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On Jetties and Aquaculture

A couple of news articles of possible interest over the last week or so.

From Portland in Victoria, Yumbah has entered the public consultation phase of its application to construct a new abalone farm in close proximity to the port facilities at Portland in Victoria. The new abalone farm will be approximately the same distance from ships berthing at Portland as ships berthing at Smith Bay will be from Yumbah’s existing farm there. See satellite image below.

Yumbah's Proposed New Aquaculture Facility Adjacent to the Jetties at Portland
Yumbah’s Proposed New Aquaculture Facility Adjacent to Jetties at Portland, Victoria

The jetty at Smith Bay will initially service about twelve ships per year over a three month period, shipping approximately 600,000 tonnes of natural timber each year. Portland facilities include six berths which operate 24 hours per day throughout the year, exporting over six million tonnes of mixed products, plus imports and cruise ships.

As part of the application process, Yumbah is required to estimate effluent flows into the bay. These are expected to be some 5200 litres per second or up to 500 Megalitres per day. For comparison, the entire treated sewage waste output from the city of Adelaide and surrounding areas is approximately 200 Megalitres per day.

Included in the projected waste outflow into Portland Bay is some 660 tonnes of suspended solids per year, including 406 tonnes of abalone faeces. Research conducted so far into the impact of this volume of waste on local marine eco-systems has been completely inadequate. In particular, almost no research has been conducted into the impact on marine mammals of the bacterial load of more than 400 tonnes of faeces dumped into the bay each year, or in the case of Smith Bay, a much smaller and more sheltered bay, about 200 tonnes of faeces per year.

Waste and Faeces Outflow from Yumbah's new Portland Facility
Waste and Faeces Outflow from Yumbah’s new Portland Facility

 

Waste and Faeces Outflow from Yumbah's new Portland Facility
Waste and Faeces Outflow from Yumbah’s new Portland Facility

Despite busy port activity, the waters around Portland are clear and inviting. Dolphins are permanent residents, and Portland is known as Australia’s whale watching capital. Both Southern Right whales and Blue whales make regular visits along their migration path. Portland’s famous whale viewing platform is about 600m from the Port breakwater, and about half-way between the Port and Yumbah’s proposed new site.

Yumbah's new Facility at Portland will Dump 400 Tonnes of Faeces into the Bay Every Year
Yumbah’s new Facility at Portland will Dump 400 Tonnes of Faeces into the Bay Every Year

I am not sure what the marine wildlife will make of 500 million litres of effluent pumped into the bay every day, along with over 400 tonnes per year of faeces. The abalone farm on KI is about half the size, with about half the waste output.

In other news, last week’s Islander reported that the proposed jetty, which was to have been about two thirds the length of the Kingscote jetty, will now be about the same length. It is not clear why this is news, considering this information has been publicly available for the last six months. There is nothing nefarious about this change. It has been proposed to reduce the amount of dredging necessary, and consequently reduce the impact of the development on the sea floor, and to move the berthing area further from intakes to the abalone farm.

Then there was this, from SA Wilderness Society Director Peter Owen:

“Smith Bay is a completely inappropriate location for another port, both from an environmental and public safety perspective. The coastal vegetation in the area and the pristine marine environment must be protected. Log truck traffic on the long haul down to Smith Bay… creates a tourist hazard and raises serious public safety concerns. Surely there are more appropriate locations than Smith Bay… ”

But wait a minute.. This is being reported by the same people who were telling us only two weeks earlier that the even longer haul down to Ballast Head, using major tourist and school bus routes was great, peachy, much better.

And “surely there are more appropriate locations than Smith Bay.”  Easy to say, but name one. It must be within reasonable distance from plantations to optimise safety and reduce road maintenance. It must have good road access. It must have power on the property or available nearby. It must not be in a marine park. It must drop off into deeper water, 14 meters with minimal dredging, within 100 metres or so of shore. It must have level or near level land adjacent to the jetty so that product can be stored securely and in a way that prevents any runoff. And it must be available for purchase and development.

The objections to Smith Bay have been:

Firstly, that jetties and shipping are incompatible with aquaculture. Half an hour’s research and few phone calls make it clear that this is not the case; ports and aquaculture exist side by side in Australia and around the world. Yumbah’s proposed new development at Portland demonstrates they are not in fact concerned about this at all.

And secondly, that Smith Bay is a pristine marine environment that must be preserved. In reality, from any common-sense perspective, the fact that there is already industrial development at Smith Bay, of a far more visually unattractive and environmentally hazardous type than a jetty loading twelve ships per year with a natural, sustainable native product, makes it a more, not less suitable location. Why add a jetty to a genuinely untouched (that is what pristine means) part of the North coast, when there is a site that meets all practical and logistical requirements, and already has industrial development?

