. The journalist in Abbott has encouraged observers to play up the links, even though it has never been entirely clear what he is saying. He has explained that he was impressed as a young man by Santamaria's courage as an 'advocate for unfashionable truths', but he also pays his public dues to a number of prominent figures including John Howard, Cardinal George Pell, John Hewson, Bronwyn Bishop and even Pope Benedict XVI. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45409#.VeXSgJf4hM4 13. Tony Abbott's office loses 15 staff in first two years in government James Massola. September 1, 2015 - 8:02PM Among those who left were senior policy advisers and a majority of the senior media advisers in the Prime Minister's press office. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbotts-office-loses-15-staff-in-first-two-years-20150831-gjc66j.html#ixzz3kVMX4RnT ECONOMY + SOCIETY 14. Exclusive Access To Treasurer Joe Hockey Discounted To Just $9.95 The Shovel. August 31, 2015 Business leaders can now gain private access to Joe Hockey for less than a tenner. “I’ll even pay for the coffees,” Mr Hockey said this morning, adding that his diary was pretty open. He said the offer was not just for business leaders. “This is open to anyone at all”. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/08/31/exclusive-access-to-treasurer-joe-hockey-discounted-to-just-9-95/ 15. Ross Garnaut's Warning Becomes Tony Abbott's Bleak Reality Ben Eltham. 3 Sep 2015 With the Australian economy in a holding pattern, the options for the PM are not good. An early election may be on the cards https://newmatilda.com/2015/09/03/ross-garnauts-warning-becomes-tony-abbotts-bleak-reality 16. Social stability is the missing link underpinning economic growth Eva Cox, University of Technology Sydney Good societies with secure public systems will increase investment much faster than company or personal tax cuts. https://theconversation.com/social-stability-is-the-missing-link-underpinning-economic-growth-46731 17. Don’t blame Tony, he is a symptom of greed Kaye Lee. September 4, 2015 Like an uncomfortable rash or a festering sore, Tony Abbott is a symptom of the malaise afflicting our nation. Greed is one of the main causes of this disease. Tony was installed by people who expect him to protect their financial interests. http://theaimn.com/dont-blame-tony-he-is-a-symptom-of-greed/ 18. Transfield shares go up and so does the debt Kaye Lee. September 1, 2015 As at last Friday, 28 August 2015, gross government debt was $384.7 billion – the highest level ever recorded. This represents an increase of $111 billion from the level inherited by the Abbott government in September 2013. It is just as well Treasurer Joe Hockey scrapped the debt ceiling legislation early in the Abbott government’s term because he would now be having to introduce legislation to have the ceiling raised beyond $400 billion, a figure that will be exceeded before year end. http://theaimn.com/author/kayelee13/ 19. Economy Heading South. No One at the Helm. John Kelly. September 3, 2015 The latest figures on the health of the Australian economy as shown in the June 2015 quarter National Accounts continues to paint a gloomy picture. Meanwhile, the spin that Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann offer, is priceless. http://theaimn.com/economy-heading-south-no-one-at-the-helm/ 20. Abbott And Hockey Declare A Budget Revenue Raiser 'D.O.A' Karen Barlow CANBERRA -- You know a high profile relationship is on the rocks when a couple fronts up to the cameras with forced smiles and scraps a tax. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2015/08/31/abbott-and-hockey-kill-off-bank-tax_n_8068614.html 21. Hockey's call for income tax cuts to fuel growth is a flawed argument The Conversation 31 August 2015, 2:00pm 6 Cutting company and income taxes as a means of fostering GDP growth is an ideological position not borne out by reality... there are two major concerns with the Hockey argument. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/hockeys-call-for-cuts-to-income-and-corporate-taxes-to-fuel-growth-is-a-flawed-argument,8113 … THE FOX IS GUARDING THE HEN HOUSE. 22. After Heydon and Carmody, does Australia need a new test for judicial recusal? Gabrielle Appleby, UNSW Australia There are inherent shortcomings in a procedure that asks judges to make objective and rational assessments about how their own conduct, relationships or interests might appear to others...Behavioural psychology research into what is known as the “bias blind spot” reveals that all humans – judges included – will struggle to apply such a test. This research demonstrates that we all tend to think that we are ourselves capable of making objective and rational decisions, and we also all tend to doubt that others have the capacity to do so. https://theconversation.com/after-heydon-and-carmody-does-australia-need-a-new-test-for-judicial-recusal-46939 23. Dyson Heydon and the PM's quest for political purity Binoy Kampmark. 24 August 2015 Dyson Heydon in session at unions royal commissionThe spectacle is a strange one. Heydon has to rule on an application that directly concerns his own fitness to be in the position. It recalls the situation Lord Hoffmann found himself in after his links with Amnesty International perceptibly compromised his views on extraditing Chile's former military ruler Augusto Pinochet. Even the best jurists can fall foul of the bias rule. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45383#.Vek0Ypf4hM4 GOVERNANCE + ACCOUNTABILITY 24. Politicians want unions to be accountable? Kaye Lee. September 4, 2015 Dyson Heydon and Tony Abbott want union officials to be held as accountable as company directors. Personally I would like company directors also held to a higher standard and I would like to see our politicians held to the same transparency and accountability.After all, what is the difference between a politician claiming entitlements for dubious expenses and a union official, or a party executive, using a credit card for same? What is the difference between a company director lying to shareholders, or a union official lying to members, and a politician lying to the electorate? http://theaimn.com/politicians-want-unions-to-be-accountable/ 25. The progressive government in Victoria is being an actual progressive government. How strange. Jane Gilmore / Sep 02, 2015 8:09AM Since their election in December 2014, they’ve