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Tuesday, 19 January


More signs Turnbull's political honeymoon is over? North Coast Voices

Roy Morgan Research, 13 January 2016:

Roy Morgan Research’s Business Confidence declined by a further 4.2 points in December (down 3.5% to 114.5), following on from the November decline of 0.6 points (down 0.5%). The combined drop of 4.8 points (down 4.0%) over the last two months is a likely indication that the initial burst of confidence following Malcolm Turnbull becoming Prime Minister is beginning to “cool off”, although it still  remains  11.6% above the level prior to his appointment.

These December figures are the results of 1,001 interviews with a cross section of businesses across Australia.

The level of Business Confidence in December is still positive for the economy but the last two months have seen a decline which now puts it below the five-year average (116.9) and is a sign that confidence is very fragile.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence finished the year on 115.4 (12-13th December), up margin...


So what's happening with the Fair Work Commission's penalty rate review? North Coast Voices

By December 2015 the Fair Work Commission’s penalty rates review had generated five days of transcripts and received a large number of submissions from employer groups, unions representing employees and one federal Labor MP, Melissa Price.

This last hearing date in the penalty rates case is scheduled for 15 April 2016.

There will be a good many households in rural and regional Australia where those with paid employment receive penalty rates for working long and/or unsociable hours.

As the two industry groups being targeted are significant employers outside metropolitan areas, perhaps those living in the NSW Northern Rivers region should all be closely watching the Commission at work and the degree to which its final determinations align with the data to which it has access.

The Fair Work Commission in its ...

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Monday, 18 January


Bushfire control: Green sabotage Catallaxy Files

A letter from Roger Underwood, published with permission. He wrote a lengthy paper on fire control which I also have permission to publish but I cannot transfer the file onto my website and I will have to ask for the paper in a different format

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

In 2009 in the wake of the Black Saturday fires in Victoria, the fires that killed 180 people and burned down two substantial towns, I was invited to come to Melbourne and give a public lecture on the bushfire problem in Australia. My paper was presented to a large audience in an historic building in Collins Street, and then later published on the internet and in a number of journals, including in the USA, Canada and South Africa.

The paper was entitled Australian Bushfire Management: a case study in wisdom versus folly. It identified the problems with the current approach to fire management and pointed to a wiser and more effective approach … but at the same time, drew attention to the barriers to adoption of such a course. These barriers are basically political, and stem from (a) the absence of leadership and (b) the malevolent influence on governments of pressure groups, in particular the environmentalists and academics who oppose the “preventative medicine” of fuel reduction burning in eucalypt bushland.

I was moved to re-read the paper yesterday (copy attached), in the wake of the spate of disastrous bushfires now bedevilling Australia. Another two towns have burned since Christmas, and hundreds of millions of dollars spent on futilely trying to suppress intense fast-moving fires burning in heavy fuels. We all know this is impossible, but it is still attempted. I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s definition of a fanatic: one who, when proven wrong, redoubles his efforts.

Possibly the most dramatic example of the lack of leadership and populist politics is the decision of the Victorian Premier to reject the recommendations of the Black Saturday Ro...


The beginning of the Anthropocene Age: Humans leave indelible mark Independent Australia

The beginning of the Anthropocene Age: Humans leave indelible markThe post-industrial impacts that humans have had on the Earth and its atmosphere may pinpoint the mid-20th century as the start of a new geological epoch. read now...


Access to a secret government report not as “extraordinary” as some would have you believe Senator Jacqui Lambie - PUTTING TASMANIA FIRST

“… this government needs and must be held to account for their action – or inaction, on the information held in the secret files of the Heydon Royal Commission. If the Senate can’t hold the government to account on behalf of the Australian people – who will?”

Independent Senator of Tasmania Jacqui Lambie has panned certain media for describing the Turnbull government act of giving crossbench senators access to secret volumes of the Heydon Royal Commission Report on trade unions as “extraordinary”.

“Using this language is a sly and subtle attempt to take the focus away from extraordinary threats to the Australian State detailed in the Heydon secret reports, while creating a political bias against crossbench senators. The reporting tries to distract people and prevent them from asking – What are those grave threats to the Australian State that are being covered up, and are they being acted on by the Government?” said Senator Lambie.

