Category Archives: Sundries

Posts on sundry matters of life the universe and everything: Culture, Environment, Life, Politics & Government, Science, Social Science and Society, Technology etc.

Saturday salon 24/6

1. Swear allegiance to clean coal

I got a heads-up from John D, Mark’s Facebook was onto it also. Prospective migrants would be asked questions about clean coal, according to RenewEconomy, who don’t normally do satire. They got it from The Australian, and the man from The Monthly on RN Drive says it was real, so was it?

The link was to this site, so was it real, or a spoof? Surely the latter!

So I Googled IELTS and found that Peter Dutton says the idea that an academic test is required for citizenship and migration is a load of cobblers. Continue reading Saturday salon 24/6

Gonski 2.0 – has Labor lost its soul?

We have been told over and over by respected journalists that Labor is only opposing the Coalition’s Gonski 2.0 schools funding scheme for base political reasons. Laura Tingle, Phillip Coorey, Bernard Keane and others said it. Andrew Probyn on the 7.30 Report last week, crossed the line from reporter to judgemental pontificator last week, basically saying that Labor was a disgrace. Back in May, when Gonski 2.0 was announced, Paula Mathewson declared that Labor had “lost it’s soul to Abbott-style negativity”. Tingle and Coorey accused Labor of voting against its own policies.

Excuse me, that was never the case. Labor had worked hard against rabid opposition to sign up the 27 entities involved in funding schools in Australia. The deal was to roll out the funds over six years, albeit backloaded in the last two, just beyond the budget estimates. Now Turnbull comes up with a cheaper deal, snatching away the final realisation of needs-based funding schools have been preparing for over the last four years, extending it out over another 10 years. Labor had signed agreements delivering the funding to the relevant school funding entities. Were they expected to rat on the deals they had entered in good faith? Continue reading Gonski 2.0 – has Labor lost its soul?

When the wind does not blow

When Barnaby Joyce talked to Barrie Cassidy on Insiders last Sunday he said:

    I flew in this morning Barrie, it was a beautiful day, not a puff of wind and if memory serves me correct, it was dark last night, so you switched off your coal-fired power stations, how do you switch on the lights?

Giles Parkinson worked over his “idiocy” in Coalition’s war on cheap power: When fools design energy policy, and everything Parkinson says is true. Renewables, even with “firming” as required by Finkel, are cheaper than coal, but Barnaby may still have a point. You see there has been a ruddy great high sitting over the continent for the last couple of weeks. Continue reading When the wind does not blow

Saturday salon 17/6

1. Towering inferno

A shocker this week was the fire that destroyed the Grenfell Tower in London, a 24-storey building with 120 apartments. The latest count is 30 dead, but the final toll could be much higher as people were incinerated, many difficult or impossible to identify.

Unfortunately people were told to stay in their units, until it became apparent that the fire was spreading up the cladding on the outside of the building – then it was too late for many. Continue reading Saturday salon 17/6

Adani – a mirage that will dissolve into mist?

The Adani board has given the nod to the $16.5 billion Carmichael projects which would generate 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, with pre-construction works starting in the September quarter of 2017.

Yet there are some cautionary voices:

Continue reading Adani – a mirage that will dissolve into mist?

Saturday salon 3/6 (late edition)

1. Leadership traits

The major polls currently have Labor ahead 53-47 at both Newspoll and Essential Report on a Two-Party Preferred basis. Andrew Beaumont has commentary. Labor would have 82 seats to the LNP’s 63, with 5 Other.

Essentially Turnbull and the LNP are going nowhere. However, the leaders approval ratings are dreadful. In Essential Turnbull is net -11 and Shorten -14. In Newspoll Turnbull is -19, and Shorten -20, both up a bit, with Turnbull’s the best since September 2015.

Newspoll took a look at Leadership traits across the years since Rudd in September 2008 and Gillard in July-August 2010. Their ratings are simply stellar compared to what we think of our leaders now. Continue reading Saturday salon 3/6 (late edition)

Learning from Lindt Cafe siege

Generally speaking coroner Michael Barnes’s report on the Lindt Café siege has been well-received, but not everyone is happy. The Police Association of New South Wales pre-empted the report, calling it a witch hunt. Bernard Keane at Crikey thinks we now need a full judicial inquiry. ABC’s Four Corners provided a platform for the relatives of the victims (see The Siege Part One and The Siege Part Two who want adverse findings to be made, people within the police force to be charged, and the psychiatrist consulted at the time never to work for government again.However, Martin McKenzie-Murray in an excellent piece at Saturday Paper Making sense of the Sydney siege thinks it has a “deft balancing of respect and criticism”. [Saturday Paper allows one free view per week.]

As Mark Kenny points out, there is no nonviolent way of storming a venue. Collateral deaths are always to be expected. If police had stormed the cafe early, others relatives may now be saying that their loved ones died because the police blundered in.

In fact the police thought that Man Haron Monis had a bomb. They thought everyone in the cafe might die; they themselves expected to die. Some of them called loved ones to say goodbye before they went in. Continue reading Learning from Lindt Cafe siege

Saturday salon 27/5

1. Margaret Court pipes up

No doubt you remember this from Saturday salon 13/5:

Margaret Court, tennis legend, later Pentecostal Christian minister in 1991 and now a minister at Perth’s Victory Life Church, brought a storm upon her head when she said she would no longer fly Qantas because of Alan Joyce’s advocacy for same-sex marriage. Continue reading Saturday salon 27/5

Snakes alive

For something a bit different, for many years our neighborhood has had a carpet python that visited the back yards from time to time, where it cleaned up any vermin and then moved onto the next house. At over two metres it was sizeable – we know it has devoured a possum or two. Recently when it appeared in a yard nearby, hanging about in a small tree, we thought it might be dead after it stayed motionless for a couple of days:

Continue reading Snakes alive

Saturday salon 20/5

1. The Trump Presidency Falls Apart

That’s the story from David Graham at The Atlantic, who details fully the events over just 10 days, some of which haven’t been picked up by our media.

The bottom line is that Trump is not up to the job, his minions are not up to saving him, often mislead him or don’t tell him the truth, he doesn’t take much notice of them, and the place leaks like a sieve. This will play out over a long period, but there are serious questions about whether his presidency can achieve anything. Continue reading Saturday salon 20/5

How the 2017 budget was made

There was a story around that Mark Textor had a hand in the creation of the 2017 budget. Joe Aston in the AFR says Forget Mark Textor, JWS’ John Scales was the Treasurer’s budget pollster. Aston says that Scales, who was a protégé of Textor’s did the real work, or at least his company JWS Research.

However, Textor did play an important role. The Daily Telegraph reported back in early April that Textor’s research (for the Liberal Party) “highlighted the critical issue of housing affordability”, following which, ScoMo proposed changes to negative gearing that were shot down immediately by Mathias Cormann and Peter Dutton. Continue reading How the 2017 budget was made