been keeping election promises (!?!), addressing the issues that people expect state governments to look after: health care, education, housing, crime, renewable energy and jobs growth. On top of that they’ve managed a fairly good job of generally not being numptys in public. http://www.womensagenda.com.au/talking-about/editor-s-agenda/the-progressive-state-government-in-victoria-is-being-an-actual-progressive-government-how-strange/201509016214 26. Jeremy Corbyn’s first move as leader? Remove the Labour whip Julian Baggini The country is crying out for a more open politics, and getting rid of this centuries-old practice could transform Westminster... If, as expected, Jeremy Corbyn wins the Labour leadership election, he will immediately have a historic opportunity to change political culture for the better, for good. What’s more, it’s an opportunity he will have no choice but to take. It all springs from what looks like a massive problem. Corbyn has been Labour’s most rebellious MP, voting against his party more than 500 times. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/31/jeremy-corbyn-leader-remove-labour-whip 27. Let Queen Elizabeth reign until the end – then stop this charade Polly Toynbee. 1 September 2015 15.00 AEST Next week, she’ll be our longest-reigning monarch. But historians will struggle to find glory in her era “Elizabethan” hasn’t caught on as an architectural, moral or social signifier. Regency, Victorian and Edwardian have resonance, but trying to crystallise her decades into an epoch will cause furious debate. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/01/elizabeth-monarch-queen THE ENVIRONMENT 28. We Need Your Help To Make Environment Minister Greg Hunt's Incompetence Go Viral New Matilda. 3 Sep 2015 New Matilda needs your help. We broke another important story that mainstream media are largely ignoring. Help us put it in front of more than 1 million Australians. https://newmatilda.com/2015/09/03/we-need-your-help-make-environment-minister-greg-hunts-incompetence-go-viral 29. Citibank: Global cost of climate change inaction — $44 trillion by 2040 Farron Cousins. 2 September 2015, 9:30am AS PRESIDENT OBAMA heads to the Arctic to discuss climate change, just mere weeks after approving Shell Oil’s bid to drill for oil in the treacherous Chukchi Sea, a very different group is sounding the alarm over the dangers of a warming climate. That group is, surprisingly, Wall Street bankers. https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/citibank-global-cost-of-climate-change-inaction--44-trillion-by-2040,8121 30. Why solar is the future of power John McDuling One criticism of solar power is that it requires huge government subsidies to be economic. Well, think again. A massive investment in solar power is expected over coming years. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/#ixzz3kk3v9wb7 31. Australia’s new cap on emissions is a trading scheme in all but name Gujji Muthuswamy, Monash University Australia's new cap on emissions includes aspects of a "baseline and credit" emissions trading scheme. That's cheaper for businesses, but means more regulation. https://theconversation.com/australias-new-cap-on-emissions-is-a-trading-scheme-in-all-but-name-47035 32. Global count shows tree numbers have halved since dawn of human civilisation James Whitmore, The Conversation and Eliza Berlage, The Conversation There are more than three trillion trees worldwide, but that's only half as many were around at the start of human civilisation according to new research. https://theconversation.com/global-count-shows-tree-numbers-have-halved-since-dawn-of-human-civilisation-46985 33. Let’s make sure that cleaning up the world’s water doesn’t send our climate targets down the gurgler Peter Fisher, RMIT University Much of the world still lacks access to proper sanitation and clean water - an issue that needs urgent action. But without low-carbon technologies, clean water could come at the expense of the climate. https://theconversation.com/lets-make-sure-that-cleaning-up-the-worlds-water-doesnt-send-our-climate-targets-down-the-gurgler-46817 34. Pope Francis' day to pray underlines priority for environment Andrew Hamilton 30 August 2015 September and October will be crucial in Pope Francis’ mission to church and world. He had earlier declared the first of September an annual day to pray for the care of creation. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=45147#.VeXTtZf4hM4 SURPRISE MOVES 35. Pope Francis calls on priests to pardon abortions during Holy year Pope Francis has called on priests to pardon women who have abortions and the doctors who perform them during the upcoming Jubilee year — overruling hardline traditionalists within the Catholic Church. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-01/pope-tells-priests-to-pardon-women-who-have-abortions/6742154 36. NSW Young Nationals endorse marriage equality and back conscience vote Shalailah Medhora. 31 August 2015 13.25 AEST Support for same-sex marriage follows the Coalition’s decision on 11 August to deny its MPs and senators a free vote. The Young Nationals claim to be the first conservative youth wing to back marriage equality. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/31/nsw-young-nationals-endorse-marriage-equality-and-back-conscience-vote 37. Johnny Depp's dogs: Barnaby Joyce disappointed after ACMA dismisses complaint against shock jock Kyle Sandilands Will Ockenden Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says he is "disappointed" that shock jock Kyle Sandilands has been found not to have breached broadcasting standards when he called him an "insensitive wanker" on air.... Mr Joyce's office lodged a complaint with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), arguing that the interview "contained language and behaviour that is outside the acceptable standards and norms of robust political debate and common decency in public broadcasting." http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-01/barnaby-joyce-complaint-against-kyle-sandilands-dismissed/6741546 GAZUMPED AGAIN BY PLUCKY LITTLE NZ 38. New Zealand's new flag: final four designs announced Elle Hunt It’s a choice between three ferns and a black-and-white koru for New Zealand’s new flag as the government panel publishes its final shortlist http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/01/new-zealands-new-flag-final-four-designs-announced