It has been suggested that if I had my way I would see the abalone farm and other local businesses closed. It is certainly true that I regard the abalone farm as an abomination. I was horrified the first time I saw it, and am still dismayed every time I think of the visual damage caused by that hideous construction to what was a truly lovely little bay. It is visual vandalism of the worst kind. The potential damage caused to the local marine ecosystem from the astonishing quantities of waste pumped into the bay is even worse, and make it a perfect example of profit-driven environmental vandalism. If the foreshore could be reclaimed as reserve, or a picnic and play area, as an outdoor exercise course, or even as a camping ground or any other of hundreds of visually attractive and environmentally responsible possibilities, I would be delighted. However, the abalone farm is there, and its needs and concerns need to be taken into account. On the other hand, to suggest a jetty is unattractive or off-putting to visitors is simply silly. Our jetties are some of our most loved and visited landmarks. They would be rare visitors who did not depart from KI with photos of at least one of our jetties in phones or cameras.

I could not feel more differently about other local businesses, which have received great reviews, which are a perfect match for KI, and of which their owners are justifiably proud. I am a little at a loss, though, to know why a few extra trucks each day, turning off out of sight of, and eight hundred metres from, another business’s gate, should have any significant negative impact. However, people are entitled to ask questions, and if concerns exist, to ask for clarification, and that KIPT work with them to ensure positive outcomes for all parties.

Sustainable harvesting of farmed native timber on Kangaroo Island will bring over 240 new jobs to the island. In the end, everyone will benefit.

Save Smith Bay – The Real Story

The Ballad of Jack and Dianne…

Jack and Dianne had lived on Kangaroo Island for a few years, when a shop became available on Dauncey St. They decided to open a coffee shop. Although they had never run a coffee shop before, they had run other successful businesses, and Jack had training and experience as a barista. They prepared a business plan, applied for finance, and set up a website to let people know what they were doing.

A few days later, Dianne logged onto Facebook.

Save Dauncey St: Has everyone seen this proposal? This will wreck Dauncey St. Speak up now!

Curious Resident 1: I think it’s just a coffee shop. Not sure there is much to worry about, really.

Save Dauncey St: We have just discovered they plan to have a roaster in there. So much for being just a coffee shop. Makes you wonder what else they’re not telling us.

Friend 1 of SDS: OMG! Imagine the fire risk, and the risk to nearby businesses, and the smoke pollution. This is just irresponsible.

Friend 2 of SDS: Why is this even being considered? It doesn’t tick any boxes for KI!

F3 of SDS: No one makes any money in retailing. That shop should just be bulldozed and made into residential units. No one needs another coffee shop. We need more cheap accommodation.

F4 of SDS: Just bulldoze it and leave it as a park. It’s time this community started thinking about the children.

F5 of SDS: It’s not just the fire risk with a roaster. Where are they getting beans from? You can bet they are not just organic Australian beans. It’s clear no one has thought about the biological hazard this presents! There goes our clean, green image.

F6 of SDS: Three shops have failed on Dauncey St in the last ten years. Why should this be any different. It’s just another kick in the guts for KI!

Curious Resident 2: Guys, really. I think it’s just a coffee shop.

F1 of SDS: Who is paying you to write this crap? What’s in it for you? Anyway, you’ve only lived here for twelve years. What gives you the right to have a say?

Curious Resident 2: Nothing. I just think it could be nice to have another option.. And it means a few more jobs for young people. Let’s just give it a go.

F2 of SDS: You might not have any vested interest, but it’s clear you have an agenda. How could anyone who cares about the island support this?

F3: I hate it when people come to the island immediately start trying to change it. If you don’t like the island as it is, why come here?

Curious Resident 2: Couldn’t you just talk with them? Negotiate? Try to work out something that will work for everyone.

SDS: There’s nothing to negotiate. This shouldn’t be allowed. Ever. Anywhere.

F1: Why don’t they just go down to that derelict shop at the end of the road where the koalas are? It was good enough for that other shop that didn’t open.

SDS: Yes, good idea. As long as it’s not near my end of the street.

F2: When I opened my shop I didn’t think there were going to be any other shops on Dauncey St. What if people stop coming to my shop now? It isn’t fair.

Curious Resident 1: Have a look at their website. Let’s just wait and see exactly what they are planning, and then object if you really want to.

F4: OMG! Time some people learned to SHUT UP!

F5: My friend who has been helping with the renovations says they have no grease extractors on their exhaust fans. Grease and smoke from their cooking is going be spewed all over the rest of Dauncey St. This will wreck the tourist industry.

F6: My cousin who is a plumber says there are no grease traps on their drains. It was never meant to be a food shop. Grease from cooking will just be washed straight down into the sea.

SDS: You can see why we were concerned. This needs to be stopped now. Imagine all that grease floating under the jetty. No protection for seals or dolphins. There shouldn’t be any waste going into the sea! It is a disgrace this is even being considered!

Curious Resident 2: But wait a minute SDS. Don’t you have a huge drain at the back of your place that goes straight into the sea?

SDS: No.

CR2: But I was there yesterday. I’ve got photos.

SDS: Oh, that drain. Well, nothing comes out of it, and if it does it’s nothing to do with us, and anyway, it’s just water. Or nearly.