Precedent set for Crossbench Senator viewing of secret reports

“The use of this language also clearly ignores well-known facts and precedents surrounding the management of previous secret and sensitive government reports which crossbench Senators were also given access to.  So the Government’s actions, if the exclusive media report is to be believed – is not as extraordinary as some reporters would have you believe,” said Senator Lambie.

See Media Article here.

“A secret government report (DLA Piper Volume 2) detailing horrific sex crimes, assaults and...


The Australian – Unions royal commission: senators get secret union report Senator Jacqui Lambie - PUTTING TASMANIA FIRST

January, 2016

The Turnbull government will take the extraordinary step of giving crossbench senators ­access to secret volumes of the Heydon royal commission report on trade unions in a desperate bid to end the stalemate with the independents over its industrial relations reforms.

The Weekend Australian can reveal the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is arranging a viewing of the confidential parts of the report after crossbenchers Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus demanded to see the full report before deciding on key industrial relations bills stalled in the Senate.

In a nod to the extreme sensitivity of the contents of the two volumes, kept secret from the public when the report was ­tabled on December 30, the government does not plan to distribute hard copies.

In his interim report released in December 2014, royal commissioner Dyson Heydon urged a volume be kept confidential owing to threats to 29 witnesses — “in order to protect the physical wellbeing” of those persons and their families.

“This is unfortunate, because the confidential volume reveals grave threats to the power and authority of the Australian state,” he reported.

In his final report last month, he recommend a sixth volume also remain confidential.

The government confirmed that Mr Heydon’s recommendation in the final report was also based on “se...


Turnbull on terrorism: It’s not just the rhetoric that’s changed Drag0nista's Blog

Malcolm Turnbull's visit to the Middle East and his upcoming meeting at the White House are both significant when it comes to his recent efforts to balance the expectations of both the hawks and doves in the voting community.


Justice for rendition No Right Turn

In 2003, Abu Omar was kidnapped in Italy by the CIA. He was rendered to Egypt, where he was tortured. The rendition became public in 2005 and the Italian justice system was eventually forced to act; in 2009 22 CIA agents were convicted in absentia for their role in Omar's kidnapping and torture.

One of them was Sabrina De Sousa, a dual Portuguese-US citizen. She was detained in Portugal in October on a European Arrest Warrant, and a Portuguese court has just ruled that she should be extradited to Italy to serve her sentence:

A Portuguese court has ruled that a former C.I.A. agent should be handed over to Italy after being found guilty by an Italian court of taking part in the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric in 2003, one of the renditions ordered by the administration of former President George W. Bush.

The former agent, Sabrina De Sousa, holds dual American and Portuguese citizenship. Ms. De Sousa has denied any wrongdoing or involvement in the kidnapping, which took place while she was working undercover for the C.I.A. as a diplomat in Milan. She will appeal this week’s ruling, her lawyer, Manuel Magalhães e Silva, said by email on Friday.

Good. And hopefully the other 21 will soon be following her to face justice for their crime.


In which the dog botherer is clearly enfeebled by the holyday season, as we cruz towards madness weather we like it or not ... loon pond

Monday is of course the day the pond watches the dog botherer watching the watchers so that all may disappear up sundry fundaments ...

The watchers watching the watchers routine seems to have disappeared from the reptilian splash ...

But Google remains loyal to the old branding ...

It turns out that the dog botherer has been enfeebled by the holyday season.

What a wretched and pathetic column it is ... though it's hard to know if the cowardly lion or the tin man is the best metaphor.

Go on metaphors, fight amongst yourselves for the honour ...

Talk about blather. Bushfire reports and cricket on the radio. That's all he's got by way of demeaning condescension.

Why th...


Reaping the carbon policy harvest Catallaxy Files

For five years, Tata, the Indian firm that owns what used to be British Steel has been warning that energy costs in Britain are squeezing competitiveness.

Previous reductions have accelerated in 2015 with a 15 per cent cut in jobs.

Successive UK governments have responded by further turning the screws with now renewable energy requirements and other impacts.  And each new announcement of retrenchments, like the most recent one, is met by anguished blame shifting and calls for specific supports.