Ad astra

4/09/2015Casablanca What rich collection of reading you have left for us. I shall relish having a good evening's perusal.

Casablanca

5/09/2015The following article from last year seems to bell the cat on the matter of the Coalition allowing foreign workers to be engaged without market testing here first. [b]Coalition launches 457 visa class war[/b] Leith van Onselen. March 12, 2014 I noted a few weeks back how the Abbott Government had announced a review of 457 visas for -temporary foreign skilled workers, which looked as if it would unwind conditions enacted by the former Labor Government, such as the requirement that a job must be advertised locally before a 457 visa [...]Now Fairfax is reporting that the Abbott Government has quietly reopened a visa loophole that will allow employers to hire an unlimited number of foreign workers under a temporary working visa, potentially opening the system to widespread rorting: In the Coalition’s bid to remove all ”red tape” from the 457 skilled migrant visa, employers will not be penalised or scrutinised if they hire more foreign staff than they applied for....Before the loophole was closed in 2013 by the Labor government, companies in the mining, construction and IT industries were knowingly hiring hundreds more foreign workers than they had applied for…A discussion paper in 2012 also found there was no restriction to the number of 457 workers a company could nominate once a sponsorship is approved. http://macrobusiness.cmail2.com/t/i-l-zljpl-dtyueir-ji/ [b]What the China – Australia Free Trade Agreement really says about temporary skilled workers[/b] Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network Under the proposed ChAFTA there is no requirement to advertise for Australian workers. Here are the specific sections of the Agreement which show why these government statements concerning foreign workers are misleading. http://aftinet.org.au/cms/ http://aftinet.org.au/cms/sites/default/files/ChAFTA%20labor%20leaflet%20final.pdf#overlay-context=node/978