F6: OMG, CR2. You should be ashamed, saying such horrible things about a local business. How low.

F1: I had a visitor over the weekend who said she was shocked something like this had been proposed. She said she would never come back to Dauncey St if it was smoky and smelly and covered with grease.

SDS: My friends say the same thing. But it gets worse. What about the leafy sea dragons? How are they going to respond to all this pollution?

F2: I just read on their website they are planning to sell cakes! They want to put everyone else out of business.

SDS: We told you they were not telling us everything. Think about the impact on fishing from the jetty!

F3: I just saw on their website it’s cold drinks as well. Someone needs to put a stop to this out of control project now!

F4: My friend who works for SDS said they were thinking about putting another person on next year, half time, maybe. But now they definitely won’t. So much for new jobs. We are already losing jobs for something that won’t even get off the ground!

CR: But are they are planning to do any cooking there? Why not ask them?

F5: They haven’t been telling the truth about this project from the beginning. Look at all the things we discovered on their website! Why would you trust anything they say?

F2: Of course they are going to be cooking. No one makes money from coffee.

F6: Exactly. They have a vested interest. What is the point in asking people who don’t care about the community or the environment and are just out for money?

Although this was distressing for Jack and Dianne, they were eventually able to open their coffee shop. There were howls of indignation: “How could this be approved when so many of us were against it?” But it was approved because most of the objections had nothing to do with what Jack and Dianne had planned or built. The ones that did, fire safety for the roaster, for example, were well provided for to ensure safety both for the little coffee shop, and for neighbours. They had never intended to do any cooking on site, as their website had made plain from the beginning, so there were no issues with cooking smells or grease.

Eventually, people realised the coffee was pretty darned good, and The Happy Bean soon became a favourite with locals and visitors alike. People forgot all the fuss, and life went on as usual. Dauncey St had another successful shop, a bit more colour, and maybe even a few more visitors.

But no one ever apologised.

Oh, and some real information:

Knagaroo Island Plantation Timber’s Smith Bay Wharf Proposal

Economic Growth from KIPT’s Smith Bay Wharf

 

 

Last Word on the Smith Bay Jetty – Kangaroo Island

If you have to lie to make your case, you don’t have a case.

Never has this been more starkly clear than in the determined opposition to KIPT’s proposed new jetty at Smith Bay. This is a project that will bring a massive ongoing income stream to Kangaroo Island, and has the potential to revitalise the island more than any other project since the advent of reliable ferry services. Cue the wailing…

“The Environmental Impact Statement they have submitted is not what they are planning to build!”

OK. Right. In a time-consuming and expensive process, KIPT is seeking permission to build something they do not intend to build, and are not seeking permission to build what they do intend to build. This is so manifestly silly it is just, well, silly.

“Building a jetty on the pristine North coast will pollute the bay and damage whales and dolphins!”

There are four jetties along the pristine North coast already, plus a couple of boat ramps. One of those jetties, at Penneshaw, loads and unloads as many as six boats per day. These carry dangerous cargoes including pesticides, creosote treated logs and other building materials, fuels, and livestock. They travel several times per day directly across the migration path of whales and other marine wildlife.

But one more jetty loading twelve boats a year with a sustainable, organic, native product is going to ruin our tourism industry and ruin the environment.

Right. This is even more manifestly ludicrous than the claim KIPT wants permission to build something they don’t want to build.

“But Smith Bay is pristine!”

You have to wonder at the mental and photographic contortions needed to attempt to portray Smith Bay as anything resembling “pristine.”

With a monstrous barbed-wire fenced industrial facility squatting across almost the entire foreshore, looking like a set from Resident Evil, pumping thousands of litres of waste into the bay every hour, Smith Bay is about as pristine as my arse after a hot curry and dozen beers. Not something I would recommend swimming in.

Smith Bay Foreshore Showing Yumbah's Facility and waste Outflows
Smith Bay Foreshore Showing Yumbah’s Facility and Waste Outflows

 

Some of the other objections verge on comic absurdity. Or rather, they jump the verge in a manic delirium and charge headlong down the cliff into La La Land. “There’ll be trucks! There’ll be dust! There might be some noise! Tourists won’t like it! I don’t like it! Make it stop!”

What’s next? Demands that we stop growing sheep on the island? “There are trucks! There is dust! There are nasty smells! You know they only grow those things to kill them! It’s inhumane. The trucks run on petrol. It’s ruining the environment! The world’s going to burn! We’re all going to die!”

OK. Put down the bong. Step away slowly. Move outside. Take a few deep breaths… Better now?

Seriously, if there are any real concerns, not drug-fueled paranoia or dog-in-the-manger silliness, but real concerns about environment, or safety, or tourism, and you have talked with KIPT about them, not just had a whinge on Facebook, or complained to the other members of your echo-chamber, but actually talked to KIPT, and you still think your issues have not been properly addressed, let me know. I will be right behind you in seeking answers.

Retail Fuel Strike? Yeah, Nah..

I have seen a few posts on Facebook over the last week suggesting a two day fuel strike.

The idea seems to be that if people don’t buy fuel for two days, the oil companies will learn their lesson, and reduce the price of petrol.

This isn’t quite the dumbest idea ever. That was voting for Rebeka Sharkie. But it is definitely up there.

Quite frankly, the oil companies couldn’t give a stuff if a handful of people decide to buy petrol on Wednesday or Saturday instead of Thursday or Friday. You are still going to buy petrol.

In addition, of course, the oil company margins and retailer mark-up are a long way from being the single largest component of the cost of fuel. I will let you guess what that might be.

What this proposed strike may affect in a negative way are the mostly small, family owned fuel outlets, who still have to employ staff, pay their power bills, buy stock, regardless of how many people come in on any given day.

Fuel strike? Yeah, nah. Write to your pollies and demand lower fuel taxes. Or just elect politicians who know how to balance a budget.

Independents Betray their Electors

Our Federal member (for Mayo) has been in Wentworth over the last week campaigning for Kerryn Phelps, safe-schools supporter and promoter of the early sexualisation of children.

Now it is looking likely Dr Phelps will be returned, Ms Sharkie has formed an alliance with her and Cathy McGowan, and despite having promised not to support any no-confidence motions, now says she will do so unless a list of demands are met.

What exactly are these three blackmailing the government to get? Better conditions for their own electorates? Cheaper electricity? More attention to schools, the disabled, veterans?

Nope, nope and nope.

They want “action on climate change,” which will achieve no change to climate at all, but will make power prices higher, businesses less stable, manufacturing and processing priced out of competitiveness with Asia, more unemployment, and less tax revenue for the government, which means either higher taxes for everyone else, or less money for schools, roads, hospitals.

Then they want illegal immigrants who have not been able to pass security checks or who simply refused to co-operate with authorities to be settled in Australia. At what cost, in both money and security risks?

These are their two “top priorities.”

What about the people who elected them?

Fossil Fuels and Subsidies in Australia

 
Anyone who claims that coal mining or other resource production is subsidised in Australia is trying to sell you something.. It isn’t. Claims it is are deliberately misleading.
 
There are no subsidies, just the same tax reductions for business costs that apply to all Australian businesses. “But that amounts to a subsidy!” No, it doesn’t. Subsidies are when money is taken from one group – taxpayers or businesses, and given to someone else to give the someone else an artificial advantage in the marketplace. Not taxing business input costs is not a subsidy.
 
Even then, some people are not happy. “But they get a huge discount on fuel!” No, they don’t. Like all primary producers, coal and other energy companies do not pay road tax on the fuel they use when on their own properties, and on roads they themselves have built and maintain.
 
The only incentive given by government to the mining industry is the Research and Development tax incentive, and this applies to all industries.
 
“The weekend release of the Productivity Commission’s (PC) latest industry assistance review again confirms that Australian mining receives ‘negligible’ government assistance.
The report states that the effective rate of combined assistance for the mining industry is just 0.2 per cent, having fallen by half a percentage point since 2010-11.
 
The effective rate of assistance is the ratio of total assistance to output.
 
The net tariff penalty on mining has increased since 2010-11 and 85 per cent of the budgetary assistance attributed to mining consists of the R&D tax incentive – a measure applicable to all industries.
 
The PC’s finding is consistent with the message successive Australian governments have reiterated to their G20 partners that Australia does not maintain fossil fuel subsidies.
 
The review shows that despite claims by the anti-mining lobby, the Fuel Tax Credit scheme, which refunds the tax paid on diesel fuel used off road, is not industry assistance or a subsidy.
 
Refunding the tax paid on diesel used in mining ensures that diesel – a critical input-cost – is not taxed. All businesses and industries in Australia do not pay tax on diesel fuel consistent with the basic tax principle to not tax business inputs.
 
Over recent years, the anti-mining lobby has sought to characterise the Fuel Tax Credit scheme as a subsidy for Australian mining. This is false and is confirmed by the Productivity Commission.
 
The Fuel Tax Credit scheme ensures that businesses in the manufacturing, mining, farming, construction, irrigation and commercial fishing industries do not pay road tax on fuel used in off-road activities.
 
Without the scheme, tens of thousands of Australian jobs, especially in rural Australia, would be at risk.”

On the Christian Duty to Warn of Sin and Its Consequences

Do Christians have a duty to warn others of sins and their consequences?

Ezekiel 33:8.9 When I tell wicked people they will die because of their sins, you must warn them to turn from their sinful ways. If you refuse to warn them, you will be held accountable for their death. If you do warn them, and they keep sinning, they will die because of their sins, but you will be innocent of their death.

Leviticus 19:17 Do not hate your neighbours, but rebuke them frankly, so you do not share in their guilt.

Or in Glen Campbells’ paraphrase:
If you see your brother standing by the road
With a heavy load from the seeds he’s sowed
And if you see your sister falling by the way
Just stop and say, you’re going the wrong way

Well, that’s pretty clear. Christians have a duty to warn friends, neighbours, family, if they are on the wrong track.