Politicians the world over have a knack of etherealising their decisions on renewable energy as though they have no consequences.  Many have been conditioned by absurdities like the sun and wind is free so how can using this energy be adding to costs and their eyes glaze over when confronted by hard data demonstrating the renewals cost three times as much as fossil fuel alternatives.  Doubtless, public servants will advise them that if energy costs account for 12 per cent of product costs and the energy price increases by 20 per cent then cost increases are less than 3 per cent and easily absorbed.  Such arguments fail to recognise that it is the residual profit that drives business decisions and the 3 per cent is perhaps three tenths of profits, or a 30 per cent reduction in the owners’ income.

The result of the developed world imposing penalties on its energy costs is an acceleration of the relative growth in China, India and other countries that would not countenance anything but token measures to price carbon.  Among developed countries, the US has attracted European relocations by dint of its cheap energy (both BMW and Mercedes build their SUVs in the US) – Obama is doing his be...


A predictable outcome No Right Turn

How bad are Australia's refugee gulags? So bad that someone is trying to kill themselves every two days:

Incident logs from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection covering one year, obtained under freedom of information laws, paint a picture of depression, desperation and violence at Australia's domestic and overseas detention camps and in the community.

They raise fresh questions over the human rights implications of Australia's tough border protection regime, which has been condemned by the United Nations, and will fuel calls for children to be immediately released from detention.

The data shows that in the year to July 2015 there were 188 incidents of self-harm involving asylum seekers at Nauru, about one every two days. There were 55 such self-harm acts at Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

They included detainees swallowing poisons, stuffing tea bags down their throats and hanging by bed sheets or other makeshift nooses.

Its even worse in their onshore detention camps, where there are an averag eof two self-harm incidents a day.

This is an entirely predictable outcome. Austrlaia's gulags are purposely designed to mentally torture detainees in an effort to force them to "voluntarily" return home. But faced with a choice between ongoing persecution in an Australian gulag, and persecution at home, it is not surprising that refugees are seeking the only escape available: death.

Every refugee who injures or kills themselves in these gulags was effectively injured or killed by Australian Ministers and their officials. Its the purpose of their policy, and they should be held accountable fo...


Obama's open hands Independent Australia

Obama's open handsPresident Barack Obama has brought a subtle, yet very significant, change to American politics, writes Bob Ellis. read now...


62 Pharaohs No Right Turn

As usual, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. And now inequality is at truly staggering levels:

Just 62 people own as much wealth as the poorer half of the global population, as the widening of the gap between the rich and poor accelerates.

As the business elite converge on Davos for the World Economic Forum, an Oxfam report shows wealth is becoming further concentrated, with the number of people owning the same amount as the bottom half of humanity falling from 388 to 62 in five years.

It says a "broken" economic model underpinned by deregulation, privatisation and financial secrecy has seen the wealth of the richest 62 people jump by 44 per cent in five years to US$1.76 trillion ($2.74 trillion).

In that time, the wealth of the poorest 3.6 billion people plunged by 41 per cent.

The report is titled An Economy for the 1%, but that's misleading. This isn't about the 1%, or even the 0.00001%, but about a tiny handful of people, few enough to fit in a bus. Medieval analogies of nobles and serfs fail in the face of this level on inequality - instead, we're back to Pharonic god-kings and slaves.

Though I suppose there is a sense in which the "1%" language might be useful, in that some of these 62 people will individually be one percenters, controlling at least 1% of the world's total wealth. Which in a world of over 7 billion people, is absolutely obscene.


A conflicted China forces more clarity in Australia Catallaxy Files

Today in The Australian

With the world’s stock markets reeling after their worst-ever start to a year, it is important to remember that the adjustments at the heart of the current turmoil are inevitable and desirable. But that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. And as the threats mount, strengthening our economy’s capacity to withstand a global downturn becomes ever more urgent.


The lost generation of men’s tennis: or where are the freaks? Grog's Gamut

My favourite men’s tennis bit of trivia is that Bernard Tomic is closer in age to Novak Djokovic than Djokovic is to Roger Federer.

Tomic is 23, was born in October 1992; Djokovic is 28, was born in May 1987 and is 5 years and 5 months older than Tomic; Federer is 34, was born in August 1981 is 5 years and 9 months older than Djokovic.

I like it because it reminds me why whenever Federer is asked about his favourite or toughest opponent he invariably talks about three generations of players – those who where there when he arrived, like Sampras and Agassi, those who arrived at the same time as he did – Hewitt, Safin and Roddick – and then he mentions Nadal and Djokovic (Nadal is 4 years and 6 months younger than Federer).

We think of Djokovic and Federer as peers in a way which we would never think of Djokovic and Tomic.

That Djokovic and Federer, although separated by nearly 6 years, have become perhaps the greatest rivalry in the history of professional men’s tennis says a great deal about both. That Federer has been able to keep playing as well as he has for so long is amazing, and that Djokovic began playing as well as he did so early is worth remembering when valuing his greatness.

Remember as Djokovic begins his quest for a 6th Australian Open that he won his first title 8 years ago in 2008. He was 21, and it was no real shock. Sure he upset Federer in the semis, but Federer was suffering glandular fever and Djokovic even then was far too good to pass up an opportunity to beat a wounded Federer.

But Djokovic was the 3rd seed at the time, had lost to Federer in the previous year’s US Open and made the semi finals of both the French Open and Wimbledon in 2007. He was already very good, even if he was almost more known for his ability to impersonate other players than his tennis ability:



The ABC plunges to a new low Independent Australia

The ABC plunges to a new lowThe ABC’s decision to produce a TV show with right wing columnist Andrew Bolt will do more harm than good, says Alan Austin. read now...


Prick teasing Independent Australia

Prick teasingDeath by a thousand pricks... Is that the quote? read now...


Speaking of dinosaurs, the Titanic and kitchen fittings in Rome, as one does on a meditative Monday ... loon pond

(Above: and more essential Rowe here).

The pond doesn't understand the reptiles.

Perhaps we should use more modern argot. The pond doesn't 'get' the reptiles, isn't hip to them, can't dig the rhythm ... even when they say you need to be hot to be cool ...

You see, the reptiles have been chasing Palmer for years, seizing every opportunity to do him down. They almost killed good old Hedders in the process, as he scuttled from garbage bin to garbage bin for a story.

And then yesterday, confronted with a genuine Queensland rolled gold, handsomely plated opportunity, they lead with this ...

Yes, they picked up a lazy AAP story containing tributes to the mighty Titanic of the north ...


Lawrence James "Larry" Anthony : A memory jog for voters in the NSW Northern Rivers federal electorate of Richmond North Coast Voices

Now that it appears former Howard Government minister and Nationals MP Larry Anthony may be contemplating a return to politics perhaps it is also time to recall a little of his history.......

Lawrence James “Larry” Anthony 
(aged 54 years)
Professional company director

Photograph from The Guardian 13 September 2015...


Australian Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull's NBN Broadband: Noely tells it like it is North Coast Voices

Excerpt from My Broadband v Reality, Punters don’t know any better and that is just the way PM Turnbull likes it, 14 January 2016…….

For those of you who think the NBN has nothing to do with you, think about these scenarios:

How will you feel watching your child wait in emergency at the rural hospital for the specialist in the closest capital city to look at the scans and advise the local doctors what to do? Waiting, waiting, waiting... Not because the specialist is not around, but because the scans have failed to send over the line a few times because the weather is really bad? I have been in this scenario and don’t wish it upon any...

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Sunday, 17 January


Non tax evaders political geometry

Apple aus boss


old man rabbit


Natural Gas & Coal Seam Gas: A lesson in consequences for Australian federal and state governments North Coast Voices

When gas mining went wrong on a large scale in America..........

LA Times, 6 January 2016:

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday ordered new regulations, including stepped-up inspections and safety measures, for all natural gas storage facilities in California in response to the continuing leak that has displaced thousands of people in the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The emergency regulations would require Southern California Gas Co. and other operators of gas storage facilities to conduct daily inspections of wellheads using infrared leak-detection technology, verify the mechanical integrity of wells, measure gas flow and pressure and regularly test safety valves, among other steps.


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Friday, 15 January


The Breath of God political geometry

Self-made Gargoyle George Osborne takes a break from his duties as treasurer of the Bullingdon Club to sniff the wind.

Sunday, 03 January


The many moods of Mt Trump political geometry

Take the mountain to Mohammed

Somewhere out in the Karakorams or Himalayas

Cloud topped Mt Trump has many moods

Pope Frank - WTF?

IndyWatch Aussie Politics Feed Archiver

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