Casablanca

5/09/2015[b]Excellent piece:[/b] Abbott's war on governance Tony Windsor. Sep 5, 2015 It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows politics that Tony Abbott’s natural territory is as a fighter and brawler. The question on many minds is whether he would rather fight than govern. We might also wonder about his capacity to govern without the cover of one “war” or another...Many are questioning the logic and motives of the prime minister on these and other issues. Some would suggest that along with the war on union thugs, the war on “illegal” boat people, even the war on ice, Abbott is using these battles as distractions from the main game of governance of the nation. He is in a continual search for a wedge against the Labor Party that will resonate at the polls. And to what end? https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2015/09/05/abbotts-war-governance/14413752002324

Casablanca

5/09/2015What the pluck? asks Gadfly in The Saturday Paper There was a clip on Insiders the other day of Joe Hockey Sticks spruiking his tax stuff, in which he said: [i]“To borrow an old analogy from Louis XIV’s finance minister, collecting tax can be like plucking a goose – and you don’t want to run out of feathers. Worse still, you don’t want to kill the goose.”[/i] What on earth was Jolly Joe talking about? He must have been trying to remember the famous remark of 17th-century French treasurer Jean Baptiste Colbert, who said: [i]“The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing.”[/i] If you can’t sort out the relevant functions of the feathers, the geese and the hissing, what hope is there for the Australian economy? No wonder Joe is soon to be made into pâté. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2015/09/05/gadfly-the-old-police-ties-that-bind/14413752002333

Casablanca

5/09/2015The old police ties that bind Richard Ackland You could have knocked me down with a feather when I discovered that Border Force supremo Roman Quaedvlieg and his commander-in-chief Field Marshal Peter (Fairfax Jihad) Dutton were once upon a time together in the Queensland police.... As if he doesn’t have enough distraction trying to massage Operation Fortitude into shape, Roman has the cross of bearing a surname that is the 296,460th most common in the world and in Dutch translates as “Angry Fly”....Actually, Operation Fortitude was also the name given to a World War II Allied mission to deceive the German high command about the forthcoming Normandy landings. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2015/09/05/gadfly-the-old-police-ties-that-bind/14413752002333

Casablanca

5/09/2015Border Force fiasco calls into question culture and leadership of 'paramilitary' group Jack Waterford. September 4, 2015 - 11:45PM [Roman Quaedvlieg].... gave us, on Friday a week ago, the extraordinarily dissembling but hilarious and immortal collection of denials, obfuscations and blame-shiftings over planned ABF involvement in a Melbourne police operation. Press statements issued by the ABF had implied that armed Border Force members in full black Hugo Boss-style regalia would be randomly stopping people in the street, asking them to produce evidence of their right to be in the country. Naturally, people with nothing to hide had nothing to fear. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/border-force-fiasco-calls-into-question-culture-and-leadership-of-paramilitary-group-20150902-gjdmkm.html#ixzz3kq34JUtB

Ken

5/09/2015Casablanca Agree Tony Windsor's piece is brilliant. We need to start a Tony windsor for PM campaign.

2353

6/09/2015Ken - ^^^^ where's the like button?

Ken

6/09/2015Here is what we are up against. Climate change - it's a furphy according to Tasmanian Liberals. There is 'no evidence' that it is happening. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-06/liberal-party-members-urged-to-back-online-sharing-services/6753048

Casablanca

6/09/2015Ken & 2353 'Windsor for PM' was my first thought on reading his piece. It cannot happen unfortunately. He was most powerful in his balance of power position and its hard to imagine such circumstances arising again in the near future. The Speakership is within the realm of possibilities but I suspect that the pomp & circumstance of that position would not appeal. Nevertheless, it could be the vehicle for him to reform the broken governance model that is such a disservice to our democracy.

Casablanca

6/09/2015Happy Father's Day to all the TPS Dads

TalkTurkey

6/09/2015Comrades, Maybe before the new thread there is still time to say Hi, I'm still here and I've read everybody's comments this time, unlike Dutton and Heydon but of course they're paid to do it so they don't. Imagine SA's pride and joy (!), Stobie poles and their overhead wires, vanishing from Adelaide streets ... Underground cables for telecommunication, each house self-sufficient in terms of power .. It's not so very far away but Abbort & his fossilized friends keep pushing it further into the future .. I'm going to post this now so at least I'm in this week's commenters. Not very helpful but Thanks 2353 and especially Casablanca, you are a rock.

ksds

28/12/2018

achieve3000

How many oranges do I have if I have 3 oranges and take ONE away?