On the wrong track means living in such a way that they will cause serious harm to themselves or to people near them. And the most serious harm is to live in a way that alienates them and those around them from the love of God, to act in ways that shut God’s grace out of one’s life. That is, to live in mortal sin, which denies a person the ability to know the depth of God’s love and purpose for his or her life here and now, and without repentance, shuts them away from experiencing God’s love forever, which is hell.

But how does this work in practice? Are Christians meant to go around telling all and sundry: “Stop doing that. It will ruin your life and you will go to hell?”

Probably not.

It is not any particular sin that alienates us from God, or even a besetting sin – a lingering temptation we cannot seem to shake, to the point where we feel it to be part of who we are – so much as Sin itself. Repenting of a particular sin does not make us right with God. An axe murderer who repents of his axe murders and decides to commit them no more is not thereby set right with God and destined for heaven.

What we aim to do is what Jesus aimed to do. To help people recognise that without God their lives are empty, and become emptier to the point that they narrow down into loneliness and darkness and resentment, till that resentment becomes spite, and gnaws away at us forever and there is no hope of redemption. And to know that by choosing to repent of sin and live for Jesus, they can replace that anguished darkness with light and hope and eternal life.

That does not mean they (and we) may not still sin, and make mistakes and bad choices, but that they are saved; they are on the road that leads to life, and the more they walk on that road, and the more they try to follow Jesus’ example, the more peaceful, joyful and purposeful their lives will become.

So what does this Christian duty of warning, leading, advising mean in practical terms?

Firstly, it is a very serious thing to pretend something God has said is a sin is not a sin. People cannot repent of a sin they do not believe is a sin. If we tell people it is fine for them to continue to behave in a way God has said is not OK, we will most certainly be held accountable for the harm that comes to them.

This is a bit like a parent who insists, against a toddler’s screams of outrage, that the toddler must not stick forks into electric sockets. A parent who did not do his or her best to stop this behaviour, especially if it was repeated, would be considered at fault if the child came to serious harm.

Secondly, any such warning must, like that of a parent for a child, spring from genuine love and compassion. It has been well said that people will not care what you say until they see that you care. If you do not have a history of practical care and friendship for a person, then warning them that a particular action will cause them harm and separate them from the love of God, is not likely to be heard as anything other than self-righteousness and judgmentalism.

However, Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, lest you be judged,” is often taken out of context. It most certainly does not mean that we cannot judge evil actions. We can and must, and so must any just and civilised society. Rape is not OK, theft is not OK, murder is not OK.

The judgement we are not to make is that others are less valuable to God than we are. No matter what they have done; murderer, child molester, bully, wife beater, etc, etc, – every single person who has ever lived is loved by God so dearly that He sent His only Son so that person could have life eternal, that is, be with Jesus as a beloved friend forever.

God does not write people off, so neither must we. We must endeavour to see and treat every person we encounter in the knowledge that that person is valued, treasured by God beyond any human measure. We must not use, abuse or dismiss others, we must not judge or belittle them.

This means, if anything, that our duty to warn is even greater, not less. But how to do this? Our example must be Jesus.

We certainly need to heed Jesus’ warning in Matthew 7:4,5 “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Examine your own life first; the way you treat the members of your family, your language – even when alone, what you look at and let your eyes linger on, the little shortcuts you take in business, the shading of the truth, the failure to take responsibility, the over-eating, the laziness. Be a harsher critic of your own decisions and choices than you are of anyone else’s. The first soul you are responsible to God for is your own.

But don’t wait till you are perfect! You never will be, not in this life, anyway. And like a loving parent, the fact that you fail sometimes should not stop you trying to help and protect others.

Two examples from the life of Jesus:

Luke 19:1-10, the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector.

Tax collectors were despised not just because they were civil servants to the hated Roman occupiers, but because they abused and stole from the poorest and most vulnerable members of society, and because they frequently used violence to extort money where it was not owed. They were scum. Or that is how most of Jewish society saw them. Yet Jesus invites himself to dinner at the home of a tax collector.

Complaints ensued. Understandable complaints! Jesus was someone who had consistently spoken for the poor, who was one of the poor and lived among them. He had also spoken unmistakeably about the need to live justly before God. Zacchaeus knew this. Jesus showed him by his actions that he was loved by God. It was up to Zacchaeus to accept the offer of fellowship, not just a once-off over dinner, but to be Jesus’ friend for all eternity. Or to reject it, knowing that if accepted, it meant he needed to make a break with his past; not just to cease acting in the way he had, but to make what amends he could, and to try to live a life of integrity and generosity from then on. Salvation came to Zacchaeus not just when Jesus spoke to him, but when Zacchaeus responded with repentance.

Love, not abuse or lecturing or rejection, led to Zaccaheus’s seeing that he was loved by God, and could have a life in which he was loved and valued by others. Jesus did not accept or slide over his sins, which were many and grievous, but the most important thing was to let him know that in spite of everything, he was valued, and could have a life richer and deeper than the materially rich but horribly empty life he had led to that point.

John 8: 1-11, the story of the woman caught in adultery.

I was astonished to read on a website recently (I cannot now find the link, sadly) that Jesus was a leader in recognising and blessing the sex industry. The author’s argument was that Jesus had not condemned the woman, who was following her chosen career (according the article’s author), but rather, had condemned those who stood against her. Therefore Jesus recognised and accepted the dignity of sex work. But this is not how John describes what happened. Jesus does indeed ask the woman “Has no one condemned you?” and when she answers “No, lord,” He replies “Then neither do I condemn you.” But this is not an acceptance of her actions.

The crowd was about to stone her; a horrifying punishment that is still used in some Middle-eastern countries. What is meant is “Has no one thrown a stone? Has no one condemned you to death?” They had not, and neither would Jesus. But not condemning someone to death is not saying their actions were acceptable. Jesus makes it clear that she is acceptable, valued, and worthy of love, but that her actions are not. “Go then. And do not sin again.” According to some traditions, this was Mary of Magdala, who become one of Jesus’ followers, and was the first to bring the good news of His resurrection to His disciples.

It was the combination of unfailing genuine love and service to the person, unyielding, relentless, unconditional love and acceptance of them as a person, along with unyielding rejection of behaviour harmful to them and others, that brought both Zacchaeus and Mary Magdalene to repentance, into fellowship with Jesus, and into eternal life. This is the example we are to follow.

A last word. There is this: Proverbs 9:8 “Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.” Mockers are not people who mock you or your ideas, but those who mock the need for God, or faith in God. As I noted above, it is not repentance from any particular sin which saves us, but turning to Christ. It is in a relationship with Jesus that we are born again and find eternal life. Without that, turning from any individual sin is meaningless.

There is no point in suggesting to people who are not Christians that a particular behaviour is setting them on the wrong road or alienating them from God. Not only is there no point, but such suggestions are likely to reinforce the view that Christians are judgmental and uninterested in them as persons. This is what Paul meant when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:12 “I have no business judging those who are outside. It is those who are inside we are to judge.”

We are called to love others because God loves them. Even when they are rude, spiteful, dishonest, even when they reject us and use us and say unkind things about us, God loves them and gave His Son for them. We are called to do the same. People are not objects, or even projects. They are to be treasured for themselves, because God treasures them.

Of course we will sometimes get it wrong. We will lose our tempers, be selfish, harsh and thoughtless. That matters, but it is not the end of the story. Because just as all those around us are loved, so are we, and God our Father is relentlessly, unyieldingly forgiving and welcoming.

We are loved, and so we are called to love.

Last Word on the Mayo By-election

If you are voting in the by-elections tomorrow, who should you vote for?

The key question is: “What do you want Australia to be?”

When you have a clear image in your mind of what you hope our future will be, you need to compare the candidates and ask which of them has the education, experience, tenacity, energy and intelligence to help make your vision a reality.

This is a Federal election. That means we are electing people to be part of the government of our nation. Local issues, and “What can you do for me?” should be a long way down the list.

I know that often they are not, and Liberal/National candidates are just as bad as anyone else at pandering to the notion of electorate X deserves more, without ever asking “More than who? Which electorates deserve less?”

The idea that Federal members are elected primarily to look after their electorate is not only alien to our history and constitution, it can have disastrous results. This is sometimes called pork-barrelling. It means that more needy electorates are neglected, or projects which would benefit the country as a whole are mismanaged or left undone entirely.

I will just add at this point that I am not a “rusted-on” Liberal supporter. I have never been a member of the Liberal Party. I did not vote for the Liberal candidate at the last Federal election, and sometimes when I have, it has not been with any enthusiasm, but simply because all the other parties and candidates were worse.

I am still not entirely enthusiastic about Malcolm Turnbull’s government. But in terms of candidates this time, there is one who is clearly more likely to form part of an effective, positive national government.

There are seven candidates in the Mayo by-election. Only two, Rebekha Sharkie and Georgina Downer, have any chance of being elected. Neither Family First nor Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives have a candidate this time.

There have been suggestions about both Sharkie and Downer that they do not belong, or are ring-ins. I don’t accept those arguments on either side.

Rebekha Sharkie lives in the electorate and clearly cares about the community. I wish she had sorted out her citizenship issues before causing this expensive and frustrating election, but now that she has genuinely revoked any citizenships other than that of Australia, she is clearly entitled to stand.

Georgina Downer’s family has lived in, worked in and been part of the Mayo electorate for over 100 years. She was raised here, went to school here, was married and had her early working and family life here. It is just silly to suggest she does not belong or cannot represent Mayo. By that argument, anyone who left Kangaroo Island for whatever reason; work, family, education, and then returned, would never again be a local or belong, no matter how long they had lived here, or what their family connections to the Island’s history. Some of those who make that absurd argument about Georgina would be rightly upset and angry if the same reasoning were applied to them.

