Politics after Bronnie and the ALP conference

The Roy Morgan poll, taken over the past two weekends, headlines:

    L-NP support slumps amid Bronwyn Bishop travel expense ‘misconduct’ and as the ALP commits to renewable energy & ‘turn back the boats’ policy.

Support for the LNP is down 3 points to give Labor a lead TPP of 54-46. The Greens support is at 15% (up 1.5%) – the highest Greens vote since September 2010. Continue reading Politics after Bronnie and the ALP conference

Climate clippings 148

1. Hansen’s alarming new sea level rise scenario

James Hansen has a 17 author paper out suggesting that we could have multi-metre sea level rise this century. It’s based on the notion that meltwater from the ice sheets interrupts ocean circulation patterns, which then cause a feedback loop via larger storms. I think that’s it in brief. Continue reading Climate clippings 148

Turning back boats – only by agreement

Turning back asylum seeker boats can only be done legally and ethically, in my view, with the agreement of transitional countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Unfortunately the form of the decision made at the ALP conference makes clear that the ALP would seek to act without such agreement. Continue reading Turning back boats – only by agreement

Saturday salon 25/7

1. Leaders summit

On Wednesday, prior to COAG on Thursday, our political leaders held a summit or retreat to dicuss taxation and the future of the federation. By all accounts they enjoyed the talkfest – Jay Weatherall said it was “very positive” and that “in my sense and my operation in COAG over the last five years, this is probably the most constructive I have ever seen”.

Despite that there is no evidence they actually decided anything except lowering the threshold at which the GST applies to offshore online purchases. Continue reading Saturday salon 25/7

Pathologising unemployment

It can’t be true. In the UK unemployment is being redefined as a psychological disorder as part of an effort to cut the welfare bill by $12 billion. And, says an article in the New Scientist (can’t find the link), the UK

    joins nations such as Australia and the US in increasingly requiring claimants to comply with interventions intended to modify emotions, beliefs and personality.

They say “claimants must demonstrate characteristics deemed desirable in workplaces, like confidence and enthusiasm, in return for welfare.” Continue reading Pathologising unemployment

Will Labor dump the Socialist Objective?

The ALP constitution states:

    “The Australian Labor Party is a democratic socialist party and has the objective of the democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange, to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features in these fields.”

In practice Labor has been the party of privatisation. The last time they proposed nationalising anything was in 1947, when Chifley wanted to nationalise the banks. It was one reason he lost the election. Continue reading Will Labor dump the Socialist Objective?

Climate clippings 147

1. New beaut solar technology from UNSW

PERC technology developed by UNSW is likely to become standard in more than half of all solar cell production across the globe by 2020, ushering in new dramatic falls in the cost of solar technology. Continue reading Climate clippings 147

Deep origins: early Europe

Whatever wave of migration we look at, someone was already there. Colin Barras in the New Scientist (paywalled) takes a look at the three ancestral waves of migration that founded Western civilisation.

First were the hunter-gatherers. Then came the farmers. These were followed by the Yamnaya, originating from herders on the steppes north of the Black Sea, who brought the horse and the wagon, and the Indo-European language that predominates in Europe, except for Basque, Estonian, Finnish and Magyar (Hungarian). Continue reading Deep origins: early Europe

Saturday salon

1. Choptergate

Labor has written to the Australian Federal Police to ask them to look into Speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s decision to take a taxpayer-funded helicopter trip from Melbourne to Geelong to attend a fundraiser for Ron Nelson, a Liberal candidate in the Victorian state election.

The suggestion is that supporting a party fundraiser is not part of the duties of the speaker of the Australian parliament. Continue reading Saturday salon