I have never met Rebekha Sharkie. I get the impression from those who have that she is pleasant and well-spoken, and is genuinely concerned about the needs of the community. That is great. So is Georgina. At the same time, it is impossible to pin down what Ms Sharkie really believes, or what are her guiding principles.

She was a member of the Liberal Party, then deserted to join Nick Xenophon. That in itself is an issue, because apart from trying to stop poker machines, a cause in which he was completely ineffective, Nick’s political career seem to have been a mixture of self-promotion and following whatever issues he thought might win him votes. When Nick failed to get elected, Rebekha became an independent who votes mostly with Labor and the Greens. If you think Bill Shorten and Adam Bandt have the answers, then by all means go ahead and give her your vote. But think about what this means, both for the nation and for our electorate.

I will just give two examples of why this matters.

Small businesses include fishing, farming, tourism, medical practices, retailing and service. Small businesses are important. They belong to their communities in ways that big business cannot. They are responsive to their communities’ needs in ways that big businesses cannot be, and they employ locals when there are no big businesses to do so.

Small businesses are in trouble. The number of Australians employed by small businesses decreased by 330,000 (-7 per cent) between 2007 and 2016. High taxes, high energy costs and growing red tape have all contributed to this. A reduction of costs and of compliance burdens will help family businesses and help employment, especially in smaller communities.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Bill 2016 reduced the tax burden on small businesses. Rebekha Sharkie voted against this. There are nearly 20,000 small businesses in Mayo. If she and the Labor/Greens alliance had had their way, every one of these businesses would now be worse off.

Ms Sharkie also voted with Bill Shorten and the Greens against legislation to tighten Australia’s immigration policy. This is not to stop legal immigration. No one has a problem with that. Most of us, if we are not immigrants ourselves, are the children or grandchildren of immigrants. The Migration Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 stopped people applying for visas which could lead to citizenship after they had arrived in Australia illegally. This is about security, fairness, and economic cost to legal immigrants and taxpayers.

Of course we have a duty to welcome genuine refugees and asylum seekers from neighbouring countries who are desperately fleeing war or famine. That legislation did not apply to those people, but to those who tried to shortcut the rules, enter the country illegally, and once here, apply to join a process leading to citizenship. That is wrong, unfair to Australia, and unfair to those who want to come, who have skills to offer, and who make the often time-consuming and expensive effort to do the right thing.

Rebekah voted against this amendment. If she and Bill Shorten and the Greens had won that vote, those who show no regard for our rules and attempt to jump the queue would have been treated better than those who show their respect for Australia by acting in accordance with our laws.

Because of these kind of votes, and because Ms Sharkie has so frequently changed her mind about her allegiances, it is not possible to have any confidence in her future votes or actions, regardless of how nice a person she seems to be.

There could not be a greater contrast with Georgina.

Georgina, as I have noted before, gained degrees in Law and Commerce in Melbourne and a Master’s Degree from the London School of Economics. She has worked as a solicitor and consultant, was a director of the Indigenous arts project The Torch, was a researcher for US Senator Chuck Hagel and for Baroness Howe of Idlicote in the House of Lords in the UK, represented Australia as a diplomat with the Australian Embassy in Japan, and has been a research fellow at the IPA, Australia’s leading free market, small government, evidence-based policy research and lobby group. And on top of all that has raised two young children, Henry and Margot. She has an exceptional degree of education, experience, commitment and skill.

What is just as important for Mayo and for her role in our national government is that she is clear and consistent about the principles that guide her thinking. She is committed to freedom of speech, to free markets, to small government and lower taxes, and to evidence based policy.

It comes down to this. What do you want Australia to be? Who of the candidates can you best rely on to make this vision a reality?

Mayo by-election …

I note with concern the report in today’s Islander in which candidates in the current Mayo by-election are asked “What will you do for us..?” as if this should be the key factor in deciding who to vote for.

I cannot fathom why anyone with any understanding of our Federal parliamentary system would think this question has anything to with the reasons for which a Federal member is elected.

Of course local members should know their electorates, and where possible, should have life, work and educational experience in them. But imagine every member thinking their job was to gain every possible advantage for their own electorate. It would be chaos.

We are not electing a lolly lady. We are, or should be, electing the person we believe has the experience, education, energy and intelligence to make a strong, long-term, positive contribution to an effective national government.

“Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests;
which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates;
but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole;
where, not local purposes, not local prejudices, ought to guide,
but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole.”
Edmund Burke

A Bridge to Kangaroo Island

A bridge to Kangaroo Island..

It would be an amazing project, and an amazing feat of engineering. It could certainly be done.

7 News | KI Bridge

A multi-billion dollar proposal to build a bridge to Kangaroo Island has been met with anger from residents. The local Mayor says a bridge could be disastrous to the island's unique attractions and he is prepared to fight it.http://www.7plus.com.au/news #7News

7 News Adelaideさんの投稿 2018年7月22日日曜日

But not everything that can be done should be done. Would it be a good thing?

Firstly, by the time additional required infrastructure is installed on both sides, and provision made for safe passage of tankers and container ships under the bridge, the cost will be $12 billion, not $5 billion.

Secondly, Kangaroo Island certainly doesn’t need any more debacles like the airport. We were promised no cost to ratepayers, and more flights and more passengers. Ratepayers have been left with a $2 million debt, fewer flights and fewer passengers. But we’ve sold some paintings, so that’s nice..

So NO taxpayer or ratepayer funds, unless there is a genuine, independent business plan, as opposed to the in-house fairyland plan that was used to justify the expenditure of $22 million of taxpayer and ratepayer money on an airport. For fewer passengers. But some nice paintings.

Let’s say the bridge makes economic sense even with realistic costing and a rigorous business plan. Economic considerations are not the only considerations.

I have been amused, I have to say, by comments from a few of those who talk loudly about equity, diversity, open borders, inclusiveness, blah, blah, blah, saying this must not be allowed to happen because it would make it too easy for the riff-raff to get here. I’ll just go past that one…

Then there is this: “Nature’s island would be ruined! More people means more environmental destruction.” I can understand that concern, but it doesn’t hold up based on experience elsewhere. The more people who come to visit a place to admire and enjoy the environment, the more incentive there is, and the more money there is, to ensure local habitats, wildlife and scenery are preserved. More people coming to the Island would help to ensure the Island’s unique combination of wildlife and scenery are preserved for future generations, and for their own sake.

“Foxes and rabbits would get to the Island!” Well.. it’s a long walk across a long bridge, which would almost certainly be gated for tolls on one side, so that seems unlikely. Unless a bridge means people are going to start hiding those things and bringing them over over in their vehicles. Well, maybe. I guess. We’d certainly still need some biological restrictions and perhaps random checks.

“The crime rate would go up!” Yes, probably. That’s what happens when the population increases and there are more visitors. We would also have more police, and more available police and other emergency service workers. I think that one evens out.

“We’d need more accommodation, better services, better roads.” Absolutely. We need better roads and services now. One of the ongoing financial issues for KI Council is how to provide services over such a large area for such a small population. Increased population density means more efficiency and better services. Increased population and tourism means more government spending on infrastructure. This would mean most of the population would be both better off, and have access to better services.

There would be less reliance on ferries and planes to Adelaide, and no, or at least far fewer, issues with cheap and easy transport to the Island. This means greater convenience, and greater cost saving for both residents and visitors, even if, as seems inevitable, the bridge was partly funded by a toll.

Possibly, given better insfrastructure, services and accommodation, direct flights from cities other than Adelaide might then be feasible.

A bridge would transform the Island. Would that be a good thing? I would be happy, as long as environmental protections remain in place, and as long as Islanders are not saddled with another massive debt.

Georgina Downer and the Mayo By-Election

The current by-election in Mayo has been made necesary because Rebekha Sharkie was not entitled to stand or be elected because she was a citizen of another country at the time of her election.

That is not just my opinion! That is what the Court found, and that is why another expensive election is necessary.

One of the things that has frustrated me is that some of those who have expressed their intention to vote for Rebekha have had the unmitigated hypocrisy to describe Georgina Downer as a “ring-in.” Georgina, whose family has lived in, worked in, and been part of this electorate for over 100 years. Who grew up here, went to school here, worked here, got married here, had her early family life here.

Apparently going interstate and overseas to broaden her education and work experience means, according to some, that she doesn’t belong here. What rubbish.

Georgina gained degrees in Law and Commerce in Melbourne and a Masters Degree from the London School of Economics. She has worked as a solicitor and consultant, was a director of the Indigenous arts project The Torch, was a researcher for US Senator Chuck Hagel and for Baroness Howe of Idlicote in the House of Lords in the UK, represented Australia as a diplomat with the Australian Embassy in Japan, and has been a research fellow at the IPA, Australia’s leading free market, small government, evidence-based policy research and lobby group. And on top of all that has raised two young children, Henry and Margot.

Georgina Downer and Family at Home in the Mayo Electorate
Georgina Downer and Family at Home in the Mayo Electorate

With a long-standing background in Mayo, and this breadth of education and experience, it is difficult to imagine anyone more qualified both to represent Mayo, and to make a strong and positive contribution to our national government.

This is not a local Council election. An interest in, history in, and commitment to the local community is important, and Georgina has all those things in spades. We are electing someone to form part of the Federal Government. We need to elect someone with the skills, energy, intelligence and experience to help Australia grow strong and prosperous into the future.

We have a choice between a lolly-lady and a future Prime Minister.

Non-whiny Students Leave the Plantation

Some Hispanic students express the view that their failings are their own fault, and that the way forward is to accept responsibility and work harder.

Naturally, academia is appalled. Can’t you see there’s no point in trying? You’re oppressed! It’s all whitey’s fault!

Thankfully more and more young people are rejecting the elite/liberal/luvvie/progressive philosophy that leads to a lifetime of failure, poverty and